Each week during the season, I’ll give some insights on players that should/could be available on your league’s waiver wire.
Working the wire week in, week out is what the best owners do to improve their rosters.
To simplify things a bit, I’ll give each player my personal star rating from 1 to 5 as follows:
5 stars – fantasy starter
4 stars – fantasy flex option
3 stars – borderline flex option, questions about consistency
2 stars – bench player with upside
1 star – deep reach/handcuff
- Christian Ponder (MIN) is rising up my charts again this week after great performance against a top-flight 49ers defense on Sunday. All told, he had 21 completions, just under 200 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, one of those a 20+ yard run. He’ll also be bolstered by a return of Jerome Simpson, who is coming back from suspension. He’s a solid QB2 approaching QB1 status.
- Jake Locker (TEN) had his best game of the season with 378 passing yards and a pair of scores, but he can’t play against Detroit every week. He’s a low-level QB2 who has some upside, but road games against Houston and Minnesota over the next two weeks keep him from being rated any higher.
- Kevin Kolb (ARZ) gets a bump this week after a 222-yard, two score performance against his old team. With the Dolphins, Rams, & Bills coming up, he’s a capable fill-in for teams in need. Still some risk with Kolb with Skelton due back from injury, but he looks safe for now.
- Shaun Hill (DET) is an interesting add this week with Matthew Stafford’s injury status (leg) up in the air. During his 2010 stint in place of Stafford, he started 11 games and finished the season with nearly 2700 yards and 16 TDs. If you own Stafford, Hill is a guy to add if you don’t have decent depth.
- Mikel Leshoure (DET) is the add of the week after coming off a 134 total yards, single TD performance against the Titans. It seems like the Lions may have finally found a primary runner, but it’s no guarantee just yet. Still pretty rare to find this solid an RB add in week four.
- Ryan Williams (ARI) is a player I’ve thought all along was the best Cardinals RB, and he seems to be picking up steam after his 83-yard performance in week 3. Beanie Wells is not going to go away, but I expect Williams to be the better of the two for the remainder of the year.
- Andre Brown (NYG) took full advantage of an Ahmad Bradshaw injury and put up a 20/113/2 TD performance on Thursday night in relief. I’d love to put him higher, but he’ll be back behind Bradshaw once he’s back healthy and rookie David Wilson is still at large. He’s a better bet for immediate help than a long-term add.
- Jacquizz Rodgers (ATL) has been on this list for a few weeks now and he’s still a guy to consider if you are looking for a stash player that could help later in the season.
- Bilal Powell (NYJ) equalled starter Shonn Greene’s output on half as many carries, but the numbers were still a pedestrian 10-for-45. As long as Greene is getting the bulk of the work, Powell will be little more than a borderline flex play, but he’s got some upside down the road if Greene continues to underwhelm.
- Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) wasn’t active for the Steelers last week, but he’s getting closer. Add that to the fact that neither Jonathan Dwyer or Isaac Redman looked particularly good against Oakland means Mendy is likely to be the main ball carrier when he is finally healthy. The Steelers are on bye in week 4, so Mendy is only worth an add if you can afford to stash him for a few weeks to see what shakes out. Point is to grab him now before he gets on the radar.
- Daniel Thomas (MIA) gets on this list because Reggie Bush’s status is in question for week 4. I’m not a huge believer in Thomas, but he’ll see a lot more action if Bush is absent.
- Lamar Millier (MIA) seems like a better fit for the Dolphins if Reggie Bush can’t play, but we are likely to see a time-split no matter what and that kills the overall value of both Miller and Thomas.
- Joique Bell (DET) got reps spelling Mikel Leshoure on Sunday and finished with just 5 carries, but did have 4 catches for 44 yards. Speculative add that could pay dividends with injuries to the guys in front of him.
- Danny Amendola (STL) didn’t put up huge numbers (5/66), but still led his team in receptions and yards; those numbers are quite a feat when you consider how poorly that offense played as a whole against the Bears. It proves this guy is dependable.
- Jerome Simpson (MIN) is officially back from suspension and worth another mention this week, especially with the way Christian Ponder is playing. He looks to be the big-play guy this offense needs in the passing game.
- Donnie Avery (IND) looks like the main contender as the number two for the Colts with the news that Austin Collie is out for the year.
- Nate Burleson (DET) had 10 catches for 69 yards and a score in that wild Lions/Titans game, but only had 1/11 the week prior. That’s what you get with Burleson, up and down weeks.
- Brandon Stokely (DEN) hauled in 6 passes for 73 yards and a score, and seems to have recaptured the rapport he had with Peyton Manning when they played together in Indy. He’s a decent flex, but not much more with Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas in the mix.
- TY Hilton (IND) led the Colts in week 3 (4/113/1), but I’m not yet convinced the rookie will see enough consistent looks to be a dependable flex player.
- Jacoby Jones (BAL) finished with 3/86 and could have had more against the Patriots on Sunday night. The Ravens have morphed into a throwing team, but Jones isn’t going to be more than 3rd fiddle with Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin in the lineup. He can, however, provide low-end flex numbers with some upside.
- Cecil Shorts (JAX) had another long TD grab, but he’s not getting enough targets to justify adding him unless you play in a league with large rosters.
- Ramses Barden (NYG) had his best day as a pro Thursday night, hauling in 9 catches for 138 yards. He’s not likely to come close to repeating those with Nicks back in the lineup.
- Kyle Rudolph (MIN) scored twice on a 5-for-36 day. He’s been pretty consistent thus far as a 4/50 guy who can get you an occasional score.
- Brandon Myers (OAK) already has 15 receptions this season, just one less than his entire 2011 campaign. Could see more reps with the way the Raiders lose wideouts to injury.
- Craig Stevens (TEN) had a good day for the Titans after starter Jared Cook was injured, and his status for week 4 is still unclear as of this writing. If Cook can’t go, you may get short term starter numbers out of Stevens.
- Jordan Cameron (CLE) led all receivers with a 5/45 day and is worth an add if you are digging deep to find some help at tight end.