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. These are sometimes players available only in more
shallow leagues, and occasionally guys who are more readily but
are thrust into the fantasy spotlight because of opportunity or
Digging Deeper - Covers the next
tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available
in a majority of online leagues. There are a lot of gems in this
range who can be plucked rather easily.
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
in. Make sure you read the fine print.
Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 30-40 players
I covered the previous week. It’s the most accurate, comprehensive
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 ()
I’m adding a fifth matchup to the upcoming games so you can
see the remainder of the 2010 schedule.
Off The Top
Cassel, KC (DEN, @SD, @STL, TEN, OAK) – He’s still available
in over a quarter of fantasy leagues. With Dwayne Bowe playing
like a healthy Andre Johnson, that shouldn’t be the case. Cassel
has 10 TD passes in his last three games.
Josh Freeman, TB (ATL, @WAS, DET, SEA, @NO) – The upcoming
schedule has a couple tough opponents, but weeks 14-16 will be
a cakewalk for Freeman, who’s a really good second-half
QB. He’s worth looking at during that stretch.
Sam Bradford, STL (@ARI, @NO, KC, SF, @SEA) – Bradford seems
to be able to work with whatever receivers are available, and
that’s a good sign. Coming off his best game as a pro (308
yards and three TD passes), Bradford enters a relatively easy
five-game schedule to close out the season.
Scouring The Barrel
Kerry Collins, TEN (JAC, IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – Collins
could get the start on Sunday with the Titans desperate for a
win. I’m not sure he’s 100 percent yet, but anything’s
better than what they’ve been doing on their current losing
Jimmy Clausen, CAR (@SEA, ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – The schedule
looks pretty good, but don’t let that fool you. Clausen
is not ready to hold the reins of an NFL offense. If the Panthers
can figure out a way to get Steve Smith the ball, Clausen could
pick up some confidence and start producing.
Fitzpatrick, BUF (@MIN, CLE, @MIA, NE, @NYJ) – Fitzpatrick
got robbed when Steve Johnson dropped a sure TD in OT, but he
looked good facing one of the leagues’ best defenses (265 passing
yards, TD, INT).
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (CAR, @SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – He turned
it over three times (two INT, one fumble), but tossed for 282
yards and two scores.
Rusty Smith, TEN (JAC, IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – Smith doesn’t
look like an NFL quarterback yet. Expect to see Kerry Collins
this week versus the Jaguars.
Off The Top
Jones, DAL (@IND, PHI, WAS, @ARI, @PHI) – Jones is still available
in over a quarter of fantasy leagues, and with Marion Barber out
at least a couple weeks, he’s a perfect addition at RB3. He’s
still got the ability to take it to the house from anywhere.
Mike Goodson, CAR (@SEA, ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – Goodson
(400 total yards in his last three games) continues to post solid
numbers – and this week he faces one of the worst defenses
in football. After that, you might have a couple more opportunities
to play him, but I wouldn’t press my luck.
Brian Westbrook, SF (@GB, SEA, @SD, @STL, ARI) – With Frank
Gore likely done for the year with a broken hip and Westbrook
getting most of the work on Monday night, the former Eagle is
the undisputed add of the week in most formats.
Toby Gerhart, MIN (BUF, NYG, CHI, @PHI, @DET) – Adrian Peterson’s
ankle injury may not be serious, but owners can’t afford
to take that chance. If you’re a Peterson owner, this is
a no-brainer, and it’s a nice speculative add for Gore owners
who miss out on Westbrook and Dixon.
Anthony Dixon, SF (@GB, SEA, @SD, @STL, ARI) – Westbrook
has a spotted past when it comes to injuries, so many owners will
opt for the younger Dixon. I still like Westy, but both backs
will see action from here on out.
Scouring The Barrel
Tashard Choice, DAL (@IND, PHI, WAS, @ARI, @PHI) – Jones
won’t be the only RB toting the rock in Big D. Choice is
a talented back with plenty of tools for NFL success.
Tolbert, SD (OAK, KC, SF, @CIN, @DEN) – Tolbert got it done
yet again (118 total yards, TD) and remains a solid RB3 with enormous
upside. I can’t imagine Ryan Mathews stealing his job even if
the rookie finally gets healthy.
Danny Woodhead, NE (NYJ, @CHI, GB, @BUF, MIA) – The Law
Firm produced a lot more on Thanksgiving, but Woodhead still has
some value as a third RB/flex play in deeper formats.
Keiland Williams, WAS (@NYG, TB, @DAL, @JAC, NYG) – Williams
provided a few points for PPR owners, but 26 total yards, the
uncertainty that surrounds the depth chart and Mike Shanahan’s
whimsy mean he’s lost most, if not all, of his latent value
heading into Week 12.
Maurice Morris, DET (CHI, GB, @TB, @MIA, MIN) – Morris scored
twice in the loss to the Pats and appears to have a stronghold
on the starting gig in Detroit – although the upcoming schedule
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
TE Brent Celek, PHI (HOU, @DAL, @NYG, MIN, DAL) – Celek
is still a big-play tight end with plenty of upside, and the next
couple weeks could provide opportunities for the Eagles to get
him the ball even more.
Gaffney, DEN (@KC, @ARI, @OAK, HOU, SD) – After Brandon Lloyd,
he’s the best receiver on the team, and it’s high time defenses
start shrouding Lloyd in double coverage – freeing up Gaffney
for a big day.
