Waiver Wire: Week 6

Adam Levitan
See where Zac Stacy lands in Evan Silva's Post-Draft Top 150 Fantasy Rankings

Silva's Post-Draft Top 150

See where Zac Stacy lands in Evan Silva's Post-Draft Top 150 Fantasy Rankings

Most of the waiver-wire additions we’ll make this year will fit into one of the following two categories: Plug-n-plays stemming from injury or young players waiting to get their chance.

This week, however, we begin to take a look at some veterans currently sidelined by serious injury. The viability of these stashes comes down to your league’s format. I’m in some leagues with 10-man benches, others with five-man benches and one has an IL spot. In other words, some of us have room to wait and see on Percy Harvin and others don’t. Some of us are 5-0 and virtually assured of a playoff spot and others are 2-3 and need to win every week. Understand your league and your needs when thinking about the likes of Harvin, Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree, Jonathan Stewart, Andre Brown and Shane Vereen.

On to the 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 $30,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 6. It's $10 to join and first prize is $4,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

1. Terrelle Pryor  
2. Brandon Weeden
3. Nick Foles
4. Chad Henne
5. Josh Freeman

Running backs
1. Zac Stacy
2. Andre Ellington
3. Marcel Reece
4. Roy Helu
5. Shonn Greene
6. Jonathan Stewart
7. Brandon Bolden
8. Da’Rel Scott
9. Donald Brown
*Pierre Thomas is owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’d be my No. 1 RB add if available.

Wide receivers
1. Rueben Randle
2. Keenan Allen
* Harry Douglas
3. Percy Harvin
4. Terrance Williams
5. Kendall Wright
6. Mario Manningham
7. Leonard Hankerson

Tight Ends
1. Brandon Pettigrew
2. Coby Fleener
3. Garrett Graham
4. Jordan Reed
* Heath Miller is owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’d be my No. 1 TE add if available. Check out last week’s Wired for more notes on him.

Defense/Special Teams
1. Vikings
2. Browns
3. Bucs

1. Robbie Gould
2. Ryan Succop
3. Adam Vinatieri

1. Terrelle Pryor, Raiders – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
I can’t fathom why Terrelle Pryor is available in 71 percent of leagues. He’s been the top add in this space ever since the preseason and is only getting better as a passer each week. Pryor currently ranks fifth in completion percentage (68.3), sixth in yards per attempt (8.13) and eighth in passer rating (97.6). The scary part is that he’s “only” averaging 57.2 rushing yards a game and hasn’t scored with his legs yet. Capable of more rushing stats, Pryor is bordering on a weekly top-12 option. 
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Brandon Weeden, Browns – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brandon Weeden is not as good as Brian Hoyer. Let’s just get that out of the way and move on, since Hoyer (knee) is out for the season. Weeden didn’t show much progress during his starts in Weeks 1 and 2, combining to go 47-of-86 (54.6 percent) for 516 yards with one touchdown and three picks in a pair of losing efforts. But those performances came without future All-Pro Josh Gordon in the lineup. When Weeden came on for Hoyer last Thursday night, he still hung onto the ball far too long and stared down receivers, but he showed off his powerful arm. He finished 13-of-24 for 197 yards with a score in the win over the Bills. Weeden gets a plus matchup at home against the Lions this week and figures to be in comeback mode plenty at Green Bay in Week 7. The Browns aren’t going to be able to run the ball effectively most weeks, which will lead to a decidedly pass-happy attack.   
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

3. Nick Foles, Eagles – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
If Michael Vick can’t run, he’s not a viable NFL starter. So this hamstring pull is more worrisome to him than most quarterbacks. Vick isn’t going to play against the Bucs in Week 6, is certainly in doubt for Week 7 and coach Chip Kelly is giving Nick Foles an outside chance to run with the job. I wouldn’t bet on that. While Vick was capable of masking the Eagles’ lack of receiving weapons not named DeSean Jackson, Foles isn’t nearly as creative. In seven games last year, he averaged 242.7 yards and threw six touchdowns against five picks. And now Andy Reid’s pass-happy attack has been replaced by Kelly’s run-heavy scheme.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

