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Through The Wire - Week 3
9/22/08 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 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 ()

Week 2 introduced us to a few new receivers with obvious fantasy value, reaffirmed some of our suspicions from Week 1 about a few quality running backs, and taught us the importance of never doubting the Jets. Let’s take a stroll “Through the Wire.”


Off The Top

Joe Flacco, BAL (CLE, @NE, CIN, @MIN) – He’s only available in about 20 percent of leagues, but that’s 20 percent too many. He could easily be a Top 10 QB this season. He’s also got a bunch of backfield options who can catch the ball and supplement his TD pass totals.

Brett Favre, MIN (SF, GB, @STL, BAL) – As long as his arm holds up, he has value. No INTs through two games is a good sign. The list to make sure he’s not lingering on the wire is rife with reasonable suggestions. You need to hear more? How about his 23-for-27 showing last week and the emerging weapon that is Percy Harvin?

Digging Deeper

Jason Campbell, WAS (@DET, TB, @CAR, KC) – Some fantasy owners are never gonna give up on Campbell, but he’s just been letting them down. Consequently, about 69 percent of them have turned around and deserted him. Campbell has been Rick-Rolling folks since 2005, but he’s going to sink or swim this season, and this week even he should be able to post solid numbers.

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (TEN, @NO, @MIA, BUF) – I watched Sanchez throw sharp pass after sharp pass against the Pats defense on Sunday, and it was impressive. I know the titans probably won’t tallow four TD passes this week, but 200 yards and two strikes could happen.

Scouring The Barrel

Seneca Wallace, SEA (CHI, @IND, JAC, ARI) – He’ll take over for the inured Matt Hasselbeck for a spell, and tends to have the occasional hug game when he’s backed into a corner. However, while the receivers showed a great affinity for the end zone in Week 1, the schedule might present some problems. Hold off unless you’re desperate.

WR/QB Julian Edelman, NE (ATL, CLE, @DEN, TEN) – If Welker misses any additional time, he’ll have value. Pay attention to his position eligibility, because at WR in Welker’s stead, he’s shown the ability to rack up points in PPR leagues.


Kyle Orton, DEN (@OAK, DAL, NE, @SD) – Orton landed in the bottom half of fantasy QBs this week, finishing with a healthy yardage total (263) but adding just one score.

Byron Leftwich, TB (NYG, @WAS, @PHI, CAR) – As terrible as the Bucs played on Sunday – and as inaccurate Leftwich was – the slow-footed QB tossed three TD passes, two picks and compiled 296 yards through the air.

Kerry Collins, TEN (@NYJ, @JAC, IND, @NE) – 216/2/1 is probably a fair assumption of what Collins will do against teams with weaker pass defense.

Michael Vick, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – Chances are he’ll play this week and see action in a handful of snaps.

Kevin Kolb, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – Facing the Saints, Kolb produced Drew Brees-like numbers with 391 passing yards and two TDs, although he did throw three picks. With McNabb most likely out for Week 3, he should be a viable fill-in for one more game.

JaMarcus Russell, OAK (DEN, @ HOU, @NYG, PHI) – Easily the worst starting QB in the league, Russell did manage a win against the lowly Chiefs, but his 7-for-24 passing (29.2 percent) and 109 yards did nothing for fantasy owners who gambled on a palatable performance.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Fred Jackson, BUF (NO, @MIA, CLE, @NYJ) – Jackson (who I recommended adding before Week 1) continued his offensive assault with 163 rushing yards on 28 carries and 6/25/0 receiving. He’s owned in just 75 percent of leagues, so there’s a chance he’s still available in yours. Don’t hesitate to start him against the Saints.

Felix Jones, DAL (CAR, @DEN, @KC, BYE) – Jones broke off a couple decent runs and finished with 96 yards a TD on just seven carries. The explosive back could see an increased workload if Marion Barber’s quad injury keeps him out of any action this weekend against the Panthers.

Digging Deeper

Leon Washington, NYJ (TEN, @NO, @MIA, BUF) – Washington, who had 19 offensive touches in the opener and 16 against the Pats on Sunday, is a valuable part of the Jets’ offense. He’ll continue to see 15-20 touches a game under 35-year-old Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme, which features multiple sets and flexibility — as well as a no-huddle component that’s been effective so far in 2009. He’s only owned in about half the leagues on Yahoo, so give him a shot.

