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Through The Wire
11/7/06 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 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

Alex Smith, SF – I guarantee somebody gave up on young Alex after his 49ers kicked 3 FGs in a nondescript win over the Vikings last week. I’ll be the first to admit that Alex isn’t Tom Brady, and Brady tearing open the Vikings secondary as easily he did was more a product of his protection and his talent. But if Smith faces a team that can’t pressure him like the Vikings did, can’t stuff the run and bring up lots of 3rd-and-longs, but can score some points and make the 49ers pick up the pace a little, he’ll get in the type of shootout we fantasy owners love to watch. And that, my friends, is how the SF@DET game looks this week to me.

Digging Deeper

David Garrard, JAX – Usually, I would just provide an update, but Garrard’s emergence as a potent fantasy threat necessitated his inclusion again in the main thread. His 3 TDs are underscored by the fact that he’s a more mobile quarterback than Byron Leftwich, who’s probably done for the year as the starter. The latest news is that Leftwich is considering surgery on his ankle. If you need a QB this week and Garrard’s available, make him your starter at home versus Houston.

Scouring The Barrel

Seneca Wallace, SEA – The Seahawks defense was the big story on Monday night, not that the Oakland offense poses significant problems for most NFL defensive units. But Wallace threw the ball surprisingly well and could be a decent fantasy option this week at home versus the Rams – even if Shaun Alexander comes back. I don’t think Alexander will be 100 percent even if he returns to the starting lineup, but the Rams will still focus on stopping him. That should allow Wallace to find his many viable receivers a little more open than usual. The Seahawks gave up 263 and 3 TDs to Hasselbeck in Week 6, so Wallace should contribute at least 220 yards and a TD.


Steve McNair, BAL – He didn’t light up the Bengals, but he led his new team to a win. Facing his old team, I’m sure Steve will be anxious to throw the ball all over the field. But the Ravens will focus on pounding the ball through the Titans weak rushing defense. And only two QBs (Chad Pennington and Philip Rivers) have thrown for over 200 yards versus Tennessee this season, although Carr and Rosenfels combined for 299 in a bizarre game that featured Rosenfels tossing 3 TDs in garbage time.

Sage Rosenfels, HOU – That’s right Sage, you heard me.

Joey Harrington, MIA – Figured I’d give an update on Joey H. and Romo while I was covering my stuff from last week. Harrington just OWNS the Bears, and he proved it once again on Sunday.

Tony Romo, DAL – Devastating loss, but it can’t be pinned on this kid. He actually did resemble Favre a bit this week, and as a Cowboy fan, that’s exciting.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Anthony Thomas, BUF – I put A-Train in my column after Week 1 telling McGahee owners to pick him up, be patient and reserve a spot all year long for this now-valuable handcuff. I took my own advice (even though I didn’t own McGahee) and picked him up in one of my leagues. I’ve kept him on my bench and haven’t needed to drop him. Now is exactly when moves like that pay off. He’s probably got the starting job for at least the next two weeks (@IND, @HOU), so he’s a decent #2 option for both games.

Digging Deeper

DeAngelo Williams, CAR – Coming off several weeks of recovery from an ankle injury and a bye week, he’s ready for a bigger role in the Carolina offense. The Panthers can’t be excited about what they’ve gotten from DeShaun Foster, so if he plays Monday night against Tampa Bay, expect Williams to see lots of touches. Just keep an eye on his status as the week progresses.

Scouring The Barrel

Noah Herron, GB – Ahman Green (see below) is once again the man for the Packers, but Herron has taken over the pass-catching, third-down duties once assigned to Ahman back in the day. Herron’s proven worthy of a fantasy start if he gets the starting job, but unless Green goes down, he’s a backup in every sense of the word.


Ahman Green, GB – Got at least one RB right last week. Just when you think he’s ready for pasture, Green breaks out with back-to-back-to-back 100-yard games. He’s not what he once was, but he’s still solid as a #2 RB.

Mike Bell, DEN – Tatum was a late scratch, but this Bell got rung up by the tough Steelers run defense. He did have 5 catches for 40 yards, however, which means he can be the all-purpose back many fantasy owners covet. He’s got a couple more tough matchups in the coming weeks, but by the time it gets easy, Tatum will most likely be back and splitting carries – so start looking elsewhere for a bonafide starter if Mike’s already on your roster.

Mewelde Moore, MIN – The Vikes couldn’t even break out against the lowly Niners. So for now, relegate Moore to wait-and-see-if-Chester-gets-maimed status.

Cedric Benson, CHI – Until the Bears offense gets back on track, I’d say Ceddie’s next to useless for fantasy purposes.

