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
Jay Cutler, DEN – Okay,
so by my home league’s scoring he earned his neophyte’s
fantasy stripes and scored 14 in his debut and 18 last week. Now
he faces the Cards and the Bengals. What are you waiting for?
As long as Mike Shanahan doesn’t go back on his word and
start Plummer again, you should be okay with this guy.
Chris Weinke, CAR – If
he gets another start, in Week 15 he faces the Steelers, who have
really tightened up their pass defense in the past few weeks.
He’s no better than a desperation #2 QB, but he did compile
over 400 passing yards and a TD last week, the three INTs notwithstanding.
Scouring The Barrel
Aaron Brooks, OAK – A
mediocre QB on a pathetic offense. It’s worth glancing at
matchups, but he’s really not much of an option.
Jason Campbell, WAS –
He’s been turning the ball over more and isn’t feeling
confident right now as a result. Give him time. He might be a
good pickup next year late in the draft.
Chad Pennington, NYJ –
A top 20 fantasy QB almost by default, Pennington has stayed healthy
and has kept the Jets in the playoff hunt. But he’s facing
two good defenses in the next couple weeks (@MIN, @MIA).
Derek Anderson – You
can still do better.
Vince Young, TEN – No
words to describe that TD scamper in OT. He’s just an exciting
player that warrants a roster spot in any format.
Brad Johnson, MIN – Mr.
Poopy Pants got a rushing TD but none through air, limited yardage
and an INT. And he’ll crap ‘em again, I promise.
Matt Leinart, ARI – Four
solid weeks in a row and counting. He’ll be a top-15 QB
Off The Top
Artose Pinner, MIN –
Four NFL running backs that now still average less than 4.6 fantasy
points per game scored over 20 in Week 14. I didn’t even
try to figure out how low their per-game averages were before
they went nuts this week. They included Artose (pronounced Ar-toose)
Pinner (30), Miami’s Sammy Morris (22), Houston’s
Ron Dayne (23) and New Orleans’ Mike Karney (26). But Pinner
will only retain value if Chester Taylor misses more time and
Ciatrick Faison stays on the bench, so stay tuned.
Sammy Morris, MIA – It
appears Ronnie Brown is will be shelved until at least Week 16.
Sammy doesn’t have bad matchups the next couple weeks (@BUF,
NYJ), but both teams have played better against the run the last
Scouring The Barrel
Aveion Cason/Arlen Harris, DET –
I can’t make an honest recommendation to pick up either
of these guys, but somebody’s going to have to fill the
role of Kevin Jones in this offense. Unfortunately, the next two
matchups (@GB, CHI) don’t help their cause much.
Marion Barber III, DAL –
The Saints came marching in to Dallas and put a lid on Barber.
He scored zero points and didn’t score for only the third
time this season – weeks 1 and 9 were the others. Brutal.
DeAngelo Williams, CAR –
If Foster wasn’t there, he’d easily be a top 20 back
considering his usefulness catching passes out of the backfield.
Cedric Benson, CHI –
Posted decent numbers on Monday night and is more a part of this
offense now than he has been all season.
Jerious Norwood, ATL –
No word yet on the extent of his Week 14 injury.
Cedric Houston, NYJ –
He’s the feature back, if we had to guess one, but his upcoming
matchups (@MIN, @ MIA) are not good.
Ron Dayne, HOU – Man,
did I make the wrong call on Dayne last week. But that’s
what I get for making declarative statements based on hatred.
While I’m not sure he’ll post good numbers versus
a Jets defense that’s improved a lot over the course of
the season, Week 16 against Indy should be a veritable fantasy
smorgasbord for both Dayne and Lundy.
Off The Top
WR Ronald Curry, OAK –
Most of the good receivers are gone, so to find a true stud you’d
have to look at the best player available and read some back columns
to get my views. But Curry’s most likely available and is
a solid start at home versus STL and coming off his best game
of the season.
TE Vernon Davis, SF –
Wow. This guy has some big play ability and decent matchups coming
up. Give him a go if he’s out there.
WR Bryant Johnson, ARI –
With Fitzgerald and Boldin covered by Champ Bailey and Darrent
Williams, Johnson might be the only open man Leinart sees on Sunday.
