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Through The Wire - Week 15
12/15/09 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 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.

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 in.

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

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

Note: Each player’s final three matchups are listed in parentheses ()

I’ve thrown quite a few RB possibilities out there this week, along with targeting some TEs who could fill in nicely this week because of favorable matchups.


Off The Top

Jason Campbell WAS (NYG, DAL, @SD) – Campbell’s numbers over his last three games have been decent (820 passing yards, seven TDs, three INT) and he’s facing a Giants defense that’s proved vulnerable to the big play and has struggled to contain opposing TEs. He’s still available in over two-thirds of fantasy leagues, making him a solid plug-n-play for owners with QB woes.

Digging Deeper

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (ATL, @IND, CIN) – Rex Ryan is committed to starting Sanchez if the rookie QB is healthy enough to play, and with a favorable matchup and must-win game against the Falcons, he’ll be worth a look in deep formats.

Scouring The Barrel

Josh Freeman, TB (@SEA, @NO, ATL) – He’s only a viable start in the most desperate of circumstances in the deepest of leagues, but Seattle hasn’t been able to cover anybody, and the Bucs do have some solid red zone weapons — if they can bet there without turning over the ball first.


Kyle Orton, DEN (OAK, @PHI, KC) – Orton’s day was saved by Brandon Marshall, who single-handedly kept the Broncos offense moving. With the Raiders up next and Nnamdi Ashomugha covering Marshall, he might have a tougher time.

David Garrard, JAC (IND, @NE, @CLE) – Garrard couldn’t do much against the Dolphins and only hooked up once with favorite target Mike Sims-Walker; it’s a crap shoot determining what’ll happen against Indy.

Alex Smith, SF (@PHI, DET, @STL) – Smith had just 144 passing yards but threw two TDs and two interceptions on Monday night. He’s not a great option as a QB1 unless you’re league has 14-16 teams.

Brady Quinn, CLE (@KC, OAK, JAC) – This week’s game could be a shootout, but I just don’t trust Quinn when it comes to turnovers. Josh Cribbs also saw a significant amount of time in the Wildcat, rushing for 87 yards. According to Mangini, Cribbs could also be used over the next few weeks in a more traditional RB mode.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (NE, @ATL, IND) – Fitzpatrick won’t have an easy time this week facing an improving New England secondary, but could post respectable QB2 numbers if Buffalo can force some turnovers deep in Patriots territory.

Matt Cassel, KC (CLE, @CIN, @DEN) – Easily the best matchup among the league’s forgotten QBs, Cassel gets Dwayne Bowe back to take some attention away from red zone threat Chris Chambers.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Jamaal Charles, KC (CLE, @CIN, @DEN) – Last week’s performance (143 rushing yards, TD; 7/38/0 receiving) assured he won’t be available in deeper leagues, but even in shallow formats where he’s available, he’s got to be considered over some of the big-name backs this week.

Beanie Wells, ARI (@DET, STL, GB) – Wells looked good running the ball against the Cards on Monday night and will probably get most of the carries in Detroit. Consider him a solid RB2 with upside, as the Lions have shown no ability to keep opposing runners out of the end zone (the Ravens scored five rushing TDs last week).

Digging Deeper

Justin Forsett, SEA (TB, @GB, TEN) – Since Julius Jones looks a year older every week, I’m banking on Forsett to carry the struggling Seahawks offense in Tampa Bay. Expect around 100 total yards, a handful of catches and a score.

Quinton Ganther, WAS (NYG, DAL, @SD) – Ganther blew up last week for two scores and decent yardage but will have a harder time finding paydirt against the Giants stout defensive line. Temper your expectation if you’re starting him at RB3/flex.

Scouring The Barrel

Chris Jennings, CLE (@KC, OAK, JAC) – The Browns handed the reins to Jennings against the Steelers on Thursday night and were rewarded with their first rushing touchdown since December 2008 and a huge win over their division rivals, the reigning Super Bowl Champions, and now-eliminated-from-playoff-contention Pittsburgh Steelers. For that performance alone, he should get the bulk of carries against the Chiefs.

Arian Foster, HOU (@STL, @MIA, NE) – Foster had 89 total yards on Sunday and surpassed both Chris Brown and Ryan Moats on the Texans depth chart, according to Gary Kubiak. Stay tuned to the reports coming out of Houston practices leading up to game day in St. Louis. He could be a wire bargain and put up RB2 numbers if he continues to get love from his coach.

Maurice Morris, DET (OAK, @PHI, KC) – With Kevin Smith’s knee injury pushing the second-year back to IR, the rushing duties fall on Morris and rookie Aaron Brown. Don’t expect a big day from either, but consider both for deep-league starts at RB3/flex.


Jonathan Stewart, CAR (MIN, @NYG, NO) – He’s not a good start against the Vikings this week.

Laurence Maroney, NE (@BUF, JAC, @HOU) – Maroney continues to be the most explosive and effective of New England’s backs, and has a good matchup this week in Buffalo.

Marshawn Lynch, BUF (NE, @ATL, IND) – Lynch yielded the majority of carries to Fred Jackson last week, and can’t be trusted to produce unless Freddy goes down.

Willis McGahee, BAL (CHI, @PIT, @OAK) – McGahee’s performance last week (12 carries, 76 yards, two TDs) just goes to show what teams with several talented backs can do against the Lions. Kudos if you had the guts to play him as an RB2, RB3 or flex.

Rock Cartwright, WAS (NYG, DAL, @SD) – Cartwright gave way to Ganther on the depth chart after press time, and wasn’t a factor on Sunday.

Ryan Moats, HOU (@STL, @MIA, NE) – Moats had a TD but lost a fumble and Chris Brown was a busts on Sunday. Foster will be getting a heavier workload from here on out as a result.

