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Through The Wire
10/23/07 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

Derek Anderson, CLE – Is it possible someone released Anderson during the Browns bye week to fill his open QB roster slot? Sure. Will Derek come back refreshed and ready to thrash the St. Louis Rams on their home turf in the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday? Absolutely. Play Anderson with confidence against a defense that’s been shredded every week by opposing QBs except weeks 2 and 3 – when they faced Alex Smith (SF) and Jeff Garcia – who basically just did whatever they needed to win. This is probably going to be a shootout. More on that below..

Digging Deeper

Marc Bulger, STL – If your league has an IR feature that allows you to reserve an extra roster spot for injured players, Bulger’s not likely available. But through the bye weeks, teams have been forced to deal with roster size issues and injuries, so he might be out there. He got sacked a billion times last week but was still without Steven Jackson – who’s supposed to be back this week. Bulger is an accurate passer and a smart player, he’s just been thrust into a bad situation with the Rams this year – losing nearly every starting offensive lineman to injury and even a couple of backups. Tom Brady wouldn’t be leading a winning team or even an effective offense if he were in St. Louis right now, but with S-Jack back, Bulger should be much more successful. While I’d hold off on expecting him to be a top-five QB anytime soon, he’ll certainly be a nice bye week fill-in this week against the Browns – who surrender the most fantasy points in all of football to opposing QBs.

Scouring The Barrel

Sage Rosenfels, HOU – The early word is that Matt Schaub will be ready for Week 8, but Sage is a capable backup that will be heading up a pretty potent offense. You should keep your eye on him if you’re a Schaub owner – he threw 4 TDs and 2 INTs on 22-for35 passing and 290 yards, plus ran for 20 yards on three carries. Rosenfels – an Iowa-born Jew – once said his family had to make yarmulkes out of corn husks. Now that’s a guy I want on my fantasy team. Regardless of whether he ever posts another 4-TD game again.


Jason Campbell, WAS – He’s coming off a terrible game versus Arizona and the Skins are on the road against the Patriots in Week 8. Right now, Campbell is not a great option – but the upcoming schedule isn’t that frightening and I’m considering the Cards game an anomaly.

Brian Griese, CHI – Griese has a solid day without any TDs until he capped his 312-yard performance with a fitting finish – a TD to Muhsin Muhammad with just 9 seconds left on the clock. Now he faces the Detroit Lions – who have a secondary worse than some college teams. I like him a lot this week, but who doesn’t?

Damon Huard, KC – The matchup didn’t look too ominous, but the results were pitiful from a fantasy perspective – 16/31 passing for 177 yards, no TD and 1 INT.

Kellen Clemens, NYJ – While Pennington had three nice quarters, it takes four to win in the NFL, and the late INT and subsequent loss leaves a bad taste in Mangini’s mouth. Clemens might soon get a shot.

Tim Rattay, ARI – At least he had a TD pass. How’s this for a line? 1/1/,1 yard, 1 TD 0 INT. Nice.

Kyle Boller, BAL – The Ravens are terrible, on a bye and McNair’s probably coming back. While some crowds think Boller’s going to be playing well after the bye, I’m not among them.

Vinny Testaverde, CAR – He’s got an okay matchup at home versus the Colts following the Week 7 bye, but the truth is this: If you’re really looking forward to starting a 43-year-old QB, you’re either desperate, drunk, retarded or a bizarre combination of the three.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Jesse Chatman, MIA – Ronnie Brown’s knee is all messed up and a Monday report listed him as lost for the season. I don’t think a lot of folks know too much about Chatman, so I’ll give you a quick synopsis. Undrafted out of college, Chatman signed with the Chargers in April 2002 and led the NFL in rushing during the preseason with 234 yards on a 5.1 average. He made the team and played sparingly over the next three seasons, but was released by the Chargers in ‘05 and remained inactive (although he bounced around a bit with the Dolphins and Saints) until being re-signed by the Dolphins in February ’07. He’s a good change-of-pace back and while not elusive, can be useful as an inside, North-South runner with his good vision and ability to hit the hole effectively. In Cam Cameron’s system, he can catch some passes out of the backfield and gain chunks of yardage on the inside, but he’s not that fast, so he’ll have a hard time consistently breaking off big runs like a Tomlinson or Ronnie Brown. Sunday, he filled in well for Brown and could be very effective as a goal line back even if the Dolphins split the duties between Chatman and RBs Patrick Cobbs and Lorenzo Booker. In any case, Chatman’s worth a top waiver selection this week simply based on his potential to supplant Brown’s body in the Miami offense.

