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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 6
10/8/13 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

Andy Dalton, CIN (@BUF, @DET, NYJ, @MIA) – Dalton is owned in just 64 percent of Yahoo leagues but has some very favorable matchups on the horizon. Perhaps he’ll get some much-needed confidence from the victory over the Patriots and start chucking it downfield a bit more.

Joe Flacco, BAL (GB, @PIT, BYE, @CLE) – Flacco is still available in about 40 percent of fantasy leagues. If you’re a Matt Ryan owner, Flacco facing the Packers makes some sense as a bye week fill-in.

Digging Deeper

Terrelle Pryor, OAK (@KC, BYE, PIT, PHI) – Pryor showed us in the first quarter on Sunday night/Monday morning why he’s such an exciting young fantasy option, but for three quarters he reminded us why he’s available in over 70 percent of Yahoo leagues. The upcoming schedule isn’t favorable, but Week 9 against the Eagles promises to be a fantastic matchup.

Geno Smith, NYJ (PIT, NE, @CIN, NO) – I’ll update this again tomorrow, but Smith is worth a grab in two-QB leagues for the latter half of the season. He’s far too talented to be available in 93 percent of fantasy leagues and he’s likely to remain the starter for the duration of 2013.

UPDATE: Smith tossed three TDs passes en route to upsetting the Falcons on Monday Night Football. While totaled just 199 passing yards, he was remarkably efficient (16-for-20), registering a 147.7 QB rating. He also rushed for 21 yards and more importantly, didn’t turn the ball over. I can think of at least five teams who’d love to have Geno as their QB.

Scouring The Barrel

Mike Glennon, TB (PHI, @ATL, CAR, @SEA) – Glennon isn’t great and has one game under his belt, but you could do worse than the Bucs matchup in Week 6.

UPDATE: It remains to be seen whether or not Glennon qualifies as a nebulous “Schiano Man,” but he’s got the job for now and the Eagles will be without Michael Vick for Sunday’s matchup so the Bucs have a shot at winning the game if they can avoid turning the ball over. I’m not sure if that helps out Glennon’s fantasy value or not – I’d almost rather see the Bucs slinging it to play catch-up.

Josh Freeman, MIN (CAR, @NYG, GB, @DAL) – Freeman was snagged by the Vikings, who plan to give him every chance to be the starter. This week might not be feasible, but there’s a chance he gets a start against the woeful Giants defense in Week 7.

UPDATE: Leslie Frazier said Monday that Christian Ponder is the starter but the prevailing belief among pundits is that Freeman might get a shot to take some snaps sometime during the Carolina game.


Jay Cutler, CHI (NYG, @WAS, BYE, @GB) – Cutler was tied for the third highest scoring fantasy QB with Russell Wilson and Sam Bradford in standard-scoring leagues in Week 5, throwing for 358-2-0 with a lost fumble and 27 rushing yards. He’s got a very favorable schedule over the next few weeks, with the obvious exception of the Week 8 bye.

UPDATE: Cutler shrugged off Brandon Marshall’s post-game comments as understandable frustration and basically said Monday that the Saints defensive game plan focused on limiting the stud receiver which dictated he look elsewhere. This type of self-awareness and grace is good news for Cutler owners, who get to look forward to him shredding the Giants pitiful secondary in Week 6.

Brian Hoyer, CLE (DET, @GB, @KC, BAL) – Football can be cruel. Hoyer was probably on the way to another quality start when he tore his ACL on an awkward play early in the Thursday night game.

