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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 8
10/23/12 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

Josh Freeman, TB (@MIN, @ OAK, SD, @ CAR) – The second-highest scoring QB in Week 7, Freeman (just 63 percent owned) makes his third straight appearance in this column. I highlighted him following the Week 5 bye and he’s had two awesome games since including a 420-yard, three-TD (almost four) performance against the Saints in Week 7. If he’s still available on your league’s waiver wire, I strongly recommend adding him – especially with so many juicy matchups on the horizon. The lone QB with a better S.O.S. evaluation the next four weeks is Andrew Luck and he’s only available in about 15 percent of fantasy leagues.

Digging Deeper

Brandon Weeden, CLE (SD, BAL, BYE, @DAL) – There aren’t many top QBs on bye in Week 8 (just Andy Dalton, Matt Schaub, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Joe Flacco), but Weeden has a decent matchup at home against the Chargers who give up 28.9 percent more fantasy points to QBs than the average opponent. Weeden had a solid Week 7 against a poor pass defense with 264-2-0 and could put up similar numbers against the Chargers – I just can’t envision too many scenarios where he’d earn a fantasy start in one-QB formats.

Scouring The Barrel

Brady Quinn, KC (OAK, @SD, @PIT, CIN) – Matt Cassel hasn’t been medically cleared to return to action just yet, so anything’s possible heading into Week 8. While this is not a recommendation, it’s important to remind fantasy owners that Quinn is owned in just 3 percent of leagues and could end up starting against the Raiders. He’s worth monitoring in deeper leagues and will be worth a start in two-QB formats if he gets the nod late Sunday afternoon. Update: Romeo Crennel announced Monday afternoon that Quinn will get the Week 8 start over Cassel.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (BYE, @HOU, @NE, MIA) – Once again, Fitzpatrick unleashes a game that keeps us coming back for more. Hopefully you took advantage of his scrumptious matchup at home against Tennessee and cashed in on his 225-3-1 passing line, which ranked him just behind Brees, Freeman, Rodgers and RGIII this week. Fitzpatrick added 23 rushing yards on two carries last week and hits his bye in Week 8.

Carson Palmer, OAK (KC, TB, @BAL, NO) – I hinted that Fitzpatrick and Palmer (298-1-1 and a rushing TD) would be the 1A and 1B of waiver-accessible bye week fill-ins and I pretty much nailed it, because they were both available in over one third of fantasy leagues and they finished fifth and sixth among QBs on Sunday.

Sam Bradford, STL (NE, BYE, @SF, NYJ) – Again, I included Bradford as an example of a desperation fill-in who wouldn’t pay dividends against an embattled-but-surging Packers defense – an accurate assessment considering his 255-1-1 passing line (17th among QBs in Week 7).

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (MIA, BYE, @SEA, @STL) – Sanchez managed to compile 328-1-1 against the Pats but his OT fumble cost them a shot at tying up the game on the Jets opening OT drive and forcing the game into sudden death.

Jake Locker, TEN (IND, CHI, @MIA, BYE) – Update: Locker was inactive for Week 7 and will practice this week, according to Mike Munchak. But, it’s expected that Matt Hasselbeck will get another start this week when Indy comes to town. It’s a solid matchup for the veteran QB.

Blaine Gabbert, JAC (@GB, DET, IND, @HOU) – I did consider Gabbert a desperation play but extolled the matchup as a good one. While Gabbert hooked up with Cecil Shorts on a 42-yard TD in the first quarter, he left the game before halftime with a shoulder injury and did not return, clipping his fantasy line at 110-1-0 on 8-for-12 passing and clearing the way for a Chad Henne sighting. It’s a shame, because he was well on his way to a decent game and nobody likes to see Chad Henne taking snaps. Update: HC Mike Mularkey expects Gabbert to be available for Week 8 against the surging Packers. Gabbert’s injury is a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, something he can play through.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Pierre Thomas, NO (@DEN, PHI, ATL, @OAK) – Thomas didn’t have a particularly effective day running the football (32 yards on 13 carries), but he did score on short goal line run and has a good matchup in Week 8, when the Saints take on a Denver defense that’s got below-average linebackers.

Alex Green, GB (JAC, ARI, BYE, @DET) – Green hasn’t lit up any scoreboards, but he runs hard and tallies yardage (200 total yards from scrimmage over his last three games). It’s assumed the Packers will get out to an early lead against Jacksonville and that’ll likely be Green’s time to shine.

