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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Week 2 saw a few significant performances from fantasy fringe players,
exposed even more drama with beleaguered Chiefs RB Larry Johnson,
and taught us that sometimes a fumble isn’t really a fumble
even if it is a fumble. Sure, Ed Hochuli cost me $350 on a couple
parlays I would’ve nailed if the Chargers had taken possession
and run out the clock, but I’m not bitter. Anybody have Ed’s
home address, by the way?
I welcome your e-mails
and would like to hear from you if my waiver wire recommendations
have helped or hindered your fantasy progress over the past couple
years – or so far in 2008. I’m also available for
fantasy questions of any variety. Don’t be shy – although
I will probably harass you if your questions, arguments or concerns
Off The Top
Jason Campbell, WAS – Campbell looked sharp Sunday, albeit
against a banged-up Saints defense. While he still hasn’t
thrown multiple TD passes in a game since Week 11 of last season
versus the Cowboys, the Redskins passing game is showing signs
of life. HE may be no better than a decent #2, but Week 3 against
the Cards and Weeks 6-8 (STL, CLE, @DET) will provide opportunities
for fantasy teams depleted by QB injuries, quandaries and difficulties
to right their ships.
Trent Edwards, BUF – As the Bills gain confidence, Edwards
will emerge as a consistent fantasy contributor. He may not be
a premier #2 QB option just yet, but he’s serviceable, and
take a gander at his next six weeks: OAK, @STL, @ARI, bye, SDG,
@MIA. Weeks 9-16 include a few difficult matchups, but there are
a couple nice ones, too: NYJ, @NWE, CLE, @KAN, SFO, MIA, @NYJ,
@DEN. At this point, he should be owned in all leagues, based
on Buffalo’s remaining schedule and promising young offense.
SF – O’Sullivan finished Sunday’s game against the Seahawks
with the same passing numbers as Jason Campbell: 321 and a TD
– but it was against a better defense and he gained 32 yards rushing.
He’s moving up my waiver priority list in a couple leagues where
I lost Brady, then Young and then Huard. Next week he’s at home
versus the Lions. Another shootout? If you do grab him, realize
that the matchups aren’t really favorable until Weeks 11 vs. STL
and again in weeks 15 & 16 (@MIA, @ STL).
Scouring The Barrel
TB – With Jeff Garcia’s role being determined on a weekly basis
(which doesn’t sound good), it looks as if the reins fall to Griese.
With the WR corps dubious at best, he’s not a quality option.
But he’s still got a live arm and a proclivity for theatrics.
Joe Flacco, BAL – Flacco was 15-for-29 for 129 yards in
his NFL debut against the Bengals, (who have serious problems
in the secondary) scoring on a 38-yard run in the game. Auspicious,
yes, but he’s only a #3 fantasy QB until the Ravens offense
opens up the passing game.
DET – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in leagues that
don’t punish too brutally for turnovers, guys like Kitna and Kurt
Warner are very valuable fantasy contributors. In others, they’re
still not too bad.
Matt Cassel, NE – Not spectacular, but neither was Brady
when he first took over. Give him a chance to feel out his weapons
and he’ll improve.
Matt Ryan, ATL – During the first half, Ryan was 3-for-15
for 36 yards and 2 INTs – good for negative fantasy points
in most leagues and a 0.0 QB rating. Sure, the Bucs secondary
is good, but knowing Ryan is capable of futility like these tells
me to stay away for now.
Jackson, MIN – He didn’t link up with Bernard Berrian or Sidney
Rice, and he lost a fumble. Not a good showing, Tarvaris. You’ve
been relegated, and Brad Childress is watching.
Chad Pennington, MIA – Somebody wake me up when the Dolphins
have moved on.
Kerry Collins, TEN – That stupefied look forever adorning
Kerry Collins’ face will always scream “drunken idiot”
to me. But it’s not a bad smokescreen to play off on NFL
defenses. You can do a lot better than 14-for-21, 128, a Td and
no turnovers, but you could also do a lot worse.
Kyle Orton, CHI – I’m officially not paying attention
until he throws a TD pass to someone in 2008.
Off The Top
Chris Perry, CIN – Scooped up in plenty of leagues on draft
day and before Week 1, Perry has been unceremoniously dumped in
oodles of formats simply because the Bengals offense has been
an abomination. But the Bengals starting RB got a score in Week
2, 64 yards rushing and a couple receptions. He may be available,
and while he’s no better than a RB#3, he’s a live
SD – LaDainian Tomlinson aggravated his turf toe injury late in
the second quarter during the team's Week 2 game, and despite
his claims that it’s “improving and healing,” it’s important that
Sproles is owned in all leagues. He’s a valuable special teams
contributor and a solid backup if LT’s ever out.
