Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to 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 a big 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 — sometimes breakout
stars that eluded your team’s draft — as well as players
who can help your squad that may still be lurking in deeper leagues.
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Off the Top - Includes my premier
recommendations — sometimes players available either only
in more shallow leagues, and occasionally guys more readily available
who’ve been thrust into the fantasy spotlight.
Digging Deeper - Covers the next
tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available
in a majority of online leagues.
Scouring the Barrel - Chronicles
the deepest of fantasy adds — and sometimes highlights players
being tacked onto fantasy squads who I don’t have much confidence
Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 30-40 players
I covered the previous week. It’s the best one-stop waiver-wire
column available on the Internet, and it’s only available
here at fftoday.com.
Feedback is always welcome,
appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as
Note: Each player’s
next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()
Week 2 introduced us to a few new receivers with obvious fantasy
value, reaffirmed some of our suspicions from Week 1 about a few
quality running backs, and taught us the importance of never doubting
the Jets. Let’s take a stroll “Through the Wire.”
Off The Top
Joe Flacco, BAL (CLE, @NE, CIN, @MIN) – He’s only
available in about 20 percent of leagues, but that’s 20
percent too many. He could easily be a Top 10 QB this season.
He’s also got a bunch of backfield options who can catch
the ball and supplement his TD pass totals.
MIN (SF, GB, @STL, BAL) – As long as his arm holds up, he has
value. No INTs through two games is a good sign. The list to make
sure he’s not lingering on the wire is rife with reasonable suggestions.
You need to hear more? How about his 23-for-27 showing last week
and the emerging weapon that is Percy Harvin?
Jason Campbell, WAS (@DET, TB, @CAR, KC) – Some fantasy
owners are never gonna give up on Campbell, but he’s just
been letting them down. Consequently, about 69 percent of them
have turned around and deserted him. Campbell has been Rick-Rolling
folks since 2005, but he’s going to sink or swim this season,
and this week even he should be able to post solid numbers.
Mark Sanchez, NYJ (TEN, @NO, @MIA, BUF) – I watched Sanchez
throw sharp pass after sharp pass against the Pats defense on
Sunday, and it was impressive. I know the titans probably won’t
tallow four TD passes this week, but 200 yards and two strikes
Scouring The Barrel
Wallace, SEA (CHI, @IND, JAC, ARI) – He’ll take over for the
inured Matt Hasselbeck for a spell, and tends to have the occasional
hug game when he’s backed into a corner. However, while the receivers
showed a great affinity for the end zone in Week 1, the schedule
might present some problems. Hold off unless you’re desperate.
WR/QB Julian Edelman, NE (ATL, CLE, @DEN, TEN) – If Welker
misses any additional time, he’ll have value. Pay attention
to his position eligibility, because at WR in Welker’s stead,
he’s shown the ability to rack up points in PPR leagues.
Kyle Orton, DEN (@OAK, DAL, NE, @SD) – Orton landed in
the bottom half of fantasy QBs this week, finishing with a healthy
yardage total (263) but adding just one score.
Byron Leftwich, TB (NYG, @WAS, @PHI, CAR) – As terrible
as the Bucs played on Sunday – and as inaccurate Leftwich
was – the slow-footed QB tossed three TD passes, two picks
and compiled 296 yards through the air.
Kerry Collins, TEN (@NYJ, @JAC, IND, @NE) – 216/2/1 is probably
a fair assumption of what Collins will do against teams with weaker
Michael Vick, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – Chances are he’ll
play this week and see action in a handful of snaps.
PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – Facing the Saints, Kolb produced Drew
Brees-like numbers with 391 passing yards and two TDs, although
he did throw three picks. With McNabb most likely out for Week
3, he should be a viable fill-in for one more game.
JaMarcus Russell, OAK (DEN, @ HOU, @NYG, PHI) – Easily the
worst starting QB in the league, Russell did manage a win against
the lowly Chiefs, but his 7-for-24 passing (29.2 percent) and
109 yards did nothing for fantasy owners who gambled on a palatable
Off The Top
Fred Jackson, BUF (NO, @MIA, CLE, @NYJ) – Jackson (who
I recommended adding before Week 1) continued his offensive assault
with 163 rushing yards on 28 carries and 6/25/0 receiving. He’s
owned in just 75 percent of leagues, so there’s a chance
he’s still available in yours. Don’t hesitate to start
him against the Saints.
