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 ()
For my initial column, I’ll focus on guys that your league
owners may have missed on draft day.
The upcoming schedule looks pretty for
Off The Top
Bradford, STL (@DET, SD, @TB, CAR) – The rookie turned in
another solid game on Sunday, leading the Rams to their second
straight win. He’s got come favorable matchups on the schedule
and probably has more value than Brett Favre, Jay Cutler and Donovan
McNabb at this point.
Matthew Stafford, DET (STL, @NYG, BYE, WAS) – Stafford
will test the shoulder this week, but given the success of the
Lions’ offense without him, he’s worth adding in all
formats if he’s healthy.
Kevin Kolb, PHI (@SF, ATL, @TEN, BYE) – The Vick injury
propels Kolb into relevance again, but expectations have to be
lower given what we’ve seen and so far. More should be known
about the Vick injury in the coming days and weeks; Kolb may not
have much value in a week or two, when Vick is expected to return.
Scouring The Barrel
Delhomme, CLE (ATL, @PIT, @NO, BYE) – The Browns may have
won a game with Seneca Wallace, but Delhomme will resume the reins
once his ankle his healed. Does that mean he should be on your
fantasy team? Probably not, but it’s a situation worth watching.
Kyle Orton, DEN (@BAL, NYJ, OAK, @SF) – Orton continued
the Denver air show with another big game. He’s a solid
QB1 in all formats.
Chad Henne, MIA (BYE, @GB, PIT, @CIN) – If you forgive the
three INTS, Henne had a nice game against the Pats, completing
29 of 39 passes for 302 yards and two TDs. He’s an excellent
fantasy backup with value as a starter given the right matchup.
Matt Cassel, KC (@IND, @HOU, JAC, BUF) – Cassel will have
four straight favorable matchups coming off his bye week. I’m
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (JAC, BYE, @BAL, @KC) – What a bizarre
situation in Buffalo. In his second start (a blowout loss to the
Jets), Fitzpatrick completed just 12 of 27 passes for only 128
yards, but managed to toss a couple TD passes rushed for 74 yards,
making him one of the better fantasy plays of the week. He’s
actually a decent option against the Jags this week.
Off The Top
Bush, OAK (SD, @SF, @DEN, SEA) – Minor injuries to Darren
McFadden and Michael Bennett have thrust a now-healthy Bush back
into the Oakland spotlight. If McFadden plays, Bush is no more
than an RB4, but he makes a solid flex or low-end RB2 if McFadden
can’t go against the Chargers.
Ryan Torain, WAS (GB, IND, @CHI, @DET) – Mike Shanahan’s
love affair with Torain continued on Sunday. With Portis indisposed
from a groin injury, Torain filled in admirably, rushing for 70
yards and a TD on 18 carries. Portis had an MRI on the groin,
but even if the veteran’s ready to play next Sunday, I’d
look for a 50-50 split between him and Torain.
Betts, NO (@ARI, @TB, CLE, PIT) – Sean Payton and Drew Brees
were both impressed with Betts on Sunday. With Pierre Thomas and
Reggie Bush out, the former Redskin RB rushed for 47 yards on
a team-high 13 carries and hauled in four passes for 23 yards
in the Saints’ 16-14 win over the Panthers. Christopher Ivory
also received 12 carries, but fumbled for the second straight
week and won’t get as many touches as Betts going forward. If
Thomas can’t go against the Cards, Betts makes for a fine flex
play against Arizona’s 29th-ranked rush defense.
Scouring The Barrel
Bell, PHI (@SF, ATL, @TEN, BYE) – Bell isn’t a long-term solution,
by any means, but with LeSean McCoy dealing with a fractured rib
that will likely keep him out in Week 5, Bell could see an expanded
role as the Eagles try to bounce back from Sunday’s tough loss.
Huggins, TB (@CIN, NO, STL, @ARI) – According to a report
in the St. Petersburg Times, Huggins and LeGarrette Blount will
start eating into Cadillac Williams’ touches starting this week
at Cincinnati. A storm of hype surrounded Huggins in camp, so
he’s worth a look if he can get at least 10 touches a game.
Justin Forsett, SEA (BYE, @CHI, ARI, @OAK) – For the second
straight ek, Forsett rushed for 60+ yards. If this team was even
a little good, he’d be a fine RB2.
Hillis, CLE (ATL, @PIT, @NO, BYE) – With another 100-yard
game and a TD, Hillis surpassed Chris Johnson’s 2010 numbers (in
PPR leagues) and moved into the top ten fantasy RB this season.
Marshawn Lynch, BUF (JAC, BYE, @BAL, @KC) – Lynch fumbled
in limited duty; he didn’t get his number called again in
McGahee, BAL (@DEN, NE, @BUF, BYE) – McGahee rushed for 39
yards and a touchdown in Baltimore's 17-14 win over Pittsburgh
on Sunday. He started over Ray Rice and suffered a stinger but
has already been cleared to play in week 5; this is a situation
Green-Ellis, NE (BYE, BAL, @SD, MIN) – A solid game (76 yards,
TD) on Monday night could ensure at least 60 percent of the carries
going forward, even if Fred Taylor is active.
