Santa’s coming early this year, and if ya’ll been good girls and boys you…won’t get any presents; sorry you’ll just have to wait for Christmas day. BUT, if you’re reading this—or already beat me to the punch—you could pick up some sweet waiver deals that are almost certain to spread some intermediate Christmas cheer.
As the season progresses, there will be more focus on the running game, ball control, and second stringers for those teams already set in the playoff bracket, which could have a huge effect on your Fantasy team; both negatively and positively.
The Gift of Giving: The Indianapolis Way.
TE – Tom Santi: Santi has had a few explosive instances this year and more of that could come as we’ll most certainly see more of the surprisingly apt tight end. The Colts still have to be a bit concerned with only a three game lead in the division…yeah right, but really, pick this guy up since he is bound to help you out at TE if you’re in a pinch.
RB – Donald Brown: Brown hasn’t had too many opportunities to show what he can do on the field, but as things go for the Colts at this time of the year that will probably change, and with more focus on ball control and short game attacks, Brown and Santi are this year’s Christmas gifts from Indianapolis to you.
It is more often than not a bit futile to mention a QB on the Waiver list at this time of year, but for those of you doing a bit of early shopping try out these sweet NFL discounts, (performances may vary, void in Alaska).
Chris Redman – ATL: For those of you who thought Matt Ryan was invincible you may have over looked his very competent back up Chris Redman. The Falcons are in the fight of their lives for a second post season appearance and Redman is on the front lines. As explained here, why Redman will have success, the Falcons can’t afford anymore losses making Redman a huge pickup if he hasn’t been already gobbled up.
A.J.Feeley / Matt Moore - CAR: The Panthers finally got their wish: Delhomme can be LEGITIMATLY sat which opens up the door for both Moore and Feeley.
It is being reported that Moore will work with the first team, but you can expect him to be on a very short list as the Panthers will exercise every option to win games…ya know, now that their season is almost completely over.
I think Feeley will get the nod by halftime— if he actually doesn’t start— since the Panthers made great strides to sign him earlier on when Delhomme was struggling.
He’s Baaack: The Re-Return of Maurice Stovall.
Maurice Stovall has been on and off with the Bucs offense, but what’s more important is his high level of consistency when he is actually out there. Michael Clayton is out for AT LEAST 2 weeks with a bum MCL making Stovall once again a fine Waiver pickup that you could actually keep this time.
There is a lot of talk out there that Stovall isn't considered a Fantasy option considering his low numbers, alongside a rookie QB. But those numbers came as a third—sometimes fourth—WR option.
Now, Stovall is the starting wideout which means his targets, and his value, should increase enough to make him hold some Fantasy relevance.
Spreading the IDP Cheer.
DL – Kyle Williams – Bills: It has been a shock to me as of late that Kyle Williams has, for the most part, been looked at and heavily considered a long shot as the DL. Ok, he battled through some injuries earlier on, but remove that little aspect, and this guy hasn’t been all that bad; especially for an IDP waiver pick up.
I have been using him off and on since I picked him up 5 weeks ago, and with the Bills getting a smidgen better defensively, Williams is a fantastic pick up for those of you looking to upgrade your line if they are struggling; considering the playoffs are right around the corner.
Williams has an overall ownership of 6.7% and a defensive ranking of 13 in ESPN leagues.
CB – Alphonso Smith – DEN: Ty Law has been pretty much ruled out which means Smith, who already plays quite a bit in Nickel packages, could see increased time, and if you are looking for a possible two week fix at CB, Smith may be your guy with favorable matchups against turnover prone Kansas City and a Colts team that will be playing a lot of backups by then.
LB – Cato June – Here’s a nice example of the Colts giving back to the Fantasy managers even if they don’t own the player anymore. Remember Cato June, because at one time he was a mainstay in the Colts defense, but since the Texans were overloaded at LB, and apparently filled with Christmas cheer, they decided to give him to a Bears team that hasn’t really shown up defensively since the exit of Urlacher.
June could be a huge pickup since he is expected to be an immediate plug in since he is already familiar with the Tampa 2 system the Bears run, and has ZERO ownership in ESPN leagues. Other honorable mentions that have zero ownership at linebacker AND who are playing well are: Corey Mays –Kansas City and Brandon Johnson - Cincinnati. Both players have been hot as of late and are averaging a serviceable 5.5 points in most ESPN leagues.
IDP Player Highlight: Trevor Scott – Oakland Raiders.
Trevor Scott has virtually been a non-existent IDP player at the DL spot for most of the season, but the Raiders moved him to the LB position and suddenly the guy goes bananas and records 6 tackles and 2 sacks in a losing effort against the Cowboys.
The thing is though, the Raiders look like they may stick with Scott and ride his hot performance as much as they can, and if you add in a very banged up aging D-line, Scott has a duality in worth going forward.
If you are the type of manager who is cautious, do yourself a favor and add him to your watch list and monitor his progress.
If you are a fan of riding the hot player with your open slot (like I am) then Scott makes a great pick up. He has a zero ownership, an unreal player ranking at 14, and up until last week, he was still averaging about 4 to 5 TTs a game in ESPN leagues.
Remember, for those of you new to Fantasy Football, if you are still in the hunt, but are having trouble gauging who will come up big at this point in the season, the Waiver Wire could be a great place for you to use a plug and play strategy to keep you in the hunt for a post season berth…very similar strategy one would use in Fantasy Baseball, so pay attention to the matchups, and take a chance if you can afford it.
Playing the spread? Come take a look at what Top Fantasy's Chris Farmer has cooking on the betting grill this week.
Good Luck Everyone!
12/02 UPDATE: JAMAL LEWIS IS DONE FOR THE YEAR.
The Browns have released new information confirming Jamal Lewis is pretty much done for the season with "post concussion symptoms" opening the door for not only Jerome Harrison, but also Chris Jennings.
Primarily, the Browns have always been a single back team who tried—albeit in futile manner—to utilize the powerback system. But now, with Harrison and Jennings fully available, one has to suspect that the Browns may entertain a two back system just to see if it works, and what can come of it with their future backs.
Both of these players are risky pickups given the type of play the Browns have demonstrated, but after this week's matchup against the Chargers, they have favorable meetings with the Chiefs and Raiders.
Put these guys on your watch list, and see what comes this week, one, or the other, may be worth a shot for those of you in a pinch, as well as Dynasty leaguers looking for a fill.
Check out all our Rankings, in our usual start sit fashion.