4. Chad Henne, Jaguars – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Blaine Gabbert (hamstring, ineffectiveness) is out at least a couple of weeks. It’s certainly possible he’s made his last humiliating throw as a Jaguar. Henne isn’t even an average NFL quarterback, but he has a history of racking up garbage-time points. Over the final seven games of last year, Henne averaged 267.0 passing yards per game with 10 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He’s capable of moving the chains against soft zones, something he’ll see plenty of against the Broncos in the second half Sunday. Denver has been installed as a 28-point favorite.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

5. Josh Freeman, Vikings – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Vikings gave Josh Freeman a $3 million contract, far more than Christian Ponder ($1.29M) and Matt Cassel ($1.65) are making. Freeman won’t be in the mix to start this week as he adjusts to his new home, but the Vikes aren’t giving him this much coin to hold a clipboard for too long. It’s certainly possible he’ll start in Week 7. Freeman’s warts were well documented in Tampa, but the way things went down there should be a wake-up call. He’s a very capable deep-ball thrower, an aspect of the game the Vikings must explore as defenses stack boxes to stop Adrian Peterson. There’s a little stash appeal here.
Recommendation: Should be owned in two-quarterback leagues

Watch List: Mike Glennon, Ryan Tannehill, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Thaddeus Lewis – The matchup is certainly right for Glennon this week. He’s off a bye and gets the Eagles’ inept defense at home. … Tannehill is on a bye, but he should be owned as a reasonable backup in most formats. … Geno lit up the Falcons Monday night. That’s not saying much these days. … Fitzpatrick’s Week 5 line was fluky. He’s a mess. … Lewis is up off the practice squad and will start for the Bills this week. His legs aren’t a big enough weapon to get him on the fantasy radar.

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

1. Zac Stacy, Rams – Owned in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hopefully you were F5-ing the hell out of our News Page Sunday morning. If you were, you knew around 10:20am ET that fifth-round rookie Zac Stacy would be starting against the Jags. Stacy didn’t disappoint, flashing the form that allowed him to run for 2,334 years on 5.72 YPC across two seasons at Vandy while playing behind a completely overmatched offensive line. He doesn’t do it with incredible burst, wiggle or speed. He does it with excellent balance that allows him to get hit in the hole yet keep his footing and churn out more yardage. Stacy was on his way to a 20-carry, 100-yard game against the Jags when he took a shot to the ribs. He still finished with 14 carries for 78 yards. Jeff Fisher has since confirmed that Stacy’s injury is not a big deal and he’ll start again in Week 6. Of course, the sledding gets tougher right away with games against the Texans, Panthers, Seahawks and Titans over the next four weeks. That’s something of a murderers' row. Still, Stacy is a starting running back in the NFL that has earned at least 65 percent of the carries going forward. That makes him a viable fantasy starter these days. Daryl Richardson is a change-of-pace back, Isaiah Pead remains in the doghouse and Benny Cunningham isn’t a threat.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Andre Ellington, Cardinals – Owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’ve been talking about how poorly Rashard Mendenhall (3.17 YPC) has performed in this space for the last few weeks. It’s been obvious that Ellington’s usage is on the rise in a big way. His touch count has risen from six to seven to 11 over the last three weeks, and he capped it off with a season-high 30-snap showing in Sunday’s win over the Panthers. Mendy also played 30 snaps. Coach Bruce Arians can keep saying he envisions Ellington as a 30-snap guy because he’s 5’9/199, but the best players have to play. Ellington’s floor is 5-7 carries and 3-4 catches a game. His upside is far higher. It’s obvious Ellington has more talent than his sixth-round draft status suggests.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Marcel Reece, Raiders – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Darren McFadden (hamstring) isn’t expected to play at Kansas City in Week 6 and Rashad Jennings (hamstring) is questionable. Right now, the only healthy running backs on the Raiders roster are Marcel Reece and Jeremy Stewart. If that holds through Sunday, Reece is going to be a candidate for 10-12 carries and 5-7 catches. The matchup is extremely difficult, but McFadden handcuffers from last year and the Raiders staff know what Reece can do. Between Weeks 10 and 13, he averaged 114.0 total yards and caught 5.0 passes per game.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Roy Helu, Redskins – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
Unfortunately for Roy Helu speculators, Alfred Morris (ribs) said he was a full-go in Monday’s workout. It looks like Alf will be ready to start against the Cowboys this week. Still, there’s plenty of value in owning Helu. He handled himself exceptionally well in relief of Morris as the Redskins recorded their first win of the season in Week 4. We know he’s going to play on all third downs and there’s a chance he’s earned some touches in other situations as well. The biggest key is that rib injuries are easily aggravated. If Morris were to miss time, Helu would be a borderline RB1.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

