By Jack Thomason–
(CBS) This wasn’t one of the more exciting weeks for waiver additions, but there are a few players who are definite adds and some other players worth stashing as upside plays for the future.
While it’s always nice to be at the top of the waiver order or trying to spend the most blind-bidding dollars to land a stud, part of the process is being sneaky and landing players with a keen eye to the future. Paying attention to trends and numbers is beneficial when trying to uncover what may happen next.
A perfect example is going back to last year and knowing Latavius Murray was inefficient with his touches. He then started out this year playing 64 percent of snaps but dipped to below 50 percent in Week 2 and Week 3. That’s not only an indication to sell him while he was scoring too high of a percentage of points on touchdowns — a rate he couldn’t keep up — but also an indication to grab DeAndre Washington as a player who could possibly supplant him. It’s moves like that, if they work out, that can win you your fantasy season.
Here are my top 10 waiver adds for 10- and 12-member league.
1. Terrance West (RB, Baltimore Ravens) – Justin Forsett was a healthy scratch, and the Ravens decided to go “younger” at the running back position. In turn, West, the story of training camp, stepped up to the tune of 21 carries, 113 yards and a touchdown. While West runs hot and carried that intensity throughout the game, I’m still wary of Kenneth Dixon, and that leads me to worry about the long-term value of West. Still, if you’re in need of a running back, this may be a situation you can’t avoid as Dixon is eased into the offense.
2. Quincy Enunwa (WR, New York Jets) – I’m struggling to understand what Enunwa needs to do to get picked up. He leads the team in receptions (23) and is second in targets (32) and yards (243.) Enunwa posted six grabs for 60 yards against an always-stingy Seattle defense and played 94 percent of the snaps. With the news of Eric Decker’s torn rotator cuff and the uncertainty of his time missed, Enunwa is a must-add playing for a team that ranks eighth in pass attempts.
3. Michael Thomas (WR, New Orleans Saints) – A young, second-round rookie pick, Thomas has been the go-to receiver for Drew Brees over the last two weeks. He has seen a team-leading 20 targets over that span and is second on the team for the season in that category (31). During that same span, Thomas has two touchdowns and is quickly asserting himself with his size as a top receiving option in the red zone. Couple Thomas’ talent and opportunity with how much the Saints have to throw because of a league-worst defense, and you have the recipe for fantasy goodness.
4. Bilal Powell (RB, New York Jets) – In the first two weeks of the season, Matt Forte saw an incredible 57 touches. In the last two weeks, he has seen 33. In that same time frame, Powell has gone from eight touches to 20 and his snap percentages are increasing too. Powell also saw the second-most targets on the team last week with nine. Let’s not forget how important Powell was to fantasy owners down the stretch last year when he took over as the primary back for Chris Ivory. He can play, and if anything happens to Forte, he’s going to be a big-time fantasy asset again.
5. Robert Woods (WR, Buffalo Bills) – Someone outside of LeSean McCoy had to step up for the Bills’ offense after Sammy Watkins went on injured reserve, right? Well, in a 16-0 shutout of the Patriots, it was Woods who took control of the top receiver slot. He worked the Patriots’ cornerbacks for seven snags and 89 yards on 10 passes thrown his way and looks to be “the guy” going forward on an offense that has improved since the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Woods saw eight targets the week before against Arizona too, so the opportunity is there.
6. Sammie Coates (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers) – Coates has all the tools to fill in admirably for Martavis Bryant during his suspension, but it hasn’t come to fruition quite the way the Steelers had hoped. Coates is raw, and the Chiefs defense gave Ben Roethlisberger a chance to get some extra work in with him. He tallied a team-high eight targets, six receptions and 79 yards and with opposing defenses paying extra attention to the “triplets,” Coates is going to have ample opportunities against single coverage to stretch the field for big plays. I expect him to get better as the season goes on, and he’s playing more snaps and seeing more targets than Markus Wheaton.
7. Wendell Smallwood (RB, Philadelphia Eagles) – Smallwood missed a lot of the offseason and training camp with an injury, and as a rookie those are valuable practices to be missing. We got our first real dose of his impressive quickness and explosive cutting ability in Week 3 when he rattled off 79 yards and a score on 17 carries.Smallwood was hand-selected by the new Eagles’ new regime in the fifth round, and we all know Ryan Mathews is the poster child for injuries (he’s already dealing with ankle problems.) Smallwood will be involved in the running game and with the praise of coaches piled on him, I think he has a real chance to carve out the main role in a committee approach.
8. Kenneth Dixon (RB, Baltimore Ravens) – I believe this is the player by year’s end who’s the true three-down horse for the Ravens offense. That being said, we can’t ignore Terrance West’s performance this past week or the fact that Dixon is a rookie who has missed a lot of time. Dixon has exceptional receiving ability and is a smooth, make-you-miss type of running back. He can add an element to this Ravens offense that it can’t achieve without combining West and Javorius Allen. The benefit there is all the different options and looks Baltimore can give with the same player on the field, not to mention he’s a better pure runner than West anyway.
9. Chris Hogan (WR, New England Patriots) – This is a pre-emptive pick-up, given Tom Brady’s suspension is now over. Hogan was on the receiving end of the one touchdown Brady threw in the preseason, and he’s playing 84 percent of the offensive snaps, highest of any Patriots offensive player not named Martellus Bennett. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Hogan is the biggest receiver on the team and gives Brady a presence on the outside. He’s eighth on this list because there are a lot of mouths to feed in New England, but if you think Brady is going to air it out and torch the NFL, why not take a flier on this guy?
10. Hunter Henry (TE, San Diego Chargers) – Antonio Gates is 37 and dealing with a hamstring injury, and Henry has taken advantage in his absence. He’s seen 12 targets in the two weeks Gates has been out and snagged nine of them for 137 yards and a trip to pay dirt. He will continue to be a large part of this offense as long as Gates is out and maybe even longer. The other positive is the Chargers have zero reservations about their second-round pick, as he has played 98.5 percent of snaps over the last two weeks.
Just missed: Joe Flacco, Orleans Darkwa, Paul Perkins, Dion Lewis, Zach Zenner, Eddie Royal, Dontrelle Inman, Brice Butler and Cameron Brate.
Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert and co-host of “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” which can be heard every Sunday during football season from 8-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and 670thescore.com/listen. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.