Waiver Wire Watch, Week 15: Where Ryan Torain is once again the Redskins’ starting RB

Washington Redskins' running back Ryan Torain runs for a short gain against the the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on December 12, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Every week, I highlight a few players that you should target in waivers. I use the ESPN league data when filtering players, so the only guys eligible for discussion here are those that are available on the waiver wire in at least 40% of ESPN’s leagues. I’ll list each player’s percentage-owned after their name so you have an idea of how available they are in leagues around the country. I’ll always try to mention a few players that are available in 90% of leagues for those of you in 12-team leagues or leagues with big rosters. I’ll rank them in the order I’d pick them up in a league with a high-performance scoring system.

Please note that these rankings are for total value through the end of the year. Players with particularly good matchups this week are in bold.

Josh Freeman (59.0)
Save for a bad game against the Steelers in W3, Freeman has been solid all season throwing for at least one TD in 12 of 13 games. He’ll also add 10-40 rushing yards, which helps the bottom line. He should be able to post nice numbers in a W15 matchup against the Lions.

Jon Kitna (18.2)
Kitna has a pretty good matchup with the Redskins, who have struggled to stop the pass this season. He has thrown at least one TD in seven of his last eight games, so I’d expect 200+ yards and 1-2 TDs against Washington in W15.

Matt Hasselbeck (14.3)
The Falcons have struggled against the pass and Hasselbeck has shown that he can be productive against suspect secondaries. It would certainly help if Mike Williams and/or Ben Obomanu could make it back, since the Seahawks lost Deon Butler to a broken leg.

David Garrard (43.2)
I’m not psyched about Garrard’s matchup with Indy. He played well against the Colts in W4, but the Jags will continue to feature the run, so I don’t see another three-TD game in his near future. Still, he’s a decent matchup and has had success against the Colts recently.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (33.6)
I do like the idea of Fitzy in W16 against the Pats (though they’ve managed to shut down Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler in recent weeks). But the Dolphins are pretty tough against the pass, so I expect I’ll rank Fitzpatrick in the high teens this week.

Jason Campbell (6.7)
Campbell played well in a good matchup against the Jags in W14 and now he has another good matchup against the reeling Broncos. Campbell has had his share of stinkers (W6 against the 49ers and W11 against the Steelers come to mind), but he has played well in good matchups, so I’d expect a good line this week against the Broncos.

Kerry Collins (1.2)
Talk about inconsistent. Collins went from dreadful against the Jags in W13 to great (fantasy-wise) against the Colts in W14. He has the Texans in W15, so I’d expect good fantasy numbers.

Sam Bradford (34.5)
What’s happened to the rookie? He had a run of six straight games with at least one TD pass, but has failed to throw any in the last two weeks. His matchups the next two weeks are decent, but his recent failings have shaken my confidence in the youngster.

Drew Stanton (0.7)
Stanton was shaky against the Packers, but Green Bay is tough to throw on. The Bucs should be a bit easier, especially with Aqib Talib out for the season.

Chad Henne (46.9)
With back-to-back stinkers, as well as losing his job midseason, I’m not sure how Henne is owned in almost 47% of ESPN leagues. He does have the Bills and Lions the next two weeks, so if you’re really desperate, you could do worse. (See below.)

Alex Smith (6.7)
Smith torched the Seahawks, but the Chargers are another story.

Matt Flynn (0.0)
He had one good drive against the Lions, but threw a costly pick in the endzone. I am not optimistic about his chances against the Pats, who have played pretty good pass defense of late.

Jake Delhomme (1.4)

Tarvaris Jackson (0.9)

Ryan Torain (42.7)
If you were waiting to see how the Redskins would use Torain, well, you saw…all 172 yards of it. He’s the feature back in Washington, and while he doesn’t have a great W15 matchup (@DAL), his W16 matchup against the Jaguars is pretty tasty.

Tim Hightower (63.4)
While he’s not technically eligible for WWW, he’s available in enough leagues that I figured I’d rank him. I like his matchup this week against the Panthers, who were completely run over by Michael Turner and Co.

Brian Westbrook (51.8)
I’d have Westy a little higher, but a matchup with the Chargers isn’t particularly promising. The SD DT is playing pretty good ball right now.

Javarris James (2.8)
I don’t really know what to expect from the Colts’ backfield, but James had 17 carries against the Titans and found the endzone, and with a W15 matchup against Jacksonville, he could have a nice game.

Rashad Jennings (13.2)
He has a TD in three straight games and busted out for 109 yards on five carries against the Raiders. The Jags have gone run-heavy and Jennings is making the most of his 7.3 carries a game over the last three weeks.

Mike Goodson (29.1)
He continues to be involved in the redzone and in the passing game, making him a decent W15 flex play against the Cards, especially in PPR leagues.

Tashard Choice (22.2)
After 19 carries in W13, he got just seven against the Eagles. The next two weeks bring two great matchups, so Choice could flourish in crunch time, assuming Dallas runs the ball 30+ times per game.

