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Through The Wire
12/9/08 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.

It’s crunch time in the fantasy playoffs and while some of you are enjoying the sturdy state of affairs on your current roster, others are squeaking by with victories and dealing with some major injuries following Week 14. The loss of Peyton Hillis – who’s been a miraculously steady fantasy standout since Week 9 – will force a few owners to look to the wire in Week 15. Hopefully one of the fellows I’ve listed is among those available in your league, because there are more than a couple exploitable matchups among the RBs I’ve targeted through the wire this week. There are several QB options who could help out this week, as well, so take a look at some of the guys below. As far as WRs, I’ve tried to include players who are available in most leagues this week, considering the shortage of good WRs out there on the free agent list. If you’ve got better options in your league, then follow up with an e-mail to me and I’ll do my best to prioritize for you.

As always, I welcome all your e-mails and enjoy hearing from you regarding my waiver wire recommendations – whether they have helped or hindered your success this season. I’m still answering questions of any variety and responding ASAP. Good luck this week.


Off The Top

Kyle Orton, CHI – Still available in 20 percent of fantasy leagues, Orton has been surprisingly consistent in 2008. His ankle injury finally seems healed, and he’s got a great matchup at home versus the Saints. Consider him as weak No. 1 option and strong No. 2 this week.

Jeff Garcia, TB – I was shocked to see that Garcia is available in over 40 percent of fantasy leagues. He’s coming off his best game of the season and heads to Atlanta for what should be a high-scoring game considering the second half of the Monday night tilt. He may even be worth a spot start this week, with him and Antonio Bryant clicking so well.

Digging Deeper

David Garrard, JAC – Facing the Packers this week and available in about 15-20 percent of leagues, Garrard is a great #2 QB play and should post respectable fantasy numbers in Green Bay.

Jason Campbell, WAS – Campbell started off the season hot, and generated tons of fantasy interest from owners who’d followed his progress in Washington. But as injuries mounted in the backfield, the Redskins offense became a bit bogged down. And now, with LT Chris Samuels done for the rest of the year and additional injuries on the offensive line, the Redskins could be in line for more trouble. But the solid QB (he rarely turns in a terrible game) is still available in about 15 percent of leagues and the Redskins face the Bengals this week, making him a decent #2 QB play – but still a #2 QB play at best.

Scouring The Barrel

Marc Bulger, STL – The consistently underachieving Bulger was 22-for-37 for 228 yards with a touchdown and an interception during the Rams’ week 14 game. Not great, but he’s got another favorable matchup this week at home versus Seattle. If you’re in a terrible pinch, he’s worth a shot, but there’s not much the Rams are bringing to the table right now.

Tarvaris Jackson, MIN – He’ll get the start for Gus Frerotte in a nice matchup if the veteran QB can’t go Sunday in Arizona – a game where he could post decent numbers.


Shaun Hill, SF – Hill did throw one INT, but the 2 TD passes and 285 passing yards made it a productive fantasy day – something we’ve seen a lot from Hill in his emergence this season.

Gus Frerotte, MIN – A back injury sidelined him during Week 14 and there’s been no new information from HC Brad Childress regarding Frerotte's status for Week 15.

Matt Schaub, HOU – The injury report has him at 50-50, but Schaub ended up starting and blowing up: 414 passing yards, 2 TD, a 2-point conversion and just 1 INT. He’ll struggle to produce like that against the Titans, but I’m sure most owners weren’t counting on starting him next week anyway.

Ken Dorsey, CLE – Blecch. Dorsey was crappy as expected.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Jonathan Stewart, CAR – While DeAngelo Williams’ numbers are staggering this season (1,144 rushing yards, 5.37 YPC, 13 TD; 19-118-2 receiving) the rookie out of Oregon has managed 698 rushing yards and 8 TDs of his own, not to mention a 4.94 YPC that’s among the best in the league. He’s still available in about 10 percent of leagues, for some reason, so jump on him if he’s still out there and consider giving him a start versus Denver in Week 15.

Dominic Rhodes, IND – Rhodes has surpassed Addai as the playmaker in the running game and should get the majority of touches this week against the Lions. There’s not much reason to overwork Addai – or even bother with him much given his recent futility, and since Rhodes is still available in about 30 percent of fantasy leagues, he’s a great option facing the league’s worst run defense.

Digging Deeper

Darren Sproles, SD – The Chargers have little reason to risk further injury to LaDainian Tomlinson, who didn’t look bad last week but should probably get a reduced number of touches considering the Chargers are all but mathematically eliminated from the AFC playoff picture. Even with LT getting 25 carries last week, Sproles finished with 30 rushing yards, and 3-34 receiving, which included 2 TD catches. He’s available in about 60 percent of leagues, and facing the Chiefs, I expect to see enough of him to make a definite fantasy impact.

Fred Taylor, JAC – Another productive veteran who finds himself available in about one-half of fantasy leagues, Taylor has a great matchup at home this week versus Green Bay and the Jaguars will likely split the carries pretty evenly between him and Maurice Jones-Drew. Note: It appears Fred's season could be over after a Wednesday report the veteran running back tore multiple ligaments in his thumb. He's getting a second opinion on the thumb and claims it's gotten "considerably better" in recent days. For now, he'll be kept out of practice and could be on IR by the end of the week.

Tatum Bell, DEN – He’s the default starter in Denver with Hillis on IR, and Selvin Young still far from 100 percent. Still available in about 80 percent of fantasy leagues.

