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 a limitless resource when it comes to discovering
fantasy value. 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
be lurking in deeper leagues.
|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!
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 20-30 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 ()
Off The Top
Matt Cassel, KC (BYE, @OAK, SD, MIA) – Cassel’s 257-4-0
Week 5 breakthrough was a revelation for owners who counted on
him to be a quality backup this season, and while it should serve
as a cue to the rest of you to add him, we’ll have to wait
through a bye week before some more tasty matchups come down the
Andy Dalton, CIN (IND, BYE, @SEA, @TEN) – Dalton has some
amazing young weapons, but some of the matchups down the stretch
will be tough. If you’re in a two-QB league, he’ll
make a serviceable QB2 play in weeks 6, 8 and 10, but the next
four (PIT, @BAL, CLE, @PIT) look difficult.
Scouring The Barrel
Painter, IND (@CIN, @NO, @TEN, ATL) – Painter has excellent
rapport with Pierre Garcon, and if he can keep hitting on the
big play and limiting mistakes – ones that have cost the Colts
games – he could put up some decent numbers in weeks 7-10. Not
that the Colts will start winning, but his fantasy value could
Tebow, DEN (BYE, @MIA, DET, @OAK) – After the Week 6 bye,
Tebow will be a hot commodity. I don’t view him as an every-down
QB, but we’ll definitely see more of him (especially with a couple
of weeks to prepare for the Dolphins). The starting QB was, to
say the least, ineffective – so it’s entirely possible we’ve seen
the last of Kyle Orton in Denver.
Matt Hasselbeck, TEN (@BYE, HOU, IND, CIN) – Hasselbeck’s
numbers against Pittsburgh weren’t great, (261-1-1), but
it’s still clear that the Titans are a passing team this
season. After the bye, he’ll still be a solid backup with
Jason Campbell, OAK (CLE, KC, BYE, DEN) – Just win baby.
The 190-2-1 passing line is fine when you consider the outcome
– a Raider W.
Alex Smith, SF (@DET, BYE, CLE, @WAS) – Smith had another
solid game and tossed three TD passes even though the team relied
primarily on the run to vanquish the Bucs 48-3. Could Jim Harbaugh
be the man to finally figure out the quixotic Alex Smith?
Blaine Gabbert, JAC (@PIT, BAL, @HOU, BYE) – Yo Gabbert
Gabbert – you’re a well-mannered little NFL QB, but
you’ve got to learn to protect the football at the end of
games. And I can’t envision a scenario where I’d give
you fantasy start during the next few games.
Off The Top
DeAngelo Williams, CAR (@ATL, WAS, MIN, BYE) – Believe
it or not, Williams is still available in about 15-20 percent
of fantasy leagues. You should do yourself a favor and go check
out if he’s out there in yours. While the veteran back,
once the 2008 fantasy football player of the year, is not getting
a lot of touches, he’s averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA (BYE, @CLE, CIN, @DAL) – Like Williams,
Lynch doesn’t see a whole lot of action, but he’s
only owned in 57 percent of leagues and has a couple TDs and 195
rushing yards in his last three games. Not an option this week,
but he will be down the line.
Carter, IND (@CIN, @NO, @TEN, ATL) – It’s pretty slim pickings
on the RB front, and while Carter is on a bad team and is still
technically behind Joseph Addai on the depth chart, there’s a
chance he’s a more regular contributor by the end of the year.
Like I said – I’m not a huge fan, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Scouring The Barrel
Battle, KC (BYE, @OAK, SD, MIA) – Battle ran for 119 yards
on 19 carries in Week 5 against the Colts, hauling in a couple
catches for 21 yards as well. It’s difficult to peg him as the
heir apparent to Jamaal Charles but without a viable every-down
option in Thomas
Jones and Dexter McCluster, Battle will likely get more touches
in subsequent games. You’ll need to look elsewhere this week on
KC’s bye, but the numbers could be serviceable from Week 7 on.
Dwyer, PIT (JAC, @ARI, NE, BAL) – The window is probably closing
on Dwyer’s fantasy viability, unless of course, it’s just beginning
to open. Keep an eye on Rashard Mendenhall’s status next week
because Dwyer’s value hinges on the starter’s availability.
Willis McGahee, DEN (SD, BYE, @MIA, DET) – McGahee didn’t
find the end zone but racked up 125 rushing yards on 16 carries.
He’s clearly the RB to own in Denver, although it’s
hard to say what’ll happen once Tebow takes over.
Michael Bush, OAK (@HOU, CLE, KC, BYE) – Bush didn’t
see a whole lot of action in this bizarre game, but he’s
still a guy who can punch it in close for TDs.
Stevan Ridley, NE (NYJ, DAL, BYE, @PIT) – BJGE got the lion’s
share of work and put up all the numbers, while Ridley was held
to 13 yards on seven carries.
Ryan Torain, WAS (BYE, PHI, @CAR, @BUF) – We’ll see
next week what Mike Shanahan has planned for Torain.
Isaac Redman, PIT (TEN, JAC, @ARI, NE) – Redman gained just
49 yards on 15 carries while Dwyer stole the show. He’s
safe to drop in shallow formats.
Lex Hilliard, MIA (BYE, @NYJ, DEN, @NYG) – The Dolphins
were on a bye…stay tuned.
Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL (GB, CAR, @DET, BYE) – Rodgers only
had one carry, but he gained 11 yards. Maybe it’s time to
give this little spark plug more work?
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Cruz, NYG (BUF, BYE, MIA) – Two weeks ago, I recommended adding
Cruz (now 60 percent owned), and after last week’s nine-target,
6-98-0 performance, I told you the young receiver had found a
role in the Giants offense as a deep threat and is worth considering
as a WR4/flex in all formats. Did you listen? Because his 11-target,
8-161-1 day in Week 5 was second-best in PPR formats (to Dwayne
Bowe) and third-best in standard scoring league (only Bowe and
Pierre Garcon were better).
Floyd, SD (BYE, @NYJ, @KC, GB) – Rivers knows he can count
on Floyd, and with Antonio Gates and his health still a huge question
mark, Rivers will need him. Floys (57 percent owned) has a bye
and two bad matchups coming up in weeks 6-9, but in weeks 10-13
(GB, OAK, @CHI, DEN), he should get off.
WR Hines Ward, PIT (JAC, @ARI, NE, BAL) – So I guess the
old man isn’t done. Ward caught seven passes for 54 yards
and two scores in the rout of the Titans, and it seems the Steelers
are a throwing the ball a whole lot in the red zone.
WR Steve Breaston, KC (BYE, @OAK, SD, MIA) – Breaston is
quietly having a decent season, and is coming off his best game
of 2011 (4-50-2). Both he and Dwayne Bowe caught a pair of TD
passes, and it’s clear the Chiefs have figured out they
have top throw the ball to win.
Jones, GB (STL, @MIN, BYE, @SD) – Jones broke out in a big
way in the Week 5 win over Atlanta, recording 5-140-1. He’s a
big–play receiver who can take over a game at any point because
of his size, speed and athleticism. He should be owned in all
formats as the Packers have given him more time ovwer Jordy Nelson
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, OAK (CLE, KC, BYE, DEN) – Heyward-Bey
had his best game as a pro, catching 7-99-1 in the win over Houston.
That gives him 214 receiving yards in the past two weeks and makes
him a must-add in 12-team leagues. The lingering knee injury that
sidelined him during the first few weeks seems to be a thing of
Scouring The Barrel
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA (BYE, @CLE, CIN, @DAL) – Baldwin’s
been a breath of fresh air on a team that’s got little to
get excited about, even with the weird win over the Giants. He’s
worth adding in 12-team leagues that start three WRs.
WR Jason Hill, JAC (@PIT, BAL, @HOU, BYE) – The long TD
was a fluke because of blown coverage, but it’s possible
Gabbert has found a guy he likes throwing the ball to. Give him
a shot in deeper formats.
Williams, TEN (BYE, HOU, IND, CIN) – With the Titans throwing
the ball a heck of lot this season and Kenny Britt out for the
year, Williams could develop into a reliable red zone target for
Decker, DEN (BYE, @MIA, DET, @OAK) – Decker got shut down
on Sunday, and his value takes a big hit if Tebow’s at the helm
in Week 7 and beyond.
Moore, OAK (CLE, KC, BYE, DEN) – Moore got blanked in the
win over the Texans as Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford got the majority
Brown, PIT (JAC, @ARI, NE, BAL) – Brown wasn't much of a factor
in Week 5. He was targeted four times, hauling in two passes for
Jones, HOU (@BAL, @TEN, JAC, CLE) – The fault in Jones’ poor
numbers in Week 5 lies with Matt Schaub, not Jones – who was targeted
11 times but finished with just one catch. Schaub was awful in
Gaffney, WAS (PHI, @CAR, @BUF, SF) – Following the bye week
and facing the struggling Eagles, it’s a great time to add Gaffney
if he’s still available.
Watson , CLE (@OAK, SEA, @SF, @HOU) – The Raiders are
having a tough time covering TEs, so Watson might be worth a look
in deeper leagues wher you main guy is on a bye.
Off The Top
LB Jamar Chaney, PHI (@WAS, BYE, DAL, CHI) – Chaney’s
ownership has been increasing steadily since the season start,
and he’s a great one-week play against the Redskins in Week
6. His 35 total tackles through five games are a nice base, and
last week against the Bills he added a couple PD and an interception.
DB Sean Jones, TB (NO, CHI, BYE, @NOR) – With the Saints
coming up twice in the next four weeks, Jones makes a decent add
and solid DB2. He’s racked up 32 tackles in five weeks and
the Bucs defense has been spending a lot of time on the field.
Scouring The Barrel
Robison, MIN (@CHI, GNB, @CAR, BYE) – The matchups are getting
even friendlier for the rookie defensive end, who’s already recorded
4.0 sacks in his last three games (DET, @KC, ARI). The Bears will
spend most of their time trying to stop top-scoring DL Jared Allen,
so Robison should get to Cutler at least once.
LB D.J. Williams, DEN (SD, BYE, @MIA, DET) – Williams had
nine total tackles and a sack against the Chargers, making him
a Top 10 LB this week.
DL Chris Clemons, SEA (@NYG, BYE, @CLE, CIN) – Clemons had
three solos and two sacks – I’m on a roll!
DB Eric Smith, NYJ (@NE, MIA, SD, BYE) – Smith’s nine
tackles were his highest total of the season thus far. Another