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Through The Wire
9/16/08 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.

Week 2 saw a few significant performances from fantasy fringe players, exposed even more drama with beleaguered Chiefs RB Larry Johnson, and taught us that sometimes a fumble isn’t really a fumble even if it is a fumble. Sure, Ed Hochuli cost me $350 on a couple parlays I would’ve nailed if the Chargers had taken possession and run out the clock, but I’m not bitter. Anybody have Ed’s home address, by the way?

I welcome your e-mails and would like to hear from you if my waiver wire recommendations have helped or hindered your fantasy progress over the past couple years – or so far in 2008. I’m also available for fantasy questions of any variety. Don’t be shy – although I will probably harass you if your questions, arguments or concerns are inane.


Off The Top

Jason Campbell, WAS – Campbell looked sharp Sunday, albeit against a banged-up Saints defense. While he still hasn’t thrown multiple TD passes in a game since Week 11 of last season versus the Cowboys, the Redskins passing game is showing signs of life. HE may be no better than a decent #2, but Week 3 against the Cards and Weeks 6-8 (STL, CLE, @DET) will provide opportunities for fantasy teams depleted by QB injuries, quandaries and difficulties to right their ships.

Trent Edwards, BUF – As the Bills gain confidence, Edwards will emerge as a consistent fantasy contributor. He may not be a premier #2 QB option just yet, but he’s serviceable, and take a gander at his next six weeks: OAK, @STL, @ARI, bye, SDG, @MIA. Weeks 9-16 include a few difficult matchups, but there are a couple nice ones, too: NYJ, @NWE, CLE, @KAN, SFO, MIA, @NYJ, @DEN. At this point, he should be owned in all leagues, based on Buffalo’s remaining schedule and promising young offense.

Digging Deeper

J.T. O’Sullivan, SF – O’Sullivan finished Sunday’s game against the Seahawks with the same passing numbers as Jason Campbell: 321 and a TD – but it was against a better defense and he gained 32 yards rushing. He’s moving up my waiver priority list in a couple leagues where I lost Brady, then Young and then Huard. Next week he’s at home versus the Lions. Another shootout? If you do grab him, realize that the matchups aren’t really favorable until Weeks 11 vs. STL and again in weeks 15 & 16 (@MIA, @ STL).

Scouring The Barrel

Brian Griese, TB – With Jeff Garcia’s role being determined on a weekly basis (which doesn’t sound good), it looks as if the reins fall to Griese. With the WR corps dubious at best, he’s not a quality option. But he’s still got a live arm and a proclivity for theatrics.

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.


Jon Kitna, DET – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in leagues that don’t punish too brutally for turnovers, guys like Kitna and Kurt Warner are very valuable fantasy contributors. In others, they’re still not too bad.

Matt Cassel, NE – Not spectacular, but neither was Brady when he first took over. Give him a chance to feel out his weapons and he’ll improve.

Matt Ryan, ATL – During the first half, Ryan was 3-for-15 for 36 yards and 2 INTs – good for negative fantasy points in most leagues and a 0.0 QB rating. Sure, the Bucs secondary is good, but knowing Ryan is capable of futility like these tells me to stay away for now.

Tarvaris Jackson, MIN – He didn’t link up with Bernard Berrian or Sidney Rice, and he lost a fumble. Not a good showing, Tarvaris. You’ve been relegated, and Brad Childress is watching.

Chad Pennington, MIA – Somebody wake me up when the Dolphins have moved on.

Kerry Collins, TEN – That stupefied look forever adorning Kerry Collins’ face will always scream “drunken idiot” to me. But it’s not a bad smokescreen to play off on NFL defenses. You can do a lot better than 14-for-21, 128, a Td and no turnovers, but you could also do a lot worse.

Kyle Orton, CHI – I’m officially not paying attention until he throws a TD pass to someone in 2008.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Chris Perry, CIN – Scooped up in plenty of leagues on draft day and before Week 1, Perry has been unceremoniously dumped in oodles of formats simply because the Bengals offense has been an abomination. But the Bengals starting RB got a score in Week 2, 64 yards rushing and a couple receptions. He may be available, and while he’s no better than a RB#3, he’s a live body.

Darren Sproles, SD – LaDainian Tomlinson aggravated his turf toe injury late in the second quarter during the team's Week 2 game, and despite his claims that it’s “improving and healing,” it’s important that Sproles is owned in all leagues. He’s a valuable special teams contributor and a solid backup if LT’s ever out.

Digging Deeper

Michael Pittman, DEN – I hate Mike Shanahan, but he can probably get the most out of a guy like Pittman, who’s always been fast but never reached his lofty potential. His fantasy totals aren’t extravagant and he hasn’t been a consistent fantasy performer for three straight games since 2005, but he’s worth grabbing in most leagues as things shake out in Denver.

