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Through The Wire - Wk 17
12/24/08 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 may still be available in many deeper leagues.

Since it’s Week 17 and many fantasy leagues have already concluded, I’ll be brief in my introduction. I would like to share that I was 3 for 3 in my fantasy Super Bowls in Week 16, courtesy of the late scores from Shaun Hill, the eleventh-hour Matt Forte TD, the surprising Randy Moss bomb, and a stirring performance from Cedric Benson that got my 53+ points out of a flex spot in a work league that awards for rushing attempts. Nice. Captain Ceddy won me a title.

This week, if you’re in a total points league or just finishing up your league’s games during the dreaded sit-your starters week, be careful with offensive performers on the Titans, Steelers, Colts and Giants. The early word is that Arizona’s starters will play, but after last week’s debacle, I can’t see any of them being their typical juggernaut selves.

As always, I welcome all your e-mails and enjoy hearing from you regarding my waiver wire recommendations – whether they have helped or hindered your success this season, or if you have any ideas on how I could improve the column for next season. I’m still answering questions of any variety and responding ASAP. Good luck – and see you next year.


Off The Top

Tyler Thigpen, KC – As long as the weather cooperates, this game has all the makings of an offensive blitzkrieg. The upstart Chiefs QB has a lot of solid receivers (Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez, Mark Bradley) and Larry Johnson is emerging once again as a great offensive weapon. If Thigpen’s still out there in waiver land, he’s a great start against the Bengals.

Digging Deeper

Jeff Garcia, TB – As long as he plays against Oakland, he should post decent numbers, because you know Jon Gruden’s not letting up against his old team. He’s a solid QB #2 this week and has a big upside if Antonio Bryant can break the ubiquitous curse of Nmandi Asomugha.

Joe Flacco, BAL – He faces a Jags defense that’s been weakened by injuries and made Peyton Manning look once again like the League MVP he once was. Take a shot in deeper leagues, but beware the big-game environs freaking out Flacco.

Scouring The Barrel

Tarvaris Jackson, MIN – The Giants don’t need to exert too much effort in this one unless they really want to win. In any event, Jackson should be able to post decent numbers against the Giants lackluster secondary.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, CIN – I trust Thigpen a lot mote than Fitzpatrick, but if this one turns into a shootout, Fitzie will post big numbers too.


Matt Schaub, HOU – On 19-for-36 passing, Schaub finished with 255 yards and 10 rushing but disappointed with an INT and no TDs. He should fare better against the Bears in Week 17.

Shaun Hill, SF – Hill’s two late TDs sparked the 49ers to a rousing victory, but the 3 INT he threw tempered his value in most leagues.

Seneca Wallace, SEA – Matt Hasselbeck’s backup had just 175 yards and a TD. You didn’t really expect another 3-TD day, did you?

Running Backs

Off The Top

Derrick Ward, NYG – Ward should, by now, be owned in all leagues, but on the off chance somebody made roster room in Week 16 for a spot-start QB or WR by dropping him, I’m including him here. While the Giants plan to “play to win the game” despite wrapping up home field in the NFC, Brandon Jacobs won’t be running all game long, and Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw probably will be.

Digging Deeper

Cedric Benson, CIN – He’s not the most reliable back on two feet, but he had 38 carries on Sunday. Expect him to get a ton of carries in Week 17 as the Bengals try to determine where their future lies at the RB position.

Tashard Choice, DAL – He’s running well and the Cowboys will need to utilize all their weapons in Philly. If Barber’s still not playing, Choice is a solid #2 RB.

Scouring The Barrel

J.J. Arrington, ARI – Check the injury report and make sure he’s starting. The Cards don’t see Arrington as a long-term solution, so they won’t worry about giving him the workload during inconsequential Week 17.


Pierre Thomas, NO – On just 13 carries and 4 targets in the passing game, Thomas managed 77 yards rushing, a TD and 3-26-0 receiving. If he could have grabbed even one of the other 4 TDs the Saints scored on near the goal line, I could’ve watched the entire Monday night game without blood-chilling anxiety.

