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
Jeff Garcia, TB – Even if the pickings are slim in your
league at QB, this guy might still be available, especially coming
off a bad week against the Rams. But the Bucs have been looking
decent and they’ve got a few decent matchups in the coming
weeks, including games against the Colts and Lions – although
I might stay way next week versus the Panthers.
CHI – He can’t be as bad as Rex Grossman, it’s just that simple.
If you targeted Rex, you should own Griese, and you might even
want to give him a start against the Lions (let’s not forget the
points they allowed Philly to rack up on Sunday).
Kyle Boller, BAL – When McNair got pulled, we all assumed
he re-injured his groin, and there’s some dissenting information
on that. But when Boller got the call and didn’t lose, I
think Billick might have realized it doesn’t really mater
who’s the QB between the two. Honestly, it’s hard
to hold a torch for any Baltimore QB right now, but the schedule
is favorable for the next two weeks and if Boller’s starting,
you could do a lot worse in a pinch.
David Carr, CAR – Delhomme’s injured shoulder could
keep him out this week, and while Carr is a veteran QB that can
sometimes look sharp, I still think he’s a bit of a desperation
play against the Bucs.
Scouring The Barrel
Patrick Ramsey, DEN – If anything is really wrong with
Cutler, Ramsey should be able to step in and do a good job. The
one thing Ramsey has never had is decent pass protection, and
during his days as the starter in Washington, I used to marvel
at his toughness. Already labeled a first-round bust, Ramsey’s
days with the the Jets did little to change that perspective –
but again, it wasn’t his fault as he never got his chance.
The Tulane product’s adequate size, strength and arm are
highly prized tools which have made him a coveted backup, and
as far as sleeper picks go, he’s way off everybody’s
radar. But if you believe in the power of the Broncos’ line,
he might be a decent pickup should anything long-term be wrong
with Cutler, who’s ankle sprain is not considered to be
serious at this point.
ARI – He’s baaaack! Actually, Cards HC Ken Whisenhunt said
that Matt Leinart’s still the starter, but admitted the kid still
doesn’t have a firm grasp of what he’s doing out there. Enter
Kurt, who will play a few series here and there in the upcoming
weeks to give opponents a change of pace. Keep in mind that Kurt’s
got nothing to lose and he’s been a top-level fantasy QB in the
past. He’s not a bad stash if you had confidence in Leinart but
things get worse for Matt in Arizona.
Trent Edwards, BUF – This guy’s still developing,
and while I’m not high enough on him yet to recommend a
roster add, he should definitely be on everyone’s radar.
He’s got NFL-QB size and strength, at 6’3” 230,
but hasn’t really developed the mentality of a professional
signal-caller yet. Think of him as a poor man’s Patrick
Ramsey and keep in the barrel for now.
Trent Green, MIA – I handed you lucky SOBs Trent Green
on a silver platter last week, and he responded with his best
fantasy game of the season to date. Now he’s got Oakland,
Houston and Cleveland. Game on.
Derek Anderson, CLE – I know, I know – decent numbers
versus the Raiders, but with the Pats and the Ravens coming, things
could get messy. You should have better options.
Kellen Clemens, NYJ – Pennington looked okay – so
forget about him for now.
Off The Top
Buckhalter, PHI – Brian Westbrook’s backup is somebody EVERY
Brian Westbrook owner should carry. And with last week’s 2nd highest
scoring RB on the shelf, he should be owned in just about every
league. Westbrook is tough, but if he can’t go on Sunday, Buckhalter
should have a big day versus the Giants.
NO – Not an option this week as he’s on his bye, but he’ll step
into Deuce McAllister’s role in New Orleans with the RB out for
the season with a torn ACL. The guy has been a solid fantasy player
from time to time when asked to step up, so he’s a good option
if you’re running out of them. But Bush is now the #1 back in
New Orleans and he’ll definitely get the bulk of carries now.
