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.
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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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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?
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
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.