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Through The Wire
9/11/07 Users...
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!
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 both offensive and defensive 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 many deeper leagues.


Off The Top

Daunte Culpepper, OAK – With the breaking news that McCown will be out at least a couple weeks with a broken finger, Culpepper
gets his chance in Oakland. If he's out there, I'd grab him. He's guaranteed to be the only free agent on your wire who's averaged over 30 FPts per game.

Jake Delhomme, CAR – While he won’t be available in deeper leagues, Delhomme is a guy that may have slipped through the draft in shallow, one-QB leagues with limited bench space. If so, he could be a valuable addition and a worthy bench replacement for your injured QB. He looked sharp Sunday and has a bunch of decent weapons to go to – just watch out for unfavorable matchups.

Digging Deeper

Tarvaris Jackson, MIN – Illustrating the benefit of playing QB on a team with a great rush defense, Jackson showed he can post respectable fantasy numbers if he cuts down on turnovers and keeps plugging away. While he’s not a polished signal caller, he does have impressive arm strength – although probably not the accuracy required to force the ball into deep coverage like a Brady, Palmer or Manning. He’s got a nice backfield weapon in rookie Adrian Peterson, someone who could help loosen up defenses and keep corners and linebackers from immediately dropping back into tight man coverage. At this point, Jackson’s someone who should be on your radar in deeper leagues that don’t penalize too strictly for turnovers.

Matt Schaub, HOU – Maybe he’s not available in too many leagues, but he looked nice linking up with Jacoby Jones and studly Andre Johnson in just his third career start. He’s big, he’s got a strong arm, and he’s pretty mobile. And his numbers from Week 1: 16/22, 225 yards, 1TD/1INT, 101.5 rating. Not bad, and although he doesn’t have the most favorable schedule in the world, he’ll be okay as a #2 most weeks.

Scouring The Barrel

Brady Quinn, CLE – Sure, he’s a rookie QB, but he’s also a hometown favorite who will at least have the support of the Dawg Pound in Cleveland. Nobody truly knows what he’s capable of until he gets his shot in the NFL, but we’re starting to see just how much he meant to the Notre Dame offense, aren’t we? The main knock on Quinn in South Bend was his happy feet – but he’s got good size and can move around pretty well. He’s impressed NFL scouts with his ability to throw the deep out, and his timing and delivery are pretty smooth. As a Cowboy fan, I was slightly miffed they didn’t just grab him when they could’ve in the draft, but Romo’s performance Sunday night made me rethink that mild annoyance. Based on what I saw from the Cleveland QBs on Sunday, it won’t be long before this guy gets his chance.

Jared Lorenzen, NYG – Did you see Lorenzen’s head when he came in Sunday? It barely fits inside his helmet, and along with that monster cranium, Lorenzen possesses good instincts, arm strength and surprising athleticism for a fat dude. But he’s got that swagger that only fellow fat dudes and hot chicks recognize, and that confidence and savvy might just allow him to fill in nicely for Eli, who’ll miss about a month. Let’s just hope the Kentucky product drops about 20 pounds. Seriously, I though the entire point of having Tom Coughlin as your coach was to keep you from getting chunky. Ah well – maybe he’s just big-boned.


Eli Manning, NYG – Huge week in Dallas (312, 4 TD, 1 INT) despite not coming away with the win. But he might be on the shelf for a month or so with a shoulder injury. Too bad, because he looked good connecting with Burress.

David Garrard, JAC – Garrard proved he’s capable of doing a respectable job, I just expected more out of him (and a win, for that matter) against a secondary adjusting to life without Pacman.

Jeff Garcia, TB – Facing a tough Seattle defense that’s’ among the most underrated in football, Garcia turned in a forgettable fantasy performance (201 passing yards, no TDs, no turnovers).

Daunte Culpepper, OAK – Didn’t start Week One, and a solid outing from McCown will make it more difficult for him to crack the top spot on the Oakland depth chart. I told you he was a long shot, but the offense showed it will definitely be more potent than in ‘06.

J.P. Losman, BUF – He put up a veritable goose egg against Denver, and his longest pass was a19-yard strike to Josh Reed, but he’ll have easier defenses that that to face. Don’t give up hope.

Running Backs

Off The Top

LaMont Jordan, OAK – Please save your e-mails if you’re going to tell me I’m crazy to believe that LaMont Jordan could be available in any fantasy football league anywhere right now. I also don’t want to hear anyone asking me what league I play in so they can join it and take my money. The fact is, LaMont Jordan isn’t available in any of the leagues I play in, but since he was added in 26,321 Yahoo leagues after his performance on Sunday, I have to assume that he’s still out there in some others that require a weekly waiver system to pick up a player. It’s a different offense, and hence, a different LaMont Jordan.

