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Through The Wire - Week 16
12/22/09 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 next two matchups are listed in parentheses ()


Off The Top

Vince Young, TEN (SD, @SEA) – Young, banged up during the previous week’s 47-7 win over the Rams, threw for a career-high three TDs and a solid 236 yards in Sunday’s 27-24 overtime win over Miami. He’s been impeccably consistent in his starts this season (90.0 passer rating or higher in six of his eight starts this season), and has shown great maturity.

Digging Deeper

Alex Smith, SF (DET, @STL) – Smith has looked decent during the second half and should be able to rip apart the Lions’ secondary. He’s a decent start in deep leagues at QB1, and should be okay to deploy Week 17 (if your league is into that sort of thing).

Scouring The Barrel

Chad Henne, MIA (HOU, PIT) – Henne threw for a career-high 349 yards last week, and is averaging more than 300 yards a game in his last three. While the Texans defense is playing better, this game could be a big-time shootout. And since the young QB’s wire availability has been much like the loose change at the Quickie Mart (Take a Henne/Leave a Henne), he’s a decent option if you’re still looking for that solid QB2.


Jason Campbell WAS (DAL, @SD) – Campbell threw a couple picks and didn’t have much time to work in the 45-12 drubbing at the hands of the Giants, but he picked up a score, 192 passing yards and 36 yards on the ground.

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (@IND, CIN) – It was another pretty bad outing for Sanchez, who threw three INTs and had just one score. I wouldn’t count on him against the Colts if he can’t light up the Falcons.

Josh Freeman, TB (@NO, ATL) – Freeman had a respectable game in a win over Seattle with over 200 yards and two TDs (one INT). If the Bucs how up to play versus the Saints, he could be a fine deep-league sleeper.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Jerome Harrison, CLE (OAK, JAC) – On his 22 second-half carries, he ran for over 200 yards, finishing with 286 on the day. Even though it was against the Chiefs, games like that change careers and make people forget about rookies named Chris Jennings. I’d say he needs to be picked up in every format possible since he’s facing the Raiders.

Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (CAR, @MIN) – Bradshaw was explosive and effective in all aspects Monday night and should get the majority of touches against the Panthers unless something changes regarding his status or tenuous health before the weekend.

Digging Deeper

Jason Snelling, ATL (BUF, @TB) – Snelling isn’t an every–down back but looks to be the goal line maven and starting running back for the Falcons, who face the RB-friendly Bills. Plug him in as an RB2 this week.

Carnell Williams, TB (@NO, ATL) – He’s still a viable start base don his ability to take it to the house and remains the best RB option in Tampa Bay. The matchup should help produce okay yardage totals and at least one score.

Scouring The Barrel

Michael Bush, OAK (@CLE, BAL) – Bush exploded last week for 133 rushing yards and a TD on just 18 carries last week and appears to be the guy who’ll get the workload facing the Browns. Giddyup.

Jerious Norwood, ATL (BUF, @TB) – As long as he’s healthy, Norwood should get the ball on third down and on every third series, and in PPR leagues could put up decent numbers out of the flex spot.


Jamaal Charles, KC (@CIN, @DEN) – Charles wasn’t the best fantasy RB on Sunday, but with 170 total yards and a TD, he was in the Top 5. Continue to use him as an RB1 against the Bengals.

Beanie Wells, ARI (STL, GB) – Wells finished among the Top 10 fantasy RBs in Week 15 with 123 total yards and a score, and should get plenty of opportunities on Sunday facing the Rams.

Justin Forsett, SEA (@GB, TEN) – Forsett didn’t break out as I expected, but he managed 69 total yards against a Bucs team that decided to show up. He’s a worthy flex play this week against the Packers, but nothing more.

Quinton Ganther, WAS (DAL, @SD) – By no fault of his own, Ganther didn’t have a great day. He found paydirt again but tallied only 40 total yards.

Chris Jennings, CLE (OAK, JAC) – On Sunday, Jennings wasn’t the feature back — an honor that went to Harrison. And we all know what he did.

Arian Foster, HOU (@MIA, NE) – Foster fumbled on the opening drive and sat the rest of the game while Ryan Moats struggled to fins space. Gary Kubiak is a fickle, whimsical man.

Maurice Morris, DET (@PHI, KC) – Morris provided an unexpected boost to deep-league lineups with 161 yards and a score. His five receptions allowed him to eclipse the performance of both Charles and Jonathan Stewart in PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Chris Chambers, KC (@CIN, @DEN) – He didn’t drop any passes on Sunday and should benefit once again from the return of Dwayne Bowe — as well as the emergence of Jamaal Charles. Look for more solid numbers this week in Cincinnati.

