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
Kurt Warner, ARI – If Warner’s available on the wire
and you need a QB, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick him up. While
many fantasy writers were wary of hawking him too heavily last
week because he’s a constant injury risk and he’s
nursing a bum shoulder and elbow, Warner had a solid game against
the Lions. Plus, he’s got the best available schedule for
QBs who still might be available on the wire: @CIN, SFO, CLE,
@SEA, @NOR, ATL.
HOU – Schaub practiced Monday and should be the starter Sunday
versus the Saints. After Week 11, things are still pretty manageable
– and he’ll have his full complement of weapons with Andre Johnson
returning from injury to join WR Kevin Walter, TE Owen Daniels
and a slew of receivers who’ve produced.
TEN – Available in my 10-team IDP league this week along with
Warner, I’m probably picking up one of them to back up Carson
Palmer. But at this point, Young should still be seen as that
– a fantasy backup in shallow leagues and a marginal starter in
deep ones. He’s still very capable of huge days on the ground
and his 41 pass attempts on Sunday marked a career high – but
I’m still not convinced he’s back to his 2006 form. Still, he
could make a nice spot-starter or solid #2 in a few of the contests
during the remaining schedule: @DEN, @CIN, HOU, SDG, @KAN, NYJ.
J.P. Losman, BUF – We’re now into the toughest stretch
of Buffalo’s schedule (NE, @JAC, @WAS), although the first
two weeks of most leagues’ playoffs offer some possibility
for big fantasy days (@CLE, NYG). I’m not recommending a
start this week, but if the Bills fall way behind the Pats, which
they could, expect to see Losman rack up some decent yardage and
maybe even a couple scores.
Kellen Clemens, NYJ – Coming off a bye week, Clemens should
be better prepared to run the show, but this week’s opponent
is the Steelers – and the schedule doesn’t get that
much easier. I’d look elsewhere, although Clemens is a strong-armed
young QB with some potential.
Rex Grossman, CHI – Even if he holds onto the starting
job, Grossman faces some tough competition in the next few weeks,
especially given his propensity to turn the ball over. I wouldn’t
take a chance, although he still has some upside when “Good
Scouring The Barrel
BAL – Let’s face it – Steve McNair is done. Boller takes another
jump in fantasy value with the reemergence of Mark Clayton and
while the schedule’s no cakewalk, there is the matchup in Week
11 versus the Browns to look forward to if Boller starts.
Croyle, KC – I wouldn’t take a shot, but he’s apparently got
a cannon for an arm and if you believe the injury to Larry Johnson
means the Chiefs will throw more, he might be worth consideration.
Tarvaris Jackson, MIN – He’s yet to be successful
in the NFL – or any level, for that matter – but he
does face the Raiders this week and will probably get the start.
That’s about the only positive thing I have to say about
Tarvaris – which sucks because he’s got a cool name.
Marc Bulger, STL – I’d say that 302 yards passing
and 2 TDs – not to mention a win – means Bulger is
back in the top 10 fantasy QBs to own, especially with the list
of susceptible opponents coming up: @SFO, SEA, ATL, @CIN.
David Garrard, JAC – Gray got the start and the win Sunday,
but Garrard is slated to be back in Week 11. Unfortunately, the
remaining schedule’s not great and chances are there should
be many other waiver wire options that’ll be more productive
down the stretch.
Brooks Bollinger, MIN – He had a bad outing against the
Packers and it appears Tarvaris Jackson is back at they helm.
Ramsey, DEN – Jay Cutler returned to action in Week 10 and
led the Broncos to a much-needed victory over the Chiefs.
Off The Top
Taylor, MIN – The emergence of Adrian Peterson as a bona fide
NFL superstar meant some owners dropped Taylor, despite his stellar
numbers in limited duty (about 5.0 yards per carry). The injury
to AP – a lateral collateral ligament tear which could mean several
weeks on the shelf for the promising rookie – signifies a great
opportunity to pick up Taylor, an established veteran runner who’ll
assume the bulk of touches behind an offensive line that can get
the job done against almost anybody. And lest we forget, last
season Taylor had over 1500 total yards and 42 catches, so he’s
a great #2 RB when he gets the carries.