Maurice Morris (5.5)
Call me crazy, but I have a feeling Morris finds the endzone against the Bucs, who aren’t very good against the run. He has received at least 11 touches in each of the last four games and outperformed Jahvid Best on Sunday.

Darren Sproles (55.6)
He continues to be a decent spot starter/flex option in PPR formats.

Anthony Dixon (9.2)
W14 against the Seahawks was his chance for a big game, but he only managed 14 carries and 60 yards.

James Starks (7.6)
Starks was a popular sleeper pick in W14 that just didn’t pan out. The Packers tried to get the running game going to no avail. I don’t see Starks doing much against the Patriots or the Giants over the final two weeks of the fantasy season.

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 09: Kenny Britt  of the Tennessee Titans catches a pass during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at LP Field on December 9, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Kenny Britt (60.4)
He returned last Thursday to catch four passes for 39 yards. More importantly, he was targeted eight times, which was tied with Chris Johnson for the most on the team. With Houston on deck in Week 15, he’s a WR2/WR3 start with upside.

Ben Obomanu (9.0)
The Falcons are coming to town and the Seahawks are hurting at WR, so if Obomanu’s hand is good to go, he could have a very nice game this week. Keep an eye on whether or not he’s practicing and make your moves accordingly. The early word is that he’s expected back at practice on Wednesday.

Davone Bess (26.6)
He visited Revis Island on Sunday and it wasn’t pretty (1-6). I’m still buying Bess at this point with Henne under center and two nice matchups over the next two weeks. With Brian Hartline out, Henne will have to lean on Bess even more and there are no cornerbacks of Revis’s quality in Bess’s near future.

Blair White (3.6)
This ranking assumes Austin Collie misses another week of action. White is more valuable in PPR leagues than standard leagues, though he does get a few redzone targets here and there.

Louis Murphy (21.5)
He posted 6-59-1 against the Jags as the Raiders started throwing to stay in the game. He has a nice matchup this week against the Broncos, but Champ Bailey is a concern.

Nate Washington (47.5)
He seemed to benefit from the return of Kenny Britt and was targeted seven times by Kerry Collins. I do think the Titans will try to throw Randy Moss a few times per game and I suspect that those targets will come out of Washington’s share, not Kenny Britt’s, so his upside is limited.

Roy Williams (40.0)
He was a dud against the Eagles and I thought he was going to have a nice game. He has nice matchups over the next two weeks, but seems to be behind Miles Austin and Jason Witten in terms of pecking order.

Anthony Armstrong (3.4)
He only got five targets against the Bucs, which was his lowest total since Week 10. With the Cowboys and Jaguars coming up, Armstrong is bound to catch a couple of deep balls before the season’s over.

Brandon Gibson (0.3)
Gibson is out Danny Amendola’ing Danny Amendola. He now has 32 catches in his last six games, making him a solid PPR fill in.

Jacoby Jones (23.3)
He posted 7-72-2 over the last two weeks. He’s not trustworthy, but I’d recommend that Andre Johnson owners pick him up as insurance.

Earl Bennett (2.7)
Sunday was a disaster on many levels for the Bears, but Bennett still posted somewhat decent numbers in PPR formats. The upcoming matchups (MIN, NYJ) aren’t pretty though.

Jacoby Ford (12.1)
He should be able to make a couple of big plays this week assuming he doesn’t draw Champ Bailey.

Arrelious Benn (0.5)
I hesitate to list Benn here because he failed to do much of anything for three games preceding his 4-122 outburst against the Redskins. But with Detroit and Seattle coming up, Benn could benefit if Freeman continues to spread the ball around instead of throwing to Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow 80% of the time.

David Nelson (0.0)
His W15 matchup isn’t pretty, but with Lee Evans sidelined with a high ankle sprain, Nelson may get a few extra targets per game. He has 10-103-2 over his last three games, so he has been decent.

Owen Daniels (41.8)
He returned on Monday night and had his best game of the season, hooking up early and often with Matt Schaub. He has a nice matchup in W15 to boot. He’s not a solid start, but there’s some upside here.

Rob Gronkowski (22.3)
Lately it seems like he has a nice game every other week, which means he’s due for a clunker against the Packers. But he has seven TDs on the season, and it’s not often you’re going to find that on the waiver wire.

Brandon Pettigrew (40.8)
I expect Pettigrew and the Detroit passing game will bounce back a bit against the Bucs.

Benjamin Watson (40.4)
He was a huge disappointment in a great matchup against the Bills, but he was only targeted once. That’s on Jake Delhomme, not Watson.

Bo Scaife (3.3)
He scored twice against Indy and Collins has a habit of looking for him around the goal line.

Tony Moeaki (23.7)
Moeaki needs Matt Cassel back.

Anthony Fasano (9.2)
Chad Henne didn’t look his way to often against the Jets, but maybe Fasano can get it going against the Bills, who have been bad against TEs this season (but shut down Ben Watson last week).

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