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.
|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!
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 ()
A few injuries to QBs and one big mess in the Washington backfield
make this week’s waiver wire an interesting pasture of potential
value. I’m assuming that interested readers are only looking
for backups or QB2s at this point, although Kurt Warner (and possibly
Ben Roethlisberger) owners could probably use another QB for insurance.
And if you haven’t handcuffed your star RB heading into the
homestretch, it’s time you do.
Off The Top
DEN (NYG, @KC, @IND, OAK) – Orton was supposed to miss Sunday’s
game with an ankle injury, but Chris Simms was so terrible even
staunch-minded head coach Josh McDaniels was compelled to stray
from the game plan and insert Orton. Unless the injury got much
worse, I expect to see Orton back under center this week, kicking
off a stretch of favorable matchups.
Matt Cassel, KC (@SD, DEN, BUF, CLE) – He’s a viable
option to replace an injured fantasy starter, but the matchups
are pretty tough in the next three. Still, he’ll have Dwayne
Bowe back for the Cleveland game, which could amount to a huge
fantasy performance. If your roster’s got room for a stash
and your main QB has a bad matchup Week 15, he’s your man.
Mark Sanchez, NYJ (CAR, @BUF, @TB, ATL) – If Rex Ryan isn’t
worried about the multiple picks Sanchez threw to Pats CB Leigh
Bodden, I’m not worried either, considering the next four
games are played against teams much more vulnerable to multiple
TD passes. If your format penalizes harshly for INTs, however,
he probably shouldn’t even be starting at QB2 against the
SF (JAC, @SEA, ARI, @PHI) – Smith has one of the best upcoming
schedules of any QB in fantasy, altjhough his history of inaccuracy
and the limited effectiveness of the San Fran offensive line could
still create some major problems. If you’re a in a deep league
and he’s available, you could do a lot worse (See below for more
on Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kyle Boller).
Scouring The Barrel
Josh Freeman, TB (@ATL, @CAR, NYJ. @SEA) – Freeman also
has a pretty decent arm and a few favorable games on the docket,
but there’s a big difference between potential and performance.
Be careful if he’s your backup, although a healthy Antonio
Bryant should help the rookie’s cause.
STL (SEA, @CHI, @TEN, HOU) – On paper, the matchups look favorable
for Boller, who takes over from the injured Marc Bulger (leg fracture),
but Boller doesn’t have the offensive line or rapport with the
St. Louis receivers to make things happen. He’s a desperation
play at best.
BUF (MIA, NYJ, @KC, NE) – Fitzpatrick’s big week doesn’t change
the fact that he’s still a journeyman on a shaky team. If you’re
a Bills fan in a deep league certain your team could still shake
things up behind a new game plan, I can’t blame you for getting
excited, but I wouldn’t recommend adding him.
Eli Manning, NYG (@DEN, DAL, PHI, @WAS) – Manning was fantasy’s
fourth-ranked QB in Week 11, making me look once again like I
know what I’m talking about. I appreciate it, Eli.
Vince Young, TEN (ARI, @IND, STL, MIA) – Young throws the
ball long without much effort and can do a lot of things right
in the Titans offense. He cracked the top 20 fantasy QBs this
week behind his 73 rushing yards and passing score, so he’s
once again fantasy relevant in deeper formats.
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (@STL, SF, @HOU, TB) – The matchup
just wasn’t a good one last week since the Seahawks aren’t
a come-from-behind team, but better performances are on the way.
DEN (NYG, @KC, @IND, OAK) – As I explained, Simms is, was, and
will probably remain absolutely putrid as an NFL QB. Forget about
Off The Top
LeSean McCoy, PHI (WAS, @ATL, @NYG, SF) – I don’t
know exactly why McCoy isn’t universally owned at this point,
but he’s still out there in one out of four leagues. The
latest on Westbrook’s concussion is that he’s unavailable
for Week 12 and might not return for a couple more weeks. Need
I say more?
BUF (MIA, NYJ, @KC, NE) – Marshawn Lynch went down in Week 11
and could miss a game or two with a shoulder injury. Pick up Jackson
(the more dynamic fantasy RB anyway) accordingly.
WAS (@PHI, NO, @OAK, NYG) – The prognosis on Clinton Portis gets
worse each week, and backup Ladell Betts blew out his ACL and
PCL early in the Dallas game. Cartwright, a hard-nosed veteran
who’s effective in the passing game, could be a dream come true
for PPR owners in need of a solid RB2 or FLEX play. He’s not just
the only show in town; he’s a guy who could factor in a few fantasy
Brown, IND (@HOU, TEN, DEN, @JAC) – Brown’s value is on the
rise with the Colts looking more and more like the runaway AFC
home field holders. He might not be more than a fantasy backup
with upside at this point, but when the starters rest the final
two weeks against the Jets and Bills, he could be a huge aspect
in the Jim Sorgi-led Indy offense.
