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Through The Wire - Week 2
9/14/10 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. 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 exceptional production.

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

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 ()

Welcome to another year of “Through the Wire.” I’ve got what fantasy owners crave (not electroloytes), so let’s get to it!


Off The Top

Kyle Orton, DEN (SEA, IND, @TEN, @BAL) – The next few matchups aren’t all that favorable given the opposing teams’ Week 1 performances against the pass, but you have to like the multiple receiving threats that have emerged for Orton. Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd are all capable performers and the Broncos will be throwing the ball a ton.

Vince Young, TEN (PIT, @NYG, DEN, @DAL) – Young seems to have matured radically in the past year, and Chris Johnson’s presence opens up the passing game dramatically. This makes Young a solid QB2 with upside in favorable matchups.

David Garrard, JAC (@SD, PHI, IND, @BUF) – I took Garrard with my final pick as a third QB in one league, and I’m miffed I didn’t run him out there over Matt Ryan on Sunday. He’s worth considering now that he’s got a viable WR2 in Mike Thomas.

Digging Deeper

Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (@DEN, SD, @STL, BYE) – I don’t know anybody who started Hasselbeck against the vaunted 49ers defense, but he exploited that unit for a couple TDs (albeit with just 170 passing yards). The next few matchups could mean even bigger games.

Derek Anderson, ARI (@ATL, OAK, @SD, NO) – Anderson isn’t the most polished signal caller in the league, but he has good rapport with Steve Breaston, even if he struggled to connect with Larry Fitzgerald (who looked awfully frustrated with some of his bad throws). He’s worth a stash in deeper leagues.

Sam Bradford, STL (@OAK, WAS, SEA, @DET) – The rookie wasn’t bad in the season opener, but his offense clearly doesn’t have a lot of playmakers. Still – there are a couple decent matchups worth examining on the 2010 schedule, and if he can cut down on turnovers and quicken his learning curve, he’ll be a worthy asset in keeper leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

Josh Freeman, TB (@CAR, PIT, BYE, @CIN) – Freeman gets no love in the fantasy community, but he’s been a quick study and doesn’t make a ton of mistakes. I’ve rostered him in a couple leagues based on my starting QB’s bye weeks.

Michael Vick, PHI (@DET, @JAC, WAS, @SF) – Not the same QB he was before the dogfighting debacle, but clearly a fantasy star given the right circumstances. He had over 100 rushing yards on Sunday to go along with a passable performance through the air. Stay tuned to Kevin Kolb’s status and the Philly depth chart as the season wears on. Vick might even be a nice spot play at Detroit this week.

Shaun Hill, DET (PHI, @MIN, @GB, STL) – There’s no early word on how much time Matthew Stafford will miss, but he’s meeting with the infamous Dr. James Andrews to treat his separated throwing shoulder, which apparently doesn’t need surgery. Hill has his moments, but he’s a “wait-and-see” type of fantasy pickup.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Darren McFadden, OAK (STL, @ARI, HOU, SD) – He’s owned in just 50 percent of Yahoo! Leagues and had a monster Week 1 (18 carries for 95 rushing yards, 6/55/1 receiving). Most amazingly, McFadden saw nine targets out of the backfield and could be in line for another big week – even if Michael Bush gets back on the field.

Peyton Hillis, CLE (KC, @BAL, CIN, ATL) – The yin to Jerome Harrison’s yang, Hillis stole some goal line work and snagged a TD in Week 1. He’ll be a solid RB3 in TD-only leagues and PPR leagues and could see more touches if he keeps getting the job done.

Digging Deeper

Fred Taylor, NE (@NYJ, BUF, @MIA, BYE) – Taylor has 14 carries for 71 yards on Sunday, but the crowded Patriots backfield – and Tom Brady’s tendency to throw the ball when near the goal line – prevents him from being more than an RB4 or desperation flex play.

Kevin Faulk, NE (@NYJ, BUF, @MIA, BYE) – Faulk is probably the more valuable option in PPR leagues, since he’s such a clutch third down back. Don’t expect any 100-yard days, but 75 total yards and the occasional score isn’t out of reach given the right matchup – and the Jets pose a possibility next week for extensive use.

Scouring The Barrel

Brandon Jackson, GB (BUF, @CHI, DET, @WAS) – Ryan Grant says the ankle injury id no big deal, but suffice to say Jackson is a must-add if he misses any time, which it looks like he will – at least a couple weeks, according to reports. Editor's Note: Ryan Grant is out for the year making Jackson a high waiver wire priority.