Chris Brown, TEN – The guy flat out blew up this week, totaling 175 on just 19 carries, career highs in yards and YPC in games with at least five carries. It’s the first time since 2004 that he’s gone over 100 yards, when he rushed for over 1,000 yards in just 11 games. So if he’s available, grab him. While I doubt he’ll ever put up 175 again in his career, it’s obvious he can still run in the open field. With a few TDs mixed in, he could be a solid #3 RB and spot starter #2.

Digging Deeper

Derrick Ward, NYG – Ward looked quick and agile on Sunday, ran with power, and was effective as a one-cut runner. An Ottawa College product, Ward hasn’t really gotten his chance, but he showed some nice burst through the hole versus Dallas and its formidable rush defense. He’ll have his opportunity now, unless Tiki Barber makes up with Tom Coughlin and comes out of retirement or a RBBC approach emerges with Reuben Droughns.

Adrian Peterson, CHI – While the RB with the same name in Minnesota stole the Peterson show, original recipe Adrian still showed some nice flavor. He may not have ideal size or speed, but he’s a better teammate than Cedric Benson and he doesn’t fumble as often. He’s had just one 100-yard game in his career – a 24/120/1 performance against the Niners in 2005) but it was also the only time he carried 20+ times in a game. Plagued by injuries during his first three seasons in the league, Peterson will emerge as a decent option should Benson be demoted, mainly because of his shiftiness, strength and efficiency. Against weaker defenses and poor tackling, he can use his lateral explosiveness and balance to his advantage, and if Grossman continues to struggle, he’ll make a good receiver because of his capable hands and ability in the open field after the catch.

Scouring The Barrel

Jesse Chatman, MIA – In a PPR league, 6/48 receiving’s not bad. But he did get dinged up and might be listed on the injury report, although initial reports are it’s not serious. He has the potential to start at some point, considering how Ronnie Brown has been in the Dolphins’ doghouse thus far. But hey, who knows? Ricky Williams might stop smoking pot next week and decide to apply for reinstatement.

Sammy Morris, NE – Do you remember that this wily seven-year veteran ran for over 100 yards against the Patriots one game last season? I’ll confess, neither did I. But Belichick obviously remembered him, and brought him in to back up Laurence Maroney. Morris is a physical player with good instincts as a runner and has the agility and quickness to get the job done. He doesn’t have the speed that Maroney does, but he’s being used by Belichick and would fill in admirably should anything happen to the #1.


Ladell Betts, WAS – He had 17 carries for 59 yards on Sunday. He’s still a solid #3 RB in my book, but if the offense continues to struggle and Portis gets 20 carries a game, his value will be limited.

Anthony Thomas, BUF – Marshawn Lynch’s performance sheds some doubts on how much A-Train will be a part of this offense. But don’t give up on him yet.

Leon Washington, NYJ – Leon struggled to get touches with Thomas Jones starting, but he looked fresh when he got his chances and is still – in my mind, the better back. He’ll have some matchups to exploit this season, I promise.

Michael Bennett, KC – I said: “The Chiefs offense has been quite feeble in the preseason, and as we all know, the backup running back on a crappy team is not a hot commodity.” True, and even Larry Johnson looked pretty useless.

Michael Pittman, TB – With Cadillac Williams a little banged up, Pittman might get his chance and put up decent numbers, especially considering his value in PPR leagues. He started at FB on Sunday and if you need an RB, grab him.

Selvin Young, DEN – Two carries seven yards. Could Mike Shanahan be turning over a new leaf?

Kenton Keith, RB – Considering I have Joseph Addai as my #1 in my two most important leagues, I just about pooped in my pants when the guy went down on the first play from scrimmage and had to come out of the game. Through no fault of my own, I didn’t have Keith on either squad, but you can bet I will now.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Brandon Marshall, DEN – As a rookie, he didn’t have much of an impact, but he’s still learning how to play and he’s got some great tutors in Javon Walker, Rod Smith and Brandon Stokely. He’s the total physical package at the WR position, with size and speed, agility and quickness, but the book is that he’s more of a possession receiver than a vertical threat. Cutler found him for 5/52/1 in Week 1, so I’m expecting some nice things from Marshall in ’07.

