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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 2
9/10/12 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 ()

Editor's Note: This column will be updated tomorrow after the conclusion of Week 1.


Off The Top

Robert Griffin III, WAS (@STL, CIN, @TB, ATL) – I shouldn’t have to tell you to add Griffin (85 percent owned) if he’s available in your league, but it bears mentioning that his rookie debut was second only to Cam Newton’s 2011 breakout in terms of passing yardage (Peyton Manning’s debut in 1998 is third). He looked a little more human as the game wore on, but Griffin is a fantasy star in the making.

Digging Deeper

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (@PIT, @MIA, SF, HOU) – At the risk of sounding disingenuous, I’ll point out that I was impressed with most of what I saw from Sanchez on Sunday. He missed some easy throws, but for the most part, there was chemistry among the young receivers and the offensive outburst portends some light at the end of the tunnel for the Jets. However – it was only Buffalo, and the Bills did not look great. The Steelers get Ryan Clark back next week (his sickle cell trait forced him to sit out Sunday night’s game due to the high altitude in Denver), and they’ll do a much better job of clamping down on Gang Green.

Scouring The Barrel

Blaine Gabbert, JAC (HOU. @IND, CIN, CHI) – Gabbert’s 260-2-0 line against the Vikings was solid, but he’ll have a harder time at home against the Texans in Week 2. Keep him in mind for favorable matchups in two-QB leagues.


Andy Dalton, CIN (CLE, @WAS, @JAC, MIA) - Dalton struggled against the rough-and-tumble Ravens defense, a unit that utilized its lead to get super-aggressive and expose the Bengals with blitzes and additional pressure from the secondary and its talented playmakers. Dalton finished with 221 passing yards, an INT and a lost fumble.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (KC, @CLE, NE, @ SF) – If Fitzpatrick (195-3-3) continues to make so many bad throws in division battles, he’ll be grabbing a clipboard. Tarvaris Jackson may not be as dynamic a fantasy option, but he doesn’t throw away games.

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (OAK, NYJ, @ARI, @CIN) – Tannehill’s fantasy debut (219-0-3 on 20-for-36 passing) exceeded only the comedic exploits of 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden, who threw four INTs and completed just 12 of 35 pass attempts for 118 yards. Even Tim Tebow had a better day than Weeden.

Running Backs

Off The Top

C.J. Spiller, BUF (KC, @CLE, NE, @SF) – The injury to Fred Jackson looked serious, but even if it’s not, the interior running and burst of Spiller (78 percent owned) looked excellent. He’s a must add in leagues where he’s still available.

Digging Deeper

Alfred Morris, WAS (@STL, CIN, @TB, ATL) – The rookie got the start and rushed for 96 yards and two TDs on 28 carries. I’m leery of plugging him too much because of the fickle monster who lives inside the soul of his coach, but it’s a noteworthy performance from a sixth-round pick who’s owned in just 37 percent of leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

Shaun Draughn, KC (@BUF, @NO, SD, BAL) – Draughn (less than 1 percent owned) emerged from obscurity on Sunday, rushing for 29 yards and a TD on six carries and hauling in 2-12-0 during the loss to Atlanta. It could have been a one-time poach in a game that was pretty much over, but Peyton Hillis owners have reason to be concerned.


Kevin Smith, DET (@SF, @TEN, MIN, BYE) – Smith didn’t necessarily scorch the Rams, but he did amass 91 total yards (63 rushing, 4-29 receiving) and reach paydirt on a game-winning pass from Matthew Stafford in the waning seconds.

David Wilson, NYG (TB, @CAR, @PHI, CLE) – He fumbled. He got yelled at. He cried. Now, he’ll have to work his way out of the doghouse and learn how to hold the ball high like Tiki did.

Jonathan Dwyer, PIT (NYJ, @OAK, BYE, PHI) – Dwyer just missed out on a score (his knee dragged on an apparent TD run but it was reversed after review), but looked like the better runner (nine carries, 43 yards) in the Steelers loss to Denver.

Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL (DEN, @SD, CAR, @WAS) – The Falcons running game was relatively quiet, what with Matt Ryan busting out of the gate with 3 passing TDs and a vulture score on the ground, but Rodgers (22 yards on seven carries) was a little more effective than Michael Turner (11 carries for 32 yards).

