Week 2 Waiver Wire: Can Josh Gordon get a vote?

The drug vote saga drags on, leaving the suspensions for Josh Gordon and Wes Welker up in the air. Is it worth stashing Gordon at this point if he’s still out there? Probably.

I’m still concerned about how much of Gordon’s suspension will actually be reduced, but his abilities as a top-5 fantasy football receiver when he takes the field makes him worth a bench spot at this point.

Don’t break the bank with your free agent acquisition budgets just yet, but make sure Gordon is on a roster by week’s end.

Speaking of top receivers, I’d love to list Allen Hurns here. He was the early surprise in Week 1 when he broke out with two touchdowns in the first half of the early games. But Cecil Shorts’ injury opened the door. Shorts’ return in Week 2 could close it.

I’m not sure I burn a lot of free agent dollars or a waiver claim order to get Hurns, but if you have a deep bench, be my guest. I might feel differently if it was Blake Bortles starting under center and not Chad Henne.

Now let’s kick off the waiver picks for this week.

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Week 10 Fantasy Football Pickups: Replace Your Quarterback? Rodgers That.

Corny title. Check.

It’s never fun when you lose your stud quarterback — or any stud for that matter — this close to the playoffs. It hurts.

But those unfortunate enough to lose Aaron Rodgers to injury can take solace in the wealth of quarterback options that have emerged to take his place. If you aren’t in one of those horrible deep bench leagues, you probably have a shot at making a run without your main mustachioed man.

I normally try to add notes about FAAB, or free agent acquisition budget, spending limits for each player, but this week, it’s really up to you.

There aren’t too many more weeks for you to play it conservative. It’s time to go big…or stay home while someone else goes to the fantasy football playoffs. I’ll suggest the minimum amount you probably need to acquire a player, but you can spend your whole bank if you have the conviction. Don’t let your favorite players end up on another roster. It’ll be doubly bad to see them started against you in these final, critical weeks.

So let’s get to it. Continue reading

Week 9 Pickups: Marvin Jones-ing for the Playoffs

You might be asking yourself who Marvin Jones is. I’ll tell you. He’s probably the guy who had the best game of his season (and possibly career) in Week 8.

On to pickups… Continue reading

Week 2 Pickups: Spend not, want not

Let me preface this pickups post by noting that no one has jumped out a must add in Week 1. We had some very impressive performances, some disappointing ones, and a crazy Monday night, but most of the explosive pickups like tight ends Jordan Cameron and Jared Cook were drafted. And those leagues that left Julius Thomas on the waiver wire probably have their teams stocked with tight ends across the board.

You could be looking for quarterback help, but I already told you all about Terrelle Pryor’s abilities before Week 1.

If you’re using a FAAB, otherwise known as a free agent acquisition system, I wouldn’t put any money down on these guys and just take what your league gives you.

I think there will be some game-breaking pickups later this season, as there always are, more worthy of spending the big bucks. So I wouldn’t advise blowing your budget on the likes of Julian Edelman, who could dwindle in value as quickly as he has risen.

So here’s who I got. Continue reading

Redskins RB Alfred Morris

Week 2 Waiver Wire Pickups: Are you who we thought you were?

Redskins RB Alfred MorrisIt was an unusual Week 1, but at least with surprises comes a list of potential pickups to improve our fantasy teams.

Below I’ve listed some players you might consider claiming this week if they are not owned in your leagues. I’ve listed them in the order of preference, but I’ve also guesstimated what percentage of your free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) you should spend on them.

If you look closely at the percentages, you’ll notice I’ve alloted lower bids for some players who appear high on my list — most notably,  Jeffery and Hill this week. Those players are the ones I consider waiver wire bargains.

You may have to bid more for them if you are really determined to have a specific player, but with no consistency established after just one week, you could try to get a steal by bidding the same low amount on many of these pickups and settling for what you get.

I’ll assume for the purposes of this waiver wire that C.J. Spiller was drafted in all  leagues, but if he, for some reason, is on the market, you know what to do — go get him. He may cost you a good chunk of your FAAB to obtain, but he will probably be worth 50% or more of your budget if your willing to pay that price.

In order of preference…

Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins (25%)
We’ve got some Shanahanigans in here! We would be remiss not including Washington’s leading rusher. While he’s nothing special, the Redskins’ running back will always produce. He’s a must add, but don’t risk more than 25% of your FAAB in obtaining him. You may want to sell high after he feasts on the Rams next week before he does something Shanny doesn’t approve of and rides the bench the rest of the year.

