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The Ticker, Week 10: The waiver wire is for winners AND losers

Just because you're out of the running doesn't mean you should ignore the waiver wire.

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In my main league, I'm basically done for. My record is 2-7, the result of starting my season with Adrian Peterson, Montee Ball and Doug Martin, and even that 2-7 is because I won in Week 9. Six teams make the playoffs, and if everything breaks right, I could theoretically squeak in at 6-7, but realistically, it ain't happenin'.

In theory, that could mean that I just hang it up. After all, even if I were to stumble into some hot waiver addition, what good will it do? It's a keeper league, but it's just a two-keeper; I'm unlikely to find a waiver piece that I'd keep over guys like Alshon Jeffery.

But things can happen. Tuesday last week, I went to the Aaron Rodgers owner and offered him Colin Kaepernick and Andre Ellington for Rodgers. He declined. But he said he was interested in the deal - if I included Denard Robinson.

Robinson meant very little to me. I grabbed him that first week he had the starting gig and played him, but he was never going to be a keeper in this format. I had dived on him even when I had little left to play for, but by continuing to stay active on the wire, I turned a waiver piece I didn't need, an underwhelming quarterback and a good running back into Rodgers, a surefire keeper for next season, as long as he can stay healthy.

In the last week, continuing to troll the wire, I picked up Charles Sims and Juwan Thompson. Again, basically no chance I keep them, but if they pop, and guys get desperate? Maybe I can start next season with Rodgers and someone else great.

The waiver wire isn't just to win you a matchup in the bye weeks. It's a flexible tool that can give you advantages in any number of ways, and ignoring the wire because "my starters are good" or "I'd never keep those guys" is a good way to lose, or lose even more if you're already losing.

That's why the wire is for everyone. And that's why The Ticker is for everyone. Here it is for Week 10, my stock market-inspired look through the fantasy football wire. Six categories as always:

Stocks I'm buying: low-owned players who did well the week before, and I believe it

Stocks I'm not buying: low-owned players who did well the week before, and I don't believe it

Stocks I'm selling: high-owned players who struggled, and I'm bailing on them a bit

Stocks I'm not selling: high-owned players who struggled, but I still trust them

Hedges: handcuffs; low-owned guys who have a starter in front of them, but injuries or starter awfulness could change things

Futures market: low-owned guys without an obvious line to fantasy productivity yet, but there are things that could change in that department

(All ownership percentages are as of Monday morning.)

If you're losing, maybe you can use the wire to improve in a different way. Maybe you can't. I have an offer now out for Rob Gronkowski that, if pressed, I guess will fail. But you never stop trying.

Stocks I'm buying

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Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS (50 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues)

[WASHINGTON QUARTERBACK] has 122 fantasy points this season. That's one point more than Joe Flacco, several better than Colin Kaepernick and Eli Manning, just a few behind Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees. All of those guys have been their team's sole quarterback this season. Sure, it's not quite that simple, but that's a fair piece of production with some bad quarterbacks contributing. Griffin, right now, might not be all we dreamed of when he was drafted, but he's better than Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. And he has a group of weapons that ranks in the top handful of arsenals in the league. He'll have numbers.

Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez, QB, PHI (2 percent)

Sanchez isn't actually very good. You know who else isn't very good? Nick Foles. If I'm starting a roster from scratch today, in fact, I'd rather have Sanchez. Foles' success, in my opinion can be attributed almost entirely to the system in which he has existed, and that's the same system Sanchez now finds himself amid. For reference, my rankings of Foles this season week by week have been 10-9-7-9-13-11-12-10. For Week 10, my ranking of Sanchez? Ninth. It's Next Man Up behind center in Philadelphia.

Chris Polk

Chris Polk, RB, PHI (0 percent)

Polk played a few games last year behind LeSean McCoy, with 159 total yards and three scores. It was enough that the Eagles dealt Bryce Brown to Buffalo, settling on Polk as the fill-in should LeSean McCoy ever go down. Of course, the Eagles then added Darren Sproles, which is why Polk didn't see the field all season this year until Week 8. But with Sproles back this week, Polk still got touches Sunday, with eight carries for 50 yards and a touchdown. You won't be getting 11 fantasy points a week from Polk, but he's a nice stash, especially with Sproles now an injury question mark, and if McCoy were to go down, he'll be really attractive.

Stocks I'm not buying

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson, RB, NYJ (49 percent)

The mere fact that Johnson is eligible for this category - I have a threshold of 50-percent ownership for these categories - should be enough, as Johnson was basically 100-percent owned at the start of the season. But Monday, after Johnson had 101 yards from scrimmage in Sunday's game, I started seeing people wondering if they should be using Johnson again. The answer is, sure, if you're going 50 running backs deep in your league. Johnson is still the second fiddle to Chris Ivory, and the second fiddle in a New York Jets offense is just no place for anyone.

Charles Clay

Charles Clay, TE, MIA (43 percent)

A few paragraphs ago, I referenced my personal position rankings. Well, Clay was my No. 9 tight end entering the season, ahead of guys like Jordan Reed, Antonio Gates, Dwayne Allen, Travis Kelce. I had bought in on his 2013 surprise performance, when Clay had seven total touchdowns and 774 yards from scrimmage. Before 2013, Clay had never done anything special, and he's fallen back to that this year - even with two good games in his last three, Clay is on pace for barely 500 yards this season, and four scores. He's had three or fewer fantasy points in six of eight games. I believe the six bad games over the two good ones.

