Examining the waiver wire every Tuesday is as much about looking for players set to explode as it is examining the stat lines from the previous week’s action. You’ll notice that several players listed below have qualified for today’s rundown based on recent performance, while others (i.e. Justin Blackmon and Le’Veon Bell) have big potential in the coming weeks. As always, feel free to hit me up at @JoeFortenbaugh on twitter if you have any questions.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Indianapolis): The second-year wide receiver out of Oklahoma State has one game remaining on a season-opening four-contest suspension, but why wait in line with the other squares next week to acquire Blackmon’s services when you can land them now? Caught 64 passes for 865 yards and five scores as a rookie in 2012 and will face the St. Louis Rams in Week 5.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Minnesota, in London): Did the Bell owner in your league panic over the rookie running back’s preseason foot injury and relegate him to waivers? If so, bad move. Bell is scheduled to return this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings in a game that will be played in London. We wouldn’t expect 20+ carries in the rookie’s professional debut, but this is the type of player who has workhorse potential moving forward.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins (at New Orleans): Averaging 275.6 passing yards per game in 2013 and appears to be getting better with each start. Tannehill currently boasts a QB rating of 94.3 and could become embroiled in a shootout Monday night at New Orleans against Drew Brees and the Saints.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots (at Atlanta): With Stevan Ridley struggling and Shane Vereen on the shelf, Blount rolled up a season-high 14 carries for 65 yards (4.6 YPC) in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay. It’s going to be a crapshoot projecting New England running backs the rest of the way out, but Blount offers some decent depth as an RB4 in leagues with 12 or more teams.
Blackmon's return to the lineup should lead to an uptick in production for the Jacksonville offense.
Ryan Broyles, WR, Detroit Lions (vs. Chicago): Caught three passes for 34 yards Sunday at Washington but should see an increase in targets now that wide receiver Nate Burleson is out with a broken arm. Caught 22 passes for 310 yards and two scores as a rookie in 2012 before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Johnathan Franklin, RB, Green Bay Packers (bye): The word on the street was that Eddie Lacy would reclaim the starting job in Green Bay after returning from a concussion suffered in Week 2 against the Redskins, but Franklin came up big in Cincinnati this past Sunday, recording 16 touches for 126 yards and a score against one of the league’s better defensive units. Granted, his fumble at the end of the game was extremely costly, but that type of production warrants serious consideration for an increased workload.
Brian Hoyer, QB, Cleveland Browns (vs. Cincinnati): Threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns in a game that marked his first start of the season, as well as Cleveland’s first victory of the year. Expect the Browns to ride the hot hand from here on out, but take note that Hoyer won’t produce like this every week. We view the Michigan State product as a QB2/3 in leagues with 12 or more teams.
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns (vs. Cincinnati): Qualified for this list last week coming off a two-game suspension and made an immediate impact, catching ten passes for 146 yards and a score at Minnesota. Rumors are flying that Cleveland is looking to deal either Gordon or Greg Little in exchange for more draft picks, meaning the second-year receiver’s stock could rise higher, should he land in a place like New England.
Aaron Dobson, WR, New England Patriots (at Atlanta): It was fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins who found the end zone twice in Week 3, but Dobson was the guy was amassed ten targets for the second consecutive week, catching seven passes for 52 yards. Consider the first-year wideout from Marshall a WR4 in leagues with 12 or more teams, but also note that his stock is quickly rising.
Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers (vs. Dallas): The former New England Patriot has touched the ball 31 times for 166 yards through three games, but has been used more in San Diego’s rushing attack the last two weeks after notching zero carries in Week 1 against Houston. Only advised for owners in leagues with more than 12 teams.
Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (at Denver): Has caught 11 passes for 139 yards and a score through three games and quickly emerged as quarterback Michael Vick’s go-to receiver when Kansas City shut down DeSean Jackson last Thursday. Consider Avant a WR5 who can start as a WR3 in tricky bye week spots. Should see plenty of targets in Philly’s upcoming Week 4 shootout at Denver.
Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks (at Houston): Quarterback Russell Wilson busted out of his two-game slump on Sunday, making Rice the primary beneficiary of his 2013 breakout (5-79-2). With Percy Harvin sidelined until November at the earliest, somebody has to emerge as the No. 1 target in Seattle. At the moment, Rice looks to be that guy.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans (vs. Seattle): Made this list last week and despite his team falling short at Baltimore on Sunday, Hopkins still notched another six receptions for 60 yards on seven targets. The rookie from Clemson has now been targeted 26 times through three games.
Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos (vs. Philadelphia): Recorded a season-high nine carries for 66 yards and a score on Monday night against Oakland and has a very tasty matchup on deck against a porous Philadelphia defense. Be advised that the Broncos are using a running back-by-committee approach in 2013, so Hillman won’t bring a whole lot of consistency to your roster in the immediate future.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers (Bye): Caught three passes for 53 yards and two scores Sunday against the Giants, but is nothing more than a WR4/5 in leagues with 12 or more teams, in our opinion. The receiver situation in Carolina is hit or miss, meaning LaFell isn’t the type of player owners can count on week in and week out.
Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins (at New Orleans): Currently ranks ninth in fantasy scoring at the TE position after recording another four receptions for 40 yards in Sunday’s win over Atlanta. Has yet to find the end zone, but can serve as a decent TE1 in leagues with 12 or more teams.
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders (vs. Washington): Caught a season-high six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown Monday night at Denver and is currently tied with Rod Streater for the team lead in receptions (11). We currently consider Moore a WR3/4 in leagues with 12 or more teams.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets (at Tennessee): Looks to have stolen the starting job away from Chris Ivory after notching 149 rushing yards on 27 carries in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. We consider Powell an RB4 with flex option and RB2 upside during bye weeks.
Nate Washington, WR, Tennessee Titans (vs. NY Jets): Recorded a season-high ten targets on Sunday against San Diego which resulted in eight receptions for 131 yards. Currently leads the Titans in receptions (15) and receiving yards (227).
Justin Houston and the Kansas City defense have been lights out through three weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs, D/ST (vs. NY Giants): Kansas City currently ranks as the highest scoring fantasy D/ST in standard formats and has an excellent home matchup on deck against a New York Giants offense that has looked terrible through three games (13 turnovers, most in NFL).
New Orleans Saints, D/ST (vs. Miami): What a difference a year makes, huh? After posting the worst statistical campaign in NFL history, the Saints currently rank ninth in fantasy scoring at the D/ST position through three outings. You won’t be able to start this unit every week, but they make for an excellent 1-2 punch against immobile quarterbacks.
Arizona Cardinals, D/ST (at Tampa Bay): Recommended strictly as a Week 4 play, the Cardinals head to Tampa to take on a Buccaneers team that currently ranks 31st in both total offense (282.0 yds/gm) and scoring (11.3 pts/gm).
Indianapolis Colts, D/ST (at Jacksonville): Another recommendation based solely on their Week 4 matchup, the Colts travel to Jacksonville Sunday for a showdown with a Jaguars team that ranks dead last in both total offense (230.3 yds/gm) and scoring (9.3 pts/gm).
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh
APR 22 Jerry Angelo
A former general manager shares the tricks of the trade when it comes to the NFL’s annual selection show.
APR 21 National Football Post
The "Intro to Scouting" graduates' takes on the talented RB prospect.
APR 19 National Football Post
Our latest "Intro to Scouting" graduates break down the LSU star.