DAL (CAR, @DEN, @KC, BYE) – Jones broke off a couple decent runs
and finished with 96 yards a TD on just seven carries. The explosive
back could see an increased workload if Marion Barber’s quad injury
keeps him out of any action this weekend against the Panthers.
Leon Washington, NYJ (TEN, @NO, @MIA, BUF) – Washington,
who had 19 offensive touches in the opener and 16 against the
Pats on Sunday, is a valuable part of the Jets’ offense.
He’ll continue to see 15-20 touches a game under 35-year-old
Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme, which features multiple sets
and flexibility — as well as a no-huddle component that’s
been effective so far in 2009. He’s only owned in about
half the leagues on Yahoo, so give him a shot.
McCoy, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – McCoy had five carries for
18 yards and caught four passes for 37 yards in Sunday's loss
to the Saints. If Brian Westbrook’s injured ankle keeps him out
of the matchup with the Chiefs, McCoy could post big numbers.
Scouring The Barrel
Tashard Choice, DAL (CAR, @DEN, @KC, BYE) – Barber’s
quad injury means Choice should be owned in all formats; he was
successful for a stint in ’08 and is available in most leagues.
Justin Forsett, SEA (CHI, @IND, JAC, ARI) – He saw some
action Sunday (five carries for 35 yards and 6/57/0 receiving.
He’s a PPR-based value-snatch.
Julius Jones, SEA (CHI, @IND, JAC, ARI) – Jones had just
11 rushing yards on eight carries, but he caught a TD pass. The
long-term value may have taken a hit along with his QB situation.
Cedric Benson, CIN (PIT, @CLE, @BAL, HOU) – 141 yards. They
hand him the ball a ton, and the Bengals looked pretty good last
week. Should be owned in all formats, but still isn’t (23-percent
Darren Sproles, SD (MIA, @PIT, BYE, DEN) – Sproles was held
to just 26 rushing yards off 10 carries Week 2, but exploded for
seven catches and 124 receiving yards with one touchdown against
the Ravens. LT’s missed game means he’s in charge
– for now.
Willis McGahee, BAL (CLE, @NE, CIN, @MIN) – McGahee busted
out for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in Week 2. He
also caught two passes for 10 receiving yards, and is integral
to the Ravens current offense, along with both Rice and McClain.
It’s not exciting to see everybody participating, but it’s
good that they’re participating well.
Tim Hightower, ARI (IND, BYE, HOU, @SEA) – 15 carries for
72 yards and a TD. So he can run the ball too? Sold.
Correll Buckhalter, DEN (@OAK, DAL, NE, @SD) – Nine carries,
76 yards and a TD, plus a 30-yard reception. Were all my RB recommendations
Michael Bush, OAK (DEN, @ HOU, @NYG, PHI) – Bush only had
52 total yards. So I guess not a direct hit. But he’s involved
on a team that must run the ball to win games. The Raiders can’t
do it behind the arm of Russell, so that’s a good thing
for this enormous, fast and hard-hitting physical specimen.
Moore, PIT (@CIN, SD, @DET, CLE) – Just six-percent owned,
Moore is the Steelers’ third down back an feature back in the
no-huddle. He could have more value (just a few carries and a
couple catches last week) if Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Robinson, STL (GB, @SF, MIN, @JAC) – He’s fast and could be
a stat-gobbling fool when the Rams get behind. And they will get
behind…frequently. He nabbed six catches for 54 yards and the
Rams only score in the 9-7 loss to the Redskins, beating the Redskins'
secondary with his length. He impressed on a tricky little fade
from QB Marc Bulger — going up and over DeAngelo Hall. I’d grab
him and hope the Rams defense gets back to allowing quick scores.
Smith, NYG (@TB, @KC, OAK, @NO) – Just 40-percent owned, Smith
posted 134 yards and a TD on 10 receptions in the tilt with Dallas.
He’s obviously a frequent target of Eli Manning and is the senior
receiver in a young corps of wideouts.
TE Brent Celek, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – It was another
big week for Celek, who roamed a lot downfield and totaled 104
yards on eight catches. Kansas City’s weak defense should
provide either Kolb or McNabb opportunities to find him in space.
WR Mario Manningham, NYG (@TB, @KC, OAK, @NO) – The second-year
man out of Michigan had 150 yards and a TD on 10 receptions. Wow.
And Manning and the Giants have a pretty nice-looking schedule
coming up, so get on board while you can.
Scouring The Barrel
Knox, CHI (@SEA, DET, BYE, @ATL) – The fifth-round pick out
of Abilene Christian was a nice late-round gamble for the Bears;
he currently leads the Bears with 152 receiving yards through
the first two games, and caught six passes for 70 yards and a
TD in Week 2. He's popular with Jay Cutler, and should continue
to get looks as long as he makes the catches.