Scouring The Barrel
Greene, NYJ (CAR, @BUF, @TB, ATL) – If you’re Thomas Jones
owner, Greene is a necessity. And with the Jets likely out of
the playoff picture, he could get more work so they can assess
Jennings, JAC (@SF, HOU, MIA, IND) – Jennings hasn’t seen
too many carries this season but will be thrust into relevance
should Maurice Jones-Drew miss any action down the stretch.
Samkon Gado, STL (SEA, @CHI, @TEN, HOU) – Unlike the previous
two handcuffs, the starter in St. Louis might be nursing a minor
injury. Reports of soreness in his lower back aren’t a big
deal, but it’s a sign Jackson has been overworked. S-Jax
owners need to take heed.
Knowshon Moreno, DEN (NYG, @KC, @IND, OAK) – Moreno had
80 rushing yards on just 10 carries, but didn’t find paydirt.
ATL (TB, PHI, NO, @NYJ) – Snelling score twice and was the second-ranked
fantasy back of the week behind Ricky Williams.
Jamal Lewis, CLE (@CIN, SD, PIT, @KC) – His 75 rushing yards
might be the most we see out of him for the rest of his career.
Scott, CIN (CLE, DET, @MIN, @SD) – Scott finished with 151
yards from scrimmage but was vultured by two Carson Palmer goal
line sneaks. It looks like Benson will miss another week.
Darren McFadden, OAK (@DAL, @PIT, WAS, @DEN) – McFadden
is still the best back on the Raiders and should be involved more
on Thanksgiving in Dallas.
Justin Forsett, SEA (@STL, SF, @HOU, TB) – With Julius
Jones probably out another week, Forsett should have a field day
in St. Louis. In PPR leagues, he’s an RB1 given his favorable
Michael Bush, OAK (@DAL, @PIT, WAS, @DEN) – Not much of
a factor in the win over Cincinnati, but he did average 6.8 yards
per carry on his four touches.
Larry Johnson, CIN (CLE, DET, @MIN, @SD) – Just two carries
against the Raiders, but should get 8-10 carries against the Browns
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ (CAR, @BUF, @TB, ATL) – Cotchery
(still available in about a quarter of leagues) is Sanchez’s
favorite target, and it’s unlikely the Jets will start getting
conservative in the next few weeks. Ryan’s comments on Sanchez
are encouraging, and I foresee a few big weeks from the veteran
WR Michael Crabtree, SF (JAC, @SEA, ARI, @PHI) – Crabtree
is also still out there in one out of our leagues, and has a very
favorable schedule. It’s clear he’s adjusted to the
NFL game and makes an excellent WR3 in 12-team formats.
Carlson, SEA (@STL, SF, @HOU, TB) – Carlson should be getting
more looks in the Seattle offense as they enter a TE-friendly
stretch in their schedule. If you’re still looking for that replacement
to Owen Daniels, Carlson could be your guy.
Garcon, IND (@HOU, TEN, DEN, @JAC) – Garcon had his best game
as a pro on Sunday, sneaking away from the secondary for a 61-yard
TD catch that put a cheery on a solid 6-108-1 afternoon. With
Anthony Gonzalez still out and the Colts showing no signs of slowing
down, he’s a must-own in all formats.
WR Chris Chambers, KC (@SD, DEN, BUF, CLE) – Chambers obviously
has something to say to his former team about the perceptions
that he was washed up, but he’s a little battered after
a brutal game with Pittsburgh. If he’s good to go on Sunday,
He makes a decent WR3.
WR Robert Meachem, NO (NE, @WAS, @ATL) – Meacham is the
player we all once thought he was, and he’s making it happen
with very few targets. This week the Saints will need everything
they’ve got to beat the Pats, and they’ll be using
all their receivers to do it.
Scouring The Barrel
TE Jermichael Finley, GB (@DET, BAL, @CHI, @PIT) – Finley’s
healthy and has a cake matchup against the Lions. Unless this
one gets away early, and the depleted state of the Packers defense
means it likely won’t, the second-year TE’s got a
chance at a score or two.
Britt, TEN (ARI, @IND, STL, MIA) – Britt had his first career
TD on Monday night and seems to be coming along well in the absence
of veteran Justin Gage. If Gage misses any additional time, the
nearly universally available Britt could provide some nice late-season
value given his upcoming schedule.
WR Jordy Nelson, GB (@DET, BAL, @CHI, @PIT) – Three catches
for 21 yards and a TD show he’s ready for a more integral
part of this offense. Detroit offers a prime opportunity for more
of the same.
WR Terrell Owens, BUF (MIA, NYJ, @KC, NE) – Owens, no doubt
bolstered by my recommendation last week (at that point he was
still available in about one out of five leagues), had his best
game of the season and one of the finest WR performances of ’09,
posting nine catches for 197 yards, including a 98-yard TD. For
those of you who didn’t grab him, your window isn’t
yet closed — only about three out 20 owners in leagues where
he was languishing on the wire picked him up. Tougher matchups
are on the way, but the game plan has obviously shifted toward
WR Roy Williams,
DAL (OAK, @NYG, SD, @NO) – Williams, on the other hand, didn’t
have a catch, and isn’t a very good option going forward.