Michael Pittman, DEN – I hate Mike Shanahan, but he can
probably get the most out of a guy like Pittman, who’s always
been fast but never reached his lofty potential. His fantasy totals
aren’t extravagant and he hasn’t been a consistent
fantasy performer for three straight games since 2005, but he’s
worth grabbing in most leagues as things shake out in Denver.
NE – Faulk returned from suspension and was immediately part of
Belichick’s plans in the Pats offense. Laurence Maroney has a
shoulder injury and Faulk is 100 percent, so I’m assuming he’ll
play an integral role in the running and passing attacks for the
rest of the season unless tragedy or injury strikes again.
Scouring The Barrel
Bush, OAK – The Raiders ran it all over the Chiefs, tallying
300+ rushing yards with rookie Darren McFadden (toe), Bush and
Fargas (groin). And there’s only one guy on that list who doesn’t
have a parenthetical injury description accompanying his name.
The second-year back out of Louisville saw his first NFL action
and performed admirable, running for 90 yards on 16 carries. He’s
a worthwhile pickup in deeper leagues and could still be that
sleeper pick we’ve all dreamed about – especially if McFadden
or Fargas miss any time.
Fred Jackson BUF, – Bump him up in PPR leagues after his
big day catching everything underneath that Trent Edwards had
to offer. In week 1 he didn’t catch a pass, but I think
the Bills realize their backs are both valuable to that passing
Matt Forte, CHI – I’ll be honest – I don’t
think Forte will repeat or surpass his Week 1 fantasy totals more
than once or twice this season, but he’s still a standout
#3 RB and okay #2 RB capable of great things if the Bears line
gets better and the defense keeps giving them good field position.
TEN – The rookie out of East Carolina continued to impress,
gaining 109 yards on 19 carries in Week 2.
Sammy Morris, NE – He had a rushing TD, but nothing much
else going on with Faulk back.
Jerious Norwood, ATL – Norwood disappeared in Week 2 as
the Falcons fell behind, Ryan struggled and the Bucs rolled.
Steve Slaton, HOU – We’ll see next week against the
Titans, now won’t we?
Charles, KC – Last week I said there was something I liked
about Mr. Charles’ situation in Kansas City, adding that “if anything
befalls Larry Johnson…He could be a super-sneaky pickup this early
in the season and could pay dividends in KC’s final few games.”
Cue Larry Johnson audio.
Tim Hightower, ARI – Another week, another TD in limited
action. He’s good folks.
Off The Top
WR Isaac Bruce, SF – Although he went without a catch in
Week 1, “The Reverend” had four catches for 153 yards
last week against the Seahawks. He’s usually pretty consistent
and will likely be a favorite target of O’Sullivan in 2008.
Meachem, NO – Active for the first time in his brief career,
Meachem caught TD. That’s how you arrive on the NFL scenes, my
friends. He should be owned in all formats and monitored on a
week-to-week basis while Marques Colston is injured.
WR Justin Gage, TEN – Collins is a much better match for
Gage, who struggled to develop a consistent rapport with Vince
Young. Consider him a much more viable #4 WR – and a possible
fantasy starter – when matchups allow it.
Toomer, NYG – Toomer’s clearly on the brain of Eli Manning,
who looked for the 13-year veteran a lot on Sunday en route to
Amani’s 6/67/1 stat line. While there’s a bunch of receivers in
Giant-land, Toomer will keep getting looks and should be a good
#4 WR and possible #3.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Chansi Stuckey, NYJ – I was close to including him last
week, but wanted to see one more week out of him. Now I wished
I had thrown him in the mix and looked clairvoyant.
WR James Hardy, BUF – In last week’s updates I pointed
out that it was “only a matter of time before the Bills
involve the rookie more in the red zone.” About one week,
to be exact.
Royal, DEN – Eddie Royal’s a gamer: Five catches, 37 yards,
plus a TD and a 2-point conversion that broke my heart. Brandon
Marshall’s presence can only help the kid along. Jay Cutler must
be one excited diabetic.
Gonzalez, IND – Solid game with 9/137/0. Now if only Peyton
Manning still knew how to throw TD passes like his kid brother
WR DeSean Jackson, PHI – I’m sorry Ms. Jackson, but
while your son DeSean is a rare talent, he should have finished
the game with 111 yards and a TD, instead of celebrating the beautiful
strike thrown to him by McNabb a bit too soon by slinging the
ball behind him moments before it crossed the plan of the end
zone. So he finished with 6/110/0. You know some poor schmuck
lost his fantasy game because he had Jackson as a #3WR could have
sealed the victory with that bonus TD.
TE Anthony Fasano, MIA – What happened? How do you disappear
a week after you haul in 8/84/1?
WR Matt Jones, JAC – He followed up a solid week one with
5/50/0. He hasn’t has consecutive five-catch games since
Weeks 1 and 2 in 2006. So he’s on the right track.
