There are so few great players available on most waiver wires, you need to have a ton of free agent bucks left or have top waiver priority to get the players who emerged this week.
I’ve been preaching in the intro to this column all season to not hold your waiver bucks. Hopefully, you claimed some great players if you spent the money. But if you’ve been having success it means you might have missed out on some players and might have quite a few bucks left.
In either case you need to make claims and bids on the players who did emerge this week, no matter how little you wager. You don’t want to be the owner who lets a big waiver wire win get away.
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. However, I found more than a few big-time players on my waivers this morning — including Doug Martin and Willie Snead. There is no way those players should be available.
If you see any players like that, don’t hesitate. Figure out who you can drop — do you really need that second defense or third tight end? — and make the call. With that in mind, I did not include many players who should already be owned this week.
Here are some of the players I considered today and you should consider too.
Jay Cutler, CHI — Cutler has brought a spark back to Chicago and he’s doing well for his fantasy owners. He probably should be owned in all but the shallowest fantasy leagues, especially with Alshon Jeffery set to return and Kevin White set to debut soon.
Josh McCown, CLE — McCown had a record-breaking game last week and he has emerging weapons in Travis Benjamin, Duke Johnson and Gary Barnidge.
Colin Kaepernick, SF — Kaepernick isn’t a high-value target this week, but he gets another decent matchup and the time to start Kaepernick is when he has a decent matchup, like he did against the Steelers in Week 1 and the Giants last week.
Blake Bortles, JAX — Bortles and the Jaguars passing offense is rounding into form before our eyes. Get in now.
Doug Martin, TB — I had to put Martin on this list only because I found him on one of my waiver wires. Insane. I don’t have anyone I want to drop in that league, but I had to. Martin looks like rookie season Martin, which is the best Martin.
Charcandrick West, KC — I put in a claim on West even in a league where I don’t own Jamaal Charles and I don’t need RB help. He may be a flop. This offense won’t be as good without Charles and it already isn’t very good. Knile Davis may also steal goal line work or even be the backup. But everything so far this season points to West being Charles’ primary back which means he’ll get volume in the Chiefs offense.
David Johnson, ARI — Johnson’s been on here a couple times. He’s part of a three-RB committee. That’s not ideal, but he looks like the goal line part of that committee and is in line for big opportunities if Andre Ellington or Chris Johnson get hurt. Neither of us would be surprised if both of them were hurt later this season.
Andre Ellington, ARI — Speaking of Ellington, we can’t let him go unclaimed if he wasn’t picked up last week. He looked fast and he has extra PPR value.
Ryan Mathews, PHI — Mathews shouldn’t be available anywhere. He’s outproduced DeMarco Murray on far fewer opportunities. He has a great matchup against the Giants this week.
Thomas Rawls, SEA — Rawls was my top tournament-only play at RB last week. Some people called it a breakout game, but he had that three weeks ago when he replaced Marshawn Lynch the first time. His average stats from two weeks ago were deceivingly average. He started out with six carries for two yards, but he was 11-for-46 after that, 4.18 yards per carry. The big concern here is that Lynch may be back this week, so don’t go too crazy unless you own Lynch — in which case, why didn’t you pick him up two weeks ago? — or you are in a dynasty league.
Shane Vereen, NYG — I started Vereen in one of my leagues and in a couple DFS lineups last week. He looked explosive Sunday night and he gets a good number of receptions, so he has more value in PPRs.
Javorious Allen, BAL — The injury to Justin Forsett is worrisome. Allen broke a 44-yarder last week that inflated his stats quite a bit. I wouldn’t break the bank on Allen, but he could be a starting NFL running back this week, which makes him worth something.
Theo Riddick/Zach Zenner, DET — I really want Ameer Abdullah to be the guy in Detroit too, but if he can’t hold onto the ball he’s going to continue to give up opportunities to the other backs on the roster. Riddick and Zenner have some upside if they get opportunity. Riddick has a little more because of his use in the passing game.
Allen Hurns, JAX — Hurns shouldn’t be available on any waiver wires.
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.” That’s what I said last week about Hankerson. It still holds true even though he’s questionable this week.
Willie Snead, NO — If we weren’t sure, we know now that Snead is Brees’ favorite target. He shouldn’t have been on any waiver wires this week, let alone next week.
Ted Ginn Jr., CAR — Ginn has a bad matchup against the Seahawks this week, so you may be able to get him as a free agent. I wouldn’t put much more than $1 on him, but I still like him to have a few more big games this season.
Anquan Boldin, SF — I cut bait on Boldin a few weeks ago in a couple leagues, now I’m trying to get him back. The 49ers offense is bad, but it might not be as bad if they get Boldin involved.
Jamison Crowder, WAS — You get eight catches for 87 yards on a team that will likely have to pass a lot while playing from behind, you have to be considered.
Marquess Wilson, CHI — Wilson had some moments last season and goes 6-85-1 this week. Alshon Jeffery may be back soon and rookie Kevin White may debut soon, but Wilson may force the Bears to give him opportunities.
Dwayne Harris, NYG — There won’t be a lot of room for Harris if Victor Cruz comes back, but for now he has to be a bench receiver or flex player on a roster in just about every fantasy league.
Josh Huff, PHI — Huff made some big plays. He’s a former Oregon Duck under Chip Kelly, so don’t be surprised if he gets more opportunities to shine. All many NFL players need is opportunity.
Antonio Gates, SD — Gates arrived with 85 yards and two touchdowns last week. If none of the owners in your league pulled the trigger last week, you need to this week.
Gary Barnidge, CLE — All Gary Barnidge does is make absurdly awesome catches and score a touchdown a game.
Larry Donnell, NYG — The Giants aren’t going to throw 50 passes a week, but they are a pass-heavy offense. Defenses pay a lot of attention to Odell Beckham Jr. Donnell is a huge red zone target who, as we saw this week, can make some pretty awesome catches himself.
Jacob Tamme, ATL — Tamme led the Falcons in catches (8), targets (10) and receiving yards (94) with Julio Jones ailing. He also has a top-notch matchup this week and there are four teams on bye.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB — Jenkins may return from injury following the bye this week. If you are in a deep league and have space to hold him, you are far more likely to get him this week at a much better price than if you wait.
Kickers and defenses
Ninjas don’t waste waiver priority or free agent bucks on kickers or defenses.