by Will Overton
If your playoffs aren’t starting this coming week than they are almost certainly starting the following week and that means it is time to shift the mentality with which you approach your waiver wire pickups from here on out.
When scouring the waiver wire for a replacement, whether it be to replace an injured player or an ineffective one, it’s no longer about long term potential, but rather what will this particular player do in this particular week. If you are stashing a guy on your bench in case of emergency than by all means look a few weeks out, but if you need someone to help you win this week than look no further than this week. If you are vying for a playoff spot you might not have a week 15 if you don’t win in week 14. If your playoffs are getting started this week than that obviously goes double for you.
So this week’s waiver wire column as well as the next couple will be done with a special eye towards the week 14 matchups as well as who is or is not hot out there on the waiver wires.
Kevin Kolb – QB, Arizona Cardinals: Going into the season there were a whole lot of “experts” backing Kevin Kolb as a potential top 10 Quarterback in Arizona. So far this year he has proven to be both inconsistent and injury prone and is barely inside the top 30 of most player raters.
However he did make a return after a month off with injury yesterday and put up 247 yards with a TD and looked pretty sharp doing it. The problem I have with that is that he was doing it against the Cowboys and now this week he is going to have to do it against the 49ers. That is not such an easy task. I do like Kolb as a backup still, but if I need a QB this week there are several I’d rather have, including the one who will be facing off with Kolb in Alex Smith. Stash him on your bench if you don’t need someone immediately, otherwise…
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
Dexter McCluster – RB, Kansas City Chiefs: When Jamaal Charles went down with his injury this season everyone scrambled out to get Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones. Both guys quickly lost out on the job to Jackie Battle. Now that Battle is struggling Jones and McCluster are re-emerging on to the scene and McCluster is available in a whole lot of leagues. Yesterday McCluster ran for 61 yards and than also caught 4 passes for 46 yards and a TD. With the Chiefs starting to sour on Battle McCluster is going to see a lot more action because Thomas Jones is no longer able to be an every down back. And with Tyler Palko behind center McCluster should see a lot of passes thrown his way simply because Palko will be more comfortable with the short and safe routes. He is facing the Jets this week, but we just saw Ray Helu run and catch for some solid gains yesterday and McCluster could still put up good numbers on a good defense. If you’re in a PPR league picking him up is a no-brainer for me, but even in standard leagues I am rolling the dice.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Ricky Williams – RB, Baltimore Ravens: Yesterday Ricky Williams racked up season high totals in rushes and yards with 16 carries for 76 yards. He also crossed the goal line for the first time this season as well. Ricky showed that he still has some life left in his legs, but you shouldn’t be quick to overreact. The Ravens had the ball for nearly 38 minutes in the game and while Williams carried a solid load, Ray Rice still ran 29 times for 204 yards. While the Ravens could find themselves running out the clock again next week against the Colts, I have a hard time counting on a guy who needs his team to be in a blowout to have fantasy value.
Veridct: Deny ‘Em
Santana Moss – WR, Washington Redskins: This one here might be my favorite add of the week this week. In his second week since coming back from a month off Moss looked good catching 5 passes for 42 yards. Especially considering he was spending the day on Revis Island. Now this week he is going up against the New England Patriots and their lowly secondary. Recently Vince Young has thrown for 400 yards on that unit and now yesterday Dan Orlovsky threw for 350 and Pierre Garcon had a field day. Rex Grossman is far from a complete NFL QB, but he has a gun on him and he will put up a lot of yards against the Pats as the Skins will probably be playing from behind. Moss could be a top 15 receiver this week and you can still get him right off the waiver wire in a lot of leagues where he wasn’t expected back so fast. If you need a receiver this should be your first priority.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Demaryius Thomas – WR, Denver Broncos: I am sure I am not the only one who has heard the message about the potential of Demaryius Thomas. And I am a believer, I think the kid has real potential, more than any other receiver in Denver. Yesterday that potential translated on to the field where Thomas 4 balls for 144 yards and 2 TD’s. However, prior to this game Thomas had 7 catches all season. And let’s also remember that Tim Tebow might be winning games, but he’s doing it while completing an average of 8 passes per game over his last five games. I like Thomas upside, but I can’t gamble on a guy like that with my season on the line.
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
Riley Cooper – WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Here is one guy I would rather have than Thomas. I have to say I wasn’t initially a believer, but I’m coming around. I still think he’s a deep league play, but he’s becoming a solid one. I’ve grown tired of waiting for Desean Jackson to snap out of his funk, partly because to do so he needs to grow up and that doesn’t seem to be something he is interested in. And who knows if/when Jeremy Maclin will return and what he’ll be able to do when he does come back. Meanwhile Cooper has quietly caught 13 passes over the last three weeks and is turning himself into a nice deep threat with an 18.4 YPC in these games. Cooper isn’t a great option, but he’s a good one if you need someone in a pinch this week.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Where are you in need of help this week and who on the waiver wire are you going to be turning to get that help for yourself?