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
MIA – Likely still among the QBs available in your league, Green
makes the most sense for the coming weeks if your hurting a la
Eli Manning or Jon Kitna (I know he played again in that game,
but I’d wait to see how he rebounds from the concussion this week).
Green’s next four weeks are @NYJ, OAK, @HOU and @CLE – not bad
if you’re searching for a modestly reliable #2 or desperate #1.
CLE – Can we chalk up Anderson’s ridiculous performance to Cincinnati’s
defense, or can there be more to this crazy thing than meets the
eye? Maybe the Oregon State product gained some much-needed confidence
when Romeo ousted Charlie
Frye, or maybe he just finally clicked with his talented young
receivers (and Joe Jurevicius). Either way, the outing can’t be
ignored, and he faces the Raiders next week in Oakland in what
could morph into another shootout. At 6’6”/229, Anderson has a
strong arm and the size to make pretty much every throw on the
field. The bad news? He’s still not the most accurate guy in the
world and he’s got the Ravens and the Patriots in the two weeks
following the trip to Oakland.
Scouring The Barrel
Kellen Clemens, NYJ – I can’t tell you how the Pennington
situation is going to pan out, but Clemens looked sharp in the
final quarter versus the Ravens. On the bright side, the next
few weeks feature a few tolerable matchups: Miami, Buffalo, the
Giants and Philly. But realistically, he only someone to stow
away if you believe Pennington’s finished leading the Green
Machine and you have lots of confidence in the offense.
Culpepper, OAK – I guess Lane Kiffin figured starting Josh
McCown, even at less than 100 percent, was better than breaking
out Culpepper against one of the league’s top secondaries. Sure,
the Raiders could have pulled it out even with McCown, but I think
Culpepper would’ve put ‘em over the top.
OAK – Struggled against Denver with just 73 yards passing
and three INTs. Neither he nor Culpepper are locks, but with Cleveland
and Miami on the docket the next two weeks one might be worth
a start as a #2.
CAR – Jake’s turned in two solid performances in a row, he’s clicking
with Steve Smith in a big way, and he’s got decent matchups in
the coming weeks.
Tarvaris Jackson, MIN – My apologies to anyone who started
Jackson on a lark against the Lions last week. With all those
turnovers, he’s just not an option at this point.
Matt Schaub, HOU – He’s doing about what fantasy owners
who drafted him expected, and he’s got some decent matchups
upcoming, including a possible shootout with Indy in Week 3.
Brady Quinn, CLE – After Anderson’s five-TD monkey
wrench, he’ll continue to be shelved.
NYG – Talk about no confidence in your fat backup QB – Coughlin
went with a wounded Eli Manning instead of giving the kid a shot.
Anyone else fed up with these head coaches who wait until seconds
before game time to announce their starter?
Off The Top
Jamal Lewis, CLE – Okay, you know folks dropped him after
his less-than-stellar performance in Week 1, only to kick themselves
repeatedly most of Sunday evening for doing so. I told everybody
in my leagues this year that I would not draft Jamal Lewis, regardless
of his apparent value, and this blanket statement might cost me
in the long run. At any rate, Lewis is a guy who should be owned
in all leagues based on the Cincy game alone.
DET – Did you forget about this guy? The Lions are 2-0 and they
don’t have a heck of a lot of confidence in Tatum Bell, which
means they’ll jump at the chance to get Jones on the field as
soon as possible even though he’s listed as day-to-day. He’s a
brilliant receiver, deadly in the flats, and was once a highly-touted
fantasy back. He posted about 17 fantasy PPG last year in PPR
leagues during the games he played, so I’d take a chance on him.
He also might be someone to target in a multi-player deals because
he’s sneaky good and at this point he’s still under the radar
of many fantasy owners.
Moore, MIN – With Chester Taylor injured, this versatile back
ran for 50 yards on just 6 carries, an 8.3 average. I don’t know
what the status of Taylor’s bruised hip is just yet, but hip injuries
are usually tough for running backs that need to shift their weight
constantly during cuts and utilize their lower body to get those
extra yards. I’m no doctor, but with Moore running well, do you
need to force Taylor back into action? Stay tuned to the injury
report and don’t hesitate to use Moore against Kansas City if
all the starters are taken and you could benefit from a few extra
points in a PPR league.
Scouring The Barrel
PIT – The Steelers offense has been sharp, and as the third down
back, he’ll get some touches against the 49ers. He’s a decent
pass receiver in the flats and can be dangerous near the goal
line. But that’s a reach because Willie Parker’s been solid inside
the 20s. At any rate, Davenport is a big body you could stow away
on your bench and should anything happen to Parker, he could blow
DeShawn Wynn, GB – Based on his prototypical size and downhill
running style, Wynn could be the Packers’ goal line back
for years to come. But he lacks the elusive acceleration that
fantasy backs need to blow up as a regular starter. While he played
well in garbage time versus the Giants and reached the end zone
twice, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon because he’s
still only a very marginal #3 or #4 fantasy back with little upside.
