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Through The Wire
11/25/08 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 may still be available in many deeper leagues.

What a week for scoring! It couldn’t have come at a better time for lots of fringe teams, and was probably too much action to bear for others. As we get ready for Week 13, there are a few old favorites popping up again on the wire as fantasy teams close ranks in the playoff hunt.

I welcome your e-mails and would like to continue hearing from you regarding my waiver wire recommendations – whether they have helped or hindered your success this season. I’m also ready and willing to answer specific fantasy questions to help you try to get into the “promised land” – your league’s playoffs. Fire away.


Off The Top

Trent Edwards, BUF – Wow. I kept wondering why our site’s rankings kept plugging him in the top 10 each week. I guess this is what Edwards owners (and a few rankings gurus) have been waiting for. This week, the Stanford alumnus has another great matchup at home versus the Niners.

Matt Ryan, ATL – The Chargers will likely focus on stopping Michel Turner and Jerious Norwood, so it figures that Ryan should have a good fantasy day rife with opportunities. He’s probably not available in too many leagues, but he’s bound to be an option in some coming off two consecutive lackluster performances.

Digging Deeper

Donovan McNabb, PHI – I know – he’s coming off a couple bad games. But you know that someone jumped the gun and dropped him after he got benched Sunday. The truth is, he plays the Cards on Thursday night, and if you’re hurting at QB (or you already own him and have dealt with him for this long) you can certainly go ahead and give him a shot against one of the league’s friendlier pass defenses.

Jeff Garcia, TB – He’s pretty far down on the list of #2 fantasy QBs, but he’s not a bad option this week at home against the Saints. Even though the Saints secondary looked a lot better defending the pass, they still gave up a bunch of fantasy points to Aaron Rodgers. If Garcia can keep his turnovers down, he could easily finish with 200+ yards, 2 TDs and a nice fantasy day.

Scouring The Barrel

Kerry Collins, TEN – He’s a decent play this week bouncing back from the Jets loss against the Lions, who figure to do everything they can to stop the run and make Collins beat them through the air. Fortunately for the Titans, that’s not too difficult either.

Joe Flacco, BAL – The Bengals haven’t been as terrible against the pass as you would imagine, but Flacco should be a good #2 play against them this week. The Ravens are a lot better than I anticipated and Flacco has a lot to do with it lately.


Matt Cassel, NE – Cassel threw for over 400 yards for the second consecutive week and is emerging as a quality #1 QB option. If you were lucky enough to grab him while he was on the wire (and he definitely was in a bunch of formats for much of the season) I’d keep riding that train.

Shaun Hill, SF – In three and a half games, Hill has scored only a few fantasy points less than former starter J.T. O’Sullivan, who had seven and a half games of action this season before he was replaced by the veteran backup. In Week 12, he had another good fantasy day (21-for 33, 303 yards, 2 TD, INT) in another San Fran loss. Hill’s thrown 2 TD passes in each of his three fantasy starts, making him a solid QB#2.

Gus Frerotte, MIN – He had an nice stretch during the middle of the season, but as the running game has found its footing, Frerotte’s become nothing more than a desperation play. His matchups the rest of the way are favorable, but I’d be wary benching a more consistent fantasy scorer to take advantage of them.

Daunte Culpepper, DET – His team sucks and he turns the ball over too much. Consider him a bottom tier QB at this point.

JaMarcus Russell, OAK – The Raiders don’t need a good fantasy QB to win games, baby. All they need are opponents that look past them on the schedule and division rivalries that really boil the blood of resident sea monster Al Davis as he swims around in his moat.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Pierre Thomas, NO – Thomas had the second-best game of his young fantasy career on Mondya night with 87 yards rushing and a TD on 15 carries as well as 3-34-0 receiving. His best career game is still 2007’s Week 17 performance – where he tallied 12-121-1 receiving to go along with a 2-point conversion and 105 rushing yards. He’s obviously the feature back with Reggie Bush still out and Deuce McAllister assuming lighter duties. Once Bush returns he should continue to be used – and while Bush practiced last week, it’s important to remember that the star back might not return until Week 14 or later, according to some sources.

