Whereas last week’s waiver wire was the Jaws of thrill-a-minute-like quality pickups, this week’s is more like Jaws 3D (Jaws: The Revenge never happened. In fact, Michael Caine still clocks people who reminded him of his role in that heaping roast of celluloid filth).
While there isn’t a Chief Brodie, Mr. Hooper or Quint to greatly enhance your roster, there are some hidden gems to find as we go deep into the waiver wire.
This Week’s Waiver Wire Gems
Alfred Blue, RB, Texans: Blue is what happens when you give 59 touches to a player coming off back surgery and a history of hamstring injuries, which is exactly what new Texans coach Bill O’Brien did with Arian Foster, who could miss a second straight game this week against the Bills. Blue got the start against the Giants and responded with 78 yards on 13 carries (although 46 of those came on one third quarter run). The rookie from LSU is owned in 26 percent of polled standard leagues and is a sure bet to see more touches this week, with or without Foster starting. I have screamed from the shores of Astoria, Oregon (a great place to visit) to the most northern tip of New Hampshire that you should avoid Foster this season, and while he enters Week Four as the league’s fifth-best rusher, he was a major letdown waiting to happen. Blue makes for a good Flex option, yet keep an eye on Jonathan Grimes, who is a better pass blocker and receiver than Blue, so don’t go quite all-in on Blue.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles: Prior to last week, Nick Foles had only completed 16 passes to his wideouts, a number that was equaled by Matthews and Jeremy Maclin, who each pulled in eight receptions. For Matthews, it was a breakout performance, as he scored his first two NFL touchdowns. Making his day more impressive is that he was targeted nine times, which showed why the Eagles used a second-round pick on Matthews. Riley Cooper’s role has been diminished, opening the door for Matthews to step into the void. I don’t know about you, but if there’s a receiver available in 81 percent of polled standard league waiver wires who catches passes at an 89 percent clip, then I’m going to make room on my roster for him. Matthews needs a good follow-up to show he’s capable of being a WR3/Flex in standards, but he’s worth a look at both positions in deeper leagues and PPR formats.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Steelers: Sunday reminded us how good Blount could be when given extensive carries, as he bulled his way through a pretty good Panthers defense for 118 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. What Sunday may have also shown is that the Steelers may have laid the foundation for the offense, as Pittsburgh went back to the basics: establish the power running game for Ben Roethlisberger to hurt opponents with play-action. Blount will likely see more touches despite the presence of Le’Veon Bell; at the very least, Blount (owned in 22 percent of polled standard leagues), is a must-handcuff option. He’s also a very intriguing Flex option, as the Steelers host a Buccaneers team that could still be reeling from the mauling it took from the Falcons last Thursday night.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets: No matter who the Jets bring in at wideout, it seems all roads eventually lead back to Kerley, who comes off a 7-81-1 outing in Monday night’s loss to the Bears. Eric Decker’s hamstring injury only enhances the appeal of Kerley, who has been targeted 24 times thus far. He and Geno Smith look to have a pretty good rapport with each other, plus Kerley brings the added weapon of being used occasionally in the ground game (37 yards). If Decker is out against the Lions on Sunday, I’d consider Kerley (owned in just 10 percent of polled leagues) a stealth Flex option. He will also have appeal as a WR3 in deeper leagues.
Denard Robinson, RB, Jaguars: Fifty players, including the likes of Cordarrelle Patterson, Percy Harvin and Geno Smith, have more rushing yards than Toby Gerhart, the Jags’ big offseason acquisition (and that 2.4 yards per carry doesn’t endear feelings of glee and whimsy, either). Frustrated to no end with their lack of a ground game, Jacksonville gave Robinson eight carries late in last week’s loss to Indianapolis, and the former Michigan quarterback responded with a respectable 33 yards (4.1 yards per carry). Head coach Gus Bradley proclaimed that Robinson will get more looks heading into this week’s game against the Chargers, giving the Jags a potential open-field threat whose versatility provides a level of intrigue for those looking into speculating on a future gem. Robinson is owned in just one percent of polled standard leagues, so while I’m not saying to bum rush the door to grab him, he does merit more than just a glance.
Owen Daniels, TE, Ravens: The loss of Dennis Pitta (hip) swings the door open for Daniels, whose sure hands have resulted in catches for 10 of his 11 targets, which includes two touchdowns. Daniels now reverts back to being a reliable TE2, more so considering that offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak turned him into a Pro Bowl performer when the latter was head coach of the Texans from 2006-13. While Torrey Smith sets up to be the beneficiary of the loss of Pitta’s targets, Daniels will get a significant share, especially near the goal line.
Branden Oliver, RB, Chargers: The season-ending loss of Danny Woodhead gives Oliver an opportunity to work his way into the backfield while Ryan Mathews continues to rehab his knee. Donald Brown got 31 carries for 62 yards (simple math, kids: 2.0 yards per carry) last week, while Oliver managed 11 on three carries. Oliver is more of a clip-and-save play at this point, so keep him in mind if Mathews remains sidelined and Brown continues to falter.