10 Waiver Wire Players That Can Save Your Fantasy Football Dreams


0-5 this Fantasy Football season? Did you waste waiver request on Kellen Winslow when he signed with the Patriots for a whopping nine days?  Whether you’ve been struck by bad luck, been asleep at the wheel, or looking to dominate,  this list could turn your team around. Below are 10 players available in the vast majority of ESPN and Yahoo leagues that could help salvage your season. Also included are a couple of keeper picks that might help if you’re looking to throw in the towel and move on to next year.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB – Owned in 55% of Yahoo leagues, 57% of ESPN leagues

The former Harvard QB gets little respect, but this 29 year old genius entering the prime of his NFL career. With the Bills’ running game picking up, so has their passing game, and Fitzpatrick is statistically a top 5-10 QB in the majority of league formats.  Last year’s mid-season collapse still taints Fitzpatrick in the minds of a number of owners, keeping him out there and available for you to snag…before a rival GM else does. Christian Ponder is a decent sleeper choice if Fitz is already gone.

Jeremy Kerley – WR – Owned in 30% of Yahoo leagues,  33% of ESPN leagues

One of the few bright spots on the Jets, Kerley has quietly put together a solid season. He looked amazing on Monday Night Football against the Texans in Week 5, and will no doubt get some more looks with Santonio Holmes out for the season.


Daryl Richardson – RB – Owned in 13% of Yahoo leagues, 4% of ESPN leagues

St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher has already groomed one amazing NFL running back, Eddie George. With Stephen Jackson’s brittleness, could rookie Richardson be the next? An excellent choice for next year if you have an extra roster spot on your keeper team.

Jackie Battle – RB – Owned in 58% of Yahoo leagues, 54% of ESPN leagues

Battle doesn’t put up big yardage, but he gets to the end zone. The veteran running back has outshined Ryan Mathews this season, the San Diego Chargers’ franchise back and consensus second round fantasy pick. With Ryan Mathews’ injury history (he missed two games in 2011, four in 2010), Battle is posed for an even bigger boost if Mathews goes down again or shows more signs of inconsistency.

Leonard Hankerson – WR – Owned in 16% of Yahoo leagues,  54% of ESPN leagues

RG3 loves him. Hankerson is a 2nd year player hooking up with a rookie QB – this could be the beginning of a beautiful fantasy relationship, especially if  you are in a keeper league. If LH is out there and you have a roster space, grab him.

Josh Gordon – WR – Owned in 2% of Yahoo leagues,  1% of ESPN leagues

The rookie put together an excellent Week 5, landing two touchdowns and 82 yards receiving. Greg Little is slipping as Brandon Weeden’s primary target, leaving an opening for Gordon.

Brandon LaFell – WR – Owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues,  32% of ESPN leagues

Carolina’s RBs are maybe the most insignificant in fantasy football thanks to the acrobatics of Cam Newton – this bleeds over to the WRs a little as well, leaving LaFell available in a lot of leagues. LaFell had a horrible Week 3 and Week 4 after a 90 yard Week 2, but the young wide receiver could become Cam Newton’s number one target if/when the Steve Smith train stops. LaFell bounced back nicely when Newton started throwing in Week 5.

Bilal Powell – RB – Owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues,  5% of ESPN leagues

Yes, Jets are a mess. But they are a hot mess. Second year running back Bilal Powell is currently behind Shonn Greene, but Powell could easily take the starting role in the second half of the season.

Coby Fleener – TE– Owned in 24% of Yahoo leagues, 15% of ESPN leagues

Rookie QB Andrew Luck will likely be pass heavy in the latter parts of the season, and with Colts’ wideout Austin Collie out for the season, Fleener will be targeted more by his former college QB. Also of interest on the Colts (and available in plenty of leagues) is T.Y. Hilton, a rookie wide receiver who could turn into Luck’s go-to-guy as Reggie Wayne ages. He’s blocking a lot now, but Fleener is an excellent keeper league pickup too.

Kendall Wright – WR – Owned in 34% of Yahoo leagues,  11% of ESPN leagues

The rookie wideout led the Titans in receiving during Week 5 against the Vikings with 11 receptions, a boon in PPR leagues. The Titans are looking for a someone to lean on amidst the inconsistency of Kenny Britt, and Wright could be the guy.

Image Source: Leonard Hankerson, above,  Ryan Fitzpatrick top by Keith Ellison, middle image by Ed Yourdon/ Wikimedia Commons



Keith Veronese has a Ph.D. in chemistry and regularly writes for Gawker Media's science site, io9. His worked has appeared on the Gawker Media sites Lifehacker, Deadspin, Kotaku, and Jezebel in addition to Paste Magazine, AMOG, So Jones, Hip Hop Press, and FormatMag. Keith also has a non-fiction book in the works, Plugged In: Comic Book Professionals Working in the Video Game Industry, which will be released by TwoMorrows Publishing later this year.

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