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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer


Through The Wire - Week 9
10/30/12

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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 fftoday.com.

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 ()

Quarterbacks

Off The Top

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (@HOU, @NE, MIA, @IND) Fitzpatrick (64 percent owned) is coming off his bye and facing a four-game stretch thats not unfavorable. Hell have his struggles, but in leagues where turnovers dont count too much against QBs, hell post solid numbers.

Digging Deeper

Russell Wilson, SEA (MIN, NYJ, BYE, @MIA) The rookie put up 236-2-1 in Week 8 and faces a relatively soft schedule coming up. Hes owned in just 31 percent of fantasy leagues. Tom Brady owners could do worse for a bye week fill-in during Week 9.

Scouring The Barrel

Matt Moore, MIA (@IND, TEN, @BUF, SEA) It looks like Ryan Tannehill could be fine by Sunday but Ive always been a fan of Matt Moore (2 percent owned), a veteran backup with some big game potential. During one eight-week stretch last season (Week 9 through Week 16), Moore threw three TDs in a game three times.

Updates

Josh Freeman, TB (@OAK, SD, @CAR, ATL) Freeman continued his assault with 262-3-0 in the decisive win over Minnesota on Thursday night. He doesnt have any red matchups the rest of the way.

Brandon Weeden, CLE (BAL, BYE, @DAL, PIT) The Browns-Chargers game turned into a fantasy nightmare as powerful winds whipped through Cleveland. Weeden just tallied 129-0-0 on 11-for-27 passing.

Brady Quinn, KC (@SD, @PIT, CIN, DEN) Update: I told you it wasn’t a recommendation. Quinn posted a 16.7 QB rating before exiting the game with a head injury. He has been ruled out for Week 9.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Donald Brown, IND (MIA, @JAC, @NE, BUF) A surprise participant in Week 8s win over Tennessee, Brown returned from his knee scope with a solid game. He rotated in equally with Vick Ballard and ran the ball well in overtime. This looks like a time-share moving forward, but if youre looking for a guy who may have been discarded to the wire, the Donald might be available.

Andre Brown, NYG (PIT, @CIN, BYE, GB) Ahmad Bradshaw looks like exactly what he is a guy with foot and ankle problems. The Giants struggled with the running game Sunday and will likely get Brown the teams goal line back the rock a bit more in the coming weeks.

Digging Deeper

Ronnie Brown, SD (KC, @TB, @DEN, BAL) The third Brown in a row in this column, Ronnie didnt run the ball a lot (four carries, 17 yards) but made hay in the passing game (7-85-0). I think hell be getting the ball plenty next week, especially with Ryan Mathews fumbling again during Week 8.

Daniel Thomas, MIA (@IND, TEN, @BUF, SEA) Thomas ground out 42 rushing yards on 15 carries Sunday, capping his day with a TD. Reggie Bush is still getting the majority of touches but Thomas, now healthy, is clearly eating into his time.

Scouring The Barrel

Joique Bell, DET (@JAC, @MIN, GB, HOU) Bell isnt the feature back in Detroit, but he gets a few points every week and could be worth grabbing in deeper leagues.

Ronnie Hillman, DEN (@CIN, @CAR, SD, @KC) Hillman ran the ball well as the change of pace back during Week 8 and could be coming into his own as the Denver running game picks up steam. Hillman had the best game of his young career with 86 yards on 14 carries and has a favorable schedule during the next few weeks.

Updates

Pierre Thomas, NO (PHI, ATL, @OAK, SF) Thomas looked good on his eight carries, rushing for 43 yards and adding a couple receptions for 6 yards. But the Saints offense never got going and the veteran back finished with a ho-hum fantasy day.

Alex Green, GB (ARI, BYE, @DET, @NYG) Green had his best fantasy game thus far (54 rushing yards, 4-28-0 receiving on six targets), something that was nearly a foregone conclusion with Jacksonville on the schedule. Hes just not much more than a decent RB3/FLEX at this point.

