The waiver wire pickings are relatively slim this week and times like these remind me that it’s better to make it rain FAAB dollars early in the season than it is to save them. We’re coming to that tipping point in the NFL season where fantasy free agents can only help your team so much. With bye weeks coming to a close, you and your opponents should both have enough quality options to render most waiver wire finds irrelevant. With that in mind, it’s even more important to be savvy with your claims. Whether you’re using them to handcuff your riskiest/most important players or using them to block an opponent from filling a key vacancy in his or her lineup, the time to flex your waiver wire muscle is now.
Carson Palmer, OAK – Palmer continued his consistent performance this season and led all QBs in fantasy points on Sunday. With the Oakland backfield in disarray, it’s time to start considering Carson weekly for your fantasy team, which is slightly better than considering Carson weakly and much better than considering Carson Daly.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF – In Week 4, Fitzpatrick threw for 350 yards and 4 TDs against the Patriots. This week, the Bills travel to New England for the rematch. While I wouldn’t bet on 4 TDs again, 300+ passing yards for Fitzpatrick should be in play again.
Russell Wilson, SEA – I’ve been relatively anti-Wilson this season, but over the past four weeks, he’s shown that he can be productive against subpar defenses. His Week 10 opponent, the Jets, don’t necessarily fit that bill, but Wilson is a decent option if you need QB help.
Isaac Redman, PIT – With Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer out on Sunday, Redman returned to action and finished as a top-10 fantasy running back (147 yards, 1 TD). With the lowly Chiefs on deck, you want any and all active Steelers running backs in Week 10. Keep an eye on practice reports, but I’m ranking them Redman, Dwyer, then Mendenhall for now.
Mike Goodson, Marcel Reece, & Taiwan Jones, OAK – Darren McFadden injured his ankle on Sunday, opening the door for Mike Goodson, who promptly injured his ankle. Reece got a piece of the action, but only in the passing game with 8 catches for 95 yards and a score. Jones only had one carry in the game, making it clear the Raiders weren’t prepared to let him shoulder a significant workload. The real winner in this situation for fantasy is Carson Palmer, who should be forced to chuck it even more going forward. With that in mind, I’d add Reece first, then Jones and Goodson.
Joique Bell, DET – Perhaps overshadowed by Mikel LeShoure’s 3-TD effort on Sunday, Bell had a nice game for his owners with 109 total yards and a touchdown of his own. It’s unlikely that your fantasy team will be saved by Joique Bell, but he should be owned as long as the Lions continue to model their backfield on the Panthers’ Williams-Stewart counterpunch circa 2009.
Shaun Draughn, KC – Speaking of bells, Jamaal Charles had his rung pretty hard against the Chargers. Concussion tests reportedly came back negative and Charles expects to play in Week 10, but adding Draughn is a wise move if you own JC Superstar or if you’re looking for an RB lottery ticket.
Beanie Wells, ARI – Wells is eligible to return on Movember 25th, so get your stash on while you get your ‘stache on.
T.Y. Hilton, IND – Hilton and Donnie Avery both eclipsed 100 yards receiving on Sunday, but Avery left the game with a hip injury and is questionable for Week 10. Hilton is the best option in a sparse crop of free agent fantasy receivers on the chance that Avery misses time.
Danny Amendola, STL – Did Amendola visit Kobe Bryant’s knee doctor in Germany while the Rams were in England? He has healed exceptionally quickly and is ready to return against the 49ers in Week 10. While it’s not the best match-up, Amendola is a nice add for owners looking ahead.
Donald Jones, BUF – According to the Fitzpatrick corollary, if Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 300+ yards, someone other than Stevie Johnson has to catch some passes. Jones went for 90 yards and a touchdown against the Pats in Week 4. Similar numbers this week are conceivable.
Justin Blackmon & Laurent Robinson, JAC – Blackmon caught his first career touchdown pass on Sunday and Robinson returned from injury to post 6 catches for 41 yards. The fake football community (myself included) may have been too quick to anoint Cecil Shorts the #1 WR in Jacksonville, as Blackmon and Robinson each had 9 targets compared to 4 for Shorts. Keep an eye on this situation going forward, particularly in deep leagues.