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
Tim Tebow, DEN (DET, @OAK, @KC, NYJ) – Tebow waited almost
four full quarters before rewarding his fantasy owners, and there’s
a lot wrong with his game, but his ability to scramble makes him
a worthy roster add in leagues where he’s not already snagged.
Dalton, CIN (@SEA, @TEN, PIT, BAL) – The bye week probably
helped out Dalton quite a bit, and he’s facing the Seahawks in
Week 8. If you’re a Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler or Aaron Rodgers owner
and you’re looking for a capable backup off the wire, Dalton is
Scouring The Barrel
Ponder, MIN (@CAR, BYE, @GB, OAK) – The Green Bay defense
is full of gamblers, and because of this, Ponder made things quite
interesting on Sunday afternoon. The general consensus is that
he’s a much better QB option than Donovan McNabb, and that holds
true for fantasy owners as well.
Josh Freeman, TB (BYE, @NO, HOU, @GB) – Freeman had a solid
second half and finished with 264 yards and two TD passes. The
only problem is he threw four picks in the process. The bye week
should help him sort things out.
Sam Bradford, STL (NO, @ARI, @CLE, SEA) – Bradford sat
out with his high ankle sprain. Stay tuned for his Week 8 status.
John Beck, WAS (BUF, SF, @MIA, DAL) – Beck posted a decent
fantasy line on Sunday (279-1-1) and also contributed a rushing
TD. He’s got the job barring any major setbacks.
Palmer, OAK (BYE, DEN, @SD, @MIN) – Palmer relieved Kyle Boller
(three INTs) at halftime and ended up throwing three picks of
his own. While it wasn’t the kind of debut Raider fans were counting
on, he barely got any reps in practice and admitted knowing just
10 percent of the team’s offense. The bye week should give him
plenty of time to prepare for Denver.
Off The Top
Torain, WAS (@BUF, SF, @MIA, DAL) – With Tim Hightower (torn
ACL) done for the year, Torain will get the nod as the Redskins
starting running back – for now. The next few matchups are decent
ones, so take a chance on Torain if he’s still available.
Moreno, DEN (DET, @OAK, @KC, NYJ) – Willis McGahee’s injury
should keep him out a week or two, giving Moreno first crack at
carries in Denver. I’m not a huge fan of Moreno – I’d also consider
Lance Ball in deep PPR leagues – but he’s worth adding if he’s
Michael Bush, OAK (BYE, DEN, @SD, @MIN) – There’s
talk that McFadden could be back after the Week 8 bye, but Bush
is a productive option who gets a decent number of goal line carries.
If you’ve got the room, don’t hesitate.
Roy Helu, WAS (@BUF, SF, @MIA, DAL) – Helu is probably
the better all-around back over Torain, but he’s relegated
to third-down duties… for now.
Scouring The Barrel
Leon Washington, SEA (CIN, @DAL, BAL, @STL) – If Marshawn
Lynch misses any additional time, the capable Washington will
take over in Seattle. Washington’s got a decent history
as a fill-in fantasy contributor; so desperate owners might have
an option in this veteran back.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, ARI (@BAL, STL, @PHI, @SF) – Chris
Wells is hurt…again, so Alphonso Smith and LSH will have
a timeshare. I prefer LSH for his big-play capability, as he showed
on his 73-yard TD catch-and-run Sunday.
Last chance to grab Murray.
Hardesty, CLE (@SF, @HOU, STL, JAC) – With Peyton Hillis out,
Hardesty racked up 95 yards (on a whopping 33 carries) and 2-27-0
receiving. Not bad, but a TD would have been nice.
Morris, DET (@DEN, BYE, @CHI, CAR) – Morris didn’t have an
ideal day, but he filled in admirably (63 total yards) for the
concussed Jahvid Best.
Murray, DAL (@PHI, SEA, BUF, @WAS) – Wow. As a Cowboy fan,
I’m pretty giddy about Murray’s monster 253-yard day, which included
a 91-yard TD run. He’s definitely going to be gone in just about
all formats after the waivers process this week.
