Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections that will help your team from week to week while you
strive to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs, and
win the elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp.
While I’m just as big a proponent of making trades to bolster
your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource
when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each
week, I’ll target players that may be available in shallow
leagues – sometimes just breakout stars that eluded your team’s
draft – as well as players who can help your squad that will
still be available in most deeper leagues.
|Check out the most
popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands
of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on
your waiver wire this week by using the MFL
Power feature at FF Today. Just input your
league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
Off The Top
Tony Romo, DAL – He’s
been the topic of much conversation and while I’m positive
many owners have scooped him up, he’s still available in
my 10-team league (probably shouldn’t even have divulged
that, but in the interest of the column and full disclosure, I
guess it’s got to be done). The similarities to Favre are
getting more and more evident – right down to the “I
can’t believe I’m starting at QB for one of the most
storied franchises in NFL history” grin he’s always
wearing both on the field and on the sidelines. And the upside
potential to Romo is off the charts. It sounds crazy out loud,
but right now, Romo’s among a handful of quarterbacks in
the league capable of putting up four to five scores in a game.
And this week he gets to face the number one suspect on that list
– Peyton Manning. If the Cowboys can keep Dwight Freeney
and Robert Mathis off Romo’s back, he should put up solid
numbers. The Colts have a generally porous defense that has surprisingly
yielded just 10 passing TDs all year. But they’re beat up
and are overdue to get torched this week. Plus, the mobile Romo
can take advantage of the fact that the Colts have allowed 3 rushing
TDs to opposing QBs, something you could easily see in this game.
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA –
I’m not trying to insult anybody’s intelligence. I’m
just saying that it’s possible somebody in your league dropped
Hasselbeck prematurely when Seneca Wallace started running the
Seahawks offense like Jim Zorn did in the late 1970s. If the guy’s
available, grab him. It’s just that simple.
Jason Campbell, WAS –
In retrospect, I’m sure the Redskins are glad they passed
on Mike Williams and took CB Carlos Rogers at #9 and traded three
draft picks – including their 2006 first-round selection
– to land the 25th pick in 2005 from Denver and take Jason
Campbell. It wasn;t the quick fix move, and it did nothing to
improve what was then the NFL’s 30th-ranked offense. But
Campbell’s evolution – from fledgling college underclassmen
to thriving West Coast-style QB during an undefeated senior season
at Auburn – impressed Gibbs enough to draft him with pretty
high expectations, at least a heck of a lot higher than the teams
that dubbed him a “project.” Campbell’s been
brought along slowly a la Tony Romo during the past couple seasons;
he has yet to even take an NFL snap. For as much as Gibbs believes
in thrusting him into the starting spot to take over a 3-6 ball
club, there’s honestly not a ton of pressure on Campbell.
Around the league, nobody’s talking about the Skins anymore,
and the offense is without Portis, possibly until the end of the
season. Ladell Betts – much like Ronnie Brown and Cadillac
Williams at Auburn – catches a lot of balls out of the backfield
and will help Campbell gain confidence as he works through the
offense. The Redskins have several athletic receivers who can
adjust to misthrown balls and make their quarterback look good.
Heck, look what they did for Mark Brunell for a few weeks this
season. The Redskins face New Orleans and St. Louis in weeks 15
and 16, and while we should all watch Campbell closely over the
next couple weeks, his overall size and athletic ability are considerable
attributes that could lead to big fantasy numbers in both those
Scouring The Barrel
Jay Cutler, DEN – If
you don’t have the roster space and are convinced Jake Plummer
will be the starting QB for the remainder of 2006, don’t
bother reading further. Now, for the rest of you are who ARE familiar
with the way Mike Shanahan does things in the thin air of Denver,
listen up. Every coach wants to win games, and despite the litany
of behavior Shanahan has exemplified to the contrary, he wants
to win big just as much as anyone. He doesn’t, for instance,
want to sweat out 17-13 games versus AFC West opponents for the
rest of the year. Plummer’s played well, and the Broncos
are winning, but if something goes wrong, Cutler might get the
call, and it may be right in the middle of your fantasy playoffs.
The Broncos face San Diego, Arizona and Cincinnati in weeks 14-17,
so it’s really worth considering him for a bench spot –
especially in two-QB leagues where everybody will be looking for
an ace in the hole come playoff time.
Alex Smith, SF – He started
out the season strong, but San Fran has fallen in love with pounding
Frank Gore and limiting turnovers in order to win games. I really
thought they’d open it up against Detroit, but to the 49ers’
credit, you can make it two wins in a row and counting.
David Garrard, JAX –
Where’s the real mayor? Wha’ happened?
Seneca Wallace, SEA –
The guy has wheels and puts up decent numbers – flat out
– but it looks like Hasselbeck is ready to return.
Steve McNair, BAL – As
Titans head coach Jeff Fisher’s mullet flapped around uncontrollably
during the fourth quarter, his old quarterback led a huge comeback
that proved he is a worthy fantasy option when he has to be. How
satisfying do you think that win was for McNair and Mason? I benched
Huard last week in favor of McNair and reaped the benefits –
along with Waldman,
I see. Hope some of you got a chance to take advantage of that
matchup as well.