Taylor Gabriel

Taylor Gabriel, WR, CLE (0 percent)

It's not that I don't think Gabriel is talented. He has actually been reasonably productive this season, on an 800-yard pace. It's just that he is one of so many fair-to-middling mouths to feed in Cleveland. Andrew Hawkins is the Browns' No. 1, and Miles Austin and Travis Benjamin are at least as relevant as Gabriel. And that's all before you consider the possibility of Jordan Cameron eventually getting back on the field. And then there's the looming specter of Josh Gordon. I just don't think Brian Hoyer is enough of a quarterback to feed that many mouths.

Stocks I'm selling

Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson, WR, HOU (98 percent)

I've been willing to overlook some of Johnson's struggles this season. He's still Andre Johnson, he has been targeted almost 20 times more than DeAndre Hopkins. Right when we all started to give up on Johnson, he had that big game in Week 6 with 99 yards and a score, sucking us back in. But did you know that, other than that Week 6 game, Hopkins has outscored Johnson every game this season? Through nine weeks now, Hopkins has 86 fantasy points in standard scoring, while Johnson has 54. Johnson has one touchdown; Hopkins has four. Sure, Hopkins' floor is just as low as Johnson's, but his ceiling appears to be much higher. It's Hopkins, not Johnson, who is the top receiver in the Houston offense.

Pierre Garcon

Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS (94 percent)

Garcon has been particularly boom-or-bust this season - in eight of nine games he has put up nine-plus or four-minus, with only his seven-point Week 1 falling in between those numbers. Garcon, who was always good for the occasional big play in seasons past, now has to watch DeSean Jackson be his team's big-play guy; his "long yardage" play has been 23 or fewer yards in seven of nine games. I just don't know how you run Garcon out there every week with anything approaching confidence.

Stocks I'm not selling

Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers, QB, SD (97 percent)

Sometimes, my reason for not selling is as simple as "What the heck changed?" I can't find any reason why Rivers went from superstar quarterback with four touchdowns, to every interception this season, to a dude with a 31.0 passer rating Sunday. He wasn't injured (at least, not until late, and it wasn't severe), he wasn't missing any weapons he had had previously. He was facing a good defense, but not a shut-it-down-and-go-home one. No, the most I can say about Rivers is that sometimes these things happen, and if that's all I can find, I'm going to invest. Maybe it was just that he and the Chargers needed their Week 10 bye, and with a game against Oakland in Week 11, I think Rivers and the team get back to the good.

Kelvin Benjamin

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR (94 percent)

Since the Panthers played Thursday, this point has been made several times over the weekend. But Benjamin's two-catch, 18-yard game against the Saints also included 10 targets. He's averaged almost nine targets a game as a rookie, and had averaged more than 10 fantasy points a game before Thursday. Benjamin's reputation entering his rookie season was that he was big, fast and talented, but that he had to battle the occasional bout of stone hands. His targets will stay high, and Benjamin will haul in more of them.

Hedges

Alfred Blue

Alfred Blue, RB, HOU (11 percent)

This isn't anything deep. Arian Foster suffered a groin injury Sunday. Because of their Week 10 bye, we have some time to wait until we know for sure what Foster's prognosis is, but early reports Sunday weren't promising. Every single Foster owner should already have had Blue rostered; if he's available in any league, go get him now. This is a team that has relied heavily on its running game so far, and even if Foster is out, the gameplan won't change that much.

Damien Williams

Damien Williams, RB, MIA (0 percent)

I don't think Williams is going to be anything special. But Lamar Miller is dealing with a sprained AC joint, an injury that he might be able to play through, but one that is likely to limit his upside. I think Williams is a better bet to inherit whatever touches Miller loses. This is only for the deepest of leagues or the most desperate of situations, but if you're stuck, this is a guy no one is talking about who should see his workload increase.

Futures market

Khiry Robinson

Khiry Robinson, RB, NO (16 percent)

Mark Ingram has 23 fantasy points in each of his last two games. He also has basically zero track record of NFL success prior to this year. What he does have is some injury history, and several other running backs with the Saints. While Travaris Cadet isn't anything special, and Pierre Thomas could miss a bit longer, Robinson is expected back as soon as this weekend. He looked good when it was just he and Thomas in the middle of the season; there's every reason to think he could look about the same when it's he and Ingram, and if Ingram were to get hurt again (not asking much), Robinson would be a strong running back play.

Tyler Eifert

Tyler Eifert, TE, CIN (14 percent)

Last week in this space, it was Kyle Rudolph I touted. Next week it might be Marcedes Lewis. The point is that tight end has been a wasteland after the top tier this season, and if you've been scuffling around with Zach Ertz, or Tim Wright, or even Vernon Davis, you've hated a big chunk of your season. Eifert was expected to be a big part of the Cincinnati offense in the preseason, and with his return expected in Week 11, you could do worse than toss him a speculative waiver claim.