by Will Overton
We are just about halfway through the NFL season and while the waiver wire finds are getting harder to come by, there are still a few of them out there. Injuries and incompetence have paved the way for a few guys to break on to the scene.
Here are some of the guys who will probably be getting a lot of buzz this week for pickups and also my take on whether or not they are worth your waiver wire priority.
Javon Ringer – RB, Tennessee Titans: After a couple weeks of poor performances from Chris Johnson everyone was willing to write it off as rust from sitting out so long this offseason, now here we are, eight weeks in and he still isn’t getting it going. Johnson is averaging 2.9 yards per carry and in only 2 of his 7 games has he rushed for 3 or more yards per carry. Fantasy owners should be worried and now it looks like the Titans might be too as Javon Ringer got a lot of looks this week. Ringer ran the ball 14 times, the same amount as Johnson, and finished with 60 yards. Ringer also caught 5 passes for 42 yards. I want to believe that Johnson is going to break out and I still think he might, but right now it looks like Ringer is going to see more rushes and has some pass catching ability as well. I can’t see him completely wrestling the job away from Johnson, but I can see Ringer being useful in deep leagues or even PPR standard leagues on a bye week. This isn’t a must buy, but if you need a RB Ringer may be one of the better ones out there at this point.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Chris Ivory – RB, New Orleans Saints: Last season Ivory ran for 716 yards on just 137 carries and scored 5 TD’s. Ivory broke 100 yards a couple of times which no Saints RB has done yet this season. Today was the first game this season that Ivory has been active for and he only ran the ball 6 times and put up 18 yards. It wasn’t a world beating performance by any means, but it is hard to forget about last year and that he was the team’s best running back. The problem is he split carries evenly with two other backs today and Mark Ingram didn’t even play. The injury to Ingram doesn’t appear real serious and he should be back for the next game. The Saints backfield is crowded so Ivory is going to have to pick things up fast to climb up the ranks and right now he is the low man on the totem pole. Keep an eye on Ivory and the Saints backfield situation, but right now he isn’t worth grabbing and really it’s going to be hard to use any Saints back with much confidence.
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
Andy Dalton – QB, Cincinnati Bengals: We are witnessing one of the best fantasy season from a rookie QB ever. And with that the success of Andy Dalton is being overshadowed. For starters Dalton has his team sporting a 5 – 2 record and on a four game winning streak. Impressive, but it doesn’t mean anything in the fantasy world. However Dalton does have 9 TD’s and 7 INT’s at this point. In the last three games Dalton has 5 TD’s and is building quite the connection with fellow rookie A.J. Green. Don’t look for Dalton to be a top 10 QB anytime soon, but he can be a deep league option and a bye week fill in the top 15 range, probably a better option than Colt McCoy or Alex Smith who are all in the same kind of tier right now. Don’t expect big things, but Dalton is solid, don’t let the rookie stigma scare you away.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Antonio Brown – WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown was getting a lot of attention this week in the fantasy world, but he still is only owned in 18% of leagues. After yesterday’s game I think it is hard to deny that Brown is for real. The negative side of things is that the Steelers receiving group is a bit crowded right now with Emmanuel Sanders also coming into his own, Mike Wallace being the focal point, Heath Miller getting more looks and Hines Ward returning soon. All of that said Brown is still worth owning even if he is only a third receiver. Brown was targeted a team high 15 times on Sunday and caught 9 passes for 67 yards and a TD. This is the second week in a row that Brown has led the team in targets and while Wallace is one of the best receivers in the league he isn’t a possession type receiver and Brown will keep getting a lot of looks, even when Ward is back.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Braylon Edwards – WR, San Francisco 49ers: It had been over a month since Edwards had played and expectations were relatively high for the game. Edwards ended up catching 4 passes for 42 yards and had 7 targets, which was second on the team. It wasn’t a bad game, wasn’t a great game, I do think expectations should be tempered though. In Braylon’s absence Michael Crabtree has stepped up and has 21 catches in the last four games including a TD catch yesterday. Right now I have to think Crabtree continues to be the top target and Vernon Davis is still around. Edwards is the team’s number three guy and a potential red zone target, which would be nice, but it’s tough on the 49ers. Frank Gore is running very well right now and they will continue to feed him the ball early and often. Alex Smith hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in the last three games and right now that’s working for the team. Edwards isn’t a bad option, but he’s not at the top of my free agent WR list either.
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
What free agents are you targeting and what do you think about these five guys in particular? Give us your thoughts and feel free to leave any questions you might have.