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.
Last week, my two QB selections missed, my RBs popped off, my WRs
were pretty lame, and my IDP recommendations … well —
they were solid. This week, I’m touting a few guys who can
provide immediate rewards, and shouting out a few pre-emptive steals
who will step up a game or two down the road.
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 ()
Off The Top
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – The Seahawks
seem to be the most inconsistent team in football, alternately
providing scintillating and disheartening performances from week
to week. Hasselbeck’s fantasy fortunes are directly tied
to the efficacy of the team’s offense (and specifically
its ragtag offensive line), and while a Week Seven bye has some
owners dropping the veteran QB, his matchups the rest of the way
are pretty friendly to opposing signal callers.
SF (@HOU, @IND, TEN, CHI) – Hill’s upcoming schedule is among
the most favorable for QBs (along with Jay Cutler and Matt Hasselbeck),
so it’s a good idea to grab him now your QB has a bye week during
the impending stretch of games.
STL (IND, @DET, BYE, NO) – Bulger appears to be healthy again
and could figure into the bye week matchup mix, especially during
Week Eight in Detroit as a replacement for Tom Brady, Carson Palmer
or Ben Roethlisberger.
Scouring The Barrel
TEN (BYE, JAC, @SF, BUF) – If the Kerry Collins Era isn’t officially
over, it’s on its last legs – which ironically, are what makes
Young a fantasy-worthy addition in deeper leagues. There’s got
to be something this offense can do (in the spirit of the ubiquitous
Wildcat formation) with Young, Chris Johnson, LenDale White and
a modestly talented group of young receivers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (@CAR, HOU, BYE, @TEN) – With Trent
Edwards nursing a concussion and Fitzpatrick leading the Bills
to an unlikely win over the Jets in the Meadowlands, it appears
the backup will get the starting nod until Buffalo returns in
Week 10 in Tennessee. Keep an eye on Edwards’ status and
add Fitzie if you’re seriously downtrodden at the QB position.
David Garrard, JAC (BYE, @TEN, KC, @NYJ) – Garrad’s
QB rating has dropped in each of his last two games since Week
Four, when the Jags hosted Tennessee. He’s on a bye but
faces the Titans once again in Week Nine.
Jake Delhomme, CAR (BUF, @ARI, @NO, ATL) – The Panthers
almost exclusively ran the ball against the Bucs, and I can’t
blame them. Delhomme has minimal fantasy value right now.
Chad Henne, MIA (NO, @NYJ, @NE, TB) – Henne presents an
interesting option at QB2 in week 10, but there’s not another
decent matchup to be found until the season’s final four
Off The Top
Brown, IND (@STL, SF, HOU, NE) – He’s got a favorable schedule
and is seeing more touches, but is still available in plenty of
shallow formats. Don’t hesitate to add him and give him a start
this week at St. Louis, a team that’ll be hard pressed to prevent
Stewart, CAR (BUF, @ARI, @NO, ATL) – Stewart was listed as
questionable before Sunday’s game but saw lots of action against
the Bucs, finishing with 17 carries for 110 yards and a TD. His
backfield mate, DeAngelo Williams, dropped 152 yards and two TDs
on 30 carries and 2/20/0 receiving — making both worthy starts
in any format. Jump on Stewart and play him against the Bills
if somebody in your league got cold feet because of his lingering
Achilles injury. Just don’t expect too much from Stewart during
NO (@MIA, ATL, @CAR, @STL) – Bell ran for 34 yards on 15 carries
and scored a touchdown on fourth down on the Saints' opening drive
Sunday against the Giants. He’s not as valuable as Thomas, but
it’s clear he’ll get at least half of the goal line carries moving
Maroney, NE (@TB, BYE, MIA, @IND) – After a knee injury knocked
Sammy Morris out of the Tennessee game, Maroney took over, finishing
with 16 carries for 123 yards. The Pats have a great matchup at
Tampa Bay, so if Morris is out, Maroney should post big numbers.
Scouring The Barrel
Fargas, OAK (NYJ, @SD, BYE, KC) – If Darren McFadden misses
any additional time, Fargas could have some value, but he’s got
limited upside the rest of the way and remains a marginal FLEX
play at best even in the best matchups.
NE (@TB, BYE, MIA, @IND) – Faulk is Brady’s favorite third down
target and broke a big screen for a TD on Sunday. From here on
out, he could be worth a FLEX play in inclement weather.
Moreno, DEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @WAS) – Moreno had 18 carries
for 44 yards in Monday night’s win over the Chargers. Correll
Buckhalter had 10 rushes for 46 yards and four catches for 29
yards. Moreno has the slight edge in fantasy value in standard
leagues, but Buckhalter isn’t as far behind in PPR leagues. After
the Week Seven bye, both face three tough matchups.
Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (ARI, @PHI, SD, BYE) – Bradshaw has
at least 10 touches in each game this season, and is second in
the league in yards per carry (6.2 — only Chris Johnson
is better) among RBs with over 50 rushes. He had another good
game Sunday (10 carries for 48 yards and a TD) and would have
undoubtedly improved on those numbers had the Giants kept it close.
Leon Washington, NYJ (@OAK, MIA, BYE, JAC) – Washington
has 145 total yards and nearly broke the century mark for rushing
yardage (99 yards on 15 carries) for the third time in his career
and first time since his rookie year 2006.
Jamal Lewis, CLE (GB, @CHI, BYE, BAL) – As expected, Lewis
did little (36 total yards) on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Jerious Norwood, ATL (@DAL, @NO, WAS, @CAR) – Norwood left
Sunday night's game against the Bears with an injured right hip
during the first half.
Jamaal Charles, KC (SD, BYE, @JAC, @OAK) – Yuck. Eight total
yards against the Redskins in a nondescript 14-6 win — albeit
his team’s first of 2009.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Rice, MIN (@PIT, @GB, BYE, DET) – Rice is one of Favre’s favorite
targets and could see more targets should the injured Percy Harvin
miss any time. Rice is a solid WR2 in 12-team formats and keeps
getting better in this — his third NFL season.
WR Torry Holt, JAC (BYE, @TEN, KC, @NYJ) – Get a jump on
the competition by adding this veteran for his Week Eight matchup
in Tennessee, when he could revisit some of the numbers from his
glory days in St. Louis.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN (@PIT, @GB, BYE, DET) – Favre’s
trusty TE has already racked up five TDs this season and eight
in his last 10 games dating back to Dec. 7, 2008. He’s a
decent TE1 and could continue to score regularly — regardless
of matchup — in such a potent Viking offense.
WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG (ARI, @PHI, SD, BYE) – Nicks found
the end zone again, giving him a score in each of the last three
games he’s played in. Consider him a solid WR3/FLEX play
until that streak comes to a stop.
WR Lance Moore, NO (@MIA, ATL, @CAR, @STL) – In his first
fantasy-relevant performance since Week 17 of last season, the
undrafted Toledo product posted good numbers (6-78-1) out of the
slot. I don’t know how many more games like this he has
in him, but on such a forceful offense he should at least be owned
in all 12-team leagues.
Miller, OAK (NYJ, @SD, BYE, KC) – Miller showed once again
why he’s coveted as a great late-round TE option in fantasy drafts,
totaling 139 yards on six catches. The majority of his fantasy
production came on an 86-yard TD pass early in the game, but since
he saw a team-high 11 targets, Miller should be considered JaMarcus
Russell’s only viable receiving threat.
Scouring The Barrel
Crabtree / Josh
Morgan, SF (@HOU, @IND, TEN, CHI) – Like their QB, Crabtree
and Morgan have a favorable upcoming schedule and could resume
fantasy significance before December. Given Crabtree’s prolonged
holdout and his previous dearth of experience with the pro system,
I’m skeptical of the news that Crabtree has miraculously
passed Morgan on the depth chart. But it’s definitely a
situation to monitor, and if Crabtree’s available, you should
take a shot. Just don’t count out Morgan, who remains a
huge part of the 49ers future at WR, will get plenty of first-team
reps, and should factor in the red zone.
WR Josh Cribbs, CLE (GB, @CHI, BYE, BAL) – Cribbs emerged
with a good fantasy game last week and is probably the most dynamic
player the Browns have. He could see more involvement as the team
experiments during a difficult stretch over the next few weeks.
WR Nate Burleson, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – Just two
catches for 40 yards in Week Six, Burleson is still an effective
deep threat for the Seahawks and could put up big numbers in the
weeks following the upcoming bye.
Edwards, NYJ (@OAK, MIA, BYE, JAC) – Edwards regressed in
Week Six, posting a modest 3-40-0 line in his Meadowlands home
debut. Much of the blame can be placed on Mark Sanchez, who completed
just 10 of his 29 passes and threw five INTs — easily his worst
game as a pro.
TE Kellen Winslow, TB (NE, BYE, GB, @MIA) – The Bucs passing
game remains a weekly question mark. Winslow had just three catches
for 29 yards against the Panthers.
WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND (@STL, SF, HOU, NE) – Gonzalez
is still an iffy play for Week Seven. Since Indy should dispatch
their next three opponents pretty easily, I might even wait to
start him until the Colts face the rival Patriots in Week 10.
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (@WAS, NYG, DAL, @SD) – Maclin disappeared
from the game plan in Week Six, an obvious tactical error since
the Eagles struggled to move the football and ended up losing
to the Raiders.