Jamal Lewis, CLE – Probably not available in 75 percent of the leagues out there, but he’s definitely out there in some. Given the productivity of Cleveland’s offense, Lewis is a decent play versus the Rams next week if the foot injury is a thing of the past. But he was limited in practice Monday and Romeo Crennel said that might continue into Wednesday. If he’s limited in practice the entire week, the Browns would likely give some, or all, of the carries to Jason Wright, who ran well in Lewis’s stead during weeks 5 and 6. But the bottom line remains the indispensable fact that in weeks 12 through 16, the Browns face HOU, @ARI, @NYJ, BUF and @CIN – the best matchups for any RB in the league down the home stretch.

Digging Deeper

Kenny Watson, CIN – Kenny will probably never run for 130 yards and three TDs in game ever again, but he’s Rudi’s backup and Rudi’s been hurt. I wouldn’t recommend plugging him in your lineup against the Steelers, but we know now that he can get it done given the right opportunity and the right matchup.

Selvin Young, DEN – Is he still available? He shouldn’t be, but if he is, Travis Henry’s bruised ribs (among other things) add yet another reason to put Young on your roster. I wouldn’t expect him to be the next Terrell Davis or Clinton Portis, because Young has never quite lived up to expectations, but he’s a versatile back and can contribute to just about any fantasy lineup given the right situation and matchup.

Earnest Graham, TB – For a second week in a row, most of Graham’s fantasy points came via receptions in PPR leagues. Last week I recommended playing him against the Lions, and this week I think he’ll probably catch a few passes without reaching the end zone.

Adrian Peterson, CHI – He’s yet to score or have more than 7 carries or 38 yards (his Week 1 accomplishments) in a game this season, but he’s averaging a healthy 4.46 YPC and he’s had 18 catches for 152 yards. Cedric Benson, on the other hand, is averaging just 3.06 YPC, has scored just twice and has only run for more than 67 yards once this season (101 yards against the Chiefs in Week 2). We all know that Lovie doesn’t like to shake things up, but even Rex G rossman eventually outwore his welcome. This week, the Bears play one of the worst run defenses in football and Peterson might get an increased workload.

Scouring The Barrel

Priest Holmes, KC – While picking up Priest off the wires last week was all the rage among speculative fantasy owners with a penchant for perennial disappointment and pork belly futures options, I wasn’t to be convinced until I saw him in the red, white and gold. Now, he’s a necessary handcuff to Larry Johnson as well as someone who may steal some carries and provide the Chiefs with a nice change of pace. It’s possible, too, that the return of Holmes pushes Johnson and spells him just enough for him to be even more effective. In any event, LJ owners need not view Holmes coming back as negatively as LJ has done in the past. Just smile, be an adult about it, pick him up and play him should anything happen to LJ.

Michael Robinson, SF – If Frank Gore can’t go on Sunday, Robinson could be a decent fill-in option against the Saints. With that said, nobody expects Gore to miss a significant amount of time and neither Robinson nor the 49ers offense has been too impressive.

Najeh Davenport, PIT – Sure, there’s the domestic violence issues and the obvious detriment that he’s playing second fiddle to Willie Parker, but Davenport could still get a bunch of carries and some quality goal line opportunities versus the terrible Bengals defense on Sunday if the Steelers get out to a big lead. If you’re out a big-name RB this week and you need an available RB to fill-in capable of big numbers, Najeh could be the guy.


