As well as one can draft their fantasy football team, inevitably a combination of injuries and surprises arise throughout the year. As a result, working the waiver wire is a key component of winning your fantasy league. Here is some advice on whom to pick up and whom to leave alone in the free agent pool (for personal advice email larry at larrybrownsports.com):
With bye weeks in full effect, working the waiver wire for replacement players is as important as ever. The pickings are slim this week for fill-in quarterbacks, unlike last week where the likes of Shaun Hill and David Garrard were stars. There really aren’t many new running backs to recommend, but the player group with the most movement is wide receivers. Most of our advice centers around wide receivers because new players continue to emerge. Also, five weeks into the season we have very good ideas about what to exploit and avoid in fantasy land.
Matchups to Avoid (at your discretion): Steelers defense, Ravens defense, Jets rush defense, Giants pass defense
Matchups to Exploit (at your discretion): Houston, Seattle, Jacksonville, and New England’s secondary. Buffalo, Oakland, Arizona, Tampa Bay, and Indy’s run defense. Start a defense playing Carolina, Arizona, and San Francisco.
Steve Johnson, WR, Bills – We’ve recommended him for two weeks in a row so he might be gone in your league, but he now has a touchdown catch in three straight weeks. As Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target, he’s looking like a nice sleeper. Keep in mind he’s on a bye if you do pick him up.
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans – Much like Johnson, we’ve recommended Britt for two weeks in a row and he also has caught a touchdown in three straight weeks. With Justin Gage out, expect this to continue.
Danny Amendola, WR, Rams – We already noted Amendola as a guy to pick up with Mark Clayton’s injury, but it’s worth mentioning again. He sees a lot of passes and is great for PPR leagues.
Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants – He used to be one of the top pass rushers in the league and appears to be completely recovered from knee surgery. Six sacks in four games? Now that’s what I’m talking about!
*Make sure they’re not still available: LaRon Landry, Brandon Lloyd
Chad Henne, QB, Dolphins – He’s had his struggles, but with Clay Matthews and maybe Ryan Pickett out for Green Bay, he should have some time to throw and post decent yardage totals. It’s a bad week for picking up fill-in quarterbacks on a bye. Slim options.
Dolphins, Steelers, Bears – Steelers and Bears are likely gone, but if you’re in a weekly league, they’re great to run out there. I like the Dolphins this week with Green Bay likely having to start Matt Flynn.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts – He’s back from his hamstring injury after missing two weeks. He had six catches for 57 yards against the Chiefs and is worth a pickup if he was dropped in your league.
Anthony Armstrong, WR, Redskins – He caught his first career touchdown on Sunday and appeared to be Donovan McNabb’s deep threat. As long as McNabb continues to look his way, he could have some value.
Jeremy Shockey, TE, Saints – I wasn’t a believer two weeks ago, but after three straight weeks of solid production, I’m sold. He’s not bad for a bye-week fill-in.
Kerry Rhodes, S, Cardinals – He’s proving to be the same all-around player he was with the Jets, knocking down passes, making tackles, and being around the ball. The result is a variety of ways he can get you points.
*Make sure they’re not still available: Brandon Pettigrew
Lee Evans, WR, Bills – This was his first strong game of the season and first touchdown of the year. He’s on a bye and I don’t expect a repeat when he gets back.
Nate Burleson, WR, Lions – Caught his first touchdown of the season Sunday in his return after missing two weeks with an ankle sprain. Calvin Johnson and their tight ends see most of the looks, so I wouldn’t bother with him for now. If Megatron isn’t cleared to play because of a shoulder injury, Burleson actually might have value this week so keep your eye on it.
Israel Idonije, DT, Bears – I don’t think he’ll be that active in their scheme and posting three sacks was more a sign of Carolina’s problems than his strengths.
Deji Karim, RB, Jaguars – He’s the official backup to Maurice Jones-Drew and looked good on Sunday. With MJD banged up, he’ll get a fair share of carries.
Mardy Gilyard, WR, Rams – He got in some nice work last weekend after Mark Clayton’s injury and could be Clayton’s fill-in. Keep your eye on the situation.
Photo Credits: Chris McGrath/Getty Images, Scott Boehm/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty ImagesGoogle+