LeSean McCoy, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – McCoy had five carries for 18 yards and caught four passes for 37 yards in Sunday's loss to the Saints. If Brian Westbrook’s injured ankle keeps him out of the matchup with the Chiefs, McCoy could post big numbers.

Scouring The Barrel

Tashard Choice, DAL (CAR, @DEN, @KC, BYE) – Barber’s quad injury means Choice should be owned in all formats; he was successful for a stint in ’08 and is available in most leagues.

Justin Forsett, SEA (CHI, @IND, JAC, ARI) – He saw some action Sunday (five carries for 35 yards and 6/57/0 receiving. He’s a PPR-based value-snatch.


Julius Jones, SEA (CHI, @IND, JAC, ARI) – Jones had just 11 rushing yards on eight carries, but he caught a TD pass. The long-term value may have taken a hit along with his QB situation.

Cedric Benson, CIN (PIT, @CLE, @BAL, HOU) – 141 yards. They hand him the ball a ton, and the Bengals looked pretty good last week. Should be owned in all formats, but still isn’t (23-percent available).

Darren Sproles, SD (MIA, @PIT, BYE, DEN) – Sproles was held to just 26 rushing yards off 10 carries Week 2, but exploded for seven catches and 124 receiving yards with one touchdown against the Ravens. LT’s missed game means he’s in charge – for now.

Willis McGahee, BAL (CLE, @NE, CIN, @MIN) – McGahee busted out for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in Week 2. He also caught two passes for 10 receiving yards, and is integral to the Ravens current offense, along with both Rice and McClain. It’s not exciting to see everybody participating, but it’s good that they’re participating well.

Tim Hightower, ARI (IND, BYE, HOU, @SEA) – 15 carries for 72 yards and a TD. So he can run the ball too? Sold.

Correll Buckhalter, DEN (@OAK, DAL, NE, @SD) – Nine carries, 76 yards and a TD, plus a 30-yard reception. Were all my RB recommendations a hit?

Michael Bush, OAK (DEN, @ HOU, @NYG, PHI) – Bush only had 52 total yards. So I guess not a direct hit. But he’s involved on a team that must run the ball to win games. The Raiders can’t do it behind the arm of Russell, so that’s a good thing for this enormous, fast and hard-hitting physical specimen.

Mewelde Moore, PIT (@CIN, SD, @DET, CLE) – Just six-percent owned, Moore is the Steelers’ third down back an feature back in the no-huddle. He could have more value (just a few carries and a couple catches last week) if Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall struggle.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Laurent Robinson, STL (GB, @SF, MIN, @JAC) – He’s fast and could be a stat-gobbling fool when the Rams get behind. And they will get behind…frequently. He nabbed six catches for 54 yards and the Rams only score in the 9-7 loss to the Redskins, beating the Redskins' secondary with his length. He impressed on a tricky little fade from QB Marc Bulger — going up and over DeAngelo Hall. I’d grab him and hope the Rams defense gets back to allowing quick scores.

WR Steve Smith, NYG (@TB, @KC, OAK, @NO) – Just 40-percent owned, Smith posted 134 yards and a TD on 10 receptions in the tilt with Dallas. He’s obviously a frequent target of Eli Manning and is the senior receiver in a young corps of wideouts.

Digging Deeper

TE Brent Celek, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – It was another big week for Celek, who roamed a lot downfield and totaled 104 yards on eight catches. Kansas City’s weak defense should provide either Kolb or McNabb opportunities to find him in space.

WR Mario Manningham, NYG (@TB, @KC, OAK, @NO) – The second-year man out of Michigan had 150 yards and a TD on 10 receptions. Wow. And Manning and the Giants have a pretty nice-looking schedule coming up, so get on board while you can.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Johnny Knox, CHI (@SEA, DET, BYE, @ATL) – The fifth-round pick out of Abilene Christian was a nice late-round gamble for the Bears; he currently leads the Bears with 152 receiving yards through the first two games, and caught six passes for 70 yards and a TD in Week 2. He's popular with Jay Cutler, and should continue to get looks as long as he makes the catches.

