Deep Dive: Digging for WR, RB gems on the waiver wire

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Every game, all season

Each week, I'm tasked with picking the top waiver wire targets for fantasy football fans. That article is a more cursory glance at the waiver wire, helping the countless fantasy players in more casual leagues on NFL.com figure out who is worth adding to their roster.

However, for those of you degenerates ... err I mean "die-hards," in more intense leagues, this is the column for you. As the season progresses, this is where I'll highlight the players you want to be a week early on, as opposed to trying to get in on the waiver-wire bidding war post-breakout. Many of these players will hopefully graduate to the main waiver wire column, and if you're smart they'll already be on your roster. Of course, I can't promise anything. Fantasy is far from a guaranteed game, as we all know all too well, and we're reaching the point in the season where there aren't many stones left unturned. But who knows, maybe we'll find a few gems in the process.

On to the "Deep Dive" waiver wire targets for Week 10.

Running backs


Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (3.9 percent owned)

Riddick remains a primarily PPR-play based on his natural pass-catching ability and the Lions' reliance on him when they run their hurry-up offense. He could see a bunch of targets next week playing catchup when an angry Aaron Rodgers tees off against Detroit's shaky pass defense. Prior to his bye, he was the RB16 in PPR leagues, which merits much more ownership than just 3.9 percent.

James White, New England Patriots (0.2 percent owned)

Replacing Dion Lewis' production will be no small task for the Patriots. They turned to Brandon Bolden on Sunday, as White was inactive, but there are some who believe that White has the best shot at assuming the largets portion of Lewis' role. White's been a bit of an enigma in his NFL career, but he did see 43 snaps when Lewis sat out of the Patriots' Week 7 game against the Jets. He'll have more value in PPR leagues, but I'd lean Bolden over White for now given his versatility as both a runner and pass-catcher (as well as special teamer).

Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (0 percent owned)

The 49ers signed both Pierre Thomas and Draughn last week to help fill their depleted running back room, but it was Draughn who saw the majority of the work as the team's "lead" back. Draughn managed 96 total yards on 20 touches, which was not too bad all things considered. I can't honestly advise breaking your FAAB bank or even spending a moderate priority on Draughn, especially since he's heading into his bye next week. However, if the team opts to play it safe with Carlos Hyde (foot) and keep him on the bench longer, Draughn will have some upside in deeper leagues based purely on volume.

Chris Polk, Houston Texans (0.9 percent owned)

The team had had time to assess their running back situation during the bye. They might be inclined to throw a few more touches Polk's way after Alfred Blue managed just 72 yards on 19 total touches in Week 8. Polk remains a stash candidate until Houston finds a way to fill in the massive void left by Foster's absence.

Stevan Ridley, New York Jets (16.8 percent owned)

Chris Ivory and Zac Stacy combined for 24 rushes (23 of them Ivory's) for 29 yards on Sunday. That's gross. Ridley is once again a stash candidate in case the team looks inward for a spark at the position, or if Ivory gets dinged up again (as he's been prone to do throughout his career).

Oakland Raiders RBs

With Latavius Murray suffering what was believed to be a concussion in Sunday's game, he'll have to pass the league's protocol before suiting up in Week 10 against the Vikings. That creates a murky situation for fantasy owners, as we're left trying to figure out if Taiwan Jones, Marcel Reece, Jamize Olawale or Roy Helu will pick up the slack in Murray's stead. It'll most likely be some sort of committee combination from those names, but Murray owners and others in need of a running back would be wise to monitor his status, and the news out of Oakland this week to see which name to target on waivers. These all would represent adds for later in the week, and don't deserve to be targeted with waiver priority in the initial rush.

