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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 16
12/18/12 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: Each player’s next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()


Off The Top

Sam Bradford, STL (@TB, @SEA) – Bradford had his best fantasy game of the season in Week 15, throwing for 377-3-1 and a two-point conversion in the loss to the Vikings. He’s a low-end QB1 with enormous upside facing the Bucs in a favorable Week 16 matchup.

Digging Deeper

Christian Ponder, MIN (@HOU, GB) – Adrian Peterson is the straw that stirs the drink in Minnesota, but Ponder (32 percent owned) will probably be forced to throw the ball more against the Texans in Week 16. It’s not an ideal matchup, but if you’re dealing with uncertainty at the QB position and need to roll the dice in a deep format, Ponder could be your guy.

Scouring The Barrel

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (SD, @BUF) – While it’s exceedingly difficult to recommend starting Sanchez (15 percent owned) in anything but two-QB leagues heading into Week 16, there’s a shot that the embattled QB turns in a passable performance against a feeble opponent. Update: With his terrible performance on Monday night, I’m actually retreating from my previous comments. Find another QB.


Colin Kaepernick, SF (@SEA, ARI) – Kaepernick made some errors but stepped up his fantasy game Sunday night against the Patriots. He finished with 216-4-1 and 28 rushing yards. While he fumbled four times, none ended up in the hands of the opposition. He’ll have a difficult time against the stifling Seahawks defense in Week 16.

Jake Locker, TEN (@GB, JAC) – Update: Locker’s highlight from Monday night was a 13-yard TD run on a designed play. He finished with 149-0-0 and 43 rushing yards.

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (BUF, @NE) – Tannehill had the best fantasy performance of his young career Sunday, throwing for 220-2-0 with 52 rushing yards and a two-point conversion pass. He lost a fumble, but owners who needed to rely on Tannehill for one game got the best they could have hoped for.

Kirk Cousins, WAS (@PHI, DAL) – RGIII owners scrambling to find a last-minute replacement for their stud QB may have gone with Tannehill, but they might also have turned to Cousins, who was superb in the win over Cleveland – completing 26 of 37 passes for 329-2-1 and 22 rushing yards. RGIII should be back next week, but if he’s not, you could do worse than Cousins. Update: RGII is still listed as day-to-day. Stay tuned.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Danny Woodhead, NE (@JAC, MIA) – With Stevan Ridley struggling to hold onto the football, Bill Belichick turned to Woodhead (57 percent owned) – whose owners were rewarded with a monster fantasy day: 61 rushing yards, two TDs and 5-23-0 receiving. His 17 touches were a season-high, and he could see plenty of action next week against the Jaguars.

Digging Deeper

Mike Tolbert, CAR (OAK, @NO) – Tolbert (available in over 80 percent of fantasy leagues) rushed for 40 yards and two TDs and added 2-24-0 receiving in the win over San Diego. He’s a decent flex option facing the Raiders in Week 16.

Scouring The Barrel

Curtis Brinkley, SD (@NYJ, OAK) – With Ryan Mathews out (broken collarbone), Ronnie Brown still nursing a hamstring injury and Jackie Battle being the passing down back, Brinkley could be the main ball carrier against the Jets. He’s owned in a small fraction of fantasy leagues. Update: Brown has a shot to play against the Jets this weekend. If there’s a way to roster both and make your choice before 1:00 p.m., then that’s your move.


David Wilson, NYG (@BAL, PHI) – With Ahmad Bradshaw inactive, Wilson owners were probably licking their chops, but the rookie failed to meet the lofty expectations thrust upon him after last week’s breakout, turning in a mediocre performance (55 rushing yards on 12 carries, one reception for 11 yards on three targets). Update: Bradshaw is confident he’ll return to face the Ravens in Week 16.

Joique Bell, DET (ATL, CHI) – Bell finished with 24 rushing yards on seven carries and 2-13-0 on four targets. The Lions couldn’t get anything going on Sunday against the underrated Cards defense.

Robert Turbin, SEA (SF, STL) – With Marshawn Lynch churning out a solid fantasy day and Russell Wilson vulturing three rushing TDs from the Seattle backs, Turbin didn’t do much, rushing for 31 yards on 10 carries and hauling in just one catch for 3 yards.

DuJuan Harris/Ryan Grant, GB (TEN, @MIN) – Harris ran well (27 yards on five carries) but Grant lost a fumble – negating his 32 yards rushing.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR T.Y. Hilton, IND (@KC, HOU) – Over the last five games, Hilton (75 percent owned) has 20-355-4 receiving and a punt return TD. The Colts don’t have a great running game so he should remain a focal point of the offense as they make their playoff run.

TE Dennis Pitta, BAL (NYG, @CIN) – Pitta (55 percent owned) is a solid TE1 with upside and is playing at a very high level right now. He’s coming off his best game of the season (7-125-2) and has 25-303-5 over his last six games. He should be a big part of the game plan against the Giants.

