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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 6
Updated: 10/9/12 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 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.

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 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

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

Alex Smith, SF (NYG, SEA, @ARI, BYE) – Smith’s schedule is daunting over the next six weeks, and there is only a couple favorable matchups for him the rest of the way (@NO in Week 12, @NE in Week 15 SOS matrix). But the veteran QB (this is his eighth season in the league) has come a long way since his days as an erratic signal caller. At the very least, he’s worth acquiring and using as trade fodder.

Digging Deeper

Josh Freeman, TB (KC, NO, @MIN, @OAK) – Freeman had a bye in Week 5 and is available in nearly half of fantasy leagues. He’s got tremendous upside during the next few matchups and he’s the lynchpin of an offense that’s been leaning more and more on his arm. He’s worth serious consideration for starting duties the next couple weeks and possibly during the fantasy playoffs when the Bucs head to New Orleans in Week 15.

Christian Ponder, MIN (@WAS, ARI, TB, @SEA) – The Vikings are a team to be reckoned with and Ponder is starting to develop some impressive rapport with Percy Harvin. He’ll need more weapons at WR to emerge as a breakout fantasy star and beyond Week 6, there’s a not a ton of great matchups on the horizon. But Washington is reeling after a tough loss to Atlanta and QBs fare well against the Skins. Those missing Cam Newton, Jay Cutler and Drew Brees in Week 6 can do a lot worse than Ponder.

Scouring The Barrel

Russell Wilson, SEA (NE, @SF, @DET, MIN) – Wilson is winning games and losing fantasy value but next week against the Patriots might be his time to shine. I like him as a Top 10 fantasy QB in Week 6.

Brandon Weeden, CLE (CIN, @IND, SD, BAL) – He’s improving, but Weeden still makes rookie mistakes, turning the ball over twice deep in Giant territory during Sunday’s loss. I can’t recommend starting him unless you’re desperate during your bye in Week 7, when the Browns travel to Indy.


Andrew Luck, IND (@NYJ, CLE, @TEN, MIA) – Luck was the third-best fantasy QB in Week 5, tossing for 362-2-1 and rushing for 24 yards and a TD in the stunning win over Green Bay. I know it wasn’t rocket science recommending him, but sometimes it’s important to remember to scan the wire in shallow leagues for bye week casualties and Luck’s ownership rate was only about 75-80 percent heading into last Tuesday.

Kevin Kolb, ARI (BUF, @MIN, SF, @GB) – Kolb racked up 289 passing yards and lost a fumble but passed to throw either a pick or TD pass against the swarming Rams defense, a unit that sacked him nine times. Principal Rooney wants to say that again: “Nine…times.”

Matt Hasselbeck, TEN (PIT, @BUF, IND, CHI) – I didn’t really recommending starting Hasselbeck against the Vikings (nor will I against the Steelers), but you’ll need to monitor the Locker injury situation heading into Weeks 7 and 8, when the Titans have favorable matchups against the Bills and Colts. Update: Locker has been ruled out for the Thursday night game with Pittsburgh.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Donald Brown, IND (@NYJ, CLE, @TEN, MIA) – With three favorable matchups in the next three weeks, Brown should be scooped off the wire in the 10-25 percent of leagues where he’s still available. He’s not very active in the passing game, but he’s the clear No. 1 option in the backfield.

Rashard Mendenhall, PIT (@TEN, @CIN, WAS, @NYG) – Mendenhall will be a hot waiver wire pickup this week, as it’s clear he’s running well and can carry the load for the Steelers. Those who stuck with him since draft day could be well rewarded, but he’s still available in about 10-30 percent of leagues, a similar rate to Brown.

Digging Deeper

David Wilson, NYG (@SF, WAS, @DAL, PIT) – Wilson won’t offer any immediate fantasy help and only had a couple carries in Sunday’s win, but one was for a long TD run that showed why the Giants were so giddy about the rookie during camp. If he can turn in a few decent games and spell Bradshaw without incident, he could be a valuable commodity by the end of the season, especially if Andre Brown misses extended time with his head injury.

Alex Green, GB (@HOU, @STL, JAC, ARI) – With Cedric Benson out of commission (foot), Green accumulated 55 rushing yards on nine carries. Update: Now, Benson is out for at least eight weeks with a Lisfranc injury, and could miss the rest of the season. Green is owned in just 8-15 percent of fantasy leagues and he will likely split carries with James Starks (11 percent owned). Green isn’t a huge part of the offense, but is the best bet moving forward. He should be added in all 12-team formats, while Starks should be monitored.

