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.
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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 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 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
Cam Newton, CAR (GB, JAC, @CHI, NO) – The rookie QB made
quite a debut against the Cardinals, throwing for a record-tying
422 yards and two passing TDs, adding 18 rushing yards and a score
on the ground. I know its one game (and it was against Arizona),
but a promising start like that means he should be owned in all
Henne, MIA (HOU, @CLE, @SD, BYE) – It’s a mistake that Henne
is only owned in 15-20 percent of fantasy leagues. Not every game
is going to be like Monday night’s performance: 416-2-1 passing
to go along with 59 rushing yards and another TD. But he’s well
worth looking at if your current backup is Donovan McNabb or the
mildly injured Sam Bradford – a QB who is likely to miss some
action and is now without a couple of his best offensive weapons.
Kerry Collins, IND (CLE, PIT, @TB, KC) – Collins isn’t
very good, but he’s got a host of options to throw the ball
to. He’ll make a capable backup in most formats unless he
gets benched – which could always happen if the Colts look
that bad again.
Scouring The Barrel
Rex Grossman, WAS (ARI, @DAL, @STL, BYE) – Rexy was pretty
sexy against the division rival Giants on Sunday (305 yards, two
TDs), and while it’s clear that team has issues with its
secondary, the next few opponents do too.
Kyle Orton, DEN (CIN, @TEN, @GB) – There were clamors for
Tebow, as usual, but Orton did post 304-1-1 on the night.
Mark Sanchez, NYJ (JAC, @OAK, @BAL) – The relatively conservative
Jets QB erupted for 335 passing yards and two TDs during Sunday
night’s comeback win over Dallas. This was partially due
to the Cowboys debilitated secondary, but it was clear Sanchez
has an improved arsenal.
McNabb (TB, DET, @KC, ARI) – McNabb threw for only 39 passing
yards and is safe to drop in favor of a more potent offensive
QB like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Cam Newton.
Fitzpatrick, BUF (OAK, NE, @CIN, PHI) – I sat the Harvard
grad (208 yards, four TD passes) on Sunday in favor of Josh Freeman,
who was a huge disappointment. Needless to say, it was a big mistake.
Hasselbeck, TEN (BAL, DEN, @CLE, @PIT) – 263 yards and two
TDs isn’t bad for his Tennessee debut. Kenny Britt can score at
any time, giving Hasselbeck a weapon he hasn’t had in years.
Off The Top
Starks, GB (@CAR, @CHI, DEN, @ATL) – Starks was the more active
back (12 carries for 57 yards and a TD) in Thursday night’s win
over New Orleans, but Ryan Grant will still see about 50 percent
of the carries in Green Bay. In any event, Starks should be owned
in all 12-team formats.
Tate, HOU (@MIA, @NO, PIT, OAK) – We’re not sure how much
time Arian Foster will miss, so adding Tate (116 yards, TD in
Week 1) could be superfluous. But it’s obvious that the guy has
talent and could receive regular touches in this highly potent
Tomlinson, NYJ (JAC, @OAK, @BAL, @NE) – Tomlinson had just
five carries for 16 yards against the tough Dallas run defense,
but the veteran back flourished in the passing game, racking up
six catches for 73 yards. He’ll be an important asset in PPR leagues
and could still post big numbers if anything befalls Shonn Greene.
Derrick Ward, HOU (@MIA, @NO, PIT, OAK) – Ward (sprained
ankle) reached paydirt on Sunday but was generally outshined by
Tate in Week 1. If Foster remains out, consider Ward a risky flex
play with some upside.
Darren Sproles, NO (CHI, HOU, @JAC, @CAR) – The Saints throw
the ball a lot, and Sproles owners will continue to benefit from
that. If he’s available on your wire, he’s a solid
add – especially in PPR leagues.
Scouring The Barrel
Cadillac Williams, STL (@NYG, BAL, WAS, BYE) – With Steven
Jackson on the shelf after a huge TD run and quad strain, Williams
ran for 91 yards on 19 carries, adding six receptions for 49 yards.
