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Through The Wire
10/15/07 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 that will 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 just as big a proponent of making trades to bolster your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll target both offensive and defensive players that may be available in shallow leagues – sometimes just breakout stars that eluded your team’s draft – as well as players who can help your squad that will still be available in many deeper leagues.


Off The Top

Jason Campbell, WAS – Campbell faces the Cards on Sunday and a could easily pick apart the vulnerable pass defense that even Vinny Testaverde and the Carolina Panthers chewed up when given the opportunity. While the Skins head to New England in Week 8 – a brutal environment that doesn’t usually benefit opposing fantasy QBs – the subsequent weeks should yield solid numbers for Campbell, who’s coming into his own and developing a nice rapport with TE Chris Cooley. If he starts hitting his other targets with the same consistency – including his stable of RBs, who are all good catching passes out of the backfield – he’ll be a fantasy force to be reckoned with.

Brian Griese, CHI – Last week, a mess of NFL QBs with not-so-impressive resumes put up decent fantasy numbers, and this phenomenon can be partly explained with just one word: matchups. Some even got wins, but Griese, who can probably be included in that group (he finished with 381 yards and 3 TDs but turned the ball over three times) didn’t notch a victory. While Bears fans were undoubtedly disappointed in the game’s outcome, they can’t be too upset with Griese, who performed well enough for the Bears to win. Fantasy owners, on the other hand, care nothing about their players’ wins and losses and only about fantasy production, and they’re finding that Griese’s not too shabby in that respect. With some highly exploitable fantasy matchups on the way in two of the next four weeks (@PHI, DET, bye, @OAK) Griese could be a waiver wire gem – especially if the Bears plan on involving Devin Hester more in the offense during the coming weeks.

Digging Deeper

Damon Huard, KC – He was pretty darn close to getting benched, but Huard is still the Chief of the Kansas City offense. And Week 7 doesn’t portend too difficult a matchup at Oakland, although he’s never faced the Raiders. I’ve liked Huard since about Week 3 last year, and he’s performed admirably and consistently considering everyone sees him as a stopgap QB. Even if you’re not too psyched about having him on your roster, he’s most likely available, and if you’ve got Brett Favre, Phil Rivers or Derek Anderson on a bye this week, he’ll make a sensible stopgap.

Kellen Clemens, NYJ – If he gets the start versus Cincinnati, he’s a solid #2 QB and borderline #1, but you’ll have to stay tuned to see what Mangini decides this week. The way I see it, Pennington’s been so bad this season the Jets have no choice but to take a shot with a guy who can actually throw the ball downfield. And if they make the move, Lavernues Coles’ value goes up and Jerricho Cotchery’s probably goes down.

Tim Rattay, ARI – Is anyone else sick of seeing the Cardinals QBs dubbed as ushering in a new era every week? First, it was the Matt Leinart Era, and last week, it was the Kurt Warner Era. Now that Kurt’s elbow (albeit his non-throwing elbow) is completely shredded, we’re stuck reading reports of the Tim Rattay Era commencing in Arizona. From what I can tell, the only thing these guys are worthy of shepherding is a flock of quip-happy NFL beat writers, let alone the Arizona offense. Warner was a nice waiver wire pickup because of his enormous fantasy upside (remember picking him up on a lark in 1999 after Trent Green went down? I do – it was the best waiver selection I’ve ever made) but Rattay is a journeyman QB with many more dud weeks than stud weeks. He’s still capable of the occasional 300-yard, 3 TD game – it’s just not as likely he’ll get it with the entire offensive unit struggling as mightily as they are.

Scouring The Barrel

Kyle Boller, BAL – The Bills, before they turned Tony Romo into a highly functioning turnover machine in Week 5, were giving up about 18-22 fantasy points per contest to opposing QBs, depending on scoring format. And it’s really about time somebody on Baltimore put up some decent fantasy numbers from the QB spot. If Boller goes again next week versus the Bills, he’ll put up respectable fantasy #2 numbers – about 200 yards and a couple TDs. But I probably wouldn’t consider giving him a start after that unless the matchup warranted one.

Vinny Testaverde, CAR – This is the real reason Cowboys QBs coach Wade Wilson has been taking HGH. You never know when you’ll get your next shot. Don’t get me wrong – Vinny’s given us another great story and the best advertisement for older male potency since Bob Dole pimped Viagra. But since the Panthers are on a bye this week and he’ll be 44 years of age before you’ll probably want to start him again, Vinny is not the smartest pick out there. Go with one of the other options I’ve discussed and lay off the HGH.