Digging Deeper

Earl Bennett, CHI (MIN, @DET) – If your final is Week 17, it might be time to grab Bennett. While his production in Week 16 depends largely on which Minnesota defense shows up, it’s important to point out that the Bears won’t likely be running it too much against the Vikes, and Hester’s still nursing a calf injury. He’s got big play potential, and last week returned a punt for a TD and tallied 50 receiving yards on just two catches.

Scouring The Barrel

Josh Morgan, SF (DET, @STL) – Morgan should benefit greatly from the Niners’ Week 16 matchup with Detroit and post solid WR3 numbers. Last week he put up 7-61-1 and he’s getting consistent targets. The young WR is also nearly universally available, so give him a shot if you’re looking for a guy with some upside.


WR Santana Moss, WAS (DAL, @SD) – Three catches for 55 yards in a game that demonstrated without question just how terrible a coach Jim Zorn is.

WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG (CAR, @MIN) – Nicks left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury (probably as a precaution, since the game was already out of hand) and had just a couple catches, albeit for 66 yards. The rookie WR was on pace for a big day and is expected to be fine this week.

WR Antonio Bryant TB (@NO, ATL) – 3-35-0, five targets. He should put up better numbers in New Orleans.

TE Dustin Keller, NYJ (@IND, CIN) – Despite seven targets from Sanchez, Keller finished with just 3-33-0 in the loss to Atlanta.

TE Fred Davis, WAS (DAL, @SD) – Davis had a solid game with 5-65-1 and was targeted nine times. He should be a big part of the offense against Dallas.

WR Malcom Floyd, SD (@TEN, WAS) – Floyd was okay with his nine targets and 4-63-0. If he had found the end zone, my recommendation would have been monumental.

WR Greg Camarillo, MIA (HOU, PIT) – Camarillo was targeted a whopping 10 times but finished with just five catches for 46 yards. Not terrible, not great.


Off The Top

LB Kirk Morrison, OAK (@CLE, BAL) – You can’t do much better than Morrison’s next two matchups, which feature teams who’ve been running the ball effectively and could sustain a few long drives against the Raiders. Morrison isn’t out there in too many leagues, but he’s available in some and provides a heckuva lot of value as an LB1 over the next two tilts.

DL Aaron Schobel, BUF (@ATL, IND) – Schobel’s got a solid matchup facing the Falcons and is due for bounce-back game after a dismal performance against the AFC East rival Patriots.

Digging Deeper

LB Lawrence Timmons, PIT (BAL, @MIA) – Timmons last two matchups are tailor-made for his aggressive style of play. He’s one of the better young LBs in the AFC and these are impact games where he’s bound to flourish in spoiler mode.

DB Dashon Goldson, SF (DET, @STL) – Goldson’s still getting no respect in fantasy despite a pretty huge season (86 tackles, three INT, three FF, sack, five PD). Go to him a couple more times and expect more of the same.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Malcolm Jenkins, NO (TB, @CAR) – Jabari Greer is still out and Jenkins is still being picked on. He’s got the ability to make tackles and defend the pass, racking up some garbage points on PDs and the occasional INT against a couple of inexperienced QBs.

DL Jay Ratliff, DAL (@WAS, PHI) – Ratliff has the most value as a DT in leagues that require one. He’s a master of the bull rush and can play as a three-technique tackle, stunt as an end rusher, or shed blockers and move outside to cut down a toss. His ability to rush the QB is atypical for a 3-4 DT/DE, and he’s still available in plenty of formats.


DB Antrel Rolle, ARI (STL, GB) – Weak performance with just three total tackles, but should be deployed the next two weeks without question.

DL Mario Williams, HOU (@MIA, NE) – Two tackles and a fumble recovery helped fill the void left by his lack of sacks.

LB David Bowens, CLE (OAK, JAC) – Seven total tackles (six solos) was an average day for this veteran. Start him with confidence this week.

DL John Abraham, ATL (BUF, @TB) – One tackle, one sack against his old team. I knew he’d get to Sanchez at least once.

LB James Anderson, CAR (@NYG, NO) – Anderson exploded for 11 total tackles (nine solos), a sack and a PD against the Vikes. He’s an excellent play this week as well.

DB James Butler, STL (@ARI, SF) – Seven solo tackles on Sunday — which tied for his season-high.