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (BYE, BUF, @NE, CIN) – Tannehill finished just outside the Top 12 QBs with 307-1-0 in the loss to Baltimore. The Dolphins are on a bye in Week 6.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, TEN (@SEA, SF, BYE, @STL) – Fitzpatrick faced a tough opponent but managed to match Drew Brees in terms of fantasy production in Week 5, posting 247-1-2 and adding six carries for 50 yards and a rushing TD. Meanwhile, RBs Jackie Battle and Chris Johnson combined for just 56 rushing yards on 16 carries.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Pierre Thomas, NO (@NE, BYE, BUF, @NYJ) – Thomas had 9-55-2 receiving and 36 rushing yards, his best game in PPR leagues this decade. The Saints RB carousel is sometimes hard to solve, but Thomas is the most complete back of the bunch and remains a solid flex option in 12-team leagues.

Willis McGahee, CLE (DET, @GB, @KC, BAL) – He had 72 rushing yards and a TD in Week 5 and looks to be the feature back in Cleveland moving forward. If he can stay healthy, McGahee could see a fantasy resurgence as a viable, albeit low-end RB2.

Digging Deeper

Ronnie Hillman, DEN (JAC, @IND, WAS, BYE) – Hillman was used quite a bit (4-42-0 on four targets; seven carries for 17 rushing yards) and figures to be used a lot against the Jaguars in Week 6. He’s a risky but high-upside flex play with nearly unlimited scoring potential in what should be a lopsided victory.

Zac Stacy, STL (@HOU, @CAR, SEA, TEN) – Stacy (18 percent owned) got the start against the Jaguars and finished with 78 rushing yards on 14 carries. The committee in St. Louis isn’t a great situation but he’s worth a roster add in all 12-team leagues.

UPDATE: Jeff Fisher confirmed Monday that Stacy will remain the Rams’ starter in Week 6 and that the 5-8, 216-pound RB just got the wind knocked out of him on a play that some speculated could be a rib injury. He’s a low-end RB3/flex option but could surprise.

Scouring The Barrel

Donald Brown, IND (@SD, DEN, BYE, @HOU) – Brown is the only viable backup the Colts have behind Trent Richardson right now and Ahmad Bradshaw’s (neck) prognosis keeps getting worse. It’s purely speculative, but I think Brown will get more work as the season wears on and the Colts get a good look at T-Rich’s flaws.

Jackie Battle, TEN (@SEA, SF, BYE, @STL) – Battle figures to get some use against the Seahawks, who will likely crowd the box on Chris Johnson and play relaxed zone coverage when Battle gets inserted. He’s not a great option but could provide some RB4/flex value in deeper PPR leagues.


Le’Veon Bell, PIT (@NYJ, BAL, @OAK) – The Week 5 bye should provide additional opportunity for the Steelers to get Bell acclimated to the offense. He had an impactful debut in Week 4 and should be a big help getting the Steelers some wins.

Roy Helu, WAS (@DAL, CHI, @DEN) – Helu’s done everything he can to earn more touches but if Alfred Morris (rib) is healthy, he’ll take a back seat.

UPDATE: Morris told reporters he was a full go at Monday’s practice and it appears Helu will handle third-down duties and remain a murky-at-best flex option in PPR leagues.

Kendall Hunter, SF (ARI, @TEN, @JAC, BYE) – Hunter’s touchdown streak ended while starter Frank Gore and situational back Anthony Dixon both scored. His fantasy value takes a hit.

LeGarrette Blount, NE (NO, @NYJ, MIA) – With Stevan Ridley out, Blount got the bulk of carries (12) but rushed for just 51 yards and lost a crucial fumble. The backfield depth chart remains unclear heading into Week 6 against the 5-0 Saints.

Rashad Jennings, OAK (@KC, BYE, PIT, PHI) – With Terrelle Pryor back in action, Jennings wasn’t targeted in the passing game and had 41 rushing yards on 10 carries before suffering a hamstring injury and leaving before the half. The injury coupled with Darren McFadden’s impending return spells doom for his fantasy value. He’s probably safe to drop heading into Week 6.

UPDATE: The most likely return for McFadden is Week 8 against the Steelers. In the meantime, Marcel Reece will handle most of the workload if Jennings misses Week 6, with Jeremy Stewart getting some carries as well.

Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE (DET, @GB, @KC, BAL) – Ogbonnaya left Thursday’s game after sustaining a concussion in the second quarter.

UPDATE: Ogbonnaya didn’t practice Monday and remains a big question mark moving forward. He’s safe to drop in all but the deepest of formats.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Emmanuel Sanders, PIT (@NYJ, BAL, @OAK, @NE) – Sanders is available in about half of fantasy leagues, but he’s been targeted 38 times in four games and has 20-231-0. He’s a much better option in PPR leagues and as one of my buddies pointed out recently, remains a viable WR4/flex option in most formats.

Rueben Randle, NYG (@CHI, MIN, @PHI, BYE) – Randle (37 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) had a career fantasy day against the Eagles, picking up 6-96-2 on 13 targets. He’s a sneaky WR3 play against the Bears in Week 6 as the Giants appear to have no plans on ever running the ball again.

Digging Deeper

Terrance Williams, DAL (WAS, @PHI, @DET, MIN) – Williams has been one of the most efficient WRs in the game this season, hauling in 16-282-1 on 19 targets. His Week 5 breakout included an 82-yard TD catch and the rookie is emerging as a viable deep threat in the potent Cowboys offense with Miles Austin sidelined. He’s a must-add, especially in keeper leagues.

Leonard Hankerson, WAS (@DAL, CHI, @DEN, SD) – The Redskins, coming off a Week 5 bye, head to Dallas with the 24-year-old wideout as a centerpiece of their offensive game plan. The Cowboys tend to give up large chunks of yardage through the air and RGIII will do everything he can to get Hankerson the ball on a few deep routes. He’s a risk/reward WR3/flex play, and he’s available in tons of leagues.

Austin Pettis, STL (@HOU, @CAR, SEA, TEN) – Pettis is now tied for fourth in the NFL for TD receptions alongside Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas and Victor Cruz, yet he’s owned in just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’s worth an add in all formats, as he’s the favorite red zone option of Sam Bradford who’s targeted him five times inside the 20 and 36 times overall this season.

Scouring The Barrel

Rod Streater, OAK (@KC, BYE, PIT, PHI) – A talented possession receiver, Streater (7 percent owned) figures to be heavily involved on short routes versus the Chiefs, who will likely pressure Pryor and keep him from setting up too many downfield heaves to Denarius Moore. Streater has 16-228-1 on 23 targets this season, but hasn’t caught more than three passes in any game since Week 1.

Keenan Allen, SD (IND, @JAC, BYE, @WAS) – Allen (4 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) had a monster Week 6 against Oakland, hauling in six of nine targets for 115 yards and a TD. He now has 11-195-1 over his last two games. The rookie is emerging as a favorite of Laserface and should be owned in all 12-team leagues.


Alshon Jeffery, CHI (NYG, @WAS, BYE, @GB) – Jeffery had a career day on Sunday, hauling in 10 catches for 218 yards (a franchise record) and two TDs. His breakout portends good things for the entire Bears offense, as teams will now have to think twice about rolling double-coverage to Brandon Marshall.

TE Charles Clay, MIA (BYE, BUF, @NE, CIN) – Clay had another solid day (3-52-1) and is showing he can be trusted as a TE1 in 12-team leagues.

Marlon Brown, BAL (GB, @PIT, BYE, @CLE) – Brown (thigh) was declared inactive before Sunday’s game but should be ready to go for the tilt with Green Bay.

UPDATE: Brown is expected to return to practice this week and get the start on Sunday.

TE Garrett Graham, HOU (STL, @KC, BYE, IND) – Schaub had a horrific day and Graham finished with just 3-15-0. He’s going to be a hit-or-miss TE2 the rest of the way unless an injury befalls Owen Daniels.

UPDATE: An injury has befallen Daniels (fibula), and the veteran TE could miss a few weeks, putting Graham in the fantasy spotlight. Deploy him as a low-end TE1 or possible flex option this week.

