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 may still be available in many deeper
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What a week for scoring! It couldn’t have come at a better
time for lots of fringe teams, and was probably too much action
to bear for others. As we get ready for Week 13, there are a few
old favorites popping up again on the wire as fantasy teams close
ranks in the playoff hunt.
I welcome your e-mails
and would like to continue hearing from you regarding my waiver
wire recommendations – whether they have helped or hindered
your success this season. I’m also ready and willing to
answer specific fantasy questions to help you try to get into
the “promised land” – your league’s playoffs.
Off The Top
Trent Edwards, BUF – Wow. I kept wondering why our site’s
rankings kept plugging him in the top 10 each week. I guess this
is what Edwards owners (and a few rankings gurus) have been waiting
for. This week, the Stanford alumnus has another great matchup
at home versus the Niners.
ATL – The Chargers will likely focus on stopping Michel Turner
and Jerious Norwood, so it figures that Ryan should have a good
fantasy day rife with opportunities. He’s probably not available
in too many leagues, but he’s bound to be an option in some coming
off two consecutive lackluster performances.
Donovan McNabb, PHI – I know – he’s coming
off a couple bad games. But you know that someone jumped the gun
and dropped him after he got benched Sunday. The truth is, he
plays the Cards on Thursday night, and if you’re hurting
at QB (or you already own him and have dealt with him for this
long) you can certainly go ahead and give him a shot against one
of the league’s friendlier pass defenses.
TB – He’s pretty far down on the list of #2 fantasy QBs, but he’s
not a bad option this week at home against the Saints. Even though
the Saints secondary looked a lot better defending the pass, they
still gave up a bunch of fantasy points to Aaron Rodgers. If Garcia
can keep his turnovers down, he could easily finish with 200+
yards, 2 TDs and a nice fantasy day.
Scouring The Barrel
Kerry Collins, TEN – He’s a decent play this week
bouncing back from the Jets loss against the Lions, who figure
to do everything they can to stop the run and make Collins beat
them through the air. Fortunately for the Titans, that’s
not too difficult either.
Joe Flacco, BAL – The Bengals haven’t been as terrible
against the pass as you would imagine, but Flacco should be a
good #2 play against them this week. The Ravens are a lot better
than I anticipated and Flacco has a lot to do with it lately.
Matt Cassel, NE – Cassel threw for over 400 yards for the
second consecutive week and is emerging as a quality #1 QB option.
If you were lucky enough to grab him while he was on the wire
(and he definitely was in a bunch of formats for much of the season)
I’d keep riding that train.
Shaun Hill, SF – In three and a half games, Hill has scored
only a few fantasy points less than former starter J.T. O’Sullivan,
who had seven and a half games of action this season before he
was replaced by the veteran backup. In Week 12, he had another
good fantasy day (21-for 33, 303 yards, 2 TD, INT) in another
San Fran loss. Hill’s thrown 2 TD passes in each of his
three fantasy starts, making him a solid QB#2.
Gus Frerotte, MIN – He had an nice stretch during the middle
of the season, but as the running game has found its footing,
Frerotte’s become nothing more than a desperation play.
His matchups the rest of the way are favorable, but I’d
be wary benching a more consistent fantasy scorer to take advantage
Daunte Culpepper, DET – His team sucks and he turns the
ball over too much. Consider him a bottom tier QB at this point.
JaMarcus Russell, OAK – The Raiders don’t need a good
fantasy QB to win games, baby. All they need are opponents that
look past them on the schedule and division rivalries that really
boil the blood of resident sea monster Al Davis as he swims around
in his moat.
Off The Top
Thomas, NO – Thomas had the second-best game of his young
fantasy career on Mondya night with 87 yards rushing and a TD
on 15 carries as well as 3-34-0 receiving. His best career game
is still 2007’s Week 17 performance – where he tallied 12-121-1
receiving to go along with a 2-point conversion and 105 rushing
yards. He’s obviously the feature back with Reggie Bush still
out and Deuce McAllister assuming lighter duties. Once Bush returns
he should continue to be used – and while Bush practiced last
week, it’s important to remember that the star back might not
return until Week 14 or later, according to some sources.