Kurt Warner, ARI – With Leinart on the shelf for the season, you can’t give up on Warner just because of the elbow injury. While he’s not an option for the next few weeks, he could reemerge around Week 10 or 11 and benefit from an easy schedule – especially if Rattay struggles.

Jeff Garcia, TB – Garcia totaled 274 yards passing and threw a 69-yard TD pass to Joey Galloway ion the Bucs Week 6 win over the Titans and has still not thrown an INT this season. This week, he faces the Lions and could easily be a top 5 fantasy QB option.

Derek Anderson, CLE – Another solid performance from a guy who continues to impress. Now, he’s on a bye – and that’s just one more week for him to wake up from the dream.

Gus Frerotte, STL – I still considered him a viable fantasy option – maybe a decent #2 QB, but it’s blatantly obvious that nothing good is happening with the Rams offense right now. Frerotte turned the ball over six times Sunday with 5 INTs and a lost fumble, didn’t score, and the Rams are now trying to rush Marc Bulger back into the lineup – something you’d better hold off on until a modicum of consistency emerges from the offensive unit.

David Carr, CAR – This guy’s job has been commandeered by a 43-year-old dinosaur who’s nickname is Vinny Testicle. I think that explains it all.

Cleo Lemon, MIA – I wish I’d had the guts to recommend starting Mr. Lemon against the Browns instead of leaving him in the barrel. He finished with 2 rushing TDs, 2 TD passes, 2 INTs and over 200 yards, solid fantasy numbers that reflected a solid fantasy matchup. Don’t get too excited about his prospects to repeat that performance.

Running Backs

Off The Top

DeAngelo Williams, CAR – I don’t exactly know what to say. There’s not a lot of great running backs still available on the wire. But DeAngelo nearly doubled his ‘07 production last week by rushing for 121 yards on just 10 carries, which included a 75-yard run that didn’t reach pay dirt. All this after I dropped him to pick up Jason Wright in a two-RB league where I had only Leon Washington and Julius Jones as my other options (My #1 RB is J. Addai, but I also have K. Keith). So I’m positive he’s available in some leagues and given what was being said about him last season and during the first half of training camp, I’d expect him to be of immense fantasy value during the second half. He’s on a bye in Week 7, but once he comes back, he faces the Colts, a defense that’s been playing well against the run but can be exploited.

Kevin Faulk, NE – It’s tough to recommend a guy that’s behind both Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris on the depth chart, but if for some reason both Maroney and Morris can’t go this Sunday versus Miami, he’ll be a great waiver wire selection simply because he’s the only guy Bill will trust to shoulder the load on the ground. Maroney seems to always be hurt – so pay close attention to the injury report right up until 12:59 p.m. Sunday (if you have the luxury) and make your roster decisions accordingly. If you have to get your waiver picks in early this week, it’s probably still worth taking a flyer on a guy that will be facing one of the worst run defenses in football if.

Digging Deeper

Kevin Jones, DET – You should definitely read my thoughts below on Tatum Bell before you ad this guy, but realize that Jones was a fantasy superstar in the making in that potent Detroit offense before his injury last season. And the Lions will be looking to get him the ball out of the backfield against a Tampa Bay defense that’s pretty good at shutting down the conventional plays and forcing coordinators to mix up the playbook. Jones is a brilliant player in open space but needs to prove he’s ready to shoulder the load. Again, the buyer should beware, but he could have some huge weeks coming in PPR leagues.

LenDale White, TEN – He’ll be taken in most leagues, but there are plenty of formats where LenDale will be floating around in the free agent pool. He finished Sunday’s game with just 64 yards on 25 carries, and he’s averaged under 3 yards per carry during his last three games. But if anything is wrong with Vince Young, the offense will be forced restructure the running game and get the most out of White. His bye is already out of the way, and his next six games are @HOU, OAK, CAR, JAC, @DEN, @CIN – a schedule which includes some good matchups.

Michael Bennett, TB – New acquisition Michael Bennett should add a nice mixture of pass-catching ability in the flats and elusiveness in open space – a nice complement to Earnest Graham. While the undersized Bennett won’t be an every-down back, he should see the majority of touches in Tampa’s RBBC and will make a nice waiver wire pickup if you’re hurting at RB. This week, Bennett should get some looks against the Lions – but he’ll still be learning the offense and giving up some carries to Graham. Remember, don’t jump the gun and only grab him if there are better options available.

