||Rock Star Free Agent
||Grab & Stash
||1 Week Plug & Play
|Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale
||$0 - $5
||$6 - $15
||$16 - $25
||$26 - $40
|Based on $100 cap,
Given the diverse scoring systems and sizes of fantasy leagues, producing a weekly list of free agents that satisfies the masses can be challenging. For the most part, the column will hone in on players who are available in at least 35% of all fantasy leagues. If you play in a small league (8 teams), chances are there may be better players to pick up than you see listed here. If you play in a large league (16 teams), the majority of the players highlighted may already be on a squad; however, expect to find hidden gems, as well.
In addition to scouting “rock star” free agents who had breakout performances in the previous week, the Forecast will dig deep to identify players who may be worth a spot start or a roster stash.
Nick Foles, Eagles
Foles passed for 381 yards and two touchdowns Sunday against the Bucs. He also added 27 yards and a touchdown on the ground, finishing Week 15 as one of fantasy football’s highest-scoring QBs. The game is starting to slow down for Foles, who had a bumpy start. This week, Philadelphia hosts the Bengals, who own one of the NFL’s better pass defenses. Consider Foles a very low-end, risky option for Week 15. However, go ahead and stash him for Philly’s Week 17 matchup against the 31st-ranked pass defense of the Redskins.
Availability: Owned in ~18% of leagues.
Forecast: Foles is worth adding based on his recent play and his juicy Week 16 matchup.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Wilson holds the title for most Forecast mentions this season by a single player. He’s good enough to be useful against nearly any opponent. However, there’s always a chance he throws up a low number, as was the case in Sunday’s blowout win over the Cardinals. After Seattle secured an early lead, they were content handing the ball off. Wilson was pulled out of the game in the second half, which further damaged his stat sheet. But one poor fantasy week shouldn’t discourage you from looking in Wilson’s direction if you need QB help. Seattle faces Buffalo this week in a game that’s critical to their playoff aspirations. Look for Wilson to be up to the task and go for 200+ yards with a couple scores.
Availability: Owned in ~60% of leagues.
Forecast: Wilson remains a useful fantasy QB and should be owned in the majority of leagues.
Brandon Weeden, Browns
Weeden is worth mentioning based entirely on his favorable Week 15 game against Washington. The Redskins have allowed 27 passing touchdowns, tied for most in the NFL. They also give up 289.3 passing yards per game, second-most in the league. Although he’s been inconsistent, Weeden has seven games under his belt with either multiple touchdowns or 300 yards passing. The Forecast likes his chances of putting up 280 yards with two scores this week. If you made it this far, it’s doubtful you’re this desperate for QB help. However, if you regularly start RGIII and didn’t roster a backup, Weeden could be worth a look.
Availability: Owned in ~25% of leagues.
Forecast: If you’re desperate, take a deep breath and trot out Weeden this week in a favorable matchup.
Other Notables and No-Brainers: Phillip Rivers (87%), Carson Palmer (88%), Ben Roethlisberger (91%) and Joe Flacco (86%)
On the Radar: Jake Locker (23%) and Kirk Cousins (1%)
David Wilson, Giants
Wilson was a sparkplug on Sunday. Every time the Saints pulled closer to the Giants on the scoreboard, the rookie made an explosive play either in the run game or on special teams. He ended the game with 327 total yards. Throwing out the special teams production, he tallied 100 yards and two scores. Ahmad Bradshaw is clearly not 100% right now. He’s constantly limping on and off the field. Considering the state of the NFC, every game is a must-win for the Giants so look for the team to continue to feed Wilson the rock 10+ times per game. He’s worth starting against the Falcons in Week 15.
Availability: Owned in ~43% of leagues.
Forecast: Wilson should be owned in all leagues.
Joique Bell, Lions
Bell’s playing time is trending upward. He saw a career-high 17 touches in Sunday night’s loss to the Packers and racked up 96 all-purpose yards. With Mikel LeShoure averaging just 3.7 yards per carry—compared to 5.4 for Bell—it’s not surprising that Detroit is giving Bell more opportunities. The Forecast like’s his chances of putting up top 24 fantasy numbers in PPR leagues this week against a Cardinals team that has quit. Arizona was gashed by Seattle’s run attack for 284 yards and four TDs.
Availability: Owned in ~59% of leagues.
Forecast: Bell is worth spot starting as a low-end RB2 or flex option in deep leagues.
Montell Owens, Jaguars
The Forecast liked Owens more than most free agent trackers last week, giving him top billing. He came through, rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Jets. He also had an 11-yard reception to top the century mark. Jacksonville’s backfield has been marred by injuries all season. As long as Rashad Jennings and Maurice Jones-Drew remain sidelined, Owens figures to get a healthy dose of touches. The only downside is his matchup gets significantly more difficult this week as Jacksonville faces Miami. The Dolphins allow just 102.1 rushing yards per game. Even so, Owens can be used as low-end or flex option if you’re in pinch.
Availability: Owned in ~18% of leagues.
