Waiver Wire: Week 10

Adam Levitan
Adam Levitan has notes on 31 players to consider adding to your squad, including Patriots rookie Aaron Dobson

We’ve seen a rash of injuries at the quarterback position this season. Jay Cutler, Michael Vick, Sam Bradford, E.J. Manuel, Brian Hoyer and Jake Locker have all missed significant time or are out for the season. Aaron Rodgers unfortunately joined that list on Monday night.

The good news for us waiver-grinding fantasy owners is that we always have depth at the quarterback spot. It’s a position impossible to replace in real life, but in fantasy there’s always guys floating around we can use. We’re talking about guys like Nick Foles, Chad Henne, Terrelle Pryor, Case Keenum, Josh McCown etc. Trading away our QB1 for a stud RB or WR and riding with one of these waiver adds is a strong play in most formats – especially PPR leagues in which quarterbacks inherently have depleted value. Make your move and attack the Rodgers owner today.

On to this week’s assets. Here is how I would rank the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at each position. Notes and recommendations on each player will follow below.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 10. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

1. Jay Cutler
2. Nick Foles
3. Case Keenum
4. Jake Locker
5. Carson Palmer

Running backs
1. Shane Vereen
2. Andre Brown
3. Rashad Jennings
4. Shonn Greene
5. Montee Ball
6. James Starks
7. Dennis Johnson
* Chris Ivory is owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 2 add at running back

Wide receivers
1. Aaron Dobson
2. Doug Baldwin
3. Mike Brown
4. Lance Moore
5. Riley Cooper
6. Cole Beasley
7. Mario Manningham

Tight Ends
1. Tim Wright
2. Joel Dreessen
3. Garrett Graham
4. John Carlson
5. Dennis Pitta
* Coby Fleener is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 1 add at tight end

Defense/Special Teams
1. Giants
2. Cardinals
3. Dolphins
4. Steelers

1. David Akers
2. Nick Novak
3. Shaun Suisham

1. Jay Cutler, Bears – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
When Jay Cutler first went down with his torn groin muscle in Week 7, the Bears said he’d be out at least four weeks. Since then, the team has grown more positive on the injury. Beat reporters are getting an increased sense of optimism on Cutler and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he returns for Week 10. If that doesn’t happen, Week 11 seems extremely realistic. This is a chance for us to steal a back-end QB1 on the cheap. Note Cutler’s schedule in Weeks 12 through 16: at STL, at MIN, vs. DAL, at CLE and at PHL in fantasy Super Bowl week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Nick Foles, Eagles – Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Over Nick Foles’ last nine games, he’s thrown 18 touchdowns and two interceptions. There’s a very good chance Michael Vick (hamstring, week to week) will never start another game for the Eagles. The franchise needs to find out if Foles is their quarterback of the future – they know that man is not Vick, an increasingly injury-prone 33-year-old working on a one-year contract. So even when the natural regression catches up to Foles, as it did in a hideous Week 7 performance, Chip Kelly is likely to ride it out. That leaves the second-year man at the controls of an explosive offense with potential shootouts against the Packers and Redskins on deck. In Weeks 14-16, Foles faces the leaky defenses of the Lions, Vikings and Bears. Don’t go chasing seven-touchdown days, but top 12-14 value at the quarterback position the rest of the way is realistic.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Case Keenum, Texans – Owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
Case Keenum has injected life into a dormant Texans passing game by throwing caution to the wind. Instead of conservatively checking down and being afraid to throw picks a la Matt Schaub and Alex Smith, he pushes the ball downfield and gives his receivers a chance to make plays. As Lance Zierlein pointed out Sunday night, Keenum has 11 plays of 25+ yards in his two career starts. Matt Schaub had six such plays in his last five games. There are a lot of Tony Romo comparisons being thrown around here, and I can see that – except Keenum lacks the arm strength. Regardless, aggressive quarterbacks make big plays and big plays win fantasy weeks. Between Weeks 11 and 14, the Texans will face the Raiders, Patriots and Jaguars twice. That’s soft.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

