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 may still be available in many deeper
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With the NFL’s bye weeks finished, conventional wisdom dictates
there will be less waiver wire activity than in previous weeks.
But that doesn’t mean we should fall asleep at the fantasy switch.
Additionally, Week 11 could mark the return of several prominent
players who’ll have an immediate fantasy impact – and might help
your team make a playoff run. Tony
Romo and Matt
Hasselbeck are slated to assume the reins of their struggling
Orton is hinting he’s ready to start against the Packers, and
it sounds as if the Cowboys’ explosive change-of-pace running back,
could start practicing Wednesday.
Whether or not many of these guys will play (and the workload they’ll
take on) remains up in the air. Even though there aren’t too many
fresh names popping up this week on the wire, there are several
skill players we’ve mentioned before who’ve now demonstrated some
surprising consistency aiding fantasy teams in their time of need.
A few teammate combos even come to mind, including the Chiefs’ Tyler
Thigpen and Mark
Bradley, the Falcons’ Michael
Jenkins and Jerious
Norwood, and the Dolphins’ Ricky
Williams and Ted
Ginn, Jr. These offenses are obviously dynamic enough for more
than just a couple successful fantasy stars, and these guys might
help you in the immediate future.
I welcome your e-mails
and would like to continue hearing from you regarding my waiver
wire recommendations – whether they have helped or hindered
your success this season. I’ll be happy to answer fantasy
questions of any variety, and the earlier you get your questions
in during the week, the better. Let’s go get ‘em.
Off The Top
CAR – Delhomme’s horrific performance Sunday marked only the second
time since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 that a quarterback completed
less than 30 percent of his passes and threw four interceptions
in a win. While I’m reeling from the decision I made to start
him over Eli Manning in one of my home leagues, I’m not giving
up on him. According to HC John Fox, Jake handles adversity well
and I’ve him bounce back from poor outings several times over
the years. With the Lions on the docket, the matchup portends
success this week.
Tyler Thigpen, KC – After spotty play while filling in
during the first seven weeks of the season, Thigpen came alive
in Week 8 against the Jets and hasn’t turned back. He’s
got 6 TD passes (and 1 ID reception) over his last three games,
and his next three opponents are NO, BUF, @OAK. It’s time
to add Thigpen and give him a shot if your QB is really struggling
and has a bad matchup.
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA – After so many weeks off, Hasselbeck
is bound to be rusty, and he’s only worth starting this
week if you’re in dire straits. But Arizona’s secondary
isn’t spectacular and if the Cards’ D-line can be
moderately contained, he’s got a decent chance at 200 and
Scouring The Barrel
STL – He’s still the starter, and if Jim Haslett’s got faith,
I do too. It’s obvious the Rams can’t do much without Steven Jackson
in the backfield, but you could take a shot on Bulger and his
cake schedule as soon as S-Jax gets healthy.
Sage Rosenfels, HOU – The Texans were just plain terrible
and Rosenfels threw 4 INTs – even though he racked up 294
passing yards and a score. I’m sure he’ll bounce back,
but it might not be against an energized Indy defense in Week
Rex Grossman, CHI – 20-for-37 for 173 yards with 1 TD and
an INT. It might be his only start, but he wasn’t bad.
Daunte Culpepper, DET – I’m rooting for him, but the
situation in Detroit looks pretty bad. For now, he’s slated
to start against the Panthers, but that might not be a very pleasant
experience for him.
CLE – I’ll say this – he really seems to like Kellen Winslow.
Braylon Edwards? Not so much. One other tidbit: 30 of the 35 passes
he attempted on Thursday night were of 10 yards or fewer, according
to an ESPN report. If that’s the plan, he should cut down on mistakes
and be worth a start as a #2 QB.
CIN – Carson Palmer’s supposed to miss another start, and Fitzpatrick,
coming off his best game of the season and a Week 10 bye, might
have his hands full against the Eagles. I’d look for other options.
PIT – I have to wonder if the Steelers didn’t make a mistake by
starting the gimpy-shouldered Ben Roethlisberger instead of a
healthy, eager Leftwich Sunday.
Off The Top
Jerious Norwood, ATL – Norwood had a huge TD reception
that made his fantasy day Sunday, but he’s getting touches
regularly in the Atlanta offense and is now a Top 30 fantasy back
– in case you haven’t noticed. I jumped on board relatively
early this season and have reaped the benefits in several formats,
but it’s not too late for you: He’s still available
in almost half of fantasy leagues.
