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
Freeman, TB (@MIN, @ OAK, SD, @ CAR) – The second-highest
scoring QB in Week 7, Freeman (just 63 percent owned) makes his
third straight appearance in this column. I highlighted him following
the Week 5 bye and he’s had two awesome games since including
a 420-yard, three-TD (almost four) performance against the Saints
in Week 7. If he’s still available on your league’s waiver wire,
I strongly recommend adding him – especially with so many juicy
matchups on the horizon. The lone QB with a better S.O.S. evaluation
the next four weeks is Andrew Luck and he’s only available in
about 15 percent of fantasy leagues.
Weeden, CLE (SD, BAL, BYE, @DAL) – There aren’t many top QBs
on bye in Week 8 (just Andy Dalton, Matt Schaub, Ryan Fitzpatrick
and Joe Flacco), but Weeden has a decent matchup at home against
the Chargers who give up 28.9 percent more fantasy points to QBs
than the average opponent. Weeden had a solid Week 7 against a
poor pass defense with 264-2-0 and could put up similar numbers
against the Chargers – I just can’t envision too many scenarios
where he’d earn a fantasy start in one-QB formats.
Scouring The Barrel
Quinn, KC (OAK, @SD, @PIT, CIN) – Matt Cassel hasn’t been
medically cleared to return to action just yet, so anything’s
possible heading into Week 8. While this is not a recommendation,
it’s important to remind fantasy owners that Quinn is owned in
just 3 percent of leagues and could end up starting against the
Raiders. He’s worth monitoring in deeper leagues and will be worth
a start in two-QB formats if he gets the nod late Sunday afternoon.
Fitzpatrick, BUF (BYE, @HOU, @NE, MIA) – Once again, Fitzpatrick
unleashes a game that keeps us coming back for more. Hopefully
you took advantage of his scrumptious matchup at home against
Tennessee and cashed in on his 225-3-1 passing line, which ranked
him just behind Brees, Freeman, Rodgers and RGIII this week. Fitzpatrick
added 23 rushing yards on two carries last week and hits his bye
in Week 8.
Carson Palmer, OAK (KC, TB, @BAL, NO) – I hinted that Fitzpatrick
and Palmer (298-1-1 and a rushing TD) would be the 1A and 1B of
waiver-accessible bye week fill-ins and I pretty much nailed it,
because they were both available in over one third of fantasy
leagues and they finished fifth and sixth among QBs on Sunday.
Sam Bradford, STL (NE, BYE, @SF, NYJ) – Again, I included
Bradford as an example of a desperation fill-in who wouldn’t
pay dividends against an embattled-but-surging Packers defense
– an accurate assessment considering his 255-1-1 passing
line (17th among QBs in Week 7).
Mark Sanchez, NYJ (MIA, BYE, @SEA, @STL) – Sanchez managed
to compile 328-1-1 against the Pats but his OT fumble cost them
a shot at tying up the game on the Jets opening OT drive and forcing
the game into sudden death.
Locker, TEN (IND, CHI, @MIA, BYE) –
Gabbert, JAC (@GB, DET, IND, @HOU) – I did consider Gabbert
a desperation play but extolled the matchup as a good one. While
Gabbert hooked up with Cecil Shorts on a 42-yard TD in the first
quarter, he left the game before halftime with a shoulder injury
and did not return, clipping his fantasy line at 110-1-0 on 8-for-12
passing and clearing the way for a Chad Henne sighting. It’s a
shame, because he was well on his way to a decent game and nobody
likes to see Chad Henne taking snaps.
Off The Top
Thomas, NO (@DEN, PHI, ATL, @OAK) – Thomas didn’t have a particularly
effective day running the football (32 yards on 13 carries), but
he did score on short goal line run and has a good matchup in
Week 8, when the Saints take on a Denver defense that’s got below-average
Green, GB (JAC, ARI, BYE, @DET) – Green hasn’t lit up any
scoreboards, but he runs hard and tallies yardage (200 total yards
from scrimmage over his last three games). It’s assumed the Packers
will get out to an early lead against Jacksonville and that’ll
likely be Green’s time to shine.
