by Will Overton
If you need a running back on your fantasy team this is a good time for you. Typically usable running backs are incredibly scarce on the wire, but not right now. This week I have four different running backs who all had varying levels of big games in week 11 and are available on a whole lot of waiver wires.
Not all of the backs provide the same amount of value, but they all provide some value and all could have some use to your fantasy team as you make this final push towards the playoffs.
I’ve also thrown in a wide receiver and a tight end who stood out this week and could prove to be valuable pieces as well. Here’s my take on six of what might be the hottest waiver wire pickups this week:
Bobby Rainey – RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: While the Browns didn’t give him much of a chance to run when their back position came open, Bobby Rainey has found a second life this season in Tampa Bay. The Bucs lost Doug Martin, then they lost their backup Mike James, and now it’s Bobby Rainey’s turn. Going into yesterday’s game it was unclear who would get the majority of the carries for Tampa between Rainey and Brian Leonard, the end result left no doubt though.
Rainey finished yesterday’s game with 163 yards rushing on 30 carries while Leonard carried the ball just four times. Rainey also found the endzone twice rushing and also caught a touchdown pass. This has the potential to be a fluke game from a guy whose been around for a while, but I’m not so sure. Rainey looks the part with speed, but enough strength to get the job done. He’s clearly looking at a big workload ahead and of all the backs on this list he’d be the first one I’d grab.
Chris Ogbonnaya – RB, Cleveland Browns: There was a lot of chatter leading into week 11 that the Browns wanted to use Chris Ogbonnaya more as the rest of the backfield group had been struggling. He only carried the ball eight time in this game which may not sound like much, but the Browns were down 31 – 10 at the half and ended up throwing the ball 56 times total. Ogbonnaya ended up with 69 yards on those eight carries and he also had six catches for 30 yards. The Browns haven’t had a solid running game all year up to this point and this is the first real prospect of one so I expect more to come from Ogbonnaya as he should see 15 – 20 touches per game at least and in a PPR league he’s even more valuable.
Donald Brown – RB, Indianapolis Colts: Deep down you have to wonder if the Colts won’t feel obligated to continue using Trent Richardson despite his lack of success running the ball. Still, it seems clear when you watch the games that Donald Brown is the better back right now. Brown carried the ball 14 times for 80 yards last Thursday with two touchdowns. Brown is also sporting a 5.9 YPC for the season so far , an even though that’s only in 55 carries, it’s still an impressive number.
I think the Colts have to give Brown the larger share of the carries right now until something changes. The Cardinals matchup this week isn’t great, but after that he gets the Titans again and the Bengals who can be susceptible to the run at times as well.
Daniel Thomas – RB, Miami Dolphins: Of all the running backs I’ve mentioned in this post this is probably the one I am least excited about. However, he’s still worth mentioning because he’s still got some value. For a little while it looked like the Dolphins were sticking with Lamar Miller as their featured back, but now Thomas is back into the mix pretty heavily. Thomas carried the ball 10 times yesterday for 57 yards and a TD. This is the third time in his last five games that’s he averaged better than five yards per carry in a game. The next two weeks are going to be rough with Carolina and the Jets on tap, but if you’re desperate for a back Thomas has a really nice schedule in weeks 14 – 16 which would be playoff time.
Marquise Goodwin – WR, Buffalo Bills: It’s getting hard to trust any of the Bills receivers. Earlier this year Robert Woods was a hot waiver add and now he’s hurt and totally off the radar. Meanwhile yesterday the returning EJ Manuel looked to have a good thing going with Marquise Goodwin. The small receiver caught six balls on nine targets for 81 yards and a TD, his second TD in three games.
The Bills receiver corp is banged up right now and with Manuel back they might be looking to throw more down the stretch so Goodwin could turn out to have solid value. The Bills have a bye coming up, but after that they have the Falcons, Bucs and Jaguars so there is hidden value here.
Rob Housler – TE, Arizona Cardinals: In the preseason one of the more popular sleepers at the tight end position was Housler. Then late in the preseason he got hurt and would up being dropped in most of the leagues that he was drafted in to begin with. He’s just now getting to where he is completely healthy and falling into a rhythm with Carson Palmer and the offense. Housler caught six balls on nine targets for 70 yards yesterday. Housler had his first TD last week and he has 22 catches in his last five games. If your tight end is banged up or underperforming Housler could be a nice get off the wire.