WR Miles Austin, DAL (ATL, SEA, @PHI, @GB) – We’ll
see just how involved Austin is this week versus the Falcons,
but all signs point to him seeing a minimum of eight targets.
Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said Monday that Austin would
continue seeing as much playing time going forward as he did against
WR Andre Caldwell, CIN (CHI, BYE, BAL, @PIT) – Caldwell
had another decent game on Sunday, compiling 57 receiving yards
on six catches. He won’t be a fantasy standout every week,
but he’s worth considering on a matchup-to-matchup basis.
WR Mike Wallace, PIT (MIN, BYE, @DEN, CIN) – Wallace’s
last three weeks have been almost identical in terms of receptions
and yardage (2-47-0; 2-52-1; 2-50-0), but the limited number of
targets still translates to “bench player” in most
TE Anthony Fasano, MIA (NO, @NYJ, @NE, TB) – Fasano’s
forthcoming value depends largely on his performance this week
against the Saints. At this point, I’d consider him a low
end TE2 with more upside than fellow athletes at that tier.
Off The Top
LB Jonathan Vilma, NO (@MIA, ATL, @CAR, @STL) – Vilma’s
gotten off to a disappointing start, but I anticipate big numbers
from the standout MLB this week in Miami, where the Dolphins will
use their dynamic running attack to keep the Saints offense off
the field by controlling time of possession. This will give Vilma
plenty of opportunities to make plays and rack up tackles.
DL Julius Peppers, CAR (BUF, @ARI, @NO, ATL) – Peppers is
owned in just 54 percent of Yahoo IDP leagues, largely because
he’s inconsistent and many formats don’t require a
DL. This week, he’ll even have monster value in a defensive
flex spot, since the matchup against the Bills is so favorable.
He’s currently the fifth-best DL in IDP. If for some reason
he’s still on the wire in your league, you’ve got
to jump on him.
DL Richard Seymour, OAK (NYJ, @SD, BYE, KC) – Seymour had
a huge week in the win over Philly, totaling four solos, two sacks,
a forced fumble and a PD. He’s available in a majority of
IDP formats and could put up similar numbers this week at home
against the reeling Jets.
LB Dhani Jones, CIN (CHI, BYE, BAL, @PIT) – Owned in very
few fantasy leagues, Jones had his best IDP performance to date
in Week Six, posting 11 total tackles in the loss to Houston.
He could surpass those totals this week against the Bears, who
yield the most points in the league to opposing LBs.
Tillman, CHI (@CIN, CLE, ARI, @SF) – The same matchup bodes
well for Tillman, who’ll cover Chad Ochocinco and see plenty of
opportunities for tackles, PDs and even an INT. Cincy gives up
21.9 percent more fantasy points to DBs than the league average.
Scouring The Barrel
Hawthorne, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – With MLB Lofa Tatupu
out at least a couple weeks (and possibly longer) with a partially
torn chest muscle, Hawthorne should get the start after the Seahawks
return from their bye in Dallas for Week Eight. Earlier this season,
Hawthorne replaced Tatupu (who was slowed with a hamstring injury)
and played nearly two full games. In Week Three, Hawthorne had
16 tackles (15 solos), showing he has value in Tatupu’s stead.
DB C.C. Brown, NYG (ARI, @PHI, SD, BYE) –Brown had 13 tackles
(12 solos) Sunday during the Giants drubbing in New Orleans. He
figures to be the best Giants DB in IDP formats moving forward
and could have another big week versus the Cards, who will likely
attack the Giants in similar fashion.
Williams, DEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @WAS) – RILB Williams posted
five total tackls, a sack and a forced fumble against the Chargers
and played effectively in tandem with Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos
DB Josh Wilson, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – Wilson had
six solos on Sunday but failed to register a PD or any junk points.
He did handle one kick return, though, which is good to see.
LB Aaron Curry, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – Five total
tackles and a PD versus the Cards. Curry’s up to 37 total
tackles, two sacks, two FF and two PD on the season, impressive
numbers for a rookie who wasn’t expected to be so involved
from the WLB position.
DL Cliff Avril, DET (BYE, STL, @SEA, @MIN) – Avril had seven
total tackles (six solos) and a sack on Sunday in Green Bay, the
best IDP performance of his young career. I guess I hit this one
on the nose.
DL Jimmy Wilkerson, TB (NE, BYE, GB, @MIA) – Wilkerson had
four tackles but didn’t register a sack. Look for him to
resume significant IDP value in Week Nine versus the Packers.
LB Calvin Pace, NYJ (@OAK, MIA, BYE, JAC) – Seven solos
versus the Bills, but no garbage points. Still, it’s a quality
start from a talented defender in just his second game back. Pace
is a marginal LB3 and quality LB4 going forward.