Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to 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 a big 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 — sometimes breakout
stars that eluded your team’s draft — as well as players
who can help your squad that may still be lurking in deeper leagues.
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Off the Top - Includes my premier
recommendations — sometimes players available either only
in more shallow leagues, and occasionally guys more readily available
who’ve been thrust into the fantasy spotlight.
Digging Deeper - Covers the next
tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available
in a majority of online leagues.
Scouring the Barrel - Chronicles
the deepest of fantasy adds — and sometimes highlights players
being tacked onto fantasy squads who I don’t have much confidence
Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 30-40 players
I covered the previous week. It’s the best one-stop waiver-wire
column available on the Internet, and it’s only available
here at fftoday.com.
Feedback is always welcome,
appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as
Note: Each player’s
next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()
Off The Top
NYJ (JAC, @NE, CAR, @BUF) – I can’t imagine too many fantasy owners
are desperate for a quarterback this week. There’s only two possible
starters on bye (Matt Schaub, Eli Manning), and since we’re now
10 weeks in, that’s something that should have been handled already.
If you’re in that unenviable minority, playing Sanchez would undoubtedly
risky, but the rookie is probably available in a few more leagues
coming off his bye and has one of the better matchups among the
fellows on the wire.
David Garrard, JAC (@NYJ, BUF, @SF, HOU) – Garrard, Sanchez’s
opponent this week, is probably less risky because of his experience
level, but has lower upside because the Jets have a solid pass
SF (CHI, @GB, JAC, @SEA) – The next tier of wire QBs begins
with Smith, who’s a hit-or-miss performer with some relatively
decent matchups on the way. Again — if you’re in a bind this week
at QB1 the only place you should be looking is in the mirror —
but in two-QB leagues he’ll make a serviceable start.
Jake Delhomme, CAR (ATL, MIA, @NYJ, TB) – Putting your
faith in Delhomme each Sunday is like going to church just to
pound some wine. It’s neither sensible nor pious, but your
friends will laugh at you and you might just end up having a good
time. Three of the next four matchups are favorable, so if you’ve
got a penchant for sloppy Sundays and the outside chance of a
fantasy epiphany, drink up.
Scouring The Barrel
Josh Freeman, TB (@MIA, NO, @ATL, @CAR) – The Bucs got
their first win of 2009 (knocking me out of MacGregor’s
survivor pool…argghhh) with Freeman at the helm. That probably
locks the rookie into a starting job for the remainder of the
season, and could mean some QB2 value in deeper leagues and keeper
Marc Bulger, STL (NO, ARI, SEA, @CHI) – Bulger could be
playing catch-up on Sunday against the Saints, but the likelihood
of multiple picks and the lack of quality receivers seriously
diminishes his value.
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (@ARI, @MIN, @STL, SF) – The Seahawks
played well versus the Lions last week and Hasselbeck had a solid
game, throwing for 329 yards, one Td and a pick on 39-for-51 passing.
There are a few matchups on the way that could yield similar numbers.
Kyle Orton, DEN (@WAS, SD, NYG, @KC) – Orton couldn’t
figure out the Steelers defense in the second half and finished
Monday night with three INT and no TDs. He’s even a marginal
fantasy backup at this point.
KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – Cassel seems happy with his new receiver,
San Diego castoff Chris Chambers, but has some tough matchups
on the way. Division rivalries can get crazy, though, so stay
tuned through Week 13.
Jason Campbell, WAS (DEN, @DAL, @PHI, NO) – Don’t
bother rostering him unless you’re in a 10-team, three-QB
league. Yeah — the Skins are that bad.
Vince Young, TEN (BUF, @HOU, ARI, @IND) – Say what you
want about Young’s idiotic Hall of Fame statements and rough-around-the-edges
persona. The guy’s led the Titans to consecutive victories.
Trent Edwards, BUF (@TEN, @JAC, MIA, NYJ) – A favorable
matchup in Week 10 could mean a few spot starts in deeper formats
(if he’s even cleared to play after missing a month due
to a concussion) but the Titans pass defense is not the porous
perversion that took the field earlier in the season. Be careful
starting Edwards this week in spite of the numbers.
Off The Top
Williams, TB (@MIA, NO, @ATL, @CAR) – Derrick Ward could see
increased work moving forward as the Bucs offense improves, but
Cadillac is still the primary vehicle in the Tampa Bay household.
Look for some good numbers the next few weeks.
BAL (@CLE, IND, PIT, @GB) – McGahee is one Ray Rice injury away
from fantasy relevance. If you’re a Rice owner, the ride has surely
been nice, but you’ve got to protect him with a handcuff, even
if it means wasting a roster spot on zero production. I snagged
Willis in a 14-team, two-RB league where I’m starting Rice and
Julius Jones and have Felix Jones as my backup, so I’m certain
you can understand my rationale.
