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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 3
9/16/13 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 ()

Note: Tuesday updates highlighted in RED.


Off The Top

Sam Bradford, STL (@DAL, SF, JAC, @HOU) – With the addition of Tavon Austin, Jared Cook and the development of Austin Pettis and second-year receiver Chris Givens, Bradford (47 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) is establishing himself as a reliable fantasy contributor. He’s also got weapons in the backfield, and Sunday he threw for 352 yards and three TDs on 32-for-55 passing. While he faced a lot of pressure and did throw an interception that turned into an Osi Umenyiora pick six, it wasn’t on him, as it bounced off Daryl Richardson’s hands and gift-wrapped itself for the veteran DE. It’s clear the Rams are relying on his arm this season.

Digging Deeper

Philip Rivers, SD (@TEN, DAL, @OAK, IND) – Rivers, who a few years ago was a darling of the roto-community, dropped out of the QB1 radar heading into 2013 but has quickly reestablished himself this season as capable of putting up huge fantasy numbers. He tossed for 419-3-0 in a 33-30 win over the Eagles and now has seven TDs to just one INT on the season. He’s owned in just 38 percent of fantasy leagues and has a relatively easy road the next few games. If you’re an Andrew Luck (@SF, @JAC, SEA) owner, the next three games will be tough going and Rivers could offer a viable alternative.

Scouring The Barrel

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (ATL, @NO, BAL, BYE) – Like Rivers, Tannehill (15 percent owned) has a favorable schedule over the next few games and is settling into his role as the leader of the Miami offense. While his numbers aren’t off the charts, he’s much more poised than a year ago and will make a decent bye week fill-in if he continues to improve.


Jay Cutler, CHI (@PIT, @DET, NO, NYG) – Cutler turned the ball over thrice (two INT, one lost fumble), but threw for 290 yards and three TDs on 28-for-39 passing. He’s a borderline QB1 in 12-team formats – an extreme risk-reward fantasy option.

Terrelle Pryor, OAK (@DEN, WAS, SD, @KC) – Pryor couldn’t get much going against the Jaguars on Sunday, a team so bad it seems to suck the life out of opponents. He’s a risky week-to-week fantasy play.

Geno Smith, NYJ (BUF, @TEN, @ATL, PIT) – His 27.6 QB rating in Week 2 tells you pretty much everything you need to know about his 214-0-3 performance.

UPDATE: There are folks within the Jets organization calling for backup QB Matt Simms to get his shot. I’m not surprised, since this kind of chatter is expected from the Jets brass and because folks desperately want one of Phil Simms’ kids to succeed in the NFL.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Knowshon Moreno, DEN (OAK, PHI, @DAL, JAC) – Moreno (53 percent owned) gashed the Giants defense for 93 rushing yards and two TDs on just 13 carries in Week 2, adding 3-14-0 receiving. He’s emerged as the most reliable backfield contributor in Denver and should get the bulk of work going forward.

Bernard Pierce, BAL (HOU, @BUF, @MIA, GB) – Pierce is owned in just 45 percent of leagues despite being the primary backup in a rush-centered offense. He was questionable heading into the game but ran for a TD and took over primary duties when Ray Rice was injured in the fourth quarter after falling to ground without being touched. Rice was taken to the locker room to be examined by medical personnel, and his status for Week 3 isn’t certain, making Pierce a nifty waiver wire pickup.

UPDATE: Rice is day-to-day and questionable for the matchup with the Texans. Ravens HC John Harbaugh confirmed that Pierce will be the man as long as Rice can’t suit up. Even if Rice is active, I think Pierce makes a decent RB3/FLEX option.

Digging Deeper

Bilal Powell, NYJ (BUF, @TEN, @ATL, PIT) – The Jets offense may be putrid, but Powell has been getting a steady workload (25 carries and 10 targets through two games) and Monday night accumulated 70 total yards and a score. He’s owned in about 35 percent of league and could provide some value as a flex play in 12-team leagues.

James Starks, GB (@CIN, BYE, DET, @BAL) – Starks (9 percent owned) rushed for 132 yards and a TD on 20 carries and caught five passes for 36 yards in relief of Eddie Lacy (concussion) on Sunday. He’ll be hard-pressed to repeat those numbers against the Bengals next week, and a Week 4 bye means Lacy might be back in the saddle before long. Still – a head injury is a head injury, so snag Starks if he’s available.

UPDATE: Lacy could miss multiple games although his concussion doesn’t appear to be season-ending. The Packers have said they are not adding a back. It’s Starks’ job for now.

