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Through The Wire - Week 16
12/21/10 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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.

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 exceptional production.

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

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

Note: Each player’s next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()


Off The Top

Jon Kitna, DAL (@ARI, @PHI) – I admit, I was wrong about Kitna, who’s been a solid replacement for Tony Romo this season. Since the Week 8 debacle versus the Jags, the 38-year-old journeyman has thrown for 10 TDs and just four INTs. The Cardinals suck, so expect decent numbers this weekend.

Jason Campbell, OAK (IND, @KC) – Campbell still makes head-scratching mistakes, but he’s loaded with speedy, shifty weapons out of the backfield. These Oakland guys have big-play potential and a nose for the endzone, making Campbell a decent play in two-QB formats.

Digging Deeper

Tim Tebow, DEN (@MIA, MIN) – Tebow’s talent is hard to dismiss. He looked okay against the Raiders, and it appears he’s locked down the job for the final two games. He should be owned in all keeper leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

Rex Grossman, WAS (@JAC, NYG) – Nobody could have anticipated a 322-yard, four-TD outing versus Dallas, but it happened, and Rex almost pulled off a win to boot. The Redskins have some tough questions to answer heading into 2011, but Rex should be fine to start in a pinch during the final couple weeks.


Josh Freeman, TB (SEA, @NO) – Freeman had another solid outing with 251 passing yards and a TD, while rushing for 29 yards. The visiting Lions escaped with a win, but Freeman has shown to be a capable fill-in fantasy starter who protects the football.

Kerry Collins, TEN (@KC, @IND) – The Titans beat Houston and Collins finished with 237-2-1. He’s not a wise play the next couple weeks.

Matt Flynn, GB (NYG, CHI) – Flynn impressed on Sunday night (251-3-1) but lost a fumble and couldn’t pull off a victory with the clock as his enemy in the final moments. Keep an eye on Aaron Rodgers’ status for Week 16.

Running Backs

Off The Top

LeGarrette Blount, TB (SEA, @NO) – He’s been up and down this season, but the rookie is coming off another solid day and primed for a huge outing in Week 16 against the Seahawks – a defense that’s among the worst in the league at limiting fantasy RBs.

Digging Deeper

Toby Gerhart, MIN (@PHI, @DET) – Adrian Peterson owners might not have too many options at this point, so if “All Day” is inactive again in Week 16 (and why would they risk starting him if he’s not 100 percent?), Gerhart (19 percent owned) might be the best available replacement.

Scouring The Barrel

Derrick Ward, HOU (@DEN, JAC) – If Foster (hip, ankle, butt soreness) can’t go on Sunday, Ward is a viable fill-in based on the matchup in Denver. The Texans don’t have much to gain from forcing their star RB back into unnecessary action. Ward is versatile and capable of a big day in Week 16.


Tim Hightower, ARI (DAL, @SF) – Hightower’s production has been erratic all season, and he finished Sunday’s pathetic tilt against Carolina just 28 total yards richer. Forget this guy.

Ryan Torain, WAS (@JAC, NYG) – Torain entered Sunday as a question mark but finished with over 100 total yards and a TD against a tough Dallas run defense.

Rashad Jennings, JAC (WAS, @HOU) – For the first time in three weeks, Jennings didn’t find pay dirt, but his 7-64-0 receiving (he had just 13 rushing yards) helped make him a decent PPR play.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Vincent Jackson, SD (@CIN, DEN) – If you’re lucky enough to see him languishing on the wire this week, he’s a top option. Coming off a three-TD performance on Thursday night, Jackson should be rested and ready to light up the scoreboard. The Chargers are desperate for a win and there’s not doubt they’ll be throwing the ball in his direction at Cincinnati.

WR Mario Manningham, NYG (@GB, @WAS) – Manningham looked totally recovered from a hip injury that forced him out of Week 15, and with Hakeem Nicks drawing most of the Eagles DBs’ attention, the young WR had a game-high eight catches for 113 yards with a pair of TDs on Sunday. He’s a solid play at Green Bay this week.

Digging Deeper

WR Jacoby Ford, OAK (IND, @KC) – Not trusting Ford has cost plenty of fantasy owners this season. He’s not going to put up great numbers every week, but his big-play explosiveness (like his 71-yard TD run in Week 15) warrants starting lineup inclusion in 12-team, 3-WR leagues. I’ll risk a two-point day (which can happen to the best WRs in any given week) to get one of those monster performances.

WR James Jones, GB (NYG, CHI) – Jones (16 percent owned) went for 5-95-1 on Sunday night and seems to work well with Matt Flynn. Keep him in consideration for your WR3 slot in Week 16.

Scouring The Barrel

TE Jimmy Graham, NO (@ATL, TB) – Graham is one of the best young TEs in football and is a more sure-handed receiver than Jeremy Shockey. The fledgling Saint had a couple TD receptions last week, is a decent play during the next two weeks, and is a must-own in keeper leagues.

WR Josh Morgan, SF (@STL, ARI) – He saw nine targets on Thursday night and converted those opportunities into 7-105-0. For a guy who’s available in 95 percent of leagues, he’s got decent matchups the last couple weeks and the ability to post big numbers.


WR Deion Branch, NE (@BUF, MIA) – He had an off week (2-33-0), but should respond with a big day against the Bills in Week 16. Brady and the Pats still have to clinch a first-round bye.

WR Earl Bennett, CHI (NYJ, @GB) – Despite a monster performance from Jay Cutler, Bennett was relatively quiet with 3-37-0. He’s a marginal WR4 at best against the Jets.

WR Brandon Gibson, STL (SF, @SEA) – I got a bit too excited about Gibson heading into Sunday and started him at WR3 in a 12-team league semifinal, losing by a handful of points because I couldn’t commit to Percy Harvin at the Sunday 1 PM roster deadline. Gibson had 3-29-0 but couldn’t help me out with a TD.

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL (NO, CAR) – Arrgh. Had I started Jenkins (3-48-1) as my plug-n-play instead of Gibson, I would have walked away with a win.


Off The Top

LB Lance Briggs, CHI (NYJ, @GB) – Briggs had a nice game on Monday night, posting seven total tackles and a sack. He’s got favorable matchups the next two weeks and is still available in over half of IDP leagues. You know where I played Brandon Gibson and lost? I also could’ve earned a win if I’d played Briggs over Tyvon Branch (five solos) in one of my D-flex spots. Hindsight is a bitch, isn’t it?

Digging Deeper

DB Craig Dahl, STL (SF, @SEA) – Dahl, an emerging ballhawk, has 31 solos, a sack, two PDs and two INTs in his last four games. He’s a reliable tackler and could have another pick or two over the next couple weeks facing the 49ers and Seahawks.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Jeremy Mincey, JAC (WAS, @HOU) – The defensive replacement for Aaron Kampman had a quiet Week 15 but scores a couple nice matchups the final two games – the Redskins and Texans. I’m guessing he’ll post five tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble against the Redskins.


LB Shaun Phillips, SD (@CIN, DEN) – While Kevin Burnett had the better day among the Chargers LBs with eight tackles and a sack, Phillips didn’t disappoint, posting four tackles and a sack. He’s now up to 11 sacks on the season.

DL Kyle Williams, BUF (NE, @NYJ) – Williams started off hot against the Dolphins with five first-half solos but was stuck on that number when the final gun went off. He’s still a fine DL1 in most formats.

DB Abram Elam, CLE (BAL, PIT) – T.J. Ward finished with 10 tackles and a PD, while Elam (the odd safety out this game) had just three solos and a PD.