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 ()
Some readers seem a bit confused about my column categories, so
I’ll clarify…scouring the barrel doesn’t mean
a player sucks. It means he’s nearly universally available
in fantasy leagues with a waiver wire. Last week, Michael Vick and
Brandon Jackson were clearly top adds, but before last Sunday, they
were owned in less than five percent of leagues. In leagues that
have an open free agent pool? Obviously not, since many folks were
rushing to their computers as soon as Kevin Kolb and Ryan Grant
went down during Week 1. My only advice is to read the entire write-up
on each player. If you disagree with me after that, feel free to
shoot me an e-mail. Okay -- let’s plow through the wire…
Off The Top
Alex Smith, SF (@KC, @ATL, PHI, OAK) – For the most part,
Smith’s throws were on the money on Monday night against
a tough Saints defense. He finished with 275/1/2, 28 rushing yards
and a two-point conversion pass on the impressive game-tying drive.
Under the right circumstances, he could be worth a start, and
should definitely be owned in all formats.
Mark Sanchez, NYJ (@MIA, @BUF, MIN, @DEN) – Sanchez silenced
his critics (including me) with an impressive Week 2 performance
against the Patriots. Throwing a career-high three touchdown passes,
Sanchez looked good on his shorter throws and could be worth adding
in deeper leagues. But he still can’t throw a deep out.
Scouring The Barrel
Clausen, CAR (CIN, @NO, CHI, BYE) – With Matt Moore struggling,
second-round pick Clausen takes over. The Notre Dame alumnus could
be a surprise star down the road, but his fantasy prospects for
2010 aren’t great.
Orton, DEN (IND, @TEN, @BAL, NYJ) – The addition of rookie
wideout Demaryius Thomas makes Orton start-worthy in deeper formats.
My boy Derek Tompkins, who just started his
own site, was all over this guy heading into 2010. Good call,
Vince Young, TEN (@NYG, DEN, @DAL, @JAC) – He got benched
on Sunday after turning the ball over for the third time (two
INT, one fumble), but he’s still the starter over Kerry
Garrard, JAC (PHI, IND, @BUF, TEN) – Garrard was benched Sunday
following a back injury and four interceptions, but Luke McCown
isn’t much of a threat to his job with a torn ACL. I can still
see decent numbers from Garrard this year, although I’m tempering
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (SD, @STL, BYE, @CHI) – Hasselbeck
returned to Earth in Week 2 (233 yards/1 TD/3 INT), and is even
iffy as a fantasy backup.
Anderson, ARI (OAK, @SD, NO, BYE) – Yuck. Can we have Kurt
Warner back once he’s done dancing? How about Matt Leinart? Oh,
that’s right…he’s in Houston. Never mind.
Sam Bradford, STL (WAS, SEA, @DET, SD) – In two-QB leagues,
Bradford would be getting my attention. Just saying.
Josh Freeman, TB (PIT, BYE, @CIN, NO) – Freeman is a sneaky
good player who’s led the Bucs to a 2-0 record. He’s
already on a few of my fantasy rosters, and I’m happy.
Vick, PHI (@JAC, WAS, @SF, ATL) – Vick had a huge game in
his first start since 2006, but Andy Reid has already announced
Kevin Kolb will resume starting duties in Week 3. I wouldn’t drop
Vick just yet.
Hill, DET (@MIN, @GB, STL, @NYG) – The Lions are mum on Matthew
Stafford’s timetable. Hill might have a few serviceable QB2 games
left until he returns.
Off The Top
Hightower, ARI (OAK, @SD, NO, BYE) – Still available in 30
percent of leagues, Hightower put together two solid fantasy weeks
and will still see work even when Chris Wells is activated. He’s
especially helpful in PPR leagues.
Donald Brown, IND (@DEN, @JAC, KC, @WAS) – Brown was quite
effective on Sunday night, reaching paydirt against the Giants
and racking up 88 total yards from scrimmage.
Jason Snelling, ATL (@NO, SF, @CLE, @PHI) – With Michael
Turner sidelined, Snelling racked up 186 total yards and 3 TDs.