STL – Steven Jackson is out for at least a week with a partial
groin tear, something that sounds to me like it should take a
lot loner than one week to heal. So get on Leonard before you
miss the opportunity. But before you get too excited thinking
S-Jack’s backup is just going to step and put up S-Jack’s numbers,
remember that he’s facing Dallas this week, there’s a reason he
was the backup, and that the S-Jack’s numbers have sucked because
the Rams suck. Still, if the groin injury takes more than a few
weeks to heal, the Rams offense should start coming together and
he’ll have his share of decent matchups.
CIN – Rudi Johnson’s hamstring injury forced Watson to shoulder
the load on Sunday. While I’m assuming he’ll see lots of action
this week against the Patriots, you’ll have to watch the injury
report to se about Johnson’s status and I’m not too keen on the
matchup even if Rudi can’t go. Rudi owners should probably grab
him, along with folks looking for a desperation #3 this week.
Sammy Morris, NE – Sammy makes a quick return back to the
wire with another good week. The Pats offense looks so darn good;
I’ve got to think he’ll be a viable #3 or #4 in the
next couple weeks against the Bengals and Browns.
Scouring The Barrel
Graham, TB – I could just say he’s the new DeShawn Wynn, or
I could assume he’ll be the new Mike Alstott and dig a bit deeper.
Up until last week, Graham made his mark on special teams. But
in Sunday’s rout of the Rams, he snared two TDs on a few nice
runs. Hmmm – well Cadillac’s the starter, Pittman take away carries,
so honestly, I think he’s this week’s DeShawn Wynn, and the scouting
reports aren’t indicating anything more. In fact, they read a
lot like DeShawn Wynn’s.
Jamal Lewis, CLE – Still has the same schedule as Derek
Kevin Jones, DET – Nice of the Lions to let Jones get a
TD in that game against the Eagles. But I’d think twice
about putting him in my lineup until he gets more than three carries
for five yards and one catch.
Mewelde Moore, MIN – With Peterson fully in the fold and
a brutal schedule coming, he’s no longer an option.
Najeh Davenport, PIT – He certainly looked good on that
big TD run. If you started him last week, you ended up with an
above-average day for a #3 RB. And honestly, the same thing could
happen versus Arizona next week.
Wynn, GB – I said he was a bottom of the barrel guy, but plenty
of other waiver columnists included him as their #1 selection.
Way to jump the gun, folks.
Off The Top
Curtis), PHI – He’s not available in too many deep leagues,
but if he’s available in yours, you’ve got to grab him. Few receivers
in history have had full games like this dudes’ first half on
Sunday, so you’ve got to believe he’s McNabb’s new favorite target.
Don’t hesitate to add him if he’s still out there.
White, ATL – He seems to like Joey Harrington better than
Michael Vick, that’s for sure. The Falcons #1 pick in 2005, White
has decent tools but has yet to become the receiver the Falcons
thought they drafted. He has the top-end speed to take his game
to the next level and be a consistent deep threat, but he’s been
tentative over the middle. He also commits the cardinal sin of
receiving, letting the ball come to his body too often instead
of catching it with his hands, making him prone to drops. He’s
being targeted consistently, he’s got a favorable overall schedule
and his hands are steadily improving.
Jones, TEN – This kid has some serious potential. I’d even
be willing to say that by year’s end, he’ll have compiled about
50/700/6. He’d be listed higher, but the Titans offense isn’t
necessarily a juggernaut yet and he’s still only been targeted
a total of 15 times during the three games this season, catching
10 balls. But his 4/73/1 performance Monday night shows he’s working
his way into Vince Young’s comfort zone. While he’s on a bye this
week, he’s got Atlanta, Tampa, Houston and Oakland the following
WR Nate Burleson, SEA – The Seattle offense is clicking
and Burleson’s been putting up great numbers. He’s
a solid #3 or #4 WR option with a favorable matchup – and
three out his next four are certainly favorable.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Roscoe Parrish, BUF – I can’t tell you what’s
going to happen with just about everybody out in Buffalo, but
I do know the Bills play the Jets on Sunday, which could mean
a high-scoring affair and garbage TDs for Parrish. Losman should
probably be out as couple of weeks with the MCL sprain, and while
I’m not that high on Edwards, Parrish could make some things
happen and he’s a solid returner that can sometimes take
TE Jeff King, CAR – With Delhomme out, I don’t know
if he’ll still be a consistently targeted receiver, but
King has made the most of his opportunities even outside his regular
duties in short yardage and goal line packages this year and could
finish with top 10 TE numbers when it’s all said and done.
