It's time for waiver wire advice and guest writer Mike is back with more. Read on for this week's advice and some expert links.
It’s always tricky to make blanket statements when discussing waiver wire additions, because each league is so different. A competitive 12-team league with deep benches is going to have a vastly different group of players available than casual 10-team leagues with short benches. No matter what league you’re in though, general philosophies about roster construction and what sort of player you should be looking to add remain generally the same.
Hopefully, your team is either assured of making the playoffs, or at least in the hunt for a playoff spot. If so, it’s time to evaluate your bench. At this point in the season, there is little reason to worry too much about depth, particularly at positions like QB and WR where injuries are far more infrequent. You should be stacking your bench with players that you could conceivably envision putting into your lineup and helping you win that key game in Week 13, or even better, in your championship game.
While there are certainly some players at various positions in the links below that can help you out, I prefer a strategy this time of the year where you stack your roster with as many running backs as possible, and specifically running backs that offer high upside through either injury or opportunity. These would be players that would likely see a high percentage of their team’s carries if circumstances were to change. Here are a few examples:
He’s probably already owned in most leagues, but if he’s available, he’d be on the top of my list. The Browns love to run the ball, but week-to-week it’s impossible to determine if it will be Ben Tate, Terrance West, or Crowell that puts up the best numbers. If Crowell can just get better at hanging on to the ball, his opportunities should continue to increase, as he clearly is the most dynamic back on the roster.
Similar to the Browns, the Texans prefer a run-heavy approach. Arian Foster has been outstanding this season, but with his nagging hamstring issues, he’s one of the most likely running backs to miss time the rest of the way. If he does, or if the Texans fall out of the playoff race and simply shut Foster down the last couple weeks, Blue would see the bulk of the carries.
Randle has had his share of off-field issues, and is reportedly not winning any popularity contests with his teammates. However, he’s looked good in limited duty, and would likely be the Cowboys’ workhorse behind a stellar offensive line if DeMarco Murray were to miss any time.
Atlanta’s running game isn’t anything to get excited about, but if the Falcons fade from the playoff picture, it would make sense to hand over the reins to Freeman to see if the fourth-round pick has a future as the club’s feature back.
Ball is likely to return this week. If he was dropped during his absence, he’s certainly worth an add going forward. Ronnie Hillman is out for at least a couple weeks, and everyone will be rushing to add C.J. Anderson. While Anderson could certainly take the job and run with it, who’s to say the Broncos’ backfield might not come full circle and end up with Ball taking over again? While he wasn’t particularly effective, Ball was deemed the lead back up until he was injured. Anyone who drafted him this season is undoubtedly feeling burned, but if he’s available now on waivers, there’s little risk in adding him on the cheap.
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On to the links…
Adam Levitan of Rotoworld likes Jordan Matthews’ chances of staying productive with Mark Sanchez throwing him the ball.
Christopher Harris of ESPN considers this a skimpy waiver wire, but notes C.J. Anderson and Damien Williams may have some value at RB.
Numberfire’s Nik Bonaddio has his top 10 waiver adds, including yet another rookie WR, John Brown
Michael Fabiano of NFL.com reminds us of some players we all know, but that may have newfound relevancy, including Ryan Matthews and Josh Gordon.