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers (15-25%)
The Packers have finally found a way to get Cobb more involved in the offense — putting him in the backfield. While he didn’t record any carries, the hybrid role they have for Cobb is worth noting. He could emerge as one of the 2012 fantasy football surprises by season’s end.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears (5%)
Jeffery has immediately become a piece of the Bears passing game, which looked productive in Week 1. He won’t be a regular contributor for your fantasy team, but he should flirt with WR3 value that could mature into more throughout his rookie season.

Stephen Hill, WR, Jets (5%)
While raw, Hill saw several targets from Sanchez in his rookie regular season debut. He may not score twice every week, but he should be owned to see if his hot start turns into a trend.

Kevin Ogletree, WR, Cowboys (10-15%)
As  I’ve already explained, I have my doubts about Ogletree. Don’t blow your whole FAAB budget on him, but feel free to invest 10-15% to see what he can do the rest of the way. I suspect a healthier Jason Witten and less favorable matchup will minimize Ogletree’s role in the Dallas offense.

James Jones, WR, Packers (10%)
With Greg Jennings expected to miss Week 2, Jones should see an increased role. He’s sporadically dependable, but he should be involved and involved early if Jennings sits.

Austin Collie, WR, Colts (<5%)
He didn’t play this week, but he should be on the field in Week 2 and ready to contribute. While Reggie Wayne got all the targets in Week 1, Collie could easily takeover the No. 1 spot if he can stay on the field this year. At the price of a waiver wire pick, he’s a must stash and shouldn’t cost you much of your FAAB if you get on him before the rest of your league.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers (5%)
He proved his value this week, but the running back situation is so muddy in Pittsburgh that I wouldn’t fight to get a piece of him.

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions (<5%)
Now is also the time to stash the Lions’ potential  power back  while he’s still on suspension. Move now and save the FAAB dollars for another bid.

Dexter McCluster, WR/RB, Chiefs (<5%)
The Chiefs offense is not as explosive as other options, but McCluster should receive plenty of targets this year from Matt Cassel. He should be owned in all PPR leagues.

I’ll end with this video from Footballguys TV so we can all compare notes.

Moore to live for in Week 11 Pickups

It’s getting to be that time. The fantasy playoffs are near. Records are shaking out. If you’re set to make a deep playoff run, you should be reshaping your team to play it’s best fantasy football in Weeks 14-16.

Of course, that’s assuming you’re all playing championship games in Week 16, which is the only week you should be, but if that’s not the way your league commish scheduled playoffs, it’s too late to change that until next season.

If you’re using a FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget) system for the waiver wire (bidding on players every week to see who gets to acquire them), now’s the time to bid the most money for the players who could really help you down the stretch. Trim the fat and drop any players who haven’t earned their spot on your roster. Go big or go home with the players who should help you the most if they pan out.

As we continue with a little late season advice, make sure you don’t make any of the common mistakes. Scott Pianowski wrote up a great piece earlier this week that touches on most of them, but it boils down to this: Play smart and loose. You’ll make a bad trade or two before you’re done playing fantasy football. But no one remembers the bad trade when you hold up the trophy.

Also consider these matchup notes for Weeks 15 and 16 highlighted by Adam Levitan as you go about your roster moves this week.

MARSHAWN LYNCH (Seahawks)

It’s highly unlikely that Lynch is sitting out on a waiver wire somewhere at this point in the season. But then again, there’s always a chance. We haven’t seen a lot of BEAST MODE this season, but Lynch’s usage makes him a valuable RB2 prospect to end the season. In the next four weeks, he gets to face the Rams twice and the Redskins, which should provide some nice fantasy points before he finishes the fantasy playoffs by getting stonewalled by the Bears and 49ers.

BEN TATE (Texans)

Another just in case, Tate has been as productive as most of the starting backs in the league while serving as Arian Foster’s No. 2. Now that Matt Leinart is taking the reigns in Houston, the Texans might rely on the run even more, which would provide Tate with more opportunities to shine. If someone threw Tate back after Foster got healthy, it’s time someone snatched him back up.

