Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 5
10/2/12 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

Andrew Luck, IND (GB, @NYJ, CLE, @TEN) – Luck is still available in one out of five fantasy leagues, and a few roster-cramped owners may have dropped him during the Week 4 bye. It’s obvious he’s going to throw a lot and the next few matchups are among the most favorable for QBs.

Digging Deeper

Kevin Kolb, ARI (@STL, BUF, @MIN, SF) – Kolb loves him some Andre Roberts, and the Cards won again as their QB threw for 324-3-2 in an OT victory over the Dolphins. He’s making his second appearance here on TTW, and it’s because he’s the current starter on a pretty good team with decent weapons. Don’t over think this one. If you have roster space and your starter is on a bye in Week 6 (Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Drew Brees), Kolb could be your guy.

Scouring The Barrel

Matt Hasselbeck, TEN (@MIN, PIT, @BUF, IND) – The veteran filled in for an injured Jake Locker and tossed for 193-2-2 in the loss to Houston. A long-term absence from Locker vaults Hasselbeck into fill-in status for QBs with byes during weeks 7 and 8. The early word is that Hasselbeck is expected to start Week 5 against the Vikings.


Andy Dalton, CIN (MIA, @CLE, PIT, BYE) – Dalton beat the Jaguars with 244-2-1 and added a rushing TD, making him a top five fantasy QB through four games (behind RGIII, Matt Ryan, Brees and Tom Brady).

Christian Ponder, MIN (TEN, @WAS, ARI, TB) – Ponder disappointed from a fantasy perspective (111-0-0) but notched a win over Detroit. I think this was simply a game plan issue, as the Vikings got off to a lead, ran Adrian Peterson relatively effectively and played solid defense in what could have turned into a typical shootout in the Motor City.

Jake Locker, TEN (@MIN, PIT, @BUF, IND) – Locker was injured (non-throwing shoulder separation) and replaced by Hasselbeck before completing a pass. It looks like he’ll miss Week 5 and probably won’t be back before Week 7.

Russell Wilson, SEA (@CAR, NE, @SF, @DET) – Wilson took a huge step backward (160-0-3) in a loss to St. Louis and the upstart Seahawks look human again.

Shaun Hill, DET (BYE, @PHI, @CHI, SEA) – Matthew Stafford was good to go Sunday, but he didn’t impress. The Lions have some very tough matchups when they return from their bye.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Kendall Hunter, SF (BUF, NYG, SEA, @ARI) – Hunter looked excellent in limited duty Sunday, rushing for 56 yards and a TD on eight carries. If the Niners watched the game tape from the recent debacle in Buffalo, they’ll figure out that Hunter’s fresh legs should be a big part of their strategy against the Buffalo-D who gave up 247 rushing yards to the Pats in Week 4.

Digging Deeper

Jackie Battle, SD (@NO, DEN, BYE, @CLE) – Ryan Mathews is still in the doghouse and Battle reaped the rewards to the tune of 81 total yards and two scores. This is probably not a permanent situation. On Monday, Battle admitted he was surprised to be used so extensively during Sunday’s contest and since Mathews didn’t fumble on any of his 16 touches, it’s going to take another blunder by Mathews to cede more touches to Battle. Week 5 boasts a favorable matchup for SD backs, but the brass will probably give Mathews another shot at redemption.

Joique Bell, DET (BYE, @PHI, @CHI, SEA) – The Lions are on a bye in Week 5 and have some tough sledding beyond that (Eagles and Bears and Hawks, oh my!) but Bell has emerged as a popular pass-catching option out of the backfield. He’s surpassed Kevin Smith on the depth chart and would be in line for extensive touches if anything should befall Mikel Leshoure. Just don’t expect monster numbers in non-PPR leagues in the coming weeks because most of his value lies in racking up receptions.

Scouring The Barrel

Brandon Bolden, NE (DEN, @SEA, NYJ, @STL) – The Patriots ran roughshod all over the Bills during the second half Sunday, and Bolden rushed for 137 yards and a TD on just 16 carries. It’ll likely be a while before you start Bolden, but he’s definitely a roster-worthy RB in all 12-team formats.