Taylor, SEA – Matt Hasselbeck must be going insane.
TE John Carlson, SEA – But at least he’s got a good
WR Ike Hilliard,
TB – His value gets bumped up again with the ankle injury to Joey
Galloway, which could force him to miss some time.
TE Dante Rosario, CAR – I really like that I had Carlson
ranked higher than Rosario in my column last week. Shows my prowess.
WR Steve Breaston, ARI – Not much going on yesterday, but
Kurt’s winging it with ease and I’ll say it again
– the Cards are bound to have one of their top 2 WRs get
injured at some point this season, opening the door for Breaston.
Off The Top
LB Zach Thomas, DAL – Some were still wondering if Thomas
was still a fantasy heavy – a short, stout IDP sparkplug
with a mystique reserved for a man who once had a truck roll over
his head as a toddler. A native Texan and Texas Tech alumnus,
Thomas has licked his migraine issues following successful surgery
for a deviated septum and is playing good football in Dallas.
Grab him if he’s available in your league.
DB Asante Samuel, PHI – Including the playoffs, he’s
got 19 INTs and 52 PD in his past two full seasons. He’s
also a good tackler and if he’s out there, you shouldn’t
hesitate to add him.
DB Cortland Finnegan, TEN – Finnegan posted 94 tackles and
13 PD last season, and now has 3 INTs in his first two games in
’08. I consider him a decent #1 fantasy DB or a #2 with
lots of upside.
Rogers, CLE – Big Baby’s not going to post great numbers every
week, but not many DTs do. He’s probably only a regular starting
option if you have a DT requirement in your league – like my IDP
Experts League, where I didn’t follow up Week 1 with another win
and I lost Rogers’ teammate, DE Robaire Smith, for the season.
What Rogers does have is the ability to control a game from the
middle, force fumbles with big hits and occasionally tally a sack
DB Quentin Jammer, SD – He had 11 total tackles last week,
a PD and a forced fumble, but hasn’t posted solid week-to-week
numbers since ’06, when he was the #23 DB in fantasy. With
the Charger involved din shootouts, he could post solid tackle
numbers and make some plays.
Wilhelm, SD – Often the forgotten LB in San Diego, he’s nothing
truly special in IDP, but he does post pretty consistent tackle
numbers and will undoubtedly see lots of action as the Chargers
change their scheme to deal with the loss of blitz specialist
Adams, CLE – The replacement for IDP stud Sean Jones, Adams
has 17 solos in his first two games spelling the Browns’ usual
starter. Until Jones, comes back, Adams will likely post solid
tackle numbers each week.
Scouring The Barrel
McFadden, PIT – Don’t be fooled by his big numbers last week.
McFadden – a 2005 second-round pick by the Steelers – filled in
for injured Deshea Townsend and finished Sunday night’s defensive
struggle with 5 solos, 3 PD and an INT. He’s seeing lots of time
on the field in Townsend’s absence, but those numbers will obviously
plummet when the veteran returns from a foot injury. Stay away
unless he’s the definite starter and you’re in a really deep league.
Jackson, SEA – Wow – the rookie lineman out of USC who stole
Darryl Tapp’s starting job posted 5 tackles and 2 sacks Sunday
against the 49ers, and he’s got the Rams next week – another team
with problems protecting its QB. But it’s probably going to be
until Week 8 and the Seahawks next meeting with San Fran before
Jackson’s a viable start again.
DB Nick Collins, GB – Right now, Collins is the starting
free safety for the Packers, and he had a big game on Sunday because
of his 42-yard INT return for a TD. In 2006, he was a decent #2
fantasy DB, but he’s very inconsistent and should only be
played if you’re a very desperate owner in a very deep IDP
DB Rodney Harrison, NE – Harrison has 6 solos and 2 assists
without any extras – an IDP perk that’s bound to start
popping up for him sooner or later as he posts consistent tackle
LB Jonathan Vilma, NO – 16 total tackles (10 solo) and a
PD. Looks like he’s back to being a Top 10 LB.
LB Channing Crowder, MIA – 8 solos, but nothing sexy. Still
a better-than-average day in most IDP formats.
Diggs, CAR – Diggs was questionable with a knee injury, saw
some action but was limited. Stay tuned.
DB Johnathan Joseph, CIN – Joseph – the top IDP performer
of Week 1 – left the game in the 4th quarter of the Week
2 loss to the Titans with a sprained ankle after posting 3 total
tackles and a PD. He was in a walking boot after the game. Boo.
LB Zach Diles, HOU – No game because of Ike. Stay “Diled”
DB Kevin Kaesviharn, NO – Identical stats to Week 1: 6 solos,
1 assist. That’s not a bad thing for a DB.
DL James Hall, STL – Hall’s getting his tackles –
numbers that are likely to go down as a DL – although he’s
not much of a pass-rushing threat.