Sometimes playing the waiver wire is all about stashing a player who should have value in upcoming weeks, like Andre Brown of the New York Giants. Sometimes it's about handcuffing one of your talented but injury-prone stars.
And sometimes, you're simply looking to add the player with the most immediate upside possible.
For those folks, I've identified three players still widely available in ESPN leagues that will pay immediate dividends for fantasy owners. Don't let these guys sit on the wire—snatch them up now!
Note: All fantasy point totals for standard-scoring leagues.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
While Foles isn't guaranteed to start Sunday, it's pretty hard to imagine him sitting after his epic performance against the Oakland Raiders, even if Michael Vick is cleared to play. The question is, what exactly are you getting with Foles as a quarterback this week?
In a way, Foles has already provided two outlier performances this season. There's likely no chance he'll again post 45 fantasy points like he did on Sunday, but it also seems unlikely that he'll again be as poor as he was against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7, scoring just five fantasy points on a measly 80 passing yards.
So let's instead look at the six total quarters he played against the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In that time, Foles threw for 493 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. His fantasy value took a bump after he rushed for a score against the Bucs—don't expect to see that again, as Foles is a bit plodding— but in this offense, and given his performances to date, it isn't crazy to expect 18 to 23 points per week from Foles.
This week, he faces a Green Bay Packers team that is giving up 250.5 passing yards per game (20th in the NFL) and 17.6 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week in standard-scoring leagues, 22nd in the NFL. Plus, Aaron Rodgers almost assuredly won't play, meaning Green Bay may struggle to hold onto the ball on offense.
Foles isn't just a great start this week, he's a QB1. Pick him up and enjoy the ride.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Oakland Raiders
This week, Darren McFadden re-aggravated a hamstring injury from earlier in the season, making his status for this week quite murky. Here's the Oakland incumbent discussing the injury after the game:
That opens up the door for Rashad Jennings, who was excellent in relief work against the Eagles, rushing 15 times for 102 yards and a touchdown and adding seven receptions for 74, totaling 23 fantasy points. There is no question the athletic talent is there for a big performance, and with a likely starting gig this week, what's holding Jennings back from being an RB1?
Well, the matchup isn't great. The New York Giants allow just 102.3 rushing yards per game, ninth in the NFL, and are holding opposing running backs to 13.6 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues per week, also ninth in the league.
Still, the Raiders have the league's fourth-ranked rushing attack, and the Giants will need to keep a man glued to Terrelle Pryor, which should open up running lanes for Jennings. Don't expect another 23-point performance, but there's no reason to think Jennings can't hit double-digit points.
Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts
The season-ending injury to Reggie Wayne looks like it will result in two players seeing a big boost in fantasy value in Indianapolis: T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener.
Fleener has a tight end's size but a wide receiver's athleticism, and it's been a bit surprising that he wasn't a bigger part of this offense earlier in the season. Nonetheless he's come on strong in the past two weeks, with eight receptions for 102 yards, a touchdown and a brilliant two-point conversion that saw him leap over two Houston Texans defenders to snare the ball at its apex.
The St. Louis Rams allow just 4.1 fantasy points to opposing tight ends per week, second in the NFL, but when faced with the better talents at the position—Jason Witten scored six fantasy points and Vernon Davis scored seven—they haven't been invincible.
Seeing as Andrew Luck has kept this offense humming along at a high rate all season, expect Fleener to have a very nice game despite the tough matchup.
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