McCoy, PHI (@SD, @CHI, WAS, @ATL) – The climate in Philadelphia
has most certainly changed. Since Brian Westbrook still had some
lingering effects (a Friday afternoon headache) from his Week
7 concussion, he was held out of Sunday night’s crucial game versus
the Cowboys. There’s also reports emerging of some ankle swelling,
and if he’s not 100 percent, the Eagles will continue to go with
McCoy — making the rookie a viable fantasy option.
Maroney, NE (@IND, NYJ, @NO, @MIA) – Sammy Morris isn’t slated
to be back until Week 11 at the earliest, giving Maroney another
shot at significance. If he continues to run well, he could hold
onto the starting job.
Scouring The Barrel
Ladell Betts, WAS (DEN, @DAL, @PHI, NO) – Betts will likely
get the start against the Broncos, who looked terrible defending
the run on Monday night. Since the offense is so anemic, I wouldn’t
get too excited about Betts even if he is the Skins’ primary
back. But he’s worth a roster spot and consideration as
an RB3 or FLEX in deeper leagues.
KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – Since there’s no such thing as a sure
thing on Todd Haley’s team, Smith could get the bulk of touches
going forward if he runs well against the Raiders this week. He’s
now off the PUP list and with Larry Johnson out of the picture,
it’ll come down to some mixture of Smith, Jamaal Charles and Dantrell
Stewart, CAR (ATL, MIA, @NYJ, TB) – While Stewart wasn’t great
(13 carries, 24 yards) against the Saints and DeAngelo Williams
finished with 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns, it’s worth noting
that a late Williams fumble could have cost the Panthers the game.
If it happens again, the Panthers might use Stewart a bit more
down the stretch.
SEA (@ARI, @MIN, @STL, SF) – Jones had his best game since
Week Three, posting 6-78-0 receiving to go along with 36 rushing
yards and a score. He could have a similar day versus the Cards.
HOU (BYE, TEN, IND, @JAC) – Moats and Slaton split RB duties in
Week Nine, rendering both slightly below average fantasy starts.
A Week 10 bye could help straighten this situation out, but I’m
still glad I packaged both in a deal for Tim Hightower last week.
NO (@STL, @TB, NE, @WAS) – Bell could see an increased workload
this week in St. Louis. Peg him as a low-end RB3/FLEX.
KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – As I mentioned before, we can’t
get inside Haley’s head, but if you’re hurting for an RB3/FLEX
in PPR leagues, Charles could be your guy.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Shiancoe, MIN (DET, SEA, CHI, @ARI) – Shiancoe obviously won’t
be available in too many leagues, but his Week Nine bye definitely
threw a few owners into a tailspin — resulting in the occasional
drop. Don’t let him languish on the wire into Week 10’s games.
The guy hasn’t seen a ton of targets lately, but he’s one of Brett’s
red zone guys and already has six TDs, tied with Greg Olsen for
second among TEs (Vernon Davis leads with seven).
WR Lee Evans, BUF (@TEN, @JAC, MIA, NYJ) – I know I just
said the Titans pass defense was getting better, but that doesn’t
mean Evans can’t escape for a long TD or two with Terrell
Owens taking up much of its attention. Getting Edwards back could
also help the veteran receiver, who usually comes alive during
the middle weeks.
WR Mike Wallace, PIT (CIN, @KC, @BAL, OAK) – Wallace had
another solid game in Week Nine and is averaging 17.5 yards per
reception for the Steelers. He’s now got 25-437-3 on the
season and is a valuable red zone target for Big Ben.
Coles, CIN (@PIT, @OAK, CLE, DET) – Coles has TDs in two of
his last three and will see increased targets as a result of the
Chris Henry injury. The Steelers have a staunch secondary, but
the next few matchups promise decent overall numbers for a WR3.
Scouring The Barrel
Chambers, KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – Chambers caught two TD
passes for his new team, including a 54-yarder during Sunday’s
loss to Jacksonville. When the Chiefs get behind, and they will
a lot in the next few weeks, he could get some serious garbage
time and accompanying value.
WR Robert Meachem, NO (@STL, @TB, NE, @WAS) – Meachem is
starting to show some of the catch-and-run spunk that made his
a sleeper pick on so many experts’ lists the past couple
seasons. He had 5-98-1 on Sunday, including a second-half bonus
TD that tied the game at 20-20.
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (@SD, @CHI, WAS, @ATL) – Maclin fought
through a foot injury and caught three passes for 44 yards against
the Coboys on Sunday night. It wasn’t spectacular, but he’s
the Eagles undisputed No. 2 WR and should see enough targets each
week to warrant a WR3 start in formats that allow one.
