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Savvy pickups will make all the difference

Winning at fantasy football does not come as easily as some may think. Having a strong draft is certainly a key element, but your in-season management and ability to properly play the waiver wire are paramount.

Not only do you need to know how to anticipate potential breakout performances, but you also need to know when to let go of some players whose value rises and falls with the changing landscape of NFL injuries. Waiver darlings such as Joshua Palmer and Marquise Goodwin are yesterday’s news and it is time to invest in a new crop of hopefuls to carry you to the finish line.

With Rams receiver Cooper Kupp landing on injured reserve and Matthew Stafford coming back from his concussion, we need to be more invested in both Van Jefferson and Ben Skowronek. Most assume Stafford will turn to Allen Robinson, but his inability to gain separation has been the reason his quarterback hasn’t looked his way much, not just that Kupp was Stafford’s favorite. Skowronek is already playing more than 90 percent of the snaps and Jefferson is expected to see a significant uptick in volume now that he is fully healthy. The Rams’ Week 11 matchup against a depleted Saints secondary is what you are looking for in a breakout and both receivers are likely still available.

Van Jefferson
Van Jefferson
Getty Images

You can also take a long look at Texans wide receiver Nico Collins, who made his return from a two-week absence and was targeted 10 times by Davis Mills in Houston’s loss to the Giants. Brandin Cooks is back from injury as well, and that draws coverage away from Collins, who plays a more vertical, deep-passing game. The matchup this week against a Washington secondary that ranks 20th in DVOA against the pass and allows the eighth-most fantasy points per game to receivers is exactly what we are looking for from our fringe wideouts.

The value of players in fantasy rises and falls like the stock market and it is up to you to identify the fluctuations. Watching a player excel for two weeks and then disappear is common in fantasy football, which is why most waiver adds have a limited shelf-life for actual use in your starting roster. Cutting them should be easy, especially if you are good at identifying the constant changes across the NFL landscape.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to for all your fantasy sports advice, player projections, injury updates and more.

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