Digging Deeper

WR Leonard Hankerson, WAS (@PHI, DAL) – Hankerson made the most of his three targets from Cousins with two TD receptions on Sunday (54, 2). He’s a risky fantasy start with upside against the Eagles.

WR Domenik Hixon, NYG (@BAL, PHI) – The Giants have a couple decent matchups in the season’s last two games, first with the struggling Ravens and then with the reeling Eagles. Hixon can be a reliable receiver and Eli Manning will probably use him a lot as the Giants try to edge their way into the playoffs.

Scouring The Barrel

TE Tony Moeaki, KC (IND, @DEN) – The Chiefs are having a hard time moving the football and they’re missing Dwayne Bowe – who would have been the likely beneficiary of the matchup with Indy next week. Moeaki (5 percent owned) has been quiet this season but projects as a possible TE2 sleeper in Week 16 as Brady Quinn tries to find some of that Week 13 magic, when his TE went for 4-54-1.

WR Joseph Morgan, NO (@DAL, CAR) – He’s a very high-risk, medium-reward option because of his big-play ability, and while he’s got 167 receiving yards over his last two games, it’ll be hard to trust him. In the deepest of formats, however, he could be worth a shot against the Cowboys who are vulnerable to the big play on third downs.


WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (WAS, @NYG) – Maclin posted 4-73-0 and lost a fumble during the Thursday night debacle against the Bengals.

WR Kenny Britt, TEN (@GB, JAC) – Update: The Titans’ passing game never really got off the ground, and Britt was stymied to the tune of 1-7-0 on Monday night.

WR Brandon Gibson, STL (@TB, @SEA) – Gibson didn’t haul in a TD but finished with 6-76-0 in the loss to Minnesota. With Danny Amendola back in the fold, his value takes a dip.

WR Rod Streater, OAK (@CAR, @SD) – The passing game was an afterthought against the Chiefs as the Raiders played it safe and pounded Darren McFadden and relied on Sebastian Janikowski’s leg. Streater had 5-62-0 in the 15-0 win.

WR Marvin Jones, CIN (@PIT, BAL) – Jones didn’t catch any of his four targets and had 10 yards rushing. As a sleeper pick, he just didn’t work out.

TE Clay Harbor, PHI (WAS, @NYG) – Harbor had 3-30-0 but lost a fumble (big surprise, right?). He’s off the fantasy radar for now.


Off The Top

DL Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (SD, @BUF) – Wilkerson has a favorable Week 16 matchup and has 57 tackles and 4.0 sacks through 13 games. DL is a tough position to find consistency, but Wilkerson has done a good job in 2012.

LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN (CLE, KC) – Woodyard is rostered in most IDP leagues but might be found on a few waiver wires because of his recent injury. He played well in Week 15, compiling five total tackles and a PD against the Ravens.

Digging Deeper

DL Derrick Morgan, TEN (@GB, JAC) – Morgan has two excellent matchups and should be able to notch multiple sacks over the final two games of the season. He’s a DL2 with upside.

LB Chase Blackburn, NYG (@BAL, PHI) – Blackburn (17 percent owned) isn’t a high profile LB despite a relatively productive season (84 total tackles, 3.0 sacks, INT, five PD), and he’s got a good Week 16 matchup against the Ravens. 8-10 total tackles is well within reach.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Thomas DeCoud, ATL (@DET, TB) – DeCoud (5 percent owned) stepped up in Week 15 with William Moore inactive, making five total tackles and snagging an INT. He’s got a very favorable matchup facing the turnover-happy Lions and then gets the Bucs in Week 17.

DB Quentin Jammer, SD (@NYJ, OAK) – Jammer (2 percent owned) isn’t quite as fantasy-relevant as in previous seasons, but he’s been busy the past few games and with Sanchez and the Jets on the docket, he’s worth a flier as an IDP sleeper in Week 16.


LB Bobby Wagner, SEA (SF, STL) – Wagner tallied 12 total tackles (10 solos) in the Seahawks’ Week 15 win and continues to be an IDP force.

DB Harrison Smith, MIN (@HOU, GB) – Smith had a season-high nine solos and added an assist on Sunday in the win over St. Louis.

DL Jabaal Sheard, CLE (@DEN, @PIT) – With three solos and a sack, Sheard put together a solid Week 15 performance for a marginal DL.

LB Thomas Davis, CAR (OAK, @NO) – Davis had nine solos and an assist, outscoring even rookie IDP stud Luke Kuechly.

DL Desmond Bryant, OAK (@CAR, @SD) – Bryant made goods on my promise and contributed a couple solos and a sack in the 15-0 shutout of Kansas City.

DB Reshad Jones, MIA (BUF, @NE) – Jones had just three total tackles and a PD – a little light on production based on his recent play.