DEN – Keep an eye on the impending return of Selvin Young, but
you should snatch Hillis if he’s somehow still available in your
league. He’s probably best used as a #3 or flex against the Jets,
but he’ll be a fantasy factor from here on out as he’s the only
player producing right now for Mike Shanahan’s bumbling Broncos.
Darren McFadden, OAK – He rushed for 38 yards and 2 TDs
on 10 carries on Sunday. Even though the Raiders are still not
a good team, he could be a factor down the stretch. It looks like
he’s recovered form the turf toe(s) thing, so scoop him
up if he’s out there and consider using him this week against
Leon Washington, NYJ – I’ve written enough on Washington
over the past three years to fill a scrapbook, so it’s obvious
to loyal readers that he’s a waiver wire favorite of mine.
He’s got four TDs in his last two weeks, but if you’re
picking him up, you must keep in mind that he’s the #2 running
option for the Jets and usually doesn’t see too many goal
line carries. The next couple weeks, he’s still a solid
#3 RB or flex option, but temper your expectations with the knowledge
that consecutive 2-TD games are rare for any back, especially
a Backup RB/Special Teams/Third Down specialist.
Scouring The Barrel
Williams, TB – Keep tabs on the Cadillac heading into Week
13, since he had 16 carries for just 27 yards on Sunday versus
a terrible defense. He may not be the Caddy we all remember.
Maurice Morris, SEA – He appears to have taken over the
starting duties for the Seahawks. If that’s a good thing,
I don’t know.
Warrick Dunn, TB – Dunn produced as expected but could
see a split with Cadillac back. He’s definitely the more
effective back, however, so he has more value.
Derrick Ward, NYG – With Jacobs out, Ward was a solid RB
play last week. Stay tuned to Jacobs’ status, because it’s
the difference between Ward as a #2 or #3.
Tatum Bell, DEN – Hillis is still the man getting the carries,
and with each week, Bell’s latent value diminishes.
Fred Jackson, BUF – He had 2-20-0 receiving and 56 rushing
yards on just 9 carries. That’s why I love him.
Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG – Bradshaw’s like Jackson –
a tough little back behind a franchise player who usually makes
the most of his opportunities. Unfortunately, he only had four
touches on Sunday and 9 yards rushing as Ward and Eli’s
arm stole the show.
Pittman, STL – It just seems so pointless to play S. Louis
RBs not named Steven Jackson.
Darby, STL – See above.
Off The Top
Ginn, Jr., MIA – With Greg Camarillo done for the year, Ginn
(5-88-0 on Sunday) will be the top receiving target along with
TE Anthony Fasano and the backs. Davone Bess (5-87-0 on Sunday)
is also emerging, so act accordingly.
WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND – He had 6-95-1 on Sunday night
and is helping the Indy offense get back on track with clutch
catches and frequent targets in the red zone. He got snatched
off the wire on Sunday in one of my home leagues and I’m
kicking myself for not grabbing him first, regardless of how good
my other WRs are.
WR Isaac Bruce, SF – Bruce came on strong in Week 12 with
8-125-1, his highest reception totaland second-highest yardage
total this season. If the Buffalo game this week plays out like
the Buffalo-KC game (or Dallas-San Fran) last week, it could mean
another big day.
WR Kevin Walter, HOU – He’s still out there in a bunch
of leagues and he shouldn’t be. If you need a quality WR
#3, he’s your man.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Domenik Hixon, NYG – If Plaxico is out for an extended
period of time, Hixon looks like he’ll be the guy to fill
his role, but there are so many receiving options on that team
and they spend so much time pounding the ball on the ground in
the red zone, it’s a total crap shoot figuring out who’ll
have the big day.