Kevin Faulk, NE – Faulk returned from suspension and was immediately part of Belichick’s plans in the Pats offense. Laurence Maroney has a shoulder injury and Faulk is 100 percent, so I’m assuming he’ll play an integral role in the running and passing attacks for the rest of the season unless tragedy or injury strikes again.

Scouring The Barrel

Michael Bush, OAK – The Raiders ran it all over the Chiefs, tallying 300+ rushing yards with rookie Darren McFadden (toe), Bush and Fargas (groin). And there’s only one guy on that list who doesn’t have a parenthetical injury description accompanying his name. The second-year back out of Louisville saw his first NFL action and performed admirable, running for 90 yards on 16 carries. He’s a worthwhile pickup in deeper leagues and could still be that sleeper pick we’ve all dreamed about – especially if McFadden or Fargas miss any time.

Fred Jackson BUF, – Bump him up in PPR leagues after his big day catching everything underneath that Trent Edwards had to offer. In week 1 he didn’t catch a pass, but I think the Bills realize their backs are both valuable to that passing game.


Matt Forte, CHI – I’ll be honest – I don’t think Forte will repeat or surpass his Week 1 fantasy totals more than once or twice this season, but he’s still a standout #3 RB and okay #2 RB capable of great things if the Bears line gets better and the defense keeps giving them good field position.

Chris Johnson, TEN – The rookie out of East Carolina continued to impress, gaining 109 yards on 19 carries in Week 2.

Sammy Morris, NE – He had a rushing TD, but nothing much else going on with Faulk back.

Jerious Norwood, ATL – Norwood disappeared in Week 2 as the Falcons fell behind, Ryan struggled and the Bucs rolled.

Steve Slaton, HOU – We’ll see next week against the Titans, now won’t we?

Jamaal Charles, KC – Last week I said there was something I liked about Mr. Charles’ situation in Kansas City, adding that “if anything befalls Larry Johnson…He could be a super-sneaky pickup this early in the season and could pay dividends in KC’s final few games.” Cue Larry Johnson audio.

Tim Hightower, ARI – Another week, another TD in limited action. He’s good folks.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Isaac Bruce, SF – Although he went without a catch in Week 1, “The Reverend” had four catches for 153 yards last week against the Seahawks. He’s usually pretty consistent and will likely be a favorite target of O’Sullivan in 2008.

WR Robert Meachem, NO – Active for the first time in his brief career, Meachem caught TD. That’s how you arrive on the NFL scenes, my friends. He should be owned in all formats and monitored on a week-to-week basis while Marques Colston is injured.

Digging Deeper

WR Justin Gage, TEN – Collins is a much better match for Gage, who struggled to develop a consistent rapport with Vince Young. Consider him a much more viable #4 WR – and a possible fantasy starter – when matchups allow it.

WR Amani Toomer, NYG – Toomer’s clearly on the brain of Eli Manning, who looked for the 13-year veteran a lot on Sunday en route to Amani’s 6/67/1 stat line. While there’s a bunch of receivers in Giant-land, Toomer will keep getting looks and should be a good #4 WR and possible #3.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Chansi Stuckey, NYJ – I was close to including him last week, but wanted to see one more week out of him. Now I wished I had thrown him in the mix and looked clairvoyant.

WR James Hardy, BUF – In last week’s updates I pointed out that it was “only a matter of time before the Bills involve the rookie more in the red zone.” About one week, to be exact.


WR Eddie Royal, DEN – Eddie Royal’s a gamer: Five catches, 37 yards, plus a TD and a 2-point conversion that broke my heart. Brandon Marshall’s presence can only help the kid along. Jay Cutler must be one excited diabetic.

WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND – Solid game with 9/137/0. Now if only Peyton Manning still knew how to throw TD passes like his kid brother Eli.

WR DeSean Jackson, PHI – I’m sorry Ms. Jackson, but while your son DeSean is a rare talent, he should have finished the game with 111 yards and a TD, instead of celebrating the beautiful strike thrown to him by McNabb a bit too soon by slinging the ball behind him moments before it crossed the plan of the end zone. So he finished with 6/110/0. You know some poor schmuck lost his fantasy game because he had Jackson as a #3WR could have sealed the victory with that bonus TD.

TE Anthony Fasano, MIA – What happened? How do you disappear a week after you haul in 8/84/1?

WR Matt Jones, JAC – He followed up a solid week one with 5/50/0. He hasn’t has consecutive five-catch games since Weeks 1 and 2 in 2006. So he’s on the right track.

WR Courtney Taylor, SEA – Matt Hasselbeck must be going insane.

TE John Carlson, SEA – But at least he’s got a good tight end.

