Working the waiver-wire in fantasy football is a huge key to victory. You add the right guy, at the right time, and your team takes off. If you beat the rush, are a little proactive in your approach, then you can grab a weekly starter on the cheap before the rest of the fantasy football universe gets it and is ready to go all in to add the player to their squad. At the same time, it's important not to invest too heavily in a one week wonder. In this piece I'll highlight a group of players who are likely to be waiver-wire targets this week, give you my thoughts on each fella, and tell you just how cash I would toss at them if I wanted to add them to my squad.
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(Assuming a $100 Budget)
Jason Avant, WR, Eagles
Jeremy Maclin is done for the year with his knee injury, and Riley Cooper is terrible. That means Avant could see plenty of targets and he's had 15 the last two weeks actually. He caught five balls for 87 yards an a score in Week 3, but don't go overestimating what he is. He's a possession receiver with no ability to make defenders miss after getting his hands on the ball. Think Brian Hartline-light. He's no more than an injury/Bye week fill-in.
FAAB BID: $5
LeGarrette Blount/Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots
Mess city. Bolden looked like the new Shane Vereen with 51 yards rushing and 49 receiving in Week 3. Blount ran the ball 14 times for 65 yards against his old team (Bucs) which is a little deceiving since eight of the carries were late in the game. Still, Blount had 14 touches, Bolden eight and Stevan Ridley, the supposed starter, had just 12. Ridley is still the best runner the Patriots have, still the most talented guy they have, but it's an extremely frustrating situation right now. I'd be trying to buy Ridley on the down low from his current owner, and if I was going to go for the backup here Bolden is the guy to add over Blount.
FAAB BID for Blount: $3-5
FAAB BID for Bolden: $10-15
Johnathan Franklin, RB, Packers
Eddie Lacy (concussion) was out so James Starks was the lead dog. However Starks was injured in Week 3, and with John Kuhn also sidelined, the Packers had no choice but to to turn to Franklin. He ran for 103 yards and a TD on 13 carries against the Bengals, so he's an immediate add, right? Don't forget, the Packers have their Bye in Week 4 so Starks and Lacy have two weeks to get healthy. Also, don't overlook the fact that Franklin fumbled the ball late in the game and the Bengals picked it and and took it to the house for the game winning score. Be moderate with your Franklin love.
FAAB BID: $5-10
Stephen Hill/Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets
These guys are on the Jets and that's a concern. They've got a rookie QB and that's a concern. Hill only caught 21 balls in a depressing rookies season. Year two has been much better. He had 17 targets the first two weeks and in Week 3 he blew up for 108 yards an a score. However, note that he only caught three passes in Week 3 and he has just 13 receptions through three games. Holmes is a talented malcontent who is always whining about something. Sure looked like his foot was fine Sunday as he caught five balls for 154 yards an a score. Like Hill though, he was really quiet the first two weeks (four receptions for 64 yards). The Jets don't figure to throw the ball for 300 yards a week, so these two guys may have a hard time being a consistent WR3 option in 12 team leagues.
FAAB BID for Hill: $5-10
FAAB BID for Holmes: $7-10
Brian Hoyer, QB, Browns
The Browns aren't confirming that he will start when Brandon Weeden is healthy, but who's kidding who here? Of course Hoyer is going to start after throwing for 321 yards and three scores, including the game winner with less than a minute left against the Vikings. Still, he tossed three interceptions, averaged a terrible 5.9 yards per attempt, and needed 54 passes to put up those totals. He's far from a lock to be a top-20 option the rest of the way, and Weeden will be lurking if he struggles appreciably.
FAAB BID: $5-10
Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers
He scored twice in Week 3 so that will excite many. Don't be part of that group. Brandon got all of five targets and went for 53 yards in Week 3. Through three games he's caught seven balls for 66 yards. The last three years he's scored eight times totals, has never racked up 45 catches or gone for 680 yards. Move along.
FAAB BID: $5-7
Jake Locker, QB, Titans
Athletic, that's what Locker is. He showed it all Sunday against San Diego. Locker threw for 299 yards an a score, avoided throwing a pick, and he also ran five times for 68 yards an another score. His arm is still a bit scatter shot, Kenny Britt isn't doing anything, and it's still a run first offense for the Titans, but the talent is there with Locker. I'd take a shot on him before dropping some coin on Hoyer.
FAAB BID: $7-12
Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks
Some think Robert Turbin would take over if Marshawn Lynch went down. Those people are wrong. Late in Week 3 when Seattle was throttling Jacksonville, they brought in the subs. If you saw that late game action you noted that Turbin was still the third down back (just like he sometimes is when Lynch is in the game). The guy who was working first/second down when Lynch was out was Michael, a more talented football player than Turbin ever will be. Period. In fact, Michael would be a top-20 play every week if Lynch went down with injury. Book it. If Michael is out there, and you have an open spot, add him now for a few bucks. If Lynch goes down the bidding for Christine's services will be heated.
FAAB BID: $5-10
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
Through three weeks Moss has one score and is averaging five receptions for 57.3 yards a game. That's actually an improvement on last year – 2.56 receptions and 35.8 yards a game. The 13 year vet is what he is – boring – and only a Bye week fill-in.
FAAB BID: $3-5
Isaiah Pead, RB, Rams
Daryl Richardson played one snap Sunday as his injured foot was stepped on. Through two games Richardson has carried the ball 30 times for 98 yards (3.3) a carry, and that won't be good enough to hold off Pead (the only thing saving Richardson's value was his work in the passing game – 10 receptions for 78 yards). With his health up in the air, and his production lacking, it's quite possible that Pead could become the Rams' lead back. With Check-down Charlie under center (Sam Bradford), Pead caught seven balls in Week3 as he touched the ball a total of 13 times and produced 63 yards. He's not an elite option, but HC Jeff Fisher knows how to use running backs. If you listened to me and added Pead last week, you likely saved yourself a lot of coin.
FAAB BID: $20-25
Geno Smith, QB, Jets
He's talented, I'll give him that. He's also an erratic rookie. He threw for two scores and ran for another in Week 3, and he also threw for 331 yards. At the same time he's taken nine sacks through three weeks, has thrown six interceptions, has lost a fumble, isn't completing 54 percent of his passes and owns a QB Rating of 65.0. He might have a solid game or two, but realize that he's a massive risk as an unpredictable weekly play.
FAAB BID: $5-10.
Nate Washington, WR, Titans
With Kenny Britt looking like his head is somewhere else on game day, Washington and Kendall Wright are obviously the wideouts to own with the Titans. Washington caught eight balls for 131 yards in Week 3, but don't get ahead of yourself. Locker is still erratic. Wright is more talented than Washington. Nate also caught only 46 balls last season, and over his last 19 games he's scored four times. He's solid, but he's not turning into a top-30 wideout. Just isn't happening.
FAAB BID: $10-15
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.