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Through The Wire
10/30/07 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

Matt Hasselbeck, SEA – Obviously he’s only an option in shallow, one-QB leagues, but bye weeks can do wild things to rosters and waiver wires. Hasselbeck may only be out there in 1.3 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues, but he’s a great guy to target in a two-for-one, QB-and-RB for QB trade, especially considering he’s got his receivers healthy and he’s coming up on a pretty favorable schedule the next seven weeks (@CLE, SFO, CHI, @STL, @PHI, ARI, @CAR). There’s not too many guys who’ve been consistent fantasy QBs this season, but outside the Pittsburgh game, Hasselbeck has been solid.

Digging Deeper

Jay Cutler, DEN – Still available in about a sixth of one-QB fantasy leagues, Cutler makes a solid backup and decent spot-start this week facing the Detroit Lions. While Brian Griese didn’t take advantage of the Lions lowly DBs, Mike Shanahan is very adept at getting his QBs to take pick on the weak link in any secondary. Sure, Detroit’s corners have been playing better, but it’s only a matter of time before a strong-armed QB who can make all the throws (just like Cutler) tears into these guys. Cutler’s performance Monday night wasn’t all that memorable, but he limited his mistakes to one fumble on a botched snap – which wasn’t entirely his fault – and a couple errant throws, including one in the red zone that could’ve sealed the game for Denver in the waning seconds.

Damon Huard, KC – I still think Huard’s a smart guy, albeit with a modest amount of football ability for a QB. He’s got an average arm, average mobility and he’s put up average numbers – but some of his upcoming matchups bode well for shootouts and he’s become very comfortable targeting TE Tony Gonzalez and rookie WR Dwayne Bowe in the red zone. Plus, he’s now got a healthy Priest Holmes at his disposal – to add some spark to the offense – and he’ll be getting Eddie Kennison back from a hamstring injury pretty soon. He’s someone to consider if you’re still looking for answers at the QB slot, and he’s available in about 80 percent of fantasy leagues.

J.P. Losman, BUF – This week, the Bills play the Bengals, who love surrendering fantasy points to opposing QBs. And based on Losman’s performance in the second half Sunday and Trent Edwards wrist injury, I think that he’s once again earned the starting nod. Stay tuned to see how it all plays out, and realize that after this week, he’s no better than a desperation start or mediocre #2 QB in most fantasy leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

Kellen Clemens, NYJ – It’s Clemens Time. Is that anything like Cleo Lemon Time? For the sanity of Eric Mangini, the recently relegated Chad Pennington and Jets fans throughout New York and New Jersey, I sure hope not. In leagues that don’t punish too cruelly for INTs and lost fumbles, Clemens is a definite fantasy improvement. But the way I see it, Clemens might still do a little worse than Pennington from a team perspective. I know that’s not the popular opinion, but what Pennington lacked in arm strength he often made up for with experience and guile. He’s like the Paul Byrd of NFL QBs – only without the copious HGH prescription. Clemens, on the other hand, is a vocal, strong-armed leader who has decent mobility to escape the rush and adequate size to shed a few arm tackles. He’s inexperienced, but he’s certainly capable of improving upon the Jets current record of 1-7. His schedule coming up is difficult and starts this week with the Redskins – who may have been overmatched against the Pats but are undoubtedly salivating at the chance to get to a young QB. After Washington, it’s a bye, then PIT, @DAL, @MIA, CLE, and the aforementioned New England Patriots. Some possibility of a couple decent performances from Clemens lies in that strange mélange, but there’s also a lot of negativity looming. Make sure there aren’t better options before you snag young Kellen off the wire.


Derek Anderson, CLE – Another solid week (248 yards and 3 TDs) from a QB that none of us even mentioned as a fantasy option before the year started.

Marc Bulger, STL – Bulger tallied some solid yardage in his second game back but only threw one TD pass. Not great, and he missed a few plays after banging his thumb, but the schedule’s not terrible from here on out.

Sage Rosenfels, HOU – Matt Schaub played as expected but was seeing stars after he was hit hard by Chargers LB Stephen Cooper – allowing Sage another shot. Unfortunately, the game was already out of reach at 35-3 when Rosenfels came in and the Chargers knew the Texans were passing every down. He finished the game with 176 yards a TD and 2 INTs and could be the Texans new starter if Schaub’s as badly concussed as some think.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Kevin Jones, DET – If there was any doubt about Jones returning to top fantasy from following his return from injury – it’s no longer a concern. He’s posted excellent numbers in two straight games and he gets to face a weak Denver run defense in Week 9. He was only started in about half of fantasy leagues this past week and he’s still available in about one out of every seven fantasy leagues. Jump on him if he’s out there in yours.

