This is a great week to grab and hug an Oakland Raider, and it’s a horrible week to own Eli Manning. Also, down is up.
As is our regular Tuesday-night custom, we meandered through the dark, murky corners of the waiver wire to list the top there options at each position. Well, that’s a partial lie. Time constraints tonight and, frankly, a distraction and my chronic pants urination after the best trade ever in a sport that’s not football led to tight ends being left out.
Not to worry, though, because you’re not missing much. As should be expected in Week 11, the tight end wire is not a fun place, and luckily in the final week of byes Martellus Bennett is the only notable player at the position who’s watching football on a couch along with us. Here’s a short list of the prime TE waiver candidates sans in-depth exploration and lots of words:
- Dwayne Allen (ESPN – 2.5, Yahoo – 15%)
- Dustin Keller (ESPN – 32.9%, 38%)
- Dennis Pitta and his possible return to relevance(?) (ESPN – 30%, Yahoo 28%)
Ha, see I threw a few more words in there. Onwards to more important matters where value can actually be found.
1. Carson Palmer: This is the part when I could repeat something from my lengthy exploration of Palmer’s odd availability earlier today. I won’t do that, but here’s one more little nugget: Denarius Moore is kind of fast, and that’s led to a lot of long receptions from Palmer, and more importantly a lot of touchdowns. After missing a game due to injury, Moore has five touchdown receptions over eight games, and five catches of 30 yards or more.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 66.8%, Yahoo – 59%
2. Ryan Tannehill: The Tannehill we saw last week won’t appear again this week. Can I guarantee this? No, absolutely not, but feel free to become very angry at me if he sucks again. But I feel confident that last week was just your usual rookie QB hiccup, and this week at the very least against Buffalo we’ll see an ascension back to the mean against a Bills defense that’s susceptible to the pass because of its front seven that can’t stop the run. For Tannehill, the mean would be somewhere far closer to his 7.6 yards per pass attempt on the season after that number dipped to just 5.6 this past Sunday.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 20%, Yahoo – 13%
3. Nick Foles: This is the height of the desperate, reaching dice roll for the Manning owner in a deep league who’s scrambling to fill his bye. But you could do worse, which also doubles as my life mantra. Look, I actually like Foles a lot long term, and although I’ve seen very little of him, he’s shown flashes of great skill during that small sample size throughout the preseason and last week when he came in for an injured Michael Vick. But he’s still a rookie quarterback making his first regular-season NFL start behind a now infamously feeble offensive line, and with playoff jostling very much a thing in every fantasy league, being in a position where you have to roster Foles this weekend is less than ideal. So the simple rookie element is the drawback of the Foles claim for either the Manning or Vick owner, but his appeal is high this week too. That’s because Foles gets a nice, soft landing spot against the Redskins and their 30th-ranked secondary. You know, the one that’s giving up 301.7 yards per game.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 0.5%, Yahoo – 5%
1. Marcel Reece: I try to avoid too much repetition from week-to-week in this post while sprinkling your lives with a dash of variety, but this one’s unavoidable. We all expected Reece to be featured heavily in the Raiders’ passing game as he ascended to starting running back status with Mike Goodson and Darren McFadden out. But that still didn’t prepare us for looking at the game log after Oakland’s loss to Baltimore, and seeing that he had more targets than Denarius Moore. With McFadden and Goodson likely out again this week, Reece is in a prime position to produce as he faces the Saints and their poor defense against both the run and pass. During a brutal week for running back byes (Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, and Adrian Peterson are all out), Reece’s ownership should climb quickly since he’s a starter, and therefore a highly sought after commodity on the RB wire.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 12.1%, Yahoo – 35%
2. Jacquizz Rodgers: Eventually common sense will win, and Rodgers will at the very least be given something closer to an even share of the carries in the Falcons’ backfield. He was C.J. Spiller-lite during Atlanta’s first loss of the season to New Orleans, finishing with 62 yards from scrimmage on just seven touches (8.9 yards per touch). Meanwhile, Michael Turner had only two more yards (15) than rushing attempts (13) for an average of 1.2 per carry.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 11.4%, Yahoo – 38%
3. Mark Ingram: The Saints’ backfield is still the proverbial three-headed monster that despises clarity, with both Ingram and Chris Ivory rolling. Ivory is still a fine option too for owners of the aforementioned cluster of running backs on byes, and he’s owned in just 2.5 percent of ESPN leagues. In truth, it’s a coin toss, and you’ll likely get near equal production no matter who you go with if you’re deciding between Ivory and Ingram for a claim.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 58%, Yahoo – 26%
1. Darrius Heyward-Bey: Let’s keep trolling the Saints and trotting out the Raiders, because why not. Heyward-Bey is also a great pickup for all of the fun reasons mentioned above and in the Palmer post from earlier (bad pass defense, lots of throwing, etc.). But then there’s this: despite Moore being the more targeted wideout, Heyward-Bey has been pretty alright in a secondary role too, with 272 receiving yards over his last four games and two touchdowns. He has a +30 yard reception in each of those games, and two 50 yarders. Yeah, he’s pretty fast.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 57.8%, 56%
2. Danario Alexander: There are those who believe Alexander’s 134 receiving yards on five receptions in Week 10 — which included an 80-yard catch and run — isn’t remotely sustainable because he’ll just blow up a body part gain. Alright, fair enough. However, what’s encouraging is that Robert Meachem was pretty much benched during San Diego’s loss to Tampa that was just so Chargers, leaving Alexander to assume the role of Vincent Jackson. Philip Rivers has sorely missed a deep threat, so it seems very, very reasonable to assume that Alexander will continue to get those deep targets, because why the hell not? The utter lack of other options to ignite a deep passing game should fuel his continued emergence.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 0.7%, Yahoo – 6%
3. Laurent Robinson: Suddenly Robinson is sort of relevant, even if his quarterback is still Blaine Gabbert and not Chad Henne, and even if his matchup this weekend against the Texans is something only slightly above awful. That’s because despite Gabbert getting killed on nearly every play and Johnathan Joseph shadowing him, when the Jaguars do throw the ball and attempt to complete passes the opposition’s attention is now divided between Robinson and Cecil Shorts. That could actually keep Joseph away from Robinson for some of this weekend’s game, although Daniel Manning is no cake walker either. Still, between Robinson and Shorts there’s some value in Jags’ receivers on the wire if you’re pursuing a deep league flex play. I’m rolling with Robinson here simply because he’s the most recent breakout target (and I use the term loosely) with 77 yards on nine receptions last Thursday. Shorts is widely available too, as he’s owned in just 15 percent of ESPN leagues.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 26.4, Yahoo – 10%