Week 16 waiver review: Claim Gerhart
For most leagues, this is the last call.
This is the last tweaking of your roster, the last time poring through pages of stats and last time that you’ll spend hours upon hours chewing your nails or pacing the floor. Of course, there’s added drama here because games will be played on four days.
You get your Thursday opener with Pittsburgh and Carolina, followed by a Saturday matchup made in fantasy heaven between the Cowboys and Cardinals.
We’ll then get to the meat of the schedule before sitting down for a huge NFC South battle between the Saints and Falcons. Talk about taking things to the ultimate end!
And so, I present another round of the fabulous waiver wire review.
I shan’t exhaust my fingers or your brain with extended write-ups of Jon Kitna, David Garrard or Ryan Fitzpatrick. For whatever reason, this trio remains available in nearly one-quarter of leagues. You say they’re not available in your league, but think of it as your own “Storage Wars” episode. You never know what you’ll find.
Let’s get started in Detroit with Shaun Hill of the Lions, who guided more than a few owners to victory during his earlier run under center.
Shaun Hill, QB, Detroit
Hill likely steps back into the spotlight because Drew Stanton reportedly sustained a separated shoulder against the Buccaneers. Hill was active for Week 15, and his finger injury is expected to be healed sufficiently to allow him to start. He’s averaged 245.1 passing yards per game with 13 touchdowns against 12 turnovers.
Kerry Collins, QB, Tennessee
Collins served as a solid fantasy fill-in for Week 15 with 237 passing yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception and was sacked three times. Collins connected with Nate Washington and Justin Gage on his touchdown strikes and completed six passes to Kenny Britt for 128 yards.
Rex Grossman, QB, Washington
He didn’t play particularly well early, but finished with a flurry to leave fans and fantasy owners perplexed. Grossman passed for 322 yards with four touchdowns, two two-point conversions, five sacks and two interceptions. Grossman and the Redskins have a good matchup against the Jacksonville secondary on tap.
Tim Tebow, QB, Denver
Tebow disciples and gambling fantasy owners received a tremendous windfall from the rookie quarterback this weekend. He produced an early 40-yard touchdown run and later connected with Brandon Lloyd for a 33-yard touchdown on a beautifully thrown ball. Tebow passed for a pedestrian 138 yards (8-of-16), but also rumbled for 78 yards on eight runs.
You want to look elsewhere, but that Week 16 matchup against Houston is mighty enticing. Houston has been destroyed by opposing quarterbacks all season.
Matt Flynn, QB, Green Bay
Flynn and the Packers ultimately succumbed to the Packers in Week 15, but there were times where he looked ready to assume the lead role for many NFL teams right now. ,
Flynn passed for 251 yards with three touchdowns in the narrow loss to New England. He absorbed five sacks and turned the ball over twice, including an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Aaron Rodgers’ availability will be a hot topic on the wire for this championship week. Coach Mike McCarthy will reportedly address Rodgers’ status on Wednesday. In the interim, owners need to back up Rodgers with a Flynn pickup off of the wire.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis
Brown rushed for 129 yards on 14 carries against the Jaguars, including a 49-yard sprint to the end zone for his first touchdown since Week 2. He’s now logged 33 touches in the past two weeks and has exhibited the burst that made him a top pick out of Connecticut.
Brown finally looks comfortable and ready to assume the full-time load. Joseph Addai and Mike Hart remain on the shelf. Brown has the opportunity to be a difference-maker against the Raiders in Week 16.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota
Gerhart performed well as the last-minute starter in a difficult situation on Monday night against the Bears. He demonstrated great power in-between the tackles and dragged would-be tacklers down the field.
Gerhart carried the ball 16 times for 77 yards, adding three receptions for 18 yards to offset a lost fumble. It’s entirely possible that we see the bulldozing rookie frequently in the final two games against Philadelphia and Detroit.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle
Lynch didn’t log a huge effort against the Falcons, but he took advantage of his goal-line opportunity and scored for the fourth time in the past three weeks. He’s also been the workhorse in the Seattle backfield, amassing 52 touches during this period (nine receptions, including seven in Week 14). Lynch earned at least 66 total yards in each of those games.
