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
ARI – Warner assumes the reins following the injury to Matt Leinart,
who suffered a fractured left collarbone Sunday and could miss
the rest of the season. In any event, Warner will start for at
least the remainder of the first half. His schedule during the
next four weeks doesn’t do much for fantasy owners – CAR, @WAS,
BYE, @TAM – but if he can get some rhythm together, hold onto
the starting job and regain some of his old form, the Cards passing
game should be in excellent shape by Week 10, when they face Detroit,
then head to Cincinnati in Week 11 and face the 49ers and Browns
the next two weeks.
Jeff Garcia, TB – Garcia continues his solid play and is
an excellent spot starting option for desperate fantasy owners.
He still hasn’t turned the ball over in 2007, can make decent
plays with his feet, and is even starting to click with his somewhat-embattled
receiving corps. Next week the Bucs face Tennessee, but he’s
certainly got nice a matchup in Week 7 versus the Lions.
Derek Anderson, CLE – Okay – he’s not that
bad. And the Dolphins are terrible against the pass. So maybe
we’ll see another shootout this week, although it could
be one of those weird weeks that goes against the prevailing fantasy
trends. Any way you slice it, Anderson is the #5 QB in all of
fantasy, he’s had three decent weeks following his uber-explosion
in Week 2 against the Bengals and he’s got a pretty nifty
schedule after the Week 7 bye.
Gus Frerotte, STL – Gus tossed for three TD passes and
262 yards on Sunday but also managed to throw three picks on 24-for-43
passing. You know what’s coming next: He’s only a
fair QB pickup in leagues that penalize for turnovers but has
much more value in leagues that don’t – mainly because
the Rams will constantly be playing catch-up, throwing the football
and getting their share of garbage points. Until Bulger comes
back – something that shouldn’t really happen anytime
soon with the Rams currently out of contention – Frerotte
might just be a decent fantasy option.
Scouring The Barrel
CAR – I don’t know the status of his back injury, and he’s been
pitiful in relief of Jake Delhomme. But with Delhomme out for
the year, somebody’s got to pick up the offense and get the ball
to Steve Smith. Keep an eye on him for now, but don’t add him
unless you know something I don’t.
MIA – This isn’t a recommendation. But to talk about Trent Green’s
injury and the fantasy implications, I needed to include Lemon
in the wire. Hear that? The dude is a Lemon, and until further
notice, he’s taking up permanent residency in the barrel. That
means he can’t be considered a fantasy option until (1) the Dolphins
stop running plays where the quarterback is throwing head-first
blocks on 300-pound defensive lineman, and (2) offensive “mastermind”
Cam Cameron devises some small scrap of a passing game to unleash
on unsuspecting opponents.
Daunte Culpepper, OAK – Coming off a bye, Culpepper will
have his hands full the next few weeks versus the Chargers, the
Chiefs and the Titans. But he’s a special athlete that could
throw in some nice sleeper performances against even the toughest
Joey Harrington, ATL – I knew he was poop. If you’ve
got him, you shouldn’t really be using him. If you don’t,
you really should be using him. ‘Nuff said.
NYJ – If he’s stays healthy, he could put together some decent
numbers the next four weeks (PHI, @CIN, BUF, WAS). But the Jets
are just looking for a reason to start Kellen Clemens, who can
actually throw the ball more than 25 yards down the field.
David Garrard, JAC – I’m not liking him too much
the next few weeks, but at least he’s been consistent.
Off The Top
Earnest Graham, TB – First, the guy just wouldn’t
go away. Now, everybody else in the Bucs backfield is dropping
like flies. He’s the only viable option left for Tampa Bay,
he’s got a nose for the end zone, and he’s a solid
pickup in any format. While the Bucs are still looking to add
another RB before the trade deadline, Graham will remain involved
for at least the next few weeks.
Najeh Davenport, PIT – I’ve been telling people to
add this guy for weeks, even though he’s a backup. Did you
have him in your fantasy lineup when he broke out Sunday for 58
yards, 2 TDs and 4/38/0 receiving? If not, he’s a great
runner who’s highly underrated by fantasy owners. He’s
on a bye this week, but the Steelers schedule is very favorable
for the remainder of the season and they’re going to run
the ball a ton with both Parker and Davenport.
