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Through The Wire - Wk 5
10/2/07

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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.

Quarterbacks

Off The Top

Daunte Culpepper, OAK Im 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 hes 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.

Digging Deeper

Joey Harrington, ATL Joeys been playing better, Ill give him that. Last week, he was 23-for-29 for 223 yards with two TDs against the Houston Texans. But hes only a fantasy option given the right matchup. While Tennessee is tough versus opposing quarterbacks, hes 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 hes proven time and time again you just cant. Hes 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 youre willing to settle for a guy thats consistently in the 15-20 point fantasy range, Garrard is your man.

Updates

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.

Brian Griese, CHI Ugh. Its only a matter of time before the Bears give Kyle Orton a try.

Kyle Boller, BAL Steve McNair started, looked bad and lost. Maybe Orton wont 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 rookies debut, he finished 22-of-28 for 234/1/1. Hell remain the starter until Losman gets back from his knee injury, but hes only a stretch as a #2 fantasy QB at this point.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Warrick Dunn, ATL While he wont be available in 90 percent of the leagues out there, its 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. Hes averaging just 3.5 YPC so far this season, but hes yet to break a big TD run, something hes done every year dating back to 2002. The Falcons schedule isnt that difficult and though hes 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.

Selvin 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 Henrys knee, I dont need to tell you this guy is going to blow up. Im not a doctor, so youll need to keep an eye on the injury report, but if your waivers must be submitted now and Youngs available, Id grab him.

Digging Deeper

Leon Washington, NYJ I admit it, I love Leon Washington. Hes an electric player, hes involved in the passing game and special teams, his upside keeps getting bigger, and from what Ive seen, hes just a flat-out better runner than Thomas Jones, whos bound to get hurt one of these weeks. The way I see it, its only a matter of time before hes the starting RB for the Jets.

Kenton Keith, IND Adding this guy is an essential move for any Joseph Addai owner. Its 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 hes 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

Dominic Rhodes, OAK Rhodes is a proven north-south runner with above-average running abilities. While hes small and cant 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 Bears kid ran wild on Miami, tallying 22/179/0. Thats an 8.1 YPC average and reason enough to get him on your roster, but the teams 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, whos been the Bucs goal line and short yardage back.

Updates

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 the Panthers.

Brian Leonard, STL 15/68/0 isnt anything to get excited about, but it was against a tough Dallas D. Steven Jackson will still be out, so hes not a bad play versus the Cards on Sunday.

Kenny Watson, CIN Hes 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.

Earnest Graham, TB I advised against grabbing this guy last week, but with Cadillac up on blocks for the rest on the season, hes a solid acquisition even though hell be splitting carries with Michael Pittman.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Patrick Crayton, DAL Im not going to name names, but some people in my league actually dropped this guy after he didnt show up in Week 2. Well, thats 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. Dont hesitate to pick up Crayton now that we know whats he capable of busting open defenses and outrunning the entire secondary.

WR Dwayne Bowe, KC Its 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 didnt and now Im regretting it because hes 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 hes available?

Digging Deeper

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL Hes almost always a so-so free agent acquisition, but the time might be right to add Jenkins, whos 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 isnt terrible, and hes a tall, athletic receiver the Falcons coaches have a lot of confidence in.

WR James Jones, GB Youve got to like any slot receiver thats got Brett Favre throwing him the rock. Hes 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 hes still worth taking a shot on.

WR Anthony 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

WR Sidney Rice, MIN At 64 202, hes still a bit skinny for an NFL receiver, but Mr. Rice has a great receiving frame, with long arms and big paws. Hell 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 isnt yet a starter, but if he isnt 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. Hes not a top-tier TE in any format, but hes a decent #2 TE if thats the way your league rolls, and hes a favorite of Chad Pennington in the red zone

Updates

WR Kevin Curtis, PHI How did this guy not show up against the Giants? Was it that the Lions defense just didnt 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, hes most likely gone on every wire there is, and hes on a bye.

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 6/64/2.

WR Brandon Jones, TEN Atlanta, Tampa, Houston and Oakland are on the way during the next four weeks and if Vince Youngs as good as he thinks he is, hell help Jones make the most of those opportunities.

WR Nate Burleson, SEA Decent matchups coming up, but Deion Branch is finally emerging as the #1 receiver hes 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 the helm.

IDP

Off The Top

DB Leigh 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. Thats something we can all use out of a fantasy DB.

DL Osi Umenyiora, NYG Add him hes a complete beast. More on the significance of this in the Updates section.

Digging Deeper

DB Atari Bigby, GB Its always a good idea to pick up guys who are facing the Bears, and Bigby has shown hes a solid playmaker on a defense thats getting better and better. I wouldnt 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

LB DQwell 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. Hes been a consistent fantasy performer in the past, and he been okay this year, making him a solid choice in deeper IDP leagues.

LB Channing Crowder, MIA Hes pretty much been MIA so far this season, but I have a feeling hell show up in the coming weeks. He had some nice stretches of consistency in 2006 as well kind of like a poor mans Michael Boley.

Updates

DL Jared Allen, KC Not much, but its 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, Im 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 whos shouldering the load in Buffalo.

LB Derrick Johnson, KC Johnson made up for a pedestrian tackling day with an INT, a sack and a pass defensed. Thats a great fantasy day on a team thats 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 hes played well in his absence.