Brown, IND (@TEN, ATL, JAC, BYE) – Delone Carter had a solid
day, but it appears that Joseph Addai is close to returning, relegating
Brown back to third string.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Plaxico Burress, NYJ (BYE, @BUF, NE, @DEN) – Burress
is still available in over a third of fantasy leagues, but you’ll
have to wait a week to deploy him as the Jets are on a bye and
then head to Buffalo in Week 9. It took a while for him to adjust,
but his three-TD performance in Week 7 proves he’s exactly
the red zone threat the Jets were seeking when they signed him
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN (@SEA, @TEN, PIT, @BAL) – The next
few matchups could really help Gresham break out as one of the
top TEs in the league this season. The Titans give up the most
points to fantasy TEs and the Seahawks are one of the top five
TE-friendly teams. He might be available in some leagues because
of the Week 7 bye.
Brown, PIT (NE, BAL, @CIN, BYE) – For the third time this
season, Brown had at least nine targets – cashing in for 7-102-0.
He’s yet to score a TD, but Ben Roethlisberger seems to be spending
more and more time looking his way. In fact, the young wideout
is 19th in the NFL with 48 targets this season.
Gaffney, WAS (@BUF, SF, @MIA, DAL) – Gaffney earns a bump
in value with the injury to Santana Moss, who’ll be out about
4-6 weeks. The veteran receiver has 18 targets the past two weeks
and is coming off his highest yardage total of the season.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Michael Jenkins, MIN (@CAR, BYE, @GB, OAK) – Jenkins
broke through for 3-111-1 on Sunday, scoring for the third time
this season and showing some rapport with Ponder, the new Vikings
QB. Aside from the Week 9 bye, the upcoming matchups look tasty.
WR Nate Burleson, DET (@DEN, BYE, @CHI, CAR) – Burleson
contributed just one catch (no yardage) and 10 rushing yards during
a stifled Sunday at home versus Atlanta. Boo!
WR Devin Hester, CHI (BYE, @PHI, DET, SD) – Hester didn’t
find paydirt but caught 4-46-0 in the win over Tampa Bay.
Alexander, STL (NO, @ARI, @CLE, SEA) – Two receptions, no
yardage. But that was with A.J. Feeley taking the snaps. Wait
until Bradford gets back.
Off The Top
Derrick Johnson, KC (SD, MIA, DEN, @NE) – He’ll be
on the field a lot in the coming weeks, and he doesn’t have
a bad matchup left on the docket. The veteran linebacker just
keeps getting it done; so far this season he’s racked up
35 solos and he’s been active in pass coverage, which helps
lead to bonus points in IDP.
DB Patrick Chung, NE (@PIT, NYG, @NYJ, KC) – Chung isn’t
having the same type of impact as in the past, but the matchup[s
are getting juicier as the season wears on. Look for some big
plays and plenty of tackles in the upcoming games with Pittsburgh
and the Giants.
Scouring The Barrel
DL Ahtyba Rubin, CLE (@SF, @HOU, STL, JAC) – Rubin is a
top-notch tackler at the point of attack and should continue to
post good IDP numbers in the next few weeks. He’s an effective
DL2 in fantasy and serves as an excellent bye week fill-in.
DL Calais Campbell, ARI (@BAL, STL, @PHI, @SF) – Campbell
managed just two solo tackles in the crushing loss to Pittsburgh,
but should be retained in all formats as he’s still one
of the top-scoring DLs in IDP.
LB Von Miller, DEN (DET, @OAK, @KC, NYJ) – Miller totaled
five tackles and a sack in the Broncos comeback win over Miami
Sunday. He’s not a great option every week, but you can
find matchups that work.
DB Jordan Babineaux, TEN (IND, CIN, @CAR, @ATL) – We got
another solid game from Babineaux, who tallied 11 tackles (nine
solos) in the loss to Houston. He remains an excellent DB2 option.