As everyone is tightening their rosters up and beginning to contemplate start/sit decisions, let me say that I believe in you. The time we’ve all been waiting for is upon us and there’s no time for doubt to seep in. While some of you may not be looking to make waiver wire moves, some of you (including myself) are. As a fantasy player who is ALWAYS browsing the waiver wire and watching the transaction wire (they go hand in hand) you need players and situations to keep an eye on. Before we get to those, there are certain players and situations I will avoid as I am writing this during NFL roster cut weekend. Once the dust settles, I’ll have a lot more guys to watch out for later on down the road.
Something else to note: All of my suggestions are based on players who are available in 12 team leagues that more than likely weren’t drafted. You should be able to apply this to your leagues settings.
Making Sense of Committees
Whether it’s running back or tight end, these kinds of committees are always barf-worthy. When you grab players, you want them to have some semblance of a clear path to work versus a split unless that split is high level and defined aka Freeman and Coleman. The thing here to watch is that when these committees breakdown, there’s more volume to be had for the counterpart that remains healthy unless the team is just ridiculously deep at the position.
Baltimore Ravens: TE
Hurst is hurt with a stress fracture (not a good injury to have) which means there will be more split time with other TE’s on the field. On top of that, BAL traditionally uses two tight end sets a decent amount and also funnel high amounts of targets to the position. With that being said, Nick Boyle is the main target here and even when Hurst comes back, I don’t see him going away because he’s such a great blocker. What’s worse is that this team also drafted Mark Andrews and has Maxx Williams. Until we know that Hurst is recovered from the injury, let’s just stamp this team with avoid. There are plenty of other tight ends to snatch up without giving yourself a headache over this team. With Hurst hurt, he’ll probably be on waivers and you have a chance to stash him in an IR spot if you have one.
Hayden Hurst Availability
Yahoo Own %: 5
ESPN Own %: 3.9
Chicago Bears: TE
Burton is obviously the initial choice here, however, Adam Shaheen is who we’re looking at here. He’s going to get reps alongside Trey once he returns to health. The team loves him and he has great size that you want for your tight end. That Gronk size of 6’6 250+ lbs. With a younger QB, they tend to target TE’s more as a security blanket for dump offs. Trubisky will heavily target these two alongside Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller. Shaheen is in his second year and I still don’t prefer TE’s before they’ve reached their 3rd-4th years , but if Burton were to go down then Shaheen would be your guy. Right now, Shaheen is down and Trey Burton is your guy.
Adam Shaheen Availability
Yahoo Own%: 1
ESPN Own%: .3
Dallas Cowboys: TE
First of all, no. Secondly *sigh* don’t do it. You will end up frustrated and upset. Both tight ends projected to get work (Jarwin and Swaim) are not going to give you Witten-esque numbers. They won’t even combine to make up Witten numbers for sure. Jarwin has flashed and he leads the committee, but he’s a break in case of extreme dire emergency. There are other options, this will be a run heavy offense. AVOID
Denver Broncos: RB
Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman. To me, they both looked good in the preseason and I’m sure the tie will be broken sometime down the road with one getting heavier work. At this point, Booker is the starter and he’s on waivers. Royce is widely viewed as the better back so I absolutely doubt you’ll find him on waivers. In PPR and MAYBE standard, if you need the help, Booker isn’t a terrible choice. One of very few starters actually on the wire. Especially if you did the zero RB’s dance in your draft. Again, if Royce goes down, this becomes mostly Booker’s backfield with Phillip Lindsay getting a little more work as a 3rd down guy. Matter of fact, he’s very similar to Cohen in the way he plays. Both will be on your waiver wire.
Yahoo Own%: 25
ESPN Own%: 38.5
Yahoo Own%: 0
ESPN Own%: 1.1
Detroit Lions: RB
Abdullah will be going very soon via cut or trade. That just leaves Riddick, Blount and Kerryon. This situation mirrors Cleveland’s backfield with an older statesmen brought in for cheap, pass catcher extraordinaire and a promising rookie. In PPR, I would go after Riddick and Standard I would go after Blount. They’re both less than 50% (yahoo) owned and are worth a shot if you need it. Eventually Kerryon will take over and Blounts role will decrease, but we don’t know when that will happen so juice Blount for all you can. Theo Riddick isn’t going away either and to me, he’s a bargain bin version of James White. Theo will get borderline receiver targets and will not let you down.
Yahoo Own%: 41
ESPN Own%: 31.8
Yahoo Own%: 28
ESPN Own%: 51.7 (a tad bit high for waivers I know)
Indianapolis Colts: RB & TE
All I have to say to the running backs is this, I quite frankly have no idea outside of Mack. Your guess is as good as mine. Wilkins has looked okay at times this preseason but they have been rolling out Robert Turbin, Christine Michael and Nyheim Hines (pass catcher) as well. I want to say I don’t see them keeping 5 running backs but this weekend will give us a teeny bit more clarity to the mud that is their RB room. Until then, I’m AVOIDING the backfield.
Tight end here is a different story. Doyle is getting drafted, there’s no doubt there. However, Ebron is not. I wrote an article recently about why you should trust Ebron and I won’t do that again here, just go read the article on the website. These two will see the most targets outside of TY Hilton. How much that will be, I have no idea. What I do know is that this situation reminds me of Chicago’s. They will use both at the same time with Ebron lining up more as a slot and Doyle coming off the line as a traditional TE. They both will hold value with or without an injury to the other. Unless Dez signs here, I’ll keep both in my top 15 TEs. Ebron is widely available and Doyle is not because recency bias. Go steal Ebron off waivers if you punted the position.
Yahoo Own%: 36
ESPN Own%: 19.8
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TE
There’s something to be said about the running back committee as well, but both are drafted for the most part so we’ll move on.
They signed Brate to a nice little deal before the season started and O.J. Howard is in that Gronk mold size-wise and he’s the future for the Bucs. How long these two have to share the target share in Tampa is unknown, just know if one goes down the other will definitely jump up in value. Howard is on the field more due to his ability as a complete tight end, yet Jameis loves to target Brate. Brate had the lionshare of the targets last season 77-39 but Howard made the most out of it with a high yards after the catch. I expect that to even out this year with Howard eventually winning out. Until then, Brate is still a good option and still available but not as much as others mentioned.
Yahoo Own%: 53
ESPN Own%: 31.6
Waiting In the Wings
Somethings else to remember is to know who your star players replacements are in case of injury. Whether you want to pick them up now or later is the key. For now, I’ll just do the top 10 running backs.
Todd Gurley-John Kelley
Lev Bell-James Conner
David Johnson-Chase Edmonds
Ezekiel Elliott-Rod Smith
Saquon Barkley-Wayne Gallman
Alvin Kamara/Ingram-(RBBC Boston Scott and Jonathan Williams)
Melvin Gordon-Austin Ekeler
Kareem Hunt-Spencer Ware
Leonard Fournette-TJ Yeldon (Grants Carries would grow a lot as well)
Dalvin Cook-Latavius Murray(Keep an eye on Mike Boone/Roc Thomas if they make it through cuts which they should if Minnesota keeps 4 backs)