Sunday’s fantasy totals will most likely be the best of
his career, unless the Packers sustain more injuries to their
RBs and both Morency and Jackson are inactive. Plus, he might
have some trouble holding on to Favre’s bullet passes and
has never established himself as a reliable receiver out of the
Jordan, OAK – Jordan did not disappoint in the Denver game,
although it would’ve be nice if he found the end zone. Through
two games, he’s got 229 rushing yards and 89 receiving yards,
which means he’s on pace for over 2,500 total yards. While I don’t
believe that’s going to happen, he might threaten the 2,000 total
yard mark in ‘07. He’s got an excellent matchup coming up versus
the Browns, and while he’s not available on too many waiver wires,
if you picked him up last week (when you might have had the opportunity
in some shallow leagues) he’s a great play right about now.
TEN – LenDale White got three more caries and a score, so Brown
gets demoted a few spots. I think we’re probably going to see
a RBBC in Tennessee for most of the season, making neither of
these guys a great play from week to week.
Ward, NYG – Another good week from this guy, and he might
still be available in some formats. Grab him.
CHI – Just two carries for 9 yards Sunday, but 3/23 receiving.
Just keep an eye on Cedric Benson and the Bears depth chart –
I really think things could change by midseason.
MIA – He snagged a few more points on just three carries against
Dallas (27 yards), but you’ll have to wait and see if Ronnie Brown
breaks out in the coming games. If he doesn’t, Cam might make
NE – Scored a late TD and had 51 yards on 10 carries. You could’ve
done a lot worse.
Off The Top
Mason, BAL – There’s a chance he’s available in smaller leagues,
and he’s been getting most of the looks in Baltimore. It really
doesn’t matter how old this guy is – he’s always going to be one
of my favorite fantasy receivers of all time because of his consistency
racking up catches in PPR leagues. I’m probably not going to come
up with anything that hasn’t been said about the Mason/McNair
connection over the years, but even without his Air, he’ll do
well on an offense that’s holding out for a hero other than Willis
McCheeselegs and Todd Heap.
WR Bobby Engram, SEA – Hold on – this guy’s
still alive? Apparently so, because he’s turned in two respectable
weeks in a row and the Seahawks schedule only gets better the
next couple, with Cincinnati and San Francisco coming up. Engram
rarely drops passes, runs smooth, solid patterns and although
he’s 34, he’s a tough competitor with some fantasy
value against young secondaries. He’s in his 12th season
with just his second team, which says to me that he’s reliable
and quarterbacks still believe in him.
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC – He’s young and he’s still
a bit raw, but he’s matured well for a rookie and he’s
one of very few healthy receivers in KC. D-Bowe played well in
preseason and turned a lot of heads with his athleticism and body
control. He won’t be the home run hitter KC needs to extend
the field, but he’ll be a reliable possession receiver on
a team that desperately needs one. It’s obvious he’s
being targeted in the red zone, too, because he had a nice TD
catch last week against Chicago on 1st and 10 from the 16 and
another TD called back on a cool flea flicker after an illegal
WR Brandon Stokley, DEN – Stokley is now three years removed
from his magical 2004 fantasy season as the Colts slot receiver,
when he tallied 68/1077/10, a 15.8 YPC and notched 53 first downs.
He’ll never have that kind of value again, but could emerge
as a sneaky threat on an offense full of big, strong targets.
He’s no more than a matchup-dependent #3 WR play, but if
you’re struggling to find answers at that spot, he’s
worth a roster spot.
Johnson, NO – Ignored in lots of drafts, Johnson is the 10th-best
fantasy TE at this point and a great backup to have in any format.
I’m not convinced he’ll ever be as good as some thought. He can
make lots of catches (82/825/2 for San Fran in ’04) although he
isn’t targeted very often in the red zone and only has 7 career
TDs. But if you’re having production problems in a PPR league
from the TE slot, you shouldn’t look too much further than the
Hurd, DAL – Hurd is another undrafted young receiver, but
he’s also worth watching. Patrick
Crayton hurt his pinky early on in the Miami game and finished
with zero catches, although he did return punts. Stay tuned to
the injury report because Cowboys receivers are dropping like
flies and Hurd could easily get some unanticipated value in the
Northcutt, JAC – I hate the Jaguars. I’m getting murdered
with Maurice Jones-Drew in my lineup, Jack Del Rio is my least
favorite former Cowboy and the word on the street is that David
Garrard seems to have a new favorite target every five minutes
– things not conducive to fun-tastic fantasy play. Northcutt is
a former speedster out of Arizona who has struggled his entire
career to find the end zone. I’m not a big fan of any Jags receiver
at this point, but the aging, diminutive Northcutt has played
well out of the slot and already has 9/132/0 on the season.
Scouring The Barrel
Jurevicius, CLE – It’s the same story with this freakin’ dude
every year. Fantasy owners give up on him, he doesn’t get drafted,
and then he blows up for a huge game somewhere in the mix. While
I appreciate any two-TD performance, it’s really difficult to
know when Jurevicius is going to go off. He’s white, slow and
unreliable but if you like taking huge risks and reaping the unexpected
rewards, he’s your guy.
