Andy’s Week Six Waiver Wire Pick-ups
By Andrew Miley:
There is nothing more important to keeping yourself connected to a fantasy league than by working the waiver wire every week. Inseason management is crucial to fantasy football success. Keep those juices flowing by reading this column every week as it will provide you with a few players that might be available to improve your team. I only play in point per reception leagues (sorry for the last five years and my mindset makes it too difficult to go back for standard scoring), so consider that when reviewing my advice.
WR Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
The third round rookie has enough lateral agility/foot speed to get off the line of scrimmage while adjusting to the ball in the air, and gets to full speed in a few steps. The wide out attacks the ball with his hands, runs crisp routes while telling stories with hips and head, then catches the ball in stride with great balance, and starts/stops effortlessly. Lockett is able to make the first defender miss, which makes him especially dangerous on bubble screens. His small stature, 5’ 10” and 182 lbs. is his biggest weakness as he cannot always get off the ball with a bigger, stronger corner.
After big talk that the rookie would see more time, he only saw the field on three and four wide sets. Lockett got targeted five time, but caught two of those for 29 yards. The receiver takes what the defense gives him, especially in this conservative offense. His most spectacular play was a catch he didn’t make: a sideline grab where the wide out couldn’t get two feet down. Lockett was also an arm tackle away from breaking a punt return and a kickoff to the house. Despite the disappointing day, keep in mind he only received five targets. Each week the rookie gains his quarterback’s and coaching staffs’ trust, so bigger days are ahead. I would spend 5% of my waiver wire budget to grab him before the wide out truly goes off.
RB Thomas Rawls, Seahawks
In the summer, it seemed like the former Michigan and Central Michigan back would end up on an NFL taxi squad after not getting drafted. That is before Seattle decided to part ways with Robert Turbin and Christine Michaels. Rawls is a powerful runner without much agility, but the young back has decent hands and can anchor to pass block. The runner is chock full of character issues: theft, maturity, and academic issues. Good thing he has a coach in Pete Carroll who gave him this chance with injuries to Marshawn Lynch.
Rawls had a fantastic day against the Bengals rushing for 169 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He used his low center of gravity and powerful legs to churn for more yards than any Seattle back has under Carroll. The runner improved his foot speed and acquired a jump cut combined with decent vision to gain extra yardage. This made him extra scary avoiding the trash at the line of scrimmage versus the stout Cincinnati front seven. Rawls protected the ball near contact while keeping his feet and falling forward. He is more explosive than Lynch and showed off great balance as he hugged the sideline for his long touchdown run. The rookie got pulled for Fred Jackson in the two minute drill, but should form a solid one-two punch with Lynch. If Rawls is available, I would spend 20% to 35% of my remaining budget to acquire him.
WR Jaelen Strong, Texans
The another early third round pick for Houston entered the league with a lot of hype. Some people including me were reminded of a young Vincent Jackson with his play. Journeymen Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington were more seasoned players and won starting roles during the preseason, while Strong struggled with injuries and was forced to wait his turn (first appearing in the Week Five contest against the Colts). The former Arizona State wide out is not the quickest player (it takes him several steps to get up to full speed), but he tracks the ball well and uses his body to shield the ball from defenders. On his hail mary aka first touchdown of the night, Strong was the only one in the coven of players that boxed out in the end zone while catching the pigskin at its highest point.
His second scoring play of the night, Strong got behind the defense using his soft hands and dragging his feet to secure the catch. Keep in mind those were his only targets (two) and the wide out got used in three receiver sets clearly behind fellow rookie Keith Mumphrey. Strong could make more of a fantasy impact as the season goes on with Shorts and Washington continue to fight injuries and the rookie got more comfortable catching passes from the newly re-appointed starter Brian Hoyer. The Texans couldn’t stop a sickly Matt Hasselbeck and lost a step Andre Johnson’s revenge game, so point creation will be a premium. The former third rounder could become the secondary red zone threat after Arian Foster as no Houston tight ends have stepped up and they aren’t using JJ Watt near the goal line this year. In many dynasty leagues, Strong got dropped so invest two to four percent of your budget on him with eight favorable matchups remaining on the Houston schedule.