Waiver Wire Week 13: Best Player to Pick Up, Drop at Each Offensive Position

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2014

Nov 23, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) runs against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

There may be no more active waiver-wire week than the one that comes before Thanksgiving. Having three games on our annual day of gluttony and family side-eying puts a heightened necessity on getting moves done by waiver-wire Wednesday, as does the fact that Week 13 is the last in many leagues' regular seasons.

For playoff-bound teams, Wednesday could be the day you make the move that changes your season. For those on the outside looking in, I absolutely implore you to use your waiver standing to infuriate your friends and family. After all, what says the holiday spirit like pilfering LeGarrette Blount from your too-intense, jerk of a brother-in-law?

Nothing. That's what.

The waiver wire also embodies the holiday spirit in the form of giving. As in, you can give away the players who have cost you remote controls, financial happiness and at least six post-retirement weeks you could have been doing crossword puzzles to whomever else in the league deigns to pick up those guys.

Anyway, let's stop being turkeys and gobble through these waiver-wire selections for Week 13. (Sorry.)

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Pick Up: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (Owned: 49.6 Percent)

Nov 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) passes in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Dolphins 39-36. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sp

Tannehill has quietly been one of the league's best fantasy quarterbacks all season. He ranks eighth in overall fantasy points, ahead of Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and a whole heap of others. He's one of a handful of players to not turn in a single-digit performance yet—and the best part is that he's trending upward.

Three of Tannehill's four 20-point games have come in the last six weeks, including an excellent 228-yard, three-touchdown outing against Denver on Sunday. Bill Lazor has also opened up his playbook to feature more read-option, where the converted wide receiver flashes his above-average speed. Tannehill already has a career-high 276 rushing yards and has two games against the Jets and one against Minnesota remaining on the schedule.

The Dolphins don't pass enough nor do their passes travel far enough for Tannehill to be an elite option, but he's more consistent than a lot of players with Pro Bowls on their resumes.

Drop: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (Owned: 57.2 Percent)

Nov 24, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) sacks Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODA

The obvious answer here is Robert Griffin III, but a mass exodus of nearly 21 percent of his owners leaves him below our 50-50 threshold. Griffin can be safely dumped in all leagues.

Another potential option is Flacco, whose high ownership is far more the result of a hot start than anything he's done lately. A three-touchdown outing against Carolina and the Ravens' out-and-out thrashing of Carolina account for eight of Flacco's 18 scores. Those numbers still count, but they also came in a three-game span that was almost two months ago.

Flacco is averaging 11.8 fantasy points over his last five games, throwing multiple touchdowns in just two and going over 300 yards once. The Ravens' schedule down the stretch isn't too daunting, but we have years' worth of data that shows Flacco isn't an above-average fantasy option.

Running Back

Pick Up: LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (Owned: 20.3 Percent)

Nov 23, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) is persued by Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) and cornerback Rashean Mathis (31) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium.  The New England Patriot

Good luck figuring out what Bill Belichick is going to do on a weekly basis. One Sunday, a star is born in Jonas Gray. The next, he's not playing a single snap despite being healthy. The Patriots clearly emphasized short, quick-hit throws over running the ball all game—Tom Brady attempted 53 passes against 20 runs—but it's instructive that Belichick went to Blount down the stretch.

Just days after being released by the Steelers and being claimed by exactly no one, the oft-ornery back had 78 yards and two touchdowns on his 12 carries. We saw last season, especially in the playoffs, what Blount can do in this system. We also saw what Gray, a dude who had fewer than 200 carries his entire college career, could do.

The Patriots have solved their offensive line woes after a dreadful start, and it's going to create opportunities. With New England traveling to take on Green Bay's 30th-ranked run defense (22nd in DVOA), we should see a healthy dose of Blount.

Drop: Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions (Owned: 58.3 Percent)

Unless 58.3 percent of the population really liked Bush's stint on Keeping Up With the Kardashians a few years ago, I have no idea why he's still on rosters. The Lions have the NFL's worst rushing offense, per DVOA. Bush has missed four games and parts of others, and he is in a timeshare with Joique Bell even when he's in the lineup. Theo Riddick has done a just fine job of occupying Bush's third-down role as well, making his status murky even when he gets back in the lineup.

At best, he's a co-lead of a rushing attack so bad it can't get a part in an Adam Sandler movie. At worst, he is an Adam Sandler movie. Time to move on.

Wide Receiver

Pick Up: John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (Owned: 25.3 Percent)

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 16:  Wide receiver John Brown #12 of the Arizona Cardinals catches the football against strong safety James Ihedigbo #32 of the Detroit Lions in the third quarter during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A member of the increasingly all-time great 2014 rookie wide receiver class, Brown has emerged as a go-to option over the last five weeks. He's averaging a solid 66.4 yards per game and has gone over the 60-yard plateau in four of those contests, with the lone exception being a dreadful 10-yard game against Dallas.

More noteworthy has been his 130 yards over the last two weeks, which have come with Drew Stanton replacing the injured Carson Palmer. Stanton is under center for the remainder of 2014 for better or for worse, and it's promising that Brown has kept up his solid play despite the downgrade.

With Larry Fitzgerald sitting out a game last week for the first time since I was in high school and Michael Floyd on a milk carton somewhere, Brown could become Arizona's top man by necessity. Plus, playing the Falcons always helps.

Drop: Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (Owned: 66.0 Percent)

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 23:  Drew Stanton #5 and Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals talk with head coach Bruce Arians against the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on November 23, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Steve
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Floyd has three receptions and nine targets over the last three weeks. Two of those are touchdowns, sure. But he also went without a reception or a target for the second time this season on Sunday.

I have no idea what's up with Floyd. After 2013, I was on the bandwagon of Floyd taking over for Fitzgerald as the Cardinals' top receiver. Either last season was an anomaly or something is going on behind the scenes we know nothing about. None of it is a good sign for fantasy owners who for some reason have stuck around.

Tight End

Pick Up: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (Owned: 16.0 Percent)

Jim Mone/Associated Press

The Vikings worked Rudolph back into the fold slowly in his first game returning from injury, playing him 14 snaps and not throwing a pass his direction. His second game back? Not so much. Rudolph was on the field for 60 of 68 offensive snaps in Minnesota's narrow loss to Green Bay, making three receptions for 50 yards.

While those aren't numbers worth hitting your league-mates with shovels over grabbing him on the waiver wire, Rudolph will be a top-10 option down the stretch. Teddy Bridgewater has sorely been in need of a safety valve underneath since taking over under center, and Rudolph was the Pro Bowl MVP just two years ago.

Tight end is a dumpster fire filled with inconsistent performers who look like every-week starts one week and waiver-wire fodder the next. Rudolph should move up near the top of that pile as he gets back into a rhythm.

Drop: Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (Owned: 52.3 Percent)

Tony Avelar/Associated Press

Davis has scored two touchdowns this season. Both came in Week 1. Davis has gone over 40 yards receiving once this season. That came in Week 1. Davis has three times as many games of fewer than 10 yards than he does ones over the 40 plateau.

Far be it from me to speculate what happens between a person's 29th and 30th birthdays—I'll find out here in six years myself. But whatever's happened for Davis has been wretched for his fantasy value. He's completely unusable.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

All ownership percentages are via ESPN


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