Do you hate your quarterback? Do you hate everyone?
We can’t do anything about the latter question. Wait, yes we can. We most definitely can. If you can watch this monkey wash dishes without smiling, your body doesn’t possess a soul.
Alright, now about that first question. There are many surprisingly fine answers for your quarterback quandary on the waiver wire this week. Let’s go exploring.
1. Russell Wilson: The Seahawks quarterback has been one of the most efficient and trustworthy fantasy producers at his position over about the past month, yet his ownership still reflects a player who’s likely only rostered consistently in two-QB leagues. Like Colin Kaepernick below, that makes absolutely no sense. Over the Seahawks’ last four games Wilson’s thrown nine touchdowns, without chucking a single pick. In two of those games his yards per attempt has been over 8.0, with Week 10 against the Jets particularly impressive under that metric, as he finished with 9.9 YPA. This is also a quarterback who’s had a passer rating over 100.0 four games in a row, and going further his steady production has led to five straight weeks with over 15 fantasy points. Numbers are dripping from this guy, especially with his rushing ability (he had a season high 71 rushing yards in Week 13). Yet he’s still jobless in far too many leagues.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 17.8%, Yahoo – 23%
2. Nick Foles: Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. We ain’t dealin’ with no Kaepernick here, or Wilson, or insert another inexperienced/rookie quarterback. But for the deep league Ben Roethlisberger owner who chose to stream quarterbacks, Foles will likely be the best and most available option this week not named Wilson. He still looked like, well, a rookie quarterback Monday night against the Cowboys, because rookie quarterbacks will do that. But here’s what we saw from him against a secondary that employs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne: 7.4 yards per attempt when he had posted 5.7 and 4.4 over the previous two weeks, his second straight interception-free game, and a career high passer rating (96.6). Now keep those numbers in mind, and look at the schedule. The Eagles are traveling to Tampa to face a secondary that needs to be streamed against at every possible opportunity, as it’s still the worst in the league, and it’s now the only unit giving up more than 300 passing yards per game. There’s obvious risk here, but if you’re reaching for a quarterback on the waiver wire in Week 14, you’re already acknowledging your desperation.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 3.5%, Yahoo – 6%
3. Colin Kaepernick: As long as Kaepernick’s ownership remains under 50 percent, it’ll be impossible to exclude him from this list. He’s behind Foles this week only narrowly, and only because of his much high fake employment. And if you’re one of the aforementioned Roethlisberger streamers, you should be adding Kaep and Wilson long before you even begin considering Foles. Water coolers and coffee makers across the continent are probably getting downright disgusted with the Kaepernick vs. Alex Smith debate by now, so I’m not touching it again here. I’ve touched it many times, and I’ve touched it real good. All that matters to you, of course, is his ability to turn statistics into fake points, and we learned this past Sunday that even an average Kaepernick — and in the minds of some, a bad Kaepernick — can do that with ease. He faces a 27th-ranked Dolphins pass defense this week after posting 14 points during his worst start, five coming on one play (his 50-yard run). If his ownership isn’t universally above 65 percent by tomorrow morning, I can only conclude that you all have a deep passion for losing.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 45.7%, Yahoo – 53%
1. Jonathan Dwyer: And so the transition begins from a surprisingly fruitful QB waiver wire, to the barren nothingness that is the running back wasteland. Let’s just hold hands, and close our eyes. Dwyer isn’t a terrible place to start for those hunting for a decent flex play. He’s reasonably available, but please recall the subject of my rant earlier today: the value of every Steelers offensive player is still tied to Ben Roethlisberger’s health, and although optimism is percolating, Big Ben still has to traverse the thick forest of injury uncertainty this week in practice. But let’s allow our minds to drift towards the worst possible scenario when the Steelers host the Chargers. That doomed mental state feels more natural and comfortable anyway. Even if we have another Charlie Batch sighting and you’re in a position where flexing someone of Dwyer’s ilk is necessary, that’s something less than horrible. Last week despite the Batch anchor, Dwyer still rushed for 49 yards. That’s nearly five fantasy points on yardage alone, and if you’re getting five points from your flex spot, at least your head is hovering somewhere above water level. Hooray?
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 42%, Yahoo – 47%
2. James Starks: You’re aware of Knowshon Moreno, so I won’t list him here because we’re all about variety (or attempting variety) and I’m making a feeble attempt to avoid more repetition from last week. But his ownership is still low in ESPN leagues (48.8%), and he’ll rumble against the Raiders Thursday night and their 29th-ranked run defense, so you should make the necessary clicks. With that disclaimer out of the way, I pretty much flipped a coin here between Starks and Alex Green, and you can too. It’s fun. They’re still splitting time in the Packers’ backfield, and recently they’ve both been moderately effective. My coin landed on Starks here because I’m telepathic, and because I was thinking about his season long 22-yard run this past Sunday against the Vikings, and his 74-yard output against the Lions in Week 11. That was a season high too, and now the Packers face Detroit again this weekend.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 7%, Yahoo – 22%
UPDATE: The large words mean this is important. So here are more large words: DO NOT PICK UP STARKS. Late Tuesday night long after this post was published and available for your perusal, word of Starks likely being done for the year with a knee injury surfaced. So flip that coin again, but now make sure Green’s face is on both sides. With his time-share partner gone, he’s set to carry the load for the remainder of the season.