5. Shonn Greene, Titans – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
In Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, Jackie Battle failed to convert two goal-to-go chances from the 1-yard line and a 3rd-and-1. Yet the Titans coaches never even thought about using Chris Johnson in those spots. In fact, they are lamenting the fact that they miss Shonn Greene. Well, Greene is tentatively expected back from his knee injury in Week 6, and will immediately become the goal-line back. Given the fact that CJ?K is averaging just 3.12 YPC, it’s certainly possible that Greene will get some carries between the 20s as well. There’s value in a guy that gets 6-10 carries a game plus goal-line work.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

6. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jonathan Stewart (ankles) is reportedly on track to return when he’s first eligible in Week 7. We don’t know how healthy he’ll be, but we know the Panthers offense is in need of a spark. They’re 1-3, DeAngelo Williams hasn’t run for a touchdown all year and OC Mike Shula’s shift to a base offense has been a failure. Stewart figures to step right into an even timeshare with Williams, pushing for 8-12 carries a game.
Recommendation: Should be stashed in 12-team leagues

7. Brandon Bolden, Patriots – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Stevan Ridley’s knee/thigh injury doesn’t have much of an effect on Bolden. He’s the passing back until Shane Vereen (wrist) returns, a role that leads to a lot of snaps when the Patriots implement a throw-centric gameplan. That’s what happened against the Bengals in Week 5, as Bolden led the Pats with 40 snaps and caught six passes. It’s the second time in the last three games he’s caught five or more balls. The trick here is to figure out when Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady will want to use Bolden’s skill set. Use Evan Silva’s mind-blowing weekly Matchup Column for help with that. I suspect the Pats could be trailing in this week’s game against the Saints, making Bolden a deep-league PPR option.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team PPR leagues

8. Da’Rel Scott, Giants – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
David Wilson (neck) may not be ready for Thursday’s game against the Bears. So the Giants have re-signed Da’Rel Scott, who was just cut a week ago. He’s a borderline NFL player at best, but he has more juice in his legs than Brandon Jacobs. The 0-5 Giants are likely to be trailing early at Chicago, so they’ll be forced to throw plenty. Scott will play in those situations, giving him a shot at 3-4 receptions and 20 yards on the ground.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 16-team leagues

9. Donald Brown, Colts – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
In three games as a Colt, Trent Richardson is averaging 2.96 YPC. During that same span, Donald Brown has rushed 12 times for 127 yards (10.58 YPC) with a touchdown. No one will ever suggest that Brown is near Richardson’s talent level – even if we’ve overrated T-Rich’s natural ability. But the Colts coaches are raving about how well Brown is playing and saying they need to keep him involved. At the very least, they appear to feel comfortable using Brown as a feature back if Richardson were to go down.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 16-team leagues

Watch List: Shane Vereen, Brandon Jacobs, LeGarrette Blount, James Starks, Kendall Hunter, Andre Brown – Vereen was on his way to a monster year before going down. He could be back by Week 11. Not a bad option if you have an IL spot. … Jacobs will get the goal-line work for the Giants, if they ever get there. … Blount is only a candidate for 10-12 carries if Stevan Ridley (knee/thigh) misses more time. … With Johnathan Franklin getting benched for fumbling, the No. 2 job looks like Starks’ when he gets back from his knee injury. … Hunter is listed here as your weekly reminder to practice proper handcuffing strategy. … Brown (broken leg) has resumed running and appears on track to return in Week 10. With the Giants backfield a mess, he’ll have a significant role.

Cut Bait: Jackie Battle, Isaiah Pead, Leon Washington –Battle runs like an elephant and Shonn Greene (knee) is almost back. … Pead is now well behind both Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson. … Washington hurt an ankle on the opening kickoff against the Bengals.