Scouring The Barrel

Tatum Bell, DET – Bell asked for a trade and was quickly denied, which means that he could be stuck in Detroit for the remainder of the season. A couple things could happen here. Kevin Jones could re-injure himself before the end of the season, giving Bell the starting nod once again or Bell could remain with the Lions and continue to flounder as an underutilized back. So you’re taking your chances any way you slice it, which means that you should stay away from Bell at this point even if he’s available – something that thoroughly depresses me because he’s really not that bad a runner and I’d like to see him succeed somewhere.


Earnest Graham, TB – Most of Graham’s fantasy points on Sunday came via receptions in PPR leagues – but he should be a great play this week against the Lions, who have given up the most fantasy points in football to RBs.

Najeh Davenport, PIT – Davenport’s value took a hit this weekend after he was charged with three misdemeanor counts for his alleged role in a domestic incident in Cleveland last week. Najeh allegedly did some bad things during a custody dispute, including choking out his wife, so keep an eye on how this all plays with NFL public-relations-maven-turned-commissioner Roger Goodell. He faces a weak Denver rush defense this week but might not see as much action as previous weeks.

Jason Wright, CLE – Jamal Lewis’s injured foot kept him out of action Sunday as I expected and and Wright finished with 59 yards rushing a TD and 3/39/0 receiving.

Ron Dayne, HOU – Ahman Green was back and Dayne was out – don’t bother with him for now.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Joey Galloway, TB – Because he’s prone to disappearing over long stretches during the season, I don’t know too many folks who target Joey Galloway during their drafts. And he’s one of those guys you might even try to move after a big week because you just know it’s not coming again for another three or four. This week, I’d say, is the exception. While Joey’s not going to be available in too many free agent pools, he’ll make a nice acquisition facing the Lions in Week 7 and the Cards in Week 9. He’s recently shown he’s still got some life left in those soon-to-be-36-year-old legs, so if he’s out there in shallow leagues and bye weeks are cutting into your depth chart, snag him.

WR Donte Stallworth, NE – Following his 69-yard TD from Tom Brady, I started thinking about how having a Patriots WR on your team this year is a lot like having a Rams WR around the turn of the millennium or a Colts WR the year Peyton Manning threw 49 TDs. I’m not sure who among Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Stallworth is the Pats’ respective version of “circa ’99” Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Az-Zahir Hakim or the Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokely trio in ’04 – but there are definitely fantasy comparisons to be drawn. Grab Stallworth if he’s available because it looks like it’s going to be that kind of year.

TE Heath Miller, PIT – Coming off a bye week, it’s entirely possible somebody dropped Miller in Week 6 to fill the blank lineup spot, leaving the 6’5, 260-pound Miller on the wire. He’s had some nice games this season and you won’t find a better matchup among a top 10 TE this week than Miller’s trip to Denver – who give up about 12 fantasy points per contest to TEs in PPR leagues.

Digging Deeper

WR Chris Henry, CIN – Is it time yet? I think it might be, considering Henry is a very productive #3 NFL WR and a solid fantasy #2 WR when he’s on his game. Carson Palmer sure hopes that Henry can help this offense emerge from its funk and get something going for the Bungles. If you wait until next week or the week after, he might be gone. So grab him now if you can afford him and are willing to wait.

WR Kevin Walter, HOU – Walter had 12 receptions for 160 yards against the Jaguars on Sunday, which followed up performances 6/77/0 and 5/67/0 in week 4 and 5. He was the #2 WR on the Texans depth chart before Jacoby Jones passed him in late August, and I wouldn’t count on Andre Johnson coming back any time soon. If he’s available, he makes an okay #3 WR pickup, although I wouldn’t expect him to flourish once the Texans get healthy.

TE Chris Baker, NYJ – I included Baker here before, noting he’d caught a couple TD passes. With TE-friendly Cincinnati on the schedule this week, Baker’s a great option in TD-only leagues and a decent bet to score the requisite points required to fill the TE slot admirably. Baker is – above all else – a solid route runner with good hands, and the undersized and depleted Bengal defense will have trouble stopping him in the red zone.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Lance Moore, NO – He only had 3 catches of 36 yards on Sunday night versus the Seahawks, but it’s been reported that young Lance has passed Devery Henderson on the Saints depth chart. He’s only be a #4 WR in a pinch until the Saints offense put up a couple decent games back-to-back, but in a passing offense looking for someone to step up, he might just get his chance, so keep an eye on him.

