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.
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Off The Top
Vince Young, TEN – The
Giants game convinced me that Young has what it takes to be a
quality QB in this league for a long time. Sure, the Giants defense
is seriously depleted, but Vince handled that ridiculous comeback
like a rare few QBs can. I’m chomping at the bit to start
him in Week 14 @ HOU, considering I’ll probably bench McNair
(who’s put up a couple fantasy stinkers – albeit in
winning fashion the last couple weeks) when the Ravens travel
to Arrowhead for KC. But realize this is probably his best matchup
left, with Week 16 @ BUF being the next best on left on the docket.
I smell a real shootout in that one.
Brad Johnson, MIN – It’s
been a long time since Brad made an appearance on the wire, largely
because he’s been awful this season. But this week he helped
the Vikes snap a four-game losing streak and was 27-of-41 for
271, three touchdowns and no interceptions. While it would be
wise to stay away from him at Chicago in Week 13, the next three
games – which for many are playoff contests – are
@ DET, NYJ and @GB, great matchups for Johnson as a #2 QB or maybe
even a sleeper #1.
Matt Leinart, ARI – He’s
got a few things going for him in the final weeks, including two
out of four favorable matchups, nothing to lose by tossing to
his bevy of talented receivers, and a bone to pick with his detractors.
Next week @STL and Week 16 @SF, he should post good numbers.
Scouring The Barrel
Jay Cutler, DEN – Despite
reports throughout the season from Denver that Shanny-han was
sticking it out in 2006 with Plummer, I’ve been saying it
was all hogwash if the Broncos started dropping games. Now, the
untested but talented Cutler has finally gotten the nod, and while
it could be a boon to Plummer owners that decide to snag the rookie
Vanderbilt product, there will be some growing pains. I don’t
like his matchup next week facing Seattle, but the three that
follow in weeks 14-16 are more than decent: @SDG @ARI, CIN. All
three could be shootouts. It’s important to remember, however,
that rookie QBs rarely put up great fantasy numbers in their first
few games, but if you feel like taking a long shot, you could
do a lot worse.
Jeff Garcia, PHI – Competent
on Sunday night versus Indy, the big loss was not Garcia’s
fault. You’ve gotta lay that one on the Eagles pitiful rush
defense. But I’m not optimistic about his matchups the rest
of the way.
David Garrard, JAC –
Nothing to look forward to the rest of the way. Sorry, but it’s
just not going to happen.
J.P. Losman, BUF – Don’t
bother getting excited, especially after the Bills got McGahee
back. Losman’s one wild week came with A-Train in the backfield.
Tony Romo, DAL – I’ve
been talking about Romo nonstop since Thanksgiving, when he made
my one-day return to carb-loading even more pleasurable with a
five-TD, mistake-free performance. The only detraction was that
I chose not to start him in favor of Carson Palmer, but even Carson
came through on Sunday with a solid enough game to get me the
win. His matchups the next four weeks – @NYG, NOR, @ATL,
PHI – are much better than average, and he’s the perfect
quarterback for that offense. It’s a shame Parcells didn’t
make him the starter before the season ever began.
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA –
Throw out the first quarter INTs because of the snow, and Hasselbeck
has a great game.
Jason Campbell, WAS –
Two competent games in the books and some nice matchups the rest
of the way. He’s worth a look as an emergency starter, especially
with a healthy receiving core.
Off The Top
Joseph Addai, IND – There’s
not a whole lot of top RB options left in any format at this point
in the season, and this is a stretch. But after a so-so performance
in Dallas, it’s entirely possible somebody loaded at running
back in your league got fed up and dropped this guy. I don’t
need to tell you what he did on Sunday night, do I? Do whatever
you have to do to add this guy to your roster if he’s available
by some chance.
Wali Lundy, HOU – Not
available in most leagues, but I’m sure he’s out there
in some. Wali tallied just 11 total yards rushing last week but
compiled 8 receptions and 68 yards receiving in Houston’s
loss to the Jets. He’s not a viable #1 or # 2, but he’ll
have some value in deeper leagues that start three RBs.
Scouring The Barrel
Sammy Morris, MIA – I’ll
include him in the barrel just in case Ronnie Brown doesn’t
make it back the rest of the season, but it appears even if Morris
gets a couple starts they won’t produce big fantasy numbers.
