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Through The Wire - Week 4
9/23/08 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.

Week 3 was flat-out ridiculous, wasn’t it? There’s definitely some fantasy fallout, and some of it’s discussed right here. If you’re in an IDP league and haven’t been reading my defensive picks, start paying attention. The six DBs I profiled this week in my column finished with 30 total tackles, 5 interceptions (including one returned for a score), 11 passes defended and 2 fumble recoveries. As always, I welcome your e-mails and would like to hear from you if my waiver wire recommendations have helped or hindered your fantasy progress over the past couple years – or so far in 2008. I’m also available for fantasy questions of any variety. Keep it civil, and so will I.


Off The Top

Jake Delhomme, CAR – After two terrible fantasy performances in a row, Delhomme will undoubtedly find himself as a free agent in lots of fantasy leagues and available on more than a few waiver wires. Don’t get too discouraged – the two horrendous weeks were against Chicago and Minnesota, who both have outstanding defensive lines. His next five weeks include: ATL, KAN, @TAM, NOR, ARI.

Trent Green, STL - Its been announced that Marc Bulger has been benched and Green will get the start against Buffalo this week. While Bulger's numbers haven't been eye-popping, they haven't been terrible either. The team is looking for a spark after a 0-3 start and perhaps a change at QB will provide just that. Green's fantasy prospects are marginal at the moment until the team proves they can move the ball on a consistent basis.

Digging Deeper

Chad Pennington, MIA – Pennington was 17-for-20 for 226 yards during the team’s Week 3 game, but most of the Fins’ scoring opportunities in the red zone were handled by Ronnie Brown, including a TD pass by the shifty young back. I don’t know that he’s ever going to be a guy you’ll start as a #1 QB again, but you could do worse for your bye week fill-in and he’s a cheap replacement.

Brady Quinn, CLE – Browns HC Romeo Crennel has made it abundantly clear that he’s not happy with the performance of Derek Anderson. And despite Anderson’s 3787 passing yards, 32 TDs last year (29 pass, 3 rush) and large contract, it looks like Quinn will get his shot very soon. I’d expect Quinn to get more reps and Crennel to quickly swap in the second-year man out of Notre Dame should Anderson struggle.

Scouring The Barrel

Gus Frerotte, MIN – He’s an intense competitor and a wily 13-year veteran, but the last time he had a real breakout fantasy performance was Week 4 versus San Fran in ’03. At the time, he was in his first stint with the Vikings, threw 3 TDs to Randy Moss and one to Nate Burleson – but that was five years ago, people. I’m not that excited about his prospects in the Vikes passing game, but he’s definitely a fantasy step up from Tarvaris Jackson and there’s a couple games coming up in Weeks 5 and 6 (@NO, DET) where he can be used. Just don’t roll him out there in Week 4 versus the Titans.

Kyle Orton, CHI – Okay, we can start paying attention now that Rex Grossman is a thing of the past and Kyle has reached paydirt. He as 22-for-34 for 268 yards with 2 TD, 2 INT and a 2-point conversion in the team's Week 3 game – a tough 27-24 OT loss to the Bucs in Chicago. The Bears do have some favorable passing matchups coming up (Weeks 4-6: PHI, @DET, @ATL), so he’s not a terrible #2 option.


Jason Campbell, WAS – Another solid game (22-for-30, 193, 2 TD, 0 INT, 26 yards rushing) and he’s still got some of his best matchups ahead in Weeks 6-8 (STL, CLE, @DET).

Trent Edwards, BUF – The next five weeks – @STL, @ARI, bye, SDG, @MIA – look pretty nice and the stretch run in Weeks 9-16 (NYJ, @NWE, CLE, @KAN, SFO, MIA, @NYJ, @DEN might be even better.

J.T. O’Sullivan, SF – I’d be happy if I had him as my number #2 QB after his second straight quality fantasy performance – 16-for-23 for 189 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s Week 3 game. Temper your enthusiasm with the knowledge that he’s still a journeyman QB and his matchups aren’t exceptionally favorable again until Week 11 vs. STL and again in weeks 15 & 16 (@MIA, @ STL).

Brian Griese, TB – 38-for-67, 407 yards, 2 TD and 3 INT. That’s a lot of steamy fantasy action right there. It’s not going to be like this every week, but the drama almost legitimizes the pickup.

Joe Flacco, BAL – Yep, Flacco’s fitting right in with the Ravens, who refuse to allow their QBs to pile up fantasy numbers – but manage to occasionally win a football game.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Steve Slaton, HOU – While it’s a bit delusional to believe Ronnie Brown was available in more than a small percentage of fantasy leagues before Sunday’s ’08 breakout against the Pats, it’s not too crazy to believe some folks slept on Slaton, who totaled 116 yards and a TD on 18 carries, and 4-8-0 receiving. He’s earned the Texans’ starting RB job and he’ll hold onto it.