4. Jake Locker, Titans – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
It was a disappointing Week 9 showing for Locker as the Titans couldn’t protect him against the Rams’ lone weapon – their pass rush. The underrated athlete still salvaged his fantasy day with a rushing touchdown and now stumbles into the ideal get-well spot: Home against the Jaguars. If I needed a quarterback just for this week, I would roll with Locker over Case Keenum. Locker will also get the Raiders in Week 12.
Recommendation: Should be owned as a plug-n-play

5. Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
Larry Fitzgerald’s hamstring is nearing 100 percent, Andre Ellington is a beast in the passing game and the Cardinals will face the following schedule over the next five weeks: vs. HOU, at JAX, vs. IND, at PHL, vs. STL. That’s enough to mask Carson Palmer’s declining arm and his woeful offensive line.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Seneca Wallace, Ryan Tannehill, Jason Campbell, E.J. Manuel – Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) is tentatively expected to miss three weeks. The Packers are likely to stick with Wallace, who was thrown into a tough situation without truly knowing the scheme Monday night. He’ll be far better against the Eagles in Week 10. … Coming off a zero-touchdown night, Tannehill gets Darrelle Revis and the Bucs. He’s a desperation play. … Campbell is piping hot, but only deep leaguers can afford to stash through the bye. … Manuel (knee) is back to continue his raw QB2 ways. 

Editor’s Note: For more waiver thoughts and news from around the league, follow Adam Levitan, Rotoworld Football and our dominant News Page.

1. Shane Vereen, Patriots – Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
Yes, Stevan Ridley is officially out of the doghouse and running like a beast. But that doesn’t change the way we should feel about Shane Vereen’s potential impact. The two backs essentially play different positions, as evidenced by Brandon Bolden’s 45.0 percent of the snaps over the last five weeks. Vereen will soak up all those “passing back” reps, get a few base carries, line up out wide a few times and do some other Joker things. It’s going to add up to 10-14 touches for a very explosive player.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Andre Brown, Giants – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
The news coming out of Giants camp Monday was two-fold. First, Andre Brown (leg) was practicing as expected and is ready to hit the ground running Week 10. Second, David Wilson won’t even get his neck reevaluated for another few weeks, making season-ending IR a very real possibility. As discussed often, Brown is no Jim Brown but he will make the washed up duo of Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs look like the dinosaurs they are. In 10 games last year, Brown averaged 5.27 YPC and scored eight rushing touchdowns. He’ll be the lead back here by Week 11 or 12.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. Rashad Jennings, Raiders – Owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
Darren McFadden pulled his hamstring in Week 4 and surprisingly only missed one game. Rashad Jennings started that Week 5 game against the Chargers and rushed 10 times for 41 yards before missing the entire second half with a hamstring injury of his own. Fast forward five weeks and McFadden has aggravated that hamstring injury in the same spot. Aggravations of this sort are almost multi-week injuries – especially for slow healers like DMC. So that means Jennings, who coach Dennis Allen said did a “great job” in Week 9, will ride on as the feature back again. He’s a very capable pass-catcher (two games with 7+ receptions this year) and will benefit from the threat of Terrelle Pryor’s legs in the running game. Expect 15-20 touches against the Giants Sunday.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

4. Shonn Greene, Titans – Owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
I didn’t buy the Titans’ claims that they wanted Shonn Greene to get 15 carries per game for a second. Yeah, every team wants their backs to combine for 35 carries each week, but that’s not going to happen. Still, Greene has a clear-cut role on a team that wants to ground-n-pound. He’s going to get a series or two to himself each game and get the short-yardage/goal-line work. Given the Titans upcoming schedule – vs. JAX, vs. IND, at OAK, at IND, at DEN – there’s enough room for Greene to squeeze out some flex appeal.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

