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 8
10/21/08 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.

When I watched 43-year-old Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins thoroughly dismantle 26-year-old Kelly Pavlik on pay-per-view Saturday night, I had a feeling Sunday would be a weekend of upsets. But my visions included a salty, sturdy Brad Johnson turning back the clock and posting a big fantasy day in a decisive Dallas victory. Instead, I was treated to a brittle old man – without any of the moxie that makes NFL QBs successful nowadays – allowing a 34-14 stomping at the hands of a terrible Rams team. Go figure.

Anyway, Week 7 did feature some devastating upsets and a few brutal fantasy skunks, including another rough week for a few distinguished initial-known stars like TO, LT and LJ – who didn’t even take the field because of a suspension. Not that Larry Johnson’s been a model citizen or consistent fantasy furniture in any rosters lately.

Luckily, I had a few things work out Monday night (Randy Moss, Sammy Morris, Pats K Stephen Gostkowski and Broncos LB D.J. Williams) and I pulled out a couple big victories and a tie that kept me just two games out and in sole possession of second place in my division. How about you, any crazy finishes from all that “Patriotic” scoring in Foxboro?

As always, 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 year or so far in 2008. And with special regard to IDP readers – if you’re wondering if you should pick up more obvious players that may be available in your leagues over some of my selections, just shoot me an e-mail with the specifics.


Off The Top

Derek Anderson, CLE – Okay – he was pretty miserable against the Redskins, but this week’s matchup is a good one. I’m just not convinced that Anderson’s woes aren’t a product of the particularly difficult matchups he had to start off the season. He should be a much better play in the second half of the Browns games this year – just make sure he doesn’t get benched.

Jake Delhomme, CAR – The pickings are slim at QB in most formats, but I know both Delhomme and the aforementioned Anderson will be available in about 5-10 percent of leagues – especially given Delhomme’s stinker in Week 6 and Anderson’s continued problems. In week 8, however, Jake gets a tasty matchup against the Cards and should post big numbers.

Digging Deeper

Matt Ryan, ATL – I’m not too excited about Ryan’s matchup this week in Philly, where Jim Johnson’s defense will throw a variety of blitz packages his way and confuse the rookie QB as much as possible. But the Eagles have been susceptible to the pass, so he’s worth starting as a No. 2. Just beware a multiple-turnover game and possible fantasy shutout.

Scouring The Barrel

JaMarcus Russell, OAK – Raider fans have to be encouraged by his performance Sunday against the Jets. He didn’t turn the ball over, eclipsed the 200-yard mark for just the second time this season, threw a TD pass to Javon Walker, and got a win. Fantasy owners, too, should be happy about Russell’s progress as an NFL QB. Before Sunday, Russell had lost a fumble in four out of the five games he’d played. He’s still going to turn the ball over, but if he starts hooking up with Walker more regularly, the two could mount a very stirring fantasy resurgence.


Jeff Garcia, TB – Garcia was as efficient as he’s ever been Sunday night against the Seahawks, completing 75 percent of his passes en route to a 310-yard day punctuated by a 47-yard TD connection with WR Antonio Bryant. It looks as if he’s back in the good graces of Bucs HC Jon Gruden and remains a weak No. 1/strong No. 2 QB.

Brad Johnson, DAL – Romo, come back! Any kind of fool could see – there was something…in everything about you. I can’t be alone in my disappointment (and my yearning to listen to Hall and Oates to comfort me) in Brad Johnson’s feeble effort against the lowly Rams, which included a 50 percent completion rate, just 1 TD pass (to a second-string TE) and 3 INT. At this point, you shouldn’t start him against the Bucs next week, even if Romo’s not back yet. At 40, he might just be over the proverbial hill.

Marc Bulger, STL – When I saw the Rams had scored 34, I figured Bulger would have been good for more than 1 TD. HE wasn’t. Bulgeer was capable on Sunday – but he’s still just a bye week fill-in.

Trent Edwards, BUF – Trent returned with his best game of 2008 – 261 yards a score on an end-zone toss to Lee Evans. He should be good to go as a rock-solid #2 QB this week versus the Dolphins.

