Sports Buzz Fantasy Insider: Week 5 Waiver Pick-Ups

Posted: October 4, 2011 by robjoneslyes in Bloggin' Interns: John Hammon

You must unlearn what you have learned.

Every year in the NFL, more than any other sports league, trends emerge and fade with each passing season. Whether it be new tweaks to rules that drastically affect the style of play, or new players arriving or being injured that change the face of entire teams and divisions. Week Four is now in the books and this is the perfect time to step back, look at the data we now have, which is finally at a usable, if not completely accurate sample size, and say “What do we know?” Chew on this:

There are two teams, left undefeated in football, both in the NFC North, and one of them is the Detroit Lions.

During the preseason, Ndamukong Suh was fined multiple times for big hits on opposing QBs. There were rumblings that he was turning into a dirty player. But that was our first sign about this team. When you’ve been pushed around like this team has, taken for granted, not taken seriously, it’s not enough to change the personnel, you’ve got to change the culture. On both sides of the ball, Suh, and the defense, have changed the culture. The Lions have successfully left the past in the past, and this team is a real threat to make a Super Bowl run. The offense, led by Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson is explosive, but everything in Motown starts with the defense. Leading me to my next point…

There are only two elite defenses this year, and only two truly inept offenses.

This is important. Because generally there are about 4 elite defenses for fantasy purposes, and you can usually stream defenses effectively by finding the worst teams in the league and finding and grabbing whoever they face. This year that’s not an option. Who are you planning to pick on? Cincinnati? The same Bengals who jumped the Bills this weekend and have weapons like A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham? Sure, it’s not a playoff team, but any given week they can hang 30 points on you. Pick on San Francisco? Have fun. I started the Philly “Dream Team” Defense on them and wound up with a nightmare this week. They run the ball down your throat which not only keeps your defense from getting sacks and INTs, but also runs out clock and puts them in position to score. They can put up 14-20 points and keep the turnover column cleaner than most teams. Last year you could pick on the Bills and Lions… good luck there as well. You’re more likely to put up a negative number than win anything against these new look squads. You must have a defense, or this year, even two, that you can trust. And you need to look for matchup problems. Oh, and the two elite defenses and two inept offenses? Baltimore and Detroit, and Kansas City and St. Louis. Finally, and most importantly…

The first four weeks of this season, are also the four weeks with the highest passing yard totals in NFL history.

The league is finally catching on to what New England, Green Bay, Indianapolis, and New Orleans have known for years. New rules affecting pass interference calls and protecting quarterbacks have created an imbalance in the league, and the quickest way to win games is to build a strong pass offense, and then throw, throw, and throw. This is a large reason why defenses have been mediocre and no teams truly look lost. Also, this is why no lead has been safe all year. The Bills just choked away a huge lead to the Bengals, Detroit just stormed back from 21-0 to upend Dallas, and Minnesota has been giving away large leads all season. Teams are passing all day long, and scoring is rampant. As I said earlier, it’s a new league, just as it is most years. Unlearn what you have learned. On to the pickups…


Matt Hasselbeck shouldn’t be on anyone’s waiver wire, but if he is, he makes a great grab-and-stash for your bye weeks. Andy Dalton has some excellent matchups coming up, especially in your fantasy playoff weeks, and finally, Jason Campbell makes a great plug-in for you Tony Romo owners headed into the bye week.


It’s a great year for receivers as the all out passing has opened up more options than ever for fantasy owners looking for that WR3 or flex play. Eric Decker is simply too good not to continue to produce. He makes a suitable WR2 in some leagues. I have nothing to back this up with, but I believe in the red zone connection between Drew Brees and Robert Meachem. I think with Colston coming back and Lance Moore getting healthy, even if Meachem is still owned in your league, he could be easily snatched away in a low trade offer. I think he continues to be a steady, reliable option. Antonio Brown makes a strong pickup, as the offensive line isn’t creating enough time for the deep balls to Mike Wallace, so especially in PPR leagues I see Brown’s scoring going up in the near future. Finally, run to the wire and put in a bid for Jacoby Jones. Andre Johnson may be out for awhile, and somebody’s got to step up there. Maybe this is finally the year for JJ. A $10 bid wouldn’t be out of the question.


All of this weeks options at the ground and pound position are possible beneficiaries of injury or suspension. The running back position after all is about opportunity as much as talent. Isaac Redman is your top pickup of the week, as Mendenhall has been ineffective and is now banged up. Also go after Ryan Torain, since apparently Mike Shanahan saw his name spelled out in his Alpha-Bits cereal Sunday morning. And Deji Karim and Bernard Scott both make great stashes… Mojo Drew will get banged up at some point, especially at the pace he’s being used, and Cedric Benson will be suspended at some point in the near future as soon as his appeal goes through. Even if it’s only for a couple games, (it’s currently set at 3) all a backup can ever ask for is an audition, and Scott will certainly get a long look at that time.


Ed Dickson hasn’t done much yet, but he seems to always be in Joe Flacco’s cross hairs. Last but not least, Jared Cook finally exploded this week. If a careless owner in your league dumped him after his slow start, and if you need a tight end I suggest you rush to get him. He’s a stud and with Kenny Britt done for the year I think they could simply plug Cook in as their top deep threat.

That’s all for this week hypothetical GM’s. Find that hole on your roster and plug it with one of these guys, or snatch a couple of them up cheap and tuck them away on your bench for a coming bye week or trade bait. The important thing to remember is if there’s a worthless player on your bench, a guy no one would pick up if you dropped him… You’re not fully managing that team. Every bench spot should at least be housing a speculation play. Even if it’s just a backup running back who is waiting for the right injury.

See ya next week with another set of pickups.

  1. […] at some matchups you can take advantage of on Sunday. Hopefully you were able to take advantage of some of the pickups I recommended Tuesday. Now it’s time to take advantage of our superior knowledge and go out there and hang an […]

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