DeAngelo Williams, CAR – The Indy matchup is an exploitable one, especially with the Panthers coming off a bye and the Colts coming off a short week – but remember that DeShaun Foster’s still getting the majority of carries.

Kevin Faulk, NE – Maroney came back and the Pats didn’t do too much running. Forgot about him unless your league starts 4 RBs.

Kevin Jones, DET – Detroit finally got to brandish an additional offensive weapon last week in Jones, who finished with 76 yards and a score to go along with 6/34/0 receiving, a great day for a RB in PPR leagues and a decent afternoon in any format. Will he rip apart the Bears on Sunday like Adrian Peterson did a couple weeks back? No way – but he’ll have a bunch of catches and could run one in.

LenDale White, TEN – Coming off a beautiful fantasy day in Houston, White faces OAK, CAR, JAC, @DEN, @CIN – which should provide him more opportunities to rack up some yardage and scores. Just watch the injury status of Chris Brown – who takes away carries – and Vince Young – who will abscond with some of LenDale’s scores.

Michael Bennett, TB – Earnest Graham had 13 catches and almost 200 total yards Sunday, while Bennett had just 3 carries – albeit for 22 yards and a nice YPC average. It definitely looks like a RBBC in Tampa, making Bennett – for now – nothing more than a #4 fantasy RB or desperation #3.

Tatum Bell, DET – Nary a freakin’ carry on Sunday. Looks like Marinelli’s now married to Kevin Jones – and T.J. Duckett’s the new wifey. What does that make Tatum? The ex.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Brandon Stokley, DEN – The eight-year veteran had his best game of the season Sunday night with five catches for 70 yards and touchdown and should step up with Javon Walker out until December. He’s quick, athletic, fearless and he’s got the requisite experience to catch 5-7 balls a game if needed. The downside to Stokley is his propensity to get injured, but in Denver, he’ll be forced to play through injuries that he could afford to nurse while he was in Indy. Last year, he missed all but four games with hamstring and Achilles issues, and he was even listed as questionable last week. Denver signed Stokley to a one-year deal because they wanted a reliable pass-catcher and he came to Denver because he’s got something to prove to all the teams that didn’t want him – including Indy. Brandon Marshall’s recent DUI arrest probably won’t affect the Denver WR situation too much this season, but it can’t make Shanahan happy. I’d expect Stokley to see a significant number of targets from here on out.

WR Muhsin Muhammad, CHI – Muhsin Muhammad loves him some Brian Griese. And Brian Griese loves him some Muhsin Muhammad. The stirring love fest played out on a last-second, fourth quarter stage on Sunday, much to the dismay of Philly fans. This week, Chicago plays Detroit, making Muhammad a great play as a #3 versus that pitiful secondary.

WR D.J. Hackett, SEA – I was quite high on Hackett during my drafts this year, taking him in a 10-team, 3WR league to be my #3 behind Plaxico Burress and Roy Williams, but injuries kept him off the field so far. The Seahawks are on a bye, so he’ll get another week of recovery and he should be in the lineup when Seattle heads to Cleveland – a solid matchup.

WR Isaac Bruce, STL – If he’s healthy, I think he’s a good play. Sure, the Reverend has lost a step, but he’s an awesome possession receiver and the Browns are a defense that give up a lot of first downs. With Bulger, Holt and S-Jack starting, Bruce should be able to get open and even grab a score. Just follow the injury report and if everybody’s on the field Sunday, Bruce is a viable #3 or #4 WR

Digging Deeper

WR Andre Davis, HOU – I simply can’t ignore Andre Davis anymore. While I was unimpressed with his fantasy resume before 2007, he’s turned the Andre Johnson injury into a bona fide career resurgence. As long as Johnson remains out – which many still believe could be until Week 11 or later – Davis is a solid play. The Texans have been throwing the ball a ton, and until they change the formula, Davis should be owned in all formats. And if Schaub doesn’t go, Rosenfels is fully capable of getting the ball to the Texans WRs, as he evidenced brilliantly on Sunday versus Tennessee.

