2012 Fantasy Football: Scouring the Preseason Waiver Wire
The 2012 fantasy football season hasn’t started yet, but I’ve got waiver wire on the brain. And the only way to cure that is to clue fantasy owners in on the quality options resting out on your league’s waiver wire.
Some of these guys are sleepers. Some are over-looked steals. Whatever the case, none are owned in more than 50% of leagues, and depending on the depth of your league, they arguably should be.
Let’s see who is going undrafted that you might want to swoop up before training camps begin:
Note: See what all the top fantasy experts think of the guys below using the new Cheat Sheet Wizard.
Matt Flynn, QB, Seattle Seahawks (Available in 79% of all standard Yahoo! leagues)
This is the same guy that lit up the Lions for 480 yards and six touchdowns in last year’s season finale for the Packers. I know he won’t do that on a weekly basis, but he’s the expected starter in Seattle and he’ll be working within a very similar offense. If Sidney Rice is healthy and Zach Miller can return to form, Flynn could be a gem you don’t want to miss out on.
Tim Tebow, QB, New York Jets (81%)
I know Tebow doesn’t usually complete over 50% of his passes, but he’s a dual threat option with tons of fantasy potential. The main thing holding him back is that he’s behind Mark Sanchez, but that may not last all that long. He’s a great stash for, say, the fifth game into the season?
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Tennessee Titans (91%)
I am a Jake Locker fan and supporter, but that doesn’t necessarily means he beats out Hasselbeck for the starting job in Tennessee this year. Considering the competition has been called “even”, it’s pretty crazy that Hasselbeck is available in so many leagues. If you’re betting on Locker, that’s fine. But if you’re not, Hasselbeck has a good shot at starting and actually looked pretty good when healthy in 2011.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona Cardinals (91%)
Kolb is probably going to start in Arizona, and if it’s only because he’s owed mad cash, then so be it. But this guy wasn’t the worst fantasy option when healthy last year, and still has Larry Fitzgerald and three more talented wideouts. I think he can take a positive step forward in 2012, and considering he has a great shot at keeping the starting job, there’s no reason he should be homeless in so many leagues.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (62%)
I get that Doug Martin is probably going to be the new starter in Tampa’s back-field, but that doesn’t mean Blount has no value. He’s still a force in short-yardage and could be an asset at the goal-line. Considering the Buccaneers will pound the rock and Martin is a rookie, Blount is simply not owned enough in fantasy leagues right now.
Tim Hightower, RB, Washington Redskins (78%)
I know Hightower tore his knee up last year and Roy Helu is the sexier option, but Mike Shanahan trust no other Redskins back more than Hightower to effectively run, catch and block. As long as he’s healthy (and it looks like he will be), Hightower is at least worth a roster spot in all leagues.
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys (81%)
Stud running backs are sparse in fantasy football, so you have to play the guessing game early and be aware of potential gems on the waiver wire. Jones owned in less than 20% of leagues qualifies. He’s playing second fiddle to DeMarco Murray this year, but he’ll still be in the mix on third downs and there’s no guarantee Murray stays healthy. He did succumb to an ankle injury last year, after all.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins (87%)
If the Dolphins are being even remotely honest about giving Reggie Bush a different role in 2012 (which would likely mean less carries), then Thomas is probably set up for extra early down work and potentially goal-line duty, as well. The mere possibility of this being true, plus progress out of Thomas, means he should be rostered.
Isaiah Pead, RB, St. Louis Rams (89%)
Steven Jackson is always hurt, but he’s durable enough to finish with 1,000+ rushing yards, so I get why Pead isn’t owned everywhere. But being available in almost 90% of leagues is sickening. If Jackson ever goes down, Pead will have RB1 written all over him in the Rams’ new run-first system. He’s a must-have handcuff for Jackson owners, at the very least.
Robert Turbin, RB, Seattle Seahawks (93%)
Turbin’s value sky-rocketed for about a day when Marshawn Lynch was arrested for a DUI. If Lynch’s situation goes from bad to worse, Turbin could have some real value. He’s the only guy so far on this list that I’m okay with being available because Lynch isn’t in major trouble just yet, but he’s still worth a stash – especially if you own Lynch.
Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams (82%)
I know the Rams plan on running more than passing this year, but someone has to catch balls, right? Quick may be a rook, but he’s big and athletic, and currently slated to be Sam Bradford’s number one receiver. I know he has some risk with him, but he needs to be owned.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers (88%)
Cobb should work his way past Donald Driver and be the #4 receiver at the very worst this year, while he brings versatility as a return man and could be involved in some special packages, as well. I just don’t see how the Packers don’t try to get him on the field as much as possible in 2012. Because of that, he needs to be rostered in more leagues due to his immense potential in such an explosive system.
Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets (91%)
Hill is raw as heck and plays in a run-first system, but he’s a huge target with elite speed and ball skills. He may not be much more than a red-zone threat at the start of the season, but there’s a chance he’s an unstoppable force on the outside, just as well. He’s a risk/reward guy that owners should be taking a chance on more frequently.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers (93%)
LaFell made some nice strides in his second season last year, averaging 17 yards per catch while putting up 600+ receiving yards. As Cam Newton matures, I see him going to the improving LaFell more, and we should see even better numbers in year three.
Devery Henderson, WR, New Orleans Saints (94%)
Robert Meachem is gone, which means Henderson is the new number two receiver. At the very worst, that means more targets and likely WR3 value. He’s worth a late-round flier in all leagues and should not be sitting on the waiver wire in nearly 95% of leagues.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (78%)
Rudolph is the only tight end on waivers I’m ga-ga about these days, as he has the size and ball skills to be the next Rob Gronkowski. That doesn’t mean he will be at that level in 2012, and there’s come concern about John Carlson stealing targets, but the guy has the skills to make plays a lot of tight ends just can’t. He’s a sneaky sleeper that is clearly still flying well under the radar.
Garrett Hartley, K, New Orleans Saints (83%)
I don’t care about kickers often, but seeing Hartley by his lonesome in this many leagues is concerning. John Kasay is 42 and is mostly around right now to keep Hartley going. If their “competition” is even close, Hartley gets the job. His health is the only thing in question.
Nate Kaeding, K, San Diego Chargers (93%)
The Chargers offense hums beautifully most weeks, and Kaeding is back to full health after missing 15 games in 2011. He’s too good (yes, even for a kicker), to not be owned more.
Dallas Cowboys Team DEF/ST (66%)
I know Dallas struggled in 2011, but they’re still immensely talented and at the moment have one of the best secondaries (talent-wise, at least) in the entire league. If they can get their ducks in a row, they could be scary this year with DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee leading the way.
Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. Roberts also finished 2nd in the Wide Receiver position in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings in 2010 and 3rd in the Quarterback position in 2011. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup's NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin