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 ()
Welcome to another year of “Through the Wire.” I’ve
got what fantasy owners crave (not electroloytes), so let’s
get to it!
Off The Top
Orton, DEN (SEA, IND, @TEN, @BAL) – The next few matchups
aren’t all that favorable given the opposing teams’ Week 1 performances
against the pass, but you have to like the multiple receiving
threats that have emerged for Orton. Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney
and Brandon Lloyd are all capable performers and the Broncos will
be throwing the ball a ton.
Young, TEN (PIT, @NYG, DEN, @DAL) – Young seems to have matured
radically in the past year, and Chris Johnson’s presence opens
up the passing game dramatically. This makes Young a solid QB2
with upside in favorable matchups.
Garrard, JAC (@SD, PHI, IND, @BUF) – I took Garrard with my
final pick as a third QB in one league, and I’m miffed I didn’t
run him out there over Matt Ryan on Sunday. He’s worth considering
now that he’s got a viable WR2 in Mike Thomas.
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (@DEN, SD, @STL, BYE) – I don’t
know anybody who started Hasselbeck against the vaunted 49ers
defense, but he exploited that unit for a couple TDs (albeit with
just 170 passing yards). The next few matchups could mean even
Anderson, ARI (@ATL, OAK, @SD, NO) – Anderson isn’t the most
polished signal caller in the league, but he has good rapport
with Steve Breaston, even if he struggled to connect with Larry
Fitzgerald (who looked awfully frustrated with some of his bad
throws). He’s worth a stash in deeper leagues.
Sam Bradford, STL (@OAK, WAS, SEA, @DET) – The rookie wasn’t
bad in the season opener, but his offense clearly doesn’t
have a lot of playmakers. Still – there are a couple decent
matchups worth examining on the 2010 schedule, and if he can cut
down on turnovers and quicken his learning curve, he’ll
be a worthy asset in keeper leagues.
Scouring The Barrel
Josh Freeman, TB (@CAR, PIT, BYE, @CIN) – Freeman gets
no love in the fantasy community, but he’s been a quick
study and doesn’t make a ton of mistakes. I’ve rostered
him in a couple leagues based on my starting QB’s bye weeks.
Vick, PHI (@DET, @JAC, WAS, @SF) – Not the same QB he was
before the dogfighting debacle, but clearly a fantasy star given
the right circumstances. He had over 100 rushing yards on Sunday
to go along with a passable performance through the air. Stay
tuned to Kevin Kolb’s status and the Philly depth chart as the
season wears on. Vick might even be a nice spot play at Detroit
Hill, DET (PHI, @MIN, @GB, STL) – There’s no early word on
how much time Matthew Stafford will miss, but he’s meeting with
the infamous Dr. James Andrews to treat his separated throwing
shoulder, which apparently doesn’t need surgery. Hill has his
moments, but he’s a “wait-and-see” type of fantasy pickup.
Off The Top
McFadden, OAK (STL, @ARI, HOU, SD) – He’s owned in just 50
percent of Yahoo! Leagues and had a monster Week 1 (18 carries
for 95 rushing yards, 6/55/1 receiving). Most amazingly, McFadden
saw nine targets out of the backfield and could be in line for
another big week – even if Michael Bush gets back on the field.
Peyton Hillis, CLE (KC, @BAL, CIN, ATL) – The yin to Jerome
Harrison’s yang, Hillis stole some goal line work and snagged
a TD in Week 1. He’ll be a solid RB3 in TD-only leagues
and PPR leagues and could see more touches if he keeps getting
the job done.
Taylor, NE (@NYJ, BUF, @MIA, BYE) – Taylor has 14 carries
for 71 yards on Sunday, but the crowded Patriots backfield – and
Tom Brady’s tendency to throw the ball when near the goal line
– prevents him from being more than an RB4 or desperation flex
Kevin Faulk, NE (@NYJ, BUF, @MIA, BYE) – Faulk is probably
the more valuable option in PPR leagues, since he’s such
a clutch third down back. Don’t expect any 100-yard days,
but 75 total yards and the occasional score isn’t out of
reach given the right matchup – and the Jets pose a possibility
next week for extensive use.
Scouring The Barrel
Jackson, GB (BUF, @CHI, DET, @WAS) – Ryan Grant says the ankle
injury id no big deal, but suffice to say Jackson is a must-add
if he misses any time, which it looks like he will – at least
a couple weeks, according to reports. Editor's
Note: Ryan Grant is out for the year making Jackson
a high waiver wire priority.
Javon Ringer, TEN (PIT, @NYG, DEN, @DAL) – Ringer made the
most of his five carries Sunday, rushing for a 15-yard TD and
totaling 33 yards. He’s capable of filling in with RB2 numbers
if anything happens to Chris Johnson.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Collie, IND (NYG, @DEN, @JAC, KC) – Collie blew up for 10/131/1
on Sunday, capitalizing on the 11 times Manning targeted him.
