Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Antonio

Antonio's Articles

Through The Wire - Week 2
9/9/08 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.

Injuries were the big story in Week 1, with 2007 NFL MVP Tom Brady, Vince Young, Nate Burleson and a few other stars banged up. Even some of the guys I mentioned in last week’s column weren’t impervious to the bug. As always, I’m available by e-mail for any questions you may have and your feedback is welcome and encouraged.


Off The Top

Jon Kitna, DET – He’s got big, tall receivers (Calvin Johnson, Roy Williams), a couple of slot specialists (Shaun McDonald, Mike Furrey) with mucho upside and useful running backs – including a capable rookie (Kevin Smith) and a consistent veteran (Rudi Johnson). Consider him a poor man’s Carson Palmer (’07 version), but at least the Lions give Kitna time to throw.

Matt Cassel, NE – Let the competition on the waiver wire begin. Brady’s backup was 13-for-18 in relief, with a TD pass to Randy Moss and 152 yards. He backed up Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC, so the last time he had a starting gig was in high school. Don’t be fooled by his inexperience as the #1 guy. He’s capable, knows the playbook, got his reps in the preseason, looked effective on Sunday, and will be the starter unless Bill Belichick does something drastic. If you’re a Brady owner, grab him and use him as week-to-week matchups indicate favorable results. My Cassel estimates for the year: 3,095 yards passing, 23 passing TDs, 15 INT, 5 lost fumbles, 2 rushing TDs.

Digging Deeper

Matt Ryan, ATL – He threw a TD on his first official NFL throw – a 62-yard skinny post to Michael Jenkins, and finished 9-for-13 for 162 yds, the TD bomb, and was only sacked once. Good signs from a talented young QB who’s got four or five nice matchups this season. He’s suitable as a #2 fantasy QB.

Tarvaris Jackson. MIN – Tarvaris doesn’t have too many quality receiving options, but he’s pretty nice with Sidney Rice in the red zone and can throw it long if Adrian Peterson’s effectiveness forces safeties to cheat up. He’s also got as many favorable matchups for a #2 fantasy QB as Ryan – five or so.

Scouring The Barrel

Chad Pennington, MIA – Good matchups, weak arm. It’s the same story with Chad and his chicken wing, so if you’re willing to take a shot, God bless ya. He’s no John Elway, but he won’t turn the pigskin over either. At this point in his career – and with this team – he’s really no better than a #3 fantasy QB and should only be owned in two-starting-QB leagues and 16-to-20-team leagues.

Kerry Collins, TEN – He’s been known to post big numbers on occasion, but the receiving weapons (aside from Rookie RB Chris Johnson,) just aren’t there this season. Stay away unless you’re desperate.

Kyle Orton, CHI – Wins don’t count toward fantasy numbers and he’s only had a few serviceable fantasy games in his entire career. The Bears only have a few favorable passing matchups this season and they’re going to run Matt Forte into the ground.


Jake Delhomme, CAR – Delhomme didn’t have his full complement of receivers in Week 1, but managed to rack up 23-for-41, 247 and a TD (no turnovers) in a win against a stingy Chargers secondary. When Steve Smith comes back, Delhomme wil be that more dangerous. If he’s still available, you shouldn’t hesitate to scoop him up.

Jeff Garcia, TB – He posted serviceable numbers versus the Saints – reflective what you’ll get throughout most of ’08. Reportedly, he’s got a sprained ankle that swelled up after the game and might keep him out against a feeble Falcons secondary that yielded 262 and 2 TDs to Jon Kitna and the Lions. Keep an eye on the injury report, but look elsewhere if you can.

Trent Edwards, BUF – Now that the Patriots dominance of the AFC East is uncertain at best, the Bills have a legitimate shot to win the division. And while Marshawn Lynch was the focus of the offense Sunday, Edwards looked good working with embattled receiver Lee Evans – a reason to bump both of them up your rankings for the rest of the year.

J.T. O’Sullivan, SF – O’Sullivan had three turnovers (1 INT, 2 fumbles lost), a problem that might continue as long as the line struggles to protect him. Granted, the Cards pass rush is one of the most underrated in the league, but the offensive line will be overmatched against a majority of its opponents. If they can’t keep the pressure off, he’s only a viable fantasy option in Weeks 3, 11, 15 & 16 (DET, STL, @MIA, @ STL).

JaMarcus Russell, OAK – The Raiders are horrendous and even though Russell posted good numbers (17-for-26, 180, 2TD/0 INT) and looked decent in the second half, it’s obvious he’ll have some up-and-down games. Although the Denver secondary is still pretty damn good, the Silver and Black just weren’t getting it done through the air in the first half.