Rudi Johnson, CIN – Rudi was unceremoniously dropped in one of my leagues this week by a somewhat less-than-judicious owner, although the move could prove shrewd if he never comes back from the hammy injury that just won’t go away. But realistically, there’s no reason you shouldn’t take a flier on Johnson if you’re hurting at RB and somebody in your league just dropped him. The guy has a couple difficult matchups coming in the next few weeks, but if the Bengals rest him enough so that’s he’s fresh for the final three games (STL, @SFO, CLE) he should put up decent numbers.

Digging Deeper

Kenton Keith, IND – At this point in the season, when there’s not too many impact RBs left on the wire, you have to take advantage of opportunities. This week, my column is definitely focusing on RBs who may be getting dropped, and Keith definitely qualifies following a Week 8 performance which seriously disappointed fantasy owners who were projecting a split in Indy’s carries. For desperate, impatient folks who think the playoffs are getting out of reach, usually one bad week is all it takes to put a guy like Keith back in the mix. So take advantage – Addai owners and just about anyone else – if Keith is available in your league. Despite the dropped passes and ineffective running last week, I think we haven’t heard the last of the carry vulturing from Kenton. Indy’s a team that could rest starters down the stretch and Keith would be getting his carries in garbage time.

Chris Henry, TEN – Henry has great size, strength, athleticism and quickness, but is still behind LenDale White and the oft-injured Chris Brown on the depth chart. He’s run well in limited action in 2007, averaging 7 yards a carry. My feeling is that Henry will be used as a third-down back and more often near the goal line as the season progresses. But you should temper your expectations with the knowledge that he might not get too many shots at the end zone. If anything should happen to White, Henry will probably be the go-to guy in the offense. I’d look to make a move for a true starter before adding a waiver wire guy who’s shown promise but might not be involved in the regular offense.

Ryan Grant, GB – This guy came completely out of nowhere last week during practice and took most of the snaps with the Packers starting backfield nursing injuries. On Monday night, he rushed for 104 yards on 22 carries filling in for the injured DeShawn Wynn. Granted (no pun intended), it was against a weak run defense and he’s the first Packer to cross the vaunted 100-yard milestone this season. I don’t think he’ll be the next Dorsey Levens, but the big Notre Dame-schooled back from Suffern, NY did run well and head coach Mike McCarthy said he’ll get the start Sunday versus the Chiefs – so grab him if he’s available.

Scouring The Barrel

Aaron Stecker, NO – Reggie Bush hurt his ribs in Week 8, but the early word is that he’ll be fine for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville. Stecker’s an important guy to watch as the injury report unfolds, but in any event, he should probably be owned in all 12-team leagues. Since there’s really not much happening this week in terms of available RB talent, he’s not a bad waiver wire selection.

Justin Fargas, OAK – There’s no shortage of folks who are taking their shot at Fargas on the wire this week, following a nice performance against the Titans where he gained 61 yards on 1 carries and caught 3 passes for 36 yards. But he’s still just Justin Fargas, he’s still Huggy Bear’s son, he’s still behind Lamont Jordan on the depth chart and he’s never really had two consecutive fantasy performances that showed he can get it done on a consistent basis. I’d stay away.

Pierre Thomas, NO – See my comments on Aaron Stecker above, and remember that Thomas’ carries will be limited even if Bush misses some action. He had a nice 24-yard Td run on Sunday, but at this point, Thomas is just a dude to keep in the back of your mind.


Jesse Chatman, MIA – Played admirably against a tough Giants front seven, but failed to reach the end zone in a low-scoring game that got quite messy pretty early. This week, he’s on a bye.

Jamal Lewis, CLE – He carried 17 times for just 61 yards and failed to reach the end zone. But as I said in the last column, from weeks 12-16, the Browns face HOU, @ARI, @NYJ, BUF and @CIN – matchups even the Browns running game could exploit. Just make sure he’s healthy.

Kenny Watson, CIN – Against a tough defense, Watson ran for 88 yards and had 5 catches for 26 yards. He may not have found the end zone, but PPR-leaguers who used him to fill in were most likely satisfied with Watson’s performance. Keep an eye on Rudi’s status for next week before you decide to play him again.

