As if confronting one of the toughest Bye Weeks of the season weren’t enough, fantasy owners now have a mess of key injuries to contend with as well. The waiver wire will be a challenge for anyone in competitive and competent leagues this week. My take on who you should pursue…
The first 3 names are no-brainers. Last weekend, WR Harry Douglas gave everyone a taste of what he can do with teammates Julio Jones and Roddy White off the field (7-149-1). He should continue to develop a rapport with Matt Ryan and see targets even after White returns. Worth a pickup.
Another wide receiver who passed his test on Sunday with flying colors is Green Bay’s Jarrett Boykin. He performed well (8-103-1), and should continue to see production so long as Randall Cobb is sidelined. He’s a WR3 with lots of upside. He also makes for a great bye week fill and flex play.
Finally, Redskins TE Jordan Reed made it known loud and clear last week (9-134-1) that he is a force to be reckoned with the rest of the way. He is no fluke, and merits TE1 designation going forward.
On to gray options… Dallas RB Joseph Randle is still worth grabbing, but only as a temporary fill since his value is tied to DeMarco Murray’s absence. Rams RB Zac Stacy is worth a shot, but only as an RB3. No upside here either; only downside. But if you need a one-week fill-in, he could be your guy. But Cowboys WR Terrance Williams continues to hold promise. Reports indicate teammate Miles Austin is still struggling to recover from his hamstring injury. So Williams, who was 6-71-1 this weekend, should be viewed as a high-end WR3 with upside in the near-term.
Colts WR Darrius Heyward-Bey will be a popular waiver wire pickup this week after the season-ending injury to Reggie Wayne. But fantasy owners should temper their expectations here. Heyward-Bey was supposed to have supplanted T.Y. Hilton after arriving in Indianapolis, and he has done no such thing. The loss of Wayne bumps Heyward-Bey up to a low-end WR2 (at best) with some upside. If you can maintain that perspective on him, you will be able to more wisely determine whether he belongs on your roster.
Another popular pickup to be careful about is Tampa Bay RB Mike James. He is the backup to injured Doug Martin. The Buccaneers were already having a tough time producing yardage on the ground with Martin in the starting role. So don’t expect James to do much better. He best serves as a flex fill-in or an RB3 during the next couple of weeks.
RB Chris Ivory, however, is worth pursuing as a legitimate flex play. He unexpectedly saw much more action than Bilal Powell on Sunday, and finished with over 100 yards rushing. There is some risk here, as the Jets could just as easily hand the ball back over to Powell. But Ivory should still get his share of opportunities.
Finally, don’t forget about WR Percy Harvin and RB Jonathan Stewart. They were sidelined with injuries in the pre-season, and will be making their return in the next few weeks. Now (well, a week or two ago…) is the time to grab them if they are still available in your league. Harvin will be a WR2 with upside upon his return. And Stewart gets low-end RB2 consideration until he re-takes the starting job back from DeAngelo Williams.
Good luck in all your waiver wire activity this week!