Evan Royster, WAS (@STL, CIN, @TB, ATL) – The Shanahanigans continue, with Morris, not Royster (two carries for 10 yards), getting all the important work.

Brandon Jackson, CLE (@CIN, BUF, @BAL, @NYG) – No carries, and 2-20-0 receiving. With Richardson apparently healthy enough to play, Jackson goes to the back burner.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Lance Moore, NO (@CAR, KC, @GB, SD) – Moore continues to be a favorite target of Drew Brees, and his performance on Sunday (6-120-1 on 10 targets) assures that his 82 percent ownership rate will shoot over 90 percent by the weekend.

WR Randall Cobb, GB (CHI, @SEA, NO, @IND) – Available in more than half of fantasy leagues (41 percent owned), Cobb’s value to the Packers’ offense is nearly immeasurable. His Week 1 breakout (9-77-0 receiving, punt return TD) is just one of many big games he’ll have this season.

TE Coby Fleener, IND (MIN, JAC, BYE, GB) – The rookie was targeted 10 times by fellow Stanford pal Andrew Luck and finished with 6-82-0 in the loss to Chicago. These numbers nearly mirrored those of Jimmy Graham (6-85-1) aside from the glaring difference in the TD column. I think it’s safe to say that Fleener will finish 2012 with at least 60 catches, 750 yards and a handful of TDs, making him a solid TE1 in 12-team leagues.

Digging Deeper

TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC (HOU, @IND, CIN, CHI) – Lewis (5-52-1) played well on Sunday and Cecil Shorts (4-74-1) emerged as a viable receiving option for Gabbert. Lewis is owned in just 17 percent of fantasy leagues while Shorts is nearly universally available in all formats.

WR Stephen Hill, NYJ (@PIT, @MIA, SF, HOU) – I got a text from a Jets fan friend who attended Sunday’s Jets-Bills game. I assisted him with his fantasy draft and had rebuked his selection of Hill (5-89-2 on six targets in Sunday’s win over Buffalo). I probably don’t need to tell you the text came off a little swanky, albeit justifiably so.

WR Kevin Ogletree, DAL (@SEA, TB, CHI, BYE) – Only Ogletree’s Wednesday night revelation (8-114-2 on 11 targets) bested the Week 1 fantasy performance of Julio Jones. The only difference is that Jones is 99 percent owned and Ogletree is currently available in 92 percent of leagues. I happen to own him in an experimental IDP keeper league, but that’s just me tooting my own horn. Pick him up. He could be this season’s Laurent Robinson.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Andre Roberts, ARI (@NE, PHI, MIA, @STL) – There’s a dearth of good things happening in the Arizona offense, but Roberts (4 percent owned) could end up being a reliable contributor. He had five catches for 54 yards and a TD on nine targets Sunday.

WR Jeremy Kerley, NYJ (@PIT, @MIA, SF, HOU) – Kerley caught all four balls thrown his way on Sunday for 45 yards and a score. He won’t be an every-week contributor, but he’s a solid stash in deeper leagues.

WR Aldrick Robinson, WAS (@STL, CIN, @TB, ATL) – Like with Kerley, we can’t expect the diminutive Robinson to post monster numbers, but he took advantage of Pierre Garcon’s knee injury as the X receiver – a role vacated by veteran WR Santana Moss – en route to a 4-52-1 stat line in his first meaningful NFL action. The second-year SMU product was targeted six times by Griffin (while Leonard Hankerson saw zero targets) and he could emerge as a viable option in 12-14 team fantasy leagues.


WR Kenny Britt, TEN (@SD, DET, @HOU, @MIN) – It’s time to get Britt back in starting lineups, as long as his wrist isn’t injured from the slap it got from Roger Goodell.

TE Dustin Keller, NYJ (@PIT, @MIA, SF, HOU) – Sanchez fell in love with his rookie receiver, and Keller, who is nursing a hamstring injury, was all but forgotten in the chaos.

WR Mario Manningham, SF (DET, @MIN, @NYJ, BUF) – Just 4-29-0 with a fumble, Manningham will lose snaps to Randy Moss (57 percent owned) if the future Hall-of-Famer continues to make plays for Alex Smith and the 49ers.