Reuben Droughns, CLE – Last week, I posted Droughns as a second-tier waiver pickup somewhere inside the expansive barrel, despite the fact that he’s a starting RB with little competition (usually a moniker that makes RBs a no-brainer for the top o’ the barrel), and here’s why. His rushing gains on Sunday, carry by carry: 4,8,2,0,3,0,0,5,3,2,0,4,2,1,2,0,0,0,0. That means he totaled 24 yards on his final 17 carries, and 0 yards on his final 4. Nice finish.

Tony Fisher, STL – Still awaiting results of an MRI, but probably out for the year with a torn ACL.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Devery Henderson, NO – When you score two touchdowns in any given week, you’ll get my attention. Henderson took advantage of Joe Horn’s injury and capitalized to the tune of 3-111-2 versus the Bucs. If Horn stays out, Henderson’s a decent waiver pickup.

WR Ernest Wilford, JAC – Like I said, 2 TDs gets my attention. Garrard looks for him frequently in the red zone, and that’s enough information to get a roster spot, considering some of the matchups he has down the stretch. Reggie Who?

Digging Deeper

WR Eric Parker, SD – This guy just doesn’t score TDs. Other than that, there’s not a lot of bad things I can say. If for some reason LT gets shut down by somebody and the Chargers fall behind by a couple scores, Parker will be a great guy to have started. I’ve seen lots of hype about this guy all year long, but I just can’t get too excited because of the goose egg in the TD column.

WR Arnaz Battle, SF – My sleeper pick for Sunday, Battle has shown only spots of brilliance (2 TDs versus Oakland in Week 5 and 5 catches for 39 yards in Week 6 against the Chargers) but is ready to break out with his young QB anxious to throw the ball after last week’s defense-based win. And they’re facing a team that’s vulnerable to the passing attack. But weak-stomached buyers should beware – he’s always gonna be a high-risk, high-reward guy.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Marty Booker, MIA – While many would include Booker a little higher on their waiver priority, given he’s compiled 10-124-2 during his last two games. But last week, his numbers were only decent because he scored a TD. Otherwise, 3 catches for 14 yards doesn’t sound too impressive. He’s a veteran receiver who Harrington seems to like, but his numbers in the upcoming games won’t match the output of his last two weeks (except for Week 12 @ DET – he’s a good start there).


TE Owen Daniels, HOU – The Giants defense kept him out of the end zone, but his 3-34-0 is pretty typical for a starting NFL tight end. He’ll probably post similar numbers at Jacksonville.

WR Chris Henry, CIN – With 79 yards on just two receptions, it’s obvious Chris Henry is a big-play receiver. He almost scored on a big play versus Baltimore, and he’s worth a roster spot in just about any format.

WR Reche Caldwell, NE – One stinkin’ catch versus the Colts? Brady had 20 completions Sunday night, but he just spreads it around too much for one or two guys to blow up for obnoxious numbers.

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL – I knew there was a reason I hadn’t picked up this guy. With just three catches for 26 yards against the Lions and Alge Crumpler still firmly entrenched as Vick’s favorite receiving threat, it’s hard for me to imagine starting Jenkins in any matchup.


Off The Top

LB Kirk Morrison, OAK – A quick scan of a few IDP free agent board confirms that nobody listened the last time I put this guy through the wire. The guy’s usually good for at least 8-10 tackles and the occasional big play in coverage (PD, INT) What more do you need?

Digging Deeper

LB Marcus Washington, WAS – Marcus has been Mr. Reliable over the past few weeks and should still be out there in some IDP boards. He’ll probably rack up at least 6-10 tackles this week facing the Eagles, who will rely heavily on Brian Westbrook.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Darrent Williams, DEN – He’s been awesome this year and this week he gets to face the Raiders. I think you’ll hear his name all over the field – blitzes, tackles and even an INT or two – in his second crack at Oakland QB Andrew Walter. But since the Raiders aren’t on the field a lot and don’t complete lots of passes, he’s a risk to throw up a goose egg. You have been duly warned.


LB Julian Peterson, SEA – 4 tackles, a sack and a PD. He’s always been a consistent performer.

DB DeAngelo Hall, ATL – I anticipated an INT against the freewheeling Kitna, but Hall did manage 3 tackles and 2 PD – below his average but not an IDP crap-out.

LB Bradie James, DAL – 8 tackles & a PD versus the runnin’ Redskins – good enough for me.

LB Mike Vrabel, NE – 6 tackles and a half a sack during the Sunday night game – A little below average for this hardworking linebacker, but serviceable in most formats.

DL Chris Kelsay, BUF – Couldn’t get to Brett Favre on Sunday and posted just three tackles. And so it goes.