WR Derrick Mason, BAL – Yeah, this guy’s still great
– and after his 8/79/1 performance Sunday, he’s ranked
in the top 15 or 20 fantasy receivers.
WR Bobby Engram, SEA – Two direct hits in a row on my WR
picks last week. Bobby put up a very respectable 5/62/1, a stat
line that can be expected about every other week from him.
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC – How nasty were my Top WR picks last
week? Bowe finished with 5/71/1, his best numbers so far this
season. He should continue to flourish in that offense.
WR Brandon Stokley, DEN – I said he was no more than a
matchup-dependent #3 WR play, and on Sunday his matchup only yielded
him 3/36/0. Hopefully you had better options.
Johnson, NO – 5 catches for 23 yards says to me that Johnson
will get off his can as soon as the Saints offense does. Maybe
they’ll get it together after the bye.
WR Sam Hurd, DAL – With Crayton healthy, Hurd will struggle
to get targets.
WR Dennis Northcutt, JAC – He’s on a bye this week,
and he probably isn’t someone you want as one of your starting
WRs. But stay tuned.
WR Joe Jurevicius, CLE – not much on Sunday and a tough
schedule upcoming. Shelve him.
TE Donald Lee, GB – Four catches, 44 yards, but Bubba got
WR Glenn Holt, CIN – He lost a fumble and finished with
negative points. So I guess keeping him in the bottom of the barrel
was a good move.
Off The Top
DL Jared Allen, KC – Coming off a huge game last week,
Jared’s back in a big way. He’s probably a top five
fantasy DL, and he might be available in some formats because
he’s just coming back from suspension. Allen shows great
instincts going after the ball, and uses his monster frame (6’6”,
270) to his advantage as an explosive hitter and tackler. He put
up silly IDP numbers last year; you should get him in your lineup.
Crowell, BUF – I had him listed in Week 1, and since he hasn’t
really blown up yet, he still might be out there. The Bills defense
is in shambles, rookie LB Paul Posluszny just went down for the
year with a broken forearm – joining a slew of other teammates
on IR – and the offense isn’t in much better shape. So Crowell
will get the majority of his team’s tackles, along with mighty
mite extraordinaire Jim Leonhard.
Johnson, KC – He’s posted three nice scoring weeks and on
a defense that’s on the field a lot, that’s bound to continue.
He should be owned in most formats.
DB Marlin Jackson, IND – Marlin had a monster game against
the Texans, and while Denver and Tampa Bay might not be idea matchups
for a fantasy DB, he’ll be posting good numbers after the
LB Stephen Cooper, SD – I had him up on the wire a couple
weeks back, and he’s put up three nice weeks. Make sure
he’s healthy before you start him (he’s been nursing
some injuries along with a few other Chargers defenders) but get
him on your IDP roster.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Ellis Hobbs, NE – Ellis wouldn’t be the first
tough-but-undersized player whose contributions on special teams
bridged the way to more important assignments in the regular defense.
There’s actually a lot of that going around. He’s
got Cincinnati next week, and DBs facing the Bengals really seem
to rack up the tackles. Go for it.
LB Paris Lenon, DET – Just a tackle and a sack in the most
ridiculous game of the week. Chicago and Washington should give
him more chances.
DB Antoine Winfield, MIN – Another stinker in my top of
the barrel selections, Winfield did little on Sunday but gets
Green Bay in Week 4 before his bye week.
LB Napoleon Harris, KC – Just four tackles on Sunday, but
those numbers will improve in the coming weeks.
DB Marlon McRee, SD – Nothing special last week, but plenty
of nicer matchups on the way.
Henry, DAL – Hell yeah. Henry blew up last week and made me
look brilliant with 2 tackles, 2 INTs and 4 PDs. I love the Cowboys
secondary right about now – Roy Williams, Ken Hamlin, a healthy
Terence Newman and this guy.
LB Chad Greenway, MIN – He had 8 solos and a fumble recovery
on Sunday, upper tier numbers for a LB.