CLE – Foot injuries suck for RBs (just ask Kevin Jones) and if
you’re Jamal Lewis and you rely heavily on short, quick steps
to move our bulky frame about the gridiron, they suck even worse.
Wright managed to gain 59 yards on 15 carries against the Pats,
along with 4/43/0 receiving. The Browns face Miami on Sunday,
and the Dolphins are 26th in fantasy points allowed to opposing
RBs – making Wright a sexy waiver wire selection for as spot start
if Lewis is shelved this week, and added depth to your depleted
RB roster if he’s out for any extended period of time.
Scouring The Barrel
HOU – After another decent game, a lot of fantasy owners will
jump on the chance to grab Dayne. But Ahman Green should be back
next week after sitting out the past two games with a knee injury,
and the schedule gets tougher for the Texans. I’d probably pass
on Dayne unless something goes wrong with Green’s return.
Warrick Dunn, ATL – Two catches and 27 yards rushing. Not
necessarily whooping it up – but things get easier in the
Young, DEN – I recommended adding young to your roster even
before the Travis Henry dope-smoking scandal broke last week.
Now I feel smart, although Young hasn’t yet assumed the #1 spot
on the depth chart.
Keith, IND – Boom! Keith carried the ball 28 times against
the Bucs for 121 yards and 2 TDs and had the best week for any
fantasy RB. And I reaped the benefits, because at 12:58 p.m. on
Sunday, I inserted him in my lineup in place of injured Colts
starter Joseph Addai. But I also started Julius Jones over Najeh
Davenport, so don’t start revering me too much.
Leon Washington, NYJ – On yet another awesome play from
a truly special player, Washington returned a kickoff 98 yards
for a score Sunday against the Giants. He’s only carried
24 times for 70 yards on the season, but he’s still ranked
as the 25th best RB in one of my PPR leagues, making him a decent
#3 in PPR formats.
Dominic Rhodes, OAK – He’s probably gone by now from
lots of wires, but grab him if he’s not and stay tuned.
Justin Fargas, OAK – I’m not convinced he’ll
go away completely once Rhodes comes back this week.
Michael Pittman, TB – He’s out for 6-8 weeks with
a bad ankle injury, which means I can officially stop including
him here for a while. I’m not happy about the injury, because
I really like Pittman, but what a huge break for Graham owners!
Off The Top
Engram, SEA – With Deion Branch out for at least the next
three week, Engram will see more targets and get more catches.
So far this season, he’s been a viable #4 receiver in a limited
role and now that he’s starting, I’d consider him a respectable
#3 in all formats. And if, by chance, Branch is out for Week 9
as well, he’ll get to face the Browns.
WR Ike Hilliard, TB – He’s had two solid weeks in
a row and it’s obvious that Garcia is targeting him more
frequently than the other undesirables in Tampa. The Titans pose
some problems for him next week, but the Bucs face the Lions in
Week 7, and that’s good enough reason to add him now.
Watson, NE – Coming off a lackluster game versus the Bengals,
it’s possible some shallow fantasy-leaguers dropped Watson in
favor of a more explosive TE option. Well – the only thing that
blew up among fantasy TEs last week was Ben, with 6/107/2 and
even 11 yards rushing. I keep Ben high on my want list of fantasy
tight ends every season for just this reason – sure, he’ll kill
you a couple games out of the year, but he’s consistent, for the
most part, always in Tom Brady’s mind in the red zone, and a super-huge
performer 3-5 weeks out of the season.
McCardell, WAS – Holy smokes! This guy’s back in the league
and he had two catches for 39 yards in his first game back last
week. If Randle El’s hamstring injury keeps him out this week
and Santana Moss still can’t go, expect him to put up decent numbers
as a spot starter against Green Bay. I still can’t believe I’m
really talking about Keenan McCardell again.
WR Dennis Northcutt, JAC – He had his best game of the
season against KC, going for 4/73/1. His value is limited for
a variety of reasons, but Northcutt is emerging as Garrard’s
go-to guy, so pick him up as a possible #3 WR if he’s still
Scouring The Barrel
WR Marty Booker, MIA – Without someone to throw him the
ball, Booker won’t be able to take advantage of a great
matchup versus the Browns on Sunday. But since he’s a veteran
receiver who makes the most of his opportunities, I can still
see spending a wire selection on him – just don’t
expect the kind of numbers he’s be getting if “Citrus”
Cleo wasn’t the one dealing him the pigskin.
