With just a few weeks in the fantasy football regular season remaining, it’s a tough week to have your QB hit a bye week, but that’s exactly what Nick Foles, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, and E.J. Manuel have on the schedule this week. If you’ve been starting one of those options or are in need of a late-season upgrade, here are the top five options to target who are on the waiver wire in most leagues (percentages of ownership from ESPN leagues)
1. Carson Palmer-Arizona Cardinals (8.9%)
Palmer has thrown some bad interceptions this year, and his numbers have been inconsistent throughout the season which is why he’s still on the wire in over 90% of fantasy leagues. Lately, he’s been solid, though, throwing two TD’s in four of his last five games. His biggest yardage of the season came last week against the struggling Jaguars as he threw for 419 yards highlighted by a long TD to Michael Floyd.
The next few weeks the matchups look to be favorable as well as he takes on the Colts, Rams, and Titans before finishing with the Seahawks and 49ers. If you need a QB for the next three weeks, Palmer’s a nice plug-in option but look for another option for the finals if you make it that far.
2. Jason Campbell-Cleveland Browns (4.4%)
Campbell came back to earth this last week throwing three picks and just one touchdown after five TDs and no interceptions the previous two weeks. He did throw for 248 yards, but overall he struggled since the Browns fell behind and he was forced to throw a season-high 56 attempts. The reason he’s so high on this list is all about matchups. This week he faces the Steelers who gave up a big game to Matthew Stafford last week and were only able to slow him down with some help from a rain storm in the second half. Campbell follows up his good matchup this week with an even better one next week as the Browns take on the Jags. Plan ahead, add Campbell if you need to push to the playoffs in dual-QB leagues. Even in single QB leagues, Campbell may be worth a look if you are nearing desperation and Palmer isn’t available.
3. Josh McCown-Chicago Bears (2.3%)
McCown looks like he’ll be under center for Chicago again this week as they travel to St. Louis and face a tough Rams D that knows how to bring pressure. Putting Jay Cutler into that situation is too risky, so McCown gets the start in the dome. He threw for 216 and a touchdown in sloppy conditions against Baltimore last week, and should fare a little better indoors this week. He has the weapons at WR to succeed against St. Louis and is a decent QB2 this week. He doesn’t have much upside beyond this week since Cutler appears to be nearing his return, but if you need a bye-week fill-in he’s definitely a serviceable option.
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick-Tennessee Titans (1.8%)
Fitzpatrick looked good on Thursday Night Football, but only threw one touchdown pass to go with his 222 yards. He added 26 yards on the ground and has been contributing with his legs for most of this season. He had a huge game two weeks ago in relief of Jake Locker throwing for two scores and rushing for a third. This week, he and the Titans face the Raiders defense which has been inconsistent making him a QB2 option if you’re fishing on the waiver wire for a solid option.
5. Matt McGloin-Oakland Raiders (0.2%)
In his first NFL start, McGloin led the Raiders to a win on the road in Houston throwing for three touchdowns and 197 yards. With the Titans on the schedule this week, McGloin makes a nice long-shot option as a QB2 if he gets another start for the still ailing Terrelle Pryor.
This list of QB’s is part of my weekly waiver wire focus. If you need further help constructing your team, check out my top ten waiver wire picks of the week as well as my top waiver targets at each of the following positions: RB, WR, TE, D/ST.