If Jackson were to miss any time, Williams is a serviceable replacement
with decent upside as an RB3/flex.
McCluster, KC (@DET, @SD, MIN, @IND) – Thomas Jones is a billion
years old, and McCluster appears to be the favorite for change-of-pace
work in Kansas City. He’s also available in some formats at WR.
Earnest Graham, TB (@MIN, ATL, IND, @SF) – Graham totaled
just 13 rushing yards but hauled in eight catches for 58 yards.
PPR leaguers should take notice.
Bush, OAK (@BUF, NYJ, NE, @HOU) – Bush ran just nine times
for 30 yards, but it’s clear he’ll get the bulk of carries should
anything happen to the injury-prone Darren McFadden.
Woodhead, NE (SD, @BUF, @OAK, NYJ) – Woodhead led the Pats
with 69 rushing yards on 14 carries, but the Law Firm – BenJarvus
Green-Ellis – got the Pats only rushing TD of the game.
Roy Helu, WAS (ARI, @DAL, @STL, BYE) – He managed just one
carry for two yards, but Helu is still on my radar for when Mike
Shanahan starts having panic attacks.
DeMarco Murray, DAL (@SF, WAS, DET, BYE) – Murray won’t
be a big presence in the rushing game, but he’s in line
for third down work and should be an occasional factor in the
Deji Karim, JAC (@NYJ, @CAR, NO, CIN) – Karim got a healthy
number of touches and appears to be an indispensable handcuff
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Jordy Nelson, GB (@CAR, @CHI, DEN, @ATL) – Nelson had
a solid Week 1, posting 6-77-1 on eight targets. He’s Rodgers’
best slot option and could be in line for a monster year.
Meachem, NO (CHI, HOU, @JAC, @CAR) – With Marques Colston
out for a while, Meachem (5-70-1 on Thursday night) and Devery
Henderson (6-100-1) should be owned in all formats.
TE Dustin Keller, NYJ (JAC, @OAK, @BAL, @NE) – Keller –
who could easily be a Top 10 TE this season – hauled in
five catches for 61 yards and a TD on Sunday night. He was targeted
a total of eight times and appears to be actively involved in
the Jets offense.
Devery Henderson, NO (CHI, HOU, @JAC, @CAR) – See Robert Meachem,
There are plenty of mouths to feed in NO, but Henderson has a
good history with Brees.
WR Nate Washington, TEN (BAL, DEN, @CLE, @PIT) – Washington
was targeted seven times by his new QB, finishing with six catches
for 67 yards. He’ll be a solid WR4 producer in PPR leagues.
WR Jabar Gaffney, WAS (ARI, @DAL, @STL, BYE) – If Grossman
is for real in Washington, I could see a big year for Gaffney
(seven targets, 3-54-1 in Week 1) a proven fantasy commodity with
Scouring The Barrel
TE Scott Chandler, BUF (OAK, NE, @CIN, PHI) – The rest
of the season may not go the Bills way – at least not to
the extent things went on Sunday – but Chandler could be
the biggest fantasy surprise of the season. He’s universally
available in leagues with any form of waiver wire process and
could be a smart pickup if your TE situation is marginal.
TE Ed Dickson, BAL (@TEN, @STL, NYJ, BYE) – Again, I’m
not convinced the Ravens will use Dickson this extensively (five
targets, 5-59-1 in Week 1) when they face less vaunted defenses,
but it’s clear this guy is no flash in the pan. He and Chandler
make solid TE2s in all 12+ team formats.
WR Danny Amendola, STL (@NYG, BAL, WAS, BYE) – I said he’d
be a PPR maven, and 5-45-0 is in line with my Week 1 expectations,
but the dislocated left elbow leaves the rest of his season in
doubt. They’re trying to avoid surgery, but it doesn’t
look good, because Week 6 is reportedly the best-case scenario.
