Tuesday, October 7, 2014


By Will Hoover

NFL football can be a gruesome sport. Week five in the NFL brought a rash of injuries to some prominent fantasy players. While its bad news for some owners, its promising for others who look to the waiver wire to snatch the back up or reach for the next possible break out star. If you’re smart or just lucky the waiver wire can provide that missing piece your team has been lacking. This week instead of listing three players from each position I will instead just list my top ten projected waiver wire players with their current espn ownership percentage and their week six opponent.

  1. Ronnie Hillman: RB, .9% ownership, wk6 @ Jets

It appears the groin injury suffered by Montee Ball in week 5 is more severe than first thought. This is the situation Ronnie Hillman has needed to get on the field and compete for a starting role. With this opportunity Hillman should earn the job over the lackluster Ball. This season Montee Ball has done little to secure his starting position. After 4 games in the Bronco’s high powered offense Ball has 234 combined yards rushing and receiving with one touchdown. This is hardly getting it done for John Fox and the Broncos. Ronnie Hillman is a talented third year back with 4.45 speed and good hands out of the backfield. He may lack the power Montee Ball brought, but many believe Hillman has better vision and playmaking ability. Ronnie Hillman is young for a third year NFL player at the age of 23. In fact Hillman played on an all-star youth football team sponsored by Snoop Dog as a kid (now I feel old). Ronnie Hillman should be added in all formats as he is starting for up to 3 weeks or possibly longer.

  1. Branden Oliver: RB, .5% ownership, wk6 @ Raiders

The rookie undrafted free agent filled in superbly for Ryan Matthews and Donald Brown in week 5. In fact some Charger fans were calling him LaDainian Tomlinson 2.0. I don’t think so, but his performance is hard to ignore. Rushing for 114 yards on 19 carries along with 4 receptions for 68 yards and two total touchdowns. Oliver showed a nice combination of speed and power while making several defenders miss in the victory over the Jets. This week versus the Raiders should have potential Branden Oliver owners drooling. The Raiders weak defense should provide a stage for Oliver to exhibit his offensive skills again. Add Oliver for his continued break out potential and consider him a must start this week versus the Raiders.

  1. Andre Williams: RB, 36.4% ownership, wk6 @ Eagles

Rookie running back Andre Williams has been impressive the last two weeks. In week four’s blow out of the Redskins Williams had 15 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown. Last week Giants starter Rashad Jennings sprained his MCL and had to leave the game. Andre Williams filled in nicely with 73 combined yards and a touchdown. Rumors are that Rashad Jennings will likely be out until after the Giants week eight bye. This makes it a great time to add Williams and ride him until Jennings returns to full health.

  1. Odell Beckham Jr: WR, 3.8% ownership, wk6 @ Eagles

Week five brought us the highly anticipated debut of Odell Beckham Jr, and he didn’t disappoint. With four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown Beckham looked the better of the three relevant Giants receivers on Sunday. Victor Cruz virtually disappeared versus the Falcons with three receptions for 22 yards. Odell Beckham Jr is the son of former LSU running back Odell Beckham Sr. and Heather Van Norman, a 1990’s LSU track star. So genetically Beckham is a superior athlete who can stand out even at the highest level. Being the 12th pick of the first round brings high expectations, which Odell can meet or even exceed this year. Add Beckham for continued starter potential.

  1. Brian Quick: WR, 35.6% ownership, wk6 vs 49ers

At 6’3” and 220 lbs. Brian Quick is a big reliable target in the Ram’s offense this season. After four games Quick has 21 receptions for 322 yards and 3 touchdowns. That’s on pace for 84 receptions and 1288 yards this season. Impressive for the relatively unknown 2012 second round pick from Appalachian State. Not to mention the carousel at QB the Rams have been forced to implore this season. In his third year Quick is showing he has learned the Rams offense and is leading the way among their young wide receiver core. Add Quick for instant wide receiver production.

  1. Antone Smith: RB, 1.9% ownership, wk6 vs Bears

Antone Smith was an undrafted free agent from Florida State in 2010. Since signing with the Falcons Smith has been waiting in the shadows behind not only Stephen Jackson but also Jaquizz Rodgers and former falcon Jason Snelling. This season the Falcons couldn’t ignore Smith’s ability any longer. A speedster and a true dual threat running back, Smith has been a factor in every game this season (besides wk 2 when he was virtually unused). With 277 total yards and 4 touchdowns on the season, it’s hard not to see Smith continuing to earn more playing time. If and when Stephen Jackson misses time with an injury, Antone will be there to take an expanded role. Add Antone Smith for running back depth and as a potential starter if Jackson misses time.

  1. Malcom Floyd: WR, 4.4% ownership, wk6 @ Raiders

Malcom Floyd has recovered from a nasty neck injury he sustained last season. While not receiving a high number of targets, Floyd has done a lot with what he has received (12 receptions, 259 yards, and 2 tds). With a 21.6 yards per catch average Floyd is obviously the Chargers deep receiving threat. At 33 years old Floyd is an old dog in terms of wide receivers. His hard work, ability to make big plays and experience with quarterback Phillip Rivers all added up to make Floyd the MVP of the Chargers camp this offseason. An interesting fact about Floyd is that his first NFL touchdown was also Phillip Rivers’s first career touchdown pass. Add Malcom Floyd for wide receiver depth and a nice bye week fill in.

  1. Tim Wright: TE, 2.4% ownership, wk6 @ Bills

The trade of Logan Mankins is starting to make sense. Ok maybe not, but the Patriots offense hasn’t been the same since the release of Aaron Hernandez. Wright a converted wide receiver can be the playmaking second tight end the Patriots so desperately need. After the first four weeks Wright had done very little. In week five he broke out with 5 receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. When Tom Brady uses both tight ends effectively the Patriots win. Expect Wright to continue to be involved in the Patriots offense going forward. Add Wright as a possible starting tight end with good upside.

  1. Bennie Cunningham: RB, 1.4% ownership, wk6 vs 49ers

Zac Stacy left week five with a calf injury. In came Bennie Cunningham, who took 11 rushes for 47 yards and touchdown and had 3 catches for 24 yards. While not a huge stat line it was enough to help the offense rally back to scare the Eagles in week five. Cunningham has been vulturing carries from Zac Stacy all year. Jeff Fisher has stated he will use the “hot hand” in the backfield this year, so an injury isn’t good news for Zac Stacy owners. Add Cunningham as a Zac Stacy handcuff or as a potential starting running back if he can stay healthy and Stacy cannot.

  1. Louis Murphy: WR, .3% ownership, wk6 vs Rams

The first three weeks of the season Louis Murphy failed to reach the stat column. In the past two games since Mike Glennon has been in at quarterback we have seen Vincent Jackson catch fire, while not many have noticed Murphy quietly excelling. Murphy in those two games has a respectable 134 yards receiving and a touchdown (averaging 9 fantasy points over that time). With Mike Evans out for a couple more weeks it looks like Murphy will be the guy receiving his targets. Add Louis Murphy during his re-emergence for wide receiver depth and a bye week fill in.


And look for me Will Hoover @UGsportsreport on twitter

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