We’re already over halfway through the fantasy football regular season, and it’s time for owners that have been holding on to their free agent dollars to start leveraging that capital into valuable assets. Teams with five or less wins in Apex leagues should be especially aggressive with their blind bid bucks, since an unexpected boost from a mid-season waiver wire gem might be exactly what can catapult their team to a late season playoff run.
Here’s a look at my top waiver wire pickups at each position for Apex leagues, players that I think have the potential to turn a season around. Suggested maximum bid values, customized for the Apex league format, are noted in parentheses.
Alex Smith ($70)
Early in the season I advised against spending too much on quarterbacks, since streaming the position is almost always a viable option. With most owners rostering 2 QBs in Apex leagues, though, if you drafted two signal callers that are struggling, Smith might be worth a decent chunk of your free agent budget, especially since he comes with a relatively high floor due to what has been dubbed the Konami Code. Smith’s 138 rushing yards on the season is the 7th highest total in the league among quarterbacks.
According to the RotoViz Buy Low Machine, the Chiefs have the 6th most favorable schedule for quarterbacks from Week 8 to Week 13, and the 2nd best matchup this week against a Rams defense that has allowed over 21 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
Bryce Brown ($280)/Anthony Dixon ($120)
This could admittedly end in disaster, especially if Fred Jackson returns sooner than expected, or Doug Marrone decides on an even split for Brown and Dixon, but With CJ Spiller essentially gone for the year and no timetable for FJax’s return, this is the exact swing for the fences play that can turn a season around.
Brown was inactive for Week 7, so Anthony Dixon saw 13 carries after Spiller and Jackson were lost to injuries, but Bryce Brown has had success in the past, most notably when he had to fill in for LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia, and is expected to see a large workload moving forward. The Bills are much less run heavy than they were last year, and have favored Jackson’s north and south style running, which is more similar to Anthony Dixon’s style, but I’d much rather pay for Brown, who has the upside to tilt a playoff race in his owners favor.
Kenny Stills ($85)
Going into the season, Kenny Stills was one of my favorite breakout candidates, and for good reason. Stills posted an eye popping 2.54 PPR FP per target as a rookie, and after a big game in Week 7, is now up to 2.52 PPR FP/target in 2014. The second year wide out matched his highest target total of the season against the Lions, and posted a season best in receptions and yardage. After a hot start to the season, Brandin Cooks is displaying the inconsistency that we should expect from a rookie wide receiver, and with Jimmy Graham hobbled, Stills may finally begin his sophomore breakout campaign.
Heath Miller ($55)
Despite being one of the most used tight ends in the league, Apex owners have bailed on Heath Miller recently and he is widely available in Apex leagues. Miller is in the top 10 among tight ends in both targets and receptions, and Pittsburgh has a top 10 schedule for tight ends for the rest of the fantasy regular season, according to RotoViz. That strength of schedule analysis doesn’t even include their Week 14 matchup, the first week of the fantasy playoffs, against the Bengals, who are the worst defense in the league at defending tight ends. For teams that are going to need a late season surge to get into the playoffs, and won’t have the luxury of a first round bye, Miller could end up being a huge difference maker.