WR Eddie Royal, DEN (@KC, @ARI, @OAK, HOU, SD) – If Gaffney’s
2A, then Royal’s clearly the 2B receiver in this offense.
With Orton heaving the pill so much, it’s a fine time to
own Broncos’ wideouts.
WR Deion Branch, NE (NYJ, @CHI, GB, @BUF, MIA) – Branch
caught two TD passes on Thanksgiving and is a solid risk/reward
option from here on out. His rapport with Brady makes him a solid
WR2 with major upside, and he’s available in over two-thirds
WR Danny Amendola, STL (@ARI, @NO, KC, SF, @SEA) – Bradford
just lost his starting TE, and Amendola (who had 89 total yards
on Sunday) has been a frequent target in the red zone.
WR Nate Burleson, DET (CHI, GB, @TB, @MIA, MIN) – I love
Burleson as the secondary option in Detroit, but he’s going
to have to hang onto the football and gain some yards after the
catch. He’s been a solid WR3 this season.
Shipley, CIN (NO, @PIT, CLE, SD, @BAL) – Shipley has 10 catches
for 109 and a TD in his last two games and is being targeted a
lot more by Carson Palmer.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Jacoby Ford, OAK (@SD, @JAC, DEN, IND, @KC) – Ford’s
explosiveness is undeniable, and his ability to find pay dirt
for a team that’s struggling is enough of a reason to add-and-plug
him in at WR3 or flex.
Graham, NO (@CIN, STL, @BAL, @ATL, TB) – Graham’s got all
the tools to be a successful tight end and Jeremy Shockey could
miss additional action. I’ve added Graham in a couple leagues,
and he’s a must-have in deep keeper formats.
WR Santonio Holmes, NYJ (@NE, MIA, @PIT, @CHI, BUF) – Another
win, another TD (5-44-1). Holmes is the Jets receiver to own in
WR Robert Meachem, NO (@CIN , STL, @BAL, @ATL, TB) – Meachem
didn’t explode on Thanksgiving as predicted, but he’s
still a decent WR3/4.
Hagan, NYG (WAS, @MIN, PHI, @GB, @WAS) – Hagan was relatively
quiet on Sunday (2-21-0) but appears to still be a large part
of the Giants’ game plan with Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith still
White, IND (DAL, @TEN, JAC, @OAK, TEN) – White (4-34-1) was
one of the only Colts you should have started on Sunday night,
along with Jacob Tamme.
TE Joel Dreessen, HOU (@PHI, BAL, @TEN, @DEN, JAC) – He
caught three passes for 15 yards and a TD but was limited in practice
Monday with a knee injury.
Obomanu, SEA (CAR, @SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – I ended up sitting
Obamanu (5-159-1) for Santana Moss in one format and lost because
of it. When he caught that 87-yard TD pass, it was like getting
punched in the junk.
WR Donald Jones, BUF (@MIN, CLE, @MIA, NE, @NYJ) – Jones
caught just 2-17-0 during Sunday’s devastating OT loss to
Off The Top
DB Terrell Thomas, NYG (WAS, @MIN, PHI, @GB, @WAS) – Thomas
is on the short list of cornerbacks I implicitly trust in IDP.
He’s shown the ability to make tackles, beak up passes and
get his hands on the football – and he’s had a big
hand in a couple of my IDP wins this season.
DL Jason Babin, TEN (JAC, IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – Babin is
one of the better all-around defensive linemen in the AFC and
he’s seeing a lot of action as the Tennessee offense struggles.
Get him in your lineup this week facing the Jags.
DB Earl Thomas, SEA (CAR, @SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – Thomas
has a nose for the football and is playing like a veteran DB.
As a rookie, he’s the best player on the defense; without
him the Seahawks would probably give up another score per game.
I like his chances for a couple big plays in Week 13.
LB Dhani Jones, CIN (NO, @PIT, CLE, SD, @BAL) – Jones is
the Bengals leading tackler and should continue to make a bunch
of stops in the upcoming games. He’s a reliable MLB but
is widely ignored for whatever reason, so make sure you add him
if your LBs have been inconsistent this season.
Scouring The Barrel
DL Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG (WAS, @MIN, PHI, @GB, @WAS) –
The rookie lineman had a huge game (eight total tackles, 2.0 sacks,
two forced fumbles) on Sunday and gets a nice matchup for Week
13. He should be owned in all IDP keeper leagues.
LB David Hawthorne, SEA (CAR, @SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – It
looks like the Hawthorne from 2009 is back. With double-digit
tackles in two of his last three games (and 13 on Sunday), it’s
high time you get this guy in your lineup again.
LB Stewart Bradley, PHI (HOU, @DAL, @NYG, MIN, DAL) – Bradley
had just five tackles on Sunday, but all of them were solos.
DL Charles Johnson, CAR (@SEA, ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – For
the second straight game, Johnson recorded a sack. He added five
solos and now has 19 tackles (18 solos) in his last three.
DB Abram Elam, CLE (@MIA, @BUF, @CIN, BAL, PIT) – Elam posted
seven tackles (six solos) and 2.0 sacks on Sunday for his second
consecutive week with awesome IDP numbers. He’s coming on
LB Kevin Bentley, HOU (@PHI, BAL, @TEN, @DEN, JAC) – The
Titans never got their ground game going and Bentley finished
with just four total tackles.
DL Antwan Odom, CIN (NO, @PIT, CLE, SD, @BAL) – I never
said he’d be an immediate payoff, but I expected more than
one solo on Thursday night. Stay tuned.