DENARIUS MOORE (Raiders)

The Raiders passing game is flourishing once again under Carson Palmer, and their remaining games gives them one of the best schedules to throw on. Jacoby Ford left the Week 10 contest against the Chargers with an injury, and Moore reaped the benefits. He should continue to see a healthy dose of targets from Palmer, and I consider him the No. 1 priority on the waiver wire for anyone in need of help at wide receiver. He could be a solid WR2, the type of find that could carry you through to a fantasy championship with several big weeks.

KENDALL HUNTER (49ers)

Frank Gore sat out in Week 10 with multiple injuries while Hunter carried the load and sealed the game for the 49ers. Gore and his coaches are saying that he should be fine to play in Week 11, but they’re also saying they intend to lighten his load moving forward to keep him fresh for the playoffs. And once the playoffs are a lock, the 49ers may even rest their workhorse back. The end result of all this: Hunter has value the rest of the way.

ED DICKSON (Ravens)

While he’s been getting plenty of targets all year, Dickson finally did something significant with them in Week 10, scoring twice. That was probably Dickson’s best game of the season, but if you’re still searching for a tight end with a pulse, Dickson could be your guy.

VINCE YOUNG (Eagles)

Michael Vick has two broken ribs. If he can’t go, Vince Young would get the start against the G-men this week. It’s not an ideal matchup, but Young’s had fantasy value in the past since he can score fantasy points with both his arm and his leg. Plus, he’s never benefited from the type of quarterback-friendly offense Andy Reid has constructed in Philly. Whether you own Vick or not, Young’s a worthy gamble going into Week 11 until we know whether Vick will play or not.

LANCE BALL (Broncos)

Willis McGahee is banged up, and Knowshon Moreno is on IR. Ball could get the start if McGahee can’t go on Thursday, and McGahee hasn’t yet gotten on the practice field. Ball should have value either way since the Broncos rely so heavily on the running game, but don’t expect the yards to come easy against the Jets.

CHRIS OGBONNAYA (Browns)

Peyton Hillis has already been ruled out for Week 11, which leaves Ogbonnaya in position to start again for the Browns. Ogbonnaya gets very little love from fantasy circles because he lacks talent, even though he was productive as a running back for the Texas Longhorns in college. He racked up the yards in Week 10 against the Rams, but the Jags present more of a challenge. Still, he’s worth adding since he might be the running back to own in Cleveland for the rest of the year.

DAMIAN WILLIAMS (Titans)

Since Damian Williams entered the starting lineup, Matt Hasselbeck has looked his way. While Williams is no Kenny Britt, he’s scored in his last two games and might be emerging for the stretch run. He’s definitely worth a stash if you’re hunting for a late season gem to help you in the playoffs.

HARRY DOUGLAS (Falcons)

Julio Jones left with an injury in Week 10 and seemed ready to return if the trainers had let him. In his place, Douglas received a showering of targets from Matt Ryan. Don’t expect the targets to continue unless Jones is sidelined again in Week 11. But if he is, Douglas is your guy.

VINCENT BROWN (Chargers)

Much like Torrey Smith of the Ravens, it’s hard to rely on these young wide receivers that splash onto the scene with big plays. Brown could just as easily disappear in Week 11, especially with the season Philip Rivers has had. But until Malcom Floyd is healthy, Brown should continue to fill in opposite Vincent Jackson (should we call him “The Other Vincent” yet?). The Chargers usually right the ship for a playoff run every year. Assuming that happens, Brown has the potential to produce just like Jackson and the rest of this Charger offense.

JACOB TAMME (Colts)

You should know what you’re getting with the Colts this season — yards but no scoring. Tamme will take Dallas Clark’s place in this offense until he’s well enough to return, but the tight end pool is deep enough that you shouldn’t have to reach for him at this point in the season. Besides, many of his targets came when Dan Orlovsky entered the game when it was already out of hand for Curtis Painter.

TASHARD CHOICE (Redskins)

I don’t like recommending any Redskins player with Shanahan in full tinker mode, but the former Cowboys running back claims to be healthy and able to contribute in Week 11. That means he has the potential to start and ruin your fantasy week if you were counting on Roy Helu or, even worse, Ryan Torain. Consider this more of a warning that Choice could be in play than a recommendation to go add him to your roster.

Fill in D/STs: I like both the Jaguars (vs. Browns) and Patriots (vs. Cassel-less Chiefs) this week to have a solid outing as D/STs.