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Deep dive: Rookies once again key waiver wire pickups

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While my colleague Michael Fabiano serves up the top waiver-wire options in fantasy football each week, I am here for those who need to dive a little deeper. Depending on your league, you may have no shot at the guys on Fabiano's list. Whether it's because of savvy drafters, too many members or a low priority on the waiver wire (because you rule at fantasy), sometimes the top options simply aren't available. With that in mind, here are some deeper waiver-wire targets if you're scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Several of these "deep" waiver pickups have graduated to Fabiano's top-10 in recent weeks, such as Branden Oliver, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Alfred Blue, Dwayne Allen, Brian Quick and Teddy Bridgewater. This piece is here to try and help you get ahead of the competition, or find gems in deep leagues. Of course, for each of those successes, I recommend a Chad Henne-type. Welp, you can't win them all. Let's hope we can find a winner in this crop below.

Quarterbacks

 

Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams (0.6 percent owned): I wanted to wait and see what Davis did next after he put up 20-plus fantasy points against the Cowboys in Week 3. Well, he followed that up with another impressive performance, posting 26.00 fantasy points in a tough loss to the Eagles. Yes, he had 20 incompletions, but there were several bad drops that should have netted him even more points. So far this season, only two quarterbacks have thrown for 300-plus yards and three passing touchdowns in back-to-back starts: Andrew Luck and Austin Davis. Next week will be a real test as he faces the San Franicsco 49ers, who are allowing the fourth-lowest quarterback rating (78.0) and the seventh-fewest passing yards per game (209.0) to opposing signal-callers. If you're hurting for a quarterback or are in a two-QB league, it could be worth stashing Davis for a week, rather than trying to fight for him if he has a good game against the 49ers and is officially on the fantasy radar.

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.5 percent owned): Lovie Smith is starting to annoy me with his antipathy towards the idea of Glennon being his starting quarterback. He shot that notion down in the offseason calling him the "quarterback of the future" while also saying rather unequivocally that Josh McCown was the starter. And even though Glennon has played well in relief of McCown (and I would argue better), Smith bristled at the idea of annointing Glennon the starter for the foreseeable future on Monday morning (see below Tweet). Now listen, Glennon hasn't been electrifying in fantasy thus far, but he's averaged a solid 17.02 fantasy points per game in his two full starts. Not to mention that the team has been more explosive on offense with Glennon under center, averaging 10 more points per game (exluding defensive touchdowns) in his two starts than those of McCown. Especially in deeper leagues, Glennon is worth a stash in case he's able to earn the job long-term and build upon his encouraging start to the season.

Worth keeping an eye on: Matt McGloin (OAK), Brian Hoyer (CLE)

Running backs

 

C.J. Anderson (1.3 percent owned) and Juwan Thompson (0.2 percent owned): Ronnie Hillman, the No. 2 running back on Denver's depth chart was one of Fabiano's top waiver-wire options this week as the Broncos prepare for the worst with Montee Ball's groin injury. However, Hillman isn't going to enter in and immediately assume a bell-cow role, as Matt Franciscovich pointed out in this week's "Committee Meetings." This backfield is likely headed for a committee if Ball is sidelined for a significant amount of time, which makes Anderson and Thompson intriguing deeper-league stashes. Anderson probably has the most impressive tape from his limited snaps this season, but Thompson was the subject of loads of training camp hype and is the biggest back (225 pounds) on Denver's roster. NFL Media insider Ian Rapaport also said that Thompson was the "name to watch" in the Broncos backfield on "Around the NFL" on Monday, so there's that too. At this point, you're stashing one of these in a wait-and-see move. As I say repeatedly in this column, especially in deeper leagues, it's better to be a week early than a week late (see Oliver, Brandon).

De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs (0.1 percent owned): There are a lot of running backs with potential on the waivers this week, and Fabiano has most of them covered in his article. Which is why I'm going SUPER deep here to talk about the "original" Black Mamba, De'Anthony Thomas, for a hot second. Thomas had just one touch on Sunday, but he did all of the work to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge the defense to turn that lone touch into a 17-yard score. He has game-breaking speed and phenomenal agility, which leads me to believe the Chiefs will eventually try to put the ball in his hands more often. You might want to leave him on waivers for now, but definitely keep an eye on Thomas and his usage as the season progresses. He could become a decent flex option down the line, especially in leagues that award points for return yards and scores.