Robert Woods, BUF (CIN, @MIA, @NO, KC) – Woods was targeted 13 times by Bills QBs in Week 4, finishing with 5-64-0. Stevie Johnson left with a back injury, but the injury to Manuel hurts Woods’ value.

TE Sean McGrath, KC (OAK, HOU, CLE, @BUF) – McGrath (knee) suited up and grinded out 4-54-0 in the win over Tennessee. He’s a decent value TE2 next week against the Raiders if veteran Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle) and Travis Kelce (knee) remain sidelined.

Jeremy Kerley, NYJ (PIT, NE, @CIN, NO) – Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Kerley caught five passes for 68 yards and a TD on six targets Monday night in what might be his best fantasy output for the rest of the season. I hope you fantasy owners seized the day, because the next few weeks aren’t as promising.


Off The Top

DL Michael Johnson, CIN (@BUF, @DET, NYJ, @MIA) – Johnson sat out Week 5 against the Patriots with concussion symptoms so there’s reason to be cautious, but I love his upcoming matchups and he’s likely to be available in a bunch of leagues after sitting out last week. If he’s active, he’s a solid play.

DB Morgan Burnett, GB (@BAL, CLE, @MIN, CHI) – The standout IDP defensive back had five total tackles and a PD in his 2013 debut, and is likely available in leagues with limited bench space. He’s safe to plug in going forward as your low-end DB1/high-end DB2 with oodles of upside.

Digging Deeper

DL Tommy Kelly, NE (NO, @NYJ, MIA, PIT) – He’s being forced into a bigger role with Vince Wilfork out for the season, and he had a solid performance in Week 5 (two solos, assist, sack). Kelly has some favorable matchups on the way and he’s DT eligible in most formats that require an interior DL.

LB Kevin Burnett, OAK (@KC, BYE, PIT, PHI) – Burnett had 14 total tackles (12 solos) and a sack in the win over San Diego and he’s only owned in about 10-20 percent of IDP leagues. He now has 38 total tackles on the season.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Devin McCourty, NE (NO, @NYJ, MIA, PIT) – McCourty has a god matchup versus the Saints and now has 21 total tackles (14 solos) in his last two games. He’s owned in just a small percentage of IDP leagues.

LB Moise Fokou, TEN (@SEA, SF, BYE, @STL) – He isn’t flashy, but Fokou is a viable LB4 option in IDP leagues and now has 32 total tackles (23 solos) on the season. He should be busy against the Seahawks in Week 6.


DL Charles Johnson, CAR (@MIN, STL, @TB, ATL) – Johnson had a solo and a sack on Sunday. Not great, but not a complete IDP loss for a DL.

LB Brad Jones, GB (@BAL, CLE, @MIN, CHI) – Jones got off to an excellent start with three solo tackles and a sack before leaving Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. He did not return and his status for next week is unknown.

DB Da’Norris Searcy, BUF (CIN, @MIA, @NO, KC) – With Jairus Byrd still inactive, Searcy had another solid game, posting six total tackles (there solos). The Bills are considering trading Byrd who is expected to be ready for Week 6.

LB Spencer Paysinger, NYG (@CHI, MIN, @PHI, BYE) – Paysinger had another excellent fantasy game on Sunday, posting 10 total tackles (nine solos) and a PD. He’s a high-end LB3 going forward for the struggling Giants.

DB Buster Skrine, CLE (DET, @GB, @KC, BAL) – Skrine continued his steady play with six solos, a sack and two PD in the win over Buffalo. He’s emerging as a reliable DB2 in IDP leagues.

DL Cedric Thornton, PHI (@TB, AL, NYG, @OAK) – Thornton didn’t go nuts, but four solo tackles from your DL2 is a fair-enough tally that’s not going to hurt you most weeks. He’s a decent play next week versus the Bucs.