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. These are sometimes players available only in more
shallow leagues, and occasionally guys who are more readily but
are thrust into the fantasy spotlight because of opportunity or
Digging Deeper - Covers the next
tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available
in a majority of online leagues. There are a lot of gems in this
range who can be plucked rather easily.
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. Make sure you read the fine print.
Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 30-40 players
I covered the previous week. It’s the most accurate, comprehensive
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
Note: Each player’s
next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()
Off The Top
Henne, MIA (@NYJ, BUF, DET, @NE) – Henne’s best game this
season was against the Jets in Week 3, when he passed for 363
yards, two TDs and one INT. And while that level of success will
be hard to replicate, it’s clear the Jets have difficulty stopping
the pass. Just don’t expect a Tom Brady-like performance - the
Dolphins have weapons, but they’re not the Pats.
Smith, SF (SEA, @SD, @STL, ARI) – The Niners have reinstalled
Alex as the starting QB, and while he’s struggled in the past,
he’s a good bet for a couple TD passes this week. It’s entirely
possible the time on the bench motivated him, and the team needs
wins badly if they want to compete for the NFC West title. They’re
still alive, and the next four opponents aren’t world-beaters.
Jackson: Value down the stretch.
Scouring The Barrel
Jackson, MIN (NYG, CHI, @PHI, @DET) – I understand Brett Favre
wants to play, but Jackson looked pretty good on Sunday (albeit
against the Bills). If for some reason Favre’s sprained shoulder
prevents him from starting his billionth consecutive game, Jackson
could have value down the stretch.
Matt Cassel, KC (@SD, @STL, TEN, OAK) – The game plan didn’t
involve much passing, but Cassel managed average numbers (196
yards, TD) and didn’t turn the ball over against Denver.
Josh Freeman, TB (@WAS, DET, SEA, @NO) – Freeman came up
short in Week 13, but the Redskins are a defeated team that he
can easily shred.
Bradford, STL (@NO, KC, SF, @SEA) – While Bradford had one
of his worst fantasy games of the season, his team walked away
with another win. He should be forced to throw a lot more against
Collins, TEN (IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – Collins had the worst
game of his career since 2006, and while the upcoming schedule
should bode well for production, he’s too much of a risk.
Clausen, CAR (ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – Even with a ground game
that was clicking, Clausen couldn’t muster a TD.
Off The Top
LeGarrette Blount, TB (@WAS, DET, SEA, @NO) – He could
have 200 yards and three TDs against the Redskins. They were terrible
against the run this past Sunday, and for some reason, Blount
is still available in a bunch of fantasy leagues.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR (ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – Stewart looked
good against the Seahawks, and while he’ll have a much harder
time barreling through the Falcons, the nifty back is probably
his team’s best bet at getting into the end zone.
Lynch, SEA (@SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – I dropped Lynch in a two-RB
league where I just didn’t see a future for him, so his three-TD
performance against the Panthers was shocking. Still, I can’t
see him putting up great numbers against the next few opponents.
James, IND (@TEN, JAC, @OAK, TEN) – With all of the Colts
RBs nursing injuries, James might be more than just the goal line
back when the Colts face the Titans. He’s shown a nose for the
end zone and will be a solid RB2 in Week 14.
Scouring The Barrel
James Starks, GB (@DET, @NE, NYG, CHI) – Starks emerged
as the Packers’ go-to runner against the 49ers, and should
post excellent numbers in week 14 if he continues to get the workload.
I’m a little wary of trusting him too much, but he’s
certainly an option if you’re having problems at RB2 or
Felix Jones, DAL (PHI, WAS, @ARI, @PHI) – Jones ran for
83 yards on 22 carries on Sunday. He’s still without a rushing
TD this season.
Goodson, CAR (ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – Goodson scored early
but was replaced as the workhorse by Jonathan Stewart and later
was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury. Stewart appears
to be healthy and ready to resume the bulk of carries going forward.
It was a nice run while it lasted, folks.
Westbrook & Anthony
Dixon, SF (SEA, @SD, @STL, ARI) – The two San Fran backs couldn’t
quite replicate their Week 12 success, and both were essentially
useless against the surging Packers defense.
Toby Gerhart, MIN (NYG, CHI, @PHI, @DET) – Adrian Peterson
was active on Sunday, relegating Gerhart to limited work and fantasy
Tashard Choice, DAL (PHI, WAS, @ARI, @PHI) – Choice exploded
for 100 rushing yards and a TD on just 19 carries Sunday. In addition,
he may have established himself as the team’s goal line
back with Marion Berber inactive and nursing a calf injury that
could keep him out next week as well.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Driver, GB (@DET, @NE, NYG, CHI) – On Sunday, Driver had one
of the most amazing catch-and-run TDs I’ve seen in 30 years of
watching football. His quad injury looks healed, and with Greg
Jennings is getting a lot of looks right now, I’m expecting some
prime opportunities for Driver against the Lions.