WR Percy Harvin, MIN (DET, SEA, CHI, @ARI) – Brad Childress
said there’s a chance that Harvin could return punts at
some point this season. I can’t wait for Sunday to see what
this guy can do against the Lions, who will probably punt over
10 times and have a terribly weak secondary.
WR Malcom Floyd, SD (PHI, @DEN, KC, @CLE) – Patience, fellow
fantasy owners, patience.
WR Ted Ginn
Jr., MIA (TB, @CAR, @BUF, NE) – The Tampa Bay game could allow
the Dolphins to give Ginn some more action from scrimmage.
Davis, WAS (DEN, @DAL, @PHI, NO) – 2-26-0 against the Falcons,
but the Skins couldn’t get much going offensively. Chris Cooley
could be back later this month, so with a host of better TE options
out there, Davis is a safe drop.
Off The Top
Henderson, MIN (DET, SEA, CHI, @ARI) – He’s getting dropped
by impatient fantasy owners who place more emphasis on the value
of the Vikes’ stat-sheet-filling SLB Chad Greenway. While Greenway
probably has more value this week as well, you can’t drop E.J.
just because he’s had a few weak games. If anything’s hurt his
value this season, it’s a dynamic, Brett-Favre-led offense that’s
on the field a lot more than last year.
Atogwe, STL (NO, ARI, SEA, @CHI) – Atogwe’s been dropped in
a ton of leagues that don’t require DBs, and he’s been relatively
quiet compared to the escapades of some other stud safeties (Darren
Sharper, Troy Polamalu, etc.) But that doesn’t mean he isn’t an
excellent play this week against the Saints, an offense that could
give him 10-plus tackles and several chances at big plays. If
you see him on the wire in any IDP format, don’t hesitate to snag
LB Larry Foote, DET (@MIN, CLE, GB, @CIN) – Foote should
see plenty of action this week in Minnesota. He’s available
in over half of IDP leagues and recorded 10 total tackles and
a sack during the Lions’ Week Two game against the Vikings.
Brackett, IND (NE, @BAL, @HOU, TEN) – Brackett got back in
the flow of the Colts defense last week and posted seven total
tackles and two PD. The Pats move the ball in dribs and drabs
between the 20s, and Brackett is an underrated tackler who can
clean up in that scenario. He’s far from universally owned and
could have huge impact in this week’s pivotal matchup between
Indy and New England.
Hali, KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – We’ll be hearing a lot of
his name during the next few weeks in matchups that favor OLBs.
Because he’s DL-eligible, he’s a steal this week at Oakland, and
he’s only owned in a quarter of IDP leagues.
Scouring The Barrel
Johnson, CAR (ATL, MIA, @NYJ, TB) – The all-important WLB
position in Carolina has a new starter in Johnson, who replaces
the injured Thomas Davis. Davis tore his ACL last week but had
already compiled a ridiculous IDP line for 2009: 61 total tackles,
1.5 sacks, two INT and five PD. Johnson is former Bengal and a
veteran LB the Panther scan trust to slide into Davis’s slot.
DB Derek Cox, JAC (@NYJ, BUF, @SF, HOU) – Cox has put up
consistent tackle totals this season and had a great matchup versus
the Jets, who yield big points to opposing DBs. Take a crack at
him this week in deeper formats.
LB Jerod Mayo, NE (@IND, NYJ, @NO, @MIA) – Wow —
there weren’t too many folks who thought Mayo was still
capable of producing 12 total tackles (seven solos) from the LILB
slot in the Pats 3-4, but I went out on a limb and got it right.
He has a much-less-favorable matchup this week at Indy, so temper
LB Justin Durant, JAC (@NYJ, BUF, @SF, HOU) – Durant followed
up his huge Week Eight game with just three solos and a PD against
the Chiefs. He should resume IDP respectability against the Jets
in Week 10.
Curry, SEA (@ARI, @MIN, @STL, SF) – Four total tackles, but
the beast in the Detroit matchup was MLB David Hawthorne, who
had nine total tackles, two INT and three PD.
DL Jimmy Wilkerson, TB (@MIA, NO, @ATL, @CAR) – Wilkerson
had his least productive game in over a month versus the Packers
but his fellow linemen, (including RDE Stylez G. White) cleaned
up, showing once again that picking fantasy DLs can be a difficult
DB Reed Doughty, WAS (DEN, @DAL, @PHI, NO) – Six solos last
week and the chance for a much bigger game against the Broncos,
who have a ball control offense that could allow Doughty to play
close to the line.
Starks, MIA (TB, @CAR, @BU, NE) – Starks has just two solos
but got to Tom Brady — giving the veteran DL 4.5 sacks on the
DB Richard Marshall, CAR (ATL, MIA, @NYJ, TB) – Three total
tackles in Week Nine. The tackles are pretty well spread out among
the Panther defensive backs these days.