Waiver Options to Contend and Spoil

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We’ve hit the point in the fantasy season where the status of your team is pretty clear. You know if you’re a strong team contending for a title, fighting to grab a playoff spot and hit a hot streak, or just trying to go out and spoil some playoff aspirations. No matter your predicament, waiver wire adds are as important as ever. There are still starting caliber players out there, but just as important are the players you add now to the end of your bench for later.

If you do not believe rounding out your depth matters ask Alshon Jeffery, C.J. Anderson, or Matt Jones owners how they’re feeling about the future of their seasons right about now. Potential additions are broken down into tiers to include those in leagues with challengingly shallow benches, moderately sized office leagues, and the deepest of leagues with friends where any money won still comes in second to bragging rights.

Ownership percentages are from ESPN.com leagues as of 11/16

Under 60% owned

C.J. Prosise – RB – Seahawks 59.1% Owned

Looking like the real deal last week against the Patriots, Prosise put up 21 points in PPR leagues on his way to over 150 yards from the line of scrimmage. Getting 24 touches might not be an every week occurrence, especially with Thomas Rawls returning to the fold, but Prosise will not become the forgotten man. A former wide receiver at Notre Dame, Prosise was billed as a pass catching specialist when he entered the league. However, he has displayed a solid one-cut ability while running the football as well. The Seahawks used every bit of his talent deploying him as a runner between the tackles, around the end, even motioning him out as a wide receiver in an effort to get him the ball in different areas of the field. His pass-catching ability gives him a high floor week in and week out, and no other back on the roster provides that skill set to the degree Prosise does. He will become an important cog in the Seahawks offense on their way to a playoff run, and he should do the same on your fantasy squad as well.

Editor’s note: After publication Prosise suffered an injury that will likely keep him out for the remainder of the fantasy season.

Kenny Britt – WR – Rams 58.8% Owned

Currently enjoying a career year, Britt has posted double digit PPR points in all but two games so far this season. With word of a quarterback change on the horizon this week some owners in your league might be hesitant to add the former Scarlet Knight. As our own Jon Ledyard documented back in September, Jared Goff’s struggles in the preseason were not entirely of his own making. Goff has had 10 weeks to better learn the playbook and grow comfortable making adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Even a modicum of time in the film room would show him that Britt is the go-to Rams receiver. The athletic gifts that Britt has long teased owners with are finally translating onto the field as he looks like a better route runner than ever. Additionally, he is finally using his 6’3″ 220 lbs. frame to his advantage, routinely boxing out corners on short slants. Britt should absolutely be owned in 100% of leagues with his steady floor and underappreciated upside.

Rishard Matthews – WR – Titans 47.5% Owned

In the vein of Dave Archibald’s 5 Things I’ve Been Wrong About Midway Through 2016 article, I want to say I was off on my earlier prediction that Tajae Sharpe was the most impressive Titans WR. I’m not saying Sharpe is a bust, coming off the best game of his early career, but he is not #1 WR material this early on. Rishard Matthews on the other hand, has stepped up in a big way for the Titans. He leads the team in receiving TDs, is third in receptions, and second in receiving yards. With teams needing to keep an eye on Delanie Walker underneath, Matthews is evolving into the go-to man on the outside. There are a few words of caution, however. The Titans have their bye week in Week 13 which is when most two week fantasy playoffs begin. Upon returning, they face Denver, Kansas City, and Jacksonville, which is not exactly the slate you would like for a fantasy receiver. He will be useful this week against the Colts if you need a flex player, and possibly even next week as a lower end option against the Bears but after that it would be wise to find another option.

Under 20% owned

Kenneth Dixon – RB – Ravens 16.2% Owned

Writing about Dixon comes with the caveat that as of right now, we are dealing with a certain ceiling. Terrance West is still going to see the bulk of the carries out of the Ravens’ backfield if he remains productive. However, Dixon is starting to carve out a pass-catching role for himself in Baltimore. While he has not displayed Giovani Bernardtype shiftiness that one might expect from a RB specializing in receiving, he does display impressive straight-line speed out of his cuts. Keeping West fresh for the second half of the season might mean lightening his load just a tad, which logically equates to a bit more of Kenneth Dixon, with Buck Allen mixed in for good measure. Purely a flex option right now in moderate to deep leagues, Dixon has the ability to become a great pass-catching option with a wrinkle or two added to his game. As he figures out where to hit the gas on running plays and pass protect a little better he could eventually find himself in a 50 / 50 time share with West which would be a major boon to his value.

Kenny Stills – WR – Dolphins 15.3% Owned

I wrote about Stills way back when he was a late round draft target. In that time he has posted five double digit PPR outings and four in which he scored fewer than five points. Stills truly is proving to be a feast or famine option in the Dolphins’ offense. The weeks when every injury report seems to be going against you, when the matchups are terrible, or when you are facing the juggernaut in your league is the exact time to roll with him. While I do not think he should be owned in each and every league, he is one of the best weekly streaming options for those projected down by large margins. With the Jets and the Bills in Weeks 15 and 16 respectively, Stills could even find his way into some championship lineups. Stills is indeed the full-time deep-speed option everyone assumed he would be with Mike Wallace gone, yet he is used enough to move the chains that the deep ball he reels in is not the sole play responsible for his fantasy day. Low floor, high ceiling is not how anyone wants to live week-to-week but Stills makes the pill easier to swallow with his electric play.

Under 5% owned

Wendell Smallwood – RB – Eagles 1.9% Owned

Last I spoke about Smallwood, he was a deep league only add. Even though he has not yet turned into someone to consider in 10- or 12-team leagues, things are looking better than they were previously. The Eagles-Falcons game remained close throughout the entire contest and Smallwood found himself running more as the game wore on. While Ryan Mathews did out-carry Smallwood, the rookie looked impressive yet again, turning 13 attempts into 70 yards. The burst is there, along with deceptive shiftiness for a man that runs like a freight train. The Eagles want to continue to run a ball-control offense and Smallwood could factor into that more if they are looking to keep Ryan Mathews healthy. The RB position has provided a particular level of difficulty to nail down this year and Smallwood has the talent to take over if given the opportunity. Cream rises to the top and Smallwood is too talented to stay down for much longer. In the deepest of leagues, owners cannot afford to leave talented RBs out in the cold hoping to get the right waiver order to come up when they need one.

Breshad Perriman – WR – Ravens 2.1% Owned

They say when you gaze long into an abyss (of ownership percentages) the abyss also gazes into you. Looking for players owned in less than five percent of leagues leaves one dealing with an underwhelming set of players, yet there he is. Perriman was a first round pick in 2015 and has some serious speed to go along with an otherwise impressive skill set. In October, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told the second-year player that he wants him to “speed the (learning) curve up.” Perriman is facing this learning curve now since he spent last year on IR with a strained PCL and the results have been less than optimal. However, the college talent is beginning to line up with the pro tape as Perriman logged a nice catch and run on a drag route for 25 yards on Thursday. Later he snagged his first career TD streaking down the field and making an adjustment in the endzone to secure the catch. So far we have only seen brief glimpses of Perriman’s talent, but last week was his most complete game and could be the start of greater things. 14+ team leagues that have deep benches should not have him on the waiver wire.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @The_ATJ. Check out Andrew’s article on key to running back handcuffs.

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