The early word on Turner is that he’s okay, but it’s
hard to imagine Snelling not involved at all after this showing.
Tolbert, SD (@SEA, ARI, @OAK, @STL) – Tolbert had 16 carries
for 82 yards and a score following the early exit by rookie RB
Ryan Mathews. He’ll be a popular add this week, but if Mathews
is fine, Tolbert’s value doesn’t leapfrog that of Mathews and
Scouring The Barrel
Jennings, JAC (PHI, IND, @BUF, TEN) – Jennings got a lot of
work on Sunday after the Chargers put the Jags away early. He’s
a must-own for Maurice Jones-Drew owners.
Ware, NYG (TEN, CHI, @HOU, DET) – With Brandon Jacobs requesting
a trade, the universally available Ware could be a sneaky add
in deeper leagues. On Monday, Tom Coughlin refuted rumors Jacobs
would be dealt, but the seed has been planted.
Darren McFadden, OAK (@ARI, HOU, SD, @SF) – McFadden had
145 rushing yards on Sunday and looks to be the clear No. 1 offensive
option in Oakland.
Peyton Hillis, CLE (@BAL, CIN, ATL, @PIT) – Hillis finished
with 61 total yards and a score this week; he’s good enough
for solid RB3/flex consideration in PPR leagues.
Fred Taylor, NE (BUF, @MIA, BYE, BAL) – Taylor couldn’t
get anything started against the Jets, but will see the bulk of
the load in upcoming weeks.
Kevin Faulk, NE (BUF, @MIA, BYE, BAL) – The better fantasy
back in PPR leagues, Faulk had 37 total yards but didn’t
reach the end zone.
Brandon Jackson, GB (@CHI, DET, @WAS, MIA) – Last week’s
top fantasy add only rushed for 29 yards and had just one catch
for 10 yards, but he found the end zone. He’s a solid RB2
in 12-team leagues.
Javon Ringer, TEN (@NYG, DEN, @DAL, @JAC) – Ringer might
get more carries in the coming weeks, but he’s still just
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Walter, HOU – A huge Week 2 (11-144-1) catapulted Walter back
into the collective minds of fantasy owners everywhere. He’s a
veteran receiver who’s been a top fantasy producer in the past.
Andre Johnson has an ankle sprain that could force him to miss
some time, although it’s not very likely they’d have let him return
to action on Sunday if it was serious. In any event, you shouldn’t
hesitate to add Walter in any format, because this Houston offense
Demaryius Thomas, DEN – So this is why scouts have raved about
Thomas. The guy took over on Sunday (8-97-1) against the Seahawks
secondary, who simply couldn’t cover him. He’s available in over
two-thirds of Yahoo! Leagues, but as a rookie in a crowded receiving
corps, you can’t expect these numbers every week.
Keller, NYJ (@MIA, @BUF, MIN, @DEN) – Keller is the favorite
red zone target of Mark Sanchez. He should be owned in all 12-team
Cribbs, CLE (@BAL, CIN, ATL, @PIT) – Two big Sunday scores
may elevate Cribbs’ value, but I’m not expecting much with four
really tough defenses on the upcoming docket.
Scouring The Barrel
Murphy, OAK (@ARI, HOU, SD, @SF) – Bruce Gradkowski has a
better rapport with Murphy than Jason Campbell, so the young receiver
could shine even mor with Campbell on the bench.
TE Tony Moeaki, KC (SF, BYE, @IND, @HOU) – Moeaki produced
solid numbers for a second consecutive week. It appears he’ll
be involved as the team moves forward.
Collie, IND (@DEN, @JAC, KC, @WAS) – Collie posted 4/25/1
Sunday night and remains an active slot receiver in a potent offense.
Massaquoi, CLE (@BAL, CIN, ATL, @PIT) – Massaquoi laid an
egg in Week 2 but should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Williams, TB (PIT, BYE, @CIN, NO) – Williams scored in his
second straight game, but faces a tough Pittsburgh defense in
Week 3. He won’t be a viable fantasy starter for a few weeks.
