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 ()
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
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.
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
Scouring The Barrel
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Scouring The Barrel
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.
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.
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
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.
Ware, NYG (CHI, @HOU, DET, @DAL) – Brandon Jacobs and the
Giants squashed the rumors of a possible trade; Ware remains one
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).
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
McIntosh, WAS (@PHI, GB, IND, @CHI) – McIntosh had seven tackles
(six solo) against the Rams. He’s a fine play again this week
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.
Boley, NYG (CHI, @HOU, DET, @DAL) – Boley nearly disappeared
(one solo) from the stat sheet.
Hall, CIN (@CLE, TB, BYE, @ATL) – I hit this one on the head:
Six tackles, INT, two PD. If you plugged him in, kudos.
Babin, TEN (DEN, @DAL, @JAC, PHI) – Three total tackles but
no sacks. Disappointing, considering that Eli Manning was pressured
Wake, MIA (NE, BYE, @GB, PIT) – As expected, Wake was relatively
quiet facing the Jets, but he remains a solid week-to-week play.