Forecast: You could do worse than Owens, who will get 15+ touches against Miami.
Bilal Powell, Jets
Powell has recorded four touchdowns in the last four games yet he’s only owned in 26% of leagues. He’s a guy who should be added en masse this week. New York’s passing game is a complete disaster. The team is going to run and then run some more. Powell and Shonn Greene are seeing a 50-50 split in carries, which means both backs are consistently getting the ball 12 times per game. In fact, Powell has 12 or more touches in four straight. The Jets face a below-average Titans run defense in Week 15 so if you need some backfield help, Powell could be your guy.
Availability: Owned in ~26% of leagues.
Forecast: Spot start the surging Powell if you’re RB needy.
Alex Green, Packers
With James Starks out of the season, Green posted his best rushing yardage of the year. He recorded 69 yards on 13 carries against Detroit. Unfortunately, Green still hasn’t found the endzone this season, which greatly limits his fantasy upside. The Packers have rushed for touchdowns in two straight games but those TDs were scored by Starks and DuJuan Harris. Perhaps Green Bay’s increased reliance on the run game will propel Green to a score this week but the Forecast wouldn’t advise making that bet. Keep Green benched for Week 15 against the Bears but stash him as a backup in case you need help in Week 16 when the Packers host the Titans.
Availability: Owned in ~62% of leagues.
Forecast: Green is a weak option for Week 15 but should be owned in the majority of leagues as a backup.
Bernard Pierce, Ravens
Ray Rice suffered a hip pointer in Sunday’s loss to the Redskins. He still played even after the injury occurred, which means the injury is probably minor. However, hip and leg injuries have a way of lingering or even worsening as the week wears on. Rice owners would be wise to add backup Bernard Pierce early this week just in case Rice rests and gets pegged as a game-time-decision. Pierce has been money when given a chance this season. He’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry and would be lineup worthy even against a tough Broncos defense.
Availability: Owned in ~12% of leagues.
Forecast: Ray Rice owners would be foolish to not add Pierce ASAP.
Other Notables and No-Brainers: Knowshon Moreno (87%), Vick Ballard (81%), DeAngelo Williams (74%), Jonathan Dwyer (86%) and Jacquizz Rodgers (74%)
On the Radar: Pierre Thomas (65%), Robert Turbin (18%), LaMichael James (4%), Shane Vereen (37%), Brandon Bolden (10%) and DuJuan Harris (0%)
Jason Avant, Eagles
The Forecast had a good feeling about Avant last week and he was better than advertised, posting 133 yards on seven receptions. He was targeted 12 times. DeSean Jackson is out for the year and TE Brent Celek (concussion) is likely to miss a game. Those injuries along with the improved play of QB Nick Foles have Avant very much in the picture for fantasy football’s postseason. Although we don’t love his matchup this week against Cincinnati’s 11th-ranked pass defense, Avant still merits consideration as a WR3. And you won’t find a better matchup than his Week 16 tilt against the Redskins.
Availability: Owned in ~2% of leagues.
Forecast: Avant is becoming a favorite target for Nick Foles and is worth starting in deep leagues.
Rod Streater and Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Streater and DHB managed to post helpful numbers last Thursday against the Broncos despite a weak overall team performance. Heyward-Bey ended the game with 82 yards and a touchdown, while Streater caught four passes for 100 yards. Both players have upside against a Chiefs team that has allowed 25 passing touchdowns, tied for third most in the NFL. However, that upside comes with great risk. Heyward-Bey and Streater are textbook boom-or-bust WRs. If you can stomach the risk, both players are worth considering for your WR3 slot. Give Streater the edge based on his better numbers of late.
Availability: Owned in ~2% and ~60% of leagues, respectively.
Forecast: Spot start one of these Raiders feast-or-famine Raiders wideouts against the Chiefs and look for above-average numbers.
Brandon Gibson, Rams
Ack! Just when we think we have the Rams figured out, Brandon Gibson comes back from the dead with a monster 6-100-1 stat line. He out-gained Chris Givens, who the Forecast recommended last week, but only hand three catches for 25 yards. Givens still was targeted ten times and merits roster consideration. With Danny Amendola likely out again this week, both Gibson and Givens should see plenty of targets. It’s just a matter of what the can do with those throws because they’ll face an underrated Vikings pass defense. Expect modest numbers. The Rams play Tampa in Week 16 so even if you don’t want to start Gibson or Givens this week, they are worth stashing.
Availability: Owned in ~21% of leagues.
Forecast: Stash Gibson for his Week 16 matchup against the Bucs.
Donte Stallworth, Patriots
The long ball made its return to New England on Monday night. All preseason long most fantasy owners shared the belief that Brandon Lloyd would provide the downfield presence the team had been lacking since Randy Moss exited stage left. It didn’t happen. Oddly enough, journeyman Donte Stallworth may provide the spark the Patriots have been looking for. Stallworth played for New England back in 2007 and was part of the 16-0 regular season. He caught 47 balls for 697 yards and three touchdowns that year despite being the team’s No. 3 WR. The bottom line is Tom Brady knows him and is comfortable with him. Don’t be surprised if Stallworth makes noise for the rest of the year.