Ryan Grant, GB – Grant had the best game of his brief NFL
career Sunday, rushing for 119 yards and a TD and catching five
passes for 20 yards. With a few good performances under his belt,
he’ll most likely be heavily involved in the offense from
here on out and is the team’s undisputed #1 RB. Grab him
if he’s still available.
Maurice Morris, SEA – There’s no current update on
Shawn Alexander’s status for Week 11, and the Seahawks face
a Chicago defense that’s already given up 1160 rushing yards
and 8 rushing TDs in 2007. That’s a far cry from the 2006
version of the Bears defense – although judging from his
statistical history, Morris is a better bet for a 100-yard game
than a score if he starts.
Aaron Stecker, NO – Bush’s concussion in Week 11 translates
into increased fantasy value for Stecker. He’s a decent
backup for Bush owners and a solid fantasy option for everybody
else if Bush misses any time.
Scouring The Barrel
TEN – He appealed his suspension, and LenDale White is coming
off a bad week. He could see some action, but I wouldn’t hold
Thomas, BUF – Loyal readers know how I love the A-Train, but
it’s tough for me to recommend grabbing him with the Patriots
coming up and Lynch’s official status up in the air. Plus, there’s
Dwayne Wright – the team’s other RB – to consider.
Holmes, KC – The rest of his schedule is not too brutal, and
he’s still got great upside based on his ability to pound the
ball into the end zone, get catches and pick up tough yards. But
his value hinges on both the return of Johnson and the Chiefs’
use of Kolby Smith.
Jamal Lewis, CLE – The Browns have just one more week until
they get the finishing schedule of their dreams: HOU, @ARI, @NYJ,
BUF and @CIN.
Justin Fargas, OAK – He did see lots of work against the
Bears, but he lost a fumble in the 17-6 loss. For fickle head
coach Lane Kiffin, we don’t really know what that means.
BAL – Starting RB Willis McGahee’s concussion wasn’t a factor,
Smith didn’t see much action.
Warrick Dunn, ATL – Dunn finished Sunday with 89 yards
rushing and a TD, and 3/51/0 receiving – his best fantasy
day since Week 6 of last season.
Peterson, CHI – The Bears won and Cedric Benson scored. Judging
from Lovie Smith’s previous recipes for success, that means the
leagues’ only healthy Adrian Peterson stays in the back seat.
Michael Robinson, SF – Gore played and did enough to hold
onto his starting job, so Robinson’s value takes a dip.
Off The Top
WR Isaac Bruce, STL – The Reverend tallied 4/62/1 in Bulger’s
second solid game in a row. If he’s available in any of
your leagues, he’s a great pickup, especially considering
his schedule the next four weeks: @SFO, SEA, ATL, @CIN.
Hackett, SEA – I picked up Hackett this past weekend to start,
although his 8/101/1 performance Monday night wasn’t enough to
pick up a win over my opponent – Brian Westbrook and company.
Hasselbeck’s been looking his way, so Hackett’s a solid #3 and
maybe even a decent #2 if the Seattle offense continues to exploit
opposing defenses via the air.
TE Leonard Pope, ARI – Pope caught two TDs last week and
has a great matchup against the Bengals in Week 11. If you’re
looking for a solid backup or even a good spot starter this week,
look no further.
WR Arnaz Battle, SF – Battle is just about the only bright
spot on a team that’s going nowhere. I’ve included
him several times in my column – yet he’s almost always
available because of his sporadic production.