WR Sidney Rice, SEA (DAL, GB, @STL, @CAR) – Rice hauled in 4-36-1 in the loss to Arizona, and remains the best option among Seattle WRs moving forward.

WR Davone Bess, MIA (OAK, NYJ, @ARI, @CIN) – Bess posted a solid Week 1 stat line for deep PPR leagues, catching five balls for 45 yards.

TE Zach Miller, SEA (DAL, GB, @STL, @CAR) – I picked the wrong TE named Miller this week, as Zach finished with 3-40-0 and Heath Miller (4-50-1) scored for Pittsburgh.


Off The Top

LB Dont’a Hightower, NE (ARI, @BAL, @BUF, DEN) – The rookie SLB benefited from a fumble return TD in his debut, but it might be tough for him to rack up consistent tackle totals with the likes of MLB Brandon Spikes and WLB Jerod Mayo at the other starting LB spots. Hightower’s best bet for fantasy success is an overall mix of tackles, PDs, sacks and other big plays – something he could get alongside Mayo on third downs.

DB T.J. Ward, CLE (@CIN, BUF, @BAL, @NYG) – Ward is an IDP beast who showed up in Week 1 (seven solos, one assist, 1.0 sack). He’ll be a busy man this season and merits DB1 status.

DL Greg Hardy, CAR (NO, NYG, @ATL, SEA) – The third-year lineman is one of the most underrated DL in fantasy. He started off 2012 with eight total tackles and a sack and will be counted on to apply QB pressure during the coming weeks.

Digging Deeper

DL Derrick Morgan, TEN (@SD, DET, @HOU, @MIN) – Morgan has yet to reach his potential but tallied seven total tackles in Week 1 for the Titans, who will need all the help they can get on a line that’s a far cry from what it was just a few years ago.

DB Cortland Finnegan, STL (WAS, @CHI, SEA, ARI) – The IDP star of Week 1, Finnegan turned in a full stat line with 10 tackles (nine solos), two PD, and an INT he returned for a score. The Rams secondary may be the most improved unit in football.

LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN (@ATL, HOU, OAK, @NE) – Woodyard’s speed was on display against a sluggish Steelers offense Sunday night as the veteran special teams maven and linebacker racked up 12 solos and a sack. He’s immediately a must-own LB2 with upside as he plays all over the field on all downs.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Stephen Nicholas, ATL (DEN, @SD, CAR, @WAS) – WLB Sean Weatherspoon (seven solos, sack, PD) had a solid game for the Falcons, but it was the strong-side starter Nicholas who stole the show, posting 10 solos, two assists, two PD, and INT and a fumble recovery. This won’t happen every week, but I’m a believer in the growing value of SLBs because of the need for coverage LBs with upside in such a pass-heavy league.

DB Jerraud Powers, IND (MIN, JAC, BYE, GB) – Powers didn’t go nuts on Sunday (six solos, two PD) but as a starting CB in Indy, he’ll get plenty of opportunities this season.

DL Derek Wolfe, DEN (@ATL, HOU, OAK, @NE) – The rookie out of Cincinnati had a strong NFL debut with three solos and a sack. He impressed in camp and could be a great stash in IDP keeper leagues.


DB Mark Barron, TB (@NYG, @DAL, WAS, BYE) – The rookie made his presence felt with three solos and two PD in the win over Carolina. The unit looks a lot better with him manning the secondary.

DL Cameron Wake, MIA (OAK, NYJ, @ARI, @CIN) – Wake failed to record a sack against the Texans but finished with three total tackles (two solos). He should have better luck against pass-heavy offenses.

LB Lavonte David, TB (@NYG, @DAL, WAS, BYE) – Like Barron, David was as big part of rejuvenating this defense. He tallied six total tackles (four solos) on Sunday.

DL Robert Quinn, STL (WAS, @CHI, SEA, ARI) – Quinn recorded three solos and a sack against Detroit. He’ll be a solid DE2/3 this season in deeper IDP formats.

DB Antoine Winfield, MIN (@IND, SF, @DET, TEN) – The veteran made four solo tackles but didn’t register any junk points. Look for that to change next week at Indy.

LB D.J. Smith, GB (CHI, @SEA, NO, @IND) – Smith didn’t disappoint, recording nine solo tackles in the loss to San Fran. He’s one of my top bets for an IDP breakout in 2012.