Digging Deeper

Jonathan Dwyer, PIT (WAS, @NYG, KC, BAL) – Filling in for injured RBs Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, Dwyer plugged away for 122 rushing yards on 17 carries Sunday night, answering the call for a debilitated Steelers team and once again making the case for more participation among the stable of Pittsburgh backs. Keep any eye on the injury report because Dwyer could be worth another start against the Redskins.

Vick Ballard, IND (@TEN, MIA, @JAC, @NE) – Ballard had 84 yards on 20 carries and one catch for 19 yards against the Browns. He’ll likely get the call at Tennessee if Donald Brown remains inactive. Update: Interim HC Bruce Arians said Monday that Brown is unlikely to play in Week 8, giving Ballard at least one more opportunity as a starter.

Rashad Jennings, JAC (@GB, DET, IND, @HOU) – Maurice Jones-Drew went down with a foot injury on just his second carry of the Jags’ tilt with Oakland, and Jennings compiled 102 total yards and a TD (44 rushing yards; 7-58-0 receiving) in relief. The extent of MJD’s injury isn’t yet known, but after seeing him on crutches, I’m willing to bet there’s a metatarsal fracture in there somewhere. Update: Not a lot of information coming out of Jacksonville about MJD’s foot other than that he’ll be sidelined “an extended period” of time, but Mularkey admitted it’s a mid-foot injury, which could be a Lisfranc issue. That kind of problem would knock MJD out for the year. Jennings is probably the top waiver wire add of the week.

Scouring The Barrel

LaRod Stephens-Howling (SF, @GB, BYE, @ATL) – Unfortunately for owners who are grabbing him off the wire this week, LSH won’t be repeating his downright epic Week 7 performance (104 rushing yards, TD; 4-45-0 receiving) anytime soon. He may be a starting NFL running back but the upcoming schedule doesn’t look promising for the Cards.

Jamie Harper, TEN (IND, CHI, @MIA, BYE) – It takes a particular set of circumstances for a seven-carry, 8-yard rushing performance to yield as many as 12.8 fantasy points but that’s exactly what Harper did in Week 7, cheating Chris Johnson owners out of an even more ridiculous fantasy line. If the planets align perfectly next week when Indy comes to town, Harper could find himself in a similar situation, but I’m not banking on it.


Shonn Greene, NYJ (MIA, BYE, @SEA, @STL) – Green’s ownership rate shot through the roof following his monster Week 6 and he didn’t disappoint against New England, finishing with 54 rushing yards and a TD along with 6-34-0 receiving.

LeGarrette Blount, TB (@MIN, @OAK, SD, @CAR) – Blount was ineffective in limited play and failed to reach paydirt on the few goal line carries he received. Doug Martin, meanwhile, had his best game as a pro with 122 total yards and a score.

Daryl Richardson, STL (NE, BYE, @SF, NYJ) – Richardson had 79 total yards, including 3-43-0 receiving in the loss to Green Bay. Considering the current 3:2 ratio of carries between Steven Jackson and Richardson, the rookie back makes a decent flex play against the Pats in Week 7.

Felix Jones, DAL (NYG, @ATL, @PHI, CLE) – Jones tallied 74 total yards in the win over Carolina but fantasy owners were expecting more. Stay tuned to DeMarco Murray’s progress this week, as the Giants have been yielding large chunks of yardages to opposing running backs and had a tough time stopping Murray in the second half of the season opener. Update: Right now, Murray is very questionable for Sunday’s tilt with the Giants, and “Fragile” Felix has a bruised knee that means he’ll likely split time with Phillip Tanner until Murray is officially back.

Montario Hardesty, CLE (SD, BAL, BYE, @DAL) – Trent Richardson (eight carries for 8 rushing yards and 2-11-0 receiving) got the start at Indy, but Hardesty outperformed his injured teammate with 28 rushing yards on seven carries. Hardesty has been effective in spot starts in the past so it’s a predicament worth monitoring heading into Week 8. Update: HC Pat Shurmur said that Trent Richardson's rib-cartilage injury will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, which means that Hardesty could be in line for some starts moving forward.

Mike Goodson, OAK (@KC, TB, @BAL, NO) – Goodson had just one reception for 6 yards on Sunday – nothing special against Jags defense that somehow managed to limit Darren McFadden’s production.

Joe McKnight, NYJ (MIA, BYE, @SEA, @STL) – The Jets gave McKnight a few carries and he finished with 23 rushing yards. The Jets running game is hard to predict so keep an eye on this situation moving forward.

