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 both offensive and defensive 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 many deeper
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Off The Top
Marc Bulger, STL – If the thumb’s okay and Jackson
gets back soon, he could produce top 10 numbers the rest of the
season. He’s available in about one out of five fantasy
leagues, so grab him if he’s out there to face the Saints
JAC – Okay, Quinn Gray wasn’t horrible Sunday versus the Saints,
but it’s time to get Garrard back. Keep an eye on the injury report,
but the Jags will definitely come out firing once this guy’s back
at the helm.
Scouring The Barrel
Bollinger, MIN – He had a hand in getting the Vikes the big
win (although AP’s two legs had more of an impact) and Tarvaris
Jackson left the game with a concussion. I don’t like Bollinger’s
fantasy potential as much as Kelly Holcomb – who’s blown up on
occasion – but he’s probably better for this offense. Unfortunately,
it shouldn’t translate into viable fantasy numbers, so don’t rush
to grab him.
Patrick Ramsey, DEN – He didn’t protect the ball
too well in relief of Cutler Sunday, although he did compile decent
numbers is your league doesn’t punish for turnovers. Cutler
owners – not a very lively bunch this year – would
have to be pretty desperate to take a shot with Ramsey, but there
is something I like about this tough Tulane product, as I’ve
explained in previous columns. This weekend, my Redskins-devoted
buddy came over with a crock pot full of chili and an old Ramsey
Skins jersey for me because it’s a couple sizes too big
for him and I’m a fat guy who likes chili. I still don’t
think the jersey fits, just like I’m not sure Ramsey’s
ever found the right fit for his raw talents, which are ample.
Just keep him on your watch list, even though I know I’m
probably the only one saying it. Who knows – maybe Cutler’s
going to be out for a stretch – and with a week of practice
with the first team under his belt, Ramsey goes nuts against the
Chiefs. It’s not that much of a stretch, is it?
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA – A good week despite the loss, Hasselbeck
should be good going forward from here on out with the Seahawks
looking to get in the end zone via the pass more than the run.
Jay Cutler, DEN – I hate to see injuries to young QBs with
potential, but those are the breaks.
KC – Huard’s got a tough matchup this week against the Broncos,
but with Larry Johnson out and Holmes in, he could be spreading
the ball around to his receivers more.
J.P. Losman, BUF – He’s a different quarterback when
he gets going with Evans early – something he did on Sunday
and could do again against Miami.
Kellen Clemens, NYJ – He wasn’t ridiculously impressive
Sunday, although he did make some nice throws. But now he’s
on a bye.
Off The Top
Priest Holmes, KC – With Larry Johnson on the shelf for
at least a week, Holmes gets his shot. Playing against the Broncos
this week, he should find plenty of seams. Grab him if he’s
still available and start him with confidence.
Jamal Lewis, CLE – Holy 4 TDs with minimal yards! It should
get tougher this week against the Steelers, whose defense looked
like the old Steel Curtain again on MNF (more on that later).
I know I keep posting this, but weeks 12-16 should be kind with
the Browns facing HOU, @ARI, @NYJ, BUF and @CIN.
Justin Fargas, OAK – I included him last week, but didn’t
foresee Lamont Jordan falling so quickly out of favor. I still
don’t exactly know how Jordan lost the starting job after
only 4 carries on Sunday, but he did, and Fargas takes over the
gig. And he’ll see lots of work against the Bears.
BAL – Willis McGahee’s concussion will have him questionable for
Sunday’s game against the Bengals, who surrender obscene fantasy
totals to opposing RBs. Although Mike Anderson is listed as the
team’s #2 RB, Musa’s been getting many more touches and should
figure into McGahee’s role if Willis can’t go.
Scouring The Barrel
Warrick Dunn, ATL – People started dropping Warrick after
his umpteenth lackluster performance in a row, right before he
blew up in Week 9 against the 49ers as the Falcons won and Dunn
finished with over 100 yards. I’m not sure if it’s
a fluke or not, but Carolina’s decent against opposing RBs
and Dunn is still splitting carries with Norwood, so temper your
Peterson, CHI – Even though he’s the backup, I’m going to
continue to include this guy on the wire – especially since he’s
still out there in so many leagues – but mainly because Cedric
Benson’s terrible and the Bears need to change something. This
week, they’ve got Oakland, a good matchup for whoever is getting
the bulk of carries for Chicago.
Michael Robinson, SF – What’s the status on Gore?
Are you as sick of asking yourself and everybody else in the know
this question? Well, Robinson had 17 carries for 67 yards, adding
a couple receptions in Sunday's loss to the Falcons. Again –
he and Maurice Hicks (TD-only leagues) are only options if Gore
continues to sit.
Kevin Jones, DET – A solid yardage day for a guy with lots
of potential, although he didn’t score. The Lions are going
to be in a lot of games down the stretch, and Jones will be used
heavily. A great guy to target in a trade right before your league’s
Rudi Johnson CIN, – He’s terrible and so is the Bengals
Kenton Keith, IND – Still a must-have for Addai owners
and shouldn’t be out there in many 12-team leagues.
TEN – He could be facing a suspension already. Nice. A week
removed from picking him up, and I’ve already dropped him for
Ryan Grant, GB – Not bad on Sunday, but not good either.
Stay away this week as he faces the Vikings.
Pierre Thomas, NO – Not a factor right now.
Off The Top
WR Andre Johnson, HOU – He’s undoubtedly available
on a bunch of waiver wires in leagues that don’t allow an
extra IR slot. And with his team on a bye this week, he’ll
have another week of rest before possibly returning in Week 11.