WR Devin Hester, CHI – You know the feeling. The games are ticking away, your usually dependable lineup is stalling and the games are shaping up so that your main guys aren’t getting their opportunities. You’ve been getting decent production from your fantasy wideouts and you have okay running backs – but you’re looking for a special player to put you over the top each week. Well – just like you want consistent performers in your lineup, it’s important to have guys who are capable of blowing up at any point and changing a game. It’s the main reason I drafted Maurice Jones-Drew, and why so many people are fawning over Adrian Peterson. Devin Hester has the ability to get you 6-9 fantasy points (or more, depending on your scoring) in a heartbeat, regardless of the way the game is playing out.

WR Arnaz Battle, SF – Battle is one of the more underrated sleeper WRs in all of fantasy football, and he’s got a great matchup this week at home versus New Orleans. Arnaz is a talented athlete (he’s the team’s emergency QB) and he’s been targeted often by Trent Dilfer. This game could easily turn into the Giants-Niners game last week, when Battle went for 6/57/1 – his second game in a row with a TD. This week, he could make it three in a row.

TE Donald Lee, GB – Lee is now the Packers’ starting TE with Bubba Franks out with a sprained knee and Favre loves to target the big guys in the red zone. I recommended taking a shot on him during Week 3 as a backup TE, but his value goes way up with Franks slated to miss abut 3-4 weeks. Lee makes a really nice start against Denver, a team that yields the most points to fantasy TEs in football (see Heath Miller last week). Now’s the time to grab Lee and play him with confidence.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Amani Toomer, NYG – Since the peak of his career in 2002, Toomer’s yardage totals have steadily declined – but since he hit rock bottom as a fantasy receiver in 2004 (51/747/0), his per game fantasy totals have rebounded. In 2005, he finished a full season with (60/684/7) and last year during a season cut in half by injuries, he posted (32/360/3). Sunday, the 33-year-old Toomer caught 3 balls for 37 yards and a TD – just enough for a decent fantasy game. If Plaxico’s TD totals start to fade off, Amani could be the one picking them up. Don’t waste a roster spot on him unless you’re really struggling, but he’s one of the better under-the-radar veterans that’s often targeted in the red zone and could be worth a flier in TD-only leagues.

WR Ted Ginn, Jr., MIA – Ginn is a special player, I’m just not sure if he’s ready for the big stage and the size of NFL defenders just yet. Dolphins fans booed Cam Cameron heartily when he addressed them at a press conference following Ginn’s selection in the 2007 draft, when Cameron famously spoke to the quality of Ginn’s family. The Miami faithful balked at the Fins War Room’s decision to pass on Brady Quinn and Ginn has yet to squelch the squawking among fans – Ted’s “family” has yet to score an NFL TD and he’s yet to make a real impact on the games. But all this could change with Chris Chambers in San Diego. Ginn started Sunday and caught three passes for 37 yards, although he was targeted six times. That really puts the onus on Cleo Lemon. If Lemon starts finding Ginn when the young receiver’s open, he could be a nice #3 or #4 WR.


WR Joey Galloway, TB – Joey missed a great opportunity to post big numbers against the Lions. But then again, he is Joey Galloway.

WR Donte Stallworth, NE – What did I tell you? At this rate, he’ll be good for about a TD catch per week.

TE Heath Miller, PIT – Ka-BOOM! Arguably my best call of the season. Folks that listened to my recommendation and snagged Miller following his bye week were treated to 5/50/2 out of a roster slot that’s only two or three guys in the league plug those kind of numbers into. If you listened – then congratulations are in order.

WR Chris Henry, CIN – It’s time to get him. When he comes back following next week, he’ll be gone off most wires, and the Bengals will immediately insert him into the rotation to shake things up on offense.

WR Kevin Walter, HOU – Walter had another solid game – 6/97/1 and continues to be a good #3 WR until Andre Johnson comes back. And given the way the Texans are moving the football through the air, it’s conceivable he stays a valuable option.