Felix Jones, DAL – What an electric runner this guy is. He’s now scored a TD in his first three games as a pro and will continues to see carries as the Cowboys split up the running duties between him and Marion Barber. He’s adept at hitting the corner quickly, cutting upfield and finding defensive gaps, and while he’s probably not going to score in every game, he’s well on his way to at least 7 or 8 TDs in ’08.

Digging Deeper

Pierre Thomas, NO – I neglected to include him last week in my column because I still wasn’t convinced, but Thomas proved to me that more than one New Orleans back could post good fantasy numbers on a consistent basis. There’s some nice matchups mixed into the next few weeks, so consider using him as a #3RB or bye week fill-in at #2.

Le’Ron McLain, BAL – The Ravens 6-0, 260-pound fullback – a second-year man out of Alabama – rushed for 66 yards and his first two career touchdowns on 19 carries Sunday – a lot of action on a team that’s committed to the ground game. Mr. McLain has my attention now, and he should continue to see goal line carries. The next couple matchups are tough (@PIT, TEN), but things get easier from weeks 6-10 (@IND, @MIA, OAK, @CLE, @ HOU).

Scouring The Barrel

Correll Buckhalter, PHI – Buckhalter recorded his highest fantasy total since 2003 with 87 total yards, six catches and a TD reception from Donovan McNabb. He’s only a decent fantasy option with Brian Westbrook injured, but he seems to be BW’s backup right now over the younger Lorenzo Booker, so stay tuned to the Westbrook injury (MRI results were negative, which is good for BW owners) and handcuff him if necessary. IF Westbrook is out for any number of weeks, Buckhalter’s a solid #3RB and a decent fill-in at #2.

Warrick Dunn, TB – He’s not as explosive as he used to be, but not too many backs when they’re closing in on 34 years old. What Warrick will give you is a decent #3 RB in PPR leagues, predictably consistent fantasy production in the 50-80 total yards per game range, and an occasional score.


Chris Perry, CIN – 20 carries for 74 yards and a TD, with 2/19/0 receiving. Not a bad recommendation for a guy that was still out there in a few leagues.

Darren Sproles, SD – 77 total yards in the Monday night win over the Jets, he’s a decent #3 RB and better if LT misses any time this season.

Michael Pittman, DEN – He snagged another rushing TD because Mike Shanahan continues to use him near the goal line. As potent as the Denver offense is, he’s great #2 option in TD-only leagues and a decent #3 anywhere else.

Kevin Faulk, NE – Can we just throw out the Miami game? Or should we completely reevaluate the Patriots AGAIN? I’m at a loss.

Michael Bush, OAK – 14 rushes for 55 yards – not exceptional but a reasonable total for the guy’s second game and his status as the Raiders #2 guy.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Brandon Lloyd, CHI – Sunday’s 6/124/1 breakout is a sign that Kyle Orton has found his #1 WR. For you, Lloyd should still only be used as a #3, but he’s been targeted a lot in the past two weeks and is capable of big numbers from time to time. He’s also available in a ton of leagues, as most fantasy owners have avoided anything pass-related in Chicago. For more on Lloyd and his fantasy prospects, check out Matt Waldman’s 20/20 Hindsight column this week.

WR Ike Hilliard, TB – With Galloway injured, Hilliard is Griese’s guy. He went for 6/57/1 against the Bears and will continue to see plenty of targets. It’s been a while since Hilliard was the top fantasy wideout on his team, but he not a terrible option if you’re looking for production from your #3WR.

Digging Deeper

WR Greg Camarillo, MIA – Camarillo has another solid game and appears to be a favorite target of Pennington. His value’s steady as a #4 WR at this point and he could warrant a fantasy start in deeper leagues.

TE Anthony Fasano, MIA – Okay – so now he’s back. Weird – but I’ll take another shot with him. The Dolphins don’t have a lot of guys capable of hauling in TDs in the red zone, so they’ll undoubtedly look to Fasano this season. He’s a great #2 TE and will warrant an occasional start as a bye week or injury fill-in.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Miles Austin, DAL – A healthy Austin will be another explosive weapon for Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense. He’s not a viable fantasy option yet, but stay tuned to the Cowboys weekly injury report, because if Patrick Crayton or T.O. ever gets held out because of injury and he gets a start, he’ll be involved.

TE Billy Miller, NO – With Jeremy Shockey out for about 3-6 weeks, Miller’s a good pickup for 2-TE leagues because he’s in such a potent offense.


WR Isaac Bruce, SF – 2/19/1 isn’t an ideal line for Bruce in this offense, but at least he had the score and numbers worthy of a #3WR start.

