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Through The Wire - Week 9
11/3/08 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 four matchups are listed in parentheses ()

This week, four of the top ten players being snagged of the wire are tight ends (due in part to the season-ending injuries to Owen Daniels and Chris Cooley and byes of Visanthe Shiancoe and Zach Miller). Excluding the juggernaut Vikings and respectable Jets, the teams on bye this week are a combined 7-25 – and therefore not too loaded with standout fantasy contributors. On the IDP front, another talented bunch of stars is on bye, forcing teams to shore up the ranks through free agency. Let’s get to it, readers.

Oh — before I forget — a special thanks to all the great tracking work done on For the all-important month of October, this column received the top rank for Waiver Wire Advice online, beating out all the other online sources.


Off The Top

Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (DET, @ARI, @MIN, @STL) – I’m really looking forward to Hasselbeck’s upcoming schedule; the veteran can still get it done despite playing for a team with a shaky offensive line.

Kyle Orton, DEN (PIT, @WAS, SD, NYG) – Orton faces some tough competition the next few weeks but could break out for a nice game or two with WR Brandon Marshall at his disposal. He’s got just one INT on the season, but you’ll have to live with a few more based on the increased level of competition.

Digging Deeper

Matt Cassel, KC (@JAC, @OAK, PIT, @SD) – Cassel will be forced to attack more down the field the next few weeks without Larry Johnson, and should improve his somewhat pedestrian fantasy stats.

Jason Campbell, WAS (@ATL, DEN, @DAL, @PHI) – A right ankle sprain against Philly might keep his from being 100 percent, but the matchup against the Falcons could mean more third down conversions and better overall numbers.

Scouring The Barrel

Vince Young, TEN (@SF, BUF, @HOU, ARI) – He’s still “Young” and has the ability to take over any game with his legs. The win over the Jags should give him confidence and guarantee a few more starts over Kerry Collins, but the former Longhorn is only relevant in deep leagues.

Trent Edwards, BUF (BYE, @TEN, @JAC, MIA) – Edwards gets his starting job back after the bye, but he’s still not to be trusted. The matchup with Tennessee may be tasty, but it’s still a desperation move to assume he’ll perform well, since the Titans pass defense seems to be getting back on track.


David Garrard, JAC (KC, @NYJ, BUF, @SF) – Didn’t take advantage of the favorable matchup but should rebound versus the Chiefs.

Alex Smith, SF (TEN, CHI, @GB, JAC) – He’s got obvious rapport with TE Vernon Davis and has a great matchup this week in Tennessee.

Daunte Culpepper, DET (@SEA, @MIN, CLE, GB) – Stafford ended up with the start on Sunday and Culpepper lost what shred of fantasy value he had left.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Jonathan Stewart, CAR (@NO, ATL, MIA, @NYJ) – The Panthers running game is definitely big enough for two studs, and Stewart looked explosive on the tow TD runs against the Cards. Don’t let him languish on the wire if he’s still there in your league.

Julius Jones, SEA (DET, @ARI, @MIN, @STL) – Believe me, I know. But Jones is available in a small fraction of leagues and has an excellent matchup against the Lions. Grab him if he’s out there and plug him in.

Ryan Moats, HOU (@IND, BYE, TEN, IND) – His 23-carry, 126-yard, three-TD game shows he can carry the load for the Texans and could supplant fumble-happy (fumble-sad, really) Steve Slaton as the basis of the team’s ground game. The compact back was universally available until his breakout Week Eight performance, but he looked explosive through the hole against the Bills and will be owned in just about every league heading into the Indy game.

Digging Deeper

Mike Bell, NO (@CAR, @STL, @TB, NE) – Bell wasn’t too impressive on Monday night, but he still has value in an offense as potent as the Saints. It wouldn’t be the first time folks lost faith in Bell only to have him rebound with a slew of goal line carries and a couple scores. Don’t be the guy who relegates him to the garbage heap — because he’ll likely be back at some point with a multiple–TD game.

Jamaal Charles, KC (@JAC, @OAK, PIT, @SD) – Charles and Dantrell Savage currently occupy the top two slots on the Chiefs’ RB depth chart because of the suspension to Johnson, although Kolby Smith is also ready to return from knee surgery and has practiced for a couple weeks. The Chiefs must decide no later than Friday if Smith will be activated. If he is, he’ll hurt Charles’ value — which drops to the RB4 level after Week 11 anyway.

Scouring The Barrel

Maurice Morris, DET (@SEA, @MIN, CLE, GB) – Morris will fill in for Kevin Smith should the second-year back miss any time with his shoulder injury.

Justin Fargas, OAK (BYE, KC, CIN, @DAL) – Fargas played well last week but has a Week Nine bye. He’s Oakland’s most experienced offensive players and will be counted on heavily down the stretch.


Ricky Williams, MIA (@NE, TB, @CAR, @BUF) – The Jets did a good job on Ricky, keeping him out of the end zone and holding him to just 27 yards on eight carries and 68 total yards.

LeSean McCoy, PHI (DAL, @SD, @CHI, WAS) – McCoy started in Westbrook’s place as expected and had his best fantasy game thus far, breaking off a 66-yard TD run agains the Giants. Stay tuned to B-West’s status heading into the Week Nine tilt with Dallas.

Chris Wells, ARI (@CHI, SEA, @STL, @TEN) – The Cards abandoned the run after falling behind against the Panthers, but Wells looked good in his limited touches (eight carries, 47 yards).

Shonn Greene, NYJ (BYE, JAC, @NE, CAR) – Greene came back down to Earth after his huge Week Seven game and has a bye in Week Nine.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (DAL, @SD, @CHI, WAS) – Maclin makes a solid WR3 in most formats and could have a big day in a shootout versus the Cowboys, who might have a hard time keeping up with him on his patented flag routes if they don’t get pressure on McNabb.