Off The Top
Ladell Betts, WAS – This
is a no-brainer, especially considering Betts was putting up decent
numbers BEFORE Portis broke his hand. If they were smart, Portis
owners prepared for this day by handcuffing Betts. If they weren’t,
and you’ve got the waiver priority to make this happen,
then you shouldn’t need any more provoking. Ladell Betts
is like MoJo Drew if Fred Taylor got stabbed.
T.J. Duckett, WAS – Where
has this guy been all year? I have no idea, but he must be a consideration
with Portis down for the count. T.J. Duckett is like LaBrandon
Toefield if Fred Taylor got shot.
Correll Buckhalter, PHI –
As a Brian Westbrook owner, I’m a little concerned my boy
won’t hold up for the entire season, although he’s
played admirably considering all the pain he plays through every
week. I have a slew of decent running backs in my Westbrook league
(10 teams) including Kevin Jones, Julius Jones, Dillon, Maroney
and Mike Bell, so I don’t truly NEED to back him up. I’m
also somewhat reticent to boldly proclaim that Buckhalter would
put up huge numbers in Westbrook’s absence, because I’m
not really sure that’s what would happen. But if you’re
in a deep league where handcuffing the superstar could mean big
things when a more serious injury occurs, then I wouldn’t
hesitate to make sure I had a roster spot for C-Buck.
Michael Pittman, TB –
The looks that Jon Gruden was giving Cadillac Williams on Monday
Night were scaring me. It’s only a matter of time before
the sophomore gets benched, giving way to this proven veteran
with big pipes and decent hands.
Scouring The Barrel
Damien Nash, DEN – Is
it even fair that we’re talking about this guy right now?
No, but given Shanahan’s Abu-Ghirab-like torture of fantasy
football owners, it what we’ve come to expect from the King
of the Coaching Rats – all apologies to Prince of the Coaching
Rats Mike Krzyzewski. I’m not planning on using this jerk
– I’d sooner spend a waiver pick on Greg “Toe”
Nash – but if you’re one of those “I must have
whoever is starting in the backfield for the Broncos this week”
people, go ahead and waste a roster spot on him and pray he gets
his shot. Because if that’s the mentality with which you’re
living your life, it can’t really hurt.
Anthony Thomas, BUF –
The numbers will be probably be similar to McGahee’s as
long as the A-Train’s in there, which unfortunately means
few scoring opportunities. But he ran for over 100 yards last
week. What more can you ask from a week 10 waiver pickup? Like
I said last week, I’ve had him on my bench all year in one
of my leagues, and he’s getting the starting nod in Week
11 against the Texans because my #2 RB – Portis –
is broken once again.
DeAngelo Williams, CAR –
DeShaun Foster looked sluggish on Monday night against Tampa Bay,
and I continue to expect Williams to see more touches.
Noah Herron, GB – I’m
glad I had a good week with my RB picks, especially considering
my QB selections. Herron caught a TD pass from Brett, and if anything
should happen to Ahman Green (not too far-fetched, is it?) he
could do a whole lot more.
Off The Top
WR Mark Clayton, BAL –
He’s been up here before and after the big game last week,
he’s deserving again, because I know he’s still lurking
on lots of waiver wires out there. Don’t hesitate again,
because you’ll regret it even more. McNair obviously likes
him, and the Ravens are passing a lot more as they come to the
realization that Jamal Lewis and the rest of the backs just aren’t
reliable enough to carry the offense anymore.
WR Patrick Crayton, DAL –
When Glenn comes back, his value will drop, but he’s worth
a look if you’ve got roster room. If the planets align correctly
when Indy heads to Dallas this week and Glenn doesn’t suit
up, he could have another solid week. But temper your enthusiasm
with the reality that T.O. is still the show in Dallas.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Reche Caldwell, NE –
Just when Tom Brady’s love affair with Doug Gabriel looks
like it’s ready to take off, the guy fumbles his way to
bench and clears the way for ANOTHER flavor of the month. I had
Caldwell listed here a couple weeks ago, but then he pooped his
pants in Week 9. Belichick didn’t show too much patience
with Gabriel, did he? Could there be more to that story than anybody’s
admitting? In any event, Caldwell was Brady’s go-to guy
last week, but that’s not something that’s guaranteed
to carry over into subsequent weeks – far from it. He’s
listed here for several reasons. First, because I’m obligated
to consider him with the big numbers from the Jets game, second,
because he’s available in just about any format, and third,
because the Patriots are still a team capable of putting up huge
offensive numbers via the pass, and SOMEBODY’s got to collect
WR Devery Henderson, NO –
I can’t figure out the Saints offense. How do you go from
being a 2-TD guy one week to barely playing – behind Terrance
Copper, for God’s sakes – the next?
WR Ernest Wilford, JAC –
The Jaguars receivers are not to be trusted. None of them.
WR Eric Parker, SD –
Huge shootout, zero numbers. Parker left the game with a neck
injury, so keep an eye on his status.
WR Arnaz Battle, SF –
He was my sleeper pick for Sunday, and he actually showed some
consistency in an offense that focuses an awful lot on Gore. He’s
on my roster, and he might end up being a nice #3 WR sleeper in
the last couple weeks.