3. Montell Owens: I can’t be the only one who thinks of awful daytime television when I hear Owens’ first name, right? Right, good. Like Moreno (only worse, so much worse), and Dwyer (yeah, still worse), this is the proverbial situation where any starting running back has value. And Owens is indeed a starting running back in the NFL for at least one week with Maurice Jones-Drew still out, along with Rashad Jennings and Jalen Parmele. One more injury, and you’ll be a Jaguars running back too. Umm so yeah, that’s pretty much the only reason Owens is listed here or anywhere, although if he blows up against the Jets’ and their run defense that’s allowing an average of 137.7 yards per game, the NFL has definitely seen nuttier happenings.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 0%, Yahoo – 2%
1. T.Y. Hilton: Hilton’s status as the epitome of the booming or busting wide receiver and nothing in between has been documented here before, which is why you need to guard against the tendency to remember only what he’s done lately, and think past just his most recent game. And when you do that, you’ll see this: 100 receiving yards in Week 13, 33 yards in Week 12, 100 yards in Week 11, and zero in Week 10. But whatever, that’s fine. The dice roll wideout has always been a great play at your flex spot, and this week against a Tennessee secondary that’s giving up 257.5 passing yards per game and 24 touchdowns overall, the odds of a favorable roll will increase significantly.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 33.6%, Yahoo – 59%
2. Chris Givens: Something odd happened during the Rams’ Week 13 win over San Francisco: Givens showed that he’s capable of doing more than just running really far, and waiting for a football. Previously he had been St. Louis’ Josh Gordon after putting together five straight games with a reception of 50 yards or more, an incredible streak accomplished despite having a miniscule 11 receptions during that stretch. So keep looking at the numbers in the preceding sentence, and let them sink deep into your inner mental matter. Now consider this: against the 49ers he had 11 receptions. Suddenly, he was a possession receiver. He was Danny Amendola, because there was no Danny Amendola, and his status is still highly uncertain for this week due to a heel injury. That could make Givens the best value add of the week.
Percentage Owned: 3.1%, Yahoo – 15%
3. Kendall Wright: Speaking of sudden target upticks, how ’bout this guy. During the Titans’ loss to Houston Sunday, Wright was targeted 10 times after seeing only 11 targets over Tennessee’s previous two games. Those targets were also his second highest single-game total this year for a wideout who’s averaged 7.3 targets per game overall. So if you’ve made it this far past Givens and Hilton, and you don’t trust, say, Jason Avant to not be Jason Avant after he showed life Monday night, this is a fine reach as you rely on a team that’s out of the playoffs to continue giving its young players experience.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 13.4, Yahoo – 33%
1. Tony Scheffler: Do you like being the league villain, and finding jerkface loopholes that are totally legal and legit? Good, because Scheffler likes you too. You see, with the Lions’ wide receiver depth chart decimated and both Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson lost for the year in addition to Titus Young still being an asshole, they’re left with Mike Thomas to now slide in opposite Calvin Johnson. And then after that happens the next domino is Scheffler, who would regularly be a backup tight end, but now he’s the slot receiver. But despite his new-found wide receiver glory in real life, in fantasy he still retains tight end eligibility. So those of you who are still stuck with vastly under-performing tight ends (hi, Jermichael Finley and Vernon Davis) could consider plugging in a wide receiver at your tight end spot, with Scheffler possibly set to get decent targets in a Matthew Stafford-led offense.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 0.9%, Yahoo – 1%
2. Marcedes Lewis: It’s 2010 again, and Lewis is relevant. After breaking the 40-yard receiving mark only twice over Jacksonville’s first nine games, Lewis has now eclipsed that lofty plateau in three straight games, including his Week 11 outing when he scored twice, logging half of his touchdown production on the year in one afternoon. Chad Henne = God.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 18.7%, Yahoo – 18%
3. Dallas Clark: It’s 2009 again, and Clark is relevant. Sort of, and sometimes. Again, if you’re the proud owner of one of the many, many tight ends who have done little except feed you crushing disappointment this year, Clark is a decent flier as we head into the fantasy playoffs. He has a touchdown in three of his last four games, showing that he’s established himself more firmly as a red-zone target. Prior to that stretch Clark had only one score over eight games.
Percentage Owned: ESPN – 5.2%, Yahoo – 23%