Joe Flacco, BAL – Flacco was 15-for-29 for 129 yards in his NFL debut against the Bengals, (who have serious problems in the secondary) scoring on a 38-yard run in the game. Auspicious, yes, but he’s only a #3 fantasy QB until the Ravens offense opens up the passing game.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Matt Forte, CHI – How’s that for a debut? FFtoday senior writer Matt Waldman once again proves his genius. The rookie out of Tulane ran 23 times for 123 yards and a TD during the Bears' big Week 1 29-13 victory over the befuddled Colts. He also caught three passes for 18 yards and while he’s only available in a small percentage of deeper leagues, there’s probably some shallow leagues where owners are considering dropping a more established name to pick him up off waivers.

Chris Johnson, TEN – Yes, he’s gone in most competitive leagues, but he’s available in 46 percent of Yahoo! Leagues and about 10 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s some kind of offensive weapon, with his otherworldly speed and the ability to catch a ball on a screen and take it to the house. He’s still splitting carries with incumbent fatboy LenDale White, although he’ll probably get about 60-70 percent of the backfield touches by midseason. He should be owned in all formats and starting in most – at least as a flex RB/WR.

Digging Deeper

Sammy Morris, NE – Wow. 10/53/1 from Mr. Morris, and I’m not talking about Maurice. Is this what it’s going to be like again this year, Mr. Belichick? Inquiring Maroney owners want to know. While Belichick makes up his mind who his #1 RB really is, go ahead and scoop up Sneaky Sammy while he’s still available – especially in PPR leagues. With Cassel under center, it’s likely he’ll be featured more in the passing game like he was Sunday (5/34/0).

Jerious Norwood, ATL – The Atlanta running game seems big enough for two fantasy backs, but it’s important to note the 318 team rushing yards came against the Lions. He should be owned in all 12-team leagues, but he’s still behind Michael Turner – the man who tallied Week 1’s biggest rushing total.

Scouring The Barrel

Steve Slaton, HOU – The rookie out of West Virginia got the bulk of carries for the Texans –p and while Ahman Green’s a threat to vulture carries, the guard has obviously changed in Houston. He could be a viable RB#3 in most formats and will excel if the offense picks up the pace a bit.

Jamaal Charles, KC – There’s something I like about Mr. Charles’ situation in Kansas City. There’s really no pressure on him now, and if anything befalls Larry Johnson, there’s still no expectations for him to carry the offense. He could be a super-sneaky pickup this early in the season and could pay dividends in KC’s final few games.


Ladell Betts, WAS – I still think Betts has fantasy value, even though Portis got all the carries and didn’t yield to Betts too much on third down. If only they used him like they did a couple years ago, when the Redskins offense was actually decent.

Leon Washington, NYJ – Thomas Jones looked good against Miami, something that drops Leon’s value somewhere around the 60th spot in the RB rankings. Until there’s a problem with TJ, you’d be silly to start L-Wash.

Dominic Rhodes, IND – If you grabbed him last week, you can thank me. And if Joseph Addai’s head injury keeps him out for a game or two, Rhodes will be an even hotter commodity this week. Jump on him and stay tuned to the injury report.

Fred Jackson, BUF – Lynch ran effectively Sunday and while Jackson had 10 carries for 31 yards, he didn’t catch a pass – an area where he was expected to be used more extensively. Knock him down a few notches on your priority list unless you have Lynch and need a handcuff.

Lorenzo Booker, PHI – Despite the fact that the Eagles pounded the Rams, Booker only finished with 5 carries for 9 yards, so it’s probably going to take a Westbrook injury for Booker to have any fantasy value.

Chris Taylor, HOU – Rookie Steve Slaton and veteran Ahman Green – not Taylor – got all the carries Sunday against the Steelers. With Green likely sidelined due to an ankle injury, keep an eye on how Taylor is used in Week 2.

Tim Hightower, ARI – Hightower only had 8 carries for 13 yards, but two of those runs came on crucial 4th and 1 situations, and the rookie converted both including a goalline plunge that extended the Cards lead to 10 with 4:22 left in the 3rd quarter. In addition, he tallied three catches for 21 yards. He should be owned in all 12-team leagues.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Eddie Royal, DEN – This guy will be the perfect compliment to Brandon Marshall in Denver and his rapport with Cutler is preternatural. I see Royal as the Anquan Boldin to Marshall’s Larry Fitzgerald. As I type this on Monday night a few minutes into the second half (wow, is he having a nice game) he’s still available in 86.3 percent of ESPN leagues, 88 percent of Yahoo! Leagues, and should be owned in all leagues after waivers this week. The game just ended and he finished with 9/146/1. Are you kidding me? Grab this guy NOW.

WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND – It’s possible some folks didn’t draft Gonzalez, a guy that’s going to get more targets if TE Dallas Clark misses any action. Pay attention to how the Clark injury plays out, but taking Gonzalez isn’t bad move even if Clark is active within a week or two.

WR DeSean Jackson, PHI – While it’s a safe assumption that Donovan McNabb’s going to spread it around in Philly this season, you have to like the fact that Jackson stepped up as a rookie in his first game and caught 6 balls for over 100 yards. It’s a nice start for Jackson, McNabb and the Eagles. Expect a few more games with 8-10 targets and a couple big performances mixed in.

Digging Deeper

TE Anthony Fasano, MIA – He posted an excellent stat line for any receiver (8/84/1), let alone a TE, and was targeted frequently by Chad Pennington on Sunday. Parcells obviously adores the guy and Chad, a weak-armed QB who loves utilizing the quick out and TE drag to move the ball, should continue go to him a lot.

WR Matt Jones, JAC – I’m not a big fan, but without Jerry Porter and with Reggie Williams not quite 100 percent, he’ll be used in the Jags offense. It’s difficult to know just when to play Matt Jones and if he’ll keep his head in the game and off the pile of blow on his SUV’s center console.

WR Courtney Taylor, SEA – Right now, the Seahawks are hurting. Taylor wasn’t awesome on Sunday against the Bills, but they’ll face easier secondary units. With the recent season-ending injury to Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram’s rotten shoulder, Ben Obomanu already on injured reserve, and TE Jeb Putzier dropping two sure first downs, Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t really have anybody healthy to throw to other than Taylor and rookie TE John Carlson out of Notre Dame. Hey!

Scouring The Barrel

TE John Carlson, SEA – He snagged 4/52/0 and Hasselbeck is quickly running out of options. He’s worth a look as a TE#3 and he could end up being a heck of a lot more. He reminds me of Tampa’s Alex Smith with great hands and a Notre Dame attitude.

WR Ike Hilliard, TB – Sure, he’s old, and the last time he scored more than 2 TDs in a season was 2003. He’s also on a team known for its conservative (if not anemic) offensive style. But Hilliard’s still got some life in his legs and last year he caught 62 balls for 722 yards. The TD totals will definitely go up, even if the receptions and yardage go slightly down.

TE Dante Rosario, CAR – Raise your hand if you drafted Dante Rosario in your fantasy league? That’s what I thought. He’ll likely be used in two-TE sets until Steve Smith comes back, and will be a solid #2 TE play until Smith returns. But don’t get too excited. He’s probably not going to catch more than 5 TDs and will struggle to reach 30 catches and 400 yards – unless something happens to Smith.

WR Steve Breaston, ARI – It appears as though Breaston has passed Jerheme Urban on the depth chart for now. A 5th-round draft selection by the Cards last year, the Michigan alumnus is worth monitoring in 12-team leagues and could provide bigger numbers if anything happens to Fitzgerald or Boldin.


WR Sidney Rice, MIN – He only 2 catches for 31 yards, but one was for a score. He was targeted 5 times in the second half… not too shabby for a #3 WR.

WR D.J. Hackett, CAR – Not a bad game (5/48/0), but the fumble doesn’t help. And as we mentioned before, there’s a new TE target in Carolina who sounds like he’s a crazy Italian Renaissance monk or something.

WR James Hardy, BUF – He wasn’t a part of the action Sunday, although I only think it’s a matter of time before the Bills involve the rookie more in the red zone.

WR Kevin Walter, HOU – Walter tallied 3/41/1 – a solid day for the #3 receiving option on a team that struggled to adequately protect Matt Schaub.

WR Drew Bennett, STL – I guess there’s a reason he’s only played two full 16-game seasons in his 7-year career. Apparently it was too much to expect Bennett could reestablish himself as a fantasy stud and post 80/1,247/11 like he did in ’04 for the Titans… a season which included five 100-yard games. But tendon damage inside his foot in the first game of the ’08 season? As bad as the Rams offense was on Sunday, you should forget about him for now and consider dumping him if he’s on your roster.

TE Alge Crumpler, TEN – He didn’t click with his QB in Week 1, but we’ll see how things change with Collins taking over the reins for a few weeks.

TE L.J. Smith, PHI – Finally – a successful waiver wire selection that could’ve helped people in Week 1. Smith reemerged as a favorite target of McNabb with 5/39/1 and should continue to flourish especially in the red zone.

WR Arnaz Battle, SF – One catch for 16 yards. It’s tough to recommend playing any SF wideout at this point.

WR Derek Hagan, MIA – A non-factor Sunday, but keep him on your radar.

WR Jerheme Urban, ARI – Passed by Breaston on the depth chart.


