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.
|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!
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 ()
Off The Top
Cassel, KC (@OAK, @DEN, ARI, @SEA) – I sincerely hope the
Chiefs acquire Randy Moss, because it’s a move that could put
them over the top in the AFC West. Cassel would love being reunited
with his former go-to guy and expanding on what has become solid
statistical output. Cassel also hasn’t thrown a pick since Week
3, when he shredded the 49ers for 250 yards and 3 TDs.
Josh Freeman, TB (@ATL, CAR, @SF, @BAL) – Freeman has only
had one real stinker of a performance, and it came against the
Steelers. He’s capable of a huge game unless the matchup
is wholly oppressive, and he’s showing to be an efficient,
strong-armed QB. Last week, he completed 18 of 25 passes for 278
yards and a TD.
Scouring The Barrel
David Garrard, JAC (BYE, HOU, CLE, @NYG) – While it wasn’t
difficult to envision an upset in Big-D, not too many folks saw
a five-touchdown performance coming from Garrard against the Cowboys.
With his team on a bye, you’ll have to wait to deploy him,
but he’s got some decent fantasy matchups starting in Week
Sanchez, NYJ (@DET, @CLE, HOU, CIN) – The upcoming schedule
is favorable, but that hideous game against the Packers probably
means the Jets offense will go back to pounding the ball with
LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene.
Stafford, DET (NYJ, @BUF, @DAL, NE) – Stafford’s chemistry
with Calvin Johnson is undeniable. The two hooked up for three
TDs on Sunday, and Stafford finished with 212 yards, four TDs
and one INT in his first game back from a shoulder injury.
Fitzpatrick, BUF (CHI, DET, @CIN, PIT) – The Bills passing
game took a while to get going, but Fitzpatrick eventually surpassed
the 200-yard mark and threw a TD to Steve Johnson, salvaging his
day for fantasy owners. The schedule shows some tough opponents
on the way, but the Bills will likely be playing from behind and
throwing the ball plenty.
Jon Kitna, DAL (@GB, @NYG, DET, NO) – Kitna was a bit unlucky
on Sunday, throwing four INTs. He did total 379 yards on 34-for-49
passing and tossed one TD. The Cowboys are hopeless right now,
so you could see a few more performances like this.
Off The Top
Ricky Williams, MIA (@BAL, TEN, CHI, @OAK) – Ricky finally
found the end zone in last week’s win over Cincinnati and
should see more touches in the coming weeks. At this point in
the season, the pickings are slim on most waiver wires (especially
when it comes to RBs) but Williams could provide a late spark
to your squad.
Tolbert, SD (@HOU, BYE, DEN, @IND) – With TDs in five straight
games, Tolbert has emerged as the goal line back for the Chargers
and the best option between the 20s as Ryan Mathews has been a
major disappointment. If somebody dropped him, he’s worth a pickup
in all formats.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE (@CLE, @PIT, IND, @DET) – “The
Law Firm” had another monster day (123 total yards and two
TDs), this time against a decent Vikings defense. He’s got
some competition for carries, as he’s yet to crack 20 rushes
in a single game, but he’s making do with his opportunities
and putting up RB2 numbers.
Scouring The Barrel
Smith, DET (NYJ, @BUF, @DAL, NE) – While Jahvid Best is the
starter in Detroit, Smith ran well in Week 8 and could see more
touches going forward. Smith had 51 yards on 12 carries, and two
catches for 16 yards. He was once a highly coveted fantasy chip
and his 2009 season only ended because of torn knee ligaments,
so there’s no reason to dismiss this performance as a fluke.
Fred Jackson, BUF (CHI, DET, @CIN, PIT) – The Bills offense
continues to feature Jackson, but he’s struggling to find
running room. He once again cracked 20 touches, but managed only
64 yards in the 13-10 overtime loss to the Chiefs.
Brandon Jackson, GB (DAL, BYE, @MIN, @ATL) – Jackson wasn’t
terrible against the Jets, but he only ran for 55 yards on 15
carries, marking the sixth time in eight games he ran for less
than 60 yards. He also had two catches for 17 yards but gets the
Cowboys this week. The Packers would be smart to approach this
game much like the tilt with New York and get Jackson the ball
at least 15-20 times.
Sproles, SD (@HOU, BYE, DEN, @IND) –Sproles found the end
zone for the first time this season in Week 8, running over a
defender en route to a 13-yard touchdown reception from QB Philip
Rivers in the fourth quarter. He finished with 77 yards from scrimmage
and a boatload of return yardage.
LeGarrette Blount, TB (@ATL, CAR, @SF, @BAL) – Blount’s
late-game, defender-hurdling 48-yard gain was the highlight of
the week. His overall numbers were also striking: 22 carries for
120 yards and two touchdowns. Although he’s still available
in a few leagues, last week was the time to jump on him. I hope
you heeded my advice.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Breaston, ARI (@MIN, SEA, @KC, SF) – Breaston just got back
after missing three games because of arthroscopic knee surgery
and he didn’t disappoint. The shifty receiver caught eight passes
for a career-high 147 yards against Tampa Bay; was targeted 11
times and even had a 14-yard run. He clearly has better rapport
with Derek Anderson than diva WR Larry Fitzgerald and makes an
excellent pickup now that he’s healthy.
WR Mike Williams, TB (@ATL, CAR, @SF, @BAL) – Though he
hadn’t surpassed 100 yards receiving until Week 8, Williams
caught four passes for a career-high 105 yards and a TD in the
win over Arizona. He now has four touchdowns and 470 yards on
the year and is Freeman’s favorite. He makes a lot of tough
grabs and should be owned in all 12-team formats.
