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Through The Wire - Week 7
10/20/09 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

Last week, my two QB selections missed, my RBs popped off, my WRs were pretty lame, and my IDP recommendations … well — they were solid. This week, I’m touting a few guys who can provide immediate rewards, and shouting out a few pre-emptive steals who will step up a game or two down the road.

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

Note: Each player’s next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()


Off The Top

Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – The Seahawks seem to be the most inconsistent team in football, alternately providing scintillating and disheartening performances from week to week. Hasselbeck’s fantasy fortunes are directly tied to the efficacy of the team’s offense (and specifically its ragtag offensive line), and while a Week Seven bye has some owners dropping the veteran QB, his matchups the rest of the way are pretty friendly to opposing signal callers.

Digging Deeper

Shaun Hill, SF (@HOU, @IND, TEN, CHI) – Hill’s upcoming schedule is among the most favorable for QBs (along with Jay Cutler and Matt Hasselbeck), so it’s a good idea to grab him now your QB has a bye week during the impending stretch of games.

Marc Bulger, STL (IND, @DET, BYE, NO) – Bulger appears to be healthy again and could figure into the bye week matchup mix, especially during Week Eight in Detroit as a replacement for Tom Brady, Carson Palmer or Ben Roethlisberger.

Scouring The Barrel

Vince Young, TEN (BYE, JAC, @SF, BUF) – If the Kerry Collins Era isn’t officially over, it’s on its last legs – which ironically, are what makes Young a fantasy-worthy addition in deeper leagues. There’s got to be something this offense can do (in the spirit of the ubiquitous Wildcat formation) with Young, Chris Johnson, LenDale White and a modestly talented group of young receivers.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (@CAR, HOU, BYE, @TEN) – With Trent Edwards nursing a concussion and Fitzpatrick leading the Bills to an unlikely win over the Jets in the Meadowlands, it appears the backup will get the starting nod until Buffalo returns in Week 10 in Tennessee. Keep an eye on Edwards’ status and add Fitzie if you’re seriously downtrodden at the QB position.


David Garrard, JAC (BYE, @TEN, KC, @NYJ) – Garrad’s QB rating has dropped in each of his last two games since Week Four, when the Jags hosted Tennessee. He’s on a bye but faces the Titans once again in Week Nine.

Jake Delhomme, CAR (BUF, @ARI, @NO, ATL) – The Panthers almost exclusively ran the ball against the Bucs, and I can’t blame them. Delhomme has minimal fantasy value right now.

Chad Henne, MIA (NO, @NYJ, @NE, TB) – Henne presents an interesting option at QB2 in week 10, but there’s not another decent matchup to be found until the season’s final four games.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Donald Brown, IND (@STL, SF, HOU, NE) – He’s got a favorable schedule and is seeing more touches, but is still available in plenty of shallow formats. Don’t hesitate to add him and give him a start this week at St. Louis, a team that’ll be hard pressed to prevent a blowout.

Jonathan Stewart, CAR (BUF, @ARI, @NO, ATL) – Stewart was listed as questionable before Sunday’s game but saw lots of action against the Bucs, finishing with 17 carries for 110 yards and a TD. His backfield mate, DeAngelo Williams, dropped 152 yards and two TDs on 30 carries and 2/20/0 receiving — making both worthy starts in any format. Jump on Stewart and play him against the Bills if somebody in your league got cold feet because of his lingering Achilles injury. Just don’t expect too much from Stewart during weeks 8-12.

Digging Deeper

Mike Bell, NO (@MIA, ATL, @CAR, @STL) – Bell ran for 34 yards on 15 carries and scored a touchdown on fourth down on the Saints' opening drive Sunday against the Giants. He’s not as valuable as Thomas, but it’s clear he’ll get at least half of the goal line carries moving forward.

Laurence Maroney, NE (@TB, BYE, MIA, @IND) – After a knee injury knocked Sammy Morris out of the Tennessee game, Maroney took over, finishing with 16 carries for 123 yards. The Pats have a great matchup at Tampa Bay, so if Morris is out, Maroney should post big numbers.

Scouring The Barrel

Justin Fargas, OAK (NYJ, @SD, BYE, KC) – If Darren McFadden misses any additional time, Fargas could have some value, but he’s got limited upside the rest of the way and remains a marginal FLEX play at best even in the best matchups.

Kevin Faulk, NE (@TB, BYE, MIA, @IND) – Faulk is Brady’s favorite third down target and broke a big screen for a TD on Sunday. From here on out, he could be worth a FLEX play in inclement weather.


Knowshon Moreno, DEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @WAS) – Moreno had 18 carries for 44 yards in Monday night’s win over the Chargers. Correll Buckhalter had 10 rushes for 46 yards and four catches for 29 yards. Moreno has the slight edge in fantasy value in standard leagues, but Buckhalter isn’t as far behind in PPR leagues. After the Week Seven bye, both face three tough matchups.

Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (ARI, @PHI, SD, BYE) – Bradshaw has at least 10 touches in each game this season, and is second in the league in yards per carry (6.2 — only Chris Johnson is better) among RBs with over 50 rushes. He had another good game Sunday (10 carries for 48 yards and a TD) and would have undoubtedly improved on those numbers had the Giants kept it close.

Leon Washington, NYJ (@OAK, MIA, BYE, JAC) – Washington has 145 total yards and nearly broke the century mark for rushing yardage (99 yards on 15 carries) for the third time in his career and first time since his rookie year 2006.

Jamal Lewis, CLE (GB, @CHI, BYE, BAL) – As expected, Lewis did little (36 total yards) on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Jerious Norwood, ATL (@DAL, @NO, WAS, @CAR) – Norwood left Sunday night's game against the Bears with an injured right hip during the first half.

Jamaal Charles, KC (SD, BYE, @JAC, @OAK) – Yuck. Eight total yards against the Redskins in a nondescript 14-6 win — albeit his team’s first of 2009.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Sidney Rice, MIN (@PIT, @GB, BYE, DET) – Rice is one of Favre’s favorite targets and could see more targets should the injured Percy Harvin miss any time. Rice is a solid WR2 in 12-team formats and keeps getting better in this — his third NFL season.

WR Torry Holt, JAC (BYE, @TEN, KC, @NYJ) – Get a jump on the competition by adding this veteran for his Week Eight matchup in Tennessee, when he could revisit some of the numbers from his glory days in St. Louis.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN (@PIT, @GB, BYE, DET) – Favre’s trusty TE has already racked up five TDs this season and eight in his last 10 games dating back to Dec. 7, 2008. He’s a decent TE1 and could continue to score regularly — regardless of matchup — in such a potent Viking offense.

Digging Deeper

WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG (ARI, @PHI, SD, BYE) – Nicks found the end zone again, giving him a score in each of the last three games he’s played in. Consider him a solid WR3/FLEX play until that streak comes to a stop.

WR Lance Moore, NO (@MIA, ATL, @CAR, @STL) – In his first fantasy-relevant performance since Week 17 of last season, the undrafted Toledo product posted good numbers (6-78-1) out of the slot. I don’t know how many more games like this he has in him, but on such a forceful offense he should at least be owned in all 12-team leagues.

TE Zach Miller, OAK (NYJ, @SD, BYE, KC) – Miller showed once again why he’s coveted as a great late-round TE option in fantasy drafts, totaling 139 yards on six catches. The majority of his fantasy production came on an 86-yard TD pass early in the game, but since he saw a team-high 11 targets, Miller should be considered JaMarcus Russell’s only viable receiving threat.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Michael Crabtree / Josh Morgan, SF (@HOU, @IND, TEN, CHI) – Like their QB, Crabtree and Morgan have a favorable upcoming schedule and could resume fantasy significance before December. Given Crabtree’s prolonged holdout and his previous dearth of experience with the pro system, I’m skeptical of the news that Crabtree has miraculously passed Morgan on the depth chart. But it’s definitely a situation to monitor, and if Crabtree’s available, you should take a shot. Just don’t count out Morgan, who remains a huge part of the 49ers future at WR, will get plenty of first-team reps, and should factor in the red zone.

WR Josh Cribbs, CLE (GB, @CHI, BYE, BAL) – Cribbs emerged with a good fantasy game last week and is probably the most dynamic player the Browns have. He could see more involvement as the team experiments during a difficult stretch over the next few weeks.


WR Nate Burleson, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – Just two catches for 40 yards in Week Six, Burleson is still an effective deep threat for the Seahawks and could put up big numbers in the weeks following the upcoming bye.

WR Braylon Edwards, NYJ (@OAK, MIA, BYE, JAC) – Edwards regressed in Week Six, posting a modest 3-40-0 line in his Meadowlands home debut. Much of the blame can be placed on Mark Sanchez, who completed just 10 of his 29 passes and threw five INTs — easily his worst game as a pro.

TE Kellen Winslow, TB (NE, BYE, GB, @MIA) – The Bucs passing game remains a weekly question mark. Winslow had just three catches for 29 yards against the Panthers.

WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND (@STL, SF, HOU, NE) – Gonzalez is still an iffy play for Week Seven. Since Indy should dispatch their next three opponents pretty easily, I might even wait to start him until the Colts face the rival Patriots in Week 10.

WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (@WAS, NYG, DAL, @SD) – Maclin disappeared from the game plan in Week Six, an obvious tactical error since the Eagles struggled to move the football and ended up losing to the Raiders.