Darby, STL (@DET, SD, @TB, CAR) – Darby only had one yard
on two rushing attempts, but he did catch two passes, one of which
went for a 21 yard TD in Week 4 against Seattle. Steven Jackson’s
injury might need a week off at some point, so stay tuned.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Mason, BAL (DEN, NE, @BUF, BYE) – Mason had six receptions
for 80 yards during Sunday’s win over the Steelers, and should
see plenty of targets with Champ Bailey covering Anquan Boldin
next week against the Broncos. He’s still available in a over
a third of fantasy leagues.
Roy Williams, DAL (TEN, @MIN, NYG, JAC) – As much as they
should be working their running game more, the Cowboys face a
slew of upcoming opponents who will force them to throw the ball.
Williams (a high risk/high reward option) is the Cowboys biggest
deep threat, and he should be owned in all formats.
Davone Bess, MIA (BYE, @GB, PIT, @CIN) – Bess caught nine
passes for 93 yards and a touchdown in Miami’s 41-14 loss
to the Patriots on Monday night. He won’t help you this
week (Dolphins bye week) but he’s been a great situational
play in PPR leagues for a couple years now.
Thomas, JAC (@BUF, TEN, @KC, DAL) – Thomas had five catches
for 68 yards in stunning 31-28 defeat of the Colts on Sunday.
He’s developed good rapport with David Garrard and is a much more
reliable option than Mike Sims-Walker, who’s failed to record
a catch in two out of the Jags’ four games.
Scouring The Barrel
Devin Thomas, WAS (GB, IND, @CHI, @DET) – The Redskins
are reportedly shopping Thomas, who could make an impact on another
team. He’s a true sleeper add at this point, but in deeper
leagues with roster space, he could pay dividends down the road.
Lloyd, DEN (@BAL, NYJ, OAK, @SF) – Lloyd continued to defy
expectations with 11 catches for 115 yards in a 26-20 win at Tennessee
on Sunday, and is now second to Reggie Wayne in NFL receiving
yards on the season.
WR Lance Moore, NO (@ARI, @TB, CLE, PIT) – Five catches,
37 yards and a TD – a solid follow-up to his huge Week 3,
even with a lost fumble. Keep him active as a WR3 in 12-team formats.
TE Jeremy Shockey, NO (@ARI, @TB, CLE, PIT) – Shockey had
six catches for 58 yards on Sunday and remains involved in the
WR Roscoe Parrish, BUF (JAC, BYE, @BAL, @KC) – One catch,
7 yards. Not good.
WR Steve Johnson, BUF (JAC, BYE, @BAL, @KC) – Johnson put
together a passable game in the blowout loss to the Jets, snagging
three catches for 31 yards and a score.
TE Tony Scheffler, DET (STL, @NYG, BYE, WAS) – Six catches
for 63 yards in the loss to Green Bay. He’s one of the most
targeted TEs in the NFC, although there’s no word on how,
or if, the game plan changes when Stafford returns.
Off The Top
LB Brian Cushing, HOU (NYG, KC, BYE, @IND) – Cushing has
served his four-same suspension and returns to practice this week
for the Texans. His amazing 2009 campaign will be nearly impossible
to repeat, even from a pro-rated statistical standpoint, but he’s
a must-own in IDP leagues, juiced or not.
LB James Anderson, CAR (CHI, BYE, SF, @STL) – Okay, I’m
a believer. Anderson, who already had 29 total tackles heading
into Week 4, posted 16 total tackles (14 solo) and a sack, forced
a fumble and recovered two. He should be owned in all formats.
LB Shaun Phillips, SD (@OAK, @STL, NE, TEN) – Coming off
a four-sack performance against the Cards, Phillips is clearly
the LB to own in San Diego. He’s got a few favorable matchups
coming, so continue to deploy him as a LB3 or defensive flex player
DB Dawan Landry, BAL (@DEN, NE, @BUF, BYE) – Landry is still
available in a bunch of leagues and could post double-digit tackle
totals this week facing the Broncos.
Scouring The Barrel
Mays, SF (PHI, OAK, @CAR, DEN) – In his first start, the heralded
rookie out of USC stole the show, posting 11 total tackles (9
solos) and recovering a blocked punt in the end zone for a special
teams TD. The 49ers have released disgruntled veteran Michael
Lewis, so Mays will be the starter at strong safety from here
DL Charles Johnson, CAR (CHI, BYE, SF, @STL) – Look for
Johnson to record a sack in his third straight game when the Panthers
face the Bears this week.
LB Rolando McClain, OAK (SD, @SF, @DEN, SEA) – For the
fourth straight week, McClain had exactly six total tackles. You
could do worse than a guy who’s that consistent, although
fantasy owners are looking for more than 96 total tackles on the
season from an MLB.
DB Greg Toler, ARI (NO, BYE, @SEA, TB) – Seven tackles,
a sack, and a forced fumble. He’s holding value as a solid
DB2 and should be owned in most IDP formats.
DL Alex Brown, NO (@ARI, @TB, CLE, PIT) – Brown put up a
goose egg in Week 4. No explanation provided on the Interwebs.
LB Bart Scott, NYJ (MIN, @DEN, BYE, GB) – Four total tackles
and a QB hurry against the Bills; Scott was one of the better
statistical IDP performers on his team, but nobody really blew
Haggan, DEN (@BAL, NYJ, OAK, @SF) – As expected, Haggan yielded
most of the tackle opportunities to D.J. Williams, but he had
four total tackles and a forced fumble, which is okay for a sleeper