Working the Wire

Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Strategy

By Kevin Payne

This column is geared toward “standard” 12-team leagues and based upon a $100 free-agent budget. Please, please adjust for your league based upon both the number of teams (I’m in a 24-team league, for example) and budget. This column is posted every Tuesday to, hopefully, accommodate the various waiver schedule. I’ll update it in the comments section during the week; please keep in mind a lot can change from Tuesday to Sunday.

Most leagues used Week 16 as championship week, but some have their final this week or use season points to determine the winner. Therefore, this week we’ll discuss possible players on the waiver wire who could also be used in daily fantasy leagues. Hopefully, everyone had a good season, and we’ll see you back next year.

QUARTERBACK

Primary Targets

Teddy Bridgewater, MIN – Minnesota fans should feel pretty good about their team despite losing late to the Dolphins on a safety, of all scores. Bridgewater passed the eye test the last half of the season and appears to be developing into a franchise quarterback. He has two 300-yard games over his last three and has been a consistent fantasy producer with 21, 17, 22, 18 and 23 fantasy points in his last five games. This week’s game doesn’t get much better with a home matchup against the Bears, who allow 23 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. With some teams resting their stars this week, Bridgewater could be in play. FAAB: $25-30

Hail Mary

Logan Thomas, ARI – Thomas was put in a tough spot Sunday night, throwing downfield pinned back near his own end zone on his only snap of the game. This week, Thomas will get the starting nod against the 49ers and offers more upside than Ryan Lindley. Thomas is a hulking 6-foot-6, 250, with a strong arm but struggled with his accuracy in college. He has some good weapons downfield, and the matchup with the 49ers is decent considering all of the injuries they’ve suffered defensively. Thomas is still a project, but he’s in a good situation under the coaching of Bruce Arians. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

RUNNING BACK

Primary Targets

Devonta Freeman, ATL – Freeman showed his upside Sunday after Stephen Jackson left the game, finishing the 84 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. It’s unknown if Jackson will miss this week’s game, but if he does Freeman would become an attractive target. He showed good burst and vision on his 31-yard touchdown run and is a capable pass-catcher out of the backfield. Freeman has a plus matchup, as well, against a Panthers defense that’s allowed more than 4.5 yards per carry. Watch the reports this week for Jackson’s status. FAAB: $20-25

Jordan Todman, JAC –
Toby Gerhart is dealing with a rib injury and will likely be limited if not out for this week’s game. Todman was the hero last Thursday night with a game-changing 62-yard touchdown run and the likely beneficiary if Gerhart is sidelined. Rookie Storm Johnson could be in the mix as well (FAAB: $1 or FCFS) and the reps in practice this week should give a better indication of which running back is worth owning. Given his latest performance, Todman is the more desirable running back to own. FAAB: $10-15

WIDE RECEIVERS

Hail Mary

Terrance Williams, DAL – If you throw out his Thanksgiving dud, Tony Romo has thrown 17 touchdowns against zero interceptions in his last five games. Two of those touchdowns went to Williams, who had disappeared off the fantasy radar since Week 7. Williams had been a great source of touchdowns scoring six times in the first seven weeks. Until Sunday’s two-touchdown performance, teammate Cole Beasley had been a better fantasy source the last eight weeks. Romo might have rekindled their easy season chemistry, and Williams could make for a nice sleeper play this weekend against the Redskins. FAAB: $1-2

Riley Cooper, PHI –
Many fantasy owners were greatly disappointed in the lack of production from Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews last week. Cooper was the culprit as he vultured two touchdowns, scoring for the first time since Week 5. Cooper’s upside is pretty limited considering he doesn’t have a 100-yard game this season, so his value is touchdown dependent. Given the way Mark Sanchez spreads the ball around, that’s a risky assumption for this week, but Cooper is a big red-zone target with a nice matchup this week against the Giants. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

Kenbrell Thompkins, OAK –
Remember all of that sleeper buzz he generated before last season when Thompkins was still in New England? He now finds himself as a target of Derek Carr in Oakland and was targeted a team-high seven times against the Bills on Sunday. He turned those targets into five catches for 90 yards, his most productive game of the season. This production could be an anomaly considering his previous 15 games, and Carr still has James Jones, Andre Holmes and Mychal Rivera as other targets. Still, Sunday’s production may have earned Thompkins looks this week, and the Raiders likely will have to air it out to keep pace with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. FAAB: $1 or FCFS


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