It’s safe to drop him.
Evans, BAL (@TEN, @STL, NYJ, BYE) – Four targets and zero
catches is not exactly what fantasy owners had in mind. It’ll
change against lesser competition, although the dominance of Ray
Rice’s involvement probably won’t slow down anytime soon.
WR Mike Williams, SEA (@PIT, ARI, ATL, @NYG) – He managed
4-34-0 on five targets, and should be a big part of the Seahawks
plans in 2011.
WR Steve Breaston, KC (@DET, @SD, MIN, @IND) – The Bills
did an excellent job shutting down Bowe and Breaston, but don’t
give up on the Chiefs offense just yet.
TE Jared Cook, TEN (BAL, DEN, @CLE, @PIT) – The upcoming
schedule isn’t favorable, and neither were the Week 1 results
(one catch, 7 yards).
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN (@DEN, SF, BUF, @JAC) – I’ve
been high on Gresham (6-58-1 in Week 1) since he was drafted,
and he might have found a situation to flourish.
Little, CLE (@IND, MIA, TEN, BYE) – The rookie recorded just
one catch for 12 yards as Colt McCoy often checked down to his
TEs and backs.
WR Andre Roberts, ARI (@WAS, @SEA, NYG, @MIN) – Four targets,
2-21-0 in Week 1. Expect more action from Roberts as teams stack
the box against Wells and Kolb is forced to air it out.
WR Arrelious Benn, TB (@MIN, ATL, IND, @SF) – The good news
is that Freeman targeted Benn seven times, although 4-27-0 leaves
a bit to be desired.
Off The Top
LB Pat Angerer, IND (CLE, PIT, @TB, KC) – The former backup
is now in line to get the majority of the tackles in this defense.
I had the foresight to draft him in a couple leagues, but most
IDPers haven’t yet committed to him.
DB Reed Doughty, WAS (ARI, @DAL, @STL, BYE) – Doughty busted
out against the Giants for 11 total tackles. He’ll continue
to threaten or surpass double digits every week. Get him owned
if he’s not already.
LB Sean Lee, DAL (@SF, WAS, DET, BYE) – Aside from DeMarcus
Ware, Lee was the best defensive player on the field for the Cowboys
on Sunday night. He finished with 12 total tackles, an INT and
a PD. Don’t miss the boat on the guy – he’s
Scouring The Barrel
DB Lardarius Webb, BAL (@TEN, @STL, NYJ, BYE) – Webb will
likely be the main CB target of opposing offenses, and he could
benefit from an IDP standpoint. Sunday’s performance included
11 tackles (nine solos), a sack and two PD.
DB Morgan Burnett, GB (@CAR, @CHI, DEN, @ATL) – The new
starting strong safety for the Packers, Burnett finished with
14 total tackles on Sunday and could be a huge contributor this
DL/LB Elvis Dumervil, DEN (CIN, @TEN, @GB, SD) – Dumervil
wasn’t a factor on Monday night, which should worry his
Pierre-Paul, NYG (STL, @PHI, @ARI, SEA) – With Justin Tuck
out in the opener, Pierre-Paul exploded for six tackles (five
solos) and 2.0 sacks. He also forced a fumble.
Dansby, MIA (HOU, @CLE, @SD, BYE) – Dansby had five solos
but didn’t see a lot of action once Tom Brady started chucking
it every play.
DB Donte Whitner, SF (DAL, @CIN, @PHI, TB) – Whitner has
a solid Week 1, posting five solos and a PD.
LB Daryl Washington, ARI (@WAS, @SEA, NYG, @MIN) – What
an amazing first week for my IDP picks! Washington came through
with a monster game (seven total tackles, 0.5 sacks, an INT and
a PD). He’s probably the LB to own in Arizona.
DB Abram Elam, DAL (@SF, WAS, DET, BYE) – Elam posted just
two solos on Sunday night against the Jets, and he looked a bit
lost in Rob Ryan’s zone coverage scheme.