||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.
Eli Manning, Giants
You’ve probably heard by now that the Cowboys’ defense has allowed an NFL record four 400-yard passers this season. It would have actually been five but Drew Brees landed on 398 because the Saints had such a big lead he didn’t have to throw again. One of those 400-yard passers was Manning in Week 1 when threw for 450 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Manning should have another big game on Sunday against the last ranked Dallas pass defense.
Availability: Owned in ~ 78% of leagues.
Forecast: Eli will throw for over 300 yards and a couple of scores.
Mike Glennon, Buccaneers
It’s been a tough year in Tampa Bay but one of the bright spots is the Buccaneers may have found themselves a quarterback. Glennon had another strong performance against the Falcons, throwing for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Glennon has thrown two touchdowns in four of his six starts. He’s also thrown for at least 230 yards four times. Those numbers don’t make Glennon a starter in 12-team leagues but it does make the rookie a strong QB2 option.
Availability: Owned in ~ 33% of leagues.
Forecast: Glennon will continue to put up strong QB2 numbers for the rest of the season.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals
Palmer ripped the Jaguars for 419 yards and two scores on Sunday. Arizona’s offensive line has started playing better in recent weeks, giving Palmer more time to throw the ball. He’s thrown two touchdown passes in each of his last three games and with the Cardinals’ offensive weapons Palmer can be used as a plug and play quarterback for the rest of the year.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
Forecast: Palmer will be a QB2/plug and play option for owners over the next month.
On the Radar: E.J. Manuel (16%), Ryan Tannehill (45%), Matt McGloin (1%), Ryan Fitzpatrick (17%)
Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers
Greg Schiano said he was going to ride the hot hand at running back. Well, on Sunday Rainey was red hot. He rushed for 163 yards and two scores on 30 carries. He also caught a 4-yard touchdown reception. Rainey was so hot Brian Leonard was a complete non-factor and he’ll likely stay that way for the foreseeable future. Rainey is still available in almost half of fantasy leagues. He should be the top waiver wire priority this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 54% of leagues.
Forecast: Rainey will be the Buccaneers’ primary ball carrier, while Leonard resumes his role as the third-down back.
Donald Brown, Colts
It was only a matter of time before the Colts’ coaching staff got tired of watching Trent Richardson run up the backs of his offensive linemen. While they continue to make excuses for Richardson’s abysmal play, Brown finally got his opportunity against Tennessee and responded with 94 total yards and two touchdowns. If the Colts are serious about getting the more productive running back on the field, Brown’s touches will continue to increase going forward.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
Forecast: Brown will be the Colts top fantasy back and viable flex play for the rest of the season.
Mark Ingram, Saints
Two weeks ago Ingram ripped the hapless Cowboys’ defense for 145 yards and a score. The Forecast predicted that would be Ingram’s best game of the season but he could be in line for another solid fantasy performance on Thursday night. The Falcons have been atrocious against the run, allowing 133 yards per game. Also, this is a game where the Saints could build a big lead like they did against Dallas. That’s when Ingram is likely to see double-digit carries and have a major impact.
Availability: Owned in ~ 45% of leagues.
Forecast: Ingram will rush for around 70 yards and a score.
Montee Ball, Broncos
The Forecast suggested grabbing Ball a couple of weeks ago when the Broncos said they wanted to start sprinkling him in to keep Knowshon Moreno fresh for the postseason. Since then Ball has seen games of 5, 12 and 8 carries. He’s also scored three touchdowns, including two against the Chiefs. While Moreno is still the main man in the Broncos’ backfield, Ball is starting to carve out a role in the offense and he’s getting some goal line carries. Ball is worth stashing, especially if you own Moreno.
Availability: Owned in ~ 44% of leagues.
Forecast: Ball will continue to see around 10-12 touches a game and get some goal line carries.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns
Ogbonnaya appeared as a Grab & Stash last week after Browns Head Coach Rob Chudzinski entered the bye saying he wanted to get him more touches. Chudzinski was true to his word. On Sunday Ogbonnaya gained 99 yards on 14 touches. He also saw 12 targets in the passing game. That’s the good news. The bad news is Ogbonnaya lost two fumbles, which could mean less touches for him and more for Fozzy Whittaker going forward. The Forecast still likes Ogbonnaya as a potential add this week but one more fumble will certainly land him in hot water.
