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
We’re entering Week Six, and it might be a good time to revisit
some of my pre-Week-One column,
considering how prophetic some of my selection turned out to be.
Some of them have popped up multiple times in this column, and make
another appearance this week after huge performances. Just remember
where your bread is buttered, folks: Right here, Through the
Note: Each player’s
next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()
Off The Top
David Garrard, JAC (STL, BYE, @TEN, KC) – Garrard had a
terrible Week Five, getting pulled after losing a couple of fumbles,
but the offensive line was partly to blame for his futility. He’s
still available in one out of four leagues, and has one of the
best upcoming schedules in fantasy football, except for his Week
7 bye. If he was unceremoniously dropped, he’s worth a shot
if you’re struggling at QB.
Jake Delhomme, CAR (@TB, BUF, @ARI, @NO) – The wayward
Delhomme still hasn’t shown he can be a reliable option
this season, but he’s on his way. Last week’s victory
could signal a new era for the Panthers with matchups versus Tampa
Bay and Buffalo on the docket.
Scouring The Barrel
Chad Henne, MIA (BYE, NO, @NYJ, @NE) – Okay, so Henne isn’t
that bad. While most of Miami’s TDs will come via the running
game, it’s obvious from Monday night this offense can hang
with Henne at the helm on three out of four plays. He’s
on a bye this week and might never be a top QB option, but he’s
showing more promise.
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – For two weeks
in a row, I’ve nailed the week’s best fantasy QB with
my “Off the Top” selection. Hasselbeck blew up for
241 passing yards and four TDs (along with 23 rushing yards) in
his Week Five return from injury.
Jason Campbell, WAS (KC, PHI, BYE, @ATL) – Campbell passed
for just 145 yards and a score last week. He’s not a terrible
option this week against the Chiefs, but the offensive line has
obvious problems protecting him and giving him the requisite time
to get the ball downfield.
Kyle Orton, DEN (@SD, BYE, @BAL, PIT) – Orton posted respectable
numbers (330/2/1) on Sunday in the unlikely victory over the Pats.
He’s a solid QB2 going forward, although the matchups get
Matt Cassel, KC (@WAS, SD, BYE, @JAC) – 253/2/0 and 28
rushing yards was a pretty good day for the Chiefs QB, considering
he was repeatedly peppered by the Dallas front seven.
DET (@GB, BYE, STL, @SEA) – Daunte Culpepper played in Stafford’s
place and gave a good performance. Maybe this is the start of
a teensy-weensy QB controversy.
Derek Anderson, CLE (@PIT, GB, @CHI, BYE) – Anderson was
2-for-17 for 23 yards and an INT—one of the most hideous
QB performances in league history. I’m glad I posted him
in the barrel. Stay far away.
Off The Top
Moreno, DEN (@SD, BYE, @BAL, PIT) – I admit I was wrong about
the 2009 Broncos, but I’m still not sure they haven’t been a little
lucky in their journey to 5-0. With Correll Buckhalter out last
week, Moreno had 124 total yards. If C-Buck misses another game,
Moreno could post huge fantasy totals against the Chargers.
NYG (@NO, ARI, @PHI, SD) – In the first half against the Raiders,
Bradshaw rushed for 110 yards and two TDs, adding a 55-yard reception.
He’s still the backup to Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw is on an offense
that’s clicking and might continue to retain RB2 value as the
Giants wear down opponents.
NYJ (BUF, @OAK, MIA, BYE) – Washington is the more explosive back
in the Jets offense, but he’s yielding red zone and goal line
touches to Thomas Jones, limiting his value. He’s best in PPR
leagues and should have a decent week against the Bills.
CLE (@PIT, GB, @CHI, BYE) – Lewis started Sunday and helped get
the Browns their first win of ’09 with 117 rushing yards on 31
carries, leaving many fantasy owners wondering what the heck happened
to Jerome Harrison. Bizarre.
Scouring The Barrel
Norwood, ATL (CHI, @DAL, @NO, WAS) – The Falcons offense got
off the ground Sunday and Michael Turner finished with three rushing
TDs. Norwood finished with 12 carries for 44 yards, and could
be in line for more carries and yardage in the coming weeks—although
he did lose a fumble.