Mikel Leshoure, DET (BYE, @PHI, @CHI, SEA) – Leshoure pitched in for a few points in PRP leagues because of his 4-37-0 receiving line, but only managed 2.0 yards per rush on 13 carries against the Vikings.

Ryan Williams, ARI (@STL, BUF, @MIN, SF) – Williams may be the clear starter in Arizona now, but he too struggled to gain yards on Sunday, rushing for 26 yards on an unlucky 13 carries. The next couple matchups are a lot more favorable.

Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL (@WAS, OAK, BYE, @PHI) – Rodgers had just 10 touches Sunday but finished with 58 total yards. He’s at best a flex play in 12-team leagues going forward.

Daniel Thomas, MIA (@CIN, STL, BYE, @NYJ) – Reggie Bush got the start Sunday (67 rushing yards, no catches) and Thomas was an afterthought.

Danny Woodhead, NE (DEN, @SEA, NYJ, @STL) – Woodhead’s 2-23-1 was a nice little score for desperate fantasy owners who gave him a flex play. The Pats’ skill positions are in a revolving door of fantasy production.

Tashard Choice, BUF (@SF, @ARI, TEN, BYE) – Both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson were active, so Choice got just two carries and gained 14 yards.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

TE Scott Chandler, BUF (@SF, @ARI, TEN, BYE) – Chandler hauled in 4-62-2 in the loss to New England and could be an important safety valve next week for Ryan Fitzpatrick in San Francisco. He’s owned in about 40 percent of fantasy leagues.

WR James Jones, GB (@IND, @HOU, @STL, JAC) – Jones (23 percent owned) was targeted six times by Aaron Rodgers and finished with 5-56-2. A viable red zone target with Greg Jennings out, Jones should continue to see opportunities as the Packers passing game heats up. Jennings is unlikely to play in Week 5 so Jones will likely get the call opposite Jordy Nelson.

Digging Deeper

WR Brian Hartline, MIA (@CIN, STL, BYE, @NYJ) – The breakout star of Week 4, the shifty Hartline finished with 12 catches for 253 yards and a TD – an 80-yard score that gave the Dolphins a fourth quarter lead before Kolb and the Cards answered. It’ll be tougher sledding for the 25-year-old WR in the coming weeks, as his career day had a lot to do with being targeted on 21 of Ryan Tannehill’s 41 pass attempts. It’s nice to see Tannehill so captivated by a receiver and Hartline is surely a decent starting option at WR2/FLEX heading into Cincinnati, but don’t expect any more 200-yard games.

WR Andre Roberts, ARI (@STL, BUF, @MIN, SF) – Like Kolb, Roberts is making his second appearance in this column. He’s now caught four TD passes on the season and should continue to get open across the field from Larry Fitzgerald.

WR Devin Hester, CHI (@JAC, BYE, DET, CAR) – Hester’s exploits on special teams are well-known, but he’s always been a fringe talent when it comes to traditional offense. This week, Hester was used more liberally and could get more looks as the Bears find ways to get him the ball. I’m not as bullish on his matchups as I am for some of the receivers below, but he’s worth noting as a possible risk/reward pickup.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Domenik Hixon, NYG (CLE, @SF, WAS, @DAL) – With Hakeem Nicks still experiencing left knee swelling and right foot issues, Hixon and Ramses Barden will continue to draw targets from Eli Manning. I prefer Hixon, the more available veteran (2 percent owned) to the sometimes erratic Barden (17 percent owned), but both receivers could be popular wire targets this week as more news about Nicks is revealed.

WR Donald Jones, BUF (@SF, @ARI, TEN, BYE) – I’m wary of putting too much credence in the results from Sunday in Buffalo, but Jones caught a long TD reception and is probably Fitzpatrick’s best deep threat going forward. He’s just not somebody I’d start week-to-week unless he’s getting more targets.

WR Joseph Morgan, NO (SD, BYE, @TB, @DEN) – The young receiver caught a 80-yard TD bomb on his lone target from Brees and is just entering fantasy relevance in deeper formats. Keep an eye on him for now; the Saints have too many top-quality offensive options to warrant a speculative pickup of Morgan at this point.