Selvin Young, DEN – Got his first start due to the Travis Henry injury, received the bulk of carries and could get more starts in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to see what’s going on with Henry, his ribs and his marijuana issues this week, because any starting RB facing the Lions could produce big numbers. Is he still available? At this point, probably not – but check the wire just to make sure.

Earnest Graham, TB – Graham had 62 yards on the ground Sunday but his value will drop as Michael Bennett gets more touches – especially in the red zone.

Adrian Peterson, CHI – The original Adrian Peterson only had yards rushing on Sunday but scored some points in PPR leagues as he tallied 6 catches for 41 yards. Why does perennial underachiever Cedric Benson still have a stronghold on the starting job? You’d have to ask Lovie Smith and the Bears brass, but I’d suspect it has something to do with the fact that Benson was a first round pick. For one game, I’d like to see Peterson get 15 carries, just to see what he could do.

Priest Holmes, KC – We’ll find out what’s up with the touches in the Chiefs backfield next week, but I’d expect Holmes to see limited action and only a few opportunities to score fantasy points.

Michael Robinson, SF – Frank Gore is frustrated and hurt, but Robinson isn’t much of an answer except in super-deep PPR leagues. If Gore can’t score, then Robinson will struggle just as much.

Najeh Davenport, PIT – Didn’t vulture a TD this week, and he faces the Ravens defense in week 9.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Lee Evans, BUF – He’s still a big play guy – as evidenced by his awesome bonus-TD catch versus the Jets on Sunday, he’s got J.P. Losman back throwing him the ball (probably), and he’s available in about 25 percent of online leagues. Oh yeah – he faces the Bengals in Week 9. Need any more prodding to pick him up and play him this week?

WR Greg Jennings, GB – Look no further than his huge TD reception in overtime on Monday night for a reason to grab him if he’s available. Favre loves throwing the deep ball to Jennings, and without much of a running game, the Packers will be throwing the ball a lot versus the Vikings and the Chiefs.

Digging Deeper

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL – The 49ers gave up four TDs through the air in Week 8, and Jenkins is a big WR who’s the same height as Marques Colston and only giving up about 15 pounds. See what I’m getting at? He’s had a few decent games this year, and he’ll definitely be a target – along with Roddy White, inside the red zone this week.

WR Nate Burleson, SEA – All the Seahawks WRs should get involved coming off their bye and facing the Browns. He won’t get targeted and score with the regularity he did near the season’s start when the Seahawks WR corps was plagued by injury, but he’ll be a decent #3 or #4 this week against Cleveland.

WR James Jones, GB – He’s not going to get the number of targets that a healthy Greg Jennings gets, but he’s shown that he fits in the offense and scored on a nice run-after-the-catch 79-yard TD in the opening quarter Monday night. Jones has some nice moves and the speed to create separation from defenders before and after he gets the ball. I’d definitely grab him and play him as a #3 WR is you’re still searching for a body. He’s certainly a capable bye week fill-in.

Scouring The Barrel

TE Tony Scheffler, DEN – Cutler likes him and while he’s not a big name starter, he’s often targeted inside the red zone. That’s all you really need from a backup fantasy TE – a moniker that Scheffler will shed as soon as he becomes more consistent at compiling numbers.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN – 5/50/1 from Visanthe Shiancoe? I can’t even pronounce it. But Kelly Holcomb loves him (although Kelly Holcomb has whiplash) and he’s got a great matchup this week against the Chargers – who are among the top five in allowing points to fantasy TEs. Does he have a QB? Who knows – I’m not even ruling out Jeff George after his hilarious comments this week about wanting to resume his career with the Vikes.


WR Brandon Stokley, DEN – I’m positively stoked that my boy saw some action and a bunch of targets on Monday night. His 5/71/0 stat line is encouraging, but I’d like to see him reach paydirt again – something that could happen as early as Sunday’s game in Detroit.

WR Muhsin Muhammad, CHI – How does a possession receiver playing against a pitiful secondary not fire it up with a big game? His QB is Brian Griese – that’s how.

WR D.J. Hackett, SEA – He should be refreshed after the bye and he and Hasselbeck get their shot to tear up a vulnerable Browns secondary.

WR Isaac Bruce, STL – The Reverend did about what I expected he would, catching 6 balls for 70 yards on Sunday. But he’s yet to reach the end zone in 2007 and he’s on a bye this week.