1. Rueben Randle, Giants – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
We know Rueben Randle is a very talented dude that will produce whenever he’s part of the gameplan. And that’s what happened in Week 5, as Eagles slot corner Brandon Boykin locked up Victor Cruz. That left Randle to eat up the outside corners with slants, producing a 6/96/2 line. He’s consistently gotten roughly 60 percent of the snaps all season and his role should rise with the Giants at 0-5. Randle is a big part of their future while Hakeem Nicks’ contract is up at the end of the year. Randle is a Dynasty gem and a WR3 with upside in re-draft.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

2. Keenan Allen, Chargers – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
This isn’t about slot man Eddie Royal’s early-season breakout being the fluke we all knew it was. This is about Allen stepping in to an outside role and earning a larger role by the week. He got zero snaps in Week 1, 45 snaps in Week 2, 49 Week3 , 70 Week 4 and topped it off by playing on 75-of-75 snaps against the Raiders Sunday night. Over the last two weeks, Allen has turned 15 targets into an 11/195/1 line. Clearly over the knee injury and slow 40 time that sunk his draft stock, the third-round rookie is gaining trust from a rejuvenated Philip Rivers. He gets the woeful secondaries of the Jaguars, Redskins and Broncos over the next month.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

UPDATE (Tuesday, 145pm): The Falcons reportedly fear Julio Jones (foot) is out for the season.
* Harry Douglas, Falcons -- Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Without Jones, the Falcons are in big trouble. Teams will be able to double Tony Gonzalez at will and we can't be sure Roddy White (hamstring, ankle) will be healthy after the bye. Enter Douglas, who will now play every snap and see plenty of single coverage. He's had some spot-start chances before, but this will be his first real chance to run with an every-down role. Although Douglas is "just a guy," we can project 4-5 catches on 7-8 targets from Matt Ryan weekly.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Percy Harvin, Seahawks – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
We got some fresh news on Percy Harvin (hip surgery) Monday. He resumed running last week and has wrapped up the New York portion of his rehab. Now he heads back to Seattle for the stretch run. When Harvin originally went under the knife on Aug. 1, a 3-4 month timetable was bandied about. That would make Week 9 or 10 a best-case scenario. No one knows how the Seahawks will handle Harvin’s return or when he’ll be 100 percent, but I’d stash him over Mario Manningham or Michael Crabtree because his injury isn’t as severe as a ligament tear and he’s more talented. Harvin has heaps of upside.
Recommendation: Should be stashed in deeper 12-team leagues

4. Terrance Williams, Cowboys – Owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues
Terrance Williams still has a long way to go in terms of polish and football IQ. But the kid has a knack for being in the right place at the right time lately. With Miles Austin (hamstring) sidelined the last two weeks, he’s totaled 11 catches for 222 yards with a touchdown on 12 targets. That kind of efficiency is going to lead to targets even when Austin returns – whenever that may be.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Kendall Wright, Titans – Owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
Kenny Britt is playing his way out of Tennessee. That’s left Kendall Wright to play in two-wide sets, leading to 77.3 percent of the snaps over the last two weeks -- and it’s resulted in a cumulative 11/130/0 line over the last two weeks. Wright fits with noodle-armed Ryan Fitzpatrick because he likes to run shorter, high-percentage routes. PPR owners can expect 4-7 catches weekly and he should avoid Seahawks LCB Richard Sherman in Week 6.  
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team PPR leagues

6. Mario Manningham, 49ers – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
On Monday, coach Jim Harbaugh said Mario Manningham (ACL) has a chance to resume practicing in Week 7. The Niners are definitely in need of a weapon at X, where Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore are giving them nothing. The problem is that Manningham was a middling talent to begin with, he’s coming off a knee reconstruction and he’ll be behind Anquan Boldin/Vernon Davis for targets. He’s a low-upside stash.
Recommendation: Should be stashed in 14-team leagues

7. Leonard Hankerson, Redskins – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hankerson has surpassed Josh Morgan as the starting Z receiver, playing 129 snaps and seeing 16 targets over Skins’ last three games. Morgan has played 69 snaps and seen nine targets. The Z spot is a secondary role in the Shanahan and Son offense, but Hank-time’s natural talent gives him a little upside.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Kerley, Austin Pettis, Ted Ginn, Jerome Simpson, Rod Streater  – Crabtree (Achilles) isn’t expected back until mid- to late-November. … Kerley went for 5/68/0 with Santonio Holmes sidelined. He’s better than most realize. … Pettis doesn’t see enough volume to be a viable weekly option. … Ginn isn’t going to sustain his current pace as the No. 3 receiver in a scuffling Panthers offense. … Simpson will be worth watching if Josh Freeman takes over. He goes deep and Freeman likes to chuck deep. .. Streater caught a long TD Sunday night, but he’s more of a possession receiver.

1. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions – Owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues
Calvin Johnson (knee) should be back for Week 6, but Brandon Pettigrew’s recent bump in usage isn’t about what’s going on outside. It’s about the absence of Nate Burleson (arm) and Matthew Stafford’s surprising reluctance to throw to Ryan Broyles. In the two weeks since Burleson’s injury, Pettigrew has 11 catches for 113 yards on 12 targets. He gives nothing after the catch and isn’t a playmaker in the red-zone, but PPR owners can expect 4-6 grabs weekly.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team PPR leagues

2. Coby Fleener, Colts – Owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
As evidenced by a 2/15/0 dud against the Seahawks in Week 5, Fleener is going to have his ups and downs in an offense that wants to play power football. Andrew Luck only attempted 29 passes as the Colts pulled off a home upset. Still, the usage is here. Fleener played on 89.3 percent of the plays Sunday and remains a seam-stretcher when Luck wants to use him. He has a better chance at a difference-making game than most TE2s.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

3. Garrett Graham, Texans – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
Owen Daniels hurt his leg late in the Week 5 loss to the Niners and is going to miss 4-6 weeks. That thrusts intriguing 2010 fourth-rounder Garrett Graham into an every-down role. Graham has already flashed his pass-catching ability this season, compiling a 15/141/3 line despite only playing in two tight end sets. Graham will be a solid TE2 with some upside in a tasty Week 6 matchup against the Rams.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

4. Jordan Reed, Redskins – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
Prior to hurting his quad in Week 3, Jordan Reed’s usage was substantial. He saw 15 targets across the first three weeks, turning that into 13 catches for 103 yards with a touchdown. The most interesting part is that he was often playing ahead of Fred Davis. Reed, a strict pass-catching rookie, is certainly worth keeping an eye on in case that continues. Davis is in the final year of his contract, making Reed the future at the position. He said Monday that he expects to play this week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Tyler Eifert, Brent Celek, Clay Harbor – Eifert has five or more targets in 4-of-5 games this season. If Jermaine Gresham were to go down, he’d be on the TE1 radar. … Celek gets a little boost with Nick Foles, but not enough to warrant anything more than weak TE2 production. … With Marcedes Lewis (calf) out again, Harbor is going to catch a handful of passes a week.  

Cut Bait: Scott Chandler, Sean McGrath, Rob Housler – Every Bills pass-catcher takes a hit with Thaddeus Lewis starting. … McGrath’s run of yawn-worthy production will end with Anthony Fasano (ankle) getting close. … Housler played 52 snaps Sunday, yet didn’t see a target. He has two catches in three games played this year.
1. Vikings – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
Minnesota comes out of their bye and straight into a tasty matchup with the Panthers in the Metrodome. Cam Newton has five interceptions in his last three games and has been sacked 15 times on the year (tied for third-most in NFL). Steve Smith has lost a step.

2. Browns – Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Normally, I wouldn’t consider starting a defense playing against the Lions. But Calvin Johnson (knee) is questionable, the Browns are at home and their front seven is among the best in the NFL. The Packers gave a blueprint on Sunday, sacking Matthew Stafford five times and stopping the run with ease.

3. Bucs – Owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
Tampa had the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense last season and is currently tenth in that category this year. So if they sell out to stop LeSean McCoy, can Nick Foles beat them? There’s certainly a chance, but just about every Eagles pass-catcher outside of DeSean Jackson is inept and the game is in Tampa. In a week thin on streamers, the Bucs off a bye are worth a look.

1. Robbie Gould, Bears – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Giants defense was bad to start with, and now three-fourths of their secondary is banged up. Look for the Bears to go up and down the field just like the Eagles did in Week 5, when Alex Henery made five short field goals. Robbie Gould is kicking with plenty of confidence as he’s 8-of-8 on the season.

2. Ryan Succop, Chiefs – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
Alex Smith is a field-goal kicker’s dream. Former Niners kicker David Akers led the NFL in attempts in 2012 (42) and 2011 (52). Now Smith is in Kansas City and Ryan Succop is tied for sixth in attempts. Expect plenty more chances this week as the Chiefs face the Raiders at home.

3. Adam Vinatieri, Colts – Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
Old kickers can still produce – just ask Jason Hanson. Vinatieri, now 40 years old and graying, is 9-of-11 on the season and has converted from both 49 and 46 yards out. This week, he gets good kicking conditions in San Diego and figures to see significant work. The Chargers have the league’s No. 27 defense.

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