The Claims Report (12/10/14)

TE Charles Clay

TE Charles Clay

The Claims Report is a Wednesday feature that will analyze weekly waiver additions.

Beach Bums claimed TE Charles Clay ($1)

When Kyle Rudolph returned for the Vikings a couple weeks ago, it looked like one of Beach Bums’ long-running positional problems would be solved. But in three games since his return, Rudolph has amassed just 66 yards (22/game) and one touchdown. And therein lies the eternal problem with Rudolph: unless he’s catching passes in the end zone, he isn’t producing fantasy numbers. He’s got 126 receptions logged in his career — enough of a sample size to start drawing some baseline conclusions — and is only averaging 9.7 yards per catch.

Charles Clay, meanwhile, is having a down year after a breakout in 2013, but has still put up 117 yards in the last three games in which he’s been active. His 9.4 yards per catch is as much a bummer as Rudolph’s low YPC numbers, but he averaged over 11 his first three years in the league, suggesting he’s at least a little more dynamic. Clay has also been targeted 18 times in three games to just 10 for Rudolph. Neither guy is awesome at this point, but at least Clay’s floor is a tick higher. In the semi-finals, you need to scrounge up as many points as possible.

The Muscle Hamsters claimed WR Marquess Wilson ($1)

With Brandon Marshall lost for the remainder of the season, Marquess Wilson has three weeks to make his mark in 2014. The 6’3″ former track star drew some preseason buzz before breaking his collarbone and missing the bulk of the regular season, but he has the measureables (4.51 in the 40, 6.65 cone drill, 34.5 inch vertical) and college production to suggest he can hang in the pros — especially in Marc Trestman’s pass heavy, big receiver offense.

In 2011, he finished second in the PAC-12 in receiving yards, ahead of Keenan Allen, Robert Woods, and Marqise Lee. A year later, he finished 10th in the conference in receiving before being controversially suspended and subsequently leaving the team, a turn of events that likely caused him to drop to the seventh round of the 2013 draft. Obviously, my team is kaput, but there’s a chance Wilson uses the Bears’ last three games to increase his value and vault himself into a position for a big breakout in 2015, though obviously he’ll be in a bit of a crowded offense.

Unicorns & Glitter!!! claimed WR Jarius Wright

For the second time this season, Jarius Wright squeaked out a monster game for the Vikings and gets rewarded by joining our defending league champion. It’s been eight weeks since that last big game, which is essentially the story on Wright. He’s a solid contributor in a struggling passing offense, he’s young enough to conceivably have a breakout, but there just isn’t any consistency at all. He ratcheted up 123 yards and two touchdowns this past week, but one of those scores came on an 87-yard screen pass in overtime against the New York Jets, one of the worst pass defenses in the league. I don’t like holding big plays against players, but without that play we’re talking about a 4/36/1 line that likely leaves him amid the free agent muck.

And here are his targets the past six games: three, four, one, one, two, five. No receiver can sustain numbers with volume that low. Teammate Charles Johnson has 20 more targets over his last six outings and Greg Jennings is trumping Wright by 21.

Beach Bums claimed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Before the season started, the Beach Bums heralded the value of defenses and kickers — I took it as a personal attack on my own fantasy belief system and will never forgive him for it — and look at how that unfolded. Beach Bums currently has gained the most points from their defense and the third-most from their kicker, which has done a nice job offsetting the limited tight end production and struggling play at quarterback from Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, whose long-term outlook is shadowy at best.

Yesterday, those QB fortunes became even bleaker when Newton was injured in a car accident. He suffered two fractures in his lower back and is likely to miss at least next week, though the Panthers may be wise to just shut down their 25-year-old franchise passer for the rest of the season. They’re 4-8-1 and still somehow alive in the NFC South, but they’re clearly a terrible football team with little hope of going far even if they do sneak into the playoffs.

For the Beach Bums, Ryan Fitzpatrick comes on as insurance — joining Alex Smith (last week’s insurance policy) and perhaps Griffin, who may be in line to start again for Washington if, as expected, Colt McCoy can’t lace up — at the most inopportune of times. But the reality is, not much has changed. This team will still get mega-production from their receiving corps and respectable stats from their running backs. If Fitzpatrick (or Smith or whoever) can simply chip in, along with solid defense and kicker play (puke), this is a squad with a chance to play for a title.

Greased Up Deaf Guy claimed WR Kerwynn Williams

Before racking up 100 rushing yards this week, who even knew this guy existed? Didn’t we all just assume that, in the absence of Andre Ellington, the Cardinals would funnel their rushing attack through Marion Grice and Stepfan Taylor? Instead, it was Kerwynn Williams, the seventh round pick out of Utah State in 2013, getting the call.

Williams actually has a decent physical profile and, as we all should know by now, the biggest indicator of fantasy production for running backs is simply opportunity. If you get 19 carries as he did a week ago, you’re likely to be a serviceable fantasy back. Matt Asiata is currently the 21st ranked RB based on this principle alone.

But from the perspective of Greased Up Deaf Guy, a team that finished third in total scoring but missed the playoffs and then got ousted from the draft lottery consolation bracket, this move is more just protection for the future. Ellington was one of his key cogs this season, but there’s plenty of reason to believe, in the same vein as Gio Bernard in Cincinnati, that he isn’t a long-term, 15+ touch per game player. He’s taken a beating two years running now and saw his production wane anyway. If Williams asserts himself over these final weeks, it’s conceivable that GUDG enters the off-season with one team’s running back market completely cornered.

By the way, does this guy’s name remind anyone else of this?

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