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Through The Wire

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 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 most deeper leagues.


Off The Top

Joey Harrington, MIA – All I can say is “Whoa!” The Dolphins are a different offense with Harrington at the helm, although playing the Packers can have that effect. But anybody who racks up 414 yards passing and 2 TDs should be seriously considered for a roster spot, even if he threw 3 picks in the process.

Digging Deeper

Charlie Batch, PIT – Ben Roethlisberger has once again suffered a setback. I said earlier in the season that Batch probably wasn’t as good as his 3-TD performance against Miami in Week 1, but he looked solid again in relief of Big Ben on Sunday, with 195 yards and 2 TDs on 8-for-13 passing. Stay tuned to see how things shake out in Pittsburgh this week, considering a healthy Batch is seemingly a lot better than a rattled Roethlisberger.

Tony Romo, DAL – No word as of press time what Bill Parcells plans to do about his situation. They were still in the game at halftime, until Romo started doing a bad Brett Favre impression and throwing the ball to opposing players. The buzz on this guy started really building in the last few week’s of training camp, but he looked about as comfortable on Monday night as a Congressional page in Mark Foley’s basement. If you have Bledsoe and a open roster spot, picking up room would probably be a wise move. But there’s no telling how the situation in Dallas will play out, since they’re both playing like Babe Laufenberg.

Scouring The Barrel

Andrew Walter, OAK – He just got the Raiders their first (albeit possibly their last) win of 2006. Who knows? Maybe the confidence he got from the win will translate to better numbers in the coming weeks. But even with an obnoxiously bad fantasy QB situation, it’s hard for me to recommend having this guy on your roster.

Seneca Wallace, SEA – Bad numbers in relief of Hasselbeck on Sunday, but they’ll definitely improve during the next few weeks (@KC, OAK, STL) while Matt’s out with an MCL strain. For now, I’d just keep an eye on him, since the Seattle offense is not quite awe-inspiring at this point in the season.


Alex Smith, SF – I hope the bye week served this young QB well.

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – More problems for the man who seems to have jinxed his team’s season before it even started with that stupid motorcycle accident.

Kyle Boller, BAL – Stay tuned and see how things shape up with McNair and how Brian Billick’s offense changes after the Jim Fassel firing.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Leon Washington, NYJ – Despite Kevan Barlow’s presence and apparent history as the Jet’s goal line back, Washington stole the show Sunday in a solid win over Detroit. I wouldn’t expect 129 and 2 scores form him every week, but his performance for my opponent this week sealed him a victory. He’s a shifty back that runs with power, and he was very effective for the Jets inside the red zone.

Digging Deeper

Wali Lundy, HOU – The Texans played like anew tam with Lundy in the backfield Sunday, and it almost makes you wonder what he was doing on the bench for the past five weeks, doesn’t it? He never really got a chance, until now, and responded with 93 yards and a score. Definitely worth a roster spot in most leagues, especially considering how these upstarts ripped up the Jags.

Scouring The Barrel

Justin Fargas, OAK – If Lamont Jordan resumes playing next week, there’s no point involving him. But he played good against the Cards (66 yards rushing), and he’ll be a decent start in Week 9 in Seattle if Jordan still isn’t back.


Brandon Jacobs, NYG – 10 carries for 40 yards and a score in the debacle over the Cowboys. Tiki ran great, but Jacobs looked fierce during all his runs. Get him on your team if you have an open roster spot.

Najeh Davenport, PIT – Just one rush against the Falcons Sunday? This guy’s way too talented not to get more involved in that offense.

Michael Pittman, TB – Don’t forget about this guy. This Sunday, he only had three carries for 14 yards and two catches for 23 yards. But he’s getting more touches, he’s doing his job and Bucs are heating up.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Mike Furrey, DET – The undisputed #2 WR in Detroit, but they love to pass and he’s been as sure-handed as Roy Williams, who draws all the attention. On Sunday, he blew up with 9/109/1TD. He’s got a nose for the end zone and a great attitude. Don’t let Furrey slip by your waiver wire again.

