by Will Overton
It’s crunch time in fantasy football leagues around the world. The playoffs are going to be starting within the next couple of weeks, and for most of us the trade deadline has passed in our leagues which means the only means we have to make changes to our teams is the waiver wire.
At this point you have to start looking at upcoming schedules along with recent statistics, because its essential to be planning for the fantasy playoffs and looking for favorable matchups. So this week we’ll look at some players who had nice games and could be waiver wire targets this week. I’ll give my take on the legitimacy of the recent successes, but also look at prospect for future success in determining if these players are ones to buy or deny.
Cleveland Browns Receivers: I am going to lump all of the Browns Receivers in one category because none of them are really owned in many leagues and there have been a variety of Browns receivers piquing interest on the wire this year. Mohammed Massaquoi was the guy at the beginning of the year who was supposed to be lead receiver, though it hasn’t panned out. Josh Cribbs has had his moments this year where he has had some success. Yesterday a new receiver emerges in Jordan Norwood who caught 4 passes for 69 yards and a TD. And Greg Little remains the teams most consistent receiver leading the team in targets again with 13 and catching his first touchdown of the season. No one other than Little is consistent enough to warrant a look in fantasy leagues, but Little has emerged into a nice option. The problem is that with five game remaining, four of them are against the Ravens and Steelers which give the Browns one of the worst fantasy playoff schedules out there. Little is still a somewhat appealing option, and he should be a good play against the Cardinals in week 15. I would stay away from all Browns unless in a deep league, but if you have to own one, it’s gotta be Little and no one else.
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
David Nelson – WR, Buffalo Bills: Early in this season I brought up Nelson’s name in one of these waiver reports and encouraged people to buy him, and here I am doing it once again as he is still owned in just 24% of leagues. Nelson is now on pace for 65 catches, 700 yards and 7 TD’s if he stays healthy. And excepting last week’s game, in which the whole Bills team came out flat, Nelson has been playing better of late. Nelson has four or more catches in five of his last six games. He also has a TD in three of his last four. The Bills do have Stevie Johnson and he is hands down the teams number one guy, but they really like to throw the ball. The Bills lost their top running back and without a trustworthy backup they will most likely be throwing the ball and throwing it often. Four of the Bills last four opponents rank in the bottom half of the league in passing yards against so there could be a lot of success in store for Nelson.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Matt Moore – QB, Miami Dolphins: I don’t think the Dolphins intended to find a starting quality QB in Matt Moore, but it certainly appears that is what they have. This past Thanksgiving Moore nearly led the Dolphins to a fourth straight win, coming up just short, while he threw for 288 yards and a TD without throwing a pick. Moore now has 7 TD’s and just 1 INT in the last four games, including two 3 TD games. Moore has also surpassed 200 yards in three of those games. And Moore also has a very favorable schedule over the final five games with matchups against New England and Buffalo’s very shaky pass defenses. They also face Oakland and Philly who are giving up some of the most TD passes in the league. If you were a Matt Schaub owner looking for a QB, or you’re worried your QB might be on the shelf the last couple games than Moore is a good option to grab.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Marion Barber – RB, Chicago Bears: It was obvious today that if the Bears are going to stay in the playoff hunt they are going to need their running game to do it. Matt Forte has turned into one of the better backs in the league this season, but Marion Barber should not be forgotten about. Going into today Barber had scored in five of seven games becoming a true and legitimate goal line TD vulture. Barber did not cross the goal line today, but he did rush the ball 10 times for 63 yards. Hanie was not clicking well with Forte and he only saw 12 carries in total. Barber won’t surpass Forte, and there won’t be a real time share either. But Barber will start seeing more carries and this might not be the last time he hits double digits in carries to go with his TD vulture ability. If you need a RB or are in a deep league Barber isn’t a bad choice, because the pickings are quite slim.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Who is everyone else targeting this week on the waiver wire? Any of these guys you see as worth using a waiver claim on? Let us know your opinions, and feel free to ask any questions.