WR Kevin Walter, HOU (IND, @JAC, SEA, @STL) – Walter regressed
slightly from his Week 9 totals against Indy with just 4-46-0
in the Monday night tilt, but he’s still available in over
a third of fantasy leagues and remains an important part of the
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (WAS, @ATL, @NYG, SF) – Maclin tied
his season-high for receptions with six but failed to reach the
end zone. He’s still got four TDs in his last seven games.
WR Antonio Bryant, TB (@ATL, @CAR, NYJ, @CIN) – The Bucs
are being cautious with Bryant, but the veteran still had three
catches for 40 yards on Sunday. If he can stay on the field, he’ll
make a solid WR3 during the next few games.
WR Donnie Avery, STL (SEA, @CHI, @TEN, HOU) – Week 11’s
line (4-65-0) was similar to Week 10’s save for the glaring
omission of two TD receptions. And now he’s without his
QB, making him a WR4 at best moving forward.
WR Malcom Floyd, SD (KC, @CLE, @DAL, CIN) – Floyd had his
highest reception total of ’09 (four catches) but only 38
yards. He’ll be used more in the red zone during the next
Muhammad, CAR (@NYJ, TB, @NE, MIN) – A 3-27-0 outing against
a vulnerable pass defense doesn’t do much for his fantasy stock.
Off The Top
Mathis, IND (@HOU, TEN, DEN, @JAC) – The glaring omission
of Mathis from last week’s box score was bizarre, and may have
shaken some owners to their roots. If you see him on the wire,
grab him. He and Dwight Freeney didn’t play much as the Colts
went with a run-stopping front four against the Ravens with multiple
defensive tackles and not much outside pressure. When Mathis did
play, RT Michael Oher did a great job on him. Technically, the
D-line starters were Keyunta Dawson, Antonio Johnson, Raheem Brock
and Daniel Muir. Against the Texans, both he and Freeney will
resume their usual roles.
Timmons, PIT (@BAL, OAK, @CLE, GB) – Timmons will be counted
on eve more without the presence of Troy Polamalu on this unit,
and the matchup in Baltimore will be his first test. He’s the
RILB in the 3-4, but he’ll essentially be playing MLB against
the Ravens if Pittsburgh employs a similar front that made Indy
successful last week.
Hillenmeyer, CHI (@MIN, STL, GB, @BAL) – The Vikings, Rams,
Packers and Ravens are all going to run right at this guy. Despite
being the worst defender on the Bears defense, Hillenmeyer still
has a job because Lance Briggs refuses to move to MLB. And he’ll
get a shot at a lifetime worth of tackles in the next four games
because everybody knows just how much of a weakness he is. In
IDP, though, it’s not such a bad thing.
DB Champ Bailey, DEN (NYG, @KC, @IND, OAK) – The Giants
will definitely throw the ball plenty Thursday night, and Bailey
stands to benefit from Eli Manning’s newfound confidence.
The veteran corner is a solid tackler and could easily get his
hands on three or four Manning throws, making him a valuable IDP
performer in leagues that reward PD.
Scouring The Barrel
Jenkins, NO (NE, @WAS, @ATL, DAL) – Tom Brady and the Patriots
will undoubtedly pick on the rookie if Jabari Greer (groin) is
unable to go on Monday night. Jenkins had seven tackles, an INT
and two PD last week standing in for Greer against a team that
doesn’t throw the ball half as much as the Pats.
Avril, DET (GB, @CIN, @BAL, ARI) – Avril had his best game
of the season against the Packers and will get a few cracks at
Aaron Rodgers again this week. He’s nearly universally available
and should post good stats as a DL2.
DB Charles Woodson, GB (@DET, BAL, @CHI, @PIT) – Woodson
comes off a lackluster game and should shine once again versus
the lowly Lions — regardless of who’s under center.
LB Paul Posluszny, BUF (MIA, NYJ, @KC, NE) – His 12 total
tackles and forced fumble continued a serious hot streak, and
the matchups just keep on getting better.
LB David Hawthorne, SEA (@STL, SF, @HOU, TB) – Another 15
tackles later, Hawthorne looks even more like the real deal. He
should be owned in all IDP formats.
LB Dhani Jones, CIN (CLE, DET, @MIN, @SD) – I was really
on a solid streak myself picking Jones, who finished Sunday with
nine tackles and a force fumble — pretty decent for a second-tier
LB nobody respects.
DL Brett Keisel, PIT (@BAL, OAK, @CLE, GB) – And finally,
a dud. Keisel had just two solos and didn’t get into the
DL Jonathan Fanene, CIN (CLE, DET, @MIN, @SD) – Make it
two. Fanene started at RDE according to the NFL gamebook but didn’t
show up in the box score.