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Through The Wire

Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business, but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious selections that will 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 just as big a proponent of making trades to bolster your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll target players that may be available in shallow leagues – sometimes just breakout stars that eluded your team’s draft – as well as players who can help your squad that will still be available in most deeper leagues.


Off The Top

Brett Favre, GB – I know he’s available in some leagues, because he’s available in one of mine. And I know after Chris Simms went down last week, somebody who owns a studly QB starter just lost their backup for the year. So if you’re in a deep league or you’ve got a sketchy QB situation, you can’t get many more TD passes for your money from anybody else.

Matt Leinart, ARI – The 2004 Heisman trophy winner has already been locked up by many Kurt Warner owners, and he’s not a great start this week at Atlanta. But he’s an obvious choice in keeper leagues and he’s got lots of weapons in that Arizona offense to help him make the transition pretty smoothly.

Digging Deeper

Mark Brunell, WAS – I guess the Redskins are a different team with a healthy Clinton Portis. But is Mark Brunell a different quarterback? Looked like it on Sunday, when he broke an NFL record by throwing 22 straight completions to start the show. Somewhere out there, league owners that dropped him are reconsidering.

Scouring The Barrel

David Carr, HOU – With a 113.6 passer rating, he really merits better than bottom-of-the-barrel status, considering there’s really only a couple guys with better fantasy numbers. But they are the Houston Texans, and in leagues where turnovers count against you to the tune of -2 or -3 points, he’s a liability because his team doesn’t find the end zone enough.

Updates from Week 3:

Charlie Frye, CLE – He has more rushing TDs this season than Shaun Alexander, and will continue to do so for the next couple weeks. I don’t know all your needs, but that alone might be enough to merit a spot on your roster. With 298 yards passing last week versus Baltimore, he still might be something that semi-desperate souls can get excited about – if not any of the above.

Matt Schaub, ATL – Vick got tossed around a bit in the spirited Superdome. But you can’t really move on him with so many other options out there.

J.P. Losman, BUF – Glad I included him just under the surface last week. I’m sure there’s one fantasy owner out there who benefited from his two scores and 328 yards, even if the sorry sack lives in Buffalo.

Vince Young, TEN – One week closer to his NFL debut, as far as I’m concerned.

Andrew Walter, OAK – The week of preparation on the bye could have only helped his cause, unless he’s been speaking to Tom Walsh, the Raider offense’s version of James Stockdale, or the archaic piece of Al Davis furniture known as Art Shell. Just imagine what it must be like trying to take those guys seriously in practice. This is what I’d say: “Heya, coach, can you explain why my offensive line is crumbling like feta while I continually get smashed by looping defensive ends every time? Oh, is it because I have to drop back six billion steps before I throw? Gotcha.”

Running Backs

Off The Top

Maurice Morris, SEA – This is when you call up your buddy who didn’t handcuff Shaun Alexander and cackle obnoxiously into the phone for a few seconds. If you do grab him, realize that he’s getting thrown into the fire at bit against Chicago, but rest assured that he is a talented veteran who still has fresh legs.

Digging Deeper

Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX – Two guys named Maurice are chillin’ on the wire this week. But this Maurice earned his spot, emerging as Jacksonville’s go-to-guy in their dogfight versus Indy on Sunday. Fred Taylor’s backup had 13 carries for 103 yards and 4 receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown, albeit in a losing effort. When the offense is clicking this team runs the ball effectively, and this guy will benefit more and more from that with more touches and more scores as the season progresses.

LenDale White, TEN – While he’s not a great start this week versus the Cowboys, the two guys ahead of him on the depth chart have toe injuries that tend to linger. And neither Chris Brown nor Travis Henry are in the running for any NFL Ironman awards.

Scouring The Barrel

Michael Robinson, SF – Frank Gore should be playing this week, but keep an eye on the former Penn St. QB who grabbed some carries and two late goal-line scores in a loss to the Eagles on Sunday. Gore hurt his abdomen, and Robinson got a bunch of touches. He’s not going to be a stud anytime soon, but in deeper leagues he’s worth a look.

Ron Dayne, HOU – The only thing worse than picking up Ron Dayne is picking up Ron Dayne when he’s on the Texans. But if you currently have Wali Lundy, this might be the time to cash him in for Dayne.

Updates from Week 3:

Joseph Addai, IND – Just three carries and three catches last week, but you don’t play the Jags every week.

Kenny Watson, CIN – Still a necessary handcuff for Rudi Johnson.

Mike Anderson/Musa Smith, BAL – Jamal’s been holding up pretty well, but you never know.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Braylon Edwards, CLE – This second-year receiver out of Michigan quietly tallied five catches for 116 yards and a TD versus the Ravens last week. He’s Frye’s new big-play guy, so if he’s out there, make it so he isn’t..

Digging Deeper

Eric Johnson, SF – Alex Smith’s rookie TE target, Vernon Davis, has a broken leg, and Johnson will benefit from the opportunity. He’s got good hands and will produce solid numbers (for a TE) now that Davis is gone..

Scouring The Barrel

Roscoe Parrish, BUF – He’s only got 7 catches this year, but four came last week against the Jets, when he totaled 104 yards (including a 51-yard TD), so I’m not saying to get him. Just keep an eye on him, since there’s really no telling what’s going through Losman’s head.

Owen Daniels, HOU – Any TE with 2 TDs this early in the season deserves a look, even if he plays for the Texans.

Updates from Week 3:

Bernard Berrian, CHI – Still putting up numbers for the Bears, who faced a tough Vikings team last week.

Greg Jennings, GB – The big-play guy in Brett’s arsenal, Fare will continue to look his way.

Kelley Washington, CIN – T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry have voided this guy’s fantasy value for now, but you should still keep tabs on the Cincy WR injury situation.


Off The Top

Gerald Hayes, ARI – He’s Arizona’s leading tackler after three games, and there’s hardly anybody that owns him. Plus, he’s got a sack and an INT to boot.

Scott Fujita, NO – The Saints defense has turned to the veteran Fujita in its time of need and he has responded. Don’t wait any longer to pull the trigger and pick him up if your linebackers are hurting you.

Digging Deeper

Chris Draft, CAR – Did anybody else forget about this guy? He’s got 25 tackles, and when asthma’s not keeping him down, he’s very effective at racking up IDP points.

Sean Jones, CLE – Quietly putting up solid numbers in the Browns secondary (24 tackles, INT, 3 PD), I’d look his way if your DBs aren’t getting it done.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Nick Collins, GB – This safety has 22 tackles and four passes defended in his first three games, and he should still be available in your IDP league.

Updates from Week 3:

LB Angelo Crowell, BUF – 10 tackles (six solo) and a pass defended on Sunday versus the Jets.

LB Morlon Greenwood, HOU – Still getting it done, but giving up lots of tackles to studly rookie Demeco Ryans.

DB Jermaine Phillips, TB – Seven solos last week against the Panthers.

DL Trent Cole, PHI – Another four tackles and a sack, and he’s only getting more involved in this solid front seven.

DL Aaron Kampman, GB – A non-factor last week against the Lions, but he’ll make a fantasy impact again sometime down the road.