5.Montee Ball, Broncos – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
According to the Broncos, this was the plan all along. They’d bring Montee Ball along slowly in his rookie year and then expect him to make a contribution in the second half. That plan started to come to fruition prior to the bye as Ball played 30 snaps compared to 38 for clear-cut starter Knowshon Moreno. It’s in line with reports that the Broncos want to limit Moreno’s workload a little now so he’s fresher for the playoffs. On top of that, Ball got 3-of-4 goal-line chances in Week 8. He’s going to have some deep flex value right now and would beast if Moreno were to get injured.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

6. James Starks, Packers – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
As seen on Monday night, the Packers don’t want to just run stud workhorse Eddie Lacy into the ground. Starks is going to get a few series to himself per game, and he’s going to finish those series out – even in the red zone. And given that they’ll be playing without Aaron Rodgers for a little while, they’re going to rely on the run game. At the very least, the healthy and surprisingly quick Starks should be owned as a handcuff.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

7. Dennis Johnson, Texans – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
Arian Foster has dealt with calf, hamstring and now back injuries over the last few months. He clearly needs some time off after barely playing in each of the last two games. Meanwhile, Ben Tate is gutting it out through four broken ribs. That left Dennis Johnson to get eight carries for 36 yards against the Colts on Sunday night, as he was active ahead of Ray Graham and Deji Karim. It’s a situation for deep leaguers to monitor.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Mike Tolbert, Jonathan Stewart, Rashard Mendenhall, Daniel Thomas, Denard Robinson – Tolbert got nine touches in Week 9 and Stewart got 12. DeAngelo Williams got 15. Very, very messy. … Mendenhall (toe) is expected back this week. He’ll be the low-upside complement to Andre Ellington. … The Dolphins aren’t changing their plan. Thomas has at least 10 touches in each of the last three weeks. … Robinson has been promoted ahead of Justin Forsett and Jordan Todman. Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t exactly a picture of health, so the Michigan QB is worth watching.

1. Aaron Dobson, Patriots – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
Way back in April, the Patriots drafted Aaron Dobson with the No. 59 overall pick. Fantasy people such as yours truly immediately started salivating, thinking about what he could do with an every-down role in a Tom Brady scheme. Well, those salivations quickly turned to dust as Dobson fell behind Kenbrell Thompkins on the depth chart and earned the nickname “Dropson” when he did get on the field. But the tables have quickly turned. Thompkins was a healthy scratch in Week 9, leaving Dobson as the “X” receiver for 90.6 percent of the snaps. He responded with a 5/130/2 line, showing impressive chemistry with Brady on a back-shoulder throw and roasting Ike Taylor on a go route. Dobson is still a 6’3/203 specimen with 4.4 wheels. Stash him during the bye and then unleash.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Percy Harvin (hip surgery) reportedly had a “flareup” ahead of Week 8, didn’t play in Week 9 and won’t play in Week 10. At this point, it would make sense to just hold him out through the Week 12 bye. That gives us two more games of Doug Baldwin opposite Golden Tate. On Sunday, Baldwin played 54 snaps, saw 10 targets and produced a 6/75/1 line. Jermaine Kearse played 38 snaps, saw two targets and produced a 2/43/1 line. Always an underrated player because of his slight build and undrafted status, Baldwin is a legit NFL playmaker. He’ll be a WR3 candidate against the Falcons’ No. 20 secondary this week and the Vikings’ No. 29 unit in Week 11.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Mike Brown, Jaguars – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
As the Jaguars No. 3 wideout over the last three games, Brown averaged 4.0 catches for 70.6 yards with one touchdown. Now that Justin Blackmon has drunk himself into a season-long suspension, Brown is the No. 2 wideout. And thanks to game flow (i.e. the Jags trailing by heaps weekly), that’s a big job. Brown is a candidate for 7-9 targets the rest of way, as long as he can hold off Ace Sanders. So far, he’s done that with ease.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

