Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Adds and Drops
The hangover from an exciting week one in Fantasy Football is hitting me like a flying kick from Antonio Brown. The surprises (Allen Hurns and Justin Forsett), the disappointments (Jamaal Charles and Dez Bryant), and of course the injuries (Eddie Lacy, Jordan Reed, Ben Tate, Doug Martin, Jordan Cameron and Alshon Jeffrey) all made for a mentally exhausting Sunday. As they say, a little hair of the dog is good for what ails you and tonight we get a double shot of Monday Night Football to cure the hangover. In case you didn’t get enough intrigue this off season we have two questionable fantasy starters in Antonio Gates and Andre Ellington. I would look for Gates to play limited snaps, but I’m not as optimistic on Ellington and his ailing foot. (Weird, because usually it’s Gates’s foot that we would have been griping about.)
With the breaking news that Ray Rice has been suspended indefinitely and his contract has been terminated by the Baltimore Ravens (Finally), we have to discuss their current backfield options.
Bernard Pierce – Pierce got the start after recovering from a concussion he suffered in the preseason, but he picked up right where he left off last season. He plodded his way to 17 yards on six carries and was non-existent in the passing game. The Ravens have a lot of trouble running to their left side and Pierce is so one dimensional right now that teams can bottle him up. He’s still a hold for me because of the opportunity here, but I think you will be kicking yourself for not taking Knowshon Moreno on draft day instead of Pierce.
Justin Forsett– Forsett was signed to be Ray Rice passing game insurance and now the Ravens are forced to make due after the revelations of the TMZ video. Forsett is a journeyman change of pace back that has a nice set of hands and is surprising when he is given a chance to carry the ball. Forsett ran for 71 yards on 12 carries (again his production was better to the right side with 7 carries for 44 yards and one TD) and caught five passes for 14 yards. Forsett looks to be the immediate beneficiary of the Rice departure, by solidifying his role and because the Ravens may be forced to pass the ball in order to move it.
Lorenzo Taliaferro-Taliaferro is a favorite of many of the dynasty fantasy football minds that I talk to because he is the type of running back who can get what’s blocked and push a pile when needed. The ability to fall forward and make oneself small when entering the hole is very important when the size of the holes aren’t what they used to be. Taliaferro is worth a stash in deep leagues and should see his number called before too long.
Terrance West-You might be wondering why Terrance West would be on a waiver wire article after all the hype in the preseason, but believe it or not he’s available in a lot of 10 team leagues. He’s 80% owned on ESPN and that climbed 10% in the last day. Ben Tate was always an injury concern, and West is the direct beneficiary. The 100 yard day will make him pretty expensive and the questionable status of Tate makes the price a little murky, but I would be in buy mode with West.
Isaiah Crowell– Crowell was not in the original game plan, but he was called upon when Tate went down with a knee injury. Crowell showed why many draft pundits wanted to see him get a shot in the late rounds as he rushed five times for 32 yards and two touchdowns. The emergence of Crowell really hurts the prospects for Tate, even when he’s healthy because this backfield could become a true RBBC situation. I would stash Crowell in very deep leagues, such as 16 team leagues or 14 team leagues.
Andrew Hawkins– Hawkins was specifically targeted by the Cleveland Browns organization during free agency and they did something a little unorthadox by signing him to a restricted free agent offer sheet. Hawkins has always had the reputation of being almost uncoverable in the slot, but he never got the type of targets or snaps that he needed in Cincy. On Sunday in Pittsburgh it was obvious that he is the first or second option on most passing plays as he caught eight passes on nine targets for 87 yards with 30 of those yards in YAC. Hawkins is a must roster in full PPR leagues and is even rosterable in .5 PPR 10 team leagues. His 11% ownership on ESPN is bound to swell.
Brian Quick– Quick is one of those guys that has frustrated many dynasty fantasy football players for years. His immense upside has been hard to ignore, but his failure to emerge when surrounded by mediocre talent has been worthy of some hair pulling. Sunday Quick led the Rams wide receiver corps in snaps at 48/70 and he dominated the targets as well. He out targeted Kenny Britt 9 to 2 and caught seven of those targets for 99 yards while Britt was shut out. Quick could go from a remember that name type of guy to a big time wide receiver three or four in 12 team fantasy leagues if he keeps this up. I would take a flyer in almost all leagues and especially where I took a shot on Britt.
Benny Cunningham– Cunningham played more snaps than second round fantasy pick, Zac Stacy, but Stacy out touched Cunningham 12-9. Cunningham showed well in the passing game as he secured four passes for 30 yards and he benefited by an early drop from Stacy. The situation has truly become a RBBC and Cunningham benefits from the Rams struggles as he will be used in the passing game more, he already outsnapped Stacy 21-13 in the opening game. Take a shot on Cunningham in full PPR, especially if you went Zero-RB. He could be a poor man’s Woodhead if this continues.
Allen Hurns– Talk about a breakout performance by a guy that wasn’t even expected to make the team. The Jaguars jumped all over the Eagles early as Hurns exploded for four receptions for 110 yards and two touch downs. Hurns was a surprise starter as Cecil Shorts III once again came up lame. Hurns probably wouldn’t have even been in line to play if Allen Robinson hadn’t been injured in training camp. All that is in the past as Hurns has done nothing but impress since he was given a chance. I’m not running out to grab Hurns, because of the crowded WR corps, but I wouldn’t blame you if you did. He is big and fast and it will be hard to keep him off the field after this performance. He is a must roster in all leagues larger than 14 teams and could be a sneak add in 12 teamers.
Bobby Rainey– Rainey is the direct back up to Doug Martin and Martin suffered a leg injury on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Offensive Line struggled on Sunday, but most O-lines will against that Carolina front. Rainey is a pin ball in the passing game and is much stronger than he looks, when he is asked to carry the ball. I like Rainey in leagues where I went Zero-Rb or where i suffered some injuries. Mike James wasn’t fully recovered from a preseason injury on Sunday and could make this a RBBC, but that’s okay. I want the PPR side of this equation anyway.
Jonathan Dwyer and Stepfan Taylor– Tonight’s game and the coming days are going to be keys to how we treat the situation in Arizona. I tend to think Ellington is more injured than what the Cardinals are letting on and think Dwyer is the guy to pick up, especially in standard leagues. If Ellington misses major time Dwyer would be no better than a bye week fill-in, but you never know if the light finally comes on for the former Steeler.
Chris Ivory– I’m not sure why Ivory is available on the wire, but he should be scooped up as soon as possible. Ivory is the perfect compliment to Chis Johnson for the Jets and your fantasy team will benefit from a fresh ivory running at tired defenders. Ivory was one of the key running backs in my Zero-RB draft approach and he also fell further in drafts as the season approached. The reasons for his fall were obvious. He has a long history of not being able to stay healthy and has a legitimate fantasy running back playing with him. Ivory was listed as the co-starter on Sunday and was outsnapped by Johnson 35-28. Ivory broke a long touchdown run to make his day look better on paper than what it really was, but he did run hard on his other carries. If Geno Smith can take care of the ball Ivory should be a nice flex option, especially in standard leagues.
All stats courtesy of PFF-ProFootballFocus.com