By: Jordan Hall @jordan_hall23
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Let’s be honest, if you are still alive in your fantasy playoffs, you more than likely are no longer in need of the waiver wire. With only two weeks remaining in the season, chances are that you have sorted out your starting lineup for the remainder of the year. Because of this, I have changed the format of this week’s waiver wire wonders slightly.
Instead of looking at guys on the waiver wire that can help fantasy owners this year, I have glanced into my crystal ball and came up with five players that are under ten percent owned in ESPN standard leagues that are going to be must-own, fantasy studs next year.
Tim Tebow 9.6
We know that Mark Sanchez is going to be the Jets’ starting quarterback going into 2013 but I wouldn’t be surprised if they deployed Greg McElroy as the back up and jettisoned Tebow out of town. There are plenty of teams that need a quarterback, and surprisingly there are teams that think he can play the position.
While it’s certainly debatable whether Tim Tebow is an NFL-level quarterback, there is no denying his fantasy relevance when he plays. 50 rushing yards and a touchdown are his ground game baselines and anything he gives you through the air is a bonus. He is easily a top-10 fantasy quarterback when he starts. I’m not saying that a trade is immanent, but if you start to catch wind of one, I’d suggest you put a claim in for him in dynasty or keeper leagues.
Daryl Richardson 6.2
Steven Jackson will most certainly not be back in St. Louis next year. Though he has shown spurts this year, he is simply getting too old to maintain his current pace. If this is true, the Rams will want a new, more dynamic option, to match up with their suddenly potent passing attack.
Richardson has very impressive lateral agility and is a good, instinctive, open field runner. Though he is a bit on the Muggsy Bogues side, I think he has a chance to win the starting job out of camp next year. He will have to fend off competition from Isaiah Pead and potentially others, but from what I’ve seen of him, I like his chances.
Michael Floyd 2.5
The Arizona Cardinals have to bring in a real quarterback for next season. They simply cannot go another year with Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley, and John Skelton. They make Denard Robinson look like Peyton Manning. Whether it’s through the draft or through free agency, if the Cardinals want to compete in 2013, they’re going to have to make a splash.
With that being said, I think the primary beneficiaries of a new QB will be the talented wide-outs, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Floyd got off to a poor start, had one or two nice games, and then faded off the radar down the stretch. The problem wasn’t necessarily the talent with Floyd but the quarterback’s level of comfort with him. They, all too often, would settle for Andre Roberts or Rob Housler on simple patterns and not take shots down the field to Floyd or Fitzgerald. With a new sheriff about to arrive in town, I expect things to change drastically. Remember, Floyd was a first round talent; he has big potential. I think we begin to see him cash in on that in 2013.
Julian Edelman 2.0
With Wes Welker’s impending free agency in sight Julian Edelman suddenly becomes a very interesting keeper target. Not to take anything away from Wes Welker, but I view the Patriots’ offense as a bit plug and play. I really think that if Welker were to exit, they could put Edelman into his role and they would be able to move along without a hiccup.
While there are certainly no signs that the Patriots want to let Welker go, I still have a hunch that he may be wearing different colors next year. The Hoodie is very tight with his cash and if he thinks he has a replacement, we’ve seen that he’s not afraid to let stars go (Richard Seymour, Deion Branch, etc.)
At this point in the year, it is impossible to predict anything concrete about next year, but if Welker is gone, Edelman will easily be in my top 20 receivers for next year and even if he stays, I still see a nice, slightly useful year for Edelman.
Lamichael James 1.2
Year after year we hear about the demise of Frank Gore. He’s getting older, he’s getting slow, but unlike Michael Turner, he doesn’t seem to be getting fatter. No matter, Frank Gore is headed for a cliff one of these years. After a resurgence this season, I can’t help but think it’s going to be next year. To be opportunistic, I would most certainly grab Lamichael James.
I absolutely love James’ talent. I think he is one of the most gifted runners in the NFL and is one shot away from being not only a fantasy stud but a NFL superstar also. He was undeniably successful at Oregon and has looked good in limited work this season for the 49ers. Once you get to the end of your draft and you’re just looking for upside, I would definitely give him a look, he has top-15 upside.
Vincent Brown 0.5
Brown is a guy that I have always liked. I’m not sure what it is about him, but I think he is a very good NFL-level wide receiver. I liked him coming into this season but an ankle injury derailed any hope of a breakout this year. Because of this, I will go back to the well and call for it in 2013.
I’m not sure if anyone has noticed but Phillip Rivers has been really, really bad this year. I would be very surprised if the Chargers didn’t address the position in the off-season, either by bringing in someone new or a coach to fix Rivers. Either way, a better effort out of the quarterback position could lead to a massive year for both Denario Alexander and Vincent Brown. Quietly, the Chargers have put together a nice little receiving core with the two of them and I think that their offense may be good enough next year to sustain both of them from a fantasy perspective.
Joe Webb 0.3
I have always loved Joe Webb. I will say it right up front, so you know that I am undeniably biased. But, hear me out, Christian Ponder sucks, and Webb is a dynamo. If 2013 has taught the Vikings anything, it would be that Adrian Peterson is good and Christian Ponder is not. It’s been so obvious that I think the Vikes will look to make a change going into 2013. If that change comes from within, I think we will see the birth of the next fantasy darling, in Joe Webb.
While Joe Webb may not be the most accurate passer, he more than makes up for it with his scrambling ability. He is a dynamic open field runner and has surprising touch on his throws. We all clamored to get Colin Kaepernick when he took over the starting job in San Fran and I would think we should all do the same should Webb take over in Minnesota. A guaranteed weekly 40 rushing yards from your quarterback is nothing to scoff at. This one is far from a lock, but rather is something for you to look out for going forward.
Jordan answers all fantasy questions on Twitter @jordan_hall23 or #stsfantasy