If you’ve got the roster room and he’s available,
I wouldn’t waste any time.
Henry, CIN – Chad Johnson could play Sunday (he’s basically
got a really stiff neck) and Henry will be activated this week
against the Ravens – who he scored twice on in 2005 before he
endured an injury-and-suspension-riddled ‘06 that kept him out
of one of the contests versus Baltimore. Henry could show some
rust, but the Bengals struggling offense obviously needs another
receiver and Ocho Cinco could be sidelined. Henry’s still available
in about 85 percent of ESPN leagues, so you’ll have little excuse
when he blows up in his first game back.
WR David Patten, NO – Looks like there’s plenty of
TD passes and yardage to go around New Orleans these days. Patten’s
a proven veteran with a decent fantasy past, and now he’s
putting up good numbers in the Big Easy.
WR Muhsin Muhammad, CHI – I don’t care how ineffective
the Bears offense looks, Muhammad’s another guy who very
capable but just needs the ball. The Bears are coming off a bye
and facing the Raiders, and as I’ve said before –
Griese likes Muhsin.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Reggie Williams, JAC – I’m not sure why I’m
bothering to include any Jags receiver in my column, but it’s
happening. Maybe Williams will start to find some of the consistency
people expected from him about three years ago.
WR Nate Washington, PIT – With how the Pittsburgh offense
was firing on all cylinders inside the red zone Monday night,
I think Washington’s value takes a jump. Don’t expect
him to put up the numbers of Holmes and Ward, but he’s a
decent #3 WR on a team that’s reaching the end zone more
and more through the air.
WR Lee Evans, BUF – I told you he’d blow up. Did
WR Greg Jennings, GB – 3/85/2 – a very nice fantasy
day for the second-year receiver. That’s two solid calls
in a row.
Jenkins, ATL – My whole Marques Colston comparison thing didn’t
work out, but at least I thought outside the box.
WR Nate Burleson, SEA – Engram stole the show Sunday, catching
a career-high 14 passes for 139 yards and a TD. He saw 21 targets
to Burleson’s six targets, but Nate did have 4/59/0 and
returned a punt for a TD. His value goes down if Branch is finally
Jones, GB – 3/32/0 isn’t great, but he could have easily grabbed
a TD – they just both went to Jennings.
TE Tony Scheffler, DEN – Tony had 6/46/0, good numbers
for a TE, but lost a fumble. I’m not really sure how Ramsey
starting will affect his value, but I don’t think it can
help too much.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN – Nothing much against the Chargers,
as it turned into the AP show. But I actually like him a lot this
week against the Packers
Off The Top
Harris, NYJ – First off – he’s on a bye this week. But unless
you have major issues with IDP bye weeks (something you hopefully
should’ve avoided, planned for or handled via trades and other
weekly wire selection by this late date) Jonathan Vilma’s replacement
is someone you’ve got to grab. Given the start in Week 8, Harris
has 41 tackles in the last two games – 30 solos and 11 assists.
I don’t think I need to tell you any more, except to apologize
for not including him in the wire last week – although it may
have kept him from being selected in one of my leagues where I
grabbed him to play on Sunday. Today I got offered Philip Rivers
and Shawne Merriman for Harris and Sean Taylor (full point for
tackles and assists in this particular league) and I quickly turned
DL Darnell Dockett, ARI – He’s coming off a huge
week, so there will be some competition on the wire. But he’s
also got great matchups coming up versus the Lions, Bengals, Niners
and Browns. If he’s still out there, don’t hesitate.
LB Omar Gaither, PHI – He’s got a great matchup against
the Redskins, and somebody on the Philly defense has got to step
up and make some plays to stop the run. I bet this week it’s
LB Landon Johnson, CIN – Still out there in lots of leagues,
Johnson’s still underappreciated, and I like his matchup
against the Ravens. Just check his status on the injury report
– not that he’s injured or anything – it’s
just that Bengals LBs get hurt even more often than they get arrested.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Fernando Bryant, DET – He’s not the best cover
man in the world, but he’s been scoring IDP points with
some consistency and he’s got a great matchup this week
against the Cards – who are easily victimized by opposing
fantasy DBs. He’s an instinctive player whose skills are
improving as the Lions shore up some of their issues in the secondary.
DL Will Smith, NO – The Fresh Prince of Bourbon Street
has had a disappointing season thus far, but he’s got a
nice matchup this week against the Rams, who miss Orlando Pace
as much as they’ve missed S-Jax, probably more. Take a chance
and suit him up if you’re desperate for a DL who has big-play
capability and the big boys are already gone
DB Sammy Knight, JAC – 11 total tackles and 2 PDs. I’d
say I hit this one pretty good.
DL Mario Williams, HOU – Wow. This guy was a number one
overall pick and he can’t even exploit the Raider offensive
line. Sad, isn’t it?
DL Elvis Dumervil, DEN – He got to the QB again. You can’t
expect much more out of a DL than consistency getting penetration.
Keep playing him.
Harrison, PIT – Probably the best IDP waiver call of my career,
I knew Harrison would have a good day against the Ravens. I just
didn’t know he’d completely take over the game and finish with
3.5 sacks, 10 tackles, a PD, and INT and a FR. He scored 32.5
points in my main IDP leagues and nobody played him, including
me, because I’ve already got some great LBs, and I picked up Terrence
McGee instead this week. Still – he’ll have some good IDP totals
from here on out, although nothing approaching this game unless
he scores a TD or two.
LB Victor Hobson, NYJ – Harris stole the show, Barton contributed
and Hobson was pretty much absent.
DL Marques Douglas SF, – Not much last week, and I’m
not expecting much this week.