Jonathan Dwyer, PIT (@NYG, KC, BAL, @CLE) Update: For the second straight week, Dwyer rushed for over 100 yards on 17 carries. He’s no speed demon, but he runs hard, gets tons of yards after contact and makes sense for fantasy owners until Rashard Mendenhall gets back to work. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes there will only be a running back controversy in Pittsburgh if the Steelers don't start Jonathan Dwyer in Week 9. The smart money is on Tomlin continuing to use Dwyer where he’s effective – getting early-down chunks of yardage on straight-line rushes.

Vick Ballard, IND (MIA, @JAC, @NE, BUF) With Donald Brown active and getting carries (14 for 80 yards) Ballard carried the ball just 12 times in Week 8, rushing for 55 yards. He did clinch the victory with his only reception of the game, a 16-yard TD that saw him contort in midair as he flew over the pylon. Well probably see about a 3-2 split of carries for Brown-Ballard going forward.

Rashad Jennings, JAC (DET, IND, @HOU, TEN) Jennings had 115 total yards (59 rushing, 6-56-0 receiving) but couldnt get into the end zone against the Packers. He also lost a fumble.

LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI (@GB, BYE, @ATL, STL) Update: As expected, the door to LSH’s brief glimpse at fantasy value slammed shut against the Niners on Monday night, with the scatback rushing for a meager six yards on eight carries. He did haul in three passes for 32 yards, but it’ll be a fluke if he manages another big fantasy day.

Jamie Harper, TEN (CHI, @MIA, BYE, @JAC) One carry, -1 yard. Yeah.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Denarius Moore, OAK (TB, @BAL, NO, @CIN) If Moore is still available in your league this will be your last chance to grab him. He had a wonderful Week 8 (5-96-1) and his fantasy history shows a high-risk, high-reward player you want to insert in your lineup, balanced with steady performers at the other skill slots.

WR Sidney Rice, SEA (MIN, NYJ, BYE, @MIA) The next few matchups arent favorable, but its impossible to ignore that Rice has become the top target in Seattle. Rice snagged 6-55-1 in the loss to Detroit in Week 8.

Digging Deeper

WR Dexter McCluster, KC (@SD, @PIT, CIN, DEN) McCluster shows up once in a while in the box score, and Week 8 was his time to shine (15 rushing yards, 6-54-1 receiving on eight targets). You cant expect consistency from anybody in the Chiefs offense, but Im baking on a decent Week 9 for the shifty young speedster against the Chargers.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Drew Davis, ATL (DAL, @NO, ARI, @TB) Drew Davis, an undrafted receiver out of Oregon got the call in Week 8 with Harry Douglas out. Davis had two catches for 30 yards, including a 15-yard TD where he was wide open in the back of the end zone. Hes not worth a pickup at this point, but hes worth monitoring.

Updates

WR Randall Cobb, GB (ARI, BYE, @DET, @NYG) With Jordy Nelson inactive, Cobb had 5-28-1 in the win over Jacksonville. He remains a focal point of the offense and a top fantasy option at WR as long as Greg Jennings is out.

WR Andre Roberts, ARI (@GB, BYE, @ATL, STL) Update: Roberts caught seven passes for 65 yards on MNF, though he failed to score for just the fourth time this season. He has 36-454-5 through eight games.

WR Josh Gordon, CLE (BAL, BYE, @DAL, PIT) Gordon ended his TD streak but managed to haul in 3-46-0 on five targets in poor passing conditions. He should get back on track next week against a depleted Ravens defense.

WR Santana Moss, WAS (CAR, BYE, PHI, @DAL) Moss grabbed 4-21-1 in the loss to Pittsburgh but appears to be RGIIIs new favorite target near the red zone.

WR Titus Young, DET (@JAC, @MIN, GB, HOU) Boo-yeah. Young was the top-scoring WR in Week 8 with 9-100-2. If you started him on my recommendation, you are welcome. Update: The Detroit News reported Tuesday that Young was the first Lions receiver since 2001 to catch all of his intended targets (nine for Young) in a game. The last was Johnnie Morton, who was 11 for 11.

