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.
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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 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
Josh Freeman, TB (@NO, HOU, @GB, @TEN) – Freeman is heading
into some possible high-scoring affairs, so it’s a good
time to give him a shot. He’s a big-time “Jekyll &
Hyde” performer, but the smart money’s on him turning
things around in the second half of the season.
Cassel, KC (MIA, DEN, @NE, PIT) – With the emergence of rookie
WR Jonathan Baldwin and a viable every down running option in
Jackie Battle, Matt Cassel looks like a guy with some decent weapons.
He’s got a few excellent fantasy matchups on the way, so dig your
heels in and give him a play as a bye week fill-in.
Scouring The Barrel
Palmer, OAK (DEN, @SD, @MIN, CHI) – Palmer is urging the Raiders
to sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who could add a slot threat to the
mix in Oakland. Once the veteran QB knows the playbook and can
develop some rapport with his talented receivers, the sky’s the
limit from a fantasy perspective. It just might take a while.
Tim Tebow, DEN (@OAK, @KC, NYJ, @SD) – Count me as unimpressed.
Tebow’s tenuous value plummets if he loses the job, which
could come soon with performances like Sunday.
Andy Dalton, CIN (@TEN, PIT, BAL, CLE) – He makes a few
mistakes, but keeper league owners have to love Dalton (168-2-2)
right now; the rookie could be making a run to get among the top
15 fantasy QBs by the end of the season.
Christian Ponder, MIN (BYE, @GB, OAK, @ATL) – Ponder (236-1-0)
now has two straight starts (the first two of his career) with
over 200 passing yards – not bad for a largely unheralded
Off The Top
Reggie Bush, MIA (@KC, WAS, BUF, @DAL) – The light sprite
had 15 carries for 103 rushing yards and 4-17-0 receiving against
the Giants. He’ll get the majority of carries with Daniel
Thomas nursing the hamstring injury.
Brandon Jacobs, NYG (@NE, @SF, PHI, @NO) – Giants fans booed
just about every time he got the ball, but it makes sense that
you’ll see plenty of Jacobs to give Bradshaw the spells
he’ll need to stay healthy. You should find some roster
room for this guy.
Ringer, TEN (CIN, @CAR, @ATL, TB) – Chris Johnson and Ringer
got equal workloads on Sunday, and Ringer looked like the better
back. CJ2K’s still got the job, but expect a lot more of this
capable back down the stretch. He’s worth owning in 12+ team formats.
Scouring The Barrel
Kevin Faulk, NE (NYG, @NYJ, KC, @PHI) – Now that he’s
healthy again, Faulk is quite relevant. He racked up 32 rushing
yards and 5-20-0 – 10.2 points in PPR leagues.
Curtis Brinkley, SD (GB, OAK, @CHI, DEN) – His value hinges on
the status of both Mike Tolbert (hamstring, hand) and Ryan Matthews
(groin), but he looked pretty good on Monday night (10 carries,
43 yards, TD; 3-24-0 receiving). Stay tuned on his health also
as he was being examined for a concussion after the game. And,
he’s already got a bullet lodged in his chest from a July 2009
Torain, WAS (SF, @MIA, DAL, @SEA) – The Redskins couldn’t
run the ball against the Bills and they just signed Tashard Choice
to help back up Torain (eight carries for just 14 yards last week).
It’s not looking great with the upcoming schedule either.
Knowshon Moreno, DEN (@OAK, @KC, NYJ, @SD) – Moreno might
suck, but he’s bound to have at least 50 yards and a possible
score against the Raiders.
Michael Bush, OAK (DEN, @SD, @MIN, CHI) – Bush (Week 8 bye;
99 rushing yards in Week 7) will get the start Sunday if Darren
McFadden (foot) can’t go.
Roy Helu, WAS (SF, @MIA, DAL, @SEA) – Helu isn’t
getting enough work from Shanahan to have a fantasy impact, but
that could change at any time.
Washington, SEA (@DAL, BAL, @STL, DAL) – Washington had one
big run on Sunday but wasn’t much of a fantasy factor (34 rushing
Stephens-Howling, ARI (STL, @PHI, @SF, @STL) – Beanie Wells
actually got the start, so LSH didn’t see much action.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Chandler, BUF (NYJ, @DAL, @MIA, @NYJ) – Ryan Fitzpatrick continues
to target his valuable, super-reliable tight end in the red zone,
where he caught two TDs on Sunday. Sure, that’s just about the
only time he does target him, but the Bills are getting in the
red zone a lot, making Chandler a low-end TE1.