Availability: Owned in ~ 34% of leagues.
Forecast: Ogbonnaya will continue to lead the Cleveland running backs in touches and be a factor in the passing game.
On the Radar: Daniel Thomas (34%), Fozzy Whittaker (2%), Antone Smith (1%)
Kenny Stills, Saints
Stills is a boom or bust receiver who has his best games against defenses that struggle defending big plays. The Falcons’ defense fits that description. Atlanta’s defense is in shambles right now. Drew Brees should have a field day picking apart the Falcons’ secondary. Atlanta’s safeties have been burnt all year on deep routes and there aren’t many better quarterbacks at exploiting that weakness than Brees. Stills has a chance to have one of his big fantasy weeks.
Availability: Owned in ~ 72% of leagues.
Forecast: Stills will catch 3-4 passes and score on a big play.
Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers
The Forecast rode Cotchery’s touchdown streak and used him as a Plug & Play last week. Cotchery scored his fifth touchdown in three games against Detroit. While that streak will no doubt slow down, Cotchery has even more value because of Emmanuel Sanders’ foot injury. Cotchery could now go from the slot receiver to a starting role. With Joe Haden squaring off against Antonio Brown all game long, Cotchery is a strong Plug & Play option for the second straight week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 51% of leagues.
Forecast: Cotchery will have a bigger role in the offense if Sanders is seriously hurt and catch 5-6 balls against Cleveland.
Miles Austin, Cowboys
Austin hasn’t been a factor since Week 1 when he caught 10 passes for 72 yards on 12 targets against the Giants. He’s missed the last three games with a hamstring injury but Austin is expected back on Sunday. Terrance Williams has played well overall in Austin’s absence but the rookie has had problems with drops and mental lapses in the last couple of games. Tony Romo trusts Austin and if he’s healthy, the veteran should once again become a big part of Dallas’ offense. There’s a chance Austin will play a quarter and get hurt again but owners probably won’t have to pay much to get him. Austin could pay big dividends over the final month of the season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 31% of leagues.
Forecast: Austin will be a weekly WR3/4 over the final month if he can stay healthy.
Santonio Holmes, Jets
Trying to predict what Holmes is going to do this season is next to impossible. However, at least for now, Holmes is back in the Jets’ lineup and that makes him the team’s No. 1 receiver again. Holmes caught two passes for 71 yards against Buffalo. If nothing else, we know Holmes likes playing the Bills. He has seven receptions for 225 yards and a score against them this season. Unfortunately, Holmes doesn’t play Buffalo again in 2013 but he’s worth a flier in deeper leagues if you need receiver help.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
Forecast: Holmes will put up decent fantasy numbers every other week when the Jets play well.
Rishard Matthews, Dolphins
No one expected Matthews to have a repeat of his huge Monday night game where he caught 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. However, Matthews came back with a decent four catches and 52 yards on six targets against San Diego. It wasn’t a huge game but Matthews also didn’t fall off the face of the earth. The bottom line is Ryan Tannehill has been looking Matthews’ way the last couple of weeks, so he’s more than a one-week wonder.
Availability: Owned in ~ 37% of leagues.
Forecast: Matthews will be a match-up friendly flex option in PPR leagues.
Marquise Goodwin, Bills
The Bills were without starters Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods on Sunday but Goodwin played well in their absence. He caught six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Goodwin now has at least 50 yards receiving in three of his last four games and has scored in two of his last three games. Goodwin has blazing speed and he’s kind of a rawer version of Mike Wallace. Goodwin is more valuable in dynasty formats but he’s coming on and if the Bills continue to have injuries at receiver, he could become a factor.
Availability: Owned in ~ 3% of leagues.
Forecast: Goodwin will make some big plays in the Bills’ offense and could emerge if Woods or Johnson continues to struggle with injuries.
