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Through The Wire - Week 9
11/2/10 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

Matt Cassel, KC (@OAK, @DEN, ARI, @SEA) – I sincerely hope the Chiefs acquire Randy Moss, because it’s a move that could put them over the top in the AFC West. Cassel would love being reunited with his former go-to guy and expanding on what has become solid statistical output. Cassel also hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 3, when he shredded the 49ers for 250 yards and 3 TDs.

Digging Deeper

Josh Freeman, TB (@ATL, CAR, @SF, @BAL) – Freeman has only had one real stinker of a performance, and it came against the Steelers. He’s capable of a huge game unless the matchup is wholly oppressive, and he’s showing to be an efficient, strong-armed QB. Last week, he completed 18 of 25 passes for 278 yards and a TD.

Scouring The Barrel

David Garrard, JAC (BYE, HOU, CLE, @NYG) – While it wasn’t difficult to envision an upset in Big-D, not too many folks saw a five-touchdown performance coming from Garrard against the Cowboys. With his team on a bye, you’ll have to wait to deploy him, but he’s got some decent fantasy matchups starting in Week 10.


Mark Sanchez, NYJ (@DET, @CLE, HOU, CIN) – The upcoming schedule is favorable, but that hideous game against the Packers probably means the Jets offense will go back to pounding the ball with LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene.

Matthew Stafford, DET (NYJ, @BUF, @DAL, NE) – Stafford’s chemistry with Calvin Johnson is undeniable. The two hooked up for three TDs on Sunday, and Stafford finished with 212 yards, four TDs and one INT in his first game back from a shoulder injury.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (CHI, DET, @CIN, PIT) – The Bills passing game took a while to get going, but Fitzpatrick eventually surpassed the 200-yard mark and threw a TD to Steve Johnson, salvaging his day for fantasy owners. The schedule shows some tough opponents on the way, but the Bills will likely be playing from behind and throwing the ball plenty.

Jon Kitna, DAL (@GB, @NYG, DET, NO) – Kitna was a bit unlucky on Sunday, throwing four INTs. He did total 379 yards on 34-for-49 passing and tossed one TD. The Cowboys are hopeless right now, so you could see a few more performances like this.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Ricky Williams, MIA (@BAL, TEN, CHI, @OAK) – Ricky finally found the end zone in last week’s win over Cincinnati and should see more touches in the coming weeks. At this point in the season, the pickings are slim on most waiver wires (especially when it comes to RBs) but Williams could provide a late spark to your squad.

Digging Deeper

Mike Tolbert, SD (@HOU, BYE, DEN, @IND) – With TDs in five straight games, Tolbert has emerged as the goal line back for the Chargers and the best option between the 20s as Ryan Mathews has been a major disappointment. If somebody dropped him, he’s worth a pickup in all formats.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE (@CLE, @PIT, IND, @DET) – “The Law Firm” had another monster day (123 total yards and two TDs), this time against a decent Vikings defense. He’s got some competition for carries, as he’s yet to crack 20 rushes in a single game, but he’s making do with his opportunities and putting up RB2 numbers.

Scouring The Barrel

Kevin Smith, DET (NYJ, @BUF, @DAL, NE) – While Jahvid Best is the starter in Detroit, Smith ran well in Week 8 and could see more touches going forward. Smith had 51 yards on 12 carries, and two catches for 16 yards. He was once a highly coveted fantasy chip and his 2009 season only ended because of torn knee ligaments, so there’s no reason to dismiss this performance as a fluke.


Fred Jackson, BUF (CHI, DET, @CIN, PIT) – The Bills offense continues to feature Jackson, but he’s struggling to find running room. He once again cracked 20 touches, but managed only 64 yards in the 13-10 overtime loss to the Chiefs.

Brandon Jackson, GB (DAL, BYE, @MIN, @ATL) – Jackson wasn’t terrible against the Jets, but he only ran for 55 yards on 15 carries, marking the sixth time in eight games he ran for less than 60 yards. He also had two catches for 17 yards but gets the Cowboys this week. The Packers would be smart to approach this game much like the tilt with New York and get Jackson the ball at least 15-20 times.

Darren Sproles, SD (@HOU, BYE, DEN, @IND) –Sproles found the end zone for the first time this season in Week 8, running over a defender en route to a 13-yard touchdown reception from QB Philip Rivers in the fourth quarter. He finished with 77 yards from scrimmage and a boatload of return yardage.

LeGarrette Blount, TB (@ATL, CAR, @SF, @BAL) – Blount’s late-game, defender-hurdling 48-yard gain was the highlight of the week. His overall numbers were also striking: 22 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Although he’s still available in a few leagues, last week was the time to jump on him. I hope you heeded my advice.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Steve Breaston, ARI (@MIN, SEA, @KC, SF) – Breaston just got back after missing three games because of arthroscopic knee surgery and he didn’t disappoint. The shifty receiver caught eight passes for a career-high 147 yards against Tampa Bay; was targeted 11 times and even had a 14-yard run. He clearly has better rapport with Derek Anderson than diva WR Larry Fitzgerald and makes an excellent pickup now that he’s healthy.

WR Mike Williams, TB (@ATL, CAR, @SF, @BAL) – Though he hadn’t surpassed 100 yards receiving until Week 8, Williams caught four passes for a career-high 105 yards and a TD in the win over Arizona. He now has four touchdowns and 470 yards on the year and is Freeman’s favorite. He makes a lot of tough grabs and should be owned in all 12-team formats.