Jerome Harrison, CLE (@KC, OAK, JAC) – Harrison had just 19 total yards and Jennings appears to have taken over starting duties.

Leonard Weaver, PHI (SF, DEN, @DAL) – Weaver had 41 total yards and a rushing TD against the Giants. His value seriously diminishes if Brian Westbrook is okay to play this week.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Santana Moss, WAS (NYG, DAL, @SD) – He’s available in one of my 10-team leagues as we speak and could produce big numbers against the Giants on Sunday. Devin Thomas is a decent play as well, although his targets have been inconsistent from week to week.

WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG (@WAS, CAR, @MIN) – Nicks will be a frequent target of Eli Manning over the final few weeks, and he proved Sunday night how explosive he can be.

Digging Deeper

WR Antonio Bryant TB (@SEA, @NO, ATL) – Bryant is known for his late-season games and he’s likely being dropped in a few formats after last week’s stinker against the Jets. If he’s available, you should definitely take a flier on the veteran receiver as a WR3 against the Seattle secondary.

TE Dustin Keller, NYJ (ATL, @IND, CIN) – Sanchez and Keller have good rapport and should find plenty of time to hook up on Sunday facing the Falcons, who give up big points to opposing TEs.

TE Fred Davis, WAS (NYG, DAL, @SD) – The second-year fantasy standout and USC alumnus had three catches for 50 yards on Sunday, but two went for TDs. The Giants allow the most fantasy points in football to opposing TEs, so this is a great week to plug in Davis.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Malcom Floyd, SD (CIN, @TEN, WAS) – Call it a hunch, but I think the Chargers will try to get creative at home against the Bengals and seek production from alternative sources. Floyd stands out as a big target who could get a lot of looks — both in the red zone and between the 20s.

WR Greg Camarillo, MIA (@TEN, HOU, PIT) – He had a monster game last week (7/110/0) and will be pressed into action against the surging Titans, who’ve been clamping down on the run and will yield the shorter routes that Camarillo is known for.


Pierre Garcon, IND (@JAC, NYJ, @BUF) – Neither Garcon nor Reggie Wayne were much of a factor against the Broncos since Dallas Clark hogged three of Peyton Manning’s TD passes and Austin Collie snagged the other.

Robert Meachem, NO (DAL, TB, @CAR) – Meachem has four catches for 57 yards but no TD. He’s probably best used as a WR3 this Saturday versus the Cowboys.

Kenny Britt, TEN (MIA, SD, @SEA) – Britt had a couple catches for 75 yards but takes a serious hit in value if Vince Young (hamstring) isn’t throwing him the ball on Sunday.

Jacoby Jones, HOU (@STL, @MIA, NE) – Fellow Texans WR Andre Johnson did most of the damage against the Seahawks last week, leaving little for Jones to do except return punts.

Mohamed Massaquoi, CLE (@KC, OAK, JAC) – Massaquoi gets his TDs on odd weeks so I’m thinking Week 15 at Kansas City could mean about 50-plus yards and a score.

Josh Morgan, SF (@PHI, DET, @STL) – The young receiver had just three catches for 14 yards on Monday night, although he could be a red zone factor facing the Eagles.


Off The Top

DB Antrel Rolle, ARI (@DET, STL, GB) – Rolle hasn’t had an INT since Week 10 but has still posted respectable IDP numbers. Detroit poses a favorable matchup for opposing DBs and Rolle is a playmaker due for a big game.

DL Mario Williams, HOU (@STL, @MIA, NE) – Williams was quiet in the first half of the season, but has four sacks in his last three games. On Sunday, the talented pass rusher posted six solos, 2.0 sacks and a PD last week against the Seahawks. He’s got another solid matchup this week in St. Louis.

Digging Deeper

LB David Bowens, CLE (@KC, OAK, JAC) – Bowens had another good game on Thursday night against the Steelers, and in the five games since the team’s Week Nine bye, he has 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks. The game in Kansas City should also provide ample opportunities for him to be an IDP standout.

DL John Abraham, ATL (@NYJ, BUF, @TB) – Abraham had four tackles and forced a fumble in Sunday's loss to the Saints, but hasn’t recorded a sack for weeks. Facing his old team, he’ll likely bring some extra pressure and have a good game.

Scouring The Barrel

LB James Anderson, CAR (MIN, @NYG, NO) – He’s playing WLB in Carolina (a great spot to be) and had nine total tackles (six solos) last week facing the Pats. He could be in for even more work against the Vikings this week when Minnesota counters with Adrian Peterson.

DB James Butler, STL (HOU, @ARI, SF) – With O.J. Atogwe gone for the year, Butler will be forced to do most of the tackling in the St. Louis secondary this week facing the Texans. He’s racked up 24 tackles in his last four games.


DL Tamba Hali, KC (CLE, @CIN, @DEN) – Three tackles and a sack — good enough numbers for the DL slot. Expect another solid day against the Browns.

LB Larry Foote, DET (ARI, @SF, @CHI) – If he was your LB1, Foote was somewhat disappointing with just five total tackles and a forced fumble.

DB Bryan Scott, BUF (NE, @ATL, IND) – Scott blew up again for 10 solos and a sack. He’s worth a shot again this week facing the Pats.

LB Bart Scott, NYJ (ATL, @IND, CIN) – Scott had his best solo tackle totals (six) since Week Eight, and added one assist.

DL Stylez G White, TB (@SEA, @NO, ATL) – Another solid DL call, “The (Sack) Artist Formerly Known as Greg” had four solos and a sack. He’s still a viable play as a DL2 facing the Seahawks.

DB Dawan Landry, BAL (CHI, @PIT, @OAK) – Landry tallied just five total tackles, but can be expected to post better numbers facing carefree Jay Cutler and the Bears.