WR Jeremy Kerley, NYJ (BYE, @SEA, @STL, NE) Kerley was okay on Sunday despite a poor showing by the Jets offense. He caught 5-43-0 on 11 targets, giving him 22 targets over his last two games and 37 over his last four.

WR Cecil Shorts, JAC (DET, IND, @HOU, TEN) Shorts came through with 8-116-0 and had a TD catch reversed after an official review. Hes coming on strong and should be viewed as a solid WR3 moving forward.

WR Chris Givens, STL (BYE, @SF, NYJ, @ARI) The rookie had his best game as a pro with 3-63-1, including a 50-yard TD that gave the Rams a lead that quickly evaporated as the Pats offense heated up.

TE Logan Paulsen, WAS (CAR, BYE, PHI, @DAL) Paulsen had 4-43-0 in the loss to the Steelers. Not bad for a guy on zero fantasy teams last week.

IDP

Off The Top

DB Morgan Burnett, GB (ARI, BYE, @DET, @NYG) Hes had a few quiet weeks, so he might be available in some shallow IDP formats. I started Mark Barron over him in the same league I benched Wesley Woodyard (see below), so Im not all that excited about my management skills coming out of Week 8. Burnett had 11 total tackles (nine solos), a sack and a fumble recovery against the Jaguars and hes got a favorable schedule coming excluding the Week 10 bye.

LB Colin McCarthy, TEN (CHI, @MIA, BYE, @JAC) The darling of preseason IDP cheatsheets (although not mine) is finally healthy and could be a big factor over the next few weeks. Hes likely available in scores of fantasy leagues because of his ankle problems and four missed games.

Digging Deeper

LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN (@CIN, @CAR, SD, @KC) Woodyard was all over the field against the Saints (13 total tackles, a sack, two PD, INT), and hes probably the best nickel LB in the league so far this season. He should be owned in all IDP formats and now has 35 total tackles in his last three games.

DL Cameron Jordan, NO (PHI, ATL, @OAK, SF) Jordan got off to a great start in 2012, has played relatively well since, but is coming off a disappointing Week 8. Hes got 30 total tackles and 3.0 sacks this season. I think hell shine in the next few weeks as the Saints put more emphasis on getting to the QB.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Thomas DeCoud, ATL (DAL, @NO, ARI, @TB) Meow. No seriously, DeCoud is a big-game performer with plenty of IDP upside. Give him a shot the next few weeks as the Falcons get into some dogfights with some potent NFC offenses.

DL Michael Bennett, TB (@OAK, SD, @CAR, ATL) No team has a more favorable schedule for DLs than the Bucs over their next four games. Bennett had a minor leg injury at the end of Week 8, but hes supposed to be fine, according to HC Greg Schiano.

Updates

DB Alterraun Verner, TEN (CHI, @MIA, BYE, @JAC) Verner had nine total tackles and remains a solid DB play in deeper IDP formats.

DL Jabaal Sheard, CLE (BAL, BYE, @DAL, PIT) Just two assists in the 7-6 victory over the Chargers. Im throwing this game out as a fantasy anomaly.

LB Stephen Nicholas, ATL (DAL, @NO, ARI, @TB) Nicholas returned to action with six total tackles and a PD.

DB Mike Adams, DEN (@CIN, @CAR, SD, @KC) Adams had just three tackles, largely because the Saints offense didnt spend too much time on the field and when they did, Woodyard made all the plays. Adams is still a decent DB3.

LB Chase Blackburn, NYG (PIT, @CIN, BYE, GB) Blackburn recorded four solos and an assist before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. It appears that he could miss some time.

DL Ray McDonald, SF (BYE, STL, CHI, @NO) – Update: McDonald made three solo tackles Monday night and has failed to reach the QB in every game this season excluding Week 2, when he got a half-sack.