MIA – It’s time to pick up Ricky Williams in all formats.
It’s likely someone dropped him after a lackluster Week 9 performance
to help them solve bye-week quandaries, or is selling low as many
leagues approach their trading deadlines. Last week, he had his
best fantasy game of the season, tallying 105 yards on 12 carries,
including a 51-yard TD run.
Felix Jones, DAL – I mentioned him in my intro, and my summary
here is simple: He has tons of fantasy value – and if he
plays this week, it’s a bonus. The bottom line is that he
should be owned in all leagues. The Cowboys need him badly and
if you have a spot, you’d better grab him before somebody
Hillis, DEN – He looks like the default starter in Denver
after rookie Ryan Torain went down with a torn ACL on Thursday
night. He’s worth a roster spot since he’ll likely be used as
a single setback in the Broncos system a la Mike Anderson. Just
keep an eye out for the return of RB Selvin Young (groin).
Green-Ellis, NE – I keep starting the wrong New England running
back. It appears as though Bill Belichick is the new Mike Shanahan.
BenJarvus had 105 yards on 26 carries and a TD. As long as Lamont
Jordan and Sammy Morris remain out, he’s a viable #2 RB option
and excellent #3 RB option.
Taylor, MIN – He won’t get a ton of chances on a team that
features Adrian Peterson, but you can bet the veteran back will
make the most of his opportunities and provide a change of pace
and some value in PPR leagues. While most of Taylor’s value is
latent, he’s a good guy to keep rostered in case something happens
to Peterson down the stretch.
Scouring The Barrel
Buckhalter, PHI – Again – he’s only worth starting when Brian
Westbrook is inactive. HC Andy Reid said this Monday of Westie
and his knee issues: “I'm not going to say he's 100 percent, but
at the same time, he's good enough to where he can be effective
as long as we take care of business up front.” That means you
should keep an eye on the starter’s status heading into the weekend.
Williams, TB – The Bucs have until Wednesday to decide if
Cadillac will be taken off PUP and activated. Although HC Jon
Gruden hasn’t made a decision, I’d take a shot on Cadillac with
the Bucs other backs dinged up. Also – keep any eye out for reports
on Warrick Dunn, Michael Bennett and starter Earnest Graham, although
it appears Graham might sit out this week.
ARI – San Fran did a nice job of shutting down the Cardinals running
game, hurting Hightower – although Kurt Warner had his way with
Cedric Benson, CIN – On a bye week 10, Benson returns form
his best game of ‘08 against the Eagles. He’s not
a great start against a stout Philly D, but he’s worth a
shot as a #3 RB.
KC – He’s questionable for Sunday after aggravating an ankle injury
in Week 10 versus the Chargers. Larry Johnson, who hasn’t played
since Oct. 5 at Carolina, will probably return from suspension
and get the start against the Saints.
Off The Top
WR Mark Bradley, KC – Okay – I’m convinced.
There’s a lot to like about Bradley, who’s building
a steady relationship with Thigpen in KC and has 18-188-2 in his
past three games. Last week, he finished with 9-81-1 and saw 14
targets. Add him.
WR Ted Ginn,
Jr., MIA – He had 4-67-1 against the Seahawks and is a viable
#3 WR option now. If you’re looking for a big play receiver who
sees between 7-9 targets a game, Ginn is your man. He’s come a
long way since last season, when he didn’t really contribute and
was spurned by Miami fans. With things looking much better in
Miami, he’s coming into his own.
Randle El, WAS – If the Redskins are without Clinton Portis
when they face the rival Cowboys on Sunday night, HC Jim Zorn
must get creative in his offensive approach. That’ll mean extensive
use of Randle El and a big day for the former Indiana Hoosier.
He’s got at least three catches in every game this season – making
him an important cog in PPR league lineups.
WR Brandon Lloyd, CHI – He was listed as probable and still
sat out Sunday’s game with a knee injury. If he’s
active, he’s a talented receiver with big upside. It just
boils down to that pesky problem of actually getting him on the
field. Stay tuned to the injury report and only play him if you
have confirmation he’s active by game time.