Digging Deeper

WR Nate Washington, TEN (BYE, @MIA, WAS, @HOU) – Washington is the Titans deep threat receiver now that Kenny Britt has been sidelined indefinitely. On Sunday, he blew up for 117 yards and a TD.

TE Tony Moeaki, KC (@OAK, @DEN, ARI, @SEA) – He hasn’t been in the end zone since Week 3, but I’m counting on his next few matchups for a couple scores. With so many top TEs on the shelf or on bye, you could do a lot worse in deeper leagues.

WR Brandon Tate, NE (@CLE, @PIT, IND, @DET) – Tate finally scored his first offensive touchdown of the season and gave us a glimpse of his potential - though not to many of us had him starting. He finished with three receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in the 28-18 victory and should get more looks now that Brady knows he’s capable of filling the Randy Moss role. Just watch out for the Pats reacquiring Moss, because that kills his fantasy value.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, OAK (KC, BYE, @PIT, MIA) – I’m not going to say that Al Davis is a genius, because he’s more sea monster than genius but if Heyward-Bey can run his routes cleanly and catch the ball like he did in Week 8 (5-105-1), he’ll be a huge weapon for the Raiders. The speedster also rushed for 30 yards on Sunday.

WR Jordy Nelson, GB (DAL, BYE, @MIN, @ATL) – Nelson caught five passes for 55 yards in Sunday's win over the Jets, and as long as Donald Driver’s quad keeps barking and James Jones is dropping passes, Nelson has sneaky fantasy value.


WR Dez Bryant, DAL (@GB, @NYG, DET, NO) – Bryant did not find the end zone in the Week 8 loss, but did finish with seven catches for 84 yards.

WR Kenny Britt, TEN (BYE, @MIA, WAS, @HOU) – Britt’s right hamstring injury should keep him out a while. Washington is the appropriate add.

WR Steve Johnson, BUF (CHI, DET, @CIN, PIT) – Johnson has caught at least one touchdown pass in each of the Bills’ last five games, matching the club record. He led the team in targets on Sunday with 10, and finished with 5-37-1 – another solid outing.

WR Davone Bess, MIA (@BAL, TEN, CHI, @OAK) – Bess is starting to turn a lot more heads and remains one of the more consistent fantasy W3s you’ll find. In his first game as the starter on Sunday, Bess caught seven passes for 53 yards; he’s an excellent guy to own in PPR leagues.

TE Brandon Pettigrew, DET (NYJ, @BUF, @DAL, NE) – Stafford tossed Pettigrew a short TD pass but won’t be as involved now that the franchise QB is back. Week 10 poses a good matchup, but I wouldn’t start him against the Jets.

WR Blair White, IND (@PHI, CIN, @NE, SD) – The return of Anthony Gonzalez ruined the Blair White Project.

WR David Gettis, CAR (NO, @TB, BAL, @CLE) – Gettis did not record a catch and lost 11 yards on one carry. Brandon LaFell might be the better add.


Off The Top

LB Paris Lenon, ARI (@MIN, SEA, @KC, SF) – Lenon has 54 tackles on the year, two interceptions and a sack, and he forced a fumble in Week 8. He’s got a favorable matchup this week against a Vikings team that will likely focus on pounding Adrian Peterson down the Cards throats.

DB Quintin Mikell, PHI (IND, @WAS, NYG, @CHI) – Mikell is among the best safeties in the league and will see plenty of tackle opportunities against the Colts in Week 9. He’s still available in a ton of IDP formats.

Digging Deeper

LB Zach Diles, HOU (SD, @JAC, @NYJ, TEN) – Diles had 10 tackles last week from the WLB spot, as Brian Cushing moved to the middle to replace DeMeco Ryans. While Cushing struggled to make an impact as the defensive quarterback, Diles flourished. He’s among the better weakside LB options in the game.

DB Marcus Trufant, SEA (NYG, @ARI, @NO, KC) – Marcus hasn’t been that magnificent so far in 2010, and the Giants won’t shy away from testing him during their Week 9 game. I’m going out on a limb and predicting Top 10 DB numbers for Trufant this week.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Scott Fujita, CLE (NE, NYJ, @JAC, CAR) – Fujita has one of the best matchups among sleeper LBs this week. Look for better than average tackle totals, but without some of the big plays that have propelled him onto rosters in 10 percent of IDP leagues.

DL Kyle Williams, BUF (CHI, DET, @CIN, PIT) – Williams was questionable with an ankle injury on Sunday and responded with nine tackles and 2.0 sacks. He should be owned in all formats that require a DL, and is especially valuable because he can be plugged in at DT in deeper leagues that get specific.


LB Derrick Johnson, KC (@OAK, @DEN, ARI, @SEA) – Johnson had another solid outing with eight tackles (six solo) and two PDs against the Bills. He’s a great Week 9 play facing the rival Raiders.

DB Troy Polamalu, PIT (@CIN, NE, OAK, @BUF) – He posted sixtackles in Week 8 and now has 38 on the season, but his PD numbers are way down (17 in 2008, 2 so far this season).

DL Ray Edwards, MIN (ARI, @CHI, GB, @WAS) – Edwards and Jared Allen are just not getting to the QB this year, but they have better matchups on the way.

LB Lofa Tatupu, SEA (NYG, @ARI, @NO, KC) – Tatupu had six total tackles, but just one solo in Week 8 at Oakland. He’s not playing well at the moment.

LB Desmond Bishop, GB (DAL, BYE, @MIN, @ATL) – Bishop once again posted good numbers, tallying 10 solos and a PD.

DL Jason Hunter, DEN (BYE, KC, @SD, STL) – Hunter continued his excellent tackling with five solos in Week 8.