Dwyer, PIT (WAS, @NYG, KC, BAL) – Filling in for injured RBs
Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, Dwyer plugged away for 122
rushing yards on 17 carries Sunday night, answering the call for
a debilitated Steelers team and once again making the case for
more participation among the stable of Pittsburgh backs. Keep
any eye on the injury report because Dwyer could be worth another
start against the Redskins.
Ballard, IND (@TEN, MIA, @JAC, @NE) – Ballard had 84 yards
on 20 carries and one catch for 19 yards against the Browns. He’ll
likely get the call at Tennessee if Donald Brown remains inactive.
Jennings, JAC (@GB, DET, IND, @HOU) – Maurice Jones-Drew went
down with a foot injury on just his second carry of the Jags’
tilt with Oakland, and Jennings compiled 102 total yards and a
TD (44 rushing yards; 7-58-0 receiving) in relief. The extent
of MJD’s injury isn’t yet known, but after seeing him on crutches,
I’m willing to bet there’s a metatarsal fracture in there somewhere.
Scouring The Barrel
LaRod Stephens-Howling (SF, @GB, BYE, @ATL) – Unfortunately
for owners who are grabbing him off the wire this week, LSH won’t
be repeating his downright epic Week 7 performance (104 rushing
yards, TD; 4-45-0 receiving) anytime soon. He may be a starting
NFL running back but the upcoming schedule doesn’t look
promising for the Cards.
Harper, TEN (IND, CHI, @MIA, BYE) – It takes a particular
set of circumstances for a seven-carry, 8-yard rushing performance
to yield as many as 12.8 fantasy points but that’s exactly what
Harper did in Week 7, cheating Chris Johnson owners out of an
even more ridiculous fantasy line. If the planets align perfectly
next week when Indy comes to town, Harper could find himself in
a similar situation, but I’m not banking on it.
Greene, NYJ (MIA, BYE, @SEA, @STL) – Green’s ownership rate
shot through the roof following his monster Week 6 and he didn’t
disappoint against New England, finishing with 54 rushing yards
and a TD along with 6-34-0 receiving.
Blount, TB (@MIN, @OAK, SD, @CAR) – Blount was ineffective
in limited play and failed to reach paydirt on the few goal line
carries he received. Doug Martin, meanwhile, had his best game
as a pro with 122 total yards and a score.
Richardson, STL (NE, BYE, @SF, NYJ) – Richardson had 79 total
yards, including 3-43-0 receiving in the loss to Green Bay. Considering
the current 3:2 ratio of carries between Steven Jackson and Richardson,
the rookie back makes a decent flex play against the Pats in Week
Jones, DAL (NYG, @ATL, @PHI, CLE) – Jones tallied 74 total
yards in the win over Carolina but fantasy owners were expecting
more. Stay tuned to DeMarco Murray’s progress this week, as the
Giants have been yielding large chunks of yardages to opposing
running backs and had a tough time stopping Murray in the second
half of the season opener.
Hardesty, CLE (SD, BAL, BYE, @DAL) – Trent Richardson (eight
carries for 8 rushing yards and 2-11-0 receiving) got the start
at Indy, but Hardesty outperformed his injured teammate with 28
rushing yards on seven carries. Hardesty has been effective in
spot starts in the past so it’s a predicament worth monitoring
heading into Week 8.
Goodson, OAK (@KC, TB, @BAL, NO) – Goodson had just one reception
for 6 yards on Sunday – nothing special against Jags defense that
somehow managed to limit Darren McFadden’s production.
