When you leave your fantasy football draft in August, hopefully you felt pretty confident about your chances in the upcoming season. That said, while a team that looks great on paper in August could very well go on to lead you to a championship, a variety of things can happen to that same team to cause it to crash and burn just as easily.
Chances are if you drafted Aaron Rodgers, Ray Rice, Trent Richardson, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Stevan Ridley, C.J. Spiller, Doug Martin and countless other draft-day stars, you weren’t expecting to have to find their replacements midway through the season. Whether it was due to injury or lack of performance, fantasy owners needed to find replacements for these guys in order to make it through the season.
Luckily, there were guys out there who were ready to save the day. Picking up a key player from free agency can be a move that leads your fantasy team to a championship. In a five-part series, I’m going to go over the one player from each position who could have been found in your league’s waiver wire that saved desperate owners this season. To start, we’ll look at the quarterback who has earned the honor.
Nick Foles, QB Philadelphia Eagles
If you just won your fantasy football championship and you drafted either Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan or Michael Vick to be your quarterback back in August, chances are Foles was the guy starting for you down the stretch. He started this season as the backup to Vick, which meant that he was pretty much universally available to fantasy owners when he made his first 2013 start.
Foles made his start in Week 6. He threw for 296 yards, three touchdowns and rushed for another for a total of 29 fantasy points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was then knocked out of the next game, missed Week 8 with an injury and then reclaimed the starting role in Week 9 for good by throwing for seven touchdowns and scoring 45 fantasy points against the Oakland Raiders.
It pays to be lucky. If you were an Rodgers owner in 2013, you are very well aware that Week 9 (the same week that Foles lit up the Raiders) was the week that he went down with a broken collarbone, which meant that going into Week 10, you likely needed to add a quarterback.
Few guys would’ve been more appealing than Foles at the time and if he’s the guy you picked up to replace Rodgers, your team was like the fantasy version of the Green Bay Packers transitioning from Brett Favre to Rodgers.
If you were a Ryan owner, Week 9 was the second week in a row that Ryan scored single-digit fantasy points. The Atlanta Falcons had a match up with the Seattle Seahawks coming up in Week 10 and chances are you were looking for a change at quarterback. Foles had just come off his 45-point game, was readily available and had an excellent matchup with the Packers on the schedule for Week 10. Hopefully you made the switch to Foles and never looked back.
If you were a Vick owner, you drafted him because you were salivating at the prospects of him in Chip Kelly‘s offense. After Week 2, you thought you were a genius to sit back on draft day and watch your other league members use early draft picks on guys like Ryan, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo while you waited.
You probably thought you had the steal of the draft. Vick went down with a hamstring injury in Week 5 though and struggled to get back on the field, while Foles took the opportunity presented to him and ran with it.
Foles has been absolutely remarkable this year. I wrote going into Week 14 that he is in the top 10 in terms of MVP candidates this year, and he is without a doubt the MVP of waiver wire quarterbacks in fantasy football for 2013. Through 16 weeks, Foles is averaging 23.44 fantasy points per start, which is second to only Peyton Manning, and he’s scored at least 17 fantasy points in every start he’s finished.
If the quarterback you drafted underwhelmed this season, hopefully you picked up Foles — chances are he was available for you when you needed him.
Honorable Mentions: Philip Rivers, Josh McCown