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
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Off The Top
Daunte Culpepper, OAK – I’m going to reiterate what
I said prior to Week 1. In 2005, Daunte averaged around 30 fantasy
points per game. Got it? And in his 2007 debut, he accounted for
five TDs – two passing and three on the ground. The only
downside is that he only totaled 75 yards on 5-for12 passing,
and he’s on a bye this week. Regardless of the passing numbers
and the upcoming bye, he should be owned in every fantasy format
at this point.
Joey Harrington, ATL – Joey’s been playing better,
I’ll give him that. Last week, he was 23-for-29 for 223
yards with two TDs against the Houston Texans. But he’s
only a fantasy option given the right matchup. While Tennessee
is tough versus opposing quarterbacks, he’s got the Saints
and Giants in the next couple weeks, and the Falcons offense has
newfound potential with their willingness to throw it downfield.
Chad Pennington, NYJ – Everybody loves to count this guy
out, but he’s proven time and time again you just can’t.
He’s got good receivers and the offense looks a lot better.
His upcoming schedule is favorable as well (@NYG, PHI, @CIN, BUF,
WAS) and he seems to be healthy – for now.
Scouring The Barrel
David Garrard, JAC – His schedule is not too favorable
in the upcoming weeks (@KC, HOU, IND, @TB) but if you’re
willing to settle for a guy that’s consistently in the 15-20
point fantasy range, Garrard is your man.
Jeff Garcia, TB – Not a huge day versus the Panthers –
but he did run for a TD and has yet to turn the ball over in 2007.
CHI – Ugh. It’s only a matter of time before the Bears give Kyle
Orton a try.
BAL – Steve McNair started, looked bad and lost. Maybe Orton won’t
be the only Kyle getting the starting nod in the coming weeks.
David Carr, CAR – Almost as gross as Griese, but not quite.
Patrick Ramsey, DEN – Cutler was fine, so put Ramsey out
of your mind for now.
Kurt Warner, ARI – Sharing playing time with Leinart, Warner
looked sharp enough to warrant taking over the starting position,
but Cards HC Ken Whisenhunt seems enthralled with using the both
the veteran Warner and Leinart as a tandem. Neither QB has any
real fantasy value until that changes.
Trent Edwards, BUF – In the rookie’s debut, he finished
22-of-28 for 234/1/1. He’ll remain the starter until Losman
gets back from his knee injury, but he’s only a stretch
as a #2 fantasy QB at this point.
Off The Top
Dunn, ATL – While he won’t be available in 90 percent of the
leagues out there, it’s possible somebody left him on the wire
or dropped in favor of a “flavor of the month” fantasy pickup
like DeShawn Wynn or Earnest Graham. Dunn has played well thus
far in 2007, and is an experienced, shifty and versatile back
who excels in open space and in the passing game. He’s averaging
just 3.5 YPC so far this season, but he’s yet to break a big TD
run, something he’s done every year dating back to 2002. The Falcons
schedule isn’t that difficult and though he’s an old man by RB
standards now and has been just a reliable fantasy producer thus
far this season, his best games are ahead of him on ’07.
Young, DEN – You all know what Broncos RBs are capable of
in that system, and if anything long-term proves to be wrong with
Travis Henry’s knee, I don’t need to tell you this guy is going
to blow up. I’m not a doctor, so you’ll need to keep an eye on
the injury report, but if your waivers must be submitted now and
Young’s available, I’d grab him.
NYJ – I admit it, I love Leon Washington. He’s an electric player,
he’s involved in the passing game and special teams, his upside
keeps getting bigger, and from what I’ve seen, he’s just a flat-out
better runner than Thomas Jones, who’s bound to get hurt one of
these weeks. The way I see it, it’s only a matter of time before
he’s the starting RB for the Jets.
Keith, IND – Adding this guy is an essential move for any
Joseph Addai owner. It’s not a bad move for any fantasy owner,
to be honest, no just because Addai was injured on Sunday and
his status for next week in uncertain, but because he’s been used
frequently to spell Addai – who split carries for most of 2006.
