Working the Waiver Wire: Make it Rainey

Another week, another pair of fantasy assets ruled out for the season. In Houston, we lost yet another consensus first-round selection as Arian Foster is headed to injured reserve with a back injury. There’s not all that much to do with the Texan’s backfield as next-man-up Ben Tate has been universally owned throughout the year as one of the top handcuffs in the game. We saw some flashes from Dennis Johnson last that landed him as a sleeper pickup heading into Week 10, but four carries for seven yards late, it’s hard to get all that excited about Johnson.

In Tampa Bay, emerging rookie Mike James was on his way to another standout effort, piling up 41 yards o five carries, before suffering a fractured ankle that will force him to injured reserve. The Bucs’ used a combination of Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey to carry the mail on the way to their first victory and while Doug Martin had struggled to get much of anything going behind the Buccaneer’s offensive line, Rainey and Leonard–like James before them–found some room to run. Rainey put together the more intriguing performance, rushing for 45 yards and a touchdown on eight carries while adding an 11 yards reception. Leonard got the bigger workload with 20 carries, but managed just 57 yards. Leonard has been a sneaky-but-solid PPR play over the past several weeks–totaling 14 targets in the last three games–and figures to continue to function in that role moving forward. Rainey, however, is the runner we’d be looking to add on waivers in standard formats. He showed some nice burst and vision while salting away the game for the Bucs on Monday night and, at this point in the season, you might as well take a flier on any running back with a pulse that gets double-digit carries.

As we’ve been doing for the last several weeks, the following list is prioritized based on the order we’d draft these guys if putting together a team from Week 11 on. Obviously, team needs will often dictate which positions you target on the wire.

Working the Waiver Wire

Andre Brown – NYG (50%)

Fresh off the injury and into the workhorse role. Brown clearly outplayed Peyton Hillis and is locked in as a RB2 down the stretch.

Rashad Jennings – OAK (50%)

Jennings continues to look solid in relief of Darren McFadden and  is worth rolling out there while he’s got the starting job.

Andre Roberts – ARI (5%)

With Michael Floyd battling injuries, Roberts stepped up to grab 5 catches for 72 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. Larry Fitzgerald continues to warrant excessive defensive attention on the other side, leaving Roberts in single coverage more often than not.

Bobby Rainey – TB (3%)

Rainey shoots towards the top of the list after his breakout game on Monday night.

Rashard Mendenhall – ARI (49%)

Of course we’ve been pumping up Andre Ellington since the season started, but that has not stopped the coaching staff from rolling Mendenhall out there whenever healthy. He lost a critical fumble late in the game, but prior to the fourth-quarter mis-step, Mendy actually looked to have some bounce in his step.

Jarret Boykin – GB  (43%)

Boykin came to life with practice-squad superstar Scott Tolzein at the reigns of the offense. Boykin was targeted 13 times and turned that attention into 7 catches for 118 yards.

Mario Manningham – SF (9%)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Manningham put forth a useful fantasy game, but the Niners’ aerial attack simply must find some diversity.

Rishard Matthews – MIA (3%)

Ryan Tannehill was locked in on Matthews throughout the team’s Week 10 loss, hooking up with the slot man for 120 on 11 receptions to go along with two touchdowns. Tannehill had previously leaned on the now-injured Brandon Gibson while he was playing a similar role in the offense so perhaps there’s a little something here.

Kenny Stills – NO (40%)

Stills got his big play on Sunday. The threat is always there, and while you can’t bank on it. He’s a boom or bust WR3 at this point.

Tavon Austin – STL (44%)

The electric Austin flashed his jaw-dropping speed on Sunday with three long touchdowns. Still, he caught only two passes and was targeted only three times while appearing in just 18 offensive plays. That is not a recipe for continued success.

Lance Moore – NO (47%)

Anyone who picked up and started Moore ended up sorely disappointed on Sunday when he caught just one of his two targets. Still, he’s got time to carve out a bigger role down the stretch.

Mark Ingram – NO (16%)

Ingram looked fantastic on Sunday but prospective owners need to check expectations. Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles command more work in the running game, leaving Ingram as a true desperation play.

Mike Tolbert – CAR (37%)

Tolbert was not particularly effective in Week 10 and an increased role form Jonathan Stewart continues to truly muck up any value in the Carolina backfield.

Brian Leonoard – TB (5%)

PPR players can expect a little something from Leonard each and every week. If he solidifies a goal line role, there could be some real value.

Darrius Heyward-Bey – IND (37%)

He’s failed to do much with recent opportunities, but if DHB keeps seeing 6+ targets a game, he’ll have a chance to make a splash in deeper leagues.

Shonn Greene – TEN (22%)

While the workload was similar to Week 9, Greene failed to get in the end zone in Week 10 and, thus, failed to return any value for his owners.

Tyler Eifert – CIN (22%)

It’s hard to take much away from Eifert’s effort as he’s unlikely to see double-digit targets once Jermaine Gresham is healthy.

Donald Brown – IND (16%)

Brown continues to out-produce Trent Richardson while returning some serious value in the passing game on Sunday.

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