Phillip Tanner, DAL (NYG, @ATL, @PHI, CLE) – Tanner got 13 carries and rushed for 30 yards against the Panthers. He also had a catch for 8 yards. Not exactly what desperate owners counted on but at least it wasn’t a goose egg.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Randall Cobb, GB (JAC, ARI, BYE, @DET) – Cobb and Rodgers hooked up for two scores in the win over St. Louis, with the talented young receiver hauling in 8-89-2. When Greg Jennings returns, it’ll probably ding the numbers of all the other Packers WRs but each of these guys has found a crucial role in the offense. Cobb should be owned in all formats, especially considering his utility on running plays.

WR Andre Roberts, ARI (SF, @GB, BYE, @ATL) – Roberts is now the 12th ranked fantasy WR with 28-389-5 on the season. His fantasy success hinges largely on the TD total, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent to owners. Roberts is still available in about half of fantasy leagues, and remains a big play receiver on a team that creates turnovers and chances for the offense to strike quickly.

Digging Deeper

WR Josh Gordon, CLE (SD, BAL, BYE, @DAL) – Gordon is a big-play receiver and while he had a big TD catch in Week 7, he should have had two. On the year, Gordon is averaging 23.8 YPC and has four TDs. He’s got another good matchup in Week 8 against the Chargers.

WR Santana Moss, WAS (@PIT, CAR, BYE, PHI) – My good friend Erik (a Redskins fan who is aptly nicknamed “The Monk”) started Moss against the Giants on what he called “a gut feeling plug-n-play.” It looked pretty grim during the first quarter, but two scoring strikes from RGIII vaulted Moss among the top five fantasy WRs of Week 7. He’s no sure bet to repeat these numbers anytime soon, but it’s encouraging to see the veteran getting looks as the Skins approach the red zone.

WR Titus Young, DET (SEA, @JAC, @MIN, GB) – Update: Veteran wideout Nate Burleson is done for the year after breaking his leg on Monday Night Football. Young (41 percent owned) was targeted eight times by Matthew Stafford and caught six passes for 81 yards. He didn’t score, but the injury to Burleson clears the way for more snaps for Young, who should be owned in most 12-team leagues after this week. Also – rookie Ryan Broyles went for 3-51-0 on four targets in the absence of Burleson, making him a decent add in deep formats.

WR Jeremy Kerley, NYJ (MIA, BYE, @SEA, @STL) – If the Jets QB situation wasn’t such a distraction, folks would be talking more about how well Kerley has played this season. With 435 yards on 25 catches, the young receiver has established himself as a sturdy WR3 with numbers comparable to Anquan Boldin, Andre Johnson, Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson and a bunch of other big names. He’s makes a good play in Week 8 against Miami.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Cecil Shorts, JAC (@GB, DET, IND, @HOU) – The Gabbert shoulder injury stifled what could have been a huge day for Shorts who finished with 4-79-1 receiving. Keep an eye on BG’s status before you consider Shorts for a flex play next week.

WR Chris Givens, STL (NE, BYE, @SF, NYJ) – You’d better jump on Givens now because he doesn’t have another favorable start until Week 14 against the Bills. The rookie is averaging 27.0 yards per catch this season and the Patriots yield big numbers to opposing WRs.

TE Logan Paulsen, WAS (@PIT, CAR, BYE, PHI) – Primarily a blocking tight end with just one catch on the season heading into Week 7, Paulsen stepped up following the season-ending injury to Fred Davis. The 6-5, 261-pound UCLA alum had 4-76-0 on six RGIII targets and could be in for more looks moving forward. He’s universally available in all fantasy formats. UPDATE: The Skins signed Chris Cooley Monday morning, so stay tuned as Mike Shanahan figures out how to screw over fantasy owners with this situation.


WR Mike Williams, TB (@MIN, @OAK, SD, @CAR) – Williams had 4-36-0 but missed out on an even more impressive line when he stepped out of the back of the end zone before catching a TD pass on the last play of the Saints game.

TE Scott Chandler, BUF (BYE, @HOU, @NE, MIA) – Chandler never got going Sunday and finished with just two catches for 15 yards.

WR Denarius Moore, OAK (@KC, TB, @BAL, NO) – Moore had 4-36-1 on Sunday. He’s Palmer’s best possession receiver and should continue to put up decent fantasy numbers.

WR Kendall Wright, TEN (IND, CHI, @MIA, BYE) – Wright was limited to 19 yards on three catches in Week 7 against the Bills Sunday. Week 8 should give him more opportunities.