Kevin Faulk, NE – Only 1 rush for 1 yard, but 3-27-1 receiving in a game that featured plenty ofaction from all three Pats backs.

P.J. Pope, DEN – 6 carries, 44 yards and another season-ending injury to both him and Selvin Young. Karma from the fantasy gods directed at Mike Shanahan and his terrible treatment of fantasy owners over the years.

Maurice Morris, SEA – Morris had 116 yards on 29 carries and I’m sure helped a bunch of you from the flex spot.

DeShaun Foster, SF – Foster finished with 12 carries, 35 yards and 2-17-0 – a pretty feeble performance against a bad Rams defense.

LaMont Jordan, NE – Jordan had the best game among last week’s waiver recommendations with 20 carries, 78 yards and 2 TD.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Steve Breaston, ARI – I don’t think Boldin will end up playing this week, which means Breaston is the best option not named Fitzgerald. Get him in your lineup.

WR Isaac Bruce, SF – He’s definitely clicking with Hill, and the late TD shows me the journeyman QB wants to get him the ball in crunch time. The 49ers won’t be as timid as the Eagles were against the Redskins, so go ahead and give him a shot if you need a quality WR #3.

Digging Deeper

WR Mark Bradley, KC – The fourth-year man out of Oklahoma has been hampered by a calf injury recently, but he had a decent game against Miami with 4/57/0. And as I said before, this week could produce a scoring bonanza for all involved.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Mark Clayton, BAL – Derrick Mason has been playing through a separated shoulder and deserves rest, although it’s not likely to come. Clayton’s the #2 option, and could break through this week against a vulnerable Jacksonville secondary.


WR Chad Johnson, CIN – Ocho Cinco was a late scratch with a hamstring injury and isn’t likely to play Week 17.

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL – 4/61/0 isn’t terrible, but the Falcons seemed to play it safe in the passing game and squeaked out a victory without big numbers from Jenkins or Roddy White.

WR Donnie Avery, STL – One of his better games in a while, Avery has 5/56/0 in the Rams loss to SF.

WR Davone Bess, MIA – Bess continues to see a bunch of targets and finished with 6/57/0 in a Miami win over KC that saw TE Anthony Fasano catch 2 TDs.

WR Jason Avant, PHI – Just 2-16-0, but the entire Eagles offense looked anemic.

WR Patrick Crayton, DAL – The talented Cowboys slot man had 3 catches for 58 yards in Saturday night’s loss to the Ravens.


Off The Top

LB Chad Greenway, MIN – He’s one of the best LBs to have in the lineup this week against the Giants, who are now running the ball more than anybody. And he’s been surprisingly consistent for the Vikings this season.

Digging Deeper

DB Leon Hall, CIN – In shootouts like I’m expecting in Cincy this week, DBs often rule. Hall has shown an affinity for the big play, and when the ball is flying around, it’s good for playmakers like Hall.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Mike Montgomery, GB – He’s an ultra-sleeper and he faces the Lions, who yield big points to opposing DL. I’m sure Aaron Kampman will draw double-teams, so Montgomery should be able to break through for decent numbers.


DL Will Smith, NO – 1 solo tackle. Maybe he’s just not the same without banned diuretics?

LB Stephen Tulloch, TEN – Posted just 3 solos and 1 assist while fellow LBs Keith Bulluck and David Thornton posted huge games.

LB Xavier Adibi, HOU – Inactive during Sunday’s game in Oakland.

DB Michael Lewis, SF – Lewis was the 49ers best defensive player Sunday, posting 13 tackles (12 solo) and 2 PD.

DB Cedric Griffin, MIN – 5 tackles (4 solo) and 2 PD made it a decent day.

DL Juqua Parker, PHI – Parker had a PD, but it wasn’t just the Eagles offense that looked terrible on Sunday.