KC (@WAS, SD, BYE, @JAC) – Let’s just take a look at this
week’s matchup. The Redskins have a solid run defense, so Charles
and his receiving ability could help the Chiefs loosen up the
offense and give them a chance at winning. Take a shot in PPR
leagues as an RB3 or flex play.
Rashard Mendenhall, PIT (CLE, MIN, BYE, @DEN) – He was
solid again on Sunday, finishing with 15 carries for 77 yards
and a TD. Mendenhall appears to have taken over the starting job
in Pittsburgh. Even if Parker gets healthy, they’ll be hard-pressed
to sit this possibly dominant rushing force.
LeSean McCoy, PHI (@OAK, @WAS, NYG, DAL) – McCoy didn’t
do much fantasy-wise against the Bucs, but he had some nice plays—including
a catch he made three yards behind the line of scrimmage, where
he picked up 10 yards after making a defender miss. He also had
a nice nine-yard run out of the Wildcat in the third quarter,
finishing with six carries for 14 yards and two catches for 15.
Look for more touches in Week Six against the Raiders.
Chester Taylor, MIN (BAL, @PIT, @GB, BYE) – Nine carries
for 20 yards and a TD to go along with 3/49-0 receiving—that’s
about what I predicted and owners who took my advice and gambled
on a flex play were duly rewarded.
Sammy Morris, NE (TEN, @TB, BYE, MIA) – Sammy had 17 carries
for 68 yards on Sunday and should continue to get the lion’s
share of rushing touches for the Pats.
Mewelde Moore, PIT (CLE, MIN, BYE, @DEN) – Moore and Parker’s
value isn’t what it was a few weeks ago before the emergence
of Mendenhall, but as long as Parker’s out, Moore will be
the third-down back and could grab some points in PPR leagues.
Forsett, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – Six carries for 43 yards.
Julius Jones better watch his ancient back.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Nate Burleson, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – I’ve
included him a few times in this column, but he’s still
available in a handful of leagues despite consistent production.
After waivers this week, that won’t be the case.
Edwards, NYJ (BUF, @OAK, MIA, BYE) – It’s very possible Edwards
got dropped in a few formats before (and after) last week’s trade
to the Jets, so he earns a mention here. The veteran receiver
appeared rejuvenated and enthusiastic about playing for a contender,
which can only help his fantasy value. He grabbed a TD pass from
Mark Sanchez on Monday night and had another reversed after a
replay challenge, posting 5-64-1.
Winslow, TB (CAR, NE, BYE, GB) – Winslow had two TD catches
on Sunday from Josh Johnson, who’s looking a lot better than Byron
“The Catapault” Leftwich. You know my rule about TEs who score
twice in one game: They immediately get a mention in this column.
In this case, there’s already some value with Winslow, so pick
him up if you’re in need of a solid TE.
WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND (BYE, @STL, SF, HOU) – Shrewd
fantasy owners with some extra roster space might want to add
Gonzalez and hope he gets back in action by Week 7, when the Colts
begin a nice stretch of matchups with the lowly Rams.
Maclin, PHI (@OAK, @WAS, NYG, DAL) – What an awesome debut
for the Donovan McNabb-Jeremy Maclin connection! Maclin had two
huge TD catches from McNabb, and all looks right in the Philadelphia
offense. The Eagles should continue to look for ways to get Maclin
Austin, DAL (BYE, ATL, SEA, @PHI) – Holy smokes! While nobody
could have predicted a 250-yard, two-TD day for Austin, the Roy
Williams injury should have clued me into his latent value. He’ll
be a hot waiver wire add despite his Week Six bye.
Scouring The Barrel
Caldwell, CIN (HOU, CHI, BYE, BAL) – Caldwell just keeps on
scoring, despite a limited number of targets, partly because Chad
Ochocinco is getting so many looks in the red zone. If his targets
go up, which they should, so will his value.
Wallace, PIT (CLE, MIN, BYE, @DEN) – Wallace converted with
a big TD pass from Big Ben in Week Five and looks to be this year’s
version of Nate Washington. He’ll have WR4 value from here on
out with some upside.
TE Anthony Fasano, MIA (BYE, NO, @NYJ, @NE) – Fasano hauled
in a nice TD catch, posting 4/38/1 in Week Five versus the Jets.
He’s on my radar again.
WR Mohamed Massaquoi, CLE (@PIT, GB, @CHI, BYE) – See Derek
Anderson. The Browns obviously need to figure some things out,
and when they do Massaquoi could reclaim some value.
WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG (@NO, ARI, @PHI, SD) – Four catches
for 49 yards and a TD. A solid day for a decent WR3 with upside.
This week, he could find the end zone again.
WR Kenny Britt, TEN (@NE, BYE, JAC, @SF) – I can’t
figure out the Tennessee situation, and it’s almost time
for me to stop trying. Britt is about as inconsistent as any WR4
TE Heath Miller, PIT (CLE, MIN, BYE, @DEN) – Another good
showing for Miller, who posted 5/54/1 against the Lions. He’s
quickly rising to TE1 status.
TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC (STL, BYE, @TEN, KC) – The schedule
looks decent the next weeks for Lewis, who only has three catches
for 18 yards in Week Five.
TE Sean Ryan, KC (@WAS, SD, BYE, @JAC) – Dallas did a good
job on Ryan, who’s nothing more than a situational TE2 play.
WR Austin Collie, IND (BYE, @STL, SF, HOU) – Wow. 8/97/2
from a receiver owned in less than 25 percent of leagues. I really
had a pretty good week. If only I had Miles Austin included in
last week’s picks…
Off The Top
LB D.J. Williams, DEN (@SD, BYE, @BAL, PIT) – Williams
is the best among Denver’s LBs and is on track for another
great campaign if he can stay healthy. The Chargers yield big
points to opposing LBs, making him a great LB1 play.
Wilson, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – Wilson’s still the starting
LCB until Marcus Trufant comes back in November. He’s got a beneficial
matchup in Week Six, so get him in your lineup.
LB Aaron Curry, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – I seriously
misjudged Curry’s learning curve, which has shown he’s
already adjusting well to the NFL and has value as a pass-rushing
OLB. He’s worth a shot on the waiver wire based on his ability
to fill up the stat sheet.
DL Cliff Avril, DET (@GB, BYE, STL, @SEA) – Avril’s
hamstring injury seems to be much better—he had five tackles
and a half-sack on Sunday versus the Steelers. This week, he takes
on the Packers’ offensive line, which could yield a sack
or two to the vaunted pass-rusher from Purdue.
Scouring The Barrel
DL Jimmy Wilkerson, TB (CAR, NE, BYE, GB) – Wilkerson exploited
right tackle Winston Justice on Sunday, finishing with six solos,
a career-high three sacks, a forced fumble and a PD. He’ll
have a tougher time versus Carolina RT Jeff Otah, but Sunday’s
big performance must be noted.
LB Calvin Pace, NYJ (BUF, @OAK, MIA, BYE) – Pace had five
tackles in his return Week Five and has a solid matchup this week
against the Bills. If he’s eligible at DL, he’s a
no-brainer play based on the upcoming schedule.
LB David Harris, NYJ (BUF, @OAK, MIA, BYE) – Harris finished
with seven tackles (six solo) in a relatively dull performance.
He’s still a quality LB1.
DL Aaron Schobel, BUF (@NYJ, @CAR, HOU, BYE) – I won’t
even begin to analyze the CLE-BUF game, but suffice to say that
Schobel didn’t get to Derek Anderson. He did, however, post
six total tackles (three solo), the 12th-highest tackle total
for DLs in Week Five.
DL John Abraham, ATL (CHI, @DAL, @NO, WAS) – Abraham performed
as expected, posting three tackles and a sack.
LB Chad Greenway, MIN (BAL, @PIT, @GB, BYE) – Six solos
and a forced fumble made Greenway a solid LB2 play.
DB Dunta Robinson, HOU (@CIN, SF, @BUF, @IND) – Four total
tackles and a PD—not bad for a DB, although I expected more
versus the Cards.
LB Kamerion Wimbley, CLE (@PIT, GB, @CHI, BYE) – Easily
my finest IDP call of the week, Wimbley—a fringe LB3 at
best—had his best game of the year with 11 total tackles
and a sack.
LB Jarret Johnson, BAL (@MIN, BYE, DEN, @CIN) – Johnson
continued his fine play with six tackles and a sack versus the
Bengals. This week in Minnesota, I don’t expect a repeat
Doughty, WAS (KC, PHI, BYE, @ATL) – He finished with just
three total tackles but was injured during the game. I’m still
looking/waiting for confirmation on his status. Anybody see the
game and/or the injury?