WR James Jones, GB – While four catches for 29 yards isn’t something to write home about, it’s nice to know that Brett Favre was looking in his direction in a tight game. He’s smooth, he’s quick and he’s been running nice short-to-intermediate routes. Jones is a fighter and a confident competitor, just like Brett, and since Greg Jennings is hurt and Donald Driver didn’t look too wonderful in Week One, the rookie might just snag a bunch of those 40-50 passes Favre usually throws each game.

Digging Deeper

WR Drew Carter, CAR – I just can’t ignore a guy that catches two TD passes in one game. But temper your enthusiasm by looking at his overall numbers for the past few years. He occasionally has games like this, but there’s never been any consistency. He might be a nice addition if you’re weak at WR in a deep league, but you should probably wait a few weeks to plug him in.

WR Antwaan Randle-El, WAS – I just can’t ignore a guy that goes for catches five balls for 162 yards in one game. He’s also a major consistency problem, and while I get the feeling he’ll be the deep threat for the Redskins, Campbell doesn’t have a strong enough arm to throw the deep ball more than three or four times a game without getting picked

WR Jacoby Jones, HOU – While he didn’t go crazy in Week One, the Texans offense seemed a whole lot better than last year, which means that Andre Johnson will get more respect and more double teams. Jones is a highly-touted prospect with great speed, a nice vertical leap, and explosiveness off the line. His best attribute is that he runs nice, sharp routes. He’s a Division I-AA guy and while he’s not going to be the next Jerry Rice because he doesn’t quite have the hands or the tools that the GOAT did, there are some parallels – like his route-running, his second gear chasing down the football and his ability to break long runs. I like him for at least 45/650/4 in ‘07.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Shaun McDonald, DET – Sure, he blew up on Sunday for 6/90/1, but on a team with Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson and Mike Furrey ahead of him on the depth chart, do you really expect him to produce like that on a consistent basis? Me neither. If you’re desperate and want to take a shot on a #4 receiver who also happens to be a #4 receiver on his own team, go ahead.

TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC – I really don’t like recommending any receiving option for the Jags, but Lewis was drafted in the first round by them in the ‘06 draft and they have high expectations for him because of his size, speed and agility at the TE position. He caught 4 balls for 35 yards in Week 1, and if Garrard needs a consistent red zone option, he might start going to Lewis.


WR Santonio Holmes, PIT – I took some heat for assuming Santonio Holmes would be available in some leagues – despite his less-than stellar rookie numbers – but after hearing from a few folks that they didn’t start him this week, instead opting for guys like Reggie Brown and Joey Galloway, I felt vindicated. Either way, I made a good call, albeit a somewhat easy one.

WR Drew Bennett, STL – Sat out Sunday’s game and takes a hit along with every Rams player because of Pace’s injury.

WR Ronald Curry, OAK – After his performance last week, Curry might get the respect he deserves. Undoubtedly my best call of the week and a guy that should be on your team somewhere as long as the hamstring injury he had at the end of the game isn’t serious. Stay tuned to the injury report.

WR Wes Welker, NE – Last week, I said: “Brady might start finding him on a regular basis and if his touches start going up, he should be on your roster.” He did drop a couple balls Sunday, but six catches, 61 yards and a TD later, I think you know what this means.

WR Patrick Crayton, DAL – With Terry Glenn out indefinitely at this point, Crayton will be on of three viable receiving targets for Romo, which means solid numbers until Glenn returns. He had just three catches for 51 yards on Sunday night, but look for his touches to increase as defenses key on TO. and Jason Witten.

TE Bo Scaife, TEN – Just two catches for 18 yards against the Jags, but keep an eye on him.

WR Ted Ginn Jr., MIA – Ginn saw his impact limited to special teams on Sunday, but as the Miami offense struggles, look for him to emerge as a viable scoring threat.

WR Ernest Wilford, JAC – Some guy named John Broussard scored the Jaguars only TD this week and Ernie only had a few looks. Stay away for now.

TE Tony Scheffler, DEN – Did not play Sunday.


Off The Top

LB Mike Vrabel, NE – Every year this guy avoids being drafted in tons of IDP leagues because there’s so many other quality defensive players in New England that steal tackles and wreak havoc. But Vrabel’s true value lies not in his consistency at getting to opposing runners, but in his ability to post decent tackles totals and still get a sack or an INT here and there. He had 2.5 sacks last week to go along with 7 tackles, and with opposing team keying on stopping Adalius Thomas form penetrating, he’ll continue to get to the QB.

