The fantasy football waiver wire has been kind to the smart owners who scooped up Chicago’s Josh McCown, Atlanta’s Harry Douglas and Oakland’s Rashad Jennings in recent weeks, but it has not been so kind to other fantasy owners.
The waiver wire is the best way to upgrade your starting lineup and overall roster in fantasy football leagues, especially once the trading deadline passes. A few weeks ago there were some attractive options available in many leagues that owners took flyers on. Unfortunately, these players did not turn out to be the fantasy saviors that owners were banking on.
Here are four late-season waiver picks that did not work out for fantasy owners this season:
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (WR)
The prevailing thought among many fantasy owners after Reggie Wayne tore his ACL was that Hilton would become the primary slack picker-upper in Indianapolis’ passing attack.
Instead, Hilton has become the poor man’s Julian Edelman. In his last three contests, Hilton has become the king of the eight-yard catch, racking up 15 receptions for a paltry 128 yards and zero touchdowns.
Look on the bright side, Hilton owners! He has still been much more productive than another Colts receiver who should have seen his numbers increase while Wayne is out.
The infamous Darrius Heyward-Bey has just five catches for 55 yards in the last three weeks. Beetlejuice was easier to find than Heyward-Bey has been recently.
Turns out tight end Coby Fleener has been the one and only benefactor from Wayne’s untimely injury. Fleener has averaged 70.6 receiving yards per game in his last three contests. He had only averaged 36.8 yards per game in his opening nine games of the campaign.
Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks (WR)
Some fantasy owners took Harvin in the late rounds of their August drafts with the hopes he would return right before the fantasy playoffs started, while others picked him up on waivers once word spread that his comeback was imminent.
It would have been wonderful for both factions if Harvin showed up just in time to deliver a couple 10-reception, 100-yard games during crucial weeks for millions of lucky and astute fantasy owners.
But Harvin played in one game and caught one pass for 17 yards. That’s it. Now he is out again because the hip he had surgery on that cost him the first half-plus of the season is acting up, and there is no idea if and when he may suit up again this season.
Hopefully Harvin did not ruin the rosters of fantasy owners at the worst possible time. Wasting a waiver pick on Harvin when you could have signed up Pittsburgh’s Jerricho Cotchery or Tampa Bay’s Tiquan Underwood instead might have messed up the playoff hopes for many people. On the bright side, if those people do not make the playoffs in their leagues, it probably leaves them extra time to devote to their holiday shopping.
Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (RB)
After Greene returned from missing several weeks with a knee injury, many experts said he would severely slice into Chris Johnson’s touches and take away C.J.’s scant touchdown opportunities. Well, neither has happened.
Greene has rushed 35 times for 124 yards…over his last five games. Meanwhile, not only has Johnson averaged 102 combined yards per game during that span, he has outscored his understudy five touchdowns to one. If anything, Greene has helped Johnson’s fantasy value more than his own by keeping Johnson’s legs a little fresher.
Greene had back-to-back 1,000-yard years in 2011 and 2012, so his straight-ahead running style can translate into fantasy value (even though he breaks fewer tackles than Johnson does), but Greene can only gain yards when he carries the ball, and that has not happened much since he has made his way back onto the field.
Brian Leonard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RB)
Remember when Mike James fractured his ankle in that Monday night game against the Miami Dolphins a couple weeks back and Leonard came in to carry the ball 20 times in his absence? Were you one of the running back-starved fantasy owners who picked Leonard up the next day thinking he would become Tampa Bay’s newest workhorse?
Fantasy owners should know by now that when it comes to Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano, the man’s moves are as unpredictable as anyone's.
Unfortunately, Leonard has not brought back memories of Mike Alstott, Warrick Dunn, or even LeGarrette Blount. He has only touched the ball 12 times since (five rushes, seven receptions) in the three games since James was injured.
The much shorter and faster Bobby Rainey has been the workhorse, not Leonard. Rainey has a whopping 65 carries compared to Leonard’s five and shows no signs of allowing Leonard to have the ball much anytime in the near future. Leonard should be dropped quicker than a ratings-challenged comedy on NBC.