Other names to consider: Jerick McKinnon (MIN), Javorius Allen (BAL)

Wide receivers


Chris Givens, Baltimore Ravens (0.2 percent owned)

We're still yet to see how the Baltimore offense looks sans Steve Smith, but reading the tea leaves it appears that Chris Givens could be in line for a significantly increased role. The Ravens acquired Givens from the Rams via trade earlier this year, and worked him slowly into the offense. However, Givens saw his playtime sky rocket in Week 8 once Smith was injured, as he played on a season-high 33 snaps, bringing in three of his four targets for 57 yards. Givens is a classic field-stretching player, who will likely play the role the team had hoped first-round pick Breshad Perriman would. Givens is a total flier add off the waiver wire right now, but he could end up being a high-upside weekly WR3 if Joe Flacco starts targeting him deep.

Nate Washington, Houston Texans (4.8 percent owned)

Washington entered his bye last week on a bit of a tear, racking up 201 receiving yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. Now, he did a lot of that damage in garbage time against the Dolphins, but his production does merit consideration in fantasy. Houston travels on the road to face the undefeated Bengals on Monday Night Football next week. Something tells me there could be plenty of garbage time for Washington to do work again. And let's not forget, #GarbageTimePointsStillCount.

Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (33.4 percent owned)

Funchess' breakout game against the Packers (3-71-1, 13.1 fantasy points) was a bit surprising, considering he had just played on a season-low 10 snaps the week before against the Colts. If the Panthers believe their second-round draft pick is finally ready for primetime, then fantasy owners must take notice. Funchess could be worth a stash in deeper leagues, but he won't be a fantasy starter until we see him play more frequently (he only played 27 percent of the snaps on Sunday) and with more consistency. The game film this week should help us get a clearer picture of his outlook for the rest of the season.

Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers (0.1 percent owned)

Inman hasn't played in Week 9 yet as I write this column, but his fantasy stock is on the rise after Kenan Allen landed on injured reserve last week. While Allen's targets will likely be split up between some combination of Steve Johnson, Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead, Inman will battle Malcom Floyd for the No. 2 wide receiver role (and the remaining scraps from Allen's targets). When Johnson was injured earlier in the year, Inman was on the field for over 70 percent of the snaps in each game, posting two games with 7.8 or more fantasy points. Those in deeper leagues could do worse than taking a flier on Inman.

Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears (0.5 percent owned)

Like Inman, Wilson has yet to play in Week 9, so he could be harder to acquire if he has a nice game on Monday Night Football against the Chargers. Wilson hasn't done much this year as the Bears No. 3 wide receiver, as there simply aren't enough targets to go around. However, when he sees enough volume he can produce. In Weeks 4 and 5 with Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal varying degrees of injured, Wilson saw 17 targets, bringing in 12 of them for 165 yards and a touchdown. With Royal injured (again) and Matt Forte nicked as well, there could be even more targets headed Wilson's way -- especially with Jeffery commanding No. 1 corners and double coverage.

Other names to consider: Jamison Crowder (WAS), Ted Ginn (CAR), Reuben Randle (NYG)

Tight ends


Fantasy Perfect Challenge

Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons (5.3 percent owned)

As the Falcons continue to search for a No. 2 wide receiver opposite Julio Jones, Tamme has been there to quietly serve as a pass-catching Band-Aid. He's now seen double digit targets in three of his last five games, and never receiving fewer than five looks in any game in that span. To put that into perspective, the only other tight ends to see double digit targets in at least three games are Martellus Bennett (three) and Greg Olsen (four). Tamme can be a nice stop-gap or low-ceiling tight end the rest of the way, but keep in mind he is heading into his bye this week, so you won't be able to utilize him right away if you're in need this weekend.

Crockett Gillmore, Baltimore Ravens (3.3 percent owned)

Gillmore is an under-the-radar add this week, as he was on his bye this past week. As I wrote last week, he could become a bigger part of the Ravens offense given his size and speed now that Steve Smith is on injured reserve. He has a nice matchup against against the Jaguars, who rank in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points per target to opposing tight ends.


-- Alex Gelhar is a fantasy football writer and editor for NFL.com, and the producer of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast. He saw "The Last Witch Hunter" starring Vin Diesel last week, and was disappointed it was not a better movie or on the flipside hilariously bad. Instead it was very OK. Talk to him about movies or ask him for fantasy advice on Twitter @AlexGelhar.

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