Maurice Morris, RB, Detroit
Morris took the reins as the lead back for the Lions against the Buccaneers in Week 15 and generated 109 yards on 15 carries. He scored his third touchdown of the year, adding three receptions for 10 yards. Jahvid Best’s continued struggles because of a turf toe injury put Morris on the radar for a sizable workload in the final two weeks.
Tashard Choice, RB, Dallas
Choice scored for the third time in the past four weeks and generated 84 total yards on 19 touches (53 rushing). During this period, has amassed 170 rushing yards on 42 attempts (4.05 yards per carry). Choice also caught four passes for 31 yards against the Redskins.
Derrick Ward, RB, Houston
Owners were reminded about the “handcuffing” rule in Week 15 when Adrian Peterson was a last-minute scratch on Monday against the Bears. Those owners who had stashed Toby Gerhart were the big winners.
This week, Arian Foster stands among the featured backs on the injury list. He will reportedly be ready, but I still believe that Ward warrants a waiver-wire claim.
Ward is a dual-threat back who may prove very valuable if Foster is downgraded or has an issue with his myriad injuries. It’s a nice matchup for Houston against the Broncos, a game that may yield a high point count.
Blair White, WR, Indianapolis
White returns to the radar following the latest injury to Austin Collie (our thoughts go out to him). He had been targeted at least five times in five consecutive games prior to Collie’s brief return to the field in Week 15. White caught a total of 23 passes during this five-week period for 202 yards (40.4 per game) with three touchdowns.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Pittsburgh
Sanders was targeted 13 times in the Steelers’ difficult Week 15 loss to the Jets. He caught seven passes for 78 yards, including a gain of 29 yards. It was his fifth reception of at least 21 yards this season. Sanders has been targeted a total of 38 times in the past six weeks (four or more targets in five of them).
Andre Caldwell, WR, Cincinnati
Caldwell stepped back into the lineup for the Bengals on Sunday because of injuries to the veteran options. He caught four passes for 89 yards on six targets. Remember, Caldwell did amass 51 receptions and 432 receiving yards in his sophomore season, so he’s proven a capable receiver at this level.
He will play a huge role in the Bengals’ final two games as a starter opposite Chad Ochocinco. Caldwell represents a worthwhile target on the wire if desperate, but this matchup against San Diego is daunting.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Oakland
Ford scored for the third time in the past four weeks on a 73-yard run against the Broncos. He added three receptions for 47 yards. Ford remains a dominant force in the return game, but has clearly earned a sizable weekly target count of late (five targets in Week 15).
Kevin Walter, WR, Houston
Walter’s game has been raised in recent weeks. The former fantasy hero has amassed 16 receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown in the past three weeks. He’s worthy of a look-see as a sleeper option this week against the Broncos. Andre Johnson will lock up with Champ Bailey, leaving Walter and Owen Daniels (see below) to do some damage.
Anthony Armstrong, WR, Washington
Armstrong caught five passes for 100 yards, a nice rebound from a tepid Week 14 performance (four receptions for 30 yards). It should be noted, however, that Armstrong has been targeted four or more times in 10 consecutive games and caught three or more passes in eight of those games. He’s caught seven passes of at least 33 yards this season and will be Rex Grossman’s bail-out option.
Owen Daniels, TE, Houston
Daniels didn’t post a huge game against the Titans, but he did log another sizable target count. He was targeted seven times by Daniels in the loss and finished with four receptions for 45 yards. In the past two weeks, Daniels has been targeted 18 times while recording nine receptions and 136 receiving yards.
Kevin Boss, TE, New York Giants
Boss also continued his red zone dominance with another touchdown grab against the Eagles. He caught three passes for 59 yards on six targets and scored for the fifth time in his past seven games.
Boss has been targeted at least three times in six consecutive games. Given the weekly fluctuation of targets to tight ends this season, Boss’ steadiness is a welcome sight.
Benjamin Watson, TE, Cleveland
Following his disappearing act in Week 14, Watson rebounded with a strong seven-reception, 92-yard effort against the Bengals. He’s caught four or more passes in three of the past four games (four of six). Red zone opportunities may be scarce, but he’ll continue to see a high target count with rookie Colt McCoy under center.