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Through The Wire - Week 10
11/10/09 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 to 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 a big 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 — sometimes breakout stars that eluded your team’s draft — as well as players who can help your squad that may still be lurking in deeper leagues.

Off the Top - Includes my premier recommendations — sometimes players available either only in more shallow leagues, and occasionally guys more readily available who’ve been thrust into the fantasy spotlight.

Digging Deeper - Covers the next tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available in a majority of online leagues.

Scouring the Barrel - Chronicles the deepest of fantasy adds — and sometimes highlights players being tacked onto fantasy squads who I don’t have much confidence in.

Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 30-40 players I covered the previous week. It’s the best one-stop waiver-wire column available on the Internet, and it’s only available here at

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

Note: Each player’s next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()


Off The Top

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (JAC, @NE, CAR, @BUF) – I can’t imagine too many fantasy owners are desperate for a quarterback this week. There’s only two possible starters on bye (Matt Schaub, Eli Manning), and since we’re now 10 weeks in, that’s something that should have been handled already. If you’re in that unenviable minority, playing Sanchez would undoubtedly risky, but the rookie is probably available in a few more leagues coming off his bye and has one of the better matchups among the fellows on the wire.

David Garrard, JAC (@NYJ, BUF, @SF, HOU) – Garrard, Sanchez’s opponent this week, is probably less risky because of his experience level, but has lower upside because the Jets have a solid pass defense.

Digging Deeper

Alex Smith, SF (CHI, @GB, JAC, @SEA) – The next tier of wire QBs begins with Smith, who’s a hit-or-miss performer with some relatively decent matchups on the way. Again — if you’re in a bind this week at QB1 the only place you should be looking is in the mirror — but in two-QB leagues he’ll make a serviceable start.

Jake Delhomme, CAR (ATL, MIA, @NYJ, TB) – Putting your faith in Delhomme each Sunday is like going to church just to pound some wine. It’s neither sensible nor pious, but your friends will laugh at you and you might just end up having a good time. Three of the next four matchups are favorable, so if you’ve got a penchant for sloppy Sundays and the outside chance of a fantasy epiphany, drink up.

Scouring The Barrel

Josh Freeman, TB (@MIA, NO, @ATL, @CAR) – The Bucs got their first win of 2009 (knocking me out of MacGregor’s survivor pool…argghhh) with Freeman at the helm. That probably locks the rookie into a starting job for the remainder of the season, and could mean some QB2 value in deeper leagues and keeper formats.

Marc Bulger, STL (NO, ARI, SEA, @CHI) – Bulger could be playing catch-up on Sunday against the Saints, but the likelihood of multiple picks and the lack of quality receivers seriously diminishes his value.


Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (@ARI, @MIN, @STL, SF) – The Seahawks played well versus the Lions last week and Hasselbeck had a solid game, throwing for 329 yards, one Td and a pick on 39-for-51 passing. There are a few matchups on the way that could yield similar numbers.

Kyle Orton, DEN (@WAS, SD, NYG, @KC) – Orton couldn’t figure out the Steelers defense in the second half and finished Monday night with three INT and no TDs. He’s even a marginal fantasy backup at this point.

Matt Cassel, KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – Cassel seems happy with his new receiver, San Diego castoff Chris Chambers, but has some tough matchups on the way. Division rivalries can get crazy, though, so stay tuned through Week 13.

Jason Campbell, WAS (DEN, @DAL, @PHI, NO) – Don’t bother rostering him unless you’re in a 10-team, three-QB league. Yeah — the Skins are that bad.

Vince Young, TEN (BUF, @HOU, ARI, @IND) – Say what you want about Young’s idiotic Hall of Fame statements and rough-around-the-edges persona. The guy’s led the Titans to consecutive victories.

Trent Edwards, BUF (@TEN, @JAC, MIA, NYJ) – A favorable matchup in Week 10 could mean a few spot starts in deeper formats (if he’s even cleared to play after missing a month due to a concussion) but the Titans pass defense is not the porous perversion that took the field earlier in the season. Be careful starting Edwards this week in spite of the numbers.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Carnell Williams, TB (@MIA, NO, @ATL, @CAR) – Derrick Ward could see increased work moving forward as the Bucs offense improves, but Cadillac is still the primary vehicle in the Tampa Bay household. Look for some good numbers the next few weeks.

Willis McGahee, BAL (@CLE, IND, PIT, @GB) – McGahee is one Ray Rice injury away from fantasy relevance. If you’re a Rice owner, the ride has surely been nice, but you’ve got to protect him with a handcuff, even if it means wasting a roster spot on zero production. I snagged Willis in a 14-team, two-RB league where I’m starting Rice and Julius Jones and have Felix Jones as my backup, so I’m certain you can understand my rationale.

