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Back by popular demand in 2015… RotoBaller has brought back for the NFL season our Ultimate 2015 Fantasy Football Sleepers & Waiver Wire Pickups List.
Our team of NFL enthusiasts and fantasy football analysts follow football all day, during the offseason and especially during the NFL season. We recommend NFL players for you to consider as 2015 draft sleepers, ADP values, or hot pickups off the waiver wire once the season starts – every single day of the fantasy football preseason and season. Drafting the right undervalued player or adding sleepers off the waiver wire can be a huge difference maker in fantasy leagues. Last year players like C.J. Anderson went undrafted in many leagues, and players like that helped win a ton of fantasy championships.
What’s better than snagging that big time sleeper hot player off the waiver wire before your league does? Well, not much really. Each day we will update this list, so be sure to check back to see who we’ve added and read the latest analysis about each player. If you aren’t sure who to drop, we’ll help you decide – just ask us in our chat room. Now let’s win some leagues!
BALLER MOVE: Stash in All Leagues OWNED IN: 57% of Fleaflicker Leagues ANALYSIS: Only Ryan Mathews rivals Davis as a handcuff for the upcoming season, and that has more to do with Chip Kelly’s system than Mathews’ talent. In the two games that Jamaal Charles missed (or missed significant time) last season, Davis average 119 total yards per game and scored 3 total touchdowns. Davis is a talented runner and almost a guarantee to finish as a top-12 RB if Charles weren’t in the picture. The Chiefs were ranked as the #2 run blocking team last season by ProFootballFocus, and as long as Andy Reid sticks to the run, I see Davis as a must-own running back.
BALLER MOVE: Matchup Stream in 14+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 10% of Fleaflicker Leagues ANALYSIS: To start the season, the St. Louis Rams are home against the punishing defense of the Seattle Seahawks. At first glance, this may not seem like a good matchup for Cunningham, going against one of the top defenses in the league. However, Cunningham is going to get plenty of snaps this week. The team’s first-round pick, Todd Gurley, is still sidelined since he tore his ACL last season at the University of Georgia and second-string back Tre Mason has an injured hamstring. Coach Jeff Fisher has already announced that Mason is more than likely going to be a game-time decision, but if he doesn’t practice this week, he can almost be ruled out before Sunday, meaning Cunningham will get the start. In 16 games last year, Cunningham ran for roughly 250 yards and caught 45 passes for another 350 yards. He also found the endzone four times. These numbers were almost strictly as a third-down and situational back. In a PPR league, there is no reason to believe that he is not going to bring in a minimum of four passes if he gets the start. New quarterback Nick Foles is known to throw the ball deep, but he may not have the opportunity to against the “Legion of Boom.” He may be forced to check the ball down a lot.
BALLER MOVE: Stash in 12+ Team Leagues OWNED IN: 50% of Fleaflicker Leagues ANALYSIS: West isn’t an especially talented running back, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry behind a very good run blocking Cleveland Browns offensive line. Once again though, this is about opportunity. Titans starting running back, sophomore Bishop Sankey, was equally as mediocre last season with a pedestrian 3.7 yards per carry. The Titans were pushing hard for rookie David Cobb to split time in the backfield with Sankey before he was put on injured reserve with a calf injury, at which point they immediately went out and traded for West. I have to imagine West will get his chance at some point this year. He’s a solid waiver wire stash heading into Week 1 if you’re looking to add some depth to your running backs.
3 days ago
BALLER MOVE: Target in Later Rounds for RB Depth / RB3 Upside CURRENT ADP: 227 STD, 224 PPR ANALYSIS: Saints lead-back Mark Ingram is highly regarded by draft experts and is being taken as a top-15 RB based off of his stretch run in 2014. Listen, Ingram had a decent 10 game stretch to finish the season where he averaged 91 total yards and scored 6 total touchdowns. However, the TDs drove Ingram’s value last season. He still only averaged 4.2 yards per carry over that 10 game period. Additionally, he’s been hurt every season of his career, playing in just 50 of 64 potential games, most of that being before he was scheduled to get a heavy workload. There has also been a lot of talk about C.J. Spiller in the offseason and rightfully so. Spiller has the talent to be a top-10 RB as we saw him do in Buffalo. He’s inheriting the Reggie Bush / Darren Sproles role in the New Orleans which has been fruitful in the past. Similar to Ingram though, Spiller is no guarantee to stay on the field, playing just 9 games last season and being a week to week headache in the past. Ultimately, Robinson should fill in for either one of these guys if they were to get hurt. The running back position is all about opportunity and I expect that Robinson will not only get that chance at some point, but he’ll also be very good when that opportunity arises. If you’re still drafting, he can be had for pennies on the dollar at the end of your draft, with a current ADP of 227 (or the 67th running back being drafted).