WR Percy Harvin, MIN (BYE, DET, SEA, CHI) – Keep an eye on waiver wires this week for Harvin, who’s a great playmaker but might be expendable because of the Minnesota bye.

Digging Deeper

WR Malcom Floyd, SD (@NYG, PHI, @DEN, KC) – Floyd has vaulted to second on the Chargers’ WR depth chart following the placement of veteran wideout Chris Chambers on waivers. Floyd is tall and talented enough to emerge as a solid fantasy WR3 if he continues to get looks.

WR Ted Ginn Jr., MIA (@NE, TB, @CAR, @BUF) – Ginn’s two special teams scores have brought him back into the conversation. But he’s so unreliable at making catches that he’s still only a fantasy backup in standard leagues or WR3in TD-only formats.

Scouring The Barrel

TE Fred Davis, WAS (@ATL, DEN, @DAL, @PHI) – Davis eluded being picked up in many formats last week because of his Week Eight bye, but the Cooley injury in Week Seven and subsequent performance by Davis in that game (8-78-1) have opened the door of fantasy significance for this second-year player from USC. However, I should warn you that the injury to Daniels hasn’t inspired me to recommend Houston backup Joel Dreessen.


WR Miles Austin, DAL (@PHI, @GB, WAS, OAK) – Austin is now owned in about 95 percent of formats after another great game. He’s the clear No. 1 receiver in Dallas going forward.

WR Nate Burleson, SEA (DET, @ARI, @MIN, @STL) – Burleson remains available in one out of five leagues despite a great upcoming schedule.

WR Lee Evans, BUF (BYE, @TEN, @JAC, MIA) – Evans gets a week off and hopes to rebound from a poor Week Eight (2-29-0).

WR Antonio Bryant, TB (GB, @MIA, NO, @ATL) – Bryant comes off his bye and faces the Packers with a new QB – rookie Josh Freeman.

WR Mike Wallace, PIT (@DEN, CIN, @KC, @BAL) – Like Bryant, Wallace will be a popular waiver wire snag this week following his bye. He’s got big-play capability.

WR Kenny Britt, TEN (@SF, BUF, @HOU, ARI) – Britt has regressed the past few games and rumors abound he’s hitting the dreaded “rookie wall.”


Off The Top

LB Jerod Mayo, NE (MIA, @IND, NYJ, @NO) – Mayo’s been okay albeit relatively quiet since returning from injury a couple weeks ago. Last week’s bye forced many teams to delay adding him, so give him a shot again stat Miami team that lives and dies with its running game.

LB Justin Durant, JAC (KC, @NYJ, BUF, @SF) – Durant returned in a big way during the Week Eight game against the Titans. He recorded 16 total tackles (12 solos) and showed why he is one of the most coveted young LBs in the AFC.

Digging Deeper

LB Aaron Curry, SEA (DET, @ARI, @MIN, @STL) – Curry’s presence allowed MLB David Hawthorne to go nuts last week against the Cowboys, but the matchup versus Detroit favors the more athletic rookie.

DL Jimmy Wilkerson, TB (GB, @MIA, NO, @ATL) – Wilkerson has established himself as a reliable tackler and pass rusher since Gaines Adams was traded to the Bears. Look for a big game versus an offensive line that is the unquestionably the Packers’ biggest weakness.

DB Reed Doughty, WAS (@ATL, DEN, @DAL, @PHI) – Doughty should clean up against an Atlanta team that yields the most points to opposing DBs in fantasy football. He’s coming off a bye and is still flying under the radar in most leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Randy Starks, MIA (@NE, TB, @CAR, @BUF) – Over the past two weeks, Starks has emerged as a stud DE with 14 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. He’s only owned in a fraction of leagues and should put up good numbers versus the Pats.

DB Richard Marshall, CAR (@NO, ATL, MIA, @NYJ) – Marshall has been the most consistent DB in the Panthers secondary and has a great matchup this week against the Saints, who will throw the ball early and often as Carolina tries to keep up. Marshall will cover Marques Colston, who sees at least 10 targets a game.


LB Karlos Dansby, ARI (@CHI, SEA, @STL, @TEN) – Dansby had a monster game (12 tackles) and has a relatively favorable schedule from here on out. As long as he’s healthy, he’s a stud.

DL Mario Williams, HOU (@IND, BYE, TEN, IND) – Williams was active but only registered a QB hurry – and no points in standard leagues.

LB Will Witherspoon, PHI (DAL, @SD, @CHI, WAS) – A moderate fantasy success in Week Eight, Witherspoon posted six total tackles. He’s got a mediocre fantasy matchup this week but remains a solid play as the Eagles starting MLB.

DB Brian Dawkins, DEN (PIT, @WAS, SD, NYG) – Dawkins had eight tackles and a PD and should produce good numbers again this week against the Steelers.

DL Adewale Ogunleye, CHI (ARI, @SF, PHI, @MIN) – Just one solo tackle against the Browns, but Ogunleye also recovered a fumble to avoid a total IDP loss. The way the Cards line and Kurt Warner are struggling, he should do well at home versus Arizona — just keep in mind that his value has taken a small hit with the current rotation of Gaines Adams into the front four.

LB A.J. Hawk, GB (@TB, DAL, SF, @DET) – Hawk and the Packers LBs are so hit-and-miss, I don’t know what I was thinking. Not a steady enough guy for me to keep taking shots on, even when the matchup seems right.

DB Jairus Byrd, BUF (BYE, @TEN, @JAC, MIA) – Byrd did it again! But after picking off another two balls against the Texans, he left in the fourth quarter with an apparent groin injury and did not return. He’s on a bye Week Nine.