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
matchup is listed in parentheses ()
For my initial column, I’ll focus on guys that your league
owners may have missed on draft day.
Off The Top
Matt Cassel, KC (OAK) – The Chiefs are supposed to play
their starters all game, so Cassel is worth a look if you’re
looking for decent numbers at QB. He’s seen lofty highs
and nasty lows this season, but I’m optimistic about Week
David Garrard, JAC (@HOU) – The Jags also need a win to
keep their playoff hopes alive, and Garrard at Houston is a favorable
matchup. Get him in there.
Chad Henne, MIA (@NE) – Ooh. This one’s tough, but
if you’re truly desperate for Week 17 production, Henne
(who’s auditioning for 2011) could surprise in what amounts
to a meaningless game for the Pats.
Scouring The Barrel
Hill, DET (MIN) – Like Henne, Hill is a capable NFL QB who
could use a job. WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) will need to play a
full game for Hill to post good numbers. I’d stay away from Hill
unless it’s a two-QB format.
Kitna, DAL (@PHI) – Kitna sustained a hip injury after throwing
for 115 yards, a TD and two INT. It’s safe to say he’s not going
to be a fantasy factor in 2011.
Campbell, OAK (@KC) – Campbell tossed a TD pass and accumulated
231 passing yards in the loss to Indy, and if the team can continue
improving, he could be a Top 20 QB next season and worthy of a
late-round selection as your backup.
Tim Tebow: Don't be scared to roll with
the Denver QB in Week 17.
Tebow, DEN (MIN) – Tebow didn’t disappoint in the start against
Houston, throwing for 308 yards and a TD and rushing for 27 yards
and the game-winning score in the final minutes. Next season,
he’ll be a Top 15 QB in fantasy drafts if he remains the starter.
He’s going to make some mistakes (an INT and lost fumble tempered
his numbers from Week 16), but the only QBs that are as valuable
inside the 10-yard line are Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers.
Grossman, WAS (NYG) – The Redskins squeaked out with a win
over Jacksonville, but it wasn’t pretty. Grossman completed just
19 of the 39 passes, totaling 182 passing yards, a TD and INT.
While it’s possible he posts solid numbers in Week 17 against
the hapless Giants, I’d look for other options.
Off The Top
Ryan Mathews, SD (@DEN) – Mathews has been an undisputed
disappointment in 2010, but with Tolbert likely out for Week 17
and the Chargers anxious to see what Mathews is capable of, the
rookie could go off.
Danny Woodhead, NE (MIA) – I’m anticipating a lot
of Woodhead in week 17. Call it a hunch, call it whatever you
like. But he’s just the kind of guy I see Belichick letting
loose in a hollow game.
Scouring The Barrel
John Kuhn, GB (CHI) – The Packers need a win, and Kuhn
has done a lot of the dirty work in the red zone the past couple
weeks. He’s available in over 90 percent of leagues, and
could provide some value in the season finale.
LeGarrette Blount, TB (@NO) – Blount didn’t score,
but he led all rushers in Week 16 with 164 yards on just 18 carries
– a 9.1 average. The rookie looks like the real deal and
won’t come off the board any later than the third or fourth
round in drafts next season.
Toby Gerhart, MIN (@DET) – The early word is that Adrian
Peterson will start Tuesday night in Philly.
Ward, HOU (JAC) – Arian Foster was active and got the start,
rendering Ward a fantasy afterthought. He should be avoided in
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Michael Crabtree, SF (ARI) – There’s not a lot
of top options out there at this point, but with the Mike Singletary
era over in San Fran, you can expect a lot more of Crabtree as
the new regime tries to assess its inventory.
WR Kenny Britt, TEN (@IND) – The Titans love to play spoiler,
and they’ll be out to beat the Colts with the deep ball
– Kenny’s Britt’s bread and butter. The explosive
young receiver is still available in a quarter of fantasy leagues.
WR Mike Thomas, JAC (@HOU) – Garrard looked like he was
on the same page as Thomas last week. I’m expecting big
numbers when they face the Texans, and with Thomas available in
about half of fantasy leagues, you could definitely take advantage.
WR Jordy Nelson, GB (CHI) – He had 4-124-1 in the win over
the Giants, and in the season finale against the Bears, could
produce out of the slot once again.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Andre Roberts, ARI (@SF) – Roberts had a career day
against the Cowboys (5-110-1) and should see a lot of targets
in Week 17, with nothing at stake against the 49ers.
WR Jerome Simpson, CIN (@BAL) – Simpson has a monster week
in the Bengals upset win over San Diego, hauling in six catches
for 124 yards and two TDs. He’s nearly un-owned in fantasy
leagues but could make another impact in Week 17.
Vincent Jackson, SD (DEN) – He might have been the biggest
fantasy disappointment of Week 16, as countless fantasy columns
(including this one) perceived V-Jax as a lock for another big
game. After three TDs in Week 16, the lanky receiver opened the
game by fumbling an exchange on a reverse and recovering all the
way back at the San Diego 1-yard line. Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph
did an excellent job limiting Jackson, who was targeted nine times
but caught just four balls for 54 yards.
Manningham, NYG (@WAS) – Manningham was the best offensive
performer for the Giants, hauling in four catches for 132 yards,
including an 85-yard TD from Eli Manning.
WR Jacoby Ford, OAK (@KC) – Ford returned the opening kickoff
99 yards for a TD and added 2-21-0 – giving him great value
as a third WR or flex play.
WR James Jones, GB (CHI) – Jones scored for the second consecutive
week, going for 4-36-1 in the decisive win over the Giants.
TE Jimmy Graham, NO (TB) – Graham caught four passes for
26 yards and a TD – the winning score – against Atlanta
on Monday night. I think he’ll be a Top 10 TE next season.
WR Josh Morgan, SF (ARI) – Morgan was relatively quite in
Week 16 (2-39-0) as the 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention.
Off The Top
Clay Matthews, GB (CHI) – Great players step it up in big
games, and that’s just what will happen in the Week 17 matchup
with Chicago. Matthews has 12.5 sacks in 2010, and he could easily
post two or more with Jay Cutler (and the playoffs) in his sights.
DB Eric Weddle, SD (@DEN) – The Chargers safety had 16
tackles last week and could be busy again this week against the
Broncos, who have nothing to lose and will give Tim Tebow a chance
to air it out facing the division rival.
Scouring The Barrel
DL Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG (@WAS) – Here’s my weekly
DL recommendation based strictly on the matchup with the Redskins.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. Pierre-Paul has been
a beast over the past four weeks.
Briggs, CHI (@GB) – It’s been a lackluster season for Briggs,
who totaled just three solos and a PD in Week 16’s win over the
Jets. The main reason for Briggs’ uninspiring tackle numbers (he
has just 80 this season) has been the return of Brian Urlacher
– who has 121 tackles, 4.0 sacks, an INT, two forced fumbles and
10 PD through 15 games.
DB Craig Dahl, STL (@SEA) – Dahl posted three tackles and
two PD – an acceptable if unspectacular fantasy line for
DL Jeremy Mincey, JAC (@HOU) – Mincey didn’t get to
Rex Grossman, but strangely, he finished with the exact same stat
line as Dahl – two solos, an assist and two PD – pretty
solid for a DL.