Peyton Hillis, DEN – Keep an eye on the impending return of Selvin Young, but you should snatch Hillis if he’s somehow still available in your league. He’s probably best used as a #3 or flex against the Jets, but he’ll be a fantasy factor from here on out as he’s the only player producing right now for Mike Shanahan’s bumbling Broncos.

Digging Deeper

Darren McFadden, OAK – He rushed for 38 yards and 2 TDs on 10 carries on Sunday. Even though the Raiders are still not a good team, he could be a factor down the stretch. It looks like he’s recovered form the turf toe(s) thing, so scoop him up if he’s out there and consider using him this week against the Chiefs.

Leon Washington, NYJ – I’ve written enough on Washington over the past three years to fill a scrapbook, so it’s obvious to loyal readers that he’s a waiver wire favorite of mine. He’s got four TDs in his last two weeks, but if you’re picking him up, you must keep in mind that he’s the #2 running option for the Jets and usually doesn’t see too many goal line carries. The next couple weeks, he’s still a solid #3 RB or flex option, but temper your expectations with the knowledge that consecutive 2-TD games are rare for any back, especially a Backup RB/Special Teams/Third Down specialist.

Scouring The Barrel

Carnell Williams, TB – Keep tabs on the Cadillac heading into Week 13, since he had 16 carries for just 27 yards on Sunday versus a terrible defense. He may not be the Caddy we all remember.

Maurice Morris, SEA – He appears to have taken over the starting duties for the Seahawks. If that’s a good thing, I don’t know.


Warrick Dunn, TB – Dunn produced as expected but could see a split with Cadillac back. He’s definitely the more effective back, however, so he has more value.

Derrick Ward, NYG – With Jacobs out, Ward was a solid RB play last week. Stay tuned to Jacobs’ status, because it’s the difference between Ward as a #2 or #3.

Tatum Bell, DEN – Hillis is still the man getting the carries, and with each week, Bell’s latent value diminishes.

Fred Jackson, BUF – He had 2-20-0 receiving and 56 rushing yards on just 9 carries. That’s why I love him.

Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG – Bradshaw’s like Jackson – a tough little back behind a franchise player who usually makes the most of his opportunities. Unfortunately, he only had four touches on Sunday and 9 yards rushing as Ward and Eli’s arm stole the show.

Antonio Pittman, STL – It just seems so pointless to play S. Louis RBs not named Steven Jackson.

Kenneth Darby, STL – See above.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Ted Ginn, Jr., MIA – With Greg Camarillo done for the year, Ginn (5-88-0 on Sunday) will be the top receiving target along with TE Anthony Fasano and the backs. Davone Bess (5-87-0 on Sunday) is also emerging, so act accordingly.

WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND – He had 6-95-1 on Sunday night and is helping the Indy offense get back on track with clutch catches and frequent targets in the red zone. He got snatched off the wire on Sunday in one of my home leagues and I’m kicking myself for not grabbing him first, regardless of how good my other WRs are.

Digging Deeper

WR Isaac Bruce, SF – Bruce came on strong in Week 12 with 8-125-1, his highest reception totaland second-highest yardage total this season. If the Buffalo game this week plays out like the Buffalo-KC game (or Dallas-San Fran) last week, it could mean another big day.

WR Kevin Walter, HOU – He’s still out there in a bunch of leagues and he shouldn’t be. If you need a quality WR #3, he’s your man.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Domenik Hixon, NYG – If Plaxico is out for an extended period of time, Hixon looks like he’ll be the guy to fill his role, but there are so many receiving options on that team and they spend so much time pounding the ball on the ground in the red zone, it’s a total crap shoot figuring out who’ll have the big day.

