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Deep dive: High-upside RBs, WRs to target on waivers

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While 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 huge rosters, 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 players 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 Davante Adams, Odell Beckham, Andre Holmes, Branden Oliver, Malcom Floyd, Dwayne Allen, and Brian Quick. 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.

Bye weeks: New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

Quarterbacks

 

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.4 percent owned): Glennon was on a bye in Week 7, but will return to action in Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are deceivingly high in fantasy points against rankings for quarterbacks, as they've faced Matthew Stafford without Megatron, and the Rams carousel of quarterbacks in Week 1. Their secondary can be beat, and with Glennon having his full array of massive wide receivers at his disposal, he could post solid numbers in a spot start. In the three weeks prior to his bye, Glennon had been averaging 17.5 fantasy points per game. He also recently received what appears to be a vote of confidence from the coaching staff that he'll remain the starter, even though Josh McCown has returned to practice. He's worth a look in deeper, or two-QB leagues.

Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams (2.2 percent owned): On the surface, Davis' 13.88 fantasy points against the Seahawks seem disappointing, and if for some reason you started him, they probably were. However, there are several encouraging signs for Davis' fantasy value coming out of this tough contest. For starters, he completed 18 of his 21 passes (85.7 percent) and threw multiple touchdowns for the third time in four games. His yardage was what really held him back from a more respectable outing, but the Rams scored on a special teams play, in effect taking away one of Davis' drives. Things don't get easier the next two weeks when he faces the Chiefs and 49ers, both of which rank in the top four in fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks over the past four weeks. He gets an easier matchup in Week 10 against the Cardinals, just in time for the bye weeks of Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Tom Brady. Davis is worth a stash or an add in deeper leagues.

Worth keeping an eye on: Johnny Manziel (CLE), Derek Carr (OAK), Blake Bortles (JAC)

Running backs

 

Bryce Brown, Buffalo Bills (0.1 percent owned): With both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller set to miss significant amounts of time with injuries (Spiller is out for the rest of the season), the starting running back job in Buffalo is up for grabs. Fabiano suggested picking up Anthony Dixon in his column this week, but the name to keep an eye on (and potentially scoop up off waivers) is Bryce Brown. The team traded for Brown this offseason in the hopes that he could grow into a featured back. Well, he'll get his opportunity a lot sooner than the team may have expected (or wanted). Brown had some great games in relief of LeSean McCoy with the Eagles, and has the speed and talent to do some damage for the Bills. Jackson believes Brown can be an every-down back, and who are we to doubt Fred? I'll likely be trying to secure Brown in a number of my fantasy leagues this week.

Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (16.6 percent owned): Crowell had a couple factors working against him on Sunday including Terrance West being active and Brian Hoyer actively trying to stop his own offense from succeeding. Crowell did lead the Cleveland backfield in yards per attempt with an unimpressive 2.6, for what it's worth. Nevertheless, he remains the No. 2 back on a run-heavy team, and should still see some opportunities each game. Tate isn't exactly a model of perfect health every season, so Crowell is worth an add in deeper leagues, or as a speculative play in case Tate goes down with an injury once again.

Jonas Gray, New England Patriots (0.1 percent owned): With Stevan Ridley out, Shane Vereen took control of the backfield in Week 7, but that doesn't figure to be the case all season long. Enter Gray, a third-year undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame. Gray only carried the ball twice on Thursday night, but looked strong and decisive on his carries. There's a chance he could emerge to fill the thunder role that had been Ridley's in the Pats offense, and that chance alone is reason enough to keep an eye on Gray, or grab him in deeper leagues.

Worth keeping an eye on: Frank Summers (BUF), James Starks (GB)

Wide receivers

 

Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (0.8 percent owned): With my boys Davante Adams and Odell Beckham graduating to Fabiano's column this week, it's time to shine the spotlight on Jarvis Landry for a bit. The Dolphins rookie wideout has earned a starting role the last two weeks and has responded with solid performances. After posting 13.50 fantasy points in a loss to the Packers last week, Landry caught four of his five targets on Sunday for 46 yards. He looks much more explosive than Brian Hartline, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he started eating into Hartline's production even more as the season wears on. Landry isn't going to win you your week in fantasy just yet, but he's worth an add now before everyone catches on to this new talent down in Miami Gardens.

Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints (4.7 percent owned): I hate chasing points in fantasy football. I absolutely hate it, and that feels like what we might be doing here with Stills. However, with Graham on the sideline and rookie Brandin Cooks going quiet of late, there's a chance that Stills could emerge as a more reliable option for Drew Brees in the Saints offense. He's always a threat to go deep (which he did against the Lions on Sunday), though, and his route-running is improving so there's reason for optimism. He has a tough matchup next week against the stingy Packers secondary, but if he performs against them we'll know whether or not he's turning into a legitimate fantasy commodity.

Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks (0.3 percent owned): While Doug Baldwin had the big day in Seattle's first game sans-Percy Harvin, the biggest long-term beneficiary could be Richardson. The second-round pick out of Colorado had only played 38 snaps prior to Week 7, but saw a fair amount of action against the Rams and was even targeted five times (he caught four of those for 33 yards). Richardson is a speedster, and the early signs from this game are that he could be leap-frogging fellow speedster Ricardo Lockette on the depth chart. It might be smarter to wait and see with Richardson for a week or two, but as I always say it's better to be early than late on waiver-wire adds. If you have the space in a deep league, consider stashing Richardson. And if you're playing in a dynasty league and he's somehow on the waivers, grab him immediately.

Steve Johnson, San Francisco 49ers (3.0 percent owned): When the 49ers first acquired Steve Johnson, I wasn't overly thrilled from a fantasy perspective. Johnson's best days seemed behind him, and he'd have to battle the likes of Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin for targets. That's no bueno. However, Johnson has been working himself into the rotation as of late, and producing some solid fantasy numbers. He's caught a touchdown in three of the last four weeks, and has averaged 51.2 receiving yards per game over the last five weeks. With neither Crabtree or Boldin taking control of the No. 1 wide receiver position on this team, Johnson is worth an add in case he rises above the rest of his fellow pass-catchers.

Louis Murphy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.4 percent owned): Murphy was on on a bye last week, but prior to that he'd been putting up unsexy but consistent numbers. If you're looking for a safe play as a WR3 or flex, Murphy could be your guy.

Worth keeping an eye on: Corey Fuller (DET), Bruce Ellington (SF)

Tight ends

 

Gavin Escobar, Dallas Cowboys (0.3 percent owned): Well, would you look at that. Escobar has found the end zone in consecutive weeks, and thus finds his way onto the fantasy radar. I liked Escobar coming out of college, as the guy is a physical and athletic specimen. He stands at 6-foot-6 yet can get upfield in a hurry. With Jason Witten getting up there in age, Escobar is worth an add in deeper leagues in case he becomes a more consistent player in the offense, even though his touchdown totals will be hard to replicate week-in and week-out.

Jace Amaro, New York Jets (1.3 percent owned): Not surprisingly, Amaro had a bit of a regression after his 10-catch performance in Week 6. Even though Jeff Cumberland finished with the higher fantasy point total on Thursday, I still like Amaro long-term. He was very involved in the offense and would have had better numbers were it not for a ghastly drop (which is a concern, as he seems to have one each game). He also made a nice catch along the sideline but was pushed out by the defensive back. He's not a bad name to add in deeper leagues, as the addition of Percy Harvin might open things up a bit more in the Jets offense. Plus, given the lack of consistent producers at the tight end position this season, it doesn't hurt to side with youth and athleticism when you're taking a shot on a player.

Worth keeping an eye on: Cooper Helfet (SEA), Eric Ebron (DET), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TB)

-- Alex Gelhar is a fantasy and features writer for NFL.com who is thrilled that it's almost Halloween. If you're looking for underrated horror movies to watch, he recommends "Black Water" or "Lake Mungo." Send him your horror movie recommendations or ask him for fantasy advice on Twitter @AlexGelhar.

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