Keith had 10 carries for 80 yards in relief of Addai against the
Broncos, not too bad for an undrafted second-year player out of
New Mexico State.
Scouring The Barrel
Rhodes, OAK – Rhodes is a proven north-south runner with above-average
running abilities. While he’s small and can’t handle the load
by himself, if LaMont Jordan misses any significant amount of
time, Rhodes will probably be the back the Raiders go-to guy.
In that case, the only real concern you should have is that Culpepper
and his magic knees take all the rushing touchdowns away from
the Oakland backfield.
Justin Fargas, OAK – In relief of an injured Jordan, Huggy
Bear’s kid ran wild on Miami, tallying 22/179/0. That’s
an 8.1 YPC average and reason enough to get him on your roster,
but the team’s on a bye in Week 5 – giving Jordan
time to recuperate. Rhodes will also be back from his suspension,
making the Raiders backfield a bit too crowded and complicated
for Fargas to be the clear-cut favorite.
Michael Pittman, TB – Carnell Williams is out for the season,
and possibly the rest of his career. Because the Bucs will be
using a RBBC to replace him (and had already started mixing in
Both Pittman and Earnest Graham even before Cadillac got hurt)
Pittman retains more value in yardage and PPR leagues than Graham,
who’s been the Bucs goal line and short yardage back.
Correll Buckhalter, PHI – 17/103/0 and 4 catches for 35
yards. Not too bad for a fill-in, huh?
Aaron Stecker, NO – A decent #3 RB option this week versus
STL – 15/68/0 isn’t anything to get excited about, but it was
against a tough Dallas D. Steven Jackson will still be out, so
he’s not a bad play versus the Cards on Sunday.
Kenny Watson, CIN – He’s on a bye, and Rudi should
be back by Week 6.
Sammy Morris, NE – Bingo. Slammin’ Sammy ran for
117 yards and a TD on 21 carries, had two catches for 15 yards
and rushing, and validated his inclusion in this column with a
spectacular fantasy day.
Graham, TB – I advised against grabbing this guy last week,
but with Cadillac up on blocks for the rest on the season, he’s
a solid acquisition – even though he’ll be splitting carries with
Off The Top
Crayton, DAL – I’m not going to name names, but some people
in my league actually dropped this guy after he didn’t show up
in Week 2. Well, that’s quite a shame, because he was the top
fantasy receiver on Sunday, setting career highs in every statistical
category. The rest of the top ten included some other unlikely
names – Dwayne Bowe, Michael Jenkins, Andre Davis, Jerry Porter
and Sidney Rice. Don’t hesitate to pick up Crayton now that we
know what’s he capable of – busting open defenses and outrunning
the entire secondary.
Bowe, KC – It’s time to stop beating around the bush – pick
this guy up. Seriously, I listed him here two weeks ago, and I
nearly pulled the trigger that week on him during the open acquisition
period that starts in my league on Saturday morning. But I didn’t
– and now I’m regretting it because he’s had two beautiful weeks
in a row.
TE Dallas Clark, IND – Sure, he might not still be out
there in many formats, but his presence on the injury report last
week could mean he got dropped by anxious owners in some leagues.
The guy is blowing up right now and Manning is loving him in the
red zone. Need any more reasons to make him your starting TE if
Jenkins, ATL – He’s almost always a so-so free agent acquisition,
but the time might be right to add Jenkins, who’s had six catches
in each of his last two games. Like I said with White last week,
the game plan is changing in Atlanta, which means more lobs down
the field and more direct pressure on opposing safeties and corners.
His schedule isn’t terrible, and he’s a tall, athletic receiver
the Falcons coaches have a lot of confidence in.
Jones, GB – You’ve got to like any slot receiver that’s got
Brett Favre throwing him the rock. He’s had at least 4 catches
in every game this season and just got his first TD, something
that could lead to bigger and better things, starting in Week
5 against the Bears. I have some concerns that the return of Greg
Jennings will reduce the number of targets Jones gets, but he’s
still worth taking a shot on.
Gonzalez, IND – With Marvin Harrison out for at least this
week, Gonzalez might be a nice addition to your fantasy roster.