WR Mark Clayton, BAL – He just doesn’t see enough targets to warrant consistent use in you fantasy lineup as anything but a WR#4 in TD-only leagues, but he’s definitely a big-pay threat with Flacco’s big arm in Baltimore. This week, he has a good chance to score against a weak Bengals defense.


WR Marvin Harrison, IND – 6-44-0 wasn’t bad, and he had a huge fourth down catch to help get Indy the win, but Gonzalez is taking away his red-zone targets.

WR Lance Moore, NO – He’s now in the top10 of fantasy receivers in most formats and is obviously here to stay. I hope you were among the 4-5 percent of fantasy owners who picked him up this past week and gave him his shot, because he blew up Monday night for 5-115-2, including a 70-yard bomb. The only knock would be the horrible trick-play INT he threw in the second half, but that’s nitpicking.

WR Donnie Avery, STL – He posted a pretty big stinker in Week 12, seeing just 4 targets (his lowest target total since Week 2) and finishing with 1-14-0. Apparently, Trent Green doesn’t know he has one of the best young receivers in the league on his team.

WR Justin Gage, TEN – Just one catch for 37 yards against the Jets, but he’s got Detroit this week.

WR Antonio Bryant, TB – Bryant left briefly after suffering an ankle injury but was able to return. He’ll be limited during practice this week but is expected to play in Week 13 against the Saints.

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL – He hasn’t scored since Week 9 and should be considered a low end #3 option. But he may find paydirt against the Chargers, who’ll probably shoot it out with the Falcons this weekend.

WR Jabar Gaffney, NE – Gaffney had another decent game, grabbing 5-88-0. He should continue to see targets as long as Cassel’s throwing over 40 times a game, but may not be a great play even as a #3 WR this week against the Steelers.


Off The Top

LB Rocky McIntosh, WAS – London Fletcher gets a lot of the press, but Rocky’s a solid tackler who’s bound to see lots of action against the Giants this week. Play him with confidence and please do your best to ignore how bad my LB picks were last week.

DB Yeremiah Bell, MIA – He’s an IDP stud, he’s doing it without INTS and TDs and he’s got a great matchup against the Rams.

Digging Deeper

LB Jamie Winborn, DEN – I’m taking the FFLibrarian’s advice and including Winborn in my column this week because he’s the most effective of the Broncos’ backup LBs thrust into a starting role – and he’s got a good matchup against the Jets.

DB Cedric Griffin, MIN – His matchup isn’t a great one, but I’ve got a feeling Griffin – who sat out the team’s opening series because he missed a team meeting last week – will come up big in this enormous divisional game versus the Bears.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Ike Taylor, PIT – He’s the Steelers leading solo tackler in the secondary and has a nice matchup against the Pats, who have been throwing like gangbusters the past two weeks. Also – he’s got zero picks on the year (the longest such INT-less streak of his career since his rookie season in 2003) and he’s totally due.

DL Haloti Ngata, BAL – Haloti’s been a consistent tackler for the Ravens and while he’s not owned in too many fantasy leagues, he puts up decent numbers for an interior DL. If you’re required to play a DT, you could do a lot worse than Ngata.


LB Jerod Mayo, NE – I knew Mayo probably wouldn’t have 20tackles again, but at least 5 would have been nice.

DL Trent Cole, PHI – I plugged in Cole as my DL in one format and while my squad got shredded by one that had both Cassel and Turner, the sassy pass-rushing tweener was a bright spot with 7 solos, an assist and a sack, one of his best fantasy totals of the season.

LB Thomas Davis, CAR – He was listed as probable for Week 132 and finished with just three solo tackles.

DB Carlos Rogers, WAS – Two tackles and a PD – I really expected Matt Hasselbeck to throw his way more often with Shawn Springs back. Oh well – they threw at Springs and got beat by him.

LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN – Hey – what’s one more terrible LB performance this week? All my LBs basically crapped the bed Week 12.

DB Kevin Payne, CHI – Payne has 6 more tackles (5 solo, 1 assist) and is now ninth among all DBs for solo tackles.