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Through The Wire - Week 15
12/14/10 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 ()


Off The Top

Josh Freeman, TB (DET, SEA, @NO) – Freeman has at least one touchdown pass in 12 of the Bucs 13 games this season (only the Steelers kept him out of the end zone), and while he only has five two-TD games and none with more than two scores, he’s a reliable performer who advances the football and limits turnovers (just six INT on the season). The Lions got a break last week when Aaron Rodgers struggled and then got hurt on a second quarter scramble, but Freeman and the Bucs should be able to figure them out with a week of preparation.

Digging Deeper

Kerry Collins, TEN (HOU, @KC, @IND) – Collins was among the weekly QB leaders last week and draws a favorable matchup against the Texans this week. The pickings are slim right now at QB, and Collins might be your best option if you’ve lost Rodgers or desperately need a playoff win.

Scouring The Barrel

Matt Flynn, GB (@NE, NYG, CHI) – Flynn might have the job in Green Bay for the nest couple weeks, but while the numbers can’t be as bad as they were on Sunday, the Patriots are a formidable foe. I’d look elsewhere.


Chad Henne, MIA (BUF, DET, @NE) – Henne was putrid on Sunday (55 passing yards, TD, two lost fumbles) but the Dolphins managed a win over the Jets and are clinging to some desperate playoff hopes. He’ll definitely improve over the next couple weeks, but he’s too inconsistent to trust at such a crucial juncture.

Alex Smith, SF (@SD, @STL, ARI) – Smith was the top-scoring Week 14 fantasy QB in a lot of formats, throwing for 255 yards and three TDs with no turnovers. Hopefully, he helped you snag a win already, because the rest of the schedule is pretty tough.

Tarvaris Jackson, MIN (CHI, @PHI, @DET) – He got the start, ending Favre’s streak, but couldn’t get much going against the Giants. He was 15-of-30 for 118 yards, an INT and a fumble.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Tim Hightower, ARI (@CAR, DAL, @SF) – Hightower might be a Top 10 RB play this week facing the Panthers. He had a career day versus the Broncos (148 rushing yards, two TD) and has once again lapped Beanie Wells on the depth chart.

Digging Deeper

Ryan Torain, WAS (@DAL, @JAC, NYG) – the Cowboys won’t be as easy to crack as the Bucs’ run defense – a unit that Torain cut through for 182 total yards on Sunday. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry, a number that will likely be cut in half versus Dallas.

Scouring The Barrel

Rashad Jennings, JAC (@IND, WAS, @HOU) – The Jags caught lightning in a bottle on Sunday with Jennings, who ran for 109 yards and a score on five carries. He’s rushed for TDs in three straight contests and could easily find the paint once again in Indy.


LeGarrette Blount, TB (DET, SEA, @NO) – Blount ran for just 68 yards and lost a fumble on Sunday. He’s still worth starting at RB2 the next couple weeks.

Jonathan Stewart, CAR (ARI, @PIT, @ATL) – For the second straight week, Stewart impressed, but his 133 rushing yards were marred by a lost fumble.

Marshawn Lynch, SEA (ATL, @TB, STL) – The Niners did an excellent job on Lynch, curtailing his ground production to a measly 29 rushing yards on 10 carries. In PPR leagues, Lynch had a solid day, going for 7-37-0 receiving.

Javarris James, IND (JAC, @OAK, TEN) – James scored against the Titans on Thursday night and finished with 49 yards on 17 carries.

James Starks, GB (@NE, NYG, CHI) – While every waiver wire column in America recommended rolling out Starks in Week 14, I advised a little more caution. Turns out I was wise not to trust him, as he collected just 8 yards on six carries – a 1.3 average.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Deion Branch, NE (GB, @BUF, MIA) – Despite snowy conditions, Branch lit up the scoreboard again last week for New England, catching eight passes for 151 yards and a score. Though the Packers did an excellent job shutting down Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, Tom Brady is a tad better than Drew Stanton. I like Branch’s chances again this week.

Digging Deeper

WR Earl Bennett, CHI (@MIN, NYJ, @GB) – Once again, Bennett has emerged as the go-to-guy for Jay Cutler. He’s hooked up with his former Vanderbilt teammate for 216 yards the past there games.

WR Brandon Gibson, STL (KC, SF, @SEA) – Gibson has a favorable schedule down the stretch and is probably the best possession receiving option for rookie Rams QB Sam Bradford. The Chiefs have been hit-or-miss against the pass this season, but I’m expecting 5-7 catches, 50-70 yards and a score from Gibson in Week 15.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Michael Jenkins, ATL (@SEA, NO, CAR) – He’s yet to break out this year and is an ultra-sleeper this week in Seattle. I have a feeling he’ll score, but this is a litmus test best left to deeper leagues that start four WRs.


WR Donald Driver, GB (@NE, NYG, CHI) – Driver couldn’t make it work with Matt Flynn at QB, and his already tenuous value takes a serious hit if Rodgers – who suffered his second concussion of the season on Sunday – misses additional time.

WR Sidney Rice, MIN (CHI, @PHI, @DET) – Rice hauled in five catches for 60 yards but didn’t find pay dirt against the tough Giants pass defense.

WR Robert Meachem, NO (@BAL, @ATL, TB) – Goose egg. Meachem had a shot for a score in the second half, but couldn’t haul in the end zone grab. This one hurt.

TE Ben Watson, CLE (@CIN, BAL, PIT) – Wow. Last week’s top tight end was inexplicably quiet against the Bills on Sunday, finishing with just one catch for 8 yards. The Bills are pretty tough on TEs, but for an offense with so few options, it made little sense he wasn’t targeted more than once.

WR Anthony Armstrong, WAS (@DAL, @JAC, NYG) – Anticipating blanket coverage on Santana Moss, I went out on a limb and plugged in Armstrong (4-30-0) over Moss (7-82-1) in a non-PPR league on Sunday and paid a hefty price. That’s been the story in Washington all year. Very few owners have cashed in on big games from Redskins because nobody on this bizarre offense repeats a solid performance from week to week.


Off The Top

LB Shaun Phillips, SD (SF, @CIN, DEN) – He was remarkably quiet last week against the Chiefs, but Phillips is a beast of a OLB pass rusher (10 sacks this season) and the 49ers are prime fodder for him to rack up a couple more QB takedowns.

Digging Deeper

DL Kyle Williams, BUF (@MIA, NE, @NYJ) – Williams was active on Sunday despite a neck injury and still managed to come up with a big play – a fumble recovery that swung the early momentum to the Bills. If he’s ready to go on Sunday, he could be in for another big game in what’s been a Pro Bowl caliber season.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Abram Elam, CLE (@CIN, BAL, PIT) – Elam had six total tackles last week and draws a favorable matchup in Week 15 against the Bengals, who have nothing to lose at 2-11 and always force the ball downfield. The surging Browns DB could have a solid game, along with fellow safety T.J. Ward.


DB Michael Griffin, TEN (HOU, @KC, @IND) – Griffin had just five total tackles on Sunday, while teammate Alterraun Verner posted 12 stops.

LB Rolando McClain, OAK (DEN, IND, @KC) – McClain was inactive this week with a foot injury.

DL Greg White, TB (DET, SEA, @NO) – White didn’t record a sack against the Redskins, but he did post three solos – so it wasn’t a complete loss.