WR Miles Austin, DAL (ATL, SEA, @PHI, @GB) – We’ll see just how involved Austin is this week versus the Falcons, but all signs point to him seeing a minimum of eight targets. Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said Monday that Austin would continue seeing as much playing time going forward as he did against the Chiefs.

WR Andre Caldwell, CIN (CHI, BYE, BAL, @PIT) – Caldwell had another decent game on Sunday, compiling 57 receiving yards on six catches. He won’t be a fantasy standout every week, but he’s worth considering on a matchup-to-matchup basis.

WR Mike Wallace, PIT (MIN, BYE, @DEN, CIN) – Wallace’s last three weeks have been almost identical in terms of receptions and yardage (2-47-0; 2-52-1; 2-50-0), but the limited number of targets still translates to “bench player” in most formats.

TE Anthony Fasano, MIA (NO, @NYJ, @NE, TB) – Fasano’s forthcoming value depends largely on his performance this week against the Saints. At this point, I’d consider him a low end TE2 with more upside than fellow athletes at that tier.


Off The Top

LB Jonathan Vilma, NO (@MIA, ATL, @CAR, @STL) – Vilma’s gotten off to a disappointing start, but I anticipate big numbers from the standout MLB this week in Miami, where the Dolphins will use their dynamic running attack to keep the Saints offense off the field by controlling time of possession. This will give Vilma plenty of opportunities to make plays and rack up tackles.

DL Julius Peppers, CAR (BUF, @ARI, @NO, ATL) – Peppers is owned in just 54 percent of Yahoo IDP leagues, largely because he’s inconsistent and many formats don’t require a DL. This week, he’ll even have monster value in a defensive flex spot, since the matchup against the Bills is so favorable. He’s currently the fifth-best DL in IDP. If for some reason he’s still on the wire in your league, you’ve got to jump on him.

Digging Deeper

DL Richard Seymour, OAK (NYJ, @SD, BYE, KC) – Seymour had a huge week in the win over Philly, totaling four solos, two sacks, a forced fumble and a PD. He’s available in a majority of IDP formats and could put up similar numbers this week at home against the reeling Jets.

LB Dhani Jones, CIN (CHI, BYE, BAL, @PIT) – Owned in very few fantasy leagues, Jones had his best IDP performance to date in Week Six, posting 11 total tackles in the loss to Houston. He could surpass those totals this week against the Bears, who yield the most points in the league to opposing LBs.

DB Charles Tillman, CHI (@CIN, CLE, ARI, @SF) – The same matchup bodes well for Tillman, who’ll cover Chad Ochocinco and see plenty of opportunities for tackles, PDs and even an INT. Cincy gives up 21.9 percent more fantasy points to DBs than the league average.

Scouring The Barrel

LB David Hawthorne, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – With MLB Lofa Tatupu out at least a couple weeks (and possibly longer) with a partially torn chest muscle, Hawthorne should get the start after the Seahawks return from their bye in Dallas for Week Eight. Earlier this season, Hawthorne replaced Tatupu (who was slowed with a hamstring injury) and played nearly two full games. In Week Three, Hawthorne had 16 tackles (15 solos), showing he has value in Tatupu’s stead.

DB C.C. Brown, NYG (ARI, @PHI, SD, BYE) –Brown had 13 tackles (12 solos) Sunday during the Giants drubbing in New Orleans. He figures to be the best Giants DB in IDP formats moving forward and could have another big week versus the Cards, who will likely attack the Giants in similar fashion.


LB D.J. Williams, DEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @WAS) – RILB Williams posted five total tackls, a sack and a forced fumble against the Chargers and played effectively in tandem with Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos pass-rushing ROLB.

DB Josh Wilson, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – Wilson had six solos on Sunday but failed to register a PD or any junk points. He did handle one kick return, though, which is good to see.

LB Aaron Curry, SEA (BYE, @DAL, DET, @ARI) – Five total tackles and a PD versus the Cards. Curry’s up to 37 total tackles, two sacks, two FF and two PD on the season, impressive numbers for a rookie who wasn’t expected to be so involved from the WLB position.

DL Cliff Avril, DET (BYE, STL, @SEA, @MIN) – Avril had seven total tackles (six solos) and a sack on Sunday in Green Bay, the best IDP performance of his young career. I guess I hit this one on the nose.

DL Jimmy Wilkerson, TB (NE, BYE, GB, @MIA) – Wilkerson had four tackles but didn’t register a sack. Look for him to resume significant IDP value in Week Nine versus the Packers.

LB Calvin Pace, NYJ (@OAK, MIA, BYE, JAC) – Seven solos versus the Bills, but no garbage points. Still, it’s a quality start from a talented defender in just his second game back. Pace is a marginal LB3 and quality LB4 going forward.