Clayton, BAL – There was more than a Mark Clayton “sighting”
on Sunday, with the embattled third-year WR snagging 8/107/0 in
the 21-7 loss to the Bengals. I’m not thoroughly convinced, but
he seems to be a better receiver with Boller at the helm.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Eddie Kennison, KC – With Croyle – a second-year
Alabama product with good arm strength – taking the snaps
in KC, I think he’ll throw a few more deep balls than Huard.
He’s healthy and his value takes a small jump.
McMichael, STL – Bulger’s yet to throw him a TD pass – the
other two were from Frerotte in Week 5 and Steven Jackson on Sunday.
But since there are not too many productive TEs out there, he
might be worth a shot if you’re desperate.
Johnson, HOU – He supposed to be back for Week 11, so keep
an eye on the injury report. He could really blow up with Schaub
Henry, CIN – As long as he stays out of trouble – which is
easier said than done for Henry – he’ll be a factor in the Bengals
stretch run, as he was Sunday. Henry played well in the Bengals
win over the Ravens, which kept them (mathematically) in the playoff
hunt. But they’ll need to run the table the rest of the way. It’s
a long shot, but with the offensive struggles the 3-6 team has
endured, Henry’s involvement in the game plan is a sure thing.
WR David Patten, NO – 3/37/0. At least he was still involved
in the offense, something that should continue.
Muhammad, CHI – His value takes a big hit with the injury
to Griese – who targeted him more than any other receiver. Bernard
Berrian’s value, on the other hand, gets bumped up a few notches.
WR Reggie Williams, JAC – How did Williams follow up his
big week 9? With one lousy catch. Figures.
WR Nate Washington, PIT – Washington finished the crazy
game against Cleveland with 4 receptions for 56 yards. Not bad
for the Steelers fourth receiving option.
Off The Top
LB Mike Peterson, JAC – In his best game of the season,
Peterson finished with 14 tackles, a pass defensed, and interception
and a fumble recovery. Prior to that performance, he’d been
cast aside in many leagues – possibly because his torn pectoral
from last season may have been causing a fantasy hangover –
so grab him if he’s out there in yours.
LB Calvin Pace, ARI – In his last three games Pace has
tallied 31 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 PD, an INT and a FR. Get
him on your team ASAP and play him in beneficial LB matchups.
DL Michael Strahan, NYG – He’s no longer the best
defensive lineman on the Giants, but Strahan has been playing
better since the first few weeks and he’s bound to have
a huge day versus the Lions, who surrender the third-most points
to fantasy DLs.
LB Bradie James, DAL – After a slow start, James has turned
into a solid IDP linebacker. This week, he’s got a great
matchup versus the Redskins – who’ve been running
Portis into the ground and giving up lots of points to LBs.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Roderick Hood, ARI – He hasn’t been doing much
since his huge day versus the Rams in Week 5, but the Bengals
matchup should find him picked on by Carson Palmer – meaning
tackles and plenty of shots at PDs and picks.
Williams, CLE – In another great spot matchup, LBs facing
the Ravens simply rack up the IDP points and Williams – the replacement
for the injured Andra Davis, has played well since assuming a
LB David Harris, NYJ – Bye week. But I can’t wait
to get him back in my lineup. How about you?
DL Darnell Dockett, ARI – Just four tackles, but he recovered
a fumble – a stat line that wasn’t likely to hurt
Gaither, PHI – I figured Gaither would rack up the tackles
against the Redskins, but he had another weak game that highlighted
his inability to get to the opposing RBs. Where’s Jeremiah Trotter
when you need him, Philly?
LB Landon Johnson, CIN – 9 total tackles but no special
stuff – consistency that I’ll take from an IDP starter.
DB Fernando Bryant, DET – He’s still not the best
cover man in the world, but I’d say 6 tackles and a PD is
about average for him.
Smith, NO – I sat Julius Peppers this week and played the
Fresh Prince, who responded in kind with 7 tackles and a sack.
It was a tough call, but Smith finished with decent IDP total
that surpassed that of Peppers.