WR Roscoe Parrish, BUF – The Bills are on a bye, but Parrish
– an electric player – had 6/37/0 against the Cowboys
and I expect him to pick up some of the slack in a struggling
passing game once Evans and the rest of the offense gets back
to form. Remember, I’m talking a barrel-bound #4 WR sleeper
pick, not someone to bank the rest of your season on.
WR Patrick Crayton, DAL – Another solid performance capped
with a TD in the waning seconds.
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC – D-Bowe is the #13 fantasy WR in PPR
leagues and he’s facing the Bengals this week.
TE Dallas Clark, IND – Clark tallied 7/49/1 and got lambasted
by a Bucs defender but returned. He’s on a bye this week.
WR Michael Jenkins, ATL – How does Jenkins follow his 6/64/2
performance? With one catch for 2 yards. He’s got the Giants
this week, but with his inconsistent play and Coughlin’s
boys playing much better, I’d stay away.
Jones, GB – Fumble boy! Take away his two fumbles and he’s
got a passable day for a #3 – 5/61/0. But take into account the
fumbles, the tough schedule coming up, a Week 7 bye and a healthy
Greg Jennings, and you’ve got a seriously diminished fantasy value
for the rookie out of San Jose State.
WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND – He’s got a bye week in
Week 6 – coming off his best numbers as a professional with
7/71/0. He hasn’t snagged a TD yet, but they’ll come.
WR Sidney Rice, MIN – I smell a big week for Sidney Rice
against the Bears and their undersized defensive backs.
TE Chris Baker, NYJ – 3/52/0 in Week 5 against the Giants.
This guy does manage to get 5-7 fantasy points a game just about
every week – and you can’t get any better for your
money as a #2 fantasy TE, can you?
Off The Top
LB Will Witherspoon, STL – He’s not going to be out
there in to many formats, but I’ll admit, I was starting
to get worried about this guy for a while until he put up a monster
game last week for me against the Cards. So somebody might have
dropped him to make room following a bunch of pedestrian weeks.
He’s a proven fantasy performer and this week he’s
facing the Ravens – who are 30th in fantasy points allowed
to opposing LBs. A nice week to grab him if he’s available.
DB Jermaine Phillips, TB – If he’s out there still,
go get him. He’s one of the most consistent IDP defensive
backs in football over the past two seasons and he gets no respect.
DB Marlon McCree, SD – He’s yet to make the IDP impact
he made in Week 1 again, but McCree is a solid, week-in-week-out
kind of DB who’s in the right system to generate IDP points.
The Chargers will force turnovers with pressure from their front
seven, and Marlon will clean up most of the messes they leave
for him. Facing the unpredictable Raiders this week, he could
have some big plays.
LB Chad Greenway, LB – I’m feeling a big week from
the young Greenway against the Bears this week – something
like 10 tackles, a sack, and a couple PDs. He’s smart, fast
and reads the play well – good commodities for linebacker
in this division.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Roderick Hood, ARI – Any fantasy DB who puts up numbers
like hood last week deserves some attention. Sometimes, a game
like this sparks a big playmaking style for a few games that’s
a pleasure to have on your IDP roster. Hood was the nickel corner
in Philadelphia and he played very well in limited time. I like
him, and he seems to have a flair for the dramatic.
DL Kenyon Coleman, NYJ – Coleman is a brilliant athlete
who should be able to abuse the Eagles offensive line and get
to McNabb a few times on Sunday. He’s a sleeper DL pick
that has pretty consistent value in IDP league because gets tackles.
DB Leigh Bodden, CLE – Bodden had his worst week since
Week 1, with just 6 total tackles. Still not terrible.
DL Osi Umenyiora, NYG – Wasn’t much of a reach putting
him here after a six-sack-game, but he had a decent day against
the Jets with 5 tackles and a sack – okay numbers for a
DB Atari Bigby, GB – 9 total tackles against the Bears,
but no picks or passes defensed. Not a disappointing day in any
fantasy terms, but I expected more against a Bears QB.
LB Michael Boley, ATL – Boley made me look like great against
the Titans for including him in the wire, though he shattered
the myth that his upside isn’t that enormous with 1 INT,
11 tackles, 4 assists and a pass defensed. I’m doing well
again this week.
Jackson, CLE – 9 solos, 5 assists – that’s a very solid day
in most IDP formats. Another good IDP call.