He needs to cut down on the mental errors, but Gonzalez was a
first-round pick for the Colts in 2007 and they should jump at
the opportunity to give him looks with Harrison on the shelf.
Scouring The Barrel
Rice, MIN – At 6’4” 202, he’s still a bit skinny for an NFL
receiver, but Mr. Rice has a great receiving frame, with long
arms and big paws. He’ll be a great red zone weapon for the Vikings
and has started to emerge as a viable target in the passing offense,
which has sputtered but is getting better. Rice isn’t yet a starter,
but if he isn’t by the end of the season, the Vikings coaching
staff is dumber than I thought.
TE Chris Baker, NYJ – Baker has caught a couple TD passes
so far this season and should probably get another this week against
the Giants. He’s not a top-tier TE in any format, but he’s
a decent #2 TE if that’s the way your league rolls, and
he’s a favorite of Chad Pennington in the red zone
Curtis, PHI – How did this guy not show up against the Giants?
Was it that the Lions defense just didn’t bother accounting for
him and the giants did, or is he going to be a Joe Jurevicius-type
that blows up once in a blue moon and then shuts down? Either
way, he’s most likely gone on every wire there is, and he’s on
WR Roddy White, ATL – Apparently I picked up the wrong Atlanta
WR from the free agents list this week. Michael Jenkins stole
the show from Roddy, who managed a paltry 3/64/0 compared to Jenkins’
WR Brandon Jones, TEN – Atlanta, Tampa, Houston and Oakland
are on the way during the next four weeks – and if Vince
Young’s as good as he thinks he is, he’ll help Jones
make the most of those opportunities.
Burleson, SEA – Decent matchups coming up, but Deion Branch
is finally emerging as the #1 receiver he’s supposed to be, leaving
Burleson and Engram to pick up the scraps.
WR Roscoe Parrish, BUF – Not a great week to play him (versus
Dallas) but stay tuned to his production with Trent Edwards at
Off The Top
Bodden, CLE – Steadily emerging as a better fantasy option
than Sean Jones in the Cleveland secondary, Bodden seems always
to be in the right place at the right time. That’s something we
can all use out of a fantasy DB.
Umenyiora, NYG – Add him – he’s a complete beast. More on
the significance of this in the “Updates” section.
DB Atari Bigby, GB – It’s always a good idea to pick
up guys who are facing the Bears, and Bigby has shown he’s
a solid playmaker on a defense that’s getting better and
better. I wouldn’t hesitate to add him if you need a DB
and the pickings are slim.
LB Michael Boley, ATL – Consistency personified. Boley
never goes completely nuts with specialty points like sacks and
INTs, but he gets his tackles week in and week out.
Scouring The Barrel
Jackson, CLE – The Browns defense will be on the field a lot
in Week 5 against the Pats, and Jackson should get a boatload
of tackles. He’s been a consistent fantasy performer in the past,
and he been okay this year, making him a solid choice in deeper
LB Channing Crowder, MIA – He’s pretty much been
MIA so far this season, but I have a feeling he’ll show
up in the coming weeks. He had some nice stretches of consistency
in 2006 as well – kind of like a poor man’s Michael
Allen, KC – Not much, but it’s a long season. On a more brutal
note, I traded DeAngelo Williams and Osi Umenyora prior to the
Week 4 games for Allen and A.J Hawk. Not the right week to make
that move. In my own defense, I’m loaded at RB and Osi had done
little up until his six-sack breakout against Philly.
LB Angelo Crowell, BUF – Eight tackles, three assists.
Nice week for a guy who’s shouldering the load in Buffalo.
Johnson, KC – Johnson made up for a pedestrian tackling day
with an INT, a sack and a pass defensed. That’s a great fantasy
day on a team that’s loaded at LB.
DB Marlin Jackson, IND – I nailed this one. Marlin was
all over the field against the Broncos, tallying 6 tackles, an
assist, a FR, an INT and a PD.
LB Stephen Cooper, SD – Seven total tackles = not bad.
DB Ellis Hobbs, NE – His role will diminish once Rodney
Harrison comes back, but he’s played well in his absence.