Sims-Walker, JAC (@HOU, TEN, @SEA, STL) – Sims-Walker replaced
the injured Troy Williamson, who’s done for the year, and responded
with 106 yards and a TD reception. He’s almost universally available,
so grab him if you believe in Garrard — the only thing that makes
me at all hesitant.
WR Devery Henderson, NO (@BUF, NYJ, BYE, NYG) – After a
big Week 1, Henderson let down owners who may have expected a
score to go along with his three catches for 71 yards.
TE Jeremy Shockey, NO (@BUF, NYJ, BYE, NYG) – 4/49/0 is
a great follow-up to Week 1. The touchdowns will come in this
Harvin, MIN (SF, GB, @STL, BAL) – He’s a playmaker on a team
with plenty of talent. If the opportunities continue to come,
he’ll be a solid WR3 this season.
WR Patrick Crayton, DAL (CAR, @DEN, @KC, BYE) – One catch,
four yards. Man — that game really hurt this Dallas fan.
TE John Carlson, SEA (CHI, @IND, JAC, ARI) – Just like the
first week, he saw eight targets and converted six catches, but
he only totaled 46 yards and didn’t score.
WR Justin Gage, TEN (@NYJ, @JAC, IND, @NE) – 2/27/0 didn’t
satisfy his owners, but I told you what to expect — inconsistency.
TE Todd Heap, BAL (CLE, @NE, CIN, @MIN) – A 9-yard TD pass
from Flacco made it a worthwhile day.
WR Mark Clayton, BAL (CLE, @NE, CIN, @MIN) – Just one catch
for 20 yards, but the schedule portends more passing in the coming
WR Louis Murphy, OAK (DEN, @ HOU, @NYG, PHI) – 2/26/0 is
almost inspiring when you consider how bad Russell was.
Off The Top
DL Antwan Odom, CIN (PIT, @CLE, @BAL, HOU) – Seven sacks
in two games? Are you kidding me? While it’s a shame I didn’t
have this guy in my “to-watch” list, he’s still
out there in a bunch of leagues on waivers. Scoop him up heading
into the Steelers match-up, where he could get himself another
sack or two.
LB Bradie James, DAL (CAR, @DEN, @KC, BYE) – The schedule
bodes well for a lot of tackles, and that’s what James does
well. Don’t expect him to repeat his sack totals from last
season, but give him a shot the next three weeks.
Guyton, NE (ATL, CLE, @DEN, TEN) – He’s the new tackle-nabbing
LB in New England after the Jerod Mayo injury, and he proved last
week he’s up to the task. Go for it.
LB Lawrence Timmons, PIT (@CIN, SD, @DET, CLE) – He may
still not be 100 percent, but somebody’s impatience will
be your fantasy salvation. Timmons will post solid numbers once
he’s the regular RILB.
Scouring The Barrel
Jordan, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – Last week’s IDP totals (eight
solos, one assist, INT) weren’t an anomaly. Jordan isn’t a bull,
but he’s athletic, tough plays the position with intensity. The
Eagles aren’t that strong inside with Omar Gaither at MLB, so
Jordan could be a big pickup.
DB Roy Williams,
CIN (PIT, @CLE, @BAL, HOU) – Everybody knows that Williams
has was a perennial disappointment after he took on a safety valve
role in Dallas instead of a staying a gambling, run-stuffing freak.
Against the Steelers (who will try to dominate time of possession)
he’ll be forced to come up big and could walk away with a few
Hall, WAS (@DET, TB, @CAR, KC) – Hall got abused a bit by
Robinson, but this whole game was a grind, so he never got a shot
to bulk upon tackles and PDs. Callin’ DBs can be tough, folks.
LB Stephen Cooper, SD (MIA, @PIT, BYE, DEN) – Seven total
tackles, but not as active as I’d hoped, but his matchup
in Week 3 will redeem his value as a solid LB2.
LB Andra Davis, DEN (@OAK, DAL, NE, @SD) – Eight solos and
two assists sounds like a hit to me. Could be a lot more where
that came from in the next few weeks.
LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, CHI (@SEA, DET, BYE, @ATL) – Four
solos and PD isn’t the kind of production you’d expect
from the Bears MLB, but on a defense that’s clearly got
some issues, he’ll compile better numbers. But you’ll
see fewer Urlacher-like plays that fill the IDP stat sheet.