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Through The Wire
11/20/07 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 went 33-for-54, passing for 348 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against Dallas, and he’s been throwing the ball much better. I’ve had my ups and downs recommending this guy, but excluding the horrific stretch from weeks 7-9, he hasn’t been all that bad – and that’s without hitting any WRs in the end zone until Week 10. If Santana Moss stays healthy, his numbers should continue to impress, and he’s available in almost every one-QB format.

David Garrard, JAC – Garrard played well against the Chargers, throwing for 189 yards and 2 TDs with no turnovers – although everybody excluding Denver has played well against the chargers. But he’s healthy, he’s hungry and the Jags are looking like a solid playoff team. Next week, he gets the Bills at home, so plug him in if you’re willing to take a shot on a big game.

Digging Deeper

Daunte Culpepper, OAK – I’ve spoken to Culpepper’s talent and upside enough over the past ten weeks, so I won’t rehash what’s turned out to be largely invalidated praise. But some of that blame, in my opinion, falls on Lane Kiffin, who’s about as fickle with his starting QBs as Mike Shanahan is with his RBs. Culpepper has a few exploitable matchups (although the Chiefs have been tough against the pass as of late) and he’s probably the starter until Kiffin wakes up on the wrong side of the bed he continues to make for himself.

Jay Cutler, DEN – The young, strong-armed signal caller has only had two real stinkers all year, but his schedule the next few weeks is a bit difficult for QBs. Keep an eye on his progress coming off the big win versus the Titans.

Scouring The Barrel

Joey Harrington, ATL – He outplayed Leftwich and might get the start for the Falcons. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he should get the start for you. His remaining schedule isn’t any picnic, either.

John Beck, MIA – He’s a rookie, he didn’t do much last week, and his schedule sucks. But stay tuned to his play just in case he turns into God’s third-favorite QB – behind Jon Kitna and Kurt Warner, of course.


Kurt Warner, ARI – He’s still an injury risk, but he forged through his problems and had a decent day versus the Bengals with 211 yards passing and 2 TDs. Definitely worthy of a pickup if he’s still out there with SFO, CLE, @SEA, @NOR, ATL left on the schedule.

Matt Schaub, ATL – Schaub and Andre Johnson picked up right where they left off in Week 2, hooking up for 6/120 and a TD. Schaub finished with a superb day – 293 yards and 2 TDs – his best fantasy performance since Week 5 in ’05 when he filled in for an injured Michael Vick in Atlanta. So I hope you took my advice and grabbed him.

Vince Young, TEN – Young threw for over 300 yards for the first time in his career Sunday, eclipsing the career high he set last week. He also threw a TD pass and ran another in, but if his receivers didn’t drop a half-dozen passes – including a couple that easily could’ve gone for TDs – he might have thrown for over 400 and had 3 passing TDs. His legs looked solid, as usual, and he was putting the ball right where it needed to be. Despite his better-than-average play in Week 10, I didn’t see too many waiver wire columns last week listing Young, but the second-year QB is starting to put up some of the numbers expected out of him during the offseason by fantasy pundits. And the remaining schedule (@CIN, HOU, SDG, @KAN, NYJ left) isn’t too shabby.

J.P. Losman, BUF – You’ve got to look at the bright side if this guy’s your starter. At least he scored a TD and only got picked off once, so he’ll probably hold onto his job and the schedule only gets easier.

Kellen Clemens, NYJ – Clemens didn’t put up spectacular numbers, but he helped the struggling Jets get back on track by upsetting the Steelers – one of the best teams in the AFC.

Rex Grossman, CHI – Gross. No TDs. Very gross, man.

Kyle Boller, BAL – I’m not impressed.

Brodie Croyle, KC – Even against Oakland, I’m not interested in starting him, and neither should you, although he didn’t look horrendous versus the Colts.

Tarvaris Jackson, MIN – Ugh. Word is the Vikes want this guy to start the rest of the games in ’07 so they can determine if he’s their “quarterback of the future.” Am I missing something? Did this guy throw for 300 yards and 5 TDs last week in some alternate reality that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf discovered somewhere between Narnia and the CFL?

Running Backs

Off The Top

Ron Dayne, HOU – Dayne finished the Week 11 game versus the Saints with 89 total yards rushing, and 3-26-0 receiving. He’s had a couple serviceable #3 RB games the last two weeks, and he’s a decent play against the Browns, as long as he gets the start again.

Reuben Droughns, NYG – Brandon Jacobs, who suffered a hamstring injury in Week 11, probably won’t get the start against the Vikings, giving Droughns another opportunity for carries and fantasy points. He’s one of the only starting RBs who’ll be available in the wire, so scoop him up if you need to fill a roster spot. While I expect his value to be limited versus the Vikes, there aren’t too many better options out there.

