The waiver wire is the only way fantasy football owners can upgrade their rosters in time for their playoff games, and there are still some great options available on it in many leagues.
Here are four players/defenses that can be perfect last-minute pickups on the waiver wire
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns (WR)
Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden focused on Gordon some weeks and ignored him other weeks during the early portion of the season, which made Gordon’s stats and fantasy value inconsistent.
But Weeden has targeted Gordon a lucky seven times in each of the Browns’ past three contests and they have been connecting much more successfully. Gordon had 15 receptions for 229 yards and a touchdown, including the first 100-yard game of his career last week.
With Gordon slated to run routes at home against the pass defenses of the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins (31st in NFL) the next two weeks, and with Weeden seemingly getting more comfortable throwing to him, Gordon could be a great help for a fantasy squad.
Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks (WR)
Tate has been the poor man’s Cris Carter this year—only worrying about scoring touchdowns (35 receptions, seven TD). But with Sidney Rice constantly concussed and with Seattle playing three of its last four games at home where quarterback Russell Wilson becomes Jim Zorn Jr., Tate could catch more passes and be a late-season steal on the waiver wire.
I am not one for karma or palm reading or fate or psychics, but 2012 has been an outstanding year for Notre Dame, and that is Tate’s college. Maybe the luck of the Irish could be on Tate’s side the next couple games just like it has been for his college football team...
Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles (TE)
DeSean Jackson is done, Jeremy Maclin is invisible and rookie quarterback Nick Foles does not click on long passes with anybody but opposing defensive backs. Yet Celek has been a solid safety valve for Foles recently and should be targeted by Foles as often as England’s royal family is targeted by the paparazzi.
Celek caught seven passes for 73 yards against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday night and is probably the most reliable option Foles has left. And with Philadelphia facing Tampa Bay’s dead-last secondary in what could turn out to be a high-scoring Sunday shootout, an 80-yard day could be in the offing for Celek.
Just know going in that Celek is the anti-Tate. Celek has one touchdown to show for his 50 receptions, so he has been allergic to scoring. And that TD came two months back when some southpaw scrambler was the QB.
San Diego Chargers Defense
San Diego has been a downright embarrassment this season, and the defense has been a part of the fiasco—remember Baltimore converting that infamous 4th-and-29 where Chargers defenders took the worst angles possible when attempting to tackle Ray Rice? Obviously some Chargers were never A-students in geometry.
Yet the Chargers are ranked eighth in total defense and rated in the upper half among defenses when it comes to creating turnovers, so they could be useful for fantasy purposes when they are playing against the right offense. And that right offense is coming up for San Diego during Week 16.
Week 16 is Super Bowl week for many fantasy leagues, and San Diego is playing a Sunday night game against the New York Jets that weekend. Fantasy owners know how beneficial it can be to utilize a defense that is going up against the Jets. All of those Mark Sanchez interceptions, fumbles and sacks translate into Kobe Bryant-like fantasy points, and the Jets offense is ranked 26th in scoring and 29th in yards.
And if you pick up the San Diego defense you could even choose to have them in your lineup in Week 15 as well. San Diego hosts the Carolina Panthers that week, and Cam Newton’s inconsistent offense is below-average in points, yards and sacks allowed. So San Diego’s D could be a fantasy savior for some owners during their playoff runs.
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