Digging Deeper

LeSean McCoy, PHI (@SD, @CHI, WAS, @ATL) – The climate in Philadelphia has most certainly changed. Since Brian Westbrook still had some lingering effects (a Friday afternoon headache) from his Week 7 concussion, he was held out of Sunday night’s crucial game versus the Cowboys. There’s also reports emerging of some ankle swelling, and if he’s not 100 percent, the Eagles will continue to go with McCoy — making the rookie a viable fantasy option.

Laurence Maroney, NE (@IND, NYJ, @NO, @MIA) – Sammy Morris isn’t slated to be back until Week 11 at the earliest, giving Maroney another shot at significance. If he continues to run well, he could hold onto the starting job.

Scouring The Barrel

Ladell Betts, WAS (DEN, @DAL, @PHI, NO) – Betts will likely get the start against the Broncos, who looked terrible defending the run on Monday night. Since the offense is so anemic, I wouldn’t get too excited about Betts even if he is the Skins’ primary back. But he’s worth a roster spot and consideration as an RB3 or FLEX in deeper leagues.

Kolby Smith, KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – Since there’s no such thing as a sure thing on Todd Haley’s team, Smith could get the bulk of touches going forward if he runs well against the Raiders this week. He’s now off the PUP list and with Larry Johnson out of the picture, it’ll come down to some mixture of Smith, Jamaal Charles and Dantrell Savage.


Jonathan Stewart, CAR (ATL, MIA, @NYJ, TB) – While Stewart wasn’t great (13 carries, 24 yards) against the Saints and DeAngelo Williams finished with 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns, it’s worth noting that a late Williams fumble could have cost the Panthers the game. If it happens again, the Panthers might use Stewart a bit more down the stretch.

Julius Jones, SEA (@ARI, @MIN, @STL, SF) – Jones had his best game since Week Three, posting 6-78-0 receiving to go along with 36 rushing yards and a score. He could have a similar day versus the Cards.

Ryan Moats, HOU (BYE, TEN, IND, @JAC) – Moats and Slaton split RB duties in Week Nine, rendering both slightly below average fantasy starts. A Week 10 bye could help straighten this situation out, but I’m still glad I packaged both in a deal for Tim Hightower last week.

Mike Bell, NO (@STL, @TB, NE, @WAS) – Bell could see an increased workload this week in St. Louis. Peg him as a low-end RB3/FLEX.

Jamaal Charles, KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – As I mentioned before, we can’t get inside Haley’s head, but if you’re hurting for an RB3/FLEX in PPR leagues, Charles could be your guy.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

TE Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN (DET, SEA, CHI, @ARI) – Shiancoe obviously won’t be available in too many leagues, but his Week Nine bye definitely threw a few owners into a tailspin — resulting in the occasional drop. Don’t let him languish on the wire into Week 10’s games. The guy hasn’t seen a ton of targets lately, but he’s one of Brett’s red zone guys and already has six TDs, tied with Greg Olsen for second among TEs (Vernon Davis leads with seven).

WR Lee Evans, BUF (@TEN, @JAC, MIA, NYJ) – I know I just said the Titans pass defense was getting better, but that doesn’t mean Evans can’t escape for a long TD or two with Terrell Owens taking up much of its attention. Getting Edwards back could also help the veteran receiver, who usually comes alive during the middle weeks.

Digging Deeper

WR Mike Wallace, PIT (CIN, @KC, @BAL, OAK) – Wallace had another solid game in Week Nine and is averaging 17.5 yards per reception for the Steelers. He’s now got 25-437-3 on the season and is a valuable red zone target for Big Ben.

WR Laveranues Coles, CIN (@PIT, @OAK, CLE, DET) – Coles has TDs in two of his last three and will see increased targets as a result of the Chris Henry injury. The Steelers have a staunch secondary, but the next few matchups promise decent overall numbers for a WR3.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Chris Chambers, KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – Chambers caught two TD passes for his new team, including a 54-yarder during Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville. When the Chiefs get behind, and they will a lot in the next few weeks, he could get some serious garbage time and accompanying value.

WR Robert Meachem, NO (@STL, @TB, NE, @WAS) – Meachem is starting to show some of the catch-and-run spunk that made his a sleeper pick on so many experts’ lists the past couple seasons. He had 5-98-1 on Sunday, including a second-half bonus TD that tied the game at 20-20.


WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (@SD, @CHI, WAS, @ATL) – Maclin fought through a foot injury and caught three passes for 44 yards against the Coboys on Sunday night. It wasn’t spectacular, but he’s the Eagles undisputed No. 2 WR and should see enough targets each week to warrant a WR3 start in formats that allow one.