WR Mike Sims-Walker, JAC (@HOU, TEN, @SEA, STL) – Sims-Walker replaced the injured Troy Williamson, who’s done for the year, and responded with 106 yards and a TD reception. He’s almost universally available, so grab him if you believe in Garrard — the only thing that makes me at all hesitant.


WR Devery Henderson, NO (@BUF, NYJ, BYE, NYG) – After a big Week 1, Henderson let down owners who may have expected a score to go along with his three catches for 71 yards.

TE Jeremy Shockey, NO (@BUF, NYJ, BYE, NYG) – 4/49/0 is a great follow-up to Week 1. The touchdowns will come in this potent offense.

WR Percy Harvin, MIN (SF, GB, @STL, BAL) – He’s a playmaker on a team with plenty of talent. If the opportunities continue to come, he’ll be a solid WR3 this season.

WR Patrick Crayton, DAL (CAR, @DEN, @KC, BYE) – One catch, four yards. Man — that game really hurt this Dallas fan.

TE John Carlson, SEA (CHI, @IND, JAC, ARI) – Just like the first week, he saw eight targets and converted six catches, but he only totaled 46 yards and didn’t score.

WR Justin Gage, TEN (@NYJ, @JAC, IND, @NE) – 2/27/0 didn’t satisfy his owners, but I told you what to expect — inconsistency.

TE Todd Heap, BAL (CLE, @NE, CIN, @MIN) – A 9-yard TD pass from Flacco made it a worthwhile day.

WR Mark Clayton, BAL (CLE, @NE, CIN, @MIN) – Just one catch for 20 yards, but the schedule portends more passing in the coming weeks.

WR Louis Murphy, OAK (DEN, @ HOU, @NYG, PHI) – 2/26/0 is almost inspiring when you consider how bad Russell was.


Off The Top

DL Antwan Odom, CIN (PIT, @CLE, @BAL, HOU) – Seven sacks in two games? Are you kidding me? While it’s a shame I didn’t have this guy in my “to-watch” list, he’s still out there in a bunch of leagues on waivers. Scoop him up heading into the Steelers match-up, where he could get himself another sack or two.

LB Bradie James, DAL (CAR, @DEN, @KC, BYE) – The schedule bodes well for a lot of tackles, and that’s what James does well. Don’t expect him to repeat his sack totals from last season, but give him a shot the next three weeks.

Digging Deeper

LB Gary Guyton, NE (ATL, CLE, @DEN, TEN) – He’s the new tackle-nabbing LB in New England after the Jerod Mayo injury, and he proved last week he’s up to the task. Go for it.

LB Lawrence Timmons, PIT (@CIN, SD, @DET, CLE) – He may still not be 100 percent, but somebody’s impatience will be your fantasy salvation. Timmons will post solid numbers once he’s the regular RILB.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Akeem Jordan, PHI (KC, BYE, TB, @OAK) – Last week’s IDP totals (eight solos, one assist, INT) weren’t an anomaly. Jordan isn’t a bull, but he’s athletic, tough plays the position with intensity. The Eagles aren’t that strong inside with Omar Gaither at MLB, so Jordan could be a big pickup.

DB Roy Williams, CIN (PIT, @CLE, @BAL, HOU) – Everybody knows that Williams has was a perennial disappointment after he took on a safety valve role in Dallas instead of a staying a gambling, run-stuffing freak. Against the Steelers (who will try to dominate time of possession) he’ll be forced to come up big and could walk away with a few big plays.


DB DeAngelo Hall, WAS (@DET, TB, @CAR, KC) – Hall got abused a bit by Robinson, but this whole game was a grind, so he never got a shot to bulk upon tackles and PDs. Callin’ DBs can be tough, folks.

LB Stephen Cooper, SD (MIA, @PIT, BYE, DEN) – Seven total tackles, but not as active as I’d hoped, but his matchup in Week 3 will redeem his value as a solid LB2.

LB Andra Davis, DEN (@OAK, DAL, NE, @SD) – Eight solos and two assists sounds like a hit to me. Could be a lot more where that came from in the next few weeks.

LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, CHI (@SEA, DET, BYE, @ATL) – Four solos and PD isn’t the kind of production you’d expect from the Bears MLB, but on a defense that’s clearly got some issues, he’ll compile better numbers. But you’ll see fewer Urlacher-like plays that fill the IDP stat sheet.