Dan Orlovsky, DET – You could see the glass half-empty – pointing out that if you take away the 96-yard TD pass to Calvin Johnson, it’s a pedestrian fantasy afternoon. But I’m looking at it half-full – that these two could connect several times during the remaining schedule, which features a boatload of teams who are tough against the run and will force the Lions to throw the football.

Kerry Collins, TEN – I appears as though the Titans are content to just win football games with Lendale White and Chris Johnson and aren’t bothering with the passing game. Makes sense to me.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Deuce McAllister, NO – Once again, Deuce is a hot waiver-wire pickup. If you added him before take heed – Reggie Bush will miss the next 3-4 weeks following surgery to repair a meniscus tear. During that time, McAllister’s a solid RB #2 if he can remain healthy. Remember – the saints also have Pierre Thomas and Aaron Stecker, and they’ll likely see increased touches as well.

Cedric Benson, CIN – It pains me to include him in a column, given his history as an underachieving first-rounder with a bad attitude, alcohol problems and other assorted douche-baggage that’s kept him from reaching his potential. And now, he’s – ahem – playing for the Bengals. But he is the clear starter and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include him here heading into Houston.

Digging Deeper

Ahman Green, HOU – While the Texans won’t have too many games like the one against Detroit, the offense is improving and making everyone more valuable. It also remains to be seen if Steve Slaton can carry the load the rest of the way, so Green might be pressed into further action. Keep an eye on matchups and use Green only as a stopgap in a very favorable situation until the veteran regains the starting job somehow.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE – After Morris went down with an unidentified knee injury, the rookie out of Mississippi with the super-long and semi-alliterative name rushed for 65 on just 13 carries and got his first NFL TD. With Laurence Maroney out for the season and Lamont Jordan yet to impress, if Morris misses extended time, you’ll want this kid (who was just signed by the Pats on Oct. 11 from the practice squad) on your team.

Scouring The Barrel

Kevin Faulk, NE – See my statements above regarding the Morris injury. Also it’s nice to have the third down back on a team that’s showing offensive improvement, especially in a PPR league.

Mewelde Moore, PIT – Even when Fast Willie Parker returns, Moore should remain involved in the offense. He’s just run too well filling in to eliminate from the weekly game plan. Keep an eye on Parker’s status leading up to Sunday.


Michael Pittman, DEN – Pittman totaled 88 rushing yards on 20 carries Monday night and would’ve had a ton more if his backfield mate didn’t fumble away the Broncos chances in the first half and force the Denver offense to take the air much earlier than anticipated. He’s on a bye this week, and you’ll have to stay tuned to the shakeup when Ryan Torain sees his first action.

Dominic Rhodes, IND – Rhodes performed admirably in relief of Joseph Addai with 73 yards rushing and 2 TDs – and surpassed Addai’s week 3 game versus Jacksonville, his best game of the season, by tacking on 4-41-0 receiving. Indy HC Tony Dungy is reporting that Addai could play Week 8, so keep an eye on his status before plugging in Rhodes.

Rudi Johnson, DET – Six carries for 8 yards. Well done, Rudi. I hope you’ve still got something in tank, because I might need you this week. Scary, I know.

Ryan Torain, DEN – Still not active, Torain is expected to be back in Week 9, but how much playing time he sees initially remains up in the air.

Shaun Alexander, WAS – Clinton Portis was okay to start despite several minor injuries and had a huge day. Shaun’s probably not going to have much of a fantasy impact this season.

Tashard Choice, DAL – Two carries for 13 yards. Nobody said he’d take over Felix Jones’ exact role or supplant Barber, but I’d like to see more carries.

Patrick Cobbs, MIA – Cobbs pulled in 5 catches for 64 yards, so it appears he has some residual value in PPR leagues.

Michael Bush, OAK – He didn’t get traded and Fargas played well. Forget him for now.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Donnie Avery, STL – I picked up Avery in one of my home leagues this week and gave him a spot start as a bye week fill-in. Unfortunately, that same day, I dropped the Packers defense in favor of the Dolphins, a bold move that probably lost me my game. But Avery’s had a few solid games in consecutive weeks and seems to be the deep threat in the Rams improving offense. He even had a TD called back Sunday that would’ve made him the top fantasy WR of the day.