Scouring The Barrel

Marcel Reece, OAK (@DEN, WAS, SD, @KC) – Reece signed a three-year contract extension with the Raiders on Friday and ran twice for 15 yards and a TD in the 19-9 win over Jacksonville Sunday. If anything should happen to Darren McFadden, he’ll get a heavier workload.

Jason Snelling / Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL (@MIA, NE, NYJ, BYE) – Rodgers (21 percent owned) and Snelling (0 percent owned) relieved Steven Jackson after the veteran back injured his thigh on an eight-yard TD reception. While Rodgers received 11 carries to Snelling’s two, the latter ran for a TD and two more yards (19) and caught 4-41-0 to Rodgers’ 4-28-0 receiving line. While Jackson will probably be okay and there’s not a lot of upside to either Snelling or Rodgers, the injury (and Jackson’s age) adds some cause for concern.

UPDATE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Jackson is “uncertain” for Week 3; the Falcons are likely to throw the ball a bit more and split snaps between Snelling (short-yardage and goal-line) and Rodgers (early and some passing downs).


Shane Vereen, NE (TB, @ATL, @CIN, NO) – He’s done until Week 11 at the earliest.

Fred Jackson, BUF (@NYJ, BAL, @CLE, CIN) – Jackson toted the rock 12 times and was on the field for several crucial plays on Sunday. He had 30 rushing yards, a TD and caught 4-23-0 in the win over Carolina. Spiller may be the big-pay back, but Jackson appears to have earned the respect of new coach Doug Marrone with his workmanlike approach and reliability on third down.

Joique Bell, DET (@WAS, CHI, @GB, @CLE) – He didn’t score, but 72 total yards and five receptions is nothing to scoff at in PPR formats. His value increases if Reggie Bush (dislocated thumb, bruised hip, groin strain) misses any time.

UPDATE: Bush's Monday MRI confirmed there is no structural damage to his left knee and he’s expected to be listed as questionable heading into the weekend.

Daniel Thomas, MIA (ATL, @NO, BAL, BYE) – Thomas had 40 total yards and remains a change-of-pace option in Miami. He’s a fantasy reserve.

Da’Rel Scot, NYG (@CAR, @KC, PHI, @CHI) – A mid-week injury didn’t keep him out but the Giants signing of Brandon Jacobs and Tom Coughlin’s insistence that David Wilson is the go-to back means Scot has little value. Fortunately for owners who started him in Week 2, Scott got a garbage time TD as he caught 4-30-1 against Denver.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (@BAL, SEA, @SF, STL) – Wow. Hopkins went HAM on the Texan’s game-tying drive and caught a short TD pass to clinch victory in a comeback win over the Titans. The 2013 first-round selection finished with 7-117-1 and could be an effective WR2/3 going forward. He should be added in all formats.

Digging Deeper

Eddie Royal, SD (@TEN, DAL, @OAK, IND) – The speedy slot man caught 7-90-3 in the win over the Eagles, proving Week 1’s multi-TD game was no fluke. I’m just sorry it took me a week to notice how enamored Rivers has been with the 5-10, 185-pound Royal (20 percent owned). He’s worth adding in all formats.

Kendall Wright, TEN (SD, NYJ, KC, @SEA) – While fantasy owners focused on the possible resurgence of uber-talent Kenny Britt, Wright eluded most drafts. On Sunday, he showed how shrewd a pickup he could be, hauling in 7-54-1 on 11 targets. Wright (17 percent owned) appears to be a favorite of Jake Locker in an offense that’s more committed to throwing the ball – a good combination for fantasy.

Scouring The Barrel

Austin Pettis, STL (@DAL, SF, JAC, @HOU) – Pettis posted 8-78-1 in Week 2, solid once you consider that Austin caught two TD passes and Givens finished with over 100 receiving yards. He’s nearly universally available and could provide some value in deeper formats, especially PPR leagues. The rub is that Jared Cook was absent, meaning he attracted a lot of the LB coverage while Pettis attacked from the slot.

Ted Ginn Jr. CAR (NYG, BYE, @ARI, @MIN) – Ginn is a deep threat who offers some value in leagues that give points for return yardage and heavily reward big plays. He’s markedly inconsistent as a fantasy contributor but was targeted eight times by Cam Newton en route to a 3-62-1 receiving line to go along with 100 total return yards.


WR Michael Floyd, ARI (@NO, @TB, CAR, @SF) – Floyd caught just three of seven targets Sunday for 22 yards, a disappointing fantasy performance after a promising Week 1. He’s a borderline WR3 with upside.

TE Julius Thomas, DEN (OAK, PHI, @DAL, JAC) – Thomas backed up his Week 1 breakout with 6-47-1 on nine targets from Peyton Manning. He should be started at TE with confidence in all formats.