Moore, NO (TB, @ATL BYE, NYG) – Moore hauled in a few of his
catches (and TD) in garbage time against the Rams, but he’s still
one of Drew Brees’ favorite options. He’s worth a spot start and
always gets at least a couple catches when he’s healthy.
Michael Crabtree is trending up.
Crabtree, SF (@WAS, NYG, ARI, @BAL) – In his last two games,
Crabtree has 131 receiving yards and 14 catches. Last week, he
even hauled in a TD pass against Cleveland. He’s clearly the best
WR in the 49ers offense and represents a solid WR3 going forward.
Celek, PHI (CHI, ARI, @NYG, NE) – Celek’s monster game (7-94-1)
puts him back in the TE1 category. It’s telling that Vick looked
his way as much as he did in such a crucial game. He’s got another
great matchup in Week 9 against the Bears.
Scouring The Barrel
Baldwin, KC (MIA, DEN, @NE, PIT) – Baldwin’s breakout (5-82-1,
eight targets) could be the sign of things to come. The rookie
can make just about any catch and is clearly entrenched in the
consciousness of Cassel. Now that his hand is better you should
get at him before he’s snagged by another owner.
Robinson, DAL (SEA, BUF, @WAS, MIA) – Despite the presence
of Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, Tony Romo targeted
Robinson eight times on Sunday night, and the St. Louis transplant
responded with 5-103-1. In happier times in Dallas, he might not
get as many looks, but things are weird right now.
WR Titus Young, DET (BYE, @CHI, CAR, GB) – Detroit’s
third receiver came up big again (4-66-1), even with a modest
number of targets (five). He’s making the most out of his
opportunities, which usually leads to more chances. He’s
worth a roster addition in some 12-team formats and a shot at
a spot start in deeper leagues – once the Lions return from
their Week 9 bye.
WR Plaxico Burress, NYJ (@BUF, NE, @DEN, BUF) – Jets were
on a Week 8 bye, but I’m sure they were working on ways
to get Plax the ball against the Bills.
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN (@TEN, PIT, @BAL, CLE) – Gresham
(hamstring) was listed as probable but was a late scratch before
Sunday’s tilt with Seattle.
WR Antonio Brown, PIT (BAL, @CIN, BYE, @KC) – Brown’s
breakout game (9-67-1) helped me win one big game this weekend,
and it puts him among my Top 25 WRs to own in the second half
of the season.
WR Jabar Gaffney, WAS (SF, @MIA, DAL, @SEA) – The consistency
(no fewer than three catches or less than 40 yards in any game
this season) is fine, but I’d like to see the occasional
long TD pass hauled in by Gaffney. If he had one every two or
three games, he’d be a top receiver.
WR Michael Jenkins, MIN (BYE, @GB, OAK, @ATL) – His owners
were definitely looking for more than 2-30-0 out of their WR3.
Off The Top
LB James Harrison, PIT (BAL, @CIN, BYE, @KC) – Since most
IDP formats don’t allow for much depth on the defensive
side, plenty of owners dismissed Harrison after his broken orbital
bone sidelined him for multiple weeks. Now, Harrison’s agent
says he’ll be back against the Ravens, a game I have no
doubt he’ll be up for. Give him a shot in prime time on
DL John Abraham, ATL (@IND, NO, TEN, MIN) – The veteran
lineman missed some time with a groin injury but in Week 7 recorded
a couple tackles and a sack. With a bye week to get him 100 percent,
he’s a decent spot start against the Colts in deeper formats.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Champ Bailey, DEN (@OAK, @KC, NYJ, @SD) – Bailey’s
balky hamstring has kept him out of the action a lot this season,
but now that he’s healthy, there’s a good shot he
explodes against Carson Palmer and the Raiders in Week 9. He’s
almost universally available in IDP formats and the matchup is
a good one.
Johnson, KC (MIA, DEN, @NE) – Johnson was probably my best
IDP recommendation of the season, finishing behind only DeMarcus
Ware (11 total tackles, 4.0 sacks, FF) and London Fletcher (20
total tackles, 0.5 sacks, PD, INT) among linebackers in Week 9.
Johnson was all over the field on Monday night, racking up 13
total tackles, a sack, a PD and an INT.
DB Patrick Chung, NE (NYG, @NYJ, KC) – Another spot-on pick,
Chung tallied 13 total tackles (10 solos) and a PD on Sunday.
DL Ahtyba Rubin, CLE (@HOU, STL, JAC) – It’s hard
to argue with my genius. Rubin has eight solo tackles on Sunday,
an awesome total for any DL.