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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 2
9/13/11 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 a limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value. 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 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 20-30 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

Cam Newton, CAR (GB, JAC, @CHI, NO) – The rookie QB made quite a debut against the Cardinals, throwing for a record-tying 422 yards and two passing TDs, adding 18 rushing yards and a score on the ground. I know its one game (and it was against Arizona), but a promising start like that means he should be owned in all formats.

Digging Deeper

Chad Henne, MIA (HOU, @CLE, @SD, BYE) – It’s a mistake that Henne is only owned in 15-20 percent of fantasy leagues. Not every game is going to be like Monday night’s performance: 416-2-1 passing to go along with 59 rushing yards and another TD. But he’s well worth looking at if your current backup is Donovan McNabb or the mildly injured Sam Bradford – a QB who is likely to miss some action and is now without a couple of his best offensive weapons.

Kerry Collins, IND (CLE, PIT, @TB, KC) – Collins isn’t very good, but he’s got a host of options to throw the ball to. He’ll make a capable backup in most formats unless he gets benched – which could always happen if the Colts look that bad again.

Scouring The Barrel

Rex Grossman, WAS (ARI, @DAL, @STL, BYE) – Rexy was pretty sexy against the division rival Giants on Sunday (305 yards, two TDs), and while it’s clear that team has issues with its secondary, the next few opponents do too.


Kyle Orton, DEN (CIN, @TEN, @GB) – There were clamors for Tebow, as usual, but Orton did post 304-1-1 on the night.

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (JAC, @OAK, @BAL) – The relatively conservative Jets QB erupted for 335 passing yards and two TDs during Sunday night’s comeback win over Dallas. This was partially due to the Cowboys debilitated secondary, but it was clear Sanchez has an improved arsenal.

Donovan McNabb (TB, DET, @KC, ARI) – McNabb threw for only 39 passing yards and is safe to drop in favor of a more potent offensive QB like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Cam Newton.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (OAK, NE, @CIN, PHI) – I sat the Harvard grad (208 yards, four TD passes) on Sunday in favor of Josh Freeman, who was a huge disappointment. Needless to say, it was a big mistake.

Matt Hasselbeck, TEN (BAL, DEN, @CLE, @PIT) – 263 yards and two TDs isn’t bad for his Tennessee debut. Kenny Britt can score at any time, giving Hasselbeck a weapon he hasn’t had in years.

Running Backs

Off The Top

James Starks, GB (@CAR, @CHI, DEN, @ATL) – Starks was the more active back (12 carries for 57 yards and a TD) in Thursday night’s win over New Orleans, but Ryan Grant will still see about 50 percent of the carries in Green Bay. In any event, Starks should be owned in all 12-team formats.

Ben Tate, HOU (@MIA, @NO, PIT, OAK) – We’re not sure how much time Arian Foster will miss, so adding Tate (116 yards, TD in Week 1) could be superfluous. But it’s obvious that the guy has talent and could receive regular touches in this highly potent offense.

LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ (JAC, @OAK, @BAL, @NE) – Tomlinson had just five carries for 16 yards against the tough Dallas run defense, but the veteran back flourished in the passing game, racking up six catches for 73 yards. He’ll be an important asset in PPR leagues and could still post big numbers if anything befalls Shonn Greene.

Digging Deeper

Derrick Ward, HOU (@MIA, @NO, PIT, OAK) – Ward (sprained ankle) reached paydirt on Sunday but was generally outshined by Tate in Week 1. If Foster remains out, consider Ward a risky flex play with some upside.

Darren Sproles, NO (CHI, HOU, @JAC, @CAR) – The Saints throw the ball a lot, and Sproles owners will continue to benefit from that. If he’s available on your wire, he’s a solid add – especially in PPR leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

Cadillac Williams, STL (@NYG, BAL, WAS, BYE) – With Steven Jackson on the shelf after a huge TD run and quad strain, Williams ran for 91 yards on 19 carries, adding six receptions for 49 yards. If Jackson were to miss any time, Williams is a serviceable replacement with decent upside as an RB3/flex.

Dexter McCluster, KC (@DET, @SD, MIN, @IND) – Thomas Jones is a billion years old, and McCluster appears to be the favorite for change-of-pace work in Kansas City. He’s also available in some formats at WR.

Earnest Graham, TB (@MIN, ATL, IND, @SF) – Graham totaled just 13 rushing yards but hauled in eight catches for 58 yards. PPR leaguers should take notice.


Michael Bush, OAK (@BUF, NYJ, NE, @HOU) – Bush ran just nine times for 30 yards, but it’s clear he’ll get the bulk of carries should anything happen to the injury-prone Darren McFadden.

Danny Woodhead, NE (SD, @BUF, @OAK, NYJ) – Woodhead led the Pats with 69 rushing yards on 14 carries, but the Law Firm – BenJarvus Green-Ellis – got the Pats only rushing TD of the game.

Roy Helu, WAS (ARI, @DAL, @STL, BYE) – He managed just one carry for two yards, but Helu is still on my radar for when Mike Shanahan starts having panic attacks.

DeMarco Murray, DAL (@SF, WAS, DET, BYE) – Murray won’t be a big presence in the rushing game, but he’s in line for third down work and should be an occasional factor in the red zone.

Deji Karim, JAC (@NYJ, @CAR, NO, CIN) – Karim got a healthy number of touches and appears to be an indispensable handcuff for MJD.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Jordy Nelson, GB (@CAR, @CHI, DEN, @ATL) – Nelson had a solid Week 1, posting 6-77-1 on eight targets. He’s Rodgers’ best slot option and could be in line for a monster year.

WR Robert Meachem, NO (CHI, HOU, @JAC, @CAR) – With Marques Colston out for a while, Meachem (5-70-1 on Thursday night) and Devery Henderson (6-100-1) should be owned in all formats.

TE Dustin Keller, NYJ (JAC, @OAK, @BAL, @NE) – Keller – who could easily be a Top 10 TE this season – hauled in five catches for 61 yards and a TD on Sunday night. He was targeted a total of eight times and appears to be actively involved in the Jets offense.

Digging Deeper

WR Devery Henderson, NO (CHI, HOU, @JAC, @CAR) – See Robert Meachem, There are plenty of mouths to feed in NO, but Henderson has a good history with Brees.

WR Nate Washington, TEN (BAL, DEN, @CLE, @PIT) – Washington was targeted seven times by his new QB, finishing with six catches for 67 yards. He’ll be a solid WR4 producer in PPR leagues.

WR Jabar Gaffney, WAS (ARI, @DAL, @STL, BYE) – If Grossman is for real in Washington, I could see a big year for Gaffney (seven targets, 3-54-1 in Week 1) a proven fantasy commodity with solid hands.

Scouring The Barrel

TE Scott Chandler, BUF (OAK, NE, @CIN, PHI) – The rest of the season may not go the Bills way – at least not to the extent things went on Sunday – but Chandler could be the biggest fantasy surprise of the season. He’s universally available in leagues with any form of waiver wire process and could