4. Lance Moore, Saints – Owned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues
Lance Moore’s 6/70/0 line from Sunday was solid, but it came in a perfect storm. Marques Colston (knee) was inactive, Darren Sproles was concussed on the very first drive, Jimmy Graham (foot) isn’t quite full strength and the Saint were forced to attempt 51 passes as they fell behind in the second half. Moore ended up playing on just 35-of-78 snaps. There’s WR4 appeal here because Drew Brees trusts Moore, but don’t go overboard.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

5. Riley Cooper, Eagles – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’ve seen it over and over again in Waiver Wired. Players that aren’t very good become fantasy options due to volume. That’s the case with Riley Cooper. Really just a blocker and red-zone threat at 6’3/220, Cooper has two 100-yard games in his last four outings with four touchdowns during that span. Perhaps most interesting is his chemistry with Nick Foles. In Foles’ last three starts, Cooper is averaging 5.0 catches for 115.6 yards and has scored four times. The matchups are right for the next couple weeks (at GB, vs. WAS), making Cooper a deep league plug-n-play.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

6. Cole Beasley, Cowboys – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
From Laurent Robinson to Terrance Williams, we’ve seen the No. 3 receiver in Dallas do work in recent years. And with Miles Austin (hamstring) essentially shut down, Cole Beasley is roaming the slot in all three-wide sets. Over the last five weeks, the homeless man’s Wes Welker has averaged 4.2 catches for 44.0 yards with one touchdown. It’s a reasonable expectation going forward.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team PPR leagues

7. Mario Manningham, 49ers – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Roughly 11 months after an ACL tear, Mario Manningham was activated off the PUP list. Look for limited snaps as he eases his way back in at first, but there’s an opportunity here. The 49ers are absolutely desperate for someone to stretch the field opposite possession receiver Anquan Boldin. That’s Manningham’s specialty – when healthy.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14 team leagues

Watch List: Nate Burleson, Michael Crabtree, Eddie Royal, Jerricho Cotchery, Marlon Brown – Burleson (arm) isn’t expected to be ready for another couple of weeks. … Crabtree (Achilles) is tentatively expected back in three weeks. … Royal continues to find the end zone but is really the No. 4 option in the passing game. Don’t chase. … Cotchery’s Week 9 blowup can be brushed off as a fluke, especially with Markus Wheaton (finger) close. … Brown is holding off Jacoby Jones because he’s a better receiver.

1. Tim Wright, Bucs – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Regular readers of this column are sick of hearing about Wright. To quickly recap: He’s a highly athletic NCAA wideout that has been converted to a move tight end. He has tremendous rapport with Mike Glennon (30 targets over the last five weeks), as both spent tons of time with the second stringers this offseason. The Bucs are going to be trailing a lot, leading to plenty of garbage time opportunities. And Mike Williams (hamstring) is done for the year, leaving Wright with an expanded red-zone role. Over the last five games, Wright is averaging 4.6 catches for 50.6 yards and has touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. It’s not rocket science.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Joel Dreessen, Broncos – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
The waiver wire at tight end is thin. As a matter of fact, the entire position is lacking depth and difference-makers. Therefore, we’re down to a possible plug-n-play replacement as the No. 2 add at tight end. Julius Thomas’ ankle sprain is not severe, but he did sit out practice Monday and the 7-1 Broncos certainly won’t rush him. If he sits out against the Chargers, Joel Dreessen gets the fantasy nod over Jacob Tamme because he’s the better bet for a touchdown. Note that in Week 8 – when Thomas went down – both Dreessen and Tamme logged 47 snaps.
Recommendation: Should be owned as a handcuff

3. Garrett Graham, Texans – Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
Will the Texans offense run smoother under Case Keenum? Clearly. As mentioned above, a more aggressive style is going to open things up for everyone, including Garrett Graham. In two games with Keenum, he’s turned 14 targets into seven catches for 84 yards. Graham is capable of being more productive and doing work in the red zone, where he had three touchdowns in the first four weeks.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