Off The Top

DB Rodney Harrison, NE – I’m kicking myself for not including him in the wire for Week 1, even though I knew he’d be involved in the New England IDP picture. I didn’t foresee 14 total tackles. The truth is, I’ve been a big fan of Harrison his entire career and I’ve spoken extensively on his virtues on more than one occasion. If by some miracle he’s still available in one of your leagues and you start a DB, go get him.

LB Jonathan Vilma, NO – Once a fantasy stud (173 total tackles in 2005), Vilma’s descent was related to a combination of injury, attitude and scheme but was a very rapid one; he only played in 7 games last year for the Jets. He’s gets a fresh star with the Saints and could be a viable contributor. He had a solid Week 1 with 9 total tackles.

LB Channing Crowder, MIA – He’s not the fastest guy in the world, but he’s got a nose for making plays and if healthy could continue to post numbers similar to Sundays’ line (7 solos, 3 assists). Don’t expect a lot of sacks, INTs or other IDP accessories, but 6-10 tackles a game are a pretty safe bet.

Digging Deeper

LB Na’ill Diggs, CAR – Diggs is a solid veteran and he may be making more plays with the defensive line shifts Carolina has employed this season. Keep abreast of situation as it develops, since there’s a possibility the WLB’s role in the defense has changed with the loss of DT stalwart Kris Jenkins.

DB Johnathan Joseph, CIN – I have a feeling this poor guy is going to see a lot of action in the Bengals secondary this season. The Cincinnati front seven is pretty atrocious, and Joseph is a playmaker. In Week 1 versus Baltimore he had 5 total tackles, 3 PDs and a fumble recovery that he took 65 yards to the house. Even without the TD, it was a good fantasy day, but there’s something about DBs who make big plays that piques my IDP interest.

LB Zach Diles, HOU – I’ll confess, I don’t know much about him (other than I’ve seen his first name spelled both Zach and Zac), but I did learn that he matched his 2007 tackle total of 13 in Week 1. So he’s got my attention. He should have yours, too.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Kevin Kaesviharn, NO – He beat out free safety Josh Bullocks for the starting job and should see extensive action in Saints shootouts. Kaesviharn played well for Cincy last season and should be a pretty reliable fantasy contributor, if not a standout.

DL James Hall, STL – Holy frijoles – 10 total tackles from a second-string defensive lineman? As of right now, I’m still looking for information as to how or why it happened, but it’s worth noting. Who knows? Maybe Hall’s back on track and will be playing like he did in his prime for the Lions.


LB Stewart Bradley, PHI – Again – I’ve established myself as a reliable resource in recommending IDP waiver wire selections. I’m currently in first place in my 16-team IDP Experts league (11 defensive starts, no offensive players AT ALL!) after a big Week 1 where I didn’t benefit from any defensive TDs. Bradley was all over the place (9 total tackles – including 2 for a loss, a sack and a PD). Grab him right away if you still can.

LB Paris Lenon, DET – What was I just saying? Lenon had just 3 tackles for a Lions defense that was without a true IDP standout, other than maybe SS Dwight Smith. Ouchie.

DB Bernard Pollard, KC – While his stat line wasn’t that impressive, Pollard’s performance Sunday will most certainly be remembered for the hit that knocked out Brady and jeopardized the Patriots season. At least I wasn’t lying when I said “Bonecrusher” would really make his mark this year.

LB Jerod Mayo, NE – 6 solo tackles isn’t spectacular, but it’s not a bad way to start off your NFL career, either. Factor in the fact that Harrison hogged most of the tackles, and it’s a safe assumption that Mayo’s opening week tackle total was lower than it will average for the entire season.

LB Rocky McIntosh, WAS – A decent game (6 solo, 2 assists) considering another Skins LB – the ubiquitous London Fletcher – racked up 17 tackles.

DL Darnell Dockett, ARI – Last week, I said Dockett would be stacked as a down lineman in front of Bert Berry in the 3-4, but in a late camp twist, Berry lost the starting DE/OLB job (the Cards run a kind of 4-3/3-4 hybrid) to Travis LaBoy. Anyway, his 5 tackles Sunday isn’t a bad opening sign – he’ll be involved as both a run-stuffer and pass rusher this season.

LB Gerris Wilkinson, NYG – Just assists and a couple stupid plays. He still looks bewildered and ill suited for the NFL game. Stay away for now.

LB Chris Draft, STL – Posted just 2 solos on Sunday in a game that tested the Rams secondary. If teams start to run more against the Rams, (and James Hall doesn’t get to them before the LBs do) his numbers should change for the better. Stay tuned.

LB Vernon Gholston, NYJ – A non-factor in the Jets win over Miami, Gholston has yet to impress coaches enough to see significant playing time, if any.

DB Kenny Phillips, NYG – Phillips had 3 solos in limited action and remains a solid IDP keeper and ’08 sleeper.