Scouring The Barrel

Alfonso Smith/William Powell/LaRod Stephens-Howling, ARI (BUF, @MIN, SF, @GB) - Update: With the news that Ryan Williams is out for the season (surgery to repair AC joint in left shoulder), the load for the Cardinals will be distributed among the three-headed backfield group of Smith, Powell and Stephens-Howling. There's no clear frontrunner for touches at this point, largely because Powell is coming off a Thursday night game where he sustained a head injury. It's not a great situation, and while I could provide a host of arbitrary reasons why each guy figures to emerge, it's more honest to just tell you what I'll be doing: staying away from this mess.

Ryan Grant, WAS (MIN, @NYG, @PIT, CAR) – Since Alfred Morris is running so well and Evan Royster is next on the depth chart, I don’t expect Grant to contribute much of anything for a few weeks, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Mike Shanahan makes an RB change before Week 9’s favorable matchup against the Panthers. Grant was active Sunday (one carry for 5 yards) and makes a smart stash in leagues with deep benches.

Dion Lewis, PHI (DET, ATL, @NO, DAL) – Update: While there’s no telling if the information is legitimate, I’m intrigued by a rumor I heard Monday evening that the Eagles were going to trade Lewis (just activated for the first time this season on Sunday) to a team in need of a starting running back. I’m not heading out to pick him up just yet, especially since he’s yet to have a carry in 2012 but stay tuned.


Kendall Hunter, SF (NYG, SEA, @ARI, BYE) – Hunter didn’t find paydirt in Week 5, but he rushed for a career-high 81 yards on just 11 carries. Until something happens to Frank Gore, however, Hunter is nothing more than a favorable matchup flex option in deeper formats.

Jackie Battle, SD (DEN, BYE, @CLE, KC) – As expected, Ryan Mathews emerged from the doghouse and piled up great numbers while Jackie Battle returned to the sidelines (four carries for 10 yards and 2-7-0 receiving on two targets).

Joique Bell, DET (@PHI, @CHI, SEA, @JAC) – Bell was on a bye in Week 5 but could see time against the Eagles.

Brandon Bolden, NE (@SEA, NYJ, @STL, BYE) – A decent game considering he didn’t reach the end zone and so many other Pats RBs did, Bolden had 54 yards on 14 carries and one reception for no yards. Not great, but not terrible either.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN (@WAS, ARI, TB, @SEA) – Rudolph had his coming-out party in Week 3, but he might even put up better numbers against the Redskins in Week 6. The Washington defense had no answer for Tony Gonzalez on Sunday and I’d expect the Vikings to use Rudolph (60-65 percent owned) and the other receivers (see Michael Jenkins below) a lot if Harvin is blanketed by double-teams.

WR Robert Meachem, SD (DEN, BYE, @CLE, KC) – It was a nice homecoming for Meacham on Sunday night (3-67-2), but it’s going to be exceedingly difficult to predict when he has another game like this. I’m staying away, but the matchups over the next six weeks (barring the Week 7 bye) are definitely intriguing.

Digging Deeper

WR Michael Floyd, ARI (BUF, @MIN, SF, @GB) – Floyd is my hunch play for Week 6, as I think the Cards will do everything possible to assimilate him into the offense during their assault on the Bills. With the Arizona running game in doubt, expect lots of passing yardage in what could become a shootout. He’s not an every-week fantasy play, but there is some singular greatness to admire about this matchup.

WR Devery Henderson, NO (BYE, @TB, @DEN, PHI) – It’s impossible to ignore Henderson’s big night (8-123-1) against the Chargers, but you might have to do just that, especially with the Saints on bye in Week 6 and Lance Moore (and hopefully Jimmy Graham) likely returning to action the following week.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Josh Gordon, CLE (CIN, @IND, SD, BAL) – Both Gordon (2-82-2) and second-year receiver Jordan Norwood (9-81-0) had excellent fantasy totals against the Giants and could be deep-league flex options the next couple weeks.

WR Michael Jenkins, MIN (@WAS, ARI, TB, @SEA) – Like Floyd (above), I expect Jenkins to be applied liberally (like an ointment) against the Redskins – a team that’s been struggling to defend opposing WRs and will likely double Harvin. You read it here first.


TE Scott Chandler, BUF (@ARI, TEN, BYE, @HOU) – The 49ers squelched any hope the Bills had early and Chandler was limited to just 4-40-0 on six targets. He also lost a fumble.

WR James Jones, GB (@HOU, @STL, JAC, ARI) – For the second straight week, Jones turned in a two-TD performance (4-46-2) and was targeted multiple times in the red zone. His fantasy value hinges on the health of Greg Jennings, making him either a WR4 (healthy Jennings) or a decent WR2 with major upside in scoring-only leagues when the veteran is out.