WR David Patten, NO – This little guy’s been around forever, and he’s had tracts of solid fantasy production over the years. His 8/113/0 performance Sunday night was another interesting footnote to an already stellar career. In ’01 during Week 6 versus Indy, he had his best fantasy game ever (even though he only caught four passes) while playing for New England – which included a 21-yard TD run, a 91-yard TD reception from Tom Brady, a 60-yard TD pass to Troy Brown, and another 6-yard TD catch. He had a somewhat pedestrian 2002, disappeared in ’03, reemerged in ’04 with another average year, and vanished form the fantasy picture as soon as he left for Washington in ’05. He’s added some life to the Saints offense, but there are so many young stars in the unit, I can’t foresee a 33-year-old journeyman WR doing much to reestablish himself as a reliable fantasy performer.


WR Bobby Engram, SEA – He blew up Sunday night for 120 yards on 9 catches, but didn’t get a score. Still, he was a nice fill-in for Branch and/or your bye week WRs.

WR Ike Hilliard, TB – Just 4/59/0, but not a complete washout and he faces the Lions this week – a team that yields fantasy points to WRs like Hilliard in healthy gaggles.

TE Ben Watson, NE – Dinged up during the Cowboys game, Watson will need to be monitored this week.

WR Keenan McCardell, WAS – McCardell only had 2 catches for 30 yards Sunday, but both Santana Moss and Randle El played, so he should’ve been on your bench even if you grabbed him off the wire.

WR Dennis Northcutt, JAC – He faces Indy this week and should improve on his somewhat dull numbers (4/49/0) from Sunday afternoon.

WR Marty Booker, MIA – If he couldn’t break through again the Browns, I can’t see him doing it against the Pats.

WR Roscoe Parrish, BUF – He faces the Ravens this week and gets Losman back, but I probably wouldn’t roll the dice on him unless you’re out of options.


Off The Top

LB Angelo Crowell, BUF – This all-around linebacker is still available in many leagues and is just about the only guy on the Bills who’s been consistent this season. While the Cowboys don’t yield a ton of fantasy points to LBs, he’ll make a nice addition to your IDP corps because he’s a steady scorer, he had his bye and he’ll most likely play well throughout the rest of the season.
DB Sean Taylor, WAS – He’s not available in too many leagues, but he’s still out there in some, and he’s coming off a monster week where he tallied 3 tackles, 4 PDs and 2 INTs. Don’t expect a repeat performance of that magnitude, but expect good numbers against at Cards offensive unit that’s struggling to hold onto the football and gives up lots of points to DBs. The rest of his schedule looks pretty good, too.

Digging Deeper

DB DeAngelo Hall, ATL – The oft-maligned veteran DB and Virginia Tech product may have hurt his team on occasion, but he’s had two monster weeks in a row and he’s facing the Saints – who surrender loads of fantasy points to opposing corners. Hall isn’t a brilliant tackler, but he’s capable of been racking up PDs and INTs and usually is around the play once it gets past the front seven.
LB Omar Gaither, PHI – I recommended adding him before Week 1 partly because he finished last season well as the starter. He only blew up in one game sop far, but the Chicago offense offers many opportunities for opposing LBs to make big plays and rack up lots of IDP points.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Nate Webster, DEN – Although he won the starting SLB, he hasn’t shown that much thus far this season, but that could change against the Steelers, who pound the ball frequently and will definitely try to expose the Broncos weak run defense. Expect Webster to make a bunch of tackles against a team that’s good at sustaining long drives and keeping the opposing defense on the field.

DL Jovan Haye, TB – Who? Well, he’s got three sacks in six games and the Lions give up the most fantasy points to opposing DLs in all of football. Do you need to hear any more? Okay – Mr. Haye had made a lot of nice run-stuffing plays and is still improving as a pass rusher. Remember – he’s a long shot. DL’s are a shot in the dark in IDP, especially when they are DTs. But if you’ve been looking for an IDP sleeper spark and some consistency out of the position, he might be your man – and he’ll definitely be available.


LB Will Witherspoon, STL – Ouch. Witherspoon had nothing doing versus the Ravens, who generate far fewer points for fantasy IDPs when Boller is at the helm.

DB Jermaine Phillips, TB – He’s got a great matchup this week and he’s coming off a down week – I love that situation for DBs.

DB Marlon McCree, SD – Mr. McCree is one bye and coming off a lackluster IDP week in which he only notched 2 tackles.

LB Chad Greenway, LB – He’s still getting his tackles and will probably post below-average numbers versus the Cowboys on Sunday.

DB Roderick Hood, ARI – As I predicted, he posted a solid fantasy game last week (6 tackles, 2 PD) versus the Panthers, but will probably see his numbers go down this week against at Washington Redskins offense that doesn’t yield to many points to opposing DBs.

DL Kenyon Coleman, NYJ – Coleman hit his weekly average with 3 total tackles and a sack against the Eagles.