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Through The Wire
9/18/07 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 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 leagues.


Off The Top

Trent Green, 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.

Digging Deeper

Derek Anderson, 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.


Daunte 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.

Josh McCown, 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.

Jake Delhomme, 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.

Jared Lorenzen, 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?

Running Backs

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.

Kevin Jones, 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.

Digging Deeper

Mewelde 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

Najeh Davenport, 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 up.

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 backfield.


LaMont 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.

Chris Brown, 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.

Derrick Ward, NYG – Another good week from this guy, and he might still be available in some formats. Grab him.

Adrian Peterson, 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.

Jesse Chatman, 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 the switch.

Sammy Morris, NE – Scored a late TD and had 51 yards on 10 carries. You could’ve done a lot worse.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Derrick 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 shift penalty.

Digging Deeper

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.

TE Eric 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 big Johnson.

WR Sam 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 coming weeks.

WR Dennis 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

WR Joe 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.


WR Brandon 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.

WR James 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.

WR Drew Carter, CAR – Yep, this week was all Steve Smith. No Drew for you.

WR Antwaan 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.

WR Jacoby 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.

WR Shaun McDonald, DET – 7/71/0…maybe old McDonald is for real, after all.

TE Marcedes 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.

Digging Deeper

LB Napoleon 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.

DB Marlon 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.

DB Anthony 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 a gamer.

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 quite tasty.

DL Jarvis Green, NE – Green was dinged up and almost didn’t play, recording just one tackle in the Sunday night rout.