WR Donnie Avery, IND (@TEN, MIA, @JAC, @NE) – Avery had 4-46-0 in the win over Cleveland. He’s a solid deep-league flex play in Week 8 against the Titans.

TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC (@GB, DET, IND, @HOU) – Lewis did not, as I predicted, catch a TD pass in Week 7, but I’m blaming that on Henne, as I’m allowed.

WR Brandon Gibson, STL (NE, BYE, @SF, NYJ) – Gibson put up solid numbers (5-60-0) in the loss to Green Bay and could eclipse his fantasy totals next week against the Pats.

TE Kellen Davis, CHI (CAR, @TEN, HOU, @SF) – Update: Despite constant hype from Mice Tice, Davis caught just one pass on MNF and dropped the other target that went his way. Those of you who took a stab at Davis as a bye week fill-in (me, for instance) kind of got bamboozled by the Ticemeister.

WR Doug Baldwin, SEA (@DET, MIN, NYJ, BYE) – Baldwin had just 2-15-0 against the Niners, but he sustained an ankle injury in the first half and didn’t return.


Off The Top

DB Alterraun Verner, TEN (IND, CHI, @MIA, BYE) – It’s hard to predict which Tennessee DB is going to blow up from week to week, but Verner (58 percent owned in IDP leagues) and Jason McCourty (50 percent owned) are probably the best bets for monster games facing the Colts in Week 8. Michael Griffin (42 percent owned) and Jordan Babineuax (17 percent owned) are the starting safeties for the Titans and could also be worth a start at home against Indy.

DL Jabaal Sheard, CLE (SD, BAL, BYE, @DAL) – While he’s had a quiet season thus far (one sack through seven games), Sheard is poised to break out during the next couple weeks and justify his ADP in IDP formats.

Digging Deeper

LB Stephen Nicholas, ATL (@PHI, DAL, @NO, ARI) – Nicholas (ankle) was limited to special teams duty in Week 6, but his team’s Week 7 bye gave him a chance to get healthy. Unfortunately for many IDP owners, it also meant the need to clear roster space. If Nicholas was dropped in the past two weeks in your league you should go pick him up; he’s got solid matchups approaching and he’s an up-and-coming IDP star.

DB Mike Adams, DEN (NO, @CIN, @CAR, SD) – While teammates Tracy Porter (Week 1) and Chris Harris (Week 6) have had a couple monster games because of INTs and TDs, Adams has been plugging away in the Denver secondary and racked up 41 tackles and 8 PD through six games. Both he and free safety Rahim Moore should perform well against the Saints, and have favorable matchups over the next few weeks.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Chase Blackburn, NYG (@DAL, PIT, @CIN, BYE) – Blackburn (6 percent owned) has come a long way from the special teams player and rotational/backup LB he was on previous Giants teams. The veteran has 42 total tackles (30 solos), 2.0 sacks, an INT, three PD and two forced fumbles this season, and he’s more involved on passing downs.

DL Ray McDonald, SF (@ARI, BYE, STL, CHI) – Despite just 12 total tackles and 0.5 sacks through seven games, McDonald is my plug-n-play special for Week 8. He should have no trouble getting to Arizona QB John Skelton.


DL Cliff Avril, DET (SEA, @JAC, @MIN, GB) – Update: Avril had just two tackles in the Monday night game. He’s still a Top 20 DE because of his ability to record multiple sacks.

LB Larry Foote, PIT (WAS, @NYG, KC, BAL) – Foote had just two solo tackles but tallied five assists in Sunday night’s win over the Bengals, probably because Lawrence Timmons decided to show up in the box score.

LB Vontaze Burfict, CIN (BYE, DEN, NYG, @KC) – Burfict had the best game of his young career against the Steelers, racking up 13 solos and adding two assists. The guy is a beast but the Bengals are on a bye in Week 8, so he could end up a waiver wire casualty and be available before Week 9.

DB Ryan Clark, PIT (WAS, @NYG, KC, BAL) – Clark has seven total tackles but no junk points. Not bad, but not awesome.

DL Kevin Williams, MIN (TB, @SEA, DET, BYE) – Once again, I hit on a plug-n-play. Williams had his best game of 2012 in Week 7 facing the Cards, posting two solos, a sack and a fumble recovery.

DB Madieu Williams, WAS (@PIT, CAR, BYE, PHI) – Williams had seven total tackles (six solos) but as expected, failed to make the impact he did in Week 7. He’s still a solid DB2 with upside because of the injuries to Washington’s secondary.