Heap, BAL – I was kicking myself for picking up SEA TE John
Carlson instead of Heap to fill in for Chris Cooley, but I managed
to squeak out a win anyway. Of course, I grabbed MIN TE Visanthe
Shiancoe over Heap in another league where I had Cooley and lost
by 7 points. In any event, you should pick up Heap if your TE
slot has been quiet. Because 5-58-2 is anything but quiet, and
Heap’s been effective down the stretch before.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Sidney Rice, MIN – There’s been Sidney Rice sightings
in consecutive weeks in Minnesota. He’s got five catches
on the season, and three are TDs. Honestly, I don’t know
what to make of it. If he’s effective enough for the red
zone, why not use him on the other 80 yards of the field?
Hill, SF – Hill caught 7 passes for 84 yards Monday night
and is gaining fantasy relevance as he develops rapport with default
starting QB Shaun Hill. Keep him in mind.
Curtis, PHI – 3/25/1 is a solid line (anything with a TD usually
is for a receiver), although I’d like to see him with more than
7 targets considering how much McNabb looked his way last season.
WR Rashied Davis, CHI – He saw only five targets and caught
just one pass for 15 yards. Maybe he’ll be more involved
again when Orton returns, but if Lloyd comes back and looks good,
his value drops precipitously.
WR Michael Jenkins, ATL – 6/72/0 on just 6 targets. Matt
Ryan is all grown up and spreading it around quite well. Jenkins
is a must add in 12-team leagues.
WR Mark Clayton, BAL – Flacco targeted Clayton 5 times
and connected for 3-40-0, but the big story was the developing
relationship between Flacco and Heap.
WR Koren Robinson, SEA – After another big week, it appears
Robinson has turned an important corner. Getting Hasselbeck back
should only help. He’s a worthy WR #4.
Celek, PHI – TE L.J. Smith was healthy and got the start –
and Celek sat.
Off The Top
LB Zach Thomas, DAL – Undoubtedly, some folks had to drop
Thomas last week to fill their IDP rosters with active players.
This week, Thomas has a great matchup against the Redskins, especially
if Portis plays.
Coleman, ATL – I almost picked him up to start in Gibril Wilson’s
place last weekend in one IDP league, but I would’ve had to drop
Wilson to do it. I just wasn’t ready to do that, but if you have
an empty roster slot or could drop someone a bit less studly than
Gibril to pick up this veteran safety, I suggest you do it. He’s
coming off two straight with an INT and he makes a bunch of tackles.
Pace, NYJ – The big play last week made his fantasy day, but
Pace has been the Jets best LB and he’s still available in a bunch
of IDP leagues. With David Harris still out, he’s the guy to own
on that Jets D with DB Darrelle Revis and DL Shaun Ellis.
DL Chris Long, STL – He’s the 22nd best DL in fantasy
and I love his matchup against San Fran. He’s pretty widely
owned for a rookie lineman, but he’s still available in
lots of shallow leagues that still require a DL starter.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Asante Samuel, PHI – A hunch-based spot-start, I have
a feeling Samuel could come away from Sunday’s game with
a monster fantasy line, 6-8 tackles, an INT, and a few PDs. We
haven’t heard much from Samuel this year – and I think
it’s about time we did.
DL Matt Roth, MIA – I know I’m setting myself up for
disappointment, but I’m recommending Roth this week in leagues
requiring a DL, since he’s facing the Raiders – a
team that yields gargantuan fantasy numbers to opposing DL. Roth
is coming off his best game of the season and is available in
most IDP leagues.
LB Paris Lenon, DET – Lenon was one of two former Richmond
Spiders I included in the wire last week. He turned in 8 tackles
(5 solos, 3 assist) Sunday against Jacksonville. Continue to use
him as a tackle anchor on your IDP roster for the rest of the
LB Stewart Bradley, PHI – While I wasn’t going out
on a limb recommending Bradley against the Giants, I was pleasantly
surprised when he racked up his highest ’08 IDP total (tied
with Week 1 by FFToday’s scoring), finishing with 13 solo
tackles and 1 assist. His matchups the rest of the way seem pretty
DB Atari Bigby, GB – His secondary mates stole the show
with the big plays, but Bigby did post 5 solos and looks to be
back in form.
LB Chad Greenway, MIN – Another solid performance from Greenway,
who tallied 7 tackles (6 solo, 1 assist) and a sack versus the
DL Travis LaBoy, ARI – LaBoy only managed 4 solo tackles
in Monday night’s win over San Fran.
DB Roman Harper, NO – My worst call of the week, the sleeper
pick of Harper didn’t pan out for more than 3 measly solos.