The waiver wire is like a minefield.
One wrong move from an owner in the pursuit of a productive lineup, and a berth in the playoffs can quickly spiral down the drain.
Alas, the wire is a critical element of fantasy that can separate the contenders from pretenders. The former knows when a big game from a little-owned player is nothing but fool's gold.
Below we'll rattle off a few names to avoid and suggest better alternatives. We'll also ignore widely-owned guys above a 50 percent ratio who are clearly busts, as well (here's to you, Mark Ingram and Tavon Austin).
Note: All scoring info based on ESPN standard leagues. Dallas and St. Louis have a bye.
Kellen Clemens, QB, St. Louis Rams (0.4 percent)
Believe it or not, St. Louis Rams backup Kellen Clemens has improved each week after taking over for Sam Bradford.
Just don't expect it to continue.
In Week 10, only eight quarterbacks scored more fantasy points than Clemens. The veteran signal-caller put up a 9-of-16 effort for 247 yards and two touchdowns as he was asked to simply not lose.
Sell high on Kellen Clemens you guys.— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) November 11, 2013
Clemens has rookie receiver Tavon Austin to thank for his production, as the rookie caught two passes and turned them into 138 yards and two scores. That simply won't happen every week, as it was the first time the rookie broke the 50-yard barrier.
Clemens was a fluke in Week 10, and he should not be added as a stash during St. Louis' Week 11 bye in prep for a postseason push.
Better Alternative: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts (6.6 percent)
Continue to let any and all Indianapolis backs rot on the wire.
At first glance, Brown's Week 10 production looks solid. After all, Brown was a top-15 producer with his 64 total yards and a touchdown.
Except Brown was only on the receiving end of two carries, which he took for -1 yard.
Trent Richardson and Donald Brown combined for 1 rushing yard today.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) November 10, 2013
Brown caught five passes for 65 yards and a score in the blowout, but the Colts will not be playing from behind each week. He still resides in a committee backfield and typically only sees the field on passing downs.
Two of his team's next four contests come against teams ranked in the top 10 against the pass anyway, so ignore Brown's misleading statistical output.
Better Alternative: Andre Brown, New York Giants
Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona Cardinals (15.6 percent)
Andre Roberts was perhaps the biggest fluke of all in Week 10.
Roberts brought in five receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown to rank in the top 15 at his position, but only after starter Michael Floyd went down with a shoulder injury.
Per Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports, Floyd is set to return as early as next week:
Arians said Michael Floyd (Shoulder) is day to day, it could lead to a game time decision. @foxsports910— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) November 11, 2013
In other words, Roberts is back to his normal self who has been held with a fantasy goose egg in five games. With Larry Fitzgerald and Floyd in front of him and Carson Palmer playing behind a shaky line, Roberts is back to fantasy irrelevancy.
Wire position is much better off spent elsewhere.
Better Alternative: Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers
Brandon Bostick, TE, Green Bay Packers (0.0 percent)
Hold off on betting the bank on Brandon Bostick.
Yes, Bostick has a boatload of potential as a physical player and will have plenty of opportunities with Jermichael Finley out for the year.
Bostick was a top-10 scorer at a horrible position in Week 10 thanks to his three receptions for 42 yards and a score, but he simply cannot be trusted to produce on a consistent basis until Rodgers is back under center.
Better Alternative: John Carlson, Minnesota Vikings