The 2013 fantasy football season may go down as one of the most inconsistent seasons ever on the waiver wire. While the wire did not provide a lot of options throughout the season there were a few gems that saved or even made seasons. It is time to celebrate those waiver wire heroes.
Playing the fantasy football waiver wire is a tricky game. It requires patience, foresight, and the ability to look at a player’s situation objectively. Remember, any starting quarterback or running back can look like a monster for one week in the right situation. Having the ability to see through that and find that diamond in the ruff that will shine for an entire season is a talent all in itself.
The fantasy season is over and it is time to start analyzing studs and duds. I went back and looked at all of the guys that fell through the draft and onto the waiver wire and the amount of talent available on the wire this season was stunning. If you picked up any of these players, the chances are good you were either in the playoffs a serious contender. While leagues vary in size of 6-16, I based this roster on a 10 team league standard. Without further a due I give you the 2013 All Waiver Wire Fantasy Football Team.
I used the preseason ADP from the collective rankings of experts over at FantasyPros.com. I felt that these preseason rankings offered the best perspective of expert analysis across the board.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles – Foles was probably not drafted in any 10-14 team leagues yet wound up putting up double digits in every game but one as a starter. I am an Eagles fan and while I certainly thought about taking Foles due to Vick’s durability issues there was nothing I saw from Foles last season that led me to believe he could get it done. Foles had at least 1 TD in every game but one and threw for over 200 yards in all but 3 starts. Foles would have finished much higher if he had started every game with those stats. What I loved about him was consistency. Nobody will be sleeping on this guy in 2014.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins – Tannehill was one of those guys I always thought had the potential but would never reach it on the Dolphins. He still has a way to go but you couldn’t do much better if you were able to get him off of the waiver wire. He finished in the top 15 and started every game for the Dolphins. To be fair there were a couple of experts that have Tannehill ranked right around where he finished yet the majority had low expectations. He wasn’t a TD machine yet had only one game all season without one. He threw for over 200 in 13 games and was more consistent than he got credit for. If you had the right depth in other positions you could have done real well with Tannehill as your QB. Tannehill was ranked 24th among QBs in the preseason according to his ADP. He’d be a great second QB next year as he is only going to get better.
Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams – Did Stacey win you a championship? Probably not because unfortunately he didn’t get going until the end of the fantasy regular season. However, if you had the right depth he could have gotten you through those bye weeks better than anyone else you could have picked off of the wire. Injuries opened up the door for this monster back to make an impact later in the season. Stacy was a boom or bust player for the most part with more booms than busts. Unfortunately his biggest bust came in the most important week of the season, week 17. If you were fortunate enough to play 16 & 17 as cumulative weeks, you still got 29 points out of him which isn’t nearly as bad as the 3 he mustered up in Week 17.
Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders – Jennings was ranked 71st among RBs according to preseason ADP yet finished just outside of the top 20. I don’t think it is unfair to say that Jennings could have been a top 15 or even top 10 back if he started all sixteen games. The guy was a beast when he had his opportunities. I will be the first to admit I never saw it. I passed when he was available as he showed me nothing when he had the chance to start for the Jags. Something clicked in Oakland and you really got some great value out of this guy if you were able to get him off of the waiver wire.
Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers – I was lucky enough to grab Keenan Allen and I still don’t even know that happened. I was in first place and even after a couple of good weeks he was still hanging around. A disappointing 2012 season with Cal created doubt in the NFL draft which caused him to be overlooked by many experts heading into the fantasy season. More importantly there was the Phil Rivers factor. Rivers regressed terribly last year and nobody expected him to rebound at his age and without the “QB genius” Norv Turner around. Not only did he turn it around, he was fantastic. Allen was ranked 75th according to preseason ADP. Not one expert had him ranked above 44. Quinton Patton was ranked ahead of him! Allen finished in the top 20 and helped guys like me secure an unstable position, trade some depth, and never have to think twice about who to play in the WR2 spot once you grabbed him.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots – Edleman was right down there with Allen, ranked 71st according to preseason ADP yet finished with 145 points ahead of guys like Wes Welker, Torrey Smith, and Mike Wallace. You can’t blame the experts for missing out on Edleman. We were all led to believe that Brady would be connecting with Danny Amendola or the crop of new receivers. Injuries changed the course of history and Brady had no choice but to develop chemistry with Edelman. He had a couple of clunkers in the championship weeks but it is hard to criticize a guy who gave you four big double digit weeks in a row 12-15.
Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos – Thomas is a tough one because in 12 team leagues he was probably rostered yet he was available in a lot of 10-teamers. Thomas was awesome, especially if you grabbed him off of the wire. Rob Gronkowski owners lucked out with Thomas as they didn’t miss a beat at that position. Thomas finished third among all TEs which is phenomenal considering his ADP and 19th overall ranking. Like Tannehill, there were a couple of experts who were real bullish on Thomas in the preseason yet the majority felt otherwise.
Carolina Panthers – Many experts will tell you that fantasy defenses don’t win you championships. I tend to agree but they certainly do help. The Panthers finished number 3 overall so if you had them, you did pretty well for a few weeks. The Panthers were ranked 24th overall coming into the season. How badly did the experts get defense wrong this year? The Texans were ranked 3rd overall coming into the season yet finished dead last!