Availability: Owned in ~0% of leagues.
Forecast: Add Stallworth but take a wait-and-see approach.
Joe Morgan, Saints
With the Saints out of the playoff picture, the time has come to for them to start looking ahead to 2013. That means a second-year guy like Joseph Morgan may see more playing time than a veteran like Devery Henderson. Morgan is averaging a ridiculous 44.3 yards per catch. He had his best outing of the season on Sunday against the Giants, recording two receptions for 106 yards. He’s too risky to play if you’re in your championship bracket. However, if you’re in a consolation bracket, he’s a boom-or-bust WR you could take a chance on—especially if your league awards bonus points for long TDs. New Orleans plays against the Bucs, who have the worst pass defense in the NFL.
Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
Forecast: Take a chance on Morgan in deep leagues and look for a big play or two this week.
Other Notables and No-Brainers: Danario Alexander (87%), Anquan Boldin (91%), Josh Gordon (82%) and Kenny Britt (76%)
On the Radar: Michael Spurlock (0%), Andrew Hawkins (29%), Greg Little (22%) and Alshon Jeffery (14%), Domenik Hixon (9%), Kris Durham (0%), Marvin Jones, (0%) and Kevin Elliot (0%)
Tony Scheffler, Lions
Scheffler caught his first touchdown of the season on Sunday against the Packers. The Forecast likes his chances of closing out the season strong. Fellow TE Brandon Pettigrew left the game with an ankle injury. Plus the team is already dealing with a shortage of WRs due to injuries and disciplinary issues. If Pettigrew doesn’t suit up for Sunday’s contest against the Cardinals, Scheffler has TE1 legitimacy. Arizona has ceded TE touchdowns to the likes of Zach Miller, Jeff Cumberland and Lance Kendricks over their last three outings.
Availability: Owned in ~3% of leagues.
Forecast: Look for top-ten TE numbers from Scheffler if Brandon Pettigrew is out.
Clay Harbor, Eagles
Eagles starting TE Brent Celek suffered a concussion on the first play of Sunday’s game against the Bucs. Clay Harbor was pressed into action and caught all six passes thrown his way for 52 yards and a touchdown. Celek has already been ruled out this week against the Bengals, which makes Harbor a viable starting TE in deep leagues. Cincy has fared well against TEs of late but the Eagles are running out of options in the passing game. Look for around 50-60 yards from Harbor again this week.
Availability: Owned in ~0% of leagues.
Forecast: Consider plugging and playing Harbor this week in deep leagues if Celek doesn’t suit up.
Other Notables and No-Brainers: Greg Olsen (90%) and Martellus Bennett (77%)
On the Radar: Dennis Pitta (50%), Joel Dreessen (31%) and Zach Miller (2%)
Nick Novak, Chargers
Like clockwork, the Chargers are making a late-season push. It’s probably too little too late to save head coach Norv Turner’s job but it’s not too late to squeeze some fantasy production out of the kicker position. Nick Novak has booted multiple field goals in three straight games. On Sunday against the Steelers, he hit a 51 yarder and put up double-digit points. With Carolina coming to town, Novak makes sense as a plug-and-play kicker. The Panthers have been one of the most generous opponents to the position (although they held Matt Bryant in check last week).
Availability: Owned in ~6% of leagues.
Forecast: Add Novak and look for a minimum of eight points against the Panthers.
Kai Forbath, Redskins
Since taking over the kicking job in Week 6, Kai Forbath has been a steady fantasy producer. He has put up seven or more points in all but one game this year. Trust him this week against the Browns as long as Robert Griffin III (knee) starts. The Redskins should be able to move the ball against a Cleveland team that is average against both the run and pass. Forbath should net you good production with at least a couple field goal kicks.
Availability: Owned in ~7% of leagues.
Forecast: Look for a near double-digit performance from Forbath in Week 15.
Other Notables and No-Brainers: Jason Hanson (90%) and Matt Prater (76%)
On the Radar: Steven Hauschka (10%), Mason Crosby (63%), Garrett Hartley (52%) and Josh Brown (1%)
DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS
The Lions defense will be the next beneficiary of a matchup against the hapless Cardinals. Arizona’s QB situation is the worst in recent NFL history and no matter which passer they trot out, he will give the gift of abundant turnovers and sacks. Detroit’s DST has been serviceable this season. Although they have yet to score a touchdown in 2012, they have recorded multiple sacks in five straight games. The Forecast likes their chances of recording a defensive TD this week. Add them with supreme confidence and expect a top-ten performance this week.
Availability: Owned in ~25% of leagues.
Forecast: Detroit’s DST has the potential to carry fantasy teams this week; go after them hard.
Other Notables and No-Brainers: New York Giants (85%) and Gren Bay Packers (87%)
On the Radar: Cleveland Browns (64%), St. Louis Rams (45%) and Minnesota Vikings (43%)