He should be owned in all leagues, and will challenge Pierre Garcon
for the second-best WR numbers in the Indy offense.
Massaquoi, CLE (KC, @BAL, CIN, ATL) – Massaquoi got off to
a good start with a big 41-yard TD reception, and along with Jerome
Harrison remains one of the two big playmakers in the Cleveland
offense. If he can develop some consistency running routes and
catching balls, he’ll be a viable WR3.
Williams, TB (@CAR, PIT, BYE, @CIN) – The rookie from Syracuse
is clearly Josh Freeman’s favorite target, totaling 5-30-I on
9 targets on Sunday. He and Kellen Winslow are the biggest threats
in the Bucs offense, and they’ll be solid fantasy performers in
WR Nate Washington, TEN (PIT, @NYG, DEN, @DAL) – Washington
has emerged as the Titans’ premier aerial threat based on
his big play capabilities. Like the aforementioned Young, his
numbers will benefit from teams loading up to stop Johnson.
WR Mark Clayton, STL (@OAK, WAS, SEA, @DET) – Bradford was
obviously happy to have a veteran receiver added to the mix, and
Clayton responded by hauling in 10 of the 16 balls thrown his
way for 119 yards. Clayton was more of a occasional big-play guy
than a possession receiver in Baltimore, but he could be a standout
fantasy performer if he’s getting this many targets.
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN (BAL, @CAR, @CLE, TB) – I don’t
remember the last time a Bengals TE saw 10 targets, but that’s
exactly what happened to Gresham on Sunday, when the rookie totaled
6-25-1. He won’t be available on the waiver wire for long,
so add him while you can.
Scouring The Barrel
Thomas, JAC (@SD, PHI, IND, @BUF) – Thomas definitely takes
some of the heat off Sims-Walker, who was shadowed in Week 1 by
Champ Bailey and effectively thwarted. He was the best Jags receiver
in camp and should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Lloyd, DEN (SEA, IND, @TEN, @BAL) – Lloyd was once a darling
of the fantasy community, but attitude problems relegated him
to bust status. His resurrection in Denver could pose big problems
for opposing defenses, and man big things for deep-league fantasy
Lewis, JAC (@SD, PHI, IND, @BUF) – Sure, he had two catches
for two scores, but they were also his only two targets. He’ll
definitely be an asset in TD-only leagues, but PPR owners shouldn’t
anticipate repeat numbers.
Off The Top
Connor, CAR (TB, CIN, @NO, CHI) – Connor, the Panthers MLB,
plays well off WLB Jon Beason and finished with 10 solos and 3
assists against the Giants. Unlike most MLBs, he’s not the IDP
start of the defense, but he’s certainly a Tier 3 LB with upside
because of the tackle opportunities he’ll see.
DL Kyle Vanden Bosch, DET (PHI, @MIN, @GB, STL) – Vanden
Bosch was a DL wrecking crew for Detroit on Sunday (10 solos,
1 assist). When the sacks start happening, he’ll really
be a point machine. From 2005-07 with the Titans, he was among
the best DL in the IDP world. Let’s hope he’s resurrected
some of that magic.
DB Michael Griffin, TEN (PIT, @NYG, DEN, @DAL) – Griffin
is the biggest tackle threat on a Tennessee defense that lets
an awful lot of runners slip into the secondary. He had a big
day Sunday (10 solos, 2 assists) and is probably a Tier 2 DB going
LB Derrick Johnson, KC (@CLE, SF, BYE, @IND) – Johnson has
emerged as the only relevant LB on Kansas City. He posted double-digit
solos this Monday night and plays on every down.
Phillips, NYG (@IND, TEN, CHI, @HOU) – Phillips is healthy
and making a huge impact, preventing a DeAngelo Williams TD with
a solid tackle on Sunday. He’s worth considering in IDP leagues.
Parker, PHI (@DET, @JAC, WAS, @SF) – Parker is a great counterpart
to tweener Trent Cole, who mans the other side of the Eagles’
effective pass rush. He’s good against the run, had a couple sacks
on Sunday and could easily reach double digits this year.
Scouring The Barrel
Thomas, NYJ (NE, @MIA, @BUF, MIN) – Thomas was a one-man gang
for the Jets on Monday night, and should be especially effective
in blitz packages. Bart Scott is more of a coverage guy, but Thomas
has been defending the run and going after the QB.
DL Charles Johnson, CAR (TB, CIN, @NO, CHI) – Johnson is
solid against the run and should get to opposing QBs at an alarming
rate this season. He didn’t have a sack in Week 1, but four
solos is a good sign. He’s worth adding in deep leagues.