On the Radar: T.J. Graham (1%), Ace Sanders (3%), Aldrick Robinson (1%), Rod Streater (11%)
Delanie Walker, Titans
This is the third week in a row for Walker in The Forecast. He finally makes it to Rock Star status after catching 10 passes for 91 yards and a score. As mentioned last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick tends to target the tight end and Walker was targeted 10 times against the Colts. Walker has now posted double-digit fantasy weeks in three of his last four games in PPR formats. If you need help at tight end, Walker is a player on the rise.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
Forecast: Walker will post low-end TE1/high-end TE2 numbers for the rest of the year.
Jared Cook, Rams
Cook hasn’t done much since he caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 against Arizona. The Cardinals are so bad at defending tight ends that performance almost doesn’t count. However, Cook faces another poor defense when it comes to defending tight ends this week in Chicago. Cook wasn’t a factor against Indianapolis but he did see 19 targets in his previous three games before that one. If you’re scrambling for a tight end this week, Cook has a chance to have his best game since the opener.
Availability: Owned in ~ 55% of leagues.
Forecast: Cook will put up double-digit fantasy points against the Bears.
Rob Housler, Cardinals
Housler caught six passes for 70 yards on Sunday and he now has 10 receptions for 127 yards and a score on 14 targets in his last two games. Going back even further, Housler has caught at least four passes in four of his last five games. Housler isn’t on the radar as a TE1 yet but he’s drawing more targets from Carson Palmer and he’s starting to develop a consistent role in Arizona’s offense.
Availability: Owned in ~ 41% of leagues.
Forecast: Housler will be a consistent TE2 in PPR leagues.
John Carlson, Vikings
Carlson has had two good games in a row since filling in for the injured Kyle Rudolph. It’s hard to trust Carlson because of the Vikings’ quarterback situation but in the two games since Rudolph went down, he’s caught 12 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. Carlson may not keep up that pace in Minnesota’s offense but he’s worth a look if you need depth at tight end.
Availability: Owned in ~ 24% of leagues.
Forecast: Carlson will be a low-end TE2 option because of Minnesota’s inconsistent quarterback play.
On the Radar: Garrett Graham (36%), Ladarius Green (3%)
Phil Dawson, 49ers
Dawson got off to a bit of a slow start this season but he’s made five field goals in his last two games, including kicks of 53 and 55 yards. The 49ers play Washington’s dreadful defense on Sunday. San Francisco is coming off back-to-back games where it recorded fewer than 200 total yards of offense but the Redskins’ defense should help end that streak. Dawson will get plenty of scoring opportunities against a Washington team in disarray right now.
Availability: Owned in ~ 64% of leagues.
Forecast: Dawson will kick three field goals for the third time in six games.
Josh Brown, Giants
The Cowboys give up a ton of yards but if there is anything good about their defense in 2013 it’s that they sometimes stiffen in the red zone. While the Giants have improved of late, they can sometimes bog down in the red zone. There’s no doubt New York will move the ball on the Cowboys because virtually every team has done so this year, so that means Brown will get some scoring opportunities this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 31% of leagues.
Forecast: Brown will score at least 10 fantasy points this week.
Are you looking for a defense to pick up for the rest of the season? How about one coming off a game where they recorded four sacks, four turnovers and scored a touchdown? Better yet, they play Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Miami the four weeks after their bye. That defense is a Buffalo Bills unit that now has 36 sacks, 16 interceptions and three touchdowns on the year. Buffalo’s defense has been inconsistent in the fantasy world but their schedule down the stretch makes the Bills a sneaky late season addition.
Availability: Owned in ~ 36% of leagues.
Forecast: The Bills will be a valuable plug and play defense over the final month of the season.
New York Jets
The Jets’ defense has a great match-up this week against Baltimore. The Ravens can’t run the football against any defense with a heartbeat and Baltimore’s offensive line has had all kinds of trouble protecting Joe Flacco this season. Ray Rice will find out quickly that he’s not playing the Bears and Flacco will be under heavy fire all game long. Look for a dominating performance out of the Jets’ defense this week in what should be a low-scoring game.
Availability: Owned in ~ 62% of leagues.
Forecast: The Jets will sack Flacco five times and harass him all day.