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Through The Wire - Week 6
10/13/09 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.

We’re entering Week Six, and it might be a good time to revisit some of my pre-Week-One column, considering how prophetic some of my selection turned out to be. Some of them have popped up multiple times in this column, and make another appearance this week after huge performances. Just remember where your bread is buttered, folks: Right here, Through the Wire.

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


Off The Top

David Garrard, JAC (STL, BYE, @TEN, KC) – Garrard had a terrible Week Five, getting pulled after losing a couple of fumbles, but the offensive line was partly to blame for his futility. He’s still available in one out of four leagues, and has one of the best upcoming schedules in fantasy football, except for his Week 7 bye. If he was unceremoniously dropped, he’s worth a shot if you’re struggling at QB.

Digging Deeper

Jake Delhomme, CAR (@TB, BUF, @ARI, @NO) – The wayward Delhomme still hasn’t shown he can be a reliable option this season, but he’s on his way. Last week’s victory could signal a new era for the Panthers with matchups versus Tampa Bay and Buffalo on the docket.

Scouring The Barrel

Chad Henne, MIA (BYE, NO, @NYJ, @NE) – Okay, so Henne isn’t that bad. While most of Miami’s TDs will come via the running game, it’s obvious from Monday night this offense can hang with Henne at the helm on three out of four plays. He’s on a bye this week and might never be a top QB option, but he’s showing more promise.


Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – For two weeks in a row, I’ve nailed the week’s best fantasy QB with my “Off the Top” selection. Hasselbeck blew up for 241 passing yards and four TDs (along with 23 rushing yards) in his Week Five return from injury.

Jason Campbell, WAS (KC, PHI, BYE, @ATL) – Campbell passed for just 145 yards and a score last week. He’s not a terrible option this week against the Chiefs, but the offensive line has obvious problems protecting him and giving him the requisite time to get the ball downfield.

Kyle Orton, DEN (@SD, BYE, @BAL, PIT) – Orton posted respectable numbers (330/2/1) on Sunday in the unlikely victory over the Pats. He’s a solid QB2 going forward, although the matchups get tougher.

Matt Cassel, KC (@WAS, SD, BYE, @JAC) – 253/2/0 and 28 rushing yards was a pretty good day for the Chiefs QB, considering he was repeatedly peppered by the Dallas front seven.

Matt Stafford, DET (@GB, BYE, STL, @SEA) – Daunte Culpepper played in Stafford’s place and gave a good performance. Maybe this is the start of a teensy-weensy QB controversy.

Derek Anderson, CLE (@PIT, GB, @CHI, BYE) – Anderson was 2-for-17 for 23 yards and an INT—one of the most hideous QB performances in league history. I’m glad I posted him in the barrel. Stay far away.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Knowshon Moreno, DEN (@SD, BYE, @BAL, PIT) – I admit I was wrong about the 2009 Broncos, but I’m still not sure they haven’t been a little lucky in their journey to 5-0. With Correll Buckhalter out last week, Moreno had 124 total yards. If C-Buck misses another game, Moreno could post huge fantasy totals against the Chargers.

Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (@NO, ARI, @PHI, SD) – In the first half against the Raiders, Bradshaw rushed for 110 yards and two TDs, adding a 55-yard reception. He’s still the backup to Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw is on an offense that’s clicking and might continue to retain RB2 value as the Giants wear down opponents.

Digging Deeper

Leon Washington, NYJ (BUF, @OAK, MIA, BYE) – Washington is the more explosive back in the Jets offense, but he’s yielding red zone and goal line touches to Thomas Jones, limiting his value. He’s best in PPR leagues and should have a decent week against the Bills.

Jamal Lewis, CLE (@PIT, GB, @CHI, BYE) – Lewis started Sunday and helped get the Browns their first win of ’09 with 117 rushing yards on 31 carries, leaving many fantasy owners wondering what the heck happened to Jerome Harrison. Bizarre.

Scouring The Barrel

Jerious Norwood, ATL (CHI, @DAL, @NO, WAS) – The Falcons offense got off the ground Sunday and Michael Turner finished with three rushing TDs. Norwood finished with 12 carries for 44 yards, and could be in line for more carries and yardage in the coming weeks—although he did lose a fumble.

