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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 16
12/20/11 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 a limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value. 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 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 20-30 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: Players’ remaining games listed in parentheses, e.g. (MIN, @PHI)


Off The Top

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (NYG, @MIA) – Sanchez (67 percent owned) has accounted for 11 touchdowns (nine passing, two rushing) in his last four games, and makes for a respectable, low-end, QB1 play in Week 16 against the Giants – who can’t stop anybody’s passing game right now.

Digging Deeper

Matt Moore, MIA (@NE, NYJ) – He hasn’t been the most consistent QB in the league, but Moore is capable of good fantasy days, and Week 16’s favorable matchup against the sieve-like Pats defense could be one of those days. If you survived one of last week’s brutal QB performances (Eli Manning, I’m talking to you) then Moore could be a decent fill-in.

Scouring The Barrel

Kyle Orton, KC (OAK, @DEN) – You have to consider Orton for this week in two-QB leagues. The Chiefs are surging and it’s obvious they feel more comfortable with Orton at the helm. Oakland gave up a monster day to Matthew Stafford last week, so you can expect 200 yards and at least one score from Orton.


Carson Palmer, OAK (@KC, SD) – Palmer turned in a solid performance, tossing for 367 yards and a TD in the tough 28-27 loss to Detroit.

T.J. Yates, HOU (@IND, TEN) – Just when we start heaping praise on Yates, he throws up a stinker: 212-0-2 just ain’t gettin’ it done.

Jake Locker, TEN (JAC, @HOU) – Hasselbeck stunk up the joint before Locker got his shot, so he didn’t help any fantasy owners with his 108-1-0 on 11-of-16 passing.

Running Backs

Off The Top

C.J. Spiller, BUF (DEN, @NE) – Spiller’s breakout day coincided with my decision to play him as my flex in my 14-team league. The shifty back rushed for 91 yards and a TD and put together an equally impressive receiving day: 9 receptions, 76 yards and a TD. In PPR leagues, it was over a 35-40 point day.

Digging Deeper

Donald Brown, IND (HOU, @JAC) – I actually dropped Brown in the aforementioned league (started Felix Jones and Maurice Jones-Drew) to pick up some insurance at another position, and it was an obvious mistake. Brown’s breakout game was highlighted by an 80-yard TD run that ran his rushing total to 161 yards for the day. He’s a must-play in all formats facing the Texans, who really have nothing to play for and yielded 166 rushing yards and two TD on the ground to the Panthers in Week 15.

Scouring The Barrel

Lance Ball, DEN (@BUF, KC) – If Willis McGahee can’t go for any reason, Ball makes an solid RB3/flex play. If McGahee’s healthy, he a risk, because Tim Tebow eats up a lot of yardage and runs in a few of the team’s TDs as well.


Felix Jones, DAL (PHI, @NYG) – Jones finished with 108 rushing yards and 3-23-0 receiving, but didn’t get into the end zone against Tampa Bay.

Ryan Grant, GB (CHI, DET) – 101 total yards isn’t bad, but Grant didn’t get into the end zone and the Packers lost their first game since the calendar said 2010. Wow.

Kahlil Bell, CHI (@GB, @MIN) – The Bears sputtered to a 38-14 defeat at the hands of the surging Seahawks, but Bell had a monster game for a guy available in most fantasy leagues: 65 rushing yards, 5-43-1 receiving. He scored the lone offensive TD for the Bears and finished among the Top 10 fantasy RBs for Week 15.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Lance Moore, NO (ATL, CAR) – With his most recent two-TD game, Moore now has eight on the season and averages close to 10 points per game in PPR leagues. There’s really no telling how many targets he’ll get in any particular contest, but the matchup against the Falcons could mean a shootout.

Digging Deeper

TE Brent Celek, PHI (@DAL, WAS) – I benched Celek (5-165-1) in favor of Vernon Davis (6-72-1) last week in my semifinal, and although starting the Eagles TE would have only gotten me a tie (and thus a loss since I lost the tiebreaker), I still was pulling me hair out Sunday when I caught wind of his monster day. It’s clear that Celek is a more important option when Vick is at the helm, so he’s worth picking up for Week 16 as a low-end TE1 if he’s still available in your league.

WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN (@BUF, KC) – Thomas should see plenty of opportunities against the Bills, who struggle to defend the pass. Over the last three weeks, Thomas is third among WRs (PPR) behind Roddy White and Percy Harvin in total points, just ahead of Calvin Johnson and Hakeem Nicks, so it’s time to give him his due.

Scouring The Barrel

TE Jeremy Shockey, CAR (TB, @NO) – The Panthers have two tight ends, but Shockey has been more productive than Olsen the last few weeks. He’s not a viable starter in one-TE formats, but in deeper two-TE leagues, a red zone threat like Shockey means cheap upside.


WR Malcom Floyd, SD (@DET, @OAK) – Floyd lit up the Ravens with 5-96-1, hauling in the only TD thrown by Philip Rivers in the 34-14 victory. He was a Top 10 WR in Week 15.

TE Kellen Winslow, TB (@CAR, @ATL) – While the Bucs played catch-up and did manage to close the score to 31-15 by game’s end, Winslow just tallied a forgettable 4-37-0 in the loss.

WR Jabar Gaffney, WAS (MIN, @PHI) – The Redskins rolled over the Giants, and Gaffney was solid, picking up 6-85-0 in the decisive victory.

TE Jake Ballard, NYG (@NYJ, DAL) – Ballard aggravated an old PCL injury en route to 1-15-0; the rest of his season is in doubt and he should be dropped in all redrafts.

TE Marcedes Lewis. JAC (@TEN, IND) – Lewis couldn’t get loose on Thursday night in Atlanta, where the Falcons shredded the Jags. Lewis posted 3-30-0 and continues a disappointing season.

WR Titus Young, DET (SD, @GB) – The rookie receiver didn’t blow up like Megatron, but he did contribute a TD in his 5-21-1 performance.


Off The Top

DB Eric Weddle, SD (@DET, @OAK) – Weddle is a big-game player and the final two games can’t get any bigger. He’s already got seven INTs this season and will be looking to add to his league-leading total (tied with Kyle Arrington and Charles Woodson) against Detroit and Oakland.

Digging Deeper

DL J.J. Watt, HOU (@IND, TEN) – Watt had seven total tackles last week and promises to another big game versus the have Colts, who are starting to move the ball and sustain a few more drives. Also – it’ll be up to the defense to garner wins in the last few games, so Watt is a safe play in semi-deep leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Jordan Senn, CAR (TB, @NO) – Senn broke out with a monster Week 16 and could make an additional impact in the final two games. He’s almost universally available and has 45 total tackles in his last five games since taking over at OLB in Carolina.


LB Stephen Tulloch, DET (SD, @GB) – Tulloch had a solid game with 10 tackles (eight solos), although he didn’t contribute any junk points.

DB Tyvon Branch, OAK (@KC, SD) – Five tackles (four solos) – the second-worst IDP performance of the season for Branch. Great timing, Tyvon.

DL Michael Johnson, CIN (ARI, BAL) – Five tackles, but no sacks. Johnson is one of many bright young stars on the Bengals defense.

LB Lance Briggs, CHI (@GB, @MIN) – Four solo tackles; Briggs just couldn’t break through in 2011 with many huge performances.

DL Chris Clemons, SEA (SF, @ARI) – Clemons had three tackles, 2.0 sacks and a PD in the win over Chicago. He remains a quality DL1 in most formats.

DB Vontae Davis, MIA (@NE, NYJ) – Davis had a huge Week 15, recording five total tackles, two PD and a pair of INTs – second in fantasy scoring among DBs.