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Through The Wire - Week 13
11/30/10 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. These are sometimes players available only in more shallow leagues, and occasionally guys who are more readily but are thrust into the fantasy spotlight because of opportunity or exceptional production.

Digging Deeper - Covers the next tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available in a majority of online leagues. There are a lot of gems in this range who can be plucked rather easily.

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. Make sure you read the fine print.

Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 30-40 players I covered the previous week. It’s the most accurate, comprehensive 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 ()

I’m adding a fifth matchup to the upcoming games so you can see the remainder of the 2010 schedule.


Off The Top

Matt Cassel, KC (DEN, @SD, @STL, TEN, OAK) – He’s still available in over a quarter of fantasy leagues. With Dwayne Bowe playing like a healthy Andre Johnson, that shouldn’t be the case. Cassel has 10 TD passes in his last three games.

Digging Deeper

Josh Freeman, TB (ATL, @WAS, DET, SEA, @NO) – The upcoming schedule has a couple tough opponents, but weeks 14-16 will be a cakewalk for Freeman, who’s a really good second-half QB. He’s worth looking at during that stretch.

Sam Bradford, STL (@ARI, @NO, KC, SF, @SEA) – Bradford seems to be able to work with whatever receivers are available, and that’s a good sign. Coming off his best game as a pro (308 yards and three TD passes), Bradford enters a relatively easy five-game schedule to close out the season.

Scouring The Barrel

Kerry Collins, TEN (JAC, IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – Collins could get the start on Sunday with the Titans desperate for a win. I’m not sure he’s 100 percent yet, but anything’s better than what they’ve been doing on their current losing streak.

Jimmy Clausen, CAR (@SEA, ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – The schedule looks pretty good, but don’t let that fool you. Clausen is not ready to hold the reins of an NFL offense. If the Panthers can figure out a way to get Steve Smith the ball, Clausen could pick up some confidence and start producing.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (@MIN, CLE, @MIA, NE, @NYJ) – Fitzpatrick got robbed when Steve Johnson dropped a sure TD in OT, but he looked good facing one of the leagues’ best defenses (265 passing yards, TD, INT).

Matt Hasselbeck, SEA (CAR, @SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – He turned it over three times (two INT, one fumble), but tossed for 282 yards and two scores.

Rusty Smith, TEN (JAC, IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – Smith doesn’t look like an NFL quarterback yet. Expect to see Kerry Collins this week versus the Jaguars.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Felix Jones, DAL (@IND, PHI, WAS, @ARI, @PHI) – Jones is still available in over a quarter of fantasy leagues, and with Marion Barber out at least a couple weeks, he’s a perfect addition at RB3. He’s still got the ability to take it to the house from anywhere.

Mike Goodson, CAR (@SEA, ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – Goodson (400 total yards in his last three games) continues to post solid numbers – and this week he faces one of the worst defenses in football. After that, you might have a couple more opportunities to play him, but I wouldn’t press my luck.

Digging Deeper

Brian Westbrook, SF (@GB, SEA, @SD, @STL, ARI) – With Frank Gore likely done for the year with a broken hip and Westbrook getting most of the work on Monday night, the former Eagle is the undisputed add of the week in most formats.

Toby Gerhart, MIN (BUF, NYG, CHI, @PHI, @DET) – Adrian Peterson’s ankle injury may not be serious, but owners can’t afford to take that chance. If you’re a Peterson owner, this is a no-brainer, and it’s a nice speculative add for Gore owners who miss out on Westbrook and Dixon.

Anthony Dixon, SF (@GB, SEA, @SD, @STL, ARI) – Westbrook has a spotted past when it comes to injuries, so many owners will opt for the younger Dixon. I still like Westy, but both backs will see action from here on out.

Scouring The Barrel

Tashard Choice, DAL (@IND, PHI, WAS, @ARI, @PHI) – Jones won’t be the only RB toting the rock in Big D. Choice is a talented back with plenty of tools for NFL success.


Mike Tolbert, SD (OAK, KC, SF, @CIN, @DEN) – Tolbert got it done yet again (118 total yards, TD) and remains a solid RB3 with enormous upside. I can’t imagine Ryan Mathews stealing his job even if the rookie finally gets healthy.

Danny Woodhead, NE (NYJ, @CHI, GB, @BUF, MIA) – The Law Firm produced a lot more on Thanksgiving, but Woodhead still has some value as a third RB/flex play in deeper formats.

Keiland Williams, WAS (@NYG, TB, @DAL, @JAC, NYG) – Williams provided a few points for PPR owners, but 26 total yards, the uncertainty that surrounds the depth chart and Mike Shanahan’s whimsy mean he’s lost most, if not all, of his latent value heading into Week 12.

Maurice Morris, DET (CHI, GB, @TB, @MIA, MIN) – Morris scored twice in the loss to the Pats and appears to have a stronghold on the starting gig in Detroit – although the upcoming schedule looks tough.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

TE Brent Celek, PHI (HOU, @DAL, @NYG, MIN, DAL) – Celek is still a big-play tight end with plenty of upside, and the next couple weeks could provide opportunities for the Eagles to get him the ball even more.

WR Jabar Gaffney, DEN (@KC, @ARI, @OAK, HOU, SD) – After Brandon Lloyd, he’s the best receiver on the team, and it’s high time defenses start shrouding Lloyd in double coverage – freeing up Gaffney for a big day.