Worth keeping an eye on: Devonta Freeman (ATL), Storm Johnson (JAC)

Wide receivers

 

Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (0.6 percent owned): Last week I talked up Adams in this column, and then he went out a few days later and caught his first NFL touchdown. His role in the Green Bay offense should continue to grow, and with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback there will be plenty of opportunities to go around. If you're weak at receiver or need some more depth, grab Adams now before he has an Allen Hurns-like game and becomes a hot target on the waiver wire.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (3.0 percent owned): After being plagued for months by a bum hamstring, Beckham finally saw his first NFL action on Sunday and made the most of it, hauling in four of his five targets for 44 receiving yards and one touchdown. There is a concern that his hamstring ailment could flare up again, as those are tough to shake, but his arrow is firmly pointing upward. Now's the time to scoop him up off waivers.

Louis Murphy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.2 percent owned): Filling in for the injured Mike Evans, all Murphy has done is post back-to-back 9.50-plus fantasy efforts for the Buccaneers. Glennon has been looking for Murphy, and the journeyman receiver has delivered for the most part. You're not going to win any points for style if you pick up Murphy off waivers, but if you're in need of a short-term filler at wide receiver (cough, Calvin Johnson owners) Murphy provides a solid option. He faces the Ravens next week who have been pretty generous to wide receivers through the first five games of the seasons, allowing 24.04 fantasy points to the position per game.

Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders (0.2 percent owned): Holmes had a bye last week, but what I wrote about him then still holds true for now. If you're in need of a high-upside flier at wide receiver, Holmes could be the guy for you.

Worth keeping an eye on: Philly Brown (CAR), Travis Benjamin (CLE)

Tight ends

 

Timothy Wright, New England Patriots (1.1 percent owned): I played Wright a few times last year in spot starts, and was pretty pleased with his performances. After being traded to the Patriots as part of the Logan Mankins deal, I was cautiously optimistic about Wright working with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. We saw our first glimpse of that on Sunday, but it was a small glimpe. Yes, Wright scored 14.50 fantasy points, but he only played on 18 of the team's 84 snaps -- that's not a high enough number to rely on for consistent fantasy production week-to-week. It's entirely possible that this could be the beginning of the Pats' return to the two-tight end sets that they terrorized the league with for a few seasons, and Wright's snaps could jump significantly. Or it could be a classic Belichick one-game game-plan. Either way, in deeper leagues it's absolutely worth grabbing Wright, as the upside of him becoming a frequent target of Brady's is too great to ignore.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.5 percent owned): Seferian-Jenkins had a quiet game on Sunday, catching just one of his three targets for 11 yards. I haven't had a chance to watch the full game yet, but I still like ASJ's upside in this offense. His foot injury doesn't appear to be slowling him down either, which is encouraging. The tight end position is so thin this season, if I'm hurting in any league I'd rather roll with the youth and athleticism of Seferian-Jenkins than pray for another Jim Dray or Michael Palmer score. That's not a healthy way to watch football.

Jace Amaro, New York Jets (0.8 percent owned): After two solid outings, Amaro came crashing back down to Earth along with the rest of the Jets offense in a 31-0 shellacking at the hands of the Chargers. This offense is devoid of playmakers, especially with Eric Decker sidelined with a hamstring injury, meaning Amaro could still see a fair amount of targets each week. He's an extremely low-end TE2 right now in deeper leagues, but he has the opportunity and talent to rise up to fantasy relevance.

Worth keeping an eye on: Eric Ebron (DET)

-- Alex Gelhar is a fantasy and features writer for NFL.com. He's cautiously optimistic about the new "Twin Peaks" series coming to Showtime in 2016. And he, like Special Agent Dale Cooper, takes his coffee black as midnight on a moonless night. Follow him on Twitter @AlexGelhar.

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