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Through The Wire - Week 4
9/28/10 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 ()

Just about all of my six receiving recommendations (which included two TEs) hit last week, tallying 396 yards on 25 catches and 4 total TDs – about a 4/66/1 average. This week, there are several more receiving options to consider, as well as a few quality running backs who might still be available on your wire. Let’s get crackin’...


Off The Top

Kyle Orton, DEN (@TEN, @BAL, NYJ, OAK) – The unheralded one threw for 476 yards vs. Indy – the second-highest total in a single game in Broncos history. The record isn’t even owned y John Elway, but Jake Plummer, who tossed for 499 against the Falcons back in ‘04. Orton’s shown excellent arm strength this season, and with a full complement of dangerous receiving options, he’s grooving right now. The next few matchups will be tough, but they’ll definitely be air shows.

Digging Deeper

Chad Henne, MIA (NE, BYE, @GB, PIT) – Henne threw for a career-high 363 yards and two TDs, excellent numbers that were offset by just one INT. Unfortunately, it came in the final seconds, ending the Dolphins’ final drive. The Jets were without Darrelle Revis, but it’s still an impressive performance against one of the league’s best defenses. Henne could have some big days this season; he’s worthy of a few starts in 12-team leagues.

Matt Cassel, KC (BYE, @IND, @HOU, JAC) – Cassel was 16 for 27 for 250 yards, three TDs and one interception in Sunday's 31-10 win over San Francisco, but the Chiefs are on a bye in Week 4. He could be a sneaky add given the favorable matchups in weeks 5-7.

Scouring The Barrel

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (NYJ, JAC, BYE, @BAL) – Fitzpatrick opened up the Bills’ previously anemic offense, throwing for 247 yards and two TDs on 20-for-28 passing. He also threw two INTs – which will happen against some of his tough AFC East opponents – but he’s definitely an upgrade over the recently released Trent Edwards. Revis is out again this week, which should help his cause.


Alex Smith, SF (@ATL, PHI, OAK, @CAR) – Smith took a step back and faces a tough Falcons defense next week. Keep him on your bench.

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (@BUF, MIN, @DEN, BYE) – Without Dustin Keller, he’d wouldn’t be much of a QB, but his TE is helping him put up okay numbers for a QB2.

Jimmy Clausen, CAR (@NO, CHI, BYE, SF) – He has a long way to go; hopefully he can develop some chemistry with Steve Smith before the Pro Bowler gets too long in the tooth.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Justin Forsett, SEA (@STL, BYE, @CHI, ARI) – Forsett rushed for 63 yards on 17 carries and added three catches for 31 yards in the win over San Diego. Emerging as the clear workhorse of the Seattle backfield, Forsett could be in line for big numbers facing the Rams in Week 4. He’s especially valuable in PPR leagues, since his role in the passing game is bound to continue expanding.

Peyton Hillis, CLE (CIN, ATL, @PIT, @NO) – Wow. Hillis blew up for 144 yards and a TD on 22 carries in Week 3, and is the starter going forward, according to Eric Mangini. I’m not sold that he’ll keep his job or remain this explosive, but he’s definitely at least a solid RB2 in PPR leagues since he added seven catches for 36 receiving yards.

Digging Deeper

Marshawn Lynch, BUF (NYJ, JAC, BYE, @BAL) – Lynch is getting more work (13 caries for 79 yards vs. NE). The main problem is still the presence of C.J Spiller and Fred Jackson, although Spiller is more of a passing down back and Jackson has been ineffective. Lynch is the most talented straight-ahead runner the Bills have.

Willis McGahee, BAL (PIT, @DEN, NE, @BUF) – Short and sweet update number 1: Ray Rice has a knee contusion. Rice expects to play against the Steelers, making neither a very good play. But the injury means Rice owners should definitely add McGahee if they already haven’t.