Washington, TEN (@NYG, DEN, @DAL, @JAC) – Washington’s value
is probably the same with either Young or Collins at QB. He’s
a big play threat who’ll be a hit-or-miss fantasy performer in
Clayton, STL (WAS, SEA, @DET, SD) – Clayton has emerged as
Bradford’s go-to guy and should be owned in all formats.
Gresham, CIN (@CAR, @CLE, TB, BYE) – Gresham didn’t reach
the end zone on Sunday, but hauled in thee catches for 15 yards.
Thomas, JAC (PHI, IND, @BUF, TEN) – The second-year WR had
4/43/0 on Sunday. He’s a WR4 with upside.
Lloyd, DEN (IND, @TEN, @BAL, NYJ) – Lloyd played well on Sunday
3/53/0 but should see fewer targets with Demaryius Thomas active.
Lewis, JAC (PHI, IND, @BUF, TEN) – As expected, Lewis didn’t
reach the end zone. He did, however, rack up five catches for
70 yards, and he was targeted a whopping nine times. He’s a viable
fantasy backup who could see a spot start or two.
Off The Top
Rocky McIntosh, WAS (@STL, @PHI, GB, IND) – McIntosh has
come into his own as a dynamic OLB who’s just as god stopping
the run as he is as a pass rusher. He’ll continue to post
excellent numbers this season in Jim Haslett’s defense.
Antwan Odom, CIN (@CAR, @CLE, TB, BYE) – He’s been
quiet thus far, but Odom has some prime matchups coming up where
he’ll be able to feast on opposing QBs. Only 11 percent
owned in Yahoo! Leagues and should finish the season with double-digit
Michael Boley, NYG (TEN, CHI, @HOU, DET) – Boley seems
to be getting the most tackles at WLB in Giants’ DC Perry
Fewell’s 4-3. He’s still available in a ton of leagues.
Leon Hall, CIN (@CAR, @CLE, TB, BYE) – Like his teammate
Odom, Hall should benefit from the upcoming matchups and post
big numbers. He’ll get Steve Smith next week, and I’m
putting him down for a handful of tackles, a pick and a couple
Scouring The Barrel
Jason Babin, TEN (@NYG, DEN, @DAL, @JAC) – An underrated
pass rusher, Babin has already posted 10 tackles and 2.0 sacks.
He plays with a mean streak and could be this year’s breakout
Cameron Wake, MIA (@NYJ, NE, BYE, @GB) – Wake continues
to rack up sacks and a few tackles. He makes a fine week-to-week
play, but could lay some eggs against tougher opponents that are
more adept at picking up the weakside blitz.
LB Dan Connor, CAR (CIN, @NO, CHI, BYE) – Connor had six
total tackles against the Bucs and remains an excellent LB3.
DL Kyle Vanden Bosch, DET (@MIN, @GB, STL, @NYG) – Six total
tackles, 1.5 sacks. Not too shabby. He should be a starting DL
in all IDPs leagues.
DB Michael Griffin, TEN (@NYG, DEN, @DAL, @JAC) – Griffin
has five tackles and a PD against the Steelers. Look for even
better numbers facing the Giants, who are throwing the ball more
than usual this season.
Derrick Johnson, KC (SF, BYE, @IND, @HOU) – Seven solos last
week; he’s got Frank Gore in his sights in Week 3. Johnson is
an LB2 with upside in IDP leagues.
DB Kenny Phillips, NYG (TEN, CHI, @HOU, DET) – As expected,
Phillips saw a lot of action, posting six total tackles, but he
didn’t pick up any garbage points.
DL Juqua Parker, PHI (@JAC, WAS, @SF, ATL) – Parker had
two solos, a sack and a forced fumble against the Lions. That’s
a pretty solid line for any DL.
LB Bryan Thomas, NYJ (@MIA, @BUF, MIN, @DEN) – Thomas disappeared
against the Pats with just two solos.
DL Charles Johnson, CAR (CIN, @NO, CHI, BYE) – Johnson has
yet to register a sack in ’10.