WR Robert Meachem, NO – Meacham only finished with 2 catches, but they went for 86 yards. The big play potential is there, and while there was no score this time, I’d be willing to bet he’ll grab a couple more before injured WR Marques Colston returns in a few weeks.

WR Justin Gage, TEN – Add Jeff Fisher to the list of coaches who aren’t very open about injuries before they’re required to be. Gage wasn’t mentioned among the team’s Monday injury rundown but was limited in practice with a groin injury and was inactive Sunday. His status for week 4 is uncertain.

WR Amani Toomer, NYG – In a PPR league, I’ll take 5/64/0 from my third receiver every week. Wouldn’t you?

WR Chansi Stuckey, NYJ – With a name like Stuckey, he’s got to be good. He finished with 6/42/1 versus the Chargers Monday night, his best game so far, and he’s now caught a TD pass in his first three games. Brett Favre looks for him frequently in the red zone and thus far he’s shown to be sure-handed. Another guy who’s emerging as a solid #3 WR play.

WR James Hardy, BUF – Nothing doing against the Raiders, which worries me. There’s some upside to Hardy in deeper TD-only leagues, but at this point he’s too risky a play in any other format unless the Bills receiving corps get seriously depleted.


Off The Top

LB Dhani Jones, CIN – The Bengals defense is on the field quite a bit, and Jones’ tackle totals have benefited in the first three weeks to the tune of 10, 10, 12. IDP owners looking for a solid tackle foundation with a few fantasy perks thrown in can’t do much better than Jones at this point, and he’s still available in a bunch of IDP leagues.

DB Chris Gamble, CAR – He’s a consistent playmaker who’s been on the field a lot this season for Carolina. Through three games, he’s tallied 17 total tackles, 5 PD, an INT and 2 FR. He’s a solid #1 DB in IDP formats that require one.

Digging Deeper

DB Marvin White, CIN – He’s got 22 total tackles thus far in ’08 – and because of his consistency making tackles, he’s a bona fide fantasy starter in leagues that require starting DBs.

LB D’Qwell Jackson, CLE – I love his name – it sounds like he’s going to squash a running back, doesn’t it – and his fantasy production is ballooning since the Browns offense is sputtering. Jackson had 14 total tackles, a PD and an INT last week, and he should be considered a solid IDP starter and Tier 3 fantasy LB.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Joey Porter, MIA – Once an every-week fantasy starter, Joey Porter battles gunshot wounds to the butt, nagging football-related injuries and a foot-in-mouth disease that rivaled the most intense verbal diarrhea spouted by other ridiculous trash-talkers in the league. Now, Porter’s playing inspired football (6 total tackles, 3 sacks last week versus the Pats) but he’s on a bye in Week 4 and is only a shell of his former fantasy self. There may be a spot for him on your team, but he shouldn’t be a high priority pickup.

DL Juqua (Thomas) Parker, PHI – This week the Eagles go to Chicago, where defensive linemen are racking up big fantasy points. Formerly Juqua Thomas, he changed his name on March 12. Parker, undrafted out of Northeastern Oklahoma A& M and a NFL backup most of his career, broke into the Eagles starting lineup last season and into my fantasy glossary last week with 5 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and a PD. He might be a good spot start at DL in deeper leagues.


DB Cortland Finnegan, TEN – If you happened to add Mr. Finnegan based on my recommendation, then congratulations. He scored on a 99-yard INT return and finished with 6 tackles (3 solo) and 2 PD. He’s a poor man’s Antonio Cromartie at this point and could be the biggest IDP sleeper of 2008.

LB Zach Thomas, DAL – Five solos and a sack – good numbers but not great. He’ll have his days.

DB Asante Samuel, PHI – I’m on fire this week calling DBs with picks. Samuel had 5 total tackles, an INT and 2 PD.

DL Shaun Rogers, CLE – 4 total tackles, but what more do you expect from a fantasy DT? I’m not a miracle worker.

DB Quentin Jammer, SD – Just two tackles and an assist, but he added a fumble recovery and 2 PD. Next week – the lowly Raiders.

Matt Wilhelm, SD – Four tackles and an assist. The Chargers secondary got most of the fantasy points in this one.

DB Mike Adams, CLE – Another solid DB selection, Adams finished with 4 total tackles, an INT and a PD.

DB Bryant McFadden, PIT – Still relevant with Townsend out, the “other” fantasy McFadden blew up with 5 solos, 1 assist, an INT, 2 PD and a FR. Wowzer.

DL Lawrence Jackson, SEA – The rookie lineman out of USC had just two solos in Week 3 against the Rams. Look for better options.

DB Nick Collins, GB – Not a bad week to include him in my barrel: 6 total tackles, an INT and 2 PD.