WR Joey Galloway, TB – A lot of fantasy writers jumped the gun recommending a Galloway add during Week 7 – but I didn’t think including him last week would have been wise. Even now, I’d only advocate adding Galloway if you have three healthy receivers for Week 8. He’s a productive veteran when he’s healthy, but knowing when he’s healthy is half the battle.

TE Zach Miller, OAK – He’s posted 12-166-1 in his last three weeks, and with most top TEs not having very steady seasons, he’s emerging as a viable #1 TE option. And Baltimore’s yielded the fifth-most points to opposing TEs in PPR leagues over the past three weeks.

Digging Deeper

WR Javon Walker – He’s too talented to ignore and he’s finally catching on (and catching balls) in Oakland, posting 5-75-1 last week against the Jets. If he’s available, now would be a good time to grab him and follow his progress.

WR Josh Morgan, SF – The rookie finally emerged with 5-86-1 in the loss to the Giants. His targets should continue to increase, but Monday’s coaching change could affect the game plan from here on out.

WR Nate Washington, PIT – TDs in consecutive weeks shows me Ben is looking his way more and more in the red zone and on deep balls. He won’t supplant Hines Ward or Santonio Holmes as a favorite possession target, but if the Steelers offense keeps moving the ball as effectively as they have been, he’ll be a threat to score every week and remain a decent, albeit marginal, WR No. 3 in TD-only leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Malcom Floyd, SD – He’s converted nine targets into 7-140-2 during the past two games – the only two in ’08 when he’s actually been targeted. When Chris Chambers comes back, the party might be over, but he’s got to be on your radar making the most of his recent opportunities.

TE Robert Royal, BUF – A solid bye week fill-in at TE, Mr. Royal posted 4-53-0 last week against the Chargers. While the Dolphins are a pretty stingy unit against opposing TEs, Royal’s a favorite target of Edwards.

WR Mike Furrey, DET – Remember this guy? I first included him in Through the Wire in Week 4 of ’06 – right before he became a great #2 fantasy WR. Since then, I’ve reiterated my attitude toward the cuddly gamer, and he’s responded. You could do a lot worse for a bye-week substitute or a bench WR.


WR Vincent Jackson, SD – He and Malcolm Floyd have benefited from Chambers’ absence, and we’ll see how they respond once the veteran receiver is back in the starting lineup.

TE Kellen Winslow, CLE – He looked okay in his return from – ahem – a staph infection, and he should now be inserted at TE in all fantasy lineups unless he has further – ahem – complications.

WR Derrick Mason, BAL – Along with Dominic Rhodes, who was a no-brainer, Mason one of my best calls of the week. The industrious veteran finished with 6 catches for 87 yards and his first TD of the season.

WR Steve Breaston, ARI – On a bye in Week 7, we’ll learn more about Breaston’s role when teammate and fellow WR Anquan Boldin returns to the offense this week against the Panthers.

WR Kevin Curtis, PHI – Another WR coming off a bye – an returning from an August hernia surgery that’s kept him out of action so far this season – Curtis will immediately be involved in the Philly offense.

WR Rashied Davis, CHI – He only managed 3-24-0 receiving, but Davis recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD. Weird, but fantasy owners who were awarded the score per their league rules are a happy bunch. Keep an eye on Devin Hester’s quad injury. Davis could see increased targets if Hester misses extended time.

WR Bobby Wade, MIN – Berrian posted the big numbers last week against his old team – the Bears – while Wade converted 8 targets into 5-60-0. He’s on a bye this week, but he’s a solid WR #4 at this point and worthy bye week fill-in as a #3.

WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, OAK – The former UTEP wideout had a quiet day and didn’t bust open any big plays on special teams. Shucks – just when he’s starting to stand out against the bizarre Oakland backdrop, Walker makes an appearance.