WR Percy Harvin, MIN (DET, SEA, CHI, @ARI) – Brad Childress said there’s a chance that Harvin could return punts at some point this season. I can’t wait for Sunday to see what this guy can do against the Lions, who will probably punt over 10 times and have a terribly weak secondary.

WR Malcom Floyd, SD (PHI, @DEN, KC, @CLE) – Patience, fellow fantasy owners, patience.

WR Ted Ginn Jr., MIA (TB, @CAR, @BUF, NE) – The Tampa Bay game could allow the Dolphins to give Ginn some more action from scrimmage.

TE Fred Davis, WAS (DEN, @DAL, @PHI, NO) – 2-26-0 against the Falcons, but the Skins couldn’t get much going offensively. Chris Cooley could be back later this month, so with a host of better TE options out there, Davis is a safe drop.


Off The Top

LB E.J. Henderson, MIN (DET, SEA, CHI, @ARI) – He’s getting dropped by impatient fantasy owners who place more emphasis on the value of the Vikes’ stat-sheet-filling SLB Chad Greenway. While Greenway probably has more value this week as well, you can’t drop E.J. just because he’s had a few weak games. If anything’s hurt his value this season, it’s a dynamic, Brett-Favre-led offense that’s on the field a lot more than last year.

DB O.J. Atogwe, STL (NO, ARI, SEA, @CHI) – Atogwe’s been dropped in a ton of leagues that don’t require DBs, and he’s been relatively quiet compared to the escapades of some other stud safeties (Darren Sharper, Troy Polamalu, etc.) But that doesn’t mean he isn’t an excellent play this week against the Saints, an offense that could give him 10-plus tackles and several chances at big plays. If you see him on the wire in any IDP format, don’t hesitate to snag him.

LB Larry Foote, DET (@MIN, CLE, GB, @CIN) – Foote should see plenty of action this week in Minnesota. He’s available in over half of IDP leagues and recorded 10 total tackles and a sack during the Lions’ Week Two game against the Vikings.

Digging Deeper

LB Gary Brackett, IND (NE, @BAL, @HOU, TEN) – Brackett got back in the flow of the Colts defense last week and posted seven total tackles and two PD. The Pats move the ball in dribs and drabs between the 20s, and Brackett is an underrated tackler who can clean up in that scenario. He’s far from universally owned and could have huge impact in this week’s pivotal matchup between Indy and New England.

DL Tamba Hali, KC (@OAK, PIT, @SD, DEN) – We’ll be hearing a lot of his name during the next few weeks in matchups that favor OLBs. Because he’s DL-eligible, he’s a steal this week at Oakland, and he’s only owned in a quarter of IDP leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Landon Johnson, CAR (ATL, MIA, @NYJ, TB) – The all-important WLB position in Carolina has a new starter in Johnson, who replaces the injured Thomas Davis. Davis tore his ACL last week but had already compiled a ridiculous IDP line for 2009: 61 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, two INT and five PD. Johnson is former Bengal and a veteran LB the Panther scan trust to slide into Davis’s slot.

DB Derek Cox, JAC (@NYJ, BUF, @SF, HOU) – Cox has put up consistent tackle totals this season and had a great matchup versus the Jets, who yield big points to opposing DBs. Take a crack at him this week in deeper formats.


LB Jerod Mayo, NE (@IND, NYJ, @NO, @MIA) – Wow — there weren’t too many folks who thought Mayo was still capable of producing 12 total tackles (seven solos) from the LILB slot in the Pats 3-4, but I went out on a limb and got it right. He has a much-less-favorable matchup this week at Indy, so temper your expectations.

LB Justin Durant, JAC (@NYJ, BUF, @SF, HOU) – Durant followed up his huge Week Eight game with just three solos and a PD against the Chiefs. He should resume IDP respectability against the Jets in Week 10.

LB Aaron Curry, SEA (@ARI, @MIN, @STL, SF) – Four total tackles, but the beast in the Detroit matchup was MLB David Hawthorne, who had nine total tackles, two INT and three PD.

DL Jimmy Wilkerson, TB (@MIA, NO, @ATL, @CAR) – Wilkerson had his least productive game in over a month versus the Packers but his fellow linemen, (including RDE Stylez G. White) cleaned up, showing once again that picking fantasy DLs can be a difficult proposition.

DB Reed Doughty, WAS (DEN, @DAL, @PHI, NO) – Six solos last week and the chance for a much bigger game against the Broncos, who have a ball control offense that could allow Doughty to play close to the line.

DL Randy Starks, MIA (TB, @CAR, @BU, NE) – Starks has just two solos but got to Tom Brady — giving the veteran DL 4.5 sacks on the season.

DB Richard Marshall, CAR (ATL, MIA, @NYJ, TB) – Three total tackles in Week Nine. The tackles are pretty well spread out among the Panther defensive backs these days.