WR Andre Davis, HOU – See what happens? The minute I include him in my column he stinks up the joint. I knew it was coming – and Andre Johnson is on the verge of a triumphant return from injury.

WR Devin Hester, CHI – If Devin Hester was on the Colts or the Patriots, he’d be a top 20 WR. But he’s on the same team as Muhsin Muhammad.

WR Arnaz Battle, SF – Battle didn’t emerge from Week 8 with any special numbers, as he was a non-factor in a game the Saints dominated.

TE Donald Lee, GB – Three catches for 34 yards isn’t a bad game – I’m a little surprised he wasn’t involved more in the red zone.

WR Amani Toomer, NYG – Just one catch against the Dolphins, who yielded less than 100 yards in the air. I told you Toomer’s best days were behind him, but I didn’t think the Dolphins secondary would be that effective – sloppy field or not.

WR Ted Ginn, Jr., MIA – Ginn delayed Cam Cameron’s firing by at least a week with his first career TD on Sunday in Wembley Stadium. Nice job, Ted.


Off The Top

DB Sammy Knight, JAC – He’s been a reliable IDP producer for years, and he’s currently in the top 10 among fantasy DBs. The matchup is great this week at New Orleans against his old team, so grab him and play him if he’s out there in your league.

DL Mario Williams, HOU – You’ll never find a better matchup than the Raiders, and while Mario has been very quiet since Week 1, he’s due for a big game. He may not be out there in every format, but his less-than-stellar performances the past few weeks could have left him on the wire in some.

Digging Deeper

DL Elvis Dumervil, DEN – Elvis didn’t quite leave the building against the Packers, but he didn’t get in on the action too much, registering just a tackle and an assist. Thankfully for my opponent this week – all he needed was two points out of Dumervil to force a tiebreak at 134-134 (I used Jason Campbell and he used Jeff Garcia) to get the big win and open up a one-game lead over the second place team in our division and a two-game lead over me. This week, Elvis has a much better matchup facing the Lions, who surrender big fantasy numbers to DL.

LB James Harrison, PIT – He’s had a consistent season and he’s got a nice IDP matchup this week against the Ravens. He’s an aggressive LB who can blow up the run and make a big play. And he looks really scary, too, a trait that definitely helps Pittsburgh LBs.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Victor Hobson, NYJ – With the underachieving and now-injured Jonathan Vilma out for the year, Hobson will have to pick up some of the slack on a defense that’s played poorly its last few outings. Hobson has outscored Vilma some years anyway, and he’s normally a pretty reliable IDP performer – he’s just struggled to score fantasy points on a consistent basis this season. Coming off a 7-tackle game against the Bills, I think he’ll put up some numbers versus the Redskins, who run the ball a lot.

DL Marques Douglas, SF – He didn’t have much going on last week, but now he faces the Falcons, who defensive linemen have done very well against this season. Expect a handful of tackles and a sack if you need a DL and all the good ones are gone.


LB Derek Smith, SF – 9 tackles but no fun stuff – that’s about the worst you’re going to get out of Smith in matchups like that. Atlanta in Week 9 isn’t a matchup with too much potential for Smith, but I’d probably have him in my lineup anyway.

DB Antoine Winfield, MIN – The IDP numbers continue to climb. In week 8, he had 12 tackles and 3 passes defensed – a monster day. I wouldn’t expect a game like that against the Chargers, but remember – guys like Winfield tend to make big plays even if the matchup’s not a great one.

DB Terrence McGee, BUF – He tallied five tackles, 1 PD and an INT in the win over the Jets. He should post good numbers against the Bengals, too.

DL Trent Cole, PHI – I picked Cole up myself to fill in for Jared Allen’s bye, and he was up to the challenge, finishing with 8 tackles and 2 sacks. He’s now averaging more points per game than any DL other than Osi Umenyiora and Allen.

DB Leigh Bodden, CLE – Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes, well – he eats you. This time around with my Bodden recommendation, I ate the bar – 8 tackles, 2 passes defensed and an INT.

LB Paris Lenon, DET – 10 total tackles is a good day for just about any LB. Keep playing him unless there’s a better matchup somewhere on your bench.

DL Justin Tuck, NYG – One assist? That’s a very quiet day for this young IDP stud-in-waiting.

DB Marcus Trufant, SEA – Week 9 should prove to be another nice matchup against the Browns. Bring it.