WR Marty Booker, MIA –
Didn’t see a lot of action on Sunday, but this week he faces
a Minnesota team that yields the eighth-most fantasy points to
opposing WRs. He’s really not a Not a bad #3 WR this week.
Off The Top
DB Dawan Landry, BAL –
Landry, a talented young strong safety, has taken over from FS
Ed Reed as the most consistent tackler in the Ravens secondary.
He also blitzes effectively and has posted big weeks in two of
his last three. Expect more solid numbers this week as Michael
Vick and the Falcons head into town, since Atlanta’s tied
for first in the league in most sacks allowed to defensive backs.
DL Leonard Little, STL –
He’s been quiet for most of the season, but his solid Week
10 numbers indicate he might be ready to make some of the big
plays he’s been known for over the years. He’s got
a favorable schedule for most of the remaining schedule, so if
you’re looking for an impact DL to fill a roster quota at
a position that offers little upside except for the weekly performances
of Jared Allen and Julius Peppers, Leonard’s your guy.
Just a quick aside (not really that quick) regarding Julius Peppers:
My bro-in-lo Dan’s opponent put up big IDP numbers against
him this week, and Dan went into the Monday night game down 141-123,
needing a 19-point performance from Peppers to win (his opponent
was done but had Favre as the tiebreaker player). At the half,
I checked up and saw Peppers had 3 tackles (3 points) and two
sacks – each worth 3 points by our scoring system. So he
needed another HUGE half for Dan to get the improbable win. So
Peppers recovers a fumble (4 points) and knocks down a pass (2
points), but the clock’s ticking away and pretty soon it’s
essentially the last play of the game on a Tampa Bay fourth down
with under two minutes to play. And I’m thinking “Damn,
he came so close,” when Peppers screams through the line
and drops Gradkowski like he’s a cardboard freakin’
cutout. The NFL credits sacks as a tackle as well, giving him
a total of 4 points on the play, and a game total of exactly 19.
Final score Mindfreak 142, Bottoms Up 141. Whowouldathunkit? I’ve
never seen a defensive player win a fantasy game like that in
what boiled down to the closing seconds. Dan’s team name
immediately changed from the Criss Angel-inspired Mindfreak to
the simple but effective “Julius Peppers.” He even
considered using a shot of Peppers dunking a basketball at UNC
for his team log, but opted instead for a pic of Peppers in-game
sporting a blood-stained Panthers jersey. Awesome.
LB Al Wilson, DEN – He’s
fallen out of favor in lots of IDP leagues for his less-than stellar
numbers during the first three games. But he’s been playing
much better, getting more chances, and with fellow LB Ian Gold
sidelined last week and the Chargers on the docket, I’d
expect fistfuls of tackles to go around for the Broncos. He’s
a solid pickup and he’s always a threat to have a huge day.
DL Alex Brown, CHI –
Many leagues won’t have this guy available, but he’s
still out there in my 10-team IDP league, so he can’t be
universally coveted. He may not rack up the points this week,
facing the Jets D’Brickshaw Ferguson, but in Weeks 14, 15
and 16, he faces Orlando Pace’s replacement in St. Louis,
a useless offensive line in Tampa Bay, and the Lions. ‘Nuff
LB E.J. Henderson, MIN –
I’ve mentioned him a couple times already in previous weeks,
and his numbers haven’t been spectacular the last two weeks.
But I expect a big week from him against a Miami team that surrenders
a decent amount of points to fantasy LBs.
Scouring The Barrel
LB Chris Draft, CAR –
A consistent performer when he isn’t sidelined by asthma,
he has done well in this league. In Carolina, the big plays usually
get stolen by the DLs and DBs, but Draft is the unquestioned leader
of this defensive unit. He gets his tackles – sure –
but doesn’t do a whole lot else.
DB Asante Samuel, NE –
Not a high-profile DB, Samuel just does his job and makes the
occasional big play. With Harrison sidelined for what looks like
a couple weeks at least (hard to give a timetable considering
the Patriots’ policy on giving accurate injury updates)
the starting right corner is more important now than he ever was,
considering teams are now more likely to take shots deep. He’s
a decent play facing the Packers in week 11, but it’s definitely
a higher-risk, higher-reward proposition.
LB Kirk Morrison, OAK –
He’s as solid as solid can be and a great presence on any
IDP roster. I don’t know what else I can say.
LB Marcus Washington, WAS –
didn’t do much versus the Eagles, which is surprising considering
how often they ran the ball Sunday. The Redskins just have one
of those defenses that’s hard to figure out. Take a look
at DB Sean Taylor: He’s amazing, all-over-the-field good
one week and pitiful the next, getting beat deep and making inexcusable
DB Darrent Williams, DEN –
Champ stole the show on Sunday, but keep Darrent in mind later
on down the road.
LB Julian Peterson, SEA –
Not much (4 tackles) versus the Rams, but with Frank Gore the
focal point of the San Fran offense, he’s a good play in
LB Bradie James, DAL –
Another consistent performance (9 tackles 2 PD) from a quality