Sidney Rice, MIN (NYG, CHI, @PHI, @DET) – I know he blew up
for 5-105-2 versus the Bills, but I’d be wary of starting Sidney
Rice against the Giants on Sunday, as they’ve done a good job
shutting down opposing No. 1 WRs lately. As a risk/reward WR3,
you could do worse, but don’t expect a repeat of last week.
Robert Meachem, NO (STL, @BAL, @ATL, TB) – If you’ve been
reading this column every week, I must sound like a broken record
with Meachem. But he’s still available in over 50 percent of fantasy
leagues. Sure, he’s going to have some games where he doesn’t
produce more than a couple catches for a modest yardage total,
but as a WR3, he’s a better bet to score than 85 percent of the
guys in his ownership range.
Watson, CLE (@BUF, @CIN, BAL, PIT) – Watson was a great safety
valve for Jake Delhomme on Sunday, and he finished with 10 catches
for 100 yards and a TD. He’s a great option at TE1 going forward.
Scouring The Barrel
Armstrong, WAS (TB, @DAL, @JAC, NYG) – He had a career day
(6-97-1) against the Giants in garbage time, and the Bucs are
now without safety Cody Grimm (placed on IR following week 12)
as well as LCB Aqib Talib (IR, hip injury). Armstrong could get
loose this week, and the upcoming schedule is favorable.
TE Brent Celek, PHI (@DAL, @NYG, MIN, DAL) – Celek had
four catches for 55 yards in the win over Houston on Thursday
night. He should be targeted frequently against the Cowboys in
Gaffney & Eddie
Royal, DEN (@ARI, @OAK, HOU, SD) – No Broncos WR had more
than two catches, as Kyle Orton was limited to just nine pass
completions and 161 yards.
Deion Branch, NE (@CHI, GB, @BUF, MIA) – Branch contributed
3-64-1 in the 45-3 win over the Jets on Monday night. Giddyup.
WR Danny Amendola, STL (@NO, KC, SF, @SEA) – The Cards did
a good job on Amendola, holding him to just 1-17-0, but the Rams
came away with another big win.
WR Nate Burleson, DET (GB, @TB, @MIA, MIN) – Burleson (3-27-0
in the loss to Chicago) ran his mouth this week and guaranteed
victory – usually the kiss of death when it comes from an
average NFL player. He came up short.
WR Jordan Shipley, CIN (@PIT, CLE, SD, @BAL) – The Bengals
couldn’t find a way to win over New Orleans, and Shipley
managed only 4-25-0.
WR Jacoby Ford, OAK (@JAC, DEN, IND, @KC) – Ford didn’t
have to do much in Sunday’s win over San Diego, but he did
catch a 4-yard TD pass. He’s the perfect deep-league flex
option for WR3 based on his big-play ability.
TE Jimmy Graham, NO (STL, @BAL, @ATL, TB) – Graham stepped
up with three big catches for 72 yards (no TDs) on Sunday and
has 216 yards in his last four games.
Off The Top
Michael Griffin, TEN (IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – He’s only available
in about 40 percent of leagues, but Griffin will see plenty of
opportunities to post big numbers facing the Colts. Remember,
the Titans offense is struggling and Peyton Manning has been turning
he ball over a ton lately.
LB Rolando McClain, OAK (@JAC, DEN, IND, @KC) – McClain
has really picked up his game since the Week 10 bye (22 tackles,
INT in his last three games), and the tilt with the Jaguars provides
a good chance for a major breakout.
Scouring The Barrel
White, TB (@WAS, DET, SEA, @NO) – I expected a breakout season
from White, but after 12 games, he’s right on pace for his previous
yearly production (about 40 total tackles and 6.5 sacks). Still,
the Redskins offer up the best matchup possible for opposing DL,
and White is worth a look.
DB Terrell Thomas, NYG (@MIN, PHI, @GB, @WAS) – Thomas
had five solos, a forced fumble, a PD and his fifth interception
of the season on Sunday in the win over Washington. He’s
a Top Five fantasy DB and should be started every week.
Babin, TEN (IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – Babin didn’t get to David
Garrard and finished with just one tackle. The Titans defense
looks as deflated as the offense right now.
DB Earl Thomas, SEA (@SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – Thomas disappointed
with just one solo tackle on Sunday.
LB Dhani Jones, CIN (@PIT, CLE, SD, @BAL) – Jones had just
two solos but eight total tackles in the loss to Green Bay. He’s
now over the century mark for stops in 2010.
DL Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG (@MIN, PHI, @GB, @WAS) – Pierre-Paul
followed up his Week 12 breakout with another two-sack performance
in Week 13, adding three solos and a PD.