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
Steve McNair, BAL – Judging
from his performance last week, it looks like Air McNair has rebounded
well from his concussion and the Ravens offense has successfully
recovered from the obsolete machinations of the Fassel era. Who
knew that getting rid of Fassel would mean more fuel for this
offense? Steve won’t be available in every league, but if
he is on the wire in yours, he can help you out in the coming
weeks if you’ve got quarterback problems. He’s at
home versus the Bengals on Sunday, and next week his Ravens head
to Tennessee. Not bad matchups for McNair’s hot hand.
David Garrard, JAX –
Garrard doesn’t have the game to be a top ten fantasy QB,
but as a spot starter, he’s got some value if Byron Leftwich
takes up permanent residence on Jack Del Rio’s bench. Last
week the mobile Garrard did just enough to beat a slumping Philly
team whose putrid run defense didn’t necessitate any big
throws downfield from the Jags. I don’t profess to know
how the Leftwich thing will play out, but if your waiver wire
is uncharacteristically devoid of fill-in QBs, Garrard might be
Scouring The Barrel
Sage Rosenfels, HOU –
I’m willing to go out on a limb and guess that Rosenfels
is the first born Iowa-born Jew in NFL history. He’s got
a great sense of humor (he once said his family had to make yarmulkes
out of corn husks), he throws the ball fearlessly (3 TDs versus
the Titans), and it might just be a matter of time before Gary
Kubiak pulls the plug on the dreadful David Carr, despite his
recent statements to the contrary. This week, he’s not really
an option, but keep on the lookout for Sage sightings.
Joey Harrington, MIA –
Joey’s still the man but the Dolphins face the ears this
week. Stay away.
Charlie Batch, PIT – Ben
Roethlisberger has once again suffered a setback. But his time,
it’s not his dome or his appendix. He basically just pooped
right in his pants during the Steelers loss to the Raiders. Last
week, I said a healthy Batch is a lot better than a rattled Roethlisberger,
and Bill Cowher just stuck his jaw out at me.
Tony Romo, DAL – A shout-out
to my fellow Cowboys fans out there: My optimism has officially
been restored. Bring on the baby backs.
Andrew Walter, OAK – If
he’s starting for your fantasy team, you need to reevaluate
your priorities in life.
Seneca Wallace, SEA –
He put up solid numbers last week in a losing effort, but he faces
an Oakland pass defense on Monday night that has been nothing
but trouble for opposing quarterbacks. Just ask Big Ben.
Off The Top
Ahman Green, GB – There’s
a chance somebody in your league got “skeered” and
dropped the old man following the emergence of Vernand Morency
and/or Noah Herron. Well it looks like there’s still some
life in those legs. If he’s available, do not miss this
opportunity. At the very least, he’s possible trade bait
after the big week. But if he’s healthy, he’ll shred
the weak rush defenses of the Jets, the Niners and the Lions during
Mike Bell, DEN – He’s
actually available in one of my leagues, and after last week’s
performance, I’ve got to include him here. But figuring
out who Mike Shanahan will start at RB is akin to testing 9-volt
batteries with your tongue. Stay tuned to the Tatum Bell injury
updates and play your cards accordingly.
Mewelde Moore, MIN –
Chester Taylor’s 2006 coming out party has been wonderful,
but Taylor owners should take this opportunity to grab some easy
insurance with Moore. He’s almost always available, and
it’s not like this line’s going to stop blocking for
Mewelde if Chester goes down. The Vikings have the Niners, the
Packers, the Dolphins and the Cardinals coming up, so don’t
disregard this guy as an option – given the right set of
Cedric Benson, CHI –
As the Bears continue to blow people out, we’ll see more
and more of the embattled Benson. At the very least, he’s
a must-have for Thomas Jones owners, but he’s capable of
much more if he improves his attitude. Grab him if he’s
Reuben Droughns, CLE –
Riding the bench all year long on many fantasy rosters, Reuben’s
been a constant source of frustration with both local law enforcement
and the fantasy gaming community. Last week’s win over the
Jets provided an opportunity for Droughns owners to cash in on
what I consider his first quality start of the year. Unfortunately,
it’s probably the last one he’ll turn in; he’s
facing some tough run defenses for the remainder of the year.
Scouring The Barrel
Tony Fisher, STL – Stephen
Davis may have fumbled away his spot behind Steven Jackson on
the depth chart – at least I hope he has. And this Notre
Dame alum is right there to slip in as the starter if something
should happen to “The Dreadlocked One.”