Digging Deeper

Ricky Williams, MIA – Ricky’s being picked up in leagues everywhere, a trend that started last week in a bunch of deeper formats. While I’m not convinced he’s exactly what the Dolphins need at this point, he can’t hurt. So expect Ricky to be on the fast track, getting reps in practice with the first team and getting the start against the Jets in a couple weeks.

Michael Pittman, TB – Again, I don’t need to rehash all the praise I’ve heaped upon Michael Pittman over the years. I like the guy and think he’s underutilized in the Tampa offense. He’s splitting carries but he’s got solid matchups down the stretch. And if Earnest Graham should get injured or fall out of favor for any reason, Pittman will see increased touches and the fantasy points to match.

Scouring The Barrel

Andre Hall, DEN – Did you see that 62-yard TD scamper on Monday night? The rookie out of South Florida is a versatile back with extremely quick feet, good balance and obvious speed in separating himself from the rest of the pack. In effect, he’s a more talented, quicker version of Jessie Chatman but with less experience. Where does Denver keep finding these guys? If Selvin Young and Travis Henry aren’t ready to go by Sunday, against the Bears, Shanahan won’t hesitate to plug him in, and neither should you.

Chris Brown, TEN – Brown looked nice catching some passes out of the backfield Monday, but there’s only so many carries out there for him with Vince Young, LenDale White and Chris Henry seeing touches on the regular. I’m a believer in his ability to run in open space, but he’s not great at finding seams and is just getting back from a nagging injury. Look elsewhere if you can.

Kyle Eckel, NE – He got the Patriots’ requisite carries (and a TD) on Sunday after Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk (head) both went down with injuries. I don’t know what the status is with Faulk, but Maroney – who denies he is injured – should resume his starting duties on Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any Pats RBs on my team.


Chester Taylor, MIN – I’d feel even more brilliant about this call except for the fact that just about every waiver wire column online had this guy at the top of the list. You all know what he did against the Raiders, but running the ball against the Giants will prove a bit tougher.

Ryan Grant, GB – Grant had 88 yards on 20 carries – not bad for a guy on a team with no running game. And this week’s matchup against the Lions could really allow him to shine – as long as the ankle’s okay.

Maurice Morris, SEA – Nice game, which included a score. I don’t think they’ll be rushing Shaun Alexander back anytime soon.

Aaron Stecker, NO – Not a factor Sunday.

Chris Henry, TEN – There’s just too much competition for carries for this guy to be a reliable starter. And the suspension will kick in before year’s end.

Anthony Thomas, BUF – I think the Bills were forced to abandon the run somewhere around Randy Moss’s third TD reception – so A-Train only finished with 31 yards on 11 carries and 3 catches for 15 yards.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Santana Moss, WAS – He’s only the 57th-ranked fantasy WR this season and he’s been hobbled by a nagging heel injury. But his huge day Sunday versus the Cowboys could be a portent of better things on the horizon. He’s available in about a quarter of all fantasy leagues, so check your wire and snag if him he’s out there.

WR Chris Henry, CIN – As long as he stays out of trouble – which is easier said than done for Henry – he’ll be a factor in the Bengals stretch run, as he was Sunday. Henry played well in the Bengals win over the Ravens, which kept them (mathematically) in the playoff hunt. But they’ll need to run the table the rest of the way. It’s a long shot, but with the offensive struggles the 3-6 team has endured, Henry’s involvement in the game plan is a sure thing.

WR Bobby Engram, SEA – Trivia question: Which two WRs have been targeted the most over the past three weeks in football? You might be surprised, but it’s Engram and Saints WR Marques Colston – with 39 targets each over three games. Engram was targeted 11 times Sunday versus the Bears, even though a lot of his current value has to do with Deion Branch’s injury. Branch missed four straight games until his return last week, but was limited. I don’t know if Engram’s insane pace will keep up down the stretch, but it’s possible some owners dropped Engram as soon as D.J. Hackett emerged as the #1 WR option and Branch made his return to the starting lineup.

Digging Deeper

WR Ronald Curry, OAK – I know he’s out there in some formats, because with Santonio Holmes, D.J. Hackett, Joey Galloway, Roddy White and Donte Stallworth, I was kind of overloaded at WR when I only need to start three in my 12-team. But Curry just had his best game since Week 1, and I think the Raiders will come out throwing down the stretch because they’ve got nothing tot lose except games and nothing to gain but a higher draft pick.