Week 16 (NYJ) looks like his only favorable matchup, but the Jets
have been better against the run and Brown should definitely be
back by then.
Mike Bell, DEN – I’m
seriously thinking about staying away from the Denver RB situation
for the rest of my life.
Samkon Gado, HOU – The
Jets shut him down. The Jets.
Justin Fargas, OAK –
Huggy Bear, Jr. gets a crack at the useless Houston defense this
Arlen Harris, DET – Probably
no longer a factor with Kevin Jones on his way back. But stay
tuned, just in case.
Off The Top
WR Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ –
He’s the 20th ranked WR in the game right now in point-per-reception
leagues and despite that fact, he almost never gets any respect
with a top 30 ranking anywhere else but fftoday.com, which throws
him a top 30 bone just about every other week. That means if you’ve
been listening to us, you’ve been listening to the right
WR Bernard Berrian, CHI –
The Bears’ deep threat emerged once again with 5-104-0 last
week in their loss to New England, and is being scooped up on
many waiver wires as we speak. Don’t hesitate to trust St.
Bernard once again with getting medicine to your Himalayan village
or bringing it to the house for Chicago.
WR Kevin Curtis, STL –
He’s had a generally disappointing season, not living up
to expectations. Just three catches last week, but one went for
a score. Next week the Rams play Arizona, and if you were ever
looking for a time to get Curtis in there as a #3, here’s
WR Marcus Robinson, MIN –
Good matchups the rest of the way and solid numbers last week
(7-82-1). Just keep an eye on that ankle situation, because he
banged it up again last week and he’s prone to missing time.
Scouring The Barrel
TE Bo Scaife, TEN – Emerging
as Vince Young’s favorite target, Scaife played alongside
the talented QB at Texas back in the day. If you’ve got
an extra roster spot, he’s a solid option as a backup TE,
especially with so many injuries constantly plaguing the position
around the league.
WR Wes Welker – 5-42-0
last week for Welker. What did I say about him last week? Most
consistent #3 in history. And he’s never gonna goose you.
WR Travis Taylor, MIN –
Got his thunder stolen last week, but he got some catches (5-56-0).
See Marcus Robinson above.
WR Ronald Curry, OAK –
Just 3-19-0 last week, but the Raiders face Houston this week,
so he’s a decent #3.
Off The Top
DB Walt Harris, SF –
He’s been more consistent making some tackles over the past
few weeks, and he has a great nose for the ball. The rest of the
games on the docket are against QBs that tend to throw a lot of
picks, so pick him up if he’s available and you will not
be disappointed you did.
LB Shawne Merriman, SD –
This beast is back in the lineup for the Chargers following a
four-game suspension for juicing. If he’s available, what
are you waiting for?
DB Charles Tillman, CHI –
2 interceptions. 7 tackles and 3 passes defensed last week versus
Tom Brady and his band of merry, equally distributed wide receivers.
He’s filling the Mike Brown void quite well.
DB Asante Samuel, NE –
After he didn’t play in Week 11, I “dropped him from
my radar” the week before he dropped 33 freakin’ points
in my IDP league. I hope some of you took my advice the week before,
played him on a whim once he was back in the lineup, and took
advantage of his 3 interceptions, 9 tackles and 3 PDs against
the Bears. I really do.
LB Victor Hobson, NYJ –
I kept him off the wire week after week because I kept expecting
him to get quiet once Vilma started having big games. I guess
it’s time to admit that Vilma’s only slightly better
in that system that Hobson is.
Scouring The Barrel
DL Bryan Thomas, NYJ –
Defensive lineman are always tough to call, but if you’ve
got a requirement for one in your IDP league, he’s not a
LB Tedy Bruschi, NE –
An average week from the Tedmeister with 7 tackles (4 solo).
DB Kevin Kaesviharn, CIN –
Two incredible weeks in a row. If he’s available in your
league, grab him, because he’s threatening Madieu Williams
as the top IDP producer in that very active secondary.
DB Nate Clements, BUF –
Nothing doing last week except 2 tackles and 2 assists.
DB Richard Marshall, CAR –
Five tackles, and INT and a PD. He’s just a consistent fantasy
producer and a great guy to have on just about any IDP roster.
LB Caleb Miller, CIN –
Last week he had another decent game with 10 tackles (6 solo)
and a sack. Nice to see.