Leon Washington, NYJ –
He’s on a bye, and he’s already been snagged off most
Wali Lundy, HOU – I took
my own advice, snatched Lundy off the wire and started him this
past Sunday. I also took a shot on Vince Young in the same league
and earned an important win to stay in first place in my division.
I’m glad this column affords me the opportunity to do some
serious waiver wire research. Any other takers on Lundy want to
gloat right along with me?
Justin Fargas, OAK – Huggy
Bear’s kid is probably a better waiver wire option than
Jerry Porter. But that’s about all I can say.
Off The Top
TE Owen Daniels, HOU –
The rookie’s breakout game may not have served too many
fantasy owners, but I know somebody out there’s smiling.
He available in most leagues and shot up the TE rankings to the
top ten this week with 9/99/2. Daniels looks like the real deal,
and since that roster spot is normally a crap shoot anyway, what
do you have to lose?
WR Chris Henry, CIN –
He has a knack for finding the end zone and spends a lot of time
on the field with Chad Johnson and T.J. Housmandzadeh. He’s
a decent #3 WR option at this point, so if he’s available,
WR Reche Caldwell, NE –
Seven catches, 81 yards and a TD. Tom Brady likes to spread it
around, but Ben Watson, Doug Gabriel, Caldwell and even Troy Brown
had viable fantasy games against the Vikings Monday night. I’d
be looking for more Laurence Maroney next week against Indy, but
Caldwell – like Henry – is still a solid #3.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Michael Jenkins, ATL –
The Falcons next three games? How about @DET, CLE, @BAL. While
Atlanta will have the option of sticking with the red-hot passing
game the next two weeks, they’ll definitely be forced to
throw the ball (and to targets other than Crumpler) against the
WR Mike Furrey, DET –
He’s cuddly, he’s a gamer, and he’s a solid
#2 WR right now.
WR Derek Hagan, MIA –
Not a wonderful play this week, but I think Harrington will look
his way a lot in the coming weeks.
WR Nate Washington, PIT –
Obviously not a favorite of Big Ben, but Batch likes him. Stay
tuned to the QB situation in Pittsburgh.
WR Marcus Robinson, MIN –
Inactive on Monday night, the Vikings really missed him. You should
pay attention to the injury report later in the week, but he’s
really not a solid waiver wire candidate.
WR Asley Lelie, ATL –
See Michael Jenkins above.
WR Peerless Price, BUF – Facing a poor GB defense,
Price might get some looks. But there’s still several better
options out there.
Off The Top
LB Julian Peterson, SEA –
I know how it goes. Nobody wants to waste a waiver wire pick on
a defensive player when Wali Lundy is out there. But Julian Peterson
is poised to do big things against an Oakland offense that tends
to give up sacks and make the accompanying mistakes. He’s
a consistent, veteran LB who seems very comfortable alongside
Lofa Tatupu in the Seattle 4-3.
DB DeAngelo Hall, ATL –
He’s had a couple slow weeks, but he’s still averaging
over 10 points per game in my IDP leagues and he’s got a
great chance at stepping in front of a few Jon Kitna passes this
week in Detroit. I’m thinking about grabbing him myself.
LB Bradie James, DAL –
As frequently as the Redskins run the ball, look for James to
have a breakout game this week. He hasn’t pulled any Tedy
Bruschis yet this season (where the heck was he Monday night?)
and disappeared from the stat sheet, so start him confidently.
LB Mike Vrabel, NE –
He’s had a quiet season so far, but Vrabel showed signs
of life in the Pats win over the Vikings Monday night. He blitzes
well, he plays respectable run defense, and he occasionally catches
touchdown passes. In other words, he’s solid.
Scouring The Barrel
DL Chris Kelsay, BUF –
In IDP leagues with a DL requirement, Kelsay’s not a bad
option. He’s remarkably consistent (one sack in five of
Buffalo’s seven games) and at least two out of his next
three games (GB, @IND, @HOU) could mean a few more sacks.
DB Charles Woodson, GNB –
Zero tackles against the Cards, but he snagged a Leinart pass
for a pick and had a PD.
LB E.J. Henderson, MIN – Another solid game on Monday
night, he’s ranked among the top 20 fantasy LBs.
DL Tamba Hali, KC – An off-week against the Seahawks,
but don’t give up on him.
DB Ken Hamlin, SEA – I said he’d be a good
play against KC last week, and I was right – 10 solos and
DL Robert Mathis, IND – I’m completely amazed
he only finished with one tackle last week. But DL is a hit or
miss position. Julius Freaking Peppers had just 2 points on Sunday
night against Dallas.
LB Channing Crowder, MIA –
He might finish with 15 tackles this week against a Bears team
that will be running the ball the entire second half.