Off The Top

LB Will Witherspoon, STL – Largely forgotten on the IDP landscape in ’08, Witherspoon could post huge numbers versus the Pats, who mounted several long, sustained drives against the Broncos last week and allowed their LBs to rack up tackles. If he’s out there, this is perfect opportunity to bring him back into the fray.

LB Thomas Howard, OAK – Howard is available in one of my IDP leagues and has a favorable matchup facing the Ravens. He’s not the No. 1 LB in Oakland – that’s Kirk Morrison – but he’s reliable and can break out for huge totals when you least expect it. Just go take a look at his numbers during the first few weeks of ’07.

DB Nedu Ndukwe, CIN – A must-add in deeper formats, Nduke has 38 tackles on the season and a nice matchup this week. While he hasn’t necessarily exploded on the IDP scene, he’s been relatively steady. Take a shot with him against the Texans.

Digging Deeper

LB Brandon Johnson, CIN – The third-year man out of Louisville took over for the injured Keith Rivers (broken jaw) and posted some solid numbers in his stead. He should be owned in all deep IDP leagues and strongly considered for a start this week against the Texans if fellow LBs Rashad Jeanty and Dhani Jones are owned in your league.

DL Darryl Tapp, SEA – A standout in ’07, Tapp lost the starting job to rookie Lawrence Jackson but has since regained it. He’s got a wonderful matchup this week in San Fran, so give him a start.

DB Will Demps, HOU – Demps has 14 tackles in his last two games and gets the Bengals this week – a team that yields a lot of points to opposing DBs. It took Demps a while to make his mark, but he’s had a nice second half in ’07 and should see plenty of action Sunday afternoon.

Scouring The Barrel

DL James Hall, STL – Hall has posted pretty consistent tackle totals all year, so if he’s available on the wire, you shouldn’t hesitate. This week, the Rams face the Pats, who defensive linemen post big numbers on.

DB Brandon Carr, KC – I like the matchup against Brett Favre, although it’s possible the Jets cool theirs a bit and stick to the run more to grind out a win against KC.

LB Ryan Nece, DET – If Paris Lenon and Ernie Sims aren’t available in your league or you’re in a deep IDP format and looking for a nice matchup this week, Nece could be a good play. He started at strongside LB instead of Alex Lewis on Sunday and posted 7 total tackles and a half-sack.


LB Nate Webster, DEN – Fellow Denver LB D.J. Williams stole the show with 16 total tackles and a half-sack, but Webster still held his own with 6 total tackles and a sack – a solid game heading into the bye. Make sure he’s active for you when the Broncos return in Week 9.

DB DeAngelo Hall, OAK – My IDP “Call of the Week,” DeAngelo was a dominant force within the Raiders secondary, making tackles (7 solo, 1 assist) picking off a poorly thrown Brett Favre ball and racking up 4 PD – a monster fantasy game from a big talent.

LB Chad Greenway, MIN – 6 solos isn’t exceptional, but it’s a rate that’ll get you 96 solos on the year. Keep using him after the Week 8 bye.

LB Channing Crowder, MIA – Crowder totaled 10 tackles (6 solo, 4 assist) on Sunday. Nice, sturdy work from the Dolphins starting MLB.

DB Michael Lewis, SF – Last year’s leading tackler among DBs left the team’s Week 7 game with a knee sprain in the 3rd quarter and didn’t return, finishing with just 3 total tackles. His status for Week 8 is unknown at this point.

LB Calvin Pace, NYJ – 4 solos and nothing else – not quite thee big splash I was hoping for against the run-happy Raiders.

LB Leroy Hill, SEA – The Seahawks defense is on the field so much, hill’s been a solid contributor in any IDP format. He posted 4 solos, 4 assists and a PD on Sunday night against the Bucs.

DB Leigh Bodden, DET – Bodden (knee) was listed as questionable on the late injury report after not practicing on Friday, but he played anyway – posting 3 solos and 1 assist. Hopefully when the news of the injury broke later in the week you readjusted. Keep an eye on his status heading into Week 8.

DL Domata Peko, CIN – Oh well – every sleeper pick can’t work out. Mr. Peko was nearly non-existent with just one tackle.