Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
Fantasy Football leagues are not won on draft day, they’re won on Tuesdays. Winning the waiver wire is the most critical part of building a championship squad. As injuries continue to pile up, frustration is growing for fantasy owners. Before you get too hype and start making crazy trades, take a deep breath and look at these waiver wire targets which will improve your team without forcing you to give up big players or future draft picks.
Beathard came in and revived a flailing 49ers offense this week; going 19-36 for 245 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Shanahan has already named the rookie out of Iowa the starter, and it’s clear San Francisco is focusing on seeing if Beathard can be the future of this team. It’s also clear he could be: the 49ers scored all 24 of their points Sunday with Beathard leading the offense. Beathard’s 245 points (in one half) was more than Jared Goff and David Carr threw in their full games against that tough Washington defense. I think Beathard is worth a start against an unimpressive Dallas defense. In dynasty leagues, use that FAAB; he’s worth a long term stash. He’s owned in 0.1% of ESPN leagues.
Speaking of players you probably didn’t know about before this week, Brent Hundley is now also fantasy relevant. I have to admit, this one is scarier. He didn’t look as impressive against Minnesota, going just 19-34 for 153 and 3 interceptions. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, against a tough defense and without intentional game planning. I expect the very crafty Green Bay coaching staff to set up Hundley for success by limiting the playbook and focusing on their variety of running backs and a strong receiving corps. He doesn’t have much dynasty value since Rodger’s injury isn’t long term, but for now he’s worth putting in a claim on. Like Beathard, he’s owned in just 0.1% of leagues.
Teddy is back, baby! Well, kind of. He’s been cleared by doctor’s to begin practicing. He’s currently on the PUP which will keep him out about three weeks, so this is more geared toward deeper leagues. The Vikings are currently in place to make a serious playoff run and Bradford has been inconsistent in terms of health and Keenum has just been inconsistent. If things go as planned, the Viking expect Bridgewater to take the field this season for them. Put in a claim now, because you won’t be able to later.
Lewis has shifted into a primary role in the New England RBBC. As Gillislee proves less and less effective, Lewis continues to get action. Lewis has at least 8 fantasy points in his last three weeks, and at least 50 rushing yards the last two weeks. In week 6 he produced the 3rd best fantasy game of any New England runningback this season. Since week 3, Lewis has the three best fantasy weeks for all New England backs. You need the best New England runningback on your roster. He’s available in 93.5% of leagues.
Bernard is the top performing runningback in the Cincinnati backfield. He’s been lethal in the passing game: with 10 receptions for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns. He actually has one less reception than Mixon, but is averaging 16.4 yards/reception, compared to Mixon’s 7.1 yard/reception. Gio is also averaging 4.5 yards/carry, compared to Mixon’s 2.8 yards/carry. As Mixon continues to underwhelm in Cincinnati, Marvin Lewis will have no choice but to lean on his more productive back. Bernard is owned in just 50.9% of leagues, compared to Mixon who is owned in 90.5% of leagues.
Marvin and TJ Jones
Golden Tate’s shoulder injury appears like it will keep him out at least two weeks. That leaves a huge amount of fantasy points up for grabs in the Detroit receiving corps which gets 37 targets a week. This makes Jones a WR2 while Tate is out. Marvin Jones has seen 40 targets this season (just 7 less than Tate) and is leading the team in receiving touchdowns (3). Aside from Golladay, whose health is still uncertain, the next highest performing WR on the team is TJ Jones, who has 13 receptions for 52 yards. Marvin Jones is owned in 63.4% of leagues, which makes him a bit tougher to claim. If you’re feeling really dicey, TJ Jones is owned in 0.1% of leagues and could be the WR2 on the Lions if Golladay doesn’t play.
I’ve gone back and forth on Agholor all season, but I’m finally bought in on him. My biggest concern with him was that he was too much of a boom/bust big play guy (we all know we don’t need another Martavius Bryant on our rosters). Agholor has at least 3 receptions each of the last three weeks and at least 58 yards; including a touchdown each of the last two weeks. He now leads the potent Philadelphia wide receivers in receiving yards (321) and touchdowns (4). He’s second in targets (30) and has pulled in a position best 67% of those targets. He’s a great flex option, and low-end WR2 moving forward. Agholor can be claimed in 63.9% of leagues.
It took the Chargers awhile to realize it, but if they want to win they need Henry involved in the offense. He’s pulled in 8 receptions the last two weeks for 132 yards and a touchdown. In the games where he’s gotten at least one reception he’s scored at least 9 fantasy points. Henry is surprisingly still available in 41.5% of leagues.
Kittle has come to play the last two weeks: pulling in 11 receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. With the introduction of Beathard, Kittle’s value skyrockets. Young quarterbacks often rely on their tight ends to be effective short yardage and redzone options. In a position that seems so bleak and inconsistent I think Kittle is a steal that will only continue to get better. Kittle is available in 90.8% of leagues.
Carolina Panthers D/ST
If you know me, you know I only stream D/ST, based on match-ups. The Panthers have a great match-up against the Bears led by rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky has two turnover in his first two games and is likely to keep them coming. Take away games against the dynamic offenses of New England and New Orleans and the Carolina defense has looked solid this season.
Tennessee Titans D/ST
Rule #1 about streaming defense/special teams: always put a claim in on whoever is playing the Browns. The Titans are playing the Browns. No more explanation needed.
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