Maurice Morris, SEA – Morris may not be flashy, but he’s a starting NFL running back, he can still be had in the majority of formats and he’s facing the Rams this week. This makes him a viable fantasy option, albeit a weak No. 2.

Scouring The Barrel

Carnell Williams, TB – He’s looked good coming back from the patella injury, and while his legs are churning and his engine seems to be running smoothly, Cadillac yields a bunch of touches to Warrick Dunn and the Bucs might be throwing the ball more this week against the falcons. He’s not a terrible option, but I like the guys listed above a bit more.


Sammy Morris, NE – Sammy got in the end zone, making up for an otherwise paltry fantasy day.

Justin Fargas, OAK – The Pats may be hurting, but they should be able to stop the Raiders running game, which doesn’t provide Fargas many scoring chances as it is.

Le’Ron McClain, BAL – Another good game for McCLain: 61 rushing yards and a TD.

Tashard Choice, DAL – Choice obviously wasn’t the first choice for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones – who publicly berated Marion Barber for not making the trip to the Steel City and playing through his toe injury – but the rookie out of Georgia Tech made the most of his opportunity and had a solid game, finishing with 166 total yards against a great Pittsburgh D. Just check Barber’s status heading into Week 15 before you give him a start at home versus the Giants.

Kevin Jones, CHI – Matt Forte’s still going strong.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Deion Branch, SEA – The cagey veteran, now healthy, exploded for 4-88-2 in the Week 15 gameand should be considered a solid #3 at this point. Next stop, St. Louis.

WR Antwaan Randle El, WAS – The Redskins offense is in dire straits, but as I said earlier, they face the Bengals this week in Cincinnati, making Randle El a solid WR #3 play.

Digging Deeper

WR Jordy Nelson, GB – I like Jordy’s chances of getting some more playing time this week facing Jacksonville, and his 3-25-1 last week doesn’t hurt.

WR Bryant Johnson, SF – After another decent week from Johnson, I’m fairly confident he’ll see targets in the last few games in order for HC Mike Singletary and OC Mike Martz to assess his value for next season. Give him a shot as a #4 versus Miami.
Scouring The Barrel

Scouring The Barrel

WR Josh Reed, BUF – He’s been much more consistent than Lee Evans and the Bills have an awesome matchup this week @ the Jets.

WR Brandon Lloyd, CHI – If he’s going to have a big game, it’ll be against the Saints. It’s just really hard to recommend playing him as anything but a shot-in-the-dark WR #4 considering his ineffectiveness since his injury.


WR Amani Toomer, NYG – Toomer’s 2-25-0 on Sunday was a disappointing stat line, especially with Plaxico done and the veteran receiver as the Giants new #1.

WR Davone Bess, MIA – Bess had his best game yet, with 9-74-0 in Buffalo. He should be a solid #3 again this week versus the Niners.

WR Chansi Stuckey, NYJ – 4-43-0 ain’t too shabby, but a TD would have been nice, considering his early-season use in the red zone.

WR Harry Douglas, ATL – Douglas managed just two catches, albeit for 45 yards. He’s a playmaker and could be a nice slot WR for Atlanta in the coming years.


Off The Top

LB D.J. Williams, DEN – If he makes it back this week and nobody’s picked him up yet, he’s a must-add to just about any fantasy roster, matchup be damned.

DB Bob Sanders, IND – He’s widely available, he’s healthy, he’s studly and he’s due for a huge game versus the Bengals.

Digging Deeper

DL Dwight Freeney, IND – if Robert Mathis – a better all-around IDP start than Freeney – isn’t available in your league, then feel free to plug-n-play the 7th year man out of Syracuse, who’s been coming along nicely in his last few games (6.5 sacks in his last 5 games) and faces the league’s worst offensive line (Detroit) this week.

LB David Harris, NYJ – Another former IDP standout whose struggled with injuries in ’08, Harris posted 13 tackles (8 solo) and a half-sack in his first game back since Week 8.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Antawn Odom, CIN – Okay – he’s been out a few weeks, but if he can play in this one, he might be a great IDP sleeper pick with Samuels shelved and the left side of the Redskins offensive line particularly vulnerable. Stay tuned to the injury report and don’t make any drastic adjustments – especially if you’re already pretty solid at the DL spot.

DB Brandon Meriweather, NE – Few DBs have been as consistent as Meriweather over the past few weeks (Ronde Barber and Troy Polamalu are two, but they probably won’t be available into many IDP leagues). Give this sleeper a shot in a game against Oakland where he should get some chances to make some big plays.


LB Eric Barton, NYJ – 6 total tackles isn’t enough to warrant his place at the top last week. Sorry, folks.

DB Jacques Reeves, HOU – He might improve on his Week 14 stat line (3 tackles and a PD) this week against the Titans, but the division leaders will probably try to run the ball as usual, so Reeves will have to get lucky to post big numbers.

DB Michael Griffin, TEN – In his second-best fantasy game of the season, Griffin picked off a Ken Dorsey pass, as expected, and finished with 5 tackles and 2 PD to boot.

LB Thomas Davis, CAR – 10 total tackles (7 solos, 3 assists) and a PD. Finally, a decent LB call.

DL Adewale Ogunleye, CHI – Now that’s more like it! “Wally” had his best fantasy game of the season, posting 5 tackles (4 solo), a half-sack, and a PD.