LB Landon Johnson, CIN – He gets no respect on preseason IDP cheatsheets because he’s not a physical freak or a balls-out, powerful tackler. But he’s had a few sparkling performances over the years and a hell of a lot of consistency at getting you at least 5-7 points a week. Against the Ravens, he notched his highest IDP total ever, finishing with a fumble recovery for a TD, another fumble recovery, 6 solos, 6 assists and a PD. Get him on your team if you need a quality LB who could break through for a big year on a defense that’s looking for a leader. Just don’t expect 28 IDP points from him every week.

Digging Deeper

DB Jermaine Phillips, TB – A solid fantasy performer in ‘06 with over half of his games as quality IDP starts, Philips started off ’07 with 10 tackles and a sack. Look for similar numbers to pop up about every other week with him.

LB Rocky McIntosh, WAS – This defense is going to spend a lot of time on the field, and while McIntosh didn’t play much except for special teams in ‘06, he was arguably the best defensive player on the field for the Redskins Sunday. He’s talented, he’s from the U, and coaches are now saying a switch in Rocky has been flipped, showing a stronger work ethic and improving his overall football awareness.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Jim Leonhard, BUF – Filled in for the injured Ko Simpson (broken ankle) and blew up on Sunday for 13 tackles, an INT and a PD. He’s a tiny dude (5’8”, 185) but he plays with a lot of heart. He’s like a smaller version of Bill Bates. Crazily, the Bills released this guy in early September and then picked him back up two weeks later to play special teams. Now he’s the starting free safety. Because he’s so little, he’ll have some trouble covering bigger WRs and TEs, but his toughness, intelligence and fundamentals have carried him to the NFL. I like stories like this and he’s a guy I’m willing to take a chance on.

DL Mike Patterson, PHI – Buyer beware on Patterson. He had a strong showing in Week 1 but he got off to a great start in ’06 and then got really quiet. Maybe he’ll adjust to their adjustments this season, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Still, he posted great numbers for a DL last week (10 tackles, sack) to necessitate his inclusion in the wire.

DL Jarvis Green, NE – Could be in line for a big season with Pro-Bowler Richard Seymour on the PUP list. He posted 5 solos, an assist and a sack on Sunday and in this defense, could be the guy on the front four that makes most of the plays, especially considering he tallied 7.5 sacks last season in limited action.


LB Omar Gaither, PHI – While Omar didn’t start off ’07 with a bang, he’s bound to rack up the tackles this week versus the Redskins.

DB Charles Woodson, GB – No big game on Sunday, although I really didn’t think that was going to happen versus the Eagles. Still, you should get this guy on your team if he’s available, because he blows up from time-to-time and posts huge IDP numbers.

LB Stephen Cooper, SD – While an alert reader notified me that some expect Matt Wilhelm, not Cooper, to assume the statistical numbers of Donnie Edwards on the inside, Cooper provided me with yet another solid call with his 7 tackle, 1 assist, a FR performance on Sunday versus the Bears. While I don’t anticipate any numbers as impressive this week against New England, he’s still one to keep an eye on.

LB Barrett Ruud, TB – Another direct hit, Ruud snagged a team-high 10 tackles, 3 assists and a fumble recovery. A relative unknown last season, he’s still available in many IDP leagues.

DL Simeon Rice, DEN – Just a tackle and a pass defensed in his Denver debut, Rice should play a more prominent role in the pass rush and post better games.

LB Angelo Crowell, BUF – According to the official NFL Gamebook, Crowell did, in fact, start at WLB, posting 10 tackles (5 solo, 5 assist). Another spot-on call, although in-the-know Bills fans (scary thought, huh?) are telling me he lines up over the TE. Regardless, most of his tackles came on the weak-side, also according to the gamebook, so pick him up if he’s still floating around.

LB Freddy Keiaho, IND – Last week, I neglected to inform you that Freddy’s full name is Naivote Taulawakeiaho. What I did tell you was that he’s been flying al over the field and making plays, something that continued on Sunday when he totaled six tackles, an INT and a PD. Another fellow that has probably managed to avid pickup in most leagues, he’d make a great first-week selection if you’re okay on offense but need to shore up your linebacking corps.

DB James Sanders, NE – He only had 4 tackles Sunday. I told you to keep an eye on him, and I’ll continue to recommend that approach.

LB Nate Webster DEN, – Webster was another great call last week, finishing with 8 tackles overall. He’ll probably post similar numbers from week-to-week, with a few big plays thrown in.