Working the Waiver Wire, Week 15: Bears’ Marquess Wilson finds his moment

marquess wilson

One of fantasy’s most beloved offseason sleepers, the Bears’ Marquess Wilson, returned from a fractured clavicle four weeks ago.  His day in the sun begins Sunday, as he steps into the Chicago lineup in place of Brandon Marshall (IR), who was utilized so heavily by Jay Cutler the two were forced to register legally as brothers/work husbands.

A run-down of Week 15’s waiver class:



Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

Ugh.  The guy who’s injury-burned every fantasy owner alive, representing the backfield nobody ever wants a part of… is your top waiver wire RB.  Whatever.  It’s been a craptastic RB season in fantasy football, so a lot of you could use a RB3 type to lug into the final two weeks.  Stewart’s posted back-to-back solid or better weeks, and he’s racked up 94+ yards or a TD in four of his last six, but don’t go wild here.  He’s a volume play in a Season Without Volume.  But I can’t even be confident he’ll get volume; Ron Rivera declined to announce him as the team’s starter on Monday, as the team seems to simply prefer The Ghost of DeAngelo Williams as its “feature” back.  Stewart is far too risky a proposition to part with more than 10-12% of your remaining budget.  On paper, he presents as a sneaky RB2 play at home this week, at home against the Bucs, but raise your hand if you’ve never trusted in Stewart and been left wanting.  Hard.

James Starks, Packers

Just a reminder of the importance of scooping up handcuffs to high-volume, injury-prone RBs.  Starks has seen a higher number of touches than most RB2s this year as the Pack has sought to keep Glass Man Eddie Lacy fresh and free from hangnails.  That said, he’s hardly owned at all, and Lacy’s hip injury (no word yet on the severity) reminds us how thin the line is that separates guys like Starks, Alfred Blue, and Joseph Randle from RB1/2 fantasy relevance.  Buy this lottery ticket at a 10% clip; we’re two weeks from the end of the season, and if Lacy’s injury costs him time this week or next, you’ve got a real RB2 on your hands at very little cost.

Kerwynn Williams, Cardinals

As an NFLer, Williams doesn’t look like much.  Neither, however, do his competitors for touches in the Arizona backfield.  Stepfan Taylor redefines the term “plodder,” and Marion Grice is a low-footed passing-down back (think Chris Ogbannaya).  Williams exploded for 100 yards on a Kansas City defense that’s been gashed by the run lately, but MUCH tougher times lie ahead.  The Cardinals close the fantasy season with a trip to St. Louis, then a home date with the frighteningly rejuvenated Seahawks.  Yikes.  Don’t go beyond 8-10% here.  Can you play Williams in either of those matchups?  If you can, you’re probably not playing anymore, or your RB corps consisted of nothing but Eddie Lacy and Montee Ball.


Marquess Wilson, Bears

The offseason hype on Wilson was at such a fever pitch that his owners in more than one of my leagues kept him IR’d for all or most of his ten-game injury.  It’s easy to see where the hype comes from: Wilson was a certified college stud who packed on 23 pounds during the offseason, landing him at a freakish 6’4 207.  Yet another towering Bear wideout.  While he’s produced nothing in four games as the Bears’ rarely-used WR3, Wilson now steps into Brandon Marshall’s shoes in the starting lineup.  This is the stuff lottery ticket dreams are made of.  Marshall and Alshon Jeffery have commanded 17.1 targets/game this year – 34 in the red zone – and if you give Wilson 40% of that pie, he’s looking at 6-7 overall looks a week.  If you’re struggling at your WR3 spot, take a long look at Wilson – 15-17% seems about right.

Marqise Lee, Jaguars

I like-but-don’t-love Lee as an NFL prospect.  He’s smallish and slowish with a real injury history, but had a world-class 2012 at USC and seems to have real slot/flanker chops.  Nothing earth-shattering, but I think he has similar long-term hopes as those of much-ballyhooed teammate Allen Robinson.  In the short-term, Lee looks like a solid WR4: a short-oriented wideout for a QB who’s dumping the ball off and throwing a lot of garbage-time passes.  Lee is comfortably pacing the Jag wideout corps, having seen 21 targets over the last three games (four in the red zone) with a 14-194-1 line.  Try to steal Lee with a 10-12% bid.  He’s a bench guy with only modest upside, but faces arguably the two worst CB units (@BAL, vTEN) over the next two weeks.


Which healthy guys are being cut this week?  And should they be?

RB Denard Robinson, Jaguars – No, you’re not cutting him.  I shan’t let you – though 2,938 Yahoo owners already have.

QB Colin Kaepernick, 49ers – Man, I’d hate to dump this guy and his potential.  But in the fantasy playoffs, where only one QB is needed, many of you are justified in cutting him loose.  He’s not going to be a QB1 again anytime soon – especially not in Seattle this week – and you could use the roster room for a lottery ticket like Marquess Wilson or James Starks.

TE Kyle Rudolph, Vikings – If he can’t post even a usable TE2 line against the Jets – a defense that had allowed 11 TDs to tight ends over 12 games – then he’s not worth streaming, let alone keeping on roster.  Teddy Bridgewater is not Christian Ponder, so Rudolph is not in his plans.


Joe Flacco, Ravens – More in tomorrow’s DFS article.

Kyle Orton, Bills – I didn’t steer you wrong last week, did I?  Orton now gets to play catch-up with a sizzling Packer offense, against a mopey Packer defense that’s given up 10 TD passes over its last four games.  Orton could again top 300 yards this week.

Jake Locker, Titans – If only because the Jets have allowed opposing QBs to throw 29 TDs on 6.8 yards/attempt.  And they’ve picked off just five passes all year, neutralizing Locker’s biggest weakness: wobbly, poorly-thrown passes.  Locker could be a QB2 Sunday.

Lead photo credit: By original: Jim Larrison derivative: Diddykong1130 [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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