Scouring The Barrel

BenJarvus Green-Ellis & Danny Woodhead, NE (@MIA, BYE, BAL, @SD) – Green-Ellis and Woodhead were two of eight different Patriots with carries on Sunday. Green-Ellis received the bulk of the workload with 16 carries for 78 yards and a TD, while Woodhead made the most of his three carries, racking up 42 yards, including a 22-yard TD run. While “Benjy Greenie” could be the top rusher moving forward, Woodhead was impressive and could play a big role in replacing Kevin Faulk on third downs.

Kevin Smith & Maurice Morris, DET (@GB, STL, @NYG, BYE) – Jahvid Best’s Grade Two turf toe injury means Kevin Smith (remember him?) and Maurice Morris could split duties on Sunday against the Packers, although neither promises to do well. Smith is coming off an ACL injury, while Morris is no longer an effective between-the-tackles runner. This week, Morris is the utilitarian, lesser-of-two-evils pick this week, while Smith would be the long-term replacement if the Best injury persists.

Kenneth Darby, STL (SEA, @DET, SD, @TB) – Short and sweet update number 2: Steven Jackson has a groin strain. Check the injury updates, although it usually takes a severe injury to keep S-Jax off the field.


Tim Hightower, ARI (@SD, NO, BYE, @SEA) – Hightower split carries in Week 3 and finished with just 40 yards, but he could still have a stronghold on the starting gig if Beanie Wells’ re-injured knee keeps him out of any action.

Donald Brown, IND (@JAC, KC, @WAS, BYE) – Brown was relatively quiet against Denver with just 12 yards on 7 carries. He’s a questionable flex player from week to week.

Jason Snelling, ATL (SF, @CLE, @PHI, CIN) – After the huge numbers he put up in Turner’s Week 2 absence, Snelling earned more of a role in the offense, rushing for 62 yards on 14 carries.

Mike Tolbert, SD (ARI, @OAK, @STL, NE) – As long as Mathews is out, Tolbert will be active. Stay tuned heading into the favorable Week 4 matchup vs. the Cards.

Rashad Jennings, JAC (IND, @BUF, TEN, @KC) – He’s the very definition of a handcuff.

Danny Ware, NYG (CHI, @HOU, DET, @DAL) – Brandon Jacobs and the Giants squashed the rumors of a possible trade; Ware remains one to watch.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Brandon Lloyd, DEN (@TEN, @BAL, NYJ, OAK) – I recommended Lloyd after a solid Week 1, but hedged my bets after Demaryius Thomas went nutso the following week. After another huge week for Orton, I’m now a believer in the Denver passing game – all of it. And that includes Lloyd, who had another monster day in Week 3 (6-169-1).

WR Roy Williams, DAL (BYE, TEN, @MIN, NYG) – As a Cowboys fan, I’m excited about the emergence of Williams on Sunday (5-117-2), but it’s still going to be hard to trust him. He’ll be a top add for fantasy owners with a lean WR corps. I’d pass – unless I was absolutely set at RB.

Digging Deeper

WR Lance Moore, NO (CAR, @ARI, @TB, CLE) – Did any of you plug Lance Moore in your lineups anticipating an expanded slot role? Hopefully at least one of you benefited from his six-catch, 149-yard, two-TD performance. Moore also scampered 72 yards on a huge punt return to set up Jeremy Shockey’s short TD catch on the Saints’ opening drive. With Reggie Bush out, Moore should be owned in all formats.

TE Jeremy Shockey, NO (CAR, @ARI, @TB, CLE) – Speak of the devil. Shockey was enormous last week, finding the end zone for the first and finishing with eight catches for 78 yards. He was targeted a whopping eight times, which means he’s a TE1 in 12-team leagues, right?

Scouring The Barrel

WRs Roscoe Parrish & Steve Johnson, BUF (NYJ, JAC, BYE, @BAL) – Parrish apparently has replaced Steve Johnson as the No. 2 guy, but with Fitzpatrick at the helm, the offense is showing some signs of life. They’re both decent speculative adds in deeper leagues.

