by Will Overton
The season is just about halfway over now and the fantasy playoffs are only a handful of weeks away. If you’re not in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot it’s time to pull out all the stops and take some chances. I’m not saying make stupid decisions in the name of shaking things up, but don’t sit on your hands and let an underachieving team ruin your season either.
If you have some guys who are struggling it might be time to make some changes. Not to mention the injuries that are mounting and the bye weeks that keep on coming and forcing some lineup shuffling. Right now you may have to play the waiver wire game to make something happen, but do it smartly, not blindly.
Here are several guys who are going to be talked about on the waiver wire this week and my thoughts on whether they’re worth investing in or not:
Jonathan Dwyer – RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: He’s not on every waiver wire, but he’s still available in 65% of leagues right now. Dwyer is coming off back-to-back 100 yard games, but fantasy analysts remain skeptical. The reason for that is Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman are on the mend and could both be back as soon as this coming Sunday.
Dwyer is averaging 5.2 yards per carry this season, Mendenhall is at 3.9 and Redman 2.5. So I think it’s safe to say Dwyer won’t lose all his carries. I actually expect him to continue on as the lead back. Dwyer may only be a flex play because of the uncertainty, but I’d be willing to pick him up and I’d still be willing to play him.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Jacquizz Rodgers – RB, Atlanta Falcons: This last week Rodgers flashed his potential against the Eagles after things got a bit out of hand. Rodgers ran the ball 8 times for 60 yards and caught 5 passes for 20 yards. This is the kind of stuff fantasy owners have been waiting to see, but they should keep their expectations in check. The Falcons are committed to Michael Turner even though it’s clear he’s lost a step this season. Other than as a handcuff to Turner, Rodgers doesn’t have much value yet.
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
Danny Woodhead – RB/WR, New England Patriots: Either by ground or air the Patriots seem committed to getting Woodhead involved in the offense. Sunday he wasn’t getting much done on the ground, but he still caught 5 passes for 56 yards and he now has 14 catches in three games. The biggest problem is that outside of a PPR league it’s hard to trust him because hoping he finds the end zone is a bit of crapshoot.
The Pats are on bye this week, though they do have a favorable matchup with the Bills coming out of it. Still, the Pats have so many weapons and Woodhead won’t carry the ball by the goal line, I have to pass on him unless you’re in a PPR league.
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
Cecil Shorts – WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: It looks like a new favorite target has emerged for Blaine Gabbert. Earlier this season Cecil Shorts was considered just a deep threat wild card in the Jags offense. The last two weeks however he has been targeted 22 times, an awful lot of targets for a deep threat.
Shorts has turned those 22 targets into 12 catches for 195 yards and a TD. Gabbert is still inconsistent which hampers Shorts’ value, but this week he’s going up against the Lions secondary and I’d be quite comfortable playing Shorts in that matchup.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Ryan Broyles – WR, Detroit Lions: Two weeks ago Nate Burelson went down with a broken leg. Titus Young took on a starting role and has broken out to be the talk of the fantasy football world this week. Meanwhile the rookie Ryan Broyles has moved up to the number three spots slot receiver and has caught a TD in consecutive weeks. Broyles still has more to prove before I buy in completely outside of deep leagues, but for this week I am anticipating a heavy passing attack against Jacksonville and Matthew Stafford is coming off his best game of the season. I wouldn’t use a high priority on him, but if you’re in a pinch he makes a decent gamble play.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em (kind of)
Who are you buying this week off the waiver wire? Who are you denying? Chime in with your opinions and as always, your questions.