Things continue to be crazy interesting in the NFL. Every week things we think we know turn out to be false.
It’s the nature of the game but, and I feel like I say this every week of every season, this season feels more zany than ever.
There are plenty of players who arrived on the scene last week. Some of them will be flops, sure, but we need to roll the dice and take some chances to win a title.
A few years ago I realized there was always one or two huge talents available on the waiver wire early in the season that I just wasn’t able to pull the trigger on. I’ve thrown that mindset to the wind. I’m not holding my free agent bucks, especially because my leagues are full of savvy owners who don’t let players sit around long and who don’t let you snipe players at a cheap price.
If you’re reading our site, you may be in the same boat, looking for a slight edge that your competitors may not have access to.
Here are some of the players I considered today and you should consider too.
Jay Cutler, CHI — I’m quarterbackless in a few short-bench leagues this week. We have four teams on bye so our player pool is very small too. Cutler was available in the majority of my leagues. He’s not great, but he gave the Bears a spark. Alshon Jeffery may return this week. That’s enough for me to make him my top choice.
Sam Bradford, PHI — The Eagles finally threw the ball downfield and it almost turned into a win? Here’s the problem I have with Bradford being on your waiver wire. There is far too much potential in this offense. It’s a powder keg ready to explode. They face the Saints this week who haven’t been able to stop No. 1 wide receivers, tight ends or pass-catching running backs and, before this week, were the least efficient team in the NFL against the pass.
Nick Foles, STL — Don’t put a ton of stock (or free agent bucks) on Nick Foles, but the Rams play the Packers this week, which could mean garbage time. Also, if Todd Gurley can run like that and Foles makes Tavon Austin into a playmaker, the Rams are going to have a viable offense.
Josh McCown, CLE — Like Foles, McCown isn’t worth a ton of free agent bucks, but Travis Benjamin is a huge playmaker. Duke Johnson was used in the passing game this week and could be a huge asset. Gary Barnidge made a ridiculous catch this week, making us think maybe he has more than he’s-playing-against-the-Raiders value.
I’m hurting for QB in a couple leagues, so I also considered: Kirk Cousins, Mike Vick, Jameis Winston.
Todd Gurley, STL — Gurley wasn’t on any of my waiver wires. But if an owner was considering dropping him two weeks ago, then dropped him after his poor debut performance, you should go get him. His price will probably never be lower.
Justin Forsett, BAL — Like Gurley, some impatient owners might have dropped Forsett after another poor performance in Week 3. Week 4 Forsett was the running back we drafted. I’d be shocked if Baltimore doesn’t run their offense through him, especially if Steve Smith Sr.’s rib injury keeps him out for an extended time.
C.J. Spiller, NO — The Saints are going to get Spiller involved in the passing game. That was the buzz Sunday. I almost started him in a couple daily fantasy leagues. After his game-winning 80-yard touchdown catch, he’ll likely only get more involved in the offense.
Ronnie Hillman, DEN — He’s stuck in a committee with C.J. Anderson, but one does not break off a 72-yard touchdown — the longest in the NFL this season — and remain on the waiver wire.
Duke Johnson/Isaiah Crowell, CLE — As I said above, Johnson is likely to get more involved and Cleveland seemed to get both of their backs going this week. Johnson is a better pickup in PPR leagues. Crowell is likely to get more rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
Doug Martin, TB — Like a couple guys on this list, Martin’s performance could have led some owners to drop him for bye week help. He had his best outing of the season last week and the Buccaneers have a cushy schedule in the NFC South.
Some other guys to consider if they are still available: David Johnson, Christine Michael, Darren McFadden, Chris Thompson
Allen Hurns, JAX — I started Hurns in a handful of DFS lineups this week and he helped out tremendously. He and Allen Robinson — when Robinson isn’t being shadowed by Vontae Davis — could be a potent 1-2 punch as long as Blake Bortles can get them the ball. I love Hurns’ big-play potential.
Leonard Hankerson, ATL — Hankerson had some impressive moments for Washington, now he is absolutely shining as the No. 2 wide receiver (sorry, Roddy) in Atlanta. I put in a bunch of claims on Hankerson where he was available this week. There is still going to be a lot of passing volume to go around even if Devonta Freeman scores three Falcons touchdowns each week.
Tavon Austin, STL — Austin, a former first-rounder, has a lot of big play potential. If St. Louis and quarterback Nick Foles can harvest it, Austin will be well worth the price of a few free agent bucks this week.
Cole Beasley, DAL — The injury to Lance Dunbar — who led the Cowboys in receptions going into the game — should mean big things for Beasley. He was already a borderline PPR play. Now he could be Jarvis Landry- or Julian Edelman-esque, although probably without as much upside. But don’t be surprised if he has 11-catch-for-59 yard games you can take to the PPR bank.
Willie Snead, NO — Snead has averaged 6.5 targets per game in the last three. Last week he caught all six looks for 89 yards. Drew Brees distributes the ball too well to expect too much out of Snead, but he has emerged as one of the top options and he should be owned in most leagues.
Ted Ginn Jr., CAR — Ginn is on bye this week, so it’s a good opportunity to snipe him at a value. He also might last beyond waivers so you can straight up add him as a free agent. Ginn has evolved into the top wide receiver in this Cam Newton-led offense.
Kenny Stills, MIA — I put Stills on one of my waiver lists. Last wide receiver out of a bunch I’m trying to pick up. He finally showed signs of life this week. Maybe when the new coaching regime gets in there Still elevates into a fantasy commodity.
Eddie Royal, CHI — Royal finally showed signs of the kind of player a lot of people were hyping in the preseason. This team has offensive playmakers on it and once Alshon Jeffery gets back there may only be scraps for Royal. But he’s worth owning, especially in PPR leagues. He’s second on the team in targets (26) and catches (18). They’re not going to abandon him once Jeffery gets back.
Other players to consider: Michael Crabtree, Dwayne Harris
Charles Clay, BUF — Did you and/or your leaguemates not read my column last week? Clay is still only 70% owned in Yahoo leagues.
Antonio Gates, SD — Gates is due back this week. He wasn’t available in any of my leagues, but check yours because he’s available in 56% of Yahoo leagues. The way the Chargers offense is humming, Gates could have a gangbusters debut this week against the Steelers defense, which was sixth-worst in the NFL against the pass going into last week’s game.
Coby Fleener, IND — Fleener was one of the top options available in a couple of my leagues. He has huge potential as a playmaker, at least as long as Dwayne Allen is out. Even when Allen plays, Fleener should be considered in some matchups.
Ladarius Green, SD — Like I said above, I’m short players due to byes and injuries. Green is on a short list of TEs available that I put in claims for. Green has serious upside as long as concussions don’t derail him. Gates’ return could diminish his value, but he’s a massive playmakers and we’ve seen NFL offenses support two tight ends before.
Gary Barnidge, CLE — It feels weird putting Gary Barnidge on this list. Everybody thought he wouldn’t be worth much unless he was playing the Raiders. Then he made this catch, scored a touchdown and had 6 catches for 75 yards this week against the Chargers. He’s tied for the team lead in catches with 16 and is second in targets with 21.
Kickers and defenses
Ninjas don’t waste waiver priority or free agent bucks on kickers or defenses.