McKnight, NYJ (MIA, BYE, @SEA, @STL) – The Jets gave McKnight
a few carries and he finished with 23 rushing yards. The Jets
running game is hard to predict so keep an eye on this situation
Tanner, DAL (NYG, @ATL, @PHI, CLE) – Tanner got 13 carries
and rushed for 30 yards against the Panthers. He also had a catch
for 8 yards. Not exactly what desperate owners counted on but
at least it wasn’t a goose egg.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Cobb, GB (JAC, ARI, BYE, @DET) – Cobb and Rodgers hooked up
for two scores in the win over St. Louis, with the talented young
receiver hauling in 8-89-2. When Greg Jennings returns, it’ll
probably ding the numbers of all the other Packers WRs but each
of these guys has found a crucial role in the offense. Cobb should
be owned in all formats, especially considering his utility on
WR Andre Roberts, ARI (SF, @GB, BYE, @ATL) – Roberts is
now the 12th ranked fantasy WR with 28-389-5 on the season. His
fantasy success hinges largely on the TD total, but that shouldn’t
be a deterrent to owners. Roberts is still available in about
half of fantasy leagues, and remains a big play receiver on a
team that creates turnovers and chances for the offense to strike
Gordon, CLE (SD, BAL, BYE, @DAL) – Gordon is a big-play receiver
and while he had a big TD catch in Week 7, he should have had
two. On the year, Gordon is averaging 23.8 YPC and has four TDs.
He’s got another good matchup in Week 8 against the Chargers.
Moss, WAS (@PIT, CAR, BYE, PHI) – My good friend Erik (a Redskins
fan who is aptly nicknamed “The Monk”) started Moss against the
Giants on what he called “a gut feeling plug-n-play.” It looked
pretty grim during the first quarter, but two scoring strikes
from RGIII vaulted Moss among the top five fantasy WRs of Week
7. He’s no sure bet to repeat these numbers anytime soon, but
it’s encouraging to see the veteran getting looks as the Skins
approach the red zone.
Young, DET (SEA, @JAC, @MIN, GB) –
Kerley, NYJ (MIA, BYE, @SEA, @STL) – If the Jets QB situation
wasn’t such a distraction, folks would be talking more about how
well Kerley has played this season. With 435 yards on 25 catches,
the young receiver has established himself as a sturdy WR3 with
numbers comparable to Anquan Boldin, Andre Johnson, Dez Bryant,
DeSean Jackson and a bunch of other big names. He’s makes a good
play in Week 8 against Miami.
Scouring The Barrel
Shorts, JAC (@GB, DET, IND, @HOU) – The Gabbert shoulder injury
stifled what could have been a huge day for Shorts who finished
with 4-79-1 receiving. Keep an eye on BG’s status before you consider
Shorts for a flex play next week.
WR Chris Givens, STL (NE, BYE, @SF, NYJ) – You’d better
jump on Givens now because he doesn’t have another favorable
start until Week 14 against the Bills. The rookie is averaging
27.0 yards per catch this season and the Patriots yield big numbers
to opposing WRs.
Paulsen, WAS (@PIT, CAR, BYE, PHI) – Primarily a blocking
tight end with just one catch on the season heading into Week
7, Paulsen stepped up following the season-ending injury to Fred
Davis. The 6-5, 261-pound UCLA alum had 4-76-0 on six RGIII targets
and could be in for more looks moving forward. He’s universally
available in all fantasy formats. UPDATE: The Skins signed
Chris Cooley Monday morning, so stay tuned as Mike Shanahan figures
out how to screw over fantasy owners with this situation.
Williams, TB (@MIN, @OAK, SD, @CAR) – Williams had 4-36-0
but missed out on an even more impressive line when he stepped
out of the back of the end zone before catching a TD pass on the
last play of the Saints game.
Chandler, BUF (BYE, @HOU, @NE, MIA) – Chandler never got going
Sunday and finished with just two catches for 15 yards.
Moore, OAK (@KC, TB, @BAL, NO) – Moore had 4-36-1 on Sunday.
He’s Palmer’s best possession receiver and should continue to
put up decent fantasy numbers.
Wright, TEN (IND, CHI, @MIA, BYE) – Wright was limited to
19 yards on three catches in Week 7 against the Bills Sunday.
Week 8 should give him more opportunities.