4. John Carlson, Vikings – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
Kyle Rudolph is going to miss multiple weeks – possibly 4-6 -- due to a broken foot. That leaves John Carlson in an every-down role. Yes, the same John Carlson that was signed to a $25 million contract in March of 2012 and has posted a total of 19 catches since. Rudolph was only seeing 5.7 targets per game and producing 39.1 yards per day, so owners shouldn’t expect any miracles. But Carlson is getting an opportunity, which is more than most of the waiver tight ends can say.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 14-team leagues

5. Dennis Pitta, Ravens – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Dennis Pitta was placed on short-term IR after fracturing and dislocating his hip on the third day of Ravens camp. We haven’t heard many details on his progress, but reports from a few weeks back suggested he could return by mid-to-late November. Well, it’s getting close to that timeframe. The Ravens are truly desperate for his skill set, a move tight end that can make the tough catches they lost when they traded away Anquan Boldin. I firmly believe Pitta would have been a top-five fantasy tight end this season if not for his injury. If you have a deep bench, there’s some low-end stash appeal.
Recommendation: Should be stashed in deep leagues with deep benches or an IL spot

Watch List: Andrew Quarless, Zach Ertz, Brandon Bostick, Scott Chandler, Kellen Winslow – Quarless was far more involved in the passing game with Seneca Wallace than he was with Aaron Rodgers. … Ertz is averaging 5.0 targets per game over the last four weeks. Nick Foles seems to dig him. … Chandler doesn’t have any upside, but he does have a whopping 20 targets over the last two weeks. E.J. Manuel is an upgrade. … Winslow is off suspension, but Jeff Cumberland should remain the starter if he’s cleared of his concussion.

1. Giants – Owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Giants will come out of a bye and face a Raiders team that has to travel all the way across the country for a 1pm ET start. That alone is enough to warrant a stream. Throw in the fact that Terrelle Pryor has one touchdown against seven interceptions in his last three games and Darren McFadden’s hamstring pull, and we have a solid stream.

2. Cardinals – Owned in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues
It’s not that the Texans offense is bad with Case Keenum under center. It’s that this Cardinals defense is really, really good. Again, this is another team that’s coming out of a bye and playing at home. They’re tied for second in the NFL in interceptions (12) and are tied for 12th in sacks (23). Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell and Tyrann Mathieu are all big-time playmakers.

3. Dolphins – Owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
We saw what Miami’s defense is capable of when they went out and embarrassed Andy Dalton to the tune of three interceptions, one pick-six and a safety last Thursday night. Cameron Wake (knee) being healthy makes such a huge difference. Now they travel to Tampa for Monday Night Football, making it an extremely long week. Mike Glennon has played relatively mistake-free of late, but he remains a rookie playing without Doug Martin (shoulder) and Mike Williams (hamstring).

4. Steelers – Owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
Yes, I know the Steelers gave up a franchise record 55 points and 610 yards to the Patriots in Week 9. That’s OK. They’ll come out hungry and motivated to try to salvage their season in a home game against the Bills Sunday. In a weak week for streamers, we have to try to push some soft edges. E.J. Manuel (knee) returning after four games off is one of them.

1. David Akers, Lions – Owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’ve talked a lot about how the Bears defense is falling apart as they’ve gotten older and been decimated by injury up front. The kicking game is one place we can attack them cheaply. David Akers is 38 years old, but has two makes from 50+ this season and has gone 10-of-11 on field goals over the last six games.

2. Nick Novak, Chargers – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
Everyone is expecting a shootout between the Broncos and Chargers Sunday. Oddsmakers have set the total at 56.6, the highest number of the week. That should mean lots of chances in perfect weather for Nick Novak, who is 15-of-17 on the season.

3. Shaun Suisham, Steelers – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Bills are giving up 26.2 points per game, ninth-most in the NFL. They’re especially bad on the road, where they’re yielding 30.0 points per day. That’s where they’ll be Sunday, when they face Shaun Suisham and a Steelers offense that has the ability to move the ball with ease.