StrategyDecember 7, 2010


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Waiver Wire: Week 14

By R.J. White

Back in Week 1, we saw a Green Bay running back become the hottest waiver wire pickup in football, thanks to a season-ending injury to Ryan Grant. Now, after a season of mediocre play from Brandon Jackson, we’re set to have another Green Bay running back top the Week 14 waiver wire wish lists.

SNATCH THEM

James Starks, RB, GB. Josh Shepardson did a fine job covering Starks here and here. I’ll leave it at that.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA. He’s been pretty mediocre this season, but Lynch broke out for 100 yards and three TDs in Week 13. Remember, sometimes being a team’s No. 1 back is more important than talent, which is why it shocks me Lynch is more available than players like Darren Sproles and Justin Forsett in Fleaflicker leagues.

Chris Ivory, RB, NO. Like Mike Bell last year, Ivory has played too well to fall into the shadows of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush during the stretch run. If you’ve been hesitant to grab him, wait no longer. Coach Sean Payton has said Ivory’s workload shouldn’t decrease at all.

Tim Hightower, RB, ARI. Hightower played ahead of Beanie Wells on Sunday, and with Arizona having a couple tasty matchups in Weeks 14-16, Hightower is definitely worth owning. He’ll make for a solid flex play next week against Denver.

Danny Woodhead, RB/WR, NE. The versatile Patriot back now has double-digit fantasy lines in seven of his 10 games this season (we’re throwing out Weeks 1 and 2 when he had no role in the offense). He’s everything you could want out of a flex back.

Michael Bush, RB, OAK. There were plenty of carries to go around in Oakland’s upset victory over San Diego, and Bush’s worth is likely tied to the team’s ability to stay ahead in a game. That said, he has three great matchups over the next three weeks.

Anthony Dixon, RB, SF. It was telling that Dixon received as many carries as Brian Westbrook on Sunday. He could be in line for double-digit carries in each game over the next few weeks, and that’s big, as the 49ers play the soft Seattle and San Diego run defenses with caretaker Alex Smith at QB.

Tashard Choice, RB, DAL. The Cowboy back had been biding him time and waiting for a bigger role in the offense, and he capitalized on increased carries on Sunday, piling up 100 yards and a TD on 19 carries. I honestly don’t understand why Dallas has stuck with Marion Barber so long; Choice is clearly the better back. Hopefully he’ll continue to prove it.

Kenny Britt, WR, TEN. The talented Titan receiver is expected to practice this week, and it’s possible he’s ready for Thursday’s game against the Colts. Either way, he should be back for Week 15 at the latest, and with great matchups against the Texans and Chiefs, he’s a must-own. Grab him now before it’s too late.

Sidney Rice, WR, MIN. He needs to be owned in all leagues, as he’s healthy and proving he can score fantasy points in bunches. The matchups aren’t great for him, but he should shine regardless, especially if Percy Harvin can’t get healthy.

Roy Williams, WR, DAL. The season-ending injury to Dez Bryant sets Williams up for a boost in fantasy value, and matchups against Philadelphia, Washington and Arizona the rest of the way mean Williams is even worth using in fantasy leagues as a third WR immediately.

Jacoby Ford, WR, OAK. He only had one catch on Sunday, but he made it count, scoring a four-yard TD. A very promising matchup with Jacksonville looms in Week 14, and Ford could be of great use in fantasy leagues, especially if the Jaguars do a better job than the Chargers of making it a game.

Anthony Armstrong, WR, WAS. He first passed Joey Galloway for a starting spot, and now he may have surpassed Santana Moss in fantasy worth. Armstrong set season highs in receptions (six) and yardage (97) in Week 13, scoring his second TD of the season. Matchups against Dallas and Jacksonville bode well for his value during the fantasy playoffs.

Josh Freeman, QB, TB. He’s fantasy’s 12th best QB this year, he has three excellent matchups in Weeks 14-16, and he may be in the position to throw the ball more with the defense losing key cornerback Aqib Talib. There’s nothing to not like about Freeman the rest of the way.

Jason Campbell, QB, OAK. I’m not sure I could rely on him in the fantasy playoffs, but he does have great matchups against Jacksonville and Denver over the next two weeks. Oakland would love to keep the ball out of his hands, but if they fall behind in either game, Campbell could have a nice fantasy line.

Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE. After catching just two balls in his last three games, Hernandez leaped back on the fantasy map with three catches, 51 yards and a TD against the Jets. He could be huge in fantasy championships with a Week 16 matchup against the Bills.

Ben Watson, TE, CLE. Seeing a TE catch 10 balls for 100 yards is certainly enough to make me want to go out and add him. Watson benefited from the injury to Evan Moore and from the mediocrity of the Cleveland receiving corps, and that shouldn’t change.

Atlanta Falcons, D/ST, ATL. They haven’t been a great fantasy defense this year, but they get the benefit of facing the Panthers in Week 14, and that’s good enough for me.

Oakland Raiders, D/ST, OAK. They’ve been a top-five unit this year, and Jacksonville doesn’t pose much of a threat to run up the score.

Seattle Seahawks, D/ST, SEA. Alex Smith is returning? Where do I sign up for the Seahawks defense?

Buffalo Bills, D/ST, BUF. The Bills have three great fantasy performances in a row, and Cleveland is next on tap. If Jake Delhomme remains under center, it could mean another double-digit week for the Bills.

WATCH THEM

Ryan Torain, RB, WAS. He’s scheduled to practice this week, making Torain a person of interest on the waiver wire. The Washington offense — well, the entire team — looks terrible, but unless Mike Shanahan is sold on James Davis (and why would he be?), Torain could be in for a few good lines before the season is through.

Jarvarris James, RB, IND. The running game in Indy has been putrid, but James has been entrusted to score the ball at the goal line. He’s scored five TDs in the last five games despite being banged up for two of those contests and seeing very limited time.

Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, CLE. He hasn’t had a breakout game all season, but Massaquoi has produced at least five fantasy points in each of his last five games. You could do worse for the end of your bench.

Earl Bennett, WR, CHI. I’m not willing to put total faith in Bennett just yet, but you simply can’t ignore a guy that sets season highs in receptions (seven) and yardage (104) the week after a breakout, two-TD game.

Seyi Ajirotutu, WR, SD. San Diego is pretty banged up at the WR position, and Ajirotutu has a chance to re-emerge as a fantasy weapon at some point. Remember, he had 111 yards and two TDs in Week 9 as a starting receiver for the Chargers.

Brandon Stokley, WR, SEA. Stokely has produced solid yardage totals over the last three weeks, and Seattle is hurting pretty badly at the receiver position. Keep an eye on the veteran.

Jimmy Graham, TE, NO. He seems to be here to stay, as Graham now has 72 yards or a TD in three of his last four games. Still, with all the weapons in the Saints passing game, I’d be leery relying on Graham at this point of the season.

Martellus Bennett, TE, DAL. Jason Witten suffered a sprained ankle on Sunday, and his availability for Week 14 could determine whether Bennett is a sneaky play in deeper leagues. Check the injury reports throughout the week.

DROP THEM

Dez Bryant, WR, DAL. Tough blow for Bryant, who showed game-changing ability throughout the season. He’s sure to be a high pick in next year’s fantasy drafts.

Troy Smith, QB, SF. Smith has lost his starting job to Alex Smith, and neither SF QB should be owned in fantasy leagues.

 
R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
 
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