WR Rueben Randle, NYG (@CAR, @KC, PHI, @CHI) – Randle saw nine targets on Sunday but caught just 3-14-0. The Broncos defense was just too much for Eli Manning and the Giants.

WR Brian Hartline, MIA (ATL, @NO, BAL, BYE) – A 5-68-0 line (eight targets) is a decent follow-up to his monster Week 1 stats but it’s didn’t help fantasy owners this week. Hartline is a good complement to the big-play ability of Mike Wallace.

WR Julian Edelman, NE (TB, @ATL, @CIN, NO) – 18 targets, 13 catches for 78 yards. PPR maven, standard-scoring crap shoot. That’s the scoop on Edelman.

WR Jerome Simpson, MIN (CLE, PIT, BYE, CAR) – Simpson had 2-49-0 on five targets Sunday. He’s a week-to-week option at flex in deeper formats.

TE Kellen Winslow, NYJ (BUF, @TEN, @ATL, PIT) – Winslow couldn’t get off the blocks against the Pats in Thursday night but neither could anybody else in the Jets offense. In certain matchups, he could have value; it’s just going to be very hard to tell when to trust him.


Off The Top

DL Cameron Jordan, NO (ARI, MIA, @CHI, @NE) – Jordan is the Saints best pass rusher and could have a breakout year for a defense that looks a lot like the ’09 version. He’s got a very favorable schedule coming up, is a great DL2 option, and is worth a look at DL1.

LB Mason Foster, TB (@NE, ARI, BYE, PHI) – I picked up Foster in one relatively deep league (12-team; DL, LB, DB, D-flex, D-flex starters) but didn’t start him in Week 2, opting for Green Bay LB Brad Jones at the last flex spot instead. Big mistake. The third-year LB went off for seven tackles, two PD and an INT returned 85 yards for a TD. If he’s somehow available, he’s worth picking up, as he’s clearly matured as an MLB and could challenge Lavonte David’s IDP numbers this season.

Digging Deeper

DB Tyrann Mathieu, ARI (@NO, @TB, CAR, @SF) – Honey Badger don’t care if he wasn’t on too many IDP draft boards in August, because a late surge in camp made him an IDP sleeper and so far he’s made some big stops for the Cards as a valued member of their secondary. He’s got 13 solos, a forced fumble and a PD through two games.

LB Geno Hayes, JAC (@SEA, IND, @STL, @DEN) – Hayes, an SLB in the Jags 4-3, is manning the field on all three downs and has surpassed WLB Russell Allen. Hayes had 10 total tackles (seven solos) to lead the Jags in Week 2 against Oakland

Scouring The Barrel

DB Rodney McLeod, STL (@DAL, SF, JAC, @HOU) – McLeod is the starting free safety for the Rams, and he’s got 12 tackles through two games. He’s only an option in deeper formats, but he’s been largely ignored and could post solid numbers this season.

DL Jason Hatcher, DAL (STL, @SD, DEN, WAS) – Hatcher is doing from the 4-3 the kind of work that Jay Ratliff used to do from the NT spot in the Dallas 3-4. The key is having a healthy DeMarcus Ware drawing double teams and Anthony Spencer forcing pressure from the other DE spot. The veteran DL has seven solos, 2.0 sacks and a Pd through two games and he’s available in almost all IDP formats.


LB Kiko Alonso, BUF (@NYJ, BAL, @CLE, CIN) – While teammate Mario Williams had a career game (4.5 sacks), Alonso tallied 10 total tackles, a sack and an INT. He’s emerging as an LB1 in all IDP formats.

DB LaRon Landry, IND (@SF, @JAC, SEA, @SD) – Landry had 11 total tackles (six solos) in the loss to Tennessee. He’s got a realistic shot at 100 tackles this season.

DL Robert Quinn, STL (@DAL, SF, JAC, @HOU) – Quinn had four solos and a sack on Sunday. He’s a rising DL2 with DL1 upside.

LB Jasper Brinkley, ARI (@NO, @TB, CAR, @SF) – Brinkley only has one solo on Sunday while teammate Karlos Dansby (eight solos, PD) did the bulk of the IDP work among the Cards LBs.

DB Da’Norris Searcy, BUF (@NYJ, BAL, @CLE, CIN) – Searcy had seven total tackles (four solos) in the win over Carolina. He’s a DB2 with upside if he holds onto the job.

DB Barry Church, DAL (STL, @SD, DEN, WAS) – For the second week in a row, Church registered seven solo tackles and looks like a solid DB2 option in fantasy formats going forward.