As we head into week 4 of this season, a lot of the waiver wires are starting to thin. It gets increasingly important to dig deep and find value. The best way of doing this (in a perfect world) is to predict success and get the players early rather than having to identify successful players after they perform and then fight fellow owners to win them off of the waiver wire. I know this is common sense, but it is important to remind folks that you need to project and also follow your gut and go stash players. This mechanism leads to success just as much (if not more-so) than simply picking up the best guy on the waiver wire based on last week’s scoring.
That said, here are some players who are just coming back to the fold and may be overlooked in some leagues. Some are coming back from injuries, some from suspensions, and some just rising from the ashes.
Will Smith- Smith came back this past week and immediately helped provide some veteran presence and pressure to the Saints’ defense. He is typically around a top-20 DL in IDP leagues and many folks may not have realized that he is back. If he is sitting on your waiver wire, feel free to go out there and scoop him up.
Kevin Williams- Williams came back last week and did a decent job in helping bolster the Vikings run defense. While his value is not exceptional, he is still a nice pickup in league that requires you to start a DT. He has annual potential to bring in 6+ sacks to go along with a handful of tackles per game.
DJ Williams- Here’s hoping DJ makes it back this week. He is a stud when he is on the field and if early performance is any indication, the Denver D will offer huge opportunities for the starting WLB. Wesley Woodyard has put up some excellent numbers in DJ’s absence and with DJ being even more talented and even more of a tackling machine that Woodyard, Williams could be in for a big year once he gets back on that field. That could begin as early as this week.
Champ Bailey- Denver’s secondary has been getting toasted without Champ back there. His hamstring injury is still lingering a bit, but he is trying to make it back for this week. Ehen on the field, he is a top-flight CB still and in leagues that require a starting CB he is still a CB2 with CB1 upside. He also gets targeted a whole lot more nowadays then used to, which is great news for fantasy teams since Champ still as elite ball skills and is a sound tackler.
Elvis Dumervil- I expected big things from Dumervil this year and so far he has been nothing but a disappointment. He was injured early in week 1 and then sat out week 2 and week 3. Now he is due to return this week and hopefully will provide a welcome boost to the Denver pass rush and to your IDP team. I expect Dumervil to be a low-end DL1 going forward if he is truly healthy,
Osi Umenyiora- We still do not know if this week is the week that Osi makes it back, but even if it isn’t the time is on the horizon. Word is that Osi will retake his starting job from Jason Pierre-Paul when he is ready. However, even if that is not the case the injuries to Justin Tuck could ultimately open up the door for significant playing time for both Osi and JPP regardless. Osi is a perennial top-10 DL, so when he returns he could be a huge boost to your lineups.
LaRon Landry- Chances are Landry is not out there on your waiver wire, but if he is then go get him. Landry looked excellent in the game against the Cowboys and he made immediate impacts in the game in causing a turnover and making some key hits breaking up passes. He looks to be right on track to become a top-10 DB again.
Chris Harris- Harris was due back this week from his hamstring injury, but that plan may be shelved since he seems to have had a setback in practice this week. Once it is time for him to return, he could be in for a big uptick in statistics. So far, Brandon Merriweather has yet to do anything to show value and Major Wright cannot seem to stay healthy either and is not doing much when he is on the field anyhow. Harris has a big chance to lead that safety group when he can finally return.
Some deeper sleepers to keep an eye on or to go stash now:
Tanard Jackson- Will he be reinstated from his yearlong suspension? Nobody seems to know at the moment. However, he is eligible for reinstatement as of now and the Bucs just lost their replacement FS Cody Grimm for the remainder of the season. If TJax can get reinstated, he won’t have to wait too long to become a starter for TB and an immediate impact IDPer again.
Brian Rolle- I covered Rolle a good amount this week, but I will say it again: go stash him on your roster. He looked excellent in the preseason and while he may be small and undersized as a LB, he is deceptively strong and very quick. He will make an impact for the Eagles and could lead them in tackles per game by season’s end.
Jacquian Williams- Hopefully folks heeded my advice and picked up Williams a week ago. He had a big game against the Eagles last week despite not even starting. He is already playing like the Giants’ second best LB behind only Michael Boley, and Williams has a real chance to be the present and the future as the next big thing for the G-men at LB.
Steve Gregory- Bob Sanders has just suffered his annual season ending injury, so in comes Gregory. He has been a very solid contributor when asked to start for the Chargers in the past. I expect more of the same here. He will almost certainly be out on the waiver wire and he could offer DB2 or DB3 value in a few weeks.
Adrian Moten- This is arguably the deepest sleeper on my list, but he could pay huge dividends down the line. When Gary Brackett was injured in week 1 and then Pat Angerer got dinged up for a few plays, Moten was the guy that entered the game. If anything happens to Angerer going forward, Moten could be one heck of a pickup. Moten also can play WLB and since Kavell Conner has not been ultra durable and Ernie Sims is even worse, Moten could be in line to see some starts down the line.
Prince Amukamara- Prince still may be a few weeks away. However, when he comes back the banged up Giants secondary could certainly use him. He will have a chance to start at some point this year and will probably be the nickel back almost immediately. With how often the G-Men are getting attacked through the air, he could be a decent play, especially in leagues that require you to start CBs.
Bernard Pollard- I have no inside information or evidence here, but my gut just tells me that Pollard has to supplant Zbikowski at some point this season. If and when that happens, Pollard would immediately become a top-10 DB and likely would rack up tackles at the rate of around 7 tackles per game. I have yet to drop him off my roster in 2 or 3 of my leagues based on this.
Jaiquawn Jarrett- This is another circumstance where I feel it is just a matter of time until this kid gets into the starting lineup. Nate Allen has admitted that he is not fully recovered from off-season knee surgery. The Eagles benched him for Kurt Coleman. Then Coleman became a liability and the Eagles put Allen back in the lineup. The SS spot is currently being manned by journeyman Jarrad Page. At some point the Eagles will tinker with the idea of inserting Jarrett into the lineup. They didn’t draft him in the second round for nothing. When he hits the lineup, Jarrett will have a big chance to perform, particularly in run support and in separating WRs and TEs from the ball when they go over the middle.
Brandon Graham- Graham claims he is healthy enough now to play at this moment in time. Coming out of Michigan last year, people were (wrongfully) comparing Graham to none other than Dwight Freeney. While he is nowhere near Freeney’s level, it is fair to say he still possesses a good amount of potential. While he s stuck behind Trent Cole and Jason Babin, if anything happens to either of them or if Babin becomes ineffective at all then we can see a big opportunity for Graham to succeed.