WR Mark Clayton, BAL – He just doesn’t see enough
targets to warrant consistent use in you fantasy lineup as anything
but a WR#4 in TD-only leagues, but he’s definitely a big-pay
threat with Flacco’s big arm in Baltimore. This week, he
has a good chance to score against a weak Bengals defense.
WR Marvin Harrison, IND – 6-44-0 wasn’t bad, and
he had a huge fourth down catch to help get Indy the win, but
Gonzalez is taking away his red-zone targets.
WR Lance Moore, NO – He’s now in the top10 of fantasy
receivers in most formats and is obviously here to stay. I hope
you were among the 4-5 percent of fantasy owners who picked him
up this past week and gave him his shot, because he blew up Monday
night for 5-115-2, including a 70-yard bomb. The only knock would
be the horrible trick-play INT he threw in the second half, but
Avery, STL – He posted a pretty big stinker in Week 12, seeing
just 4 targets (his lowest target total since Week 2) and finishing
with 1-14-0. Apparently, Trent Green doesn’t know he has one of
the best young receivers in the league on his team.
WR Justin Gage, TEN – Just one catch for 37 yards against
the Jets, but he’s got Detroit this week.
WR Antonio Bryant, TB – Bryant left briefly after suffering
an ankle injury but was able to return. He’ll be limited
during practice this week but is expected to play in Week 13 against
WR Michael Jenkins, ATL – He hasn’t scored since Week
9 and should be considered a low end #3 option. But he may find
paydirt against the Chargers, who’ll probably shoot it out
with the Falcons this weekend.
WR Jabar Gaffney, NE – Gaffney had another decent game,
grabbing 5-88-0. He should continue to see targets as long as
Cassel’s throwing over 40 times a game, but may not be a
great play even as a #3 WR this week against the Steelers.
Off The Top
McIntosh, WAS – London Fletcher gets a lot of the press, but
Rocky’s a solid tackler who’s bound to see lots of action against
the Giants this week. Play him with confidence and please do your
best to ignore how bad my LB picks were last week.
DB Yeremiah Bell, MIA – He’s an IDP stud, he’s
doing it without INTS and TDs and he’s got a great matchup
against the Rams.
LB Jamie Winborn, DEN – I’m taking the FFLibrarian’s
advice and including Winborn in my column this week because he’s
the most effective of the Broncos’ backup LBs thrust into
a starting role – and he’s got a good matchup against
DB Cedric Griffin, MIN – His matchup isn’t a great
one, but I’ve got a feeling Griffin – who sat out
the team’s opening series because he missed a team meeting
last week – will come up big in this enormous divisional
game versus the Bears.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Ike Taylor, PIT – He’s the Steelers leading solo
tackler in the secondary and has a nice matchup against the Pats,
who have been throwing like gangbusters the past two weeks. Also
– he’s got zero picks on the year (the longest such
INT-less streak of his career since his rookie season in 2003)
and he’s totally due.
DL Haloti Ngata, BAL – Haloti’s been a consistent
tackler for the Ravens and while he’s not owned in too many
fantasy leagues, he puts up decent numbers for an interior DL.
If you’re required to play a DT, you could do a lot worse
LB Jerod Mayo, NE – I knew Mayo probably wouldn’t
have 20tackles again, but at least 5 would have been nice.
DL Trent Cole, PHI – I plugged in Cole as my DL in one format
and while my squad got shredded by one that had both Cassel and
Turner, the sassy pass-rushing tweener was a bright spot with
7 solos, an assist and a sack, one of his best fantasy totals
of the season.
LB Thomas Davis, CAR – He was listed as probable for Week
132 and finished with just three solo tackles.
Rogers, WAS – Two tackles and a PD – I really expected Matt
Hasselbeck to throw his way more often with Shawn Springs back.
Oh well – they threw at Springs and got beat by him.
LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN – Hey – what’s one more
terrible LB performance this week? All my LBs basically crapped
the bed Week 12.
DB Kevin Payne, CHI – Payne has 6 more tackles (5 solo,
1 assist) and is now ninth among all DBs for solo tackles.