TE Donald Lee, GB – You remember how much Favre used to
love Bubba Franks? Donald Lee is the new Bubba Franks, even though
the old Bubba Franks is still playing. Confused? Okay –
let his totals from the first two weeks clear things up: 8/62/1
– that’s production I wouldn’t mind backing
up my #1 TE.
WR Glenn Holt, CIN – While it’s tough to recommend an undrafted
second-year receiver who caught just one pass in 11 games last
year and probably won’t last the 2007 season as the #3 because
of Tab Perry
and the now-suspended Chris
Henry, Holt had a nice game (and a TD catch) in relief of
an injured Perry on Sunday. Again, the game was a significant
fantasy anomaly, but Holt is someone to keep an eye on. His last
name sure shows some potential.
Marshall, DEN – I picked up Marshall after his nice Week 1
game that included a TD, and a second stable performance by the
UCF product helped give me a win in Week 2. He also missed out
on a second TD against Oakland due to an offensive interference
penalty called on him early in the fourth quarter and loss another
good catch to a holding penalty. One of my better calls this week;
homeboy should continue to be active in the Denver offense.
Jones, GB – Even after a modest 4/29/0 outing in Week 1, I
went out on a limb and recommended this guy right off the top
for Week 2, and he responded with an improvement – 4/75/0. If
Jennings stays out, look for that trend to continue, because Brett
seems to like him.
Carter, CAR – Yep, this week was all Steve Smith. No Drew
Randle-El, WAS – He was cramping up a bit versus Philly and
didn’t reach paydirt – but he did grab 4 balls for 44 yards.
Jones, HOU – Jacoby burned me something awful with his Sunday
goose egg, but if Andre Johnson’s knee is messed up, he might
get his opportunity. So far, it looks like just a PCL strain,
but stay tuned.
McDonald, DET – 7/71/0…maybe old McDonald is for real, after
Lewis, JAC – Lewis started off well on Sunday with 2/39 in
the opening quarter, but soon disappeared in what may have been
the worst fantasy game we’ll see all season.
Off The Top
LB Paris Lenon, DET – Two weeks and 22 tackles. Get him
on your team and play him with confidence. The defense isn’t
great but Lenon – a veteran linebacker who spent much of
his career as a backup with Green Bay – seems to be making
all the plays.
DB Antoine Winfield, MIN – Two huge games and this guy’s
still available in one of my IDP leagues. But don’t expect
Antoine to be out there in too many, if at all, especially after
this week, when he recovered a fumble, tallied 9 total tackles,
and a PD. In week 1, he returned a pick for a TD and had a handful
of tackles and a PD. He’s a good tackler, a playmaker and
a solid DB option on a defense that makes good things happen.
Harris, KC – While Donnie Edwards was the obvious choice within
the Chiefs linebacking corps on fantasy draft day, this former
Raider has put together two solid games. Last week, he went nuts,
collecting 12 total tackles, a sack, an INT and a pass defensed.
McCree, SD – McRee followed up his big first week with 9 tackles
in Week 2. He’s a respectable IDP selection in a secondary without
a true standout. He’s not an IDP stud, but he’s usually around
the action and he’s a decent tackler. And the defense seems to
be relying more heavily on its secondary this season than it did
last season, when the front seven seemed to make all the stops.
He’s worth serious consideration in deeper IDP leagues.
Henry, DAL – Henry has a solid season last year with 81 tackles,
2 INTs and 21 passes defensed. So far this year, he’s been all
over opposing QBs, making delicious reads that end up in those
snazzy INTs or PDs. And he’s facing Rex Grossman next week. Need
I say more?
Scouring The Barrel
LB Chad Greenway, MIN – A second-year LB out of Iowa, Greenway
was a 2006 first-round pick but missed his entire rookie season
with a torn ACL. Now he’s starting at weak side linebacker
and his size and athleticism have served him well in his first
two games. He’s kind of a sleeper. But he’s already
racked up 17 tackles and a forced fumble, and I have a feeling
we’ll be hearing a lot of his name this season.
LB Mike Vrabel – “Vrabes,” as he’s called
by his teammates, had five tackles and a sack versus San Diego
– typical numbers from a tough competitor.
LB Landon Johnson, CIN – He didn’t get a lot of work,
largely because all the action was happening about 20+ yards downfield
from the linebackers. Don’t forget about him; he’s
DB Jermaine Phillips, TB – Another solid week for Jermaine
– 7 tackles and a PD. Nice.
LB Rocky McIntosh WAS – You heard it here first, folks.
You got to love a linebackler named Rocky, and this guy’s
certainly no paper champion. He looked like an animal for the
second straight week, recording 8 solos, an assist and a sack
in the Redskins win over Philly Monday night. If you had the foresight
to grab him last week or he’s still available, I’d
put him in your IDP lineup every week.
DB Jim Leonhard, BUF – How’s 7 tackles, an INT and
a PD for an IDP sleeper call on a 5’8”, 185-pound
pipsqueak? I nailed this one.
DL Mike Patterson, PHI – Just two tackles against the Skins,
but he faces Detroit this week. Yum. Lions quarterbacks can be
DL Jarvis Green, NE – Green was dinged up and almost didn’t
play, recording just one tackle in the Sunday night rout.