Jamaal Charles, KC (@WAS, SD, BYE, @JAC) – Let’s just take a look at this week’s matchup. The Redskins have a solid run defense, so Charles and his receiving ability could help the Chiefs loosen up the offense and give them a chance at winning. Take a shot in PPR leagues as an RB3 or flex play.


Rashard Mendenhall, PIT (CLE, MIN, BYE, @DEN) – He was solid again on Sunday, finishing with 15 carries for 77 yards and a TD. Mendenhall appears to have taken over the starting job in Pittsburgh. Even if Parker gets healthy, they’ll be hard-pressed to sit this possibly dominant rushing force.

LeSean McCoy, PHI (@OAK, @WAS, NYG, DAL) – McCoy didn’t do much fantasy-wise against the Bucs, but he had some nice plays—including a catch he made three yards behind the line of scrimmage, where he picked up 10 yards after making a defender miss. He also had a nice nine-yard run out of the Wildcat in the third quarter, finishing with six carries for 14 yards and two catches for 15. Look for more touches in Week Six against the Raiders.

Chester Taylor, MIN (BAL, @PIT, @GB, BYE) – Nine carries for 20 yards and a TD to go along with 3/49-0 receiving—that’s about what I predicted and owners who took my advice and gambled on a flex play were duly rewarded.

Sammy Morris, NE (TEN, @TB, BYE, MIA) – Sammy had 17 carries for 68 yards on Sunday and should continue to get the lion’s share of rushing touches for the Pats.

Mewelde Moore, PIT (CLE, MIN, BYE, @DEN) – Moore and Parker’s value isn’t what it was a few weeks ago before the emergence of Mendenhall, but as long as Parker’s out, Moore will be the third-down back and could grab some points in PPR leagues.

Justin Forsett, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – Six carries for 43 yards. Julius Jones better watch his ancient back.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Nate Burleson, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – I’ve included him a few times in this column, but he’s still available in a handful of leagues despite consistent production. After waivers this week, that won’t be the case.

WR Braylon Edwards, NYJ (BUF, @OAK, MIA, BYE) – It’s very possible Edwards got dropped in a few formats before (and after) last week’s trade to the Jets, so he earns a mention here. The veteran receiver appeared rejuvenated and enthusiastic about playing for a contender, which can only help his fantasy value. He grabbed a TD pass from Mark Sanchez on Monday night and had another reversed after a replay challenge, posting 5-64-1.

TE Kellen Winslow, TB (CAR, NE, BYE, GB) – Winslow had two TD catches on Sunday from Josh Johnson, who’s looking a lot better than Byron “The Catapault” Leftwich. You know my rule about TEs who score twice in one game: They immediately get a mention in this column. In this case, there’s already some value with Winslow, so pick him up if you’re in need of a solid TE.

Digging Deeper

WR Anthony Gonzalez, IND (BYE, @STL, SF, HOU) – Shrewd fantasy owners with some extra roster space might want to add Gonzalez and hope he gets back in action by Week 7, when the Colts begin a nice stretch of matchups with the lowly Rams.

WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (@OAK, @WAS, NYG, DAL) – What an awesome debut for the Donovan McNabb-Jeremy Maclin connection! Maclin had two huge TD catches from McNabb, and all looks right in the Philadelphia offense. The Eagles should continue to look for ways to get Maclin involved.

WR Miles Austin, DAL (BYE, ATL, SEA, @PHI) – Holy smokes! While nobody could have predicted a 250-yard, two-TD day for Austin, the Roy Williams injury should have clued me into his latent value. He’ll be a hot waiver wire add despite his Week Six bye.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Andre Caldwell, CIN (HOU, CHI, BYE, BAL) – Caldwell just keeps on scoring, despite a limited number of targets, partly because Chad Ochocinco is getting so many looks in the red zone. If his targets go up, which they should, so will his value.

WR Mike Wallace, PIT (CLE, MIN, BYE, @DEN) – Wallace converted with a big TD pass from Big Ben in Week Five and looks to be this year’s version of Nate Washington. He’ll have WR4 value from here on out with some upside.

TE Anthony Fasano, MIA (BYE, NO, @NYJ, @NE) – Fasano hauled in a nice TD catch, posting 4/38/1 in Week Five versus the Jets. He’s on my radar again.


WR Mohamed Massaquoi, CLE (@PIT, GB, @CHI, BYE) – See Derek Anderson. The Browns obviously need to figure some things out, and when they do Massaquoi could reclaim some value.

WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG (@NO, ARI, @PHI, SD) – Four catches for 49 yards and a TD. A solid day for a decent WR3 with upside. This week, he could find the end zone again.

WR Kenny Britt, TEN (@NE, BYE, JAC, @SF) – I can’t figure out the Tennessee situation, and it’s almost time for me to stop trying. Britt is about as inconsistent as any WR4 can be.

TE Heath Miller, PIT (CLE, MIN, BYE, @DEN) – Another good showing for Miller, who posted 5/54/1 against the Lions. He’s quickly rising to TE1 status.

TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC (STL, BYE, @TEN, KC) – The schedule looks decent the next weeks for Lewis, who only has three catches for 18 yards in Week Five.

TE Sean Ryan, KC (@WAS, SD, BYE, @JAC) – Dallas did a good job on Ryan, who’s nothing more than a situational TE2 play.

WR Austin Collie, IND (BYE, @STL, SF, HOU) – Wow. 8/97/2 from a receiver owned in less than 25 percent of leagues. I really had a pretty good week. If only I had Miles Austin included in last week’s picks…


Off The Top

LB D.J. Williams, DEN (@SD, BYE, @BAL, PIT) – Williams is the best among Denver’s LBs and is on track for another great campaign if he can stay healthy. The Chargers yield big points to opposing LBs, making him a great LB1 play.

DB Josh Wilson, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – Wilson’s still the starting LCB until Marcus Trufant comes back in November. He’s got a beneficial matchup in Week Six, so get him in your lineup.

Digging Deeper

LB Aaron Curry, SEA (ARI, BYE, @DAL, DET) – I seriously misjudged Curry’s learning curve, which has shown he’s already adjusting well to the NFL and has value as a pass-rushing OLB. He’s worth a shot on the waiver wire based on his ability to fill up the stat sheet.

DL Cliff Avril, DET (@GB, BYE, STL, @SEA) – Avril’s hamstring injury seems to be much better—he had five tackles and a half-sack on Sunday versus the Steelers. This week, he takes on the Packers’ offensive line, which could yield a sack or two to the vaunted pass-rusher from Purdue.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Jimmy Wilkerson, TB (CAR, NE, BYE, GB) – Wilkerson exploited right tackle Winston Justice on Sunday, finishing with six solos, a career-high three sacks, a forced fumble and a PD. He’ll have a tougher time versus Carolina RT Jeff Otah, but Sunday’s big performance must be noted.

LB Calvin Pace, NYJ (BUF, @OAK, MIA, BYE) – Pace had five tackles in his return Week Five and has a solid matchup this week against the Bills. If he’s eligible at DL, he’s a no-brainer play based on the upcoming schedule.


LB David Harris, NYJ (BUF, @OAK, MIA, BYE) – Harris finished with seven tackles (six solo) in a relatively dull performance. He’s still a quality LB1.

DL Aaron Schobel, BUF (@NYJ, @CAR, HOU, BYE) – I won’t even begin to analyze the CLE-BUF game, but suffice to say that Schobel didn’t get to Derek Anderson. He did, however, post six total tackles (three solo), the 12th-highest tackle total for DLs in Week Five.

DL John Abraham, ATL (CHI, @DAL, @NO, WAS) – Abraham performed as expected, posting three tackles and a sack.

LB Chad Greenway, MIN (BAL, @PIT, @GB, BYE) – Six solos and a forced fumble made Greenway a solid LB2 play.

DB Dunta Robinson, HOU (@CIN, SF, @BUF, @IND) – Four total tackles and a PD—not bad for a DB, although I expected more versus the Cards.

LB Kamerion Wimbley, CLE (@PIT, GB, @CHI, BYE) – Easily my finest IDP call of the week, Wimbley—a fringe LB3 at best—had his best game of the year with 11 total tackles and a sack.

LB Jarret Johnson, BAL (@MIN, BYE, DEN, @CIN) – Johnson continued his fine play with six tackles and a sack versus the Bengals. This week in Minnesota, I don’t expect a repeat performance.

DB Reed Doughty, WAS (KC, PHI, BYE, @ATL) – He finished with just three total tackles but was injured during the game. I’m still looking/waiting for confirmation on his status. Anybody see the game and/or the injury?