4 days ago
BALLER MOVE: Target in Later Rounds for FLEX Upside CURRENT ADP: 206 STD, 176 PPR ANALYSIS: “Shoelace” Robinson was positively electric from Weeks 7-10 in 2014, when he took over the starting job from the woefully ineffective Toby Gerhart. He’ll likely open the season behind rookie T.J. Yeldon, who should handle the first and second-down work early on (although there are rumors it may be Robinson who starts Week 1). Robinson is an outstanding runner, especially in the open field, where his acceleration is nearly unmatched. During the aforementioned stretch where Robinson started before suffering a season-ending mid-ankle sprain, he put up some incredible numbers. In just four weeks, he racked up 389 yards and four rushing touchdowns on just 72 carries-a 5.4 YPC clip. He’s also a talented pass-catcher, and again he’s most dangerous when he has room to run. Even if Yeldon does start as the primary rusher, Robinson will most definitely have a role on his own, and could usurp the rookie if things don’t pan out early on. With a current ADP of 206, Robinson can be had for penny on the dollar. He’s no slam dunk, but you can grab him at the end of your draft and see how the situation plays out.
4 days ago
BALLER MOVE: Target in Later Rounds for FLEX Upside CURRENT ADP: 290 STD, 277 PPR ANALYSIS: With Fred Jackson now out of the picture, Karlos Williams should be the clear backup to LeSean McCoy in Buffalo. He was truly impressing in the preseason until he was forced to undergo a mysterious emergency surgery, the details of which are still unknown. It can’t have been very serious, as the Bills still anticipate he’ll be ready for Week 1. I love the “cut of his jib”, to borrow a phrase from ESPN’s senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry–he’s a fantastic downhill runner, often punishing those who try to tackle him. He’s perfectly capable in the passing game as well, which will be very useful with mobile Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterbacks. If LeSean McCoy were to go down, Williams and Taylor could be a positively devastating combo on play action, the option, and swing passes. He’s the clear handcuff to Shady, and I think it’s possible he carves out enough of a role to get some bye-week flex consideration on his own. He may get extra work early in the season until McCoy is confidently healthy, which makes him a nice stash at the end of your drafts. With his current ADP at 277, he costs practically nothing in most leagues, and has the chance to return way more than that for your fantasy football teams.
4 days ago
BALLER MOVE: Target in Later Round for FLEX/RB2 Upside in PPR CURRENT ADP: 189 STD, 149 PPR ANALYSIS: Okay, so here at RotoBaller we’ve written about Matt Jones ad nauseam, with an especially strong man-crush by lead NFL editor Edward Gorelik. Well, here we are again discussing Jones, and there’s a good reason for that. Currently he has a PPR league ADP of 158 (or the 54th running back being drafted), and is only owned in 18% of leagues that have drafted. Simply put, that’s just way too low. It looks like the Redskins are going to be a bad football team this year, and playing from behind a lot. When that happens, Alfred Morris will come off the field and Matt Jones will enter as the pass-catching running back, getting lots of targets and check-downs along the way from Kirk Cousins or Robert Griffin. That’s what we call sneaky PPR upside, with a chance to become PPR gold. Even without this playing-from-behind scenario, the Redskins are in love with Matt Jones as a runner, and he should be spelling Morris with some carries along the way. Bundle that all together, and Matt Jones is a must own in PPR leagues. If you haven’t drafted yet, be sure to grab him at the end of your drafts. If you’re already drafted and he’s just sitting out there on your league’s waiver wire, add him immediately. Do it now.
4 days ago
BALLER MOVE: Target in Later Rounds for FLEX Upside in PPR CURRENT ADP: 128 STD, 120 PPR ANALYSIS: I think we all know what Darren Sproles brings to the table for fantasy football purposes. The boom-or-bust running back can be a PPR monster one week, and get very few snaps another week bringing disappointment. But let’s not forget that he plays for arguable the best offense in football (led by Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray,Ryan Mathews, Jordan Matthews and company), with the best offensive minds calling the shots. The Eagles have already stated that they want Sproles more involved in the offense, and that’s exactly what we like to hear when searching for PPR sleepers. In addition to getting targets out of the backfield, the Eagles have been working on getting Sproles involved as a wide receiver as well. It remains to be seen how he will be utilized, and how consistent he will be week-to-week - but this looks like a situation where a “cheap” player can outperform their draft day cost. Currently Sproles has a PPR ADP of 119 (or the 44th running back being drafted), and is only 38% owned in fantasy leagues. Stash the human swiss army knife on your PPR roster, and keep your fingers crossed for a sneaky PPR stud.
4 days ago
BALLER MOVE: Target in Later Rounds for FLEX / RB2 Upside in PPR CURRENT ADP: 134 STD, 127 PPR ANALYSIS: We have a similar situation here with Reggie Bush, although this may not be as young and sexy as the Matt Jones scenario. Everyone expects the 49ers to be pretty bad this year, and with that the 49ers may find themselves down a lot and playing catch-up throughout their games. Bush has always excelled as a pass-catching back, and may find himself on the field more than some expect this season getting check-downs from Colin Kaepernick. Bush has always been a great talent, and has produced for fantasy football owners in the past, whereas Carlos Hyde has never “done it” yet. Hyde may be a solid running back this year, but he may not. In my book, it’s certainly not a slam dunk. To quickly compare, Hyde has a PPR ADP of 38 (or the 19th running back drafted), while Bush is being overlooked with a PPR ADP of 127 (or the 47th running back being drafted) and only 46% owned. If you’re in a PPR league, get Bush on your roster and see how this all plays out over the first few weeks of the fantasy football season.