Avery, IND (@TEN, MIA, @JAC, @NE) – Avery had 4-46-0 in the
win over Cleveland. He’s a solid deep-league flex play in Week
8 against the Titans.
Lewis, JAC (@GB, DET, IND, @HOU) – Lewis did not, as I predicted,
catch a TD pass in Week 7, but I’m blaming that on Henne, as I’m
Gibson, STL (NE, BYE, @SF, NYJ) – Gibson put up solid numbers
(5-60-0) in the loss to Green Bay and could eclipse his fantasy
totals next week against the Pats.
Davis, CHI (CAR, @TEN, HOU, @SF) –
Baldwin, SEA (@DET, MIN, NYJ, BYE) – Baldwin had just 2-15-0
against the Niners, but he sustained an ankle injury in the first
half and didn’t return.
Off The Top
Verner, TEN (IND, CHI, @MIA, BYE) – It’s hard to predict which
Tennessee DB is going to blow up from week to week, but Verner
(58 percent owned in IDP leagues) and Jason McCourty (50 percent
owned) are probably the best bets for monster games facing the
Colts in Week 8. Michael Griffin (42 percent owned) and Jordan
Babineuax (17 percent owned) are the starting safeties for the
Titans and could also be worth a start at home against Indy.
DL Jabaal Sheard, CLE (SD, BAL, BYE, @DAL) – While he’s
had a quiet season thus far (one sack through seven games), Sheard
is poised to break out during the next couple weeks and justify
his ADP in IDP formats.
LB Stephen Nicholas, ATL (@PHI, DAL, @NO, ARI) – Nicholas
(ankle) was limited to special teams duty in Week 6, but his team’s
Week 7 bye gave him a chance to get healthy. Unfortunately for
many IDP owners, it also meant the need to clear roster space.
If Nicholas was dropped in the past two weeks in your league you
should go pick him up; he’s got solid matchups approaching
and he’s an up-and-coming IDP star.
Adams, DEN (NO, @CIN, @CAR, SD) – While teammates Tracy Porter
(Week 1) and Chris Harris (Week 6) have had a couple monster games
because of INTs and TDs, Adams has been plugging away in the Denver
secondary and racked up 41 tackles and 8 PD through six games.
Both he and free safety Rahim Moore should perform well against
the Saints, and have favorable matchups over the next few weeks.
Scouring The Barrel
LB Chase Blackburn, NYG (@DAL, PIT, @CIN, BYE) – Blackburn
(6 percent owned) has come a long way from the special teams player
and rotational/backup LB he was on previous Giants teams. The
veteran has 42 total tackles (30 solos), 2.0 sacks, an INT, three
PD and two forced fumbles this season, and he’s more involved
on passing downs.
McDonald, SF (@ARI, BYE, STL, CHI) – Despite just 12 total
tackles and 0.5 sacks through seven games, McDonald is my plug-n-play
special for Week 8. He should have no trouble getting to Arizona
QB John Skelton.
Avril, DET (SEA, @JAC, @MIN, GB) –
Foote, PIT (WAS, @NYG, KC, BAL) – Foote had just two solo
tackles but tallied five assists in Sunday night’s win over the
Bengals, probably because Lawrence Timmons decided to show up
in the box score.
Burfict, CIN (BYE, DEN, NYG, @KC) – Burfict had the best game
of his young career against the Steelers, racking up 13 solos
and adding two assists. The guy is a beast but the Bengals are
on a bye in Week 8, so he could end up a waiver wire casualty
and be available before Week 9.
Clark, PIT (WAS, @NYG, KC, BAL) – Clark has seven total tackles
but no junk points. Not bad, but not awesome.
Williams, MIN (TB, @SEA, DET, BYE) – Once again, I hit on
a plug-n-play. Williams had his best game of 2012 in Week 7 facing
the Cards, posting two solos, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Williams, WAS (@PIT, CAR, BYE, PHI) – Williams had seven total
tackles (six solos) but as expected, failed to make the impact
he did in Week 7. He’s still a solid DB2 with upside because of
the injuries to Washington’s secondary.