Digging Deeper

WR Derek Hagan, MIA – A name that was floating around a bit last week, Hagan was impressive on Sunday (5-53-1) and could be a better option than Wes Welker in Miami’s seemingly new passing game resurgence (which apparently doesn’t involve Chris Chambers all that much). Incidentally, I traded Chambers in a league where I was overloaded with solid WRs straight up for Tony Gonzalez last week. It seemed like a good deal at the time, and now it seems even better. Hagan’s not going to lead these guys to the playoffs, but he’s a worthy #3 fantasy receiver and he’s taking looks away from Chambers.

WR Nate Washington, PIT – Batch really likes throwing Nate’s way, and Nate has responded with some big TD catches. In deeper leagues where everybody has been scooped up, Nate might still be available. But be forewarned that he’s an inconsistent fantasy option who could disappear from the stat line on any given week.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Marcus Robinson, MIN – He injured his “lower back” this week and results of his MRI should probably come back today. He’s a player with lots of talent, and he was inspiring some confidence in his QB, Brad Johnson – who has started to look away from Troy Williamson since the youngster has dropped so many passes. If the injury’s not serious, Robinson could be the big play guy on a good team that will be in the playoff hunt by season’s end.

WR Asley Lelie, ATL – I’d wait a while before I planned using Lelie, but it’s a good sign that Atlanta is incorporating him into the offense more. He finished Sunday’s crazy game with 4 catches for 58 yards. Not bad for a guy that’s been throwing up goose eggs all year.

WR Peerless Price, BUF – He actually does have peers, unfortunately for the Bills. He had 5-53 this week, but he’s going to have to start finding the end zone for him to have much worth in most fantasy leagues.


WR Arnaz Battle, SF – This might not be the best week to play Battle (@CHI), but there’s a definite connection between him and Alex Smith and the rest of the schedule looks good.

WR Mark Clayton, BAL – Okay, so the two TDs he caught two weeks ago were batted around a bit before he hauled them in. There’s still something to say for karma.

TE Chris Baker, NYJ – Just one catch in Week 7, so I’d be looking for better options.

WR Samie Parker, KC – Same story as Baker – one freakin’ catch.

WR Michael Clayton, TB – Improving offense could mean improving numbers. Galloway’s been inconsistent, and Gradkowski’s probably going to look his way more and more.


Off The Top

DB Charles Woodson, GNB – He was very consistent until Sunday, when he went nuts versus the Dolphins and was all over the field. Woodson has become a better tackler over the years, and he’s still quite capable of making the big play. I’d definitely grab him to start this week against a Cardinal team that could provide a similar story to last week.

LB E.J. Henderson, MIN – If he’s still available, pick him up. E.J.’s been making huge plays on a defense that could be the most underrated in football. He’s posted back-to-back 17-point games by my league’s scoring system (not counting the bye) and he’s facing a Pats team that’s going to try and keep the Vikings defense on the field a lot this Sunday.

DL Tamba Hali, KC – He already got scooped up in both my IDP leagues, but I’m sure he’s still out there in some. Make it so he isn’t, and do it as fast as you can. He’s got a great matchup this week facing a Seattle team that has officially begun its descent into mediocrity, and I can picture a few big hits on poor Seneca Wallace.

Digging Deeper

DB Ken Hamlin, SEA – As the Seattle defense gets more field time, Hamlin racks up more points. He’s always been a bit hitter, and he’ll be a good play against KC this week.

DL Robert Mathis, IND – Dwight Freeney’s been completely useless for fantasy purposes – but Mathis has been solid. He’s tied for fifth in the league among lineman with 23 solos alongside Trent Cole (who’s kind of a hybrid pass rushing DL/LB), and he’s got 4 sacks on the season. This week’s prey: Jake Plummer.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Channing Crowder, MIA – I really want to call him Cranning Chowder. His numbers have improved over the course of the season, but he’s on a bye this week. You could steal him now pretty easily if you’re already good to go for Week 8, or take a chance and wait, but if you need a solid LB who makes tackles and is getting better, Crowder’s your man.


LB Eric Barton, NYJ – Only 4 tackles against the Lions (Vilma made most of the plays), but picked himself up a tiny bit with his first pass defensed of the season. He’ll be a decent IDP option, but he shares a lot of points with Rhodes and Vilma.

LB David Thornton, TEN – Coming off a bye and facing the Texans, expect Thornton to have a big game.

Donte Whitner, DB, BUF – Not a great game against the Pats, but there’s plenty of chatter about his potential.

DB Anthony Henry, DAL – Leads the league in passes defensed and getting his 5+ tackles a game.