Waiver Wire Wonders: Jacoby Ford, Built Ford Tough
If your league looks anything like mine, you know two things all too well: 1) this week is make-or-break for a whole lot of teams in terms of their fantasy playoff hopes, and 2) the bulk of the fantasy football apps out there are terribly annoying and they need to learn how to update automatically to save us all from carpel tunnel syndrome. Anyway, for most leagues, we're looking at one final week before playoff time, so make the most of every move and pay close attention, as there's some great stuff out there this week.
Jacoby Ford (WR, Raiders) - When we first highlighted Jacoby Ford as a waiver wire pickup after his breakout performance in Week 9, we mentioned we'll have to wait to see if he shows consistency before inserting him into your lineup. Well, he hammered it home this week with another huge day. Not only did Ford lead the Raiders offense with four catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, but he added 13 yards rushing and a 101-yard kick return for a touchdown. This guy is explosive and creates separation on his routes, so this won't be the last you'll see of Ford this season. At this point, Ford gets the green light in deeper leagues and three-receiver settings.
Toby Gerhart (RB, Vikings) - In an absolutely horrific scene for many fantasy owners, Adrian Peterson hobbled off the field in the first half after suffering an ankle injury. Peterson was originally expected to return after halftime, but he never made it back to action. We should know more on his status shortly, but in the meantime, snatch up his backup Toby Gerhart right away. In Peterson's absence, Gerhart carried the ball 22 times for 76 yards, and scored on a five-yard touchdown run. If Peterson misses any time with the injury, Gerhart could be a huge pickup.
Ben Obomanu (WR, Seahawks) - Here's another guy that has been on our waiver wire radar for a couple weeks, but officially cemented himself as a relevant fantasy player. Obomanu now has touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and piled up massive numbers Sunday. On five catches, he managed to tally 159 yards and a score, which translates to a ridiculous 32 yards-per-catch average -- it helps when one of those came on an 87-yard score. With Mike Williams out, Obomanu's value seemingly has no ceiling, so snatch him up if you still can.
Ricky Williams (RB, Dolphins) - Ricky Williams probably seems like a long shot to be on your waiver wire -- I thought the exact same thing -- but somebody just added him in my 10-team league, and it turns out he's only owned in 51 percent of all leagues. The Dolphins seem to finally be coming to grips with the fact that Ronnie Brown simply can't get it done, and that Ricky Williams is the more explosive backfield option. Ricky ran 20 times for 95 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. More importantly, Miami seemed to really get back to pounding the ball on the ground, as Brown and Williams combined for 44 carries and 180 yards rushing. It's about time they get that running game "off the ground," pun intended.
Deion Branch (WR, Patriots) - It's been a bumpy ride for folks hoping to cash in on the reunion of Tom Brady and Deion Branch in New England, as Branch came bursting out of the gates in his first game and subsequently disappeared. But, Branch finally came up with a big effort again on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit, as he hauled in three passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Brady seems to be really hitting his stride just in time for the home stretch of the fantasy season, so while the consistency concern is definitely here, this combo is headed in the right direction.
Maurice Morris (RB, Lions) - I would have thought Maurice Morris would be harder to snag off waivers after he ran for 55 yards and two touchdowns on Thanksgiving Day, but he's only owned in 10 percent of leagues as of today. Jahvid Best doesn't appear to be much of a threat to steal the workload back, as he's really struggling with turf toe. Best has been practicing to some extent, but the toe issues actually seem to be getting more serious, so expect the heavy lifting to go to Morris until further notice. Also, Kevin Smith is done for the season, so Morris is really the only quality option left.
Billy Bajema (TE, Rams) - While he's known as more of a blocking tight end, Billy Bajema proved his naysayers wrong with two touchdown grabs on three catches. Quarterback Sam Bradford is becoming a big fan of his tight ends, as Bajema's counterpart at the position, Mike Hoomanawanui, also has two receiving touchdowns in as many weeks.
Julius Jones (RB, Saints) - While Chris Ivory stole the paydirt with his two touchdowns, Julius Jones got the most carries for New Orleans on Thursday with 10. He only managed to gain 45 yards on the ground, but he added 21 yards on three catches, and again, he led the team in rushing and looked explosive off the ball. Going forward, Jones looks like a good source for cheap carries in deeper formats.
Brian Westbrook (RB, 49ers) - In a Monday night add on to the list, we have a late season game-changer. It appears that Frank Gore is done for the season with a hip injury, and in his place, stalwart fantasy star, Brian Westbrook, is back in the game. Westbrook carried the ball 23 times for 136 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals, so with Gore out, he makes one of the biggest waiver wire pickups of the season. Let's see if Westbrook can win some fantasy championships just like the old days.
Weeding through those unwieldy waiver wires requires a keen eye and a quick trigger. Thus, Waiver Wire Wonders provides a weekly snapshot of players worthy of consideration who should be available on a good portion of league waiver wires. Enjoy those pickups.