TE Chris Baker, NYJ – Sat out Sunday’s game with a back injury.

WRs Lance Moore & David Patten, NO – Just 3/39/0 between them during Sunday’s win over the Falcons. And the much-maligned Devery Henderson caught a TD, so their value takes a hit.


Off The Top

LB Derek Smith, SF – While rookie LB Patrick Willis goes nuts on opposing running backs and attracts all the attention, Smith – his fellow ILB – is quietly racking up some decent totals of his own. He’s a smart player, disciplined and fundamentally sound, and he’s a textbook hitter who finishes his tackles. This week, the 49ers face off against a Saints team that yields the sixth-most IDP points to opposing LBs, and I can guarantee that Smith’s out there in most leagues.

DB Antoine Winfield, MIN – The 9-year-veteran’s IDP numbers have gotten better each year since 2002, and this year they’re really ballooning. And he’s still available in one of my leagues for whatever reason. I guess that sometimes it’s just difficult to cut bait on a promising young player who’s struggling – something I’m currently encountering with Chris Hope – to make room for an aging veteran who’s numbers have continually risen. Wait – what the hell am I talking about? I’m picking up Winfield and dropping Hope. I just convinced myself.

DB Terrence McGee, BUF – When all the good LBs are gone, you have to look at DB matchups for consistency in tackling totals and the occasional pick that usually makes your IDP stat line. The Buffalo secondary has the best matchup of any crew in football this week except the Steelers. Troy Polamalu’s most likely gone in most formats and although Ike Taylor’s been scoring, he only has quality IDP starts in three of his six games. They’re definitely worth consideration this week if they’re available, but I like what I’ve seen from McGee in Buffalo. There’s nobody else in the secondary that’s healthy and used to playing tough divisional games like McGee is, and regardless of who gets the call for the Jets – Clemens or Pennington – McGee should post solid numbers.

Digging Deeper

DL Trent Cole, PHI – The guy can play – and this week he takes aim at the Vikings, who in weeks 2-4 gave up the most points to fantasy DLs of anybody except the Lions.

DB Leigh Bodden, CLE – He’s yet another example of a quality IDP defender who’s got a great matchup this week. I’ve recommended Bodden before, and he didn’t capitalize on my confidence. Against the Rams – who give up the fifth-most points to fantasy DBs – and an iffy Bulger, I gotta like him again.

LB Paris Lenon, DET – I’ve discussed Lenon before, but I don’t think too many people have listened. This week he should find plenty of points out there against the Bears, who give up the second most points (the Chargers give up the most) to fantasy LBs.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Justin Tuck, NYG – Assuming Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora are gone in your IDP league, taking Tuck could be a good move. While he heads to London to face a Miami team that somehow allows the fewest fantasy points in football to opposing DL, Tuck shouldn’t last too much longer on the wire. And I think that inexplicable trend in Miami is about to change, considering the way the Giants DLs are playing and how low morale in Miami is right about now.

DB Marcus Trufant, SEA – He’s having a great year and putting up consistent fantasy numbers for the first time since ’04, but Marcus is on a bye this week. He returns Week 9 against the Browns and makes a great DB play in any IDP format.


LB Angelo Crowell, BUF – This steady IDP performer finished with 9 total tackles but no extra stuff. Still, that type of consistency in tackle numbers is usually good enough to warrant success in most IDP leagues – the other stuff comes when it comes.

DB Sean Taylor, WAS – Another solid call, my recommendation of Taylor yielded fruitful results – 5 total tackles, an INT and a PD.

DB DeAngelo Hall, ATL – Hall didn’t bust out for two straight weeks like I had thought, but he did get 6 tackles en route to a pedestrian IDP day.

LB Omar Gaither, PHI – 7 tackles and a PD – good enough for the purpose he serves in most fantasy lineups.

LB Nate Webster, DEN – D.J. Williams was the Denver LB who stole the show on Sunday night, as Webster only managed 5 total tackles.

DL Jovan Haye, TB – My IDP sleeper of the week finished with 4 tackles and a sack – not bad..