WR Brian Hartline, MIA (STL, BYE, @NYJ, @IND) – The Dolphins spread the ball around in their victory over Cincy, with Hartline turning in 4-59-0. It could be a while before he busts out with another monster stat line.

WR Andre Roberts, ARI (BUF, @MIN, SF, @GB) – Roberts disappointed in the Thursday night game with just 5-36-0, but the Rams did an excellent job keeping Kolb on his back and his receivers out of the end zone.

WR Devin Hester, CHI (BYE, DET, CAR, @TEN) – Hester had a couple catches for 49 yards, but this one was all Brandon Marshall (12-144-1). Hester could easily be a bye week casualty in shallow-bench formats.

WR Domenik Hixon, NYG (@SF, WAS, @DAL, PIT) – Hixon was solid (5-55-0 on eight targets) in the win over Cleveland, but Victor Cruz hogged all of Manning’s TD passes.

WR Donald Jones, BUF (@ARI, TEN, BYE, @HOU) – Yeah, well the Bills didn’t get much going, and neither did the big-play-reliant Jones (2-13-0).

WR Joseph Morgan, NO (BYE, @TB, @DEN, PHI) – Marques Colston and Henderson dominated the box score with Lance Moore out of commission in Week 5, leaving Morgan without a catch.


Off The Top

LB Stephen Tulloch, DET (@PHI, @CHI, SEA, @JAC) – Tulloch has been relatively quiet the first few games of the season, but his 2010 breakout and solid first season in 2011 with the Lions shows he is capable of fantasy greatness. The next few matchups indicate plenty of opportunities for the every-down linebacker.

DB Mark Barron, TB (KC, NO, @MIN, @OAK) – The rookie safety has competed well with the other playmakers in the TB secondary, and he’s on the verge of a big breakout. With the Chiefs on the docket in Week 6, he’ll play a major role in stopping Jamaal Charles on first and second down and working the middle of the field in the nickel.

Digging Deeper

DL Kyle Williams, BUF (@ARI, TEN, BYE, @HOU) – Williams has value as a pass rusher during next week’s matchup at Arizona and in a few weeks as a run stopper when they play the Texans. He’s a versatile lineman who the Bills will count on to help turn this defense around, and he’s available in about 75-80 percent of fantasy leagues.

DL Michael Bennett, TB (KC, NO, @MIN, @OAK) – He’s got 3.0 sacks in his last two games and has a great matchup against the Chiefs in Week 6. Bennett is owned in just 20-25 percent of IDP leagues – a similar rate to Williams (above).

LB Bradie James, HOU (GB, BAL, BUF, @CHI) – Update: With Brian Cushing reportedly out for the season with a torn ACL, much of the weight will fall on James on the inside of Houston’s 3-4. James is the defensive signal caller and a stalwart in the Wade Phillips scheme. He makes a solid pickup in deeper IDP formats.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Mike Adams, DEN (@SD, BYE, NO, @CIN) – Adams has played well this season and is starting to become a very reliable IDP contributor. He’s a marginal pickup because of the Week 7 bye, but the numbers are there and he hasn’t relied too heavily on the big play (34 total tackles, 8 PD).

LB Nigel Bradham, BUF (@ARI, TEN, BYE, @HOU) – The athletic Florida State rookie had six solo tackles Sunday and if the Bills defense doesn’t improve, he could see more playing time in a host of defensive packages, from the base 4-3 to nickels and dimes. He’s a big hitter and does well in coverage, making him a decent speculative pickup in deeper formats.


DB Morgan Burnett, GB (@HOU, @STL, JAC, ARI) – Burnett didn’t explode in Week 5, but he did rack up nine solo tackles, an excellent total in most IDP formats.

LB Nick Barnett, BUF (@ARI, TEN, BYE, @HOU) – Giving up 311 net rushing yards, I figured that Barnett would finish with more than four solo tackles, but that’s all he could muster.

DL Robert Quinn, STL (@MIA, GB, NE, BYE) – Cue up the sirens, because Quinn was the four-alarm hot call of the week, piling up huge IDP numbers: six total tackles (four solos), 3.0 sacks and a PD.

LB Larry Foote, PIT (@TEN, @CIN, WAS, @NYG) – Foote was excellent on Sunday, finishing with eight tackles (five solos) and two fumble recoveries. Foote is really stepping up his game in that Steelers defense. Chuckle, chuckle.

DL Brian Robison, MIN (@WAS, ARI, TB, @SEA) – Robison had three tackles and a sack on Sunday versus the Titans.

LB Vontaze Burfict, CIN (@CLE, PIT, BYE, DEN) – Vontaze continued his relevance with seven total tackles and a FR. He’s probably on even IDP ground with Rey Maualuga in Cincinnati.