WR Ike Hilliard, TB – His value gets bumped up again with the ankle injury to Joey Galloway, which could force him to miss some time.

TE Dante Rosario, CAR – I really like that I had Carlson ranked higher than Rosario in my column last week. Shows my prowess.

WR Steve Breaston, ARI – Not much going on yesterday, but Kurt’s winging it with ease and I’ll say it again – the Cards are bound to have one of their top 2 WRs get injured at some point this season, opening the door for Breaston.


Off The Top

LB Zach Thomas, DAL – Some were still wondering if Thomas was still a fantasy heavy – a short, stout IDP sparkplug with a mystique reserved for a man who once had a truck roll over his head as a toddler. A native Texan and Texas Tech alumnus, Thomas has licked his migraine issues following successful surgery for a deviated septum and is playing good football in Dallas. Grab him if he’s available in your league.

DB Asante Samuel, PHI – Including the playoffs, he’s got 19 INTs and 52 PD in his past two full seasons. He’s also a good tackler and if he’s out there, you shouldn’t hesitate to add him.

DB Cortland Finnegan, TEN – Finnegan posted 94 tackles and 13 PD last season, and now has 3 INTs in his first two games in ’08. I consider him a decent #1 fantasy DB or a #2 with lots of upside.

Digging Deeper

DL Shaun Rogers, CLE – Big Baby’s not going to post great numbers every week, but not many DTs do. He’s probably only a regular starting option if you have a DT requirement in your league – like my IDP Experts League, where I didn’t follow up Week 1 with another win and I lost Rogers’ teammate, DE Robaire Smith, for the season. What Rogers does have is the ability to control a game from the middle, force fumbles with big hits and occasionally tally a sack or two.

DB Quentin Jammer, SD – He had 11 total tackles last week, a PD and a forced fumble, but hasn’t posted solid week-to-week numbers since ’06, when he was the #23 DB in fantasy. With the Charger involved din shootouts, he could post solid tackle numbers and make some plays.

LB Matt Wilhelm, SD – Often the forgotten LB in San Diego, he’s nothing truly special in IDP, but he does post pretty consistent tackle numbers and will undoubtedly see lots of action as the Chargers change their scheme to deal with the loss of blitz specialist Shawne Merriman.

DB Mike Adams, CLE – The replacement for IDP stud Sean Jones, Adams has 17 solos in his first two games spelling the Browns’ usual starter. Until Jones, comes back, Adams will likely post solid tackle numbers each week.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Bryant McFadden, PIT – Don’t be fooled by his big numbers last week. McFadden – a 2005 second-round pick by the Steelers – filled in for injured Deshea Townsend and finished Sunday night’s defensive struggle with 5 solos, 3 PD and an INT. He’s seeing lots of time on the field in Townsend’s absence, but those numbers will obviously plummet when the veteran returns from a foot injury. Stay away unless he’s the definite starter and you’re in a really deep league.

DL Lawrence Jackson, SEA – Wow – the rookie lineman out of USC who stole Darryl Tapp’s starting job posted 5 tackles and 2 sacks Sunday against the 49ers, and he’s got the Rams next week – another team with problems protecting its QB. But it’s probably going to be until Week 8 and the Seahawks next meeting with San Fran before Jackson’s a viable start again.

DB Nick Collins, GB – Right now, Collins is the starting free safety for the Packers, and he had a big game on Sunday because of his 42-yard INT return for a TD. In 2006, he was a decent #2 fantasy DB, but he’s very inconsistent and should only be played if you’re a very desperate owner in a very deep IDP league.


DB Rodney Harrison, NE – Harrison has 6 solos and 2 assists without any extras – an IDP perk that’s bound to start popping up for him sooner or later as he posts consistent tackle numbers.

LB Jonathan Vilma, NO – 16 total tackles (10 solo) and a PD. Looks like he’s back to being a Top 10 LB.

LB Channing Crowder, MIA – 8 solos, but nothing sexy. Still a better-than-average day in most IDP formats.

LB Na’il Diggs, CAR – Diggs was questionable with a knee injury, saw some action but was limited. Stay tuned.

DB Johnathan Joseph, CIN – Joseph – the top IDP performer of Week 1 – left the game in the 4th quarter of the Week 2 loss to the Titans with a sprained ankle after posting 3 total tackles and a PD. He was in a walking boot after the game. Boo.

LB Zach Diles, HOU – No game because of Ike. Stay “Diled” in.

DB Kevin Kaesviharn, NO – Identical stats to Week 1: 6 solos, 1 assist. That’s not a bad thing for a DB.

DL James Hall, STL – Hall’s getting his tackles – numbers that are likely to go down as a DL – although he’s not much of a pass-rushing threat.