Washington, TEN (BYE, @MIA, WAS, @HOU) – Washington is the
Titans deep threat receiver now that Kenny Britt has been sidelined
indefinitely. On Sunday, he blew up for 117 yards and a TD.
TE Tony Moeaki, KC (@OAK, @DEN, ARI, @SEA) – He hasn’t
been in the end zone since Week 3, but I’m counting on his
next few matchups for a couple scores. With so many top TEs on
the shelf or on bye, you could do a lot worse in deeper leagues.
WR Brandon Tate, NE (@CLE, @PIT, IND, @DET) – Tate finally
scored his first offensive touchdown of the season and gave us
a glimpse of his potential - though not to many of us had him
starting. He finished with three receptions for 101 yards and
a touchdown in the 28-18 victory and should get more looks now
that Brady knows he’s capable of filling the Randy Moss
role. Just watch out for the Pats reacquiring Moss, because that
kills his fantasy value.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, OAK (KC, BYE, @PIT, MIA) – I’m
not going to say that Al Davis is a genius, because he’s
more sea monster than genius but if Heyward-Bey can run his routes
cleanly and catch the ball like he did in Week 8 (5-105-1), he’ll
be a huge weapon for the Raiders. The speedster also rushed for
30 yards on Sunday.
Nelson, GB (DAL, BYE, @MIN, @ATL) – Nelson caught five passes
for 55 yards in Sunday's win over the Jets, and as long as Donald
Driver’s quad keeps barking and James Jones is dropping passes,
Nelson has sneaky fantasy value.
WR Dez Bryant, DAL (@GB, @NYG, DET, NO) – Bryant did not
find the end zone in the Week 8 loss, but did finish with seven
catches for 84 yards.
Kenny Britt, TEN (BYE, @MIA, WAS, @HOU) – Britt’s right hamstring
injury should keep him out a while. Washington is the appropriate
Steve Johnson, BUF (CHI, DET, @CIN, PIT) – Johnson has caught
at least one touchdown pass in each of the Bills’ last five games,
matching the club record. He led the team in targets on Sunday
with 10, and finished with 5-37-1 – another solid outing.
WR Davone Bess, MIA (@BAL, TEN, CHI, @OAK) – Bess is starting
to turn a lot more heads and remains one of the more consistent
fantasy W3s you’ll find. In his first game as the starter
on Sunday, Bess caught seven passes for 53 yards; he’s an
excellent guy to own in PPR leagues.
TE Brandon Pettigrew, DET (NYJ, @BUF, @DAL, NE) – Stafford
tossed Pettigrew a short TD pass but won’t be as involved
now that the franchise QB is back. Week 10 poses a good matchup,
but I wouldn’t start him against the Jets.
White, IND (@PHI, CIN, @NE, SD) – The return of Anthony Gonzalez
ruined the Blair White Project.
Gettis, CAR (NO, @TB, BAL, @CLE) – Gettis did not record a
catch and lost 11 yards on one carry. Brandon LaFell might be
the better add.
Off The Top
LB Paris Lenon, ARI (@MIN, SEA, @KC, SF) – Lenon has 54
tackles on the year, two interceptions and a sack, and he forced
a fumble in Week 8. He’s got a favorable matchup this week
against a Vikings team that will likely focus on pounding Adrian
Peterson down the Cards throats.
DB Quintin Mikell, PHI (IND, @WAS, NYG, @CHI) – Mikell is
among the best safeties in the league and will see plenty of tackle
opportunities against the Colts in Week 9. He’s still available
in a ton of IDP formats.
Diles, HOU (SD, @JAC, @NYJ, TEN) – Diles had 10 tackles last
week from the WLB spot, as Brian Cushing moved to the middle to
replace DeMeco Ryans. While Cushing struggled to make an impact
as the defensive quarterback, Diles flourished. He’s among the
better weakside LB options in the game.
DB Marcus Trufant, SEA (NYG, @ARI, @NO, KC) – Marcus hasn’t
been that magnificent so far in 2010, and the Giants won’t
shy away from testing him during their Week 9 game. I’m
going out on a limb and predicting Top 10 DB numbers for Trufant
Scouring The Barrel
LB Scott Fujita, CLE (NE, NYJ, @JAC, CAR) – Fujita has
one of the best matchups among sleeper LBs this week. Look for
better than average tackle totals, but without some of the big
plays that have propelled him onto rosters in 10 percent of IDP
DL Kyle Williams, BUF (CHI, DET, @CIN, PIT) – Williams was
questionable with an ankle injury on Sunday and responded with
nine tackles and 2.0 sacks. He should be owned in all formats
that require a DL, and is especially valuable because he can be
plugged in at DT in deeper leagues that get specific.
LB Derrick Johnson, KC (@OAK, @DEN, ARI, @SEA) – Johnson
had another solid outing with eight tackles (six solo) and two
PDs against the Bills. He’s a great Week 9 play facing the
DB Troy Polamalu, PIT (@CIN, NE, OAK, @BUF) – He posted
sixtackles in Week 8 and now has 38 on the season, but his PD
numbers are way down (17 in 2008, 2 so far this season).
Edwards, MIN (ARI, @CHI, GB, @WAS) – Edwards and Jared Allen
are just not getting to the QB this year, but they have better
matchups on the way.
LB Lofa Tatupu, SEA (NYG, @ARI, @NO, KC) – Tatupu had six
total tackles, but just one solo in Week 8 at Oakland. He’s
not playing well at the moment.
LB Desmond Bishop, GB (DAL, BYE, @MIN, @ATL) – Bishop once
again posted good numbers, tallying 10 solos and a PD.
DL Jason Hunter, DEN (BYE, KC, @SD, STL) – Hunter continued
his excellent tackling with five solos in Week 8.