1 week ago
BALLER MOVE: Target Starting in Seventh Round CURRENT ADP: Overall #79, RB #29 ANALYSIS: Over the last two seasons, it could be argued that Chris Ivory was the most reliable offensive weapon for the New York Jets. Ivory averaged a very respectable 4.35 YPC over the last two years and topped 800 yards in both seasons. Heading into 2015, the Jets have upgraded their receiving corps with the addition of Brandon Marshall, and Ivory appears to be leading a backfield that also features an injured Stevan Ridley, an underachieving Bilal Powell and an unclear role for Zac Stacy. Despite the clutter, Ivory still has the significant edge as he’s a proven, durable pass-catching threat out of the backfield, and figures to get at least 200 carries this season. Another thing to remember is that Geno Smith is out for a while, and the Jets may focus on the run more than the pass. As the 29th running back coming off of the board in the seventh round or later, you could do a lot worse than Ivory. I expect him to finish as a Top 20 rusher this season so grabbing in the later rounds can be a steal. After a strong preseason though, some owners may be aware of this so don’t wait too long.
1 week ago
BALLER MOVE: Target In Eighth Round CURRENT ADP: Overall #84, RB #31 ANALYSIS: On the surface, it might appear that Jennings is too old, too brittle and in a backfield that’s too crowded to trust him. Jennings is 30, a supposed age of decline for running backs, has never played 16 games in a season and will have to compete with second year back Andre Williams and newly signed free agent Shane Vereen. However, Williams was a disappointment during his rookie season, averaging 3.3 yards per carry and showing off his hands of stone with just 18 receptions on 37 targets. Vereen has never been more than a receiving back, with the 96 carries he got a year ago in New England being a career high. While Jennings certainly did not set the fantasy football world on fire last year, he averaged more yards per carry and was a bigger factor in the passing game than Williams. He is also a much more reliable down-to-down ball carrier than Vereen has proven to be. In 2015, Vereen will likely be the lead receiving back in New York, but there’s no reason to believe that Jennings won’t get the bulk of the carries and flirt with 200 totes. Additionally, he proved to be a very capable receiver last year, actually gaining more yards per catch than Vereen. The big question with Jennings, as it is with all running backs, is health. If Jennings can stay healthy, there’s no reason that he can’t be a Top 25 back with Top 10 flashes from time to time. You can’t ask for more than that from an eighth round selection.
1 week ago
BALLER MOVE: Add In Later Rounds CURRENT ADP: Overall #88, RB #34 ANALYSIS: When the Muscle Hamster burst onto the scene during his rookie campaign with 1,926 total yards and 12 TDs, it seemed that he was on his way to being one of the best backs in the game. But the last two seasons have been unkind to Doug Martin and his fantasy owners, with him missing 16 games and averaging 3.6 yards per carry during that span. As a result, his fantasy stock has plummeted. Entering the 2015 season, Martin is finally healthy and has been named the starting running back for the Buccaneers. All reports indicate that the fourth year runner looks fantastic as well. The presence of second-year back Charles Sims shouldn’t scare anyone off either, after he averaged an underwhelming 2.8 yards per carry in 2014. Bobby Rainey has been decent in flashes, but has been mostly mediocre throughout his time in Tampa. Martin is the only running back on the team who has proven he can be a Top 5 type producer. He is going late in the eighth round and presents almost no risk. Go for the homerun by drafting Martin. At worst, you drop him for a replacement - at best, you get a near return to rookie form and get a steal near the end of the draft.
1 week ago
BALLER MOVE: Target in Rounds 5-7 Current ADP: 76 STD, 55 PPR ANALYSIS: The Saints have always used multiple running backs in a variety of ways. This year, the two backs who will be featured are Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller With Ingram the more traditional runner, Spiller will likely assume the pass-catching role. In 2014, Pierre Thomas and Travaris Cadet, both of whom are no longer with the team, combined for 106 targets- one more than top fantasy back Le’Veon Bell. Assuming he is healthy, Spiller as a high-end RB2 in a PPR league.
1 week ago
BALLER MOVE: Target in Rounds 4-5 Current ADP: 46 STD, 37 PPR ANALYSIS: Andre Ellington is entrenched as the number one back for the Cardinals, so the carries — as well as the targets — will be there. His 46 receptions in 2014 ranks as the sixth most amongst running backs last season, despite coming in just 12 games. As long as Ellington and quarterback Carson Palmer can stay healthy, Ellington can be a solid mid-level RB2 in PPR leagues.