You want to know what’s funny? The way time can take something that you love, and slowly but surely twist it into something you cannot stand. Every year, time transforms the waiver wire for me. At the beginning of the fantasy season, the waiver wire is one of my favorite places. You can find players that slipped under the radar in drafts or players who suddenly sit atop the opportunity totem pole on their team because of injury.
This year, the waiver wire gifted us with league-winning assets like James Conner and Philip Lindsay and Matt Breida. But by now, as we approach the brink of the fantasy playoffs, I have come to hate the waiver wire. I don’t want to have to consider picking up LeGarrette Blount or Chester Rogers. Yet that is my apportioned fate, every year.
Join me on this unfortunately necessary journey as we attempt to pick clean the carcass of the fantasy football waiver wire.
QB – Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (ESPN 22.4% owned)
The Ravens find themselves in somewhat of a pickle. With the Bengals in free-fall and the Browns being the Browns, they still have an outside chance of snagging a wildcard spot and sneak into the playoffs.
That potential playoff berth makes their quarterback situation more delicate than it would be otherwise. If they were out of the playoff race, they would be far more likely to insert Lamar Jackson as the starter to finish off the year and allow Joe Flacco to recover fully from his hip injury.
Fortunately for you, those concerns don’t apply to your fantasy team. You just need to know that Baltimore’s next four games read as follows – Oakland, at Atlanta, at Kansas City and Tampa Bay. That’s a pleasant mix of terrible defenses and an offensive juggernaut. There isn’t much else worth your attention on the wire so Jackson might be worth a roster spot.
RB – Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (ESPN 33.1% owned)
Believe me, I hate that I’m endorsing Theo Riddick as much as you hate having to read someone endorse Theo Riddick as a waiver wire target.
The Lions are a bad team, and their fortunes aren’t going to get any better with the news of Kerryon Johnson’s knee sprain. It isn’t a season-ending injury, but Johnson will be week-to-week, which will open up opportunities for Riddick to earn more work.
Of course, Riddick will have to compete with LeGarrette Blount, who holds some kind of hex over Matt Patricia that gets him on the field every week, but in a week where the Browns considered hiring Condoleezza Rice as their next head coach, we might just get a fantasy-relevant Theo Riddick.
WR – Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (ESPN 26.3% owned)
This is meant to be the spot where I tell you to pick up D.J. Moore, but after the last couple of weeks, if I have to tell you to pick up D.J. Moore, then it’s already too late for your season. Instead, let’s talk about Christian Kirk.
There is no escaping the fact that the Cardinals are a bad team. Hopefully, Steve Wilks is a one-and-done head coach at the NFL level, and next season, we get to see a competent coaching staff surround Josh Rosen and David Johnson.
Christian Kirk has performed far above expectations given his team’s situation and has shown excellent rapport with his rookie quarterback. Kirk is really a playoff stash – Weeks 15 and 16 see the Cardinals face off against the Falcons and the Rams, two decidedly suspect secondaries this year. He’s an intriguing flex piece, which is about as good as the waiver wire gets at this point in the year.
TE – Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (ESPN 46% owned)
I’m sure we say it every year, but this year has been a terrible year for tight ends. The most volatile position in fantasy football seems like it’s been even more volatile this year, unless your tight end’s name is Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce.
That volatility has extended even to the Saints – being the most explosive offensive force in football doesn’t stop tight ends being volatile. That being said, Benjamin Watson gets to face off against the Falcons and the Buccaneers in the next few weeks, and his red zone usage puts him in the everlasting “touchdown-dependent TE1” bracket.
Does that make him worth picking up? I mean, sure. You can pick up Watson, or opt for other fantasy giants like Nick Vannett or Jeff Heuerman. Welcome to tight end purgatory.
by Ben Barton – @Baron_Barton