WR Nate Washington, TEN (@MIN, PIT, @BUF, IND) – Rookie Kendall Wright caught a TD pass en route to a 4-46-1 day, but Washington contributed just 3-43-0. It’s tough to figure out where the targets will be headed in the wake of the Locker injury.

WR Titus Young, DET (BYE, @PHI, @CHI, SEA) – There’s not a lot to like about the Lions offense right now. Young had a couple touches in Week 4 but finished with just 22 total yards.

TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN (TEN, @WAS, ARI, TB) – After a Week 4 breakout, Rudolph was relatively quiet (2-8-0) in Week 5. Don’t give up on him.

WR Nate Burleson, DET (BYE, @PHI, @CHI, SEA) – He caught 5-51-0 and had an 8-yard rush in the loss to Minnesota. He’s a bye week WR3 or flex at best going forward and he’s probably not worth playing (even in that role) for a few weeks.

WR Cecil Shorts, JAC (CHI, BYE, @OAK, @GB) – It’s tough to have confidence in Shorts after recording just one catch for eight yards in the loss to Cincy.

WR T.Y. Hilton, IND (GB, @NYJ, CLE, @TEN) – He’s back from the bye in Week 5 and faces a defense that gives up a lot of receiving yards. A risk/reward sleeper if there ever was one.


Off The Top

DB Morgan Burnett, GB (@IND, @HOU, @STL, JAC) – After a quiet first three weeks, Burnett broke through against the Saints, recording 14 total tackles (six solos) and a PD. He’s a DB1 heading into Indy.

LB Nick Barnett, BUF (@SF, @ARI, TEN, BYE) – Barnett has 38 total tackles through four game and had his best stat line against the Pats in Week 4 (15 total tackles).

Digging Deeper

DL Robert Quinn, STL (ARI, @MIA, GB, NE) – Quinn was blanked in Week 3 but has recorded an identical stat line in his three other games (three solos, sack). That gives him 3.0 sacks on the season and the upcoming matchups are favorable for DL.

LB Larry Foote, PIT (PHI, @TEN, @CIN, WAS) – Foote has outperformed Lawrence Timmons from a fantasy perspective and could be the ILB worth owning in Pittsburgh. Gotta love the next few matchups.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Brian Robison, MIN (TEN, @WAS, ARI, TB) – Robison has yet to record a sack but should break through during the next few weeks as teams shift more of their attention to protecting their QBs from Jared Allen.

LB Vontaze Burfict, CIN (MIA, @CLE, PIT, BYE) – The new WLB in Cincy, Burfict is a playmaker with loads of IDP potential. He’s got some solid matchups in the next few weeks and is nearly universally available, although Ben Ice and I own him in a HAFAX league. Exciting stuff!


DL J.J. Watt, HOU (@NYJ, GB, BAL, BYE) – For the fourth straight game, Watt turned in a stellar performance with five tackles (four solos) 2.0 sacks and a FR. He’s making a case for the Top DL in fantasy.

LB Donald Butler, SD (@NO, DEN, BYE, @CLE) – Butler’s stat line was a veritable bonanza of IDP glory, with an INT for a TD, six total tackles, a half-sack and PD. Did you start him?

DB Kyle Arrington, NE (DEN, @SEA, NYJ, @STL) – Arrington had just three solo tackles and a PD, but teammate Devin McCourty had five solos, two PD and two picks.

DL Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (HOU. IND, @NE, MIA) – The Niners did a good job getting through the first line of Jets defense and Wilkerson ended up with just three assists. He’s still a decent fantasy DL in deeper IDP formats.

LB Russell Allen, JAC (CHI, BYE, @OAK, @GB) – Allen tallied 11 total tackles (eight solos) and is entering the conversation as a breakout IDP star of 2012.

DB Atari Bigby, SD (@NO, DEN, BYE, @CLE) – I didn’t anticipate a monster game from Bigby in KC, but he contributed five total tackles (four solos) and recovered a fumble. Not bad!