He’s coming off a nice game versus Seattle where he outscored
Boldin, so take a shot if you need a decent #3 WR because the
Cards will be airing it out.
WR D.J. Hackett, SEA –
This guy came out of nowhere a couple weeks ago and has two decent
performances in his last three. I would imagine the Seahawks will
be aggressive versus the 49ers this week, so Hackett might be
a nice pickup and play as a #3.
TE Tony Scheffler, DEN –
Jay Cutler found him twice in the end zone last week but he faces
a Cards team that’s only given up three scores to TEs all
year. Don’t jump on the bandwagon too quickly.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Drew Carter, CAR –
Obviously a favorite target of Weinke, Carter caught a ton of
balls last week and scored on a big play. He’s worth a look.
WR Drew Bennett, TEN –
The second Drew listed down here. He scored in his first matchup
against the Jags this year, and Vince Young has developed a nice
rapport with him. He’s a decent sleeper pick off your wire
this week if he’s available, but he’s no sure thing.
WR Marty Booker, MIA –
I called this guy’s number last week and it paid off. Hope
you took my advice and started him. He’s now a top-25 fantasy
WR and Chambers isn’t even in the top 30.
WR Michael Jenkins, ATL –
Just one catch versus the Bucs. I can’t figure this guy
TE Steve Heiden, CLE –
What follows a two-TD week? How about two catches for 21 yards
versus the Steelers.
Off The Top
DB Charles Woodson, GB –
He ranks as the 4th highest scoring DB the last 3 weeks behind
Asante Samuel (NE), Adrian Wilson (ARI) and Charles Tillman (CHI)
and had been making big plays. That should continue against Detroit
and Minnesota the next couple weeks. The knocks on Woodson in
IDP have been his inconsistency and injuries, but he’s been
healthy and hasn’t scored less than 4 points (4 tackles
in both weeks 9 and 13) in any game this season.
DB Keith Lewis, SF –
Very consistent numbers his past five weeks and good matchups
upcoming @SEA and @home versus ARI.
LB Karlos Dansby, ARI –
A big playmaker, Dansby is improving his consistency and seems
to be at 100 percent once again after starting 2006 as a weekly
presence on the injury report. He’s posted about a 9 IDP
points per game average over the pas t five weeks, so he’d
make a good addition for the last couple games.
DB Will Demps, NYG –
He’s been on a tear since Week 10 and has five double-digit
scoring games in a row by my league’s scoring system, a
rarity for DBs. Keep playing his hot hand, but watch for his numbers
to go down once the Giants secondary is totally healthy again.
Scouring The Barrel
Trevor Pryce, BAL – Not
the highest-scoring player on Baltimore’s defense, but Pryce
has been solid all year as far as DLs go. He posted 3.5 sacks
during the first two matchups of the year against his next two
opponents (1.5 @ CLE, 2.0 against PIT), so he’s a decent
bet to get at least two sacks over the next two games.
E.J. Henderson, MIN –
Not the most consistent LB in IDP, Henderson’s stats haven’t
benefited from the Vikings stout run defense. In fact, they’ve
kept opposing running backs off the field and prevented the sustained
drives that often lead to big IDP numbers. But Henderson scored
20 last week (13 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery) and should
put up good numbers again next week facing the Jets, who feature
a three-headed RB committee.
LB DeMeco Ryans, HOU –
Continues to post incredible numbers.
DB Antoine Winfield, MIN –
Coming off a below-average week, Winfield’s a good bet versus
the Jets and Packers in the next two.
LB Mike Vrabel, NE –
Just five tackles in Week 14
LB Takeo Spikes, BUF –
An ankle injury incurred while tackling Cedric Houston limited
his numbers versus the Jets, but he did return in the second half.
Stay tuned to the injury report.
DL Ty Warren, NE – Put
up solid numbers last week and is the IDP man on that New England
DL Charles Grant, NO –
The Cowboys abandoned the run by halftime, but Romo managed to
elude Grant’s grasp. He’s a decent play the next couple
LB Shawne Merriman, SD –
All over the field on Sunday, Merriman posted 5 tackles, 2 sacks,
a fumble recovery and a PD.
DB Charles Tillman, CHI –
The third leading IDP scorer on the Bears behind LBs Brian Urlacher
and Lance Briggs, and a very consistent DB.