Javon Ringer, TEN (PIT, @NYG, DEN, @DAL) – Ringer made the most of his five carries Sunday, rushing for a 15-yard TD and totaling 33 yards. He’s capable of filling in with RB2 numbers if anything happens to Chris Johnson.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Austin Collie, IND (NYG, @DEN, @JAC, KC) – Collie blew up for 10/131/1 on Sunday, capitalizing on the 11 times Manning targeted him. He should be owned in all leagues, and will challenge Pierre Garcon for the second-best WR numbers in the Indy offense.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi, CLE (KC, @BAL, CIN, ATL) – Massaquoi got off to a good start with a big 41-yard TD reception, and along with Jerome Harrison remains one of the two big playmakers in the Cleveland offense. If he can develop some consistency running routes and catching balls, he’ll be a viable WR3.

WR Mike Williams, TB (@CAR, PIT, BYE, @CIN) – The rookie from Syracuse is clearly Josh Freeman’s favorite target, totaling 5-30-I on 9 targets on Sunday. He and Kellen Winslow are the biggest threats in the Bucs offense, and they’ll be solid fantasy performers in deeper leagues.

Digging Deeper

WR Nate Washington, TEN (PIT, @NYG, DEN, @DAL) – Washington has emerged as the Titans’ premier aerial threat based on his big play capabilities. Like the aforementioned Young, his numbers will benefit from teams loading up to stop Johnson.

WR Mark Clayton, STL (@OAK, WAS, SEA, @DET) – Bradford was obviously happy to have a veteran receiver added to the mix, and Clayton responded by hauling in 10 of the 16 balls thrown his way for 119 yards. Clayton was more of a occasional big-play guy than a possession receiver in Baltimore, but he could be a standout fantasy performer if he’s getting this many targets.

TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN (BAL, @CAR, @CLE, TB) – I don’t remember the last time a Bengals TE saw 10 targets, but that’s exactly what happened to Gresham on Sunday, when the rookie totaled 6-25-1. He won’t be available on the waiver wire for long, so add him while you can.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Mike Thomas, JAC (@SD, PHI, IND, @BUF) – Thomas definitely takes some of the heat off Sims-Walker, who was shadowed in Week 1 by Champ Bailey and effectively thwarted. He was the best Jags receiver in camp and should be owned in all 12-team leagues.

WR Brandon Lloyd, DEN (SEA, IND, @TEN, @BAL) – Lloyd was once a darling of the fantasy community, but attitude problems relegated him to bust status. His resurrection in Denver could pose big problems for opposing defenses, and man big things for deep-league fantasy owners.

TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC (@SD, PHI, IND, @BUF) – Sure, he had two catches for two scores, but they were also his only two targets. He’ll definitely be an asset in TD-only leagues, but PPR owners shouldn’t anticipate repeat numbers.


Off The Top

LB Dan Connor, CAR (TB, CIN, @NO, CHI) – Connor, the Panthers MLB, plays well off WLB Jon Beason and finished with 10 solos and 3 assists against the Giants. Unlike most MLBs, he’s not the IDP start of the defense, but he’s certainly a Tier 3 LB with upside because of the tackle opportunities he’ll see.

DL Kyle Vanden Bosch, DET (PHI, @MIN, @GB, STL) – Vanden Bosch was a DL wrecking crew for Detroit on Sunday (10 solos, 1 assist). When the sacks start happening, he’ll really be a point machine. From 2005-07 with the Titans, he was among the best DL in the IDP world. Let’s hope he’s resurrected some of that magic.

Digging Deeper

DB Michael Griffin, TEN (PIT, @NYG, DEN, @DAL) – Griffin is the biggest tackle threat on a Tennessee defense that lets an awful lot of runners slip into the secondary. He had a big day Sunday (10 solos, 2 assists) and is probably a Tier 2 DB going forward.

LB Derrick Johnson, KC (@CLE, SF, BYE, @IND) – Johnson has emerged as the only relevant LB on Kansas City. He posted double-digit solos this Monday night and plays on every down.

DB Kenny Phillips, NYG (@IND, TEN, CHI, @HOU) – Phillips is healthy and making a huge impact, preventing a DeAngelo Williams TD with a solid tackle on Sunday. He’s worth considering in IDP leagues.

DL Juqua Parker, PHI (@DET, @JAC, WAS, @SF) – Parker is a great counterpart to tweener Trent Cole, who mans the other side of the Eagles’ effective pass rush. He’s good against the run, had a couple sacks on Sunday and could easily reach double digits this year.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Bryan Thomas, NYJ (NE, @MIA, @BUF, MIN) – Thomas was a one-man gang for the Jets on Monday night, and should be especially effective in blitz packages. Bart Scott is more of a coverage guy, but Thomas has been defending the run and going after the QB.

DL Charles Johnson, CAR (TB, CIN, @NO, CHI) – Johnson is solid against the run and should get to opposing QBs at an alarming rate this season. He didn’t have a sack in Week 1, but four solos is a good sign. He’s worth adding in deep leagues.