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL – Nine catches Sunday means he’ll be a threat each week to break double digits in PPR leagues, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be consistent down the stretch. Keep an eye in him because Harrington seems to like him better than White.

TE Alex Smith, TB – Following his triumphant return from an ankle injury, you’ll see lots of folks snagging this highly-touted young TE off the wire. He aggravated it in Week 9 but got enough rest during the bye week to make an impact against the Falcons, posting 3-51-0. The Skins aren’t too kind to opposing TEs, but Smith is a nice red zone option for Jeff Garcia.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Ted Ginn, MIA – He’s not getting the targets yet, but he’s making the most of his opportunities, finishing Sunday with 4/52/0 and a punt return for a TD. You can’t expect a special teams TD from him every week, but see if his targets go up next week with Beck more comfortable running the Miami offense.

WR Devard Darling, BAL – I really don’t think any Baltimore receiver other than Derrick Mason is worth owning at this point. Sure, Darling had a nice game, but do you really want to pin your fantasy playoff hopes on someone who’s relying on Kyle Boller to get him the ball?


WR Isaac Bruce, STL – The Reverend made it to church on Sunday but his sermon wasn’t as spectacular as I had hoped – although 5-54-0 ain’t bad.

WR D.J. Hackett, SEA – Oh yeah – easily my best WR call of the season, Hackett put up monster numbers Sunday with 9-136-1. He’s Hasselbeck’s #1 receiving option right now, his numbers have improved each week since returning from injury, and the schedule still looks pretty good.

TE Leonard Pope, ARI – Not much of a factor Sunday with just one catch for 22 yards.

WR Arnaz Battle, SF – Battle, now a viable #4 or desperation #3 even without much of a QB presence, has 6-86-0. Man, I wish he had a QB.

WR Mark Clayton, BAL – 2/9/0. He’s garbage.

WR Eddie Kennison, KC – 1/4/0 and a fumble. He’s worse.

TE Randy McMichael, STL – Also finished with 1/4/0. What’s wrong with this guy? He used to be a stud.


Off The Top

LB Barrett Ruud, TB – No, I’m not insulting your intelligence, IDP world. But Ruud had a stinker and a bye in weeks 9-10 before returning to action with a nice game in Atlanta. I’d double-check your wire to see if somebody dropped him in favor of a live body, because his matchup is awesome this week against the Skins and he’s hungry for big numbers.

LB Ian Gold, DEN – Gold had a breakthrough game Monday night against the Titans, and this week’s matchup versus the Chicago Bears poses even more possibilities to shine. He’s not an upper echelon LB, but if you had that, you wouldn’t be here. Check out your wire and take a shot with Gold this week.

Digging Deeper

DB Chris Hope, TEN – He’s had a very disappointing season, but the Titans DBs have one of the best matchups in all of fantasy football against the Bengals. You know that Carson Palmer is going to be forcing the ball downfield and I think Chris Hope will have plenty of opportunities to make big hits and even snag a pick or two.

DL Darryl Tapp, SEA – Tapp was questionable last week but still recorded 5 total tackles, a sack and a FR against the Bears. He’s an undersized DL but is a pretty effective pass rusher with a good first step, and he’s had four solid games in a row. This week, Tapp has got a great matchup in St. Louis against a depleted offensive line.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Daryl Smith, JAC – Mike Peterson’s hand injury forces Smith into the middle. He’s available in just about every IDP format, and he’s got as nice matchup this week against the Bills, who surrender copious IDP numbers to LBs. Smith had a back injury that hampered him for a few games this season, but he’s healthy now and should be a factor in the Jags defensive scheme from here on out.

DB Chris Harris, CAR – I like Harris’ matchup against the Saints in Week 12, and with fellow DB Ken Lucas still bothered by a hip injury that had him probable last week, I think we’ll see a lot of the former Chicago Bears DB.


LB Mike Peterson, JAC – One week after a career performance, Peterson broke his hand and could miss the rest of the season, depending on whether the “caveman club cast” is an option for his injured mitt.

LB Calvin Pace, ARI – 5 total tackles and 3 PDs. We’re seeing nice IDP consistency from Pace the last several weeks.

DL Michael Strahan, NYG – My best fantasy DL call of the year, I heeded my own advice and spot-started Strahan over Will Smith and Julius Peppers and reaped the benefits – 6 total tackles and 3 sacks. Nice!

LB Bradie James, DAL – The Redskins threw a lot more than usual and James didn’t do much – just three assists.

DB Roderick Hood, ARI – I obviously picked the wrong Arizona DB to include in my column last week. See Rolle, Antrel.

LB Leon Williams, CLE – 3 solos, 3 assists and a half a sack. It could have been worse.