TE Tony Scheffler, DET (@GB, STL, @NYG, BYE) – Scheffler led all Lions receivers with seven catches for 60 yards and a score on Sunday in the loss to Minnesota. Shaun Hill is infatuated with his TEs, and Scheffler (the starter and a pretty solid backup TE in fantasy leagues) gets the edge over Brandon Pettigrew.


WR Kevin Walter, HOU (@OAK, NYG, KC, BYE) – Walter posted solid numbers (3/34/1) in the loss to Dallas; he could be in line for a bigger role with Andre Johnson nursing a painful ankle injury.

WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN (@TEN, @BAL, NYJ, OAK) – Thomas was the weakest of my WR picks, but he still had a couple catches for 43 yards.

TE Dustin Keller, NYJ (@BUF, MIN, @DEN, BYE) – Keller’s 6/98/2 line vaulted him among the top five fantasy TEs in the league.

WR Josh Cribbs, CLE (CIN, ATL, @PIT, @NO) – Cribbs isn’t getting as many carries as in the past, but he’s improving his route-running and has 5/58/0 on Sunday.

WR Louis Murphy, OAK (HOU, SD, @SF, @DEN) – Murphy had 119 receiving yards on just five catches; he’s the Raiders deep threat and he’s establishing himself nicely on a much-improved offense.

TE Tony Moeaki, KC (BYE, @IND, @HOU, JAC) – Moeaki (4/44/1 in Sunday’s win over SF) wasn’t on too many preseason redraft boards, but he’s come a long way since mid-August. He’s a major presence in the red zone and he’s getting targets.


Off The Top

LB Rolando McClain, OAK (HOU, SD, @SF, @DEN) – While McClain’s numbers haven’t been flashy, he’s still posted 6 total tackles in each of his first three games. This week, he should have a bigger day against the Texans, who won’t be pushing the ball downfield to Andre Johnson as much because of the star receiver’s ankle injury.

DB Greg Toler, ARI (@SD, NO, BYE, @SEA) – Toler continues to produce at a high level this season for the Cards, and this week he faces a Chargers team that gives up big fantasy points to opposing DBs. With 25 solos in three games, Toler trails only Washington safety Laron Landry.

Digging Deeper

DL Alex Brown, NO (CAR, @ARI, @TB, CLE) – Brown is a consistent tackler who’s yet to register his first sack of the season. Look for it to come versus the Panthers.

LB Bart Scott, NYJ (@BUF, MIN, @DEN, BYE) – Scott is producing at LILB in the Jets 3-4 in tandem with RILB David Harris. He might be used more often in blitz packages this week against the Bills.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Mario Haggan, DEN (@TEN, @BAL, NYJ, OAK) – If you don’t own D.J. Williams, Haggan might be the next best thing this week facing Chris Johnson and the Titans, who ran the ball 41 times versus the Giants last week.


Rocky McIntosh, WAS (@PHI, GB, IND, @CHI) – McIntosh had seven tackles (six solo) against the Rams. He’s a fine play again this week in Philly.

Antwan Odom, CIN (@CLE, TB, BYE, @ATL) – Odom was scratched from the lineup last week because of a sore wrist, but if he’s healthy, he’s a good play.

Michael Boley, NYG (CHI, @HOU, DET, @DAL) – Boley nearly disappeared (one solo) from the stat sheet.

Leon Hall, CIN (@CLE, TB, BYE, @ATL) – I hit this one on the head: Six tackles, INT, two PD. If you plugged him in, kudos.

Jason Babin, TEN (DEN, @DAL, @JAC, PHI) – Three total tackles but no sacks. Disappointing, considering that Eli Manning was pressured all day.

Cameron Wake, MIA (NE, BYE, @GB, PIT) – As expected, Wake was relatively quiet facing the Jets, but he remains a solid week-to-week play.