WR Eddie Royal, DEN (@KC, @ARI, @OAK, HOU, SD) – If Gaffney’s 2A, then Royal’s clearly the 2B receiver in this offense. With Orton heaving the pill so much, it’s a fine time to own Broncos’ wideouts.

WR Deion Branch, NE (NYJ, @CHI, GB, @BUF, MIA) – Branch caught two TD passes on Thanksgiving and is a solid risk/reward option from here on out. His rapport with Brady makes him a solid WR2 with major upside, and he’s available in over two-thirds of leagues.

Digging Deeper

WR Danny Amendola, STL (@ARI, @NO, KC, SF, @SEA) – Bradford just lost his starting TE, and Amendola (who had 89 total yards on Sunday) has been a frequent target in the red zone.

WR Nate Burleson, DET (CHI, GB, @TB, @MIA, MIN) – I love Burleson as the secondary option in Detroit, but he’s going to have to hang onto the football and gain some yards after the catch. He’s been a solid WR3 this season.

WR Jordan Shipley, CIN (NO, @PIT, CLE, SD, @BAL) – Shipley has 10 catches for 109 and a TD in his last two games and is being targeted a lot more by Carson Palmer.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Jacoby Ford, OAK (@SD, @JAC, DEN, IND, @KC) – Ford’s explosiveness is undeniable, and his ability to find pay dirt for a team that’s struggling is enough of a reason to add-and-plug him in at WR3 or flex.

TE Jimmy Graham, NO (@CIN, STL, @BAL, @ATL, TB) – Graham’s got all the tools to be a successful tight end and Jeremy Shockey could miss additional action. I’ve added Graham in a couple leagues, and he’s a must-have in deep keeper formats.


WR Santonio Holmes, NYJ (@NE, MIA, @PIT, @CHI, BUF) – Another win, another TD (5-44-1). Holmes is the Jets receiver to own in 2010.

WR Robert Meachem, NO (@CIN , STL, @BAL, @ATL, TB) – Meachem didn’t explode on Thanksgiving as predicted, but he’s still a decent WR3/4.

WR Derek Hagan, NYG (WAS, @MIN, PHI, @GB, @WAS) – Hagan was relatively quiet on Sunday (2-21-0) but appears to still be a large part of the Giants’ game plan with Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith still out.

WR Blair White, IND (DAL, @TEN, JAC, @OAK, TEN) – White (4-34-1) was one of the only Colts you should have started on Sunday night, along with Jacob Tamme.

TE Joel Dreessen, HOU (@PHI, BAL, @TEN, @DEN, JAC) – He caught three passes for 15 yards and a TD but was limited in practice Monday with a knee injury.

WR Ben Obomanu, SEA (CAR, @SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – I ended up sitting Obamanu (5-159-1) for Santana Moss in one format and lost because of it. When he caught that 87-yard TD pass, it was like getting punched in the junk.

WR Donald Jones, BUF (@MIN, CLE, @MIA, NE, @NYJ) – Jones caught just 2-17-0 during Sunday’s devastating OT loss to the Steelers.


Off The Top

DB Terrell Thomas, NYG (WAS, @MIN, PHI, @GB, @WAS) – Thomas is on the short list of cornerbacks I implicitly trust in IDP. He’s shown the ability to make tackles, beak up passes and get his hands on the football – and he’s had a big hand in a couple of my IDP wins this season.

DL Jason Babin, TEN (JAC, IND, HOU, @KC, @IND) – Babin is one of the better all-around defensive linemen in the AFC and he’s seeing a lot of action as the Tennessee offense struggles. Get him in your lineup this week facing the Jags.

Digging Deeper

DB Earl Thomas, SEA (CAR, @SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – Thomas has a nose for the football and is playing like a veteran DB. As a rookie, he’s the best player on the defense; without him the Seahawks would probably give up another score per game. I like his chances for a couple big plays in Week 13.

LB Dhani Jones, CIN (NO, @PIT, CLE, SD, @BAL) – Jones is the Bengals leading tackler and should continue to make a bunch of stops in the upcoming games. He’s a reliable MLB but is widely ignored for whatever reason, so make sure you add him if your LBs have been inconsistent this season.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG (WAS, @MIN, PHI, @GB, @WAS) – The rookie lineman had a huge game (eight total tackles, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles) on Sunday and gets a nice matchup for Week 13. He should be owned in all IDP keeper leagues.


LB David Hawthorne, SEA (CAR, @SF, ATL, @TB, STL) – It looks like the Hawthorne from 2009 is back. With double-digit tackles in two of his last three games (and 13 on Sunday), it’s high time you get this guy in your lineup again.

LB Stewart Bradley, PHI (HOU, @DAL, @NYG, MIN, DAL) – Bradley had just five tackles on Sunday, but all of them were solos.

DL Charles Johnson, CAR (@SEA, ATL, ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – For the second straight game, Johnson recorded a sack. He added five solos and now has 19 tackles (18 solos) in his last three.

DB Abram Elam, CLE (@MIA, @BUF, @CIN, BAL, PIT) – Elam posted seven tackles (six solos) and 2.0 sacks on Sunday for his second consecutive week with awesome IDP numbers. He’s coming on strong.

LB Kevin Bentley, HOU (@PHI, BAL, @TEN, @DEN, JAC) – The Titans never got their ground game going and Bentley finished with just four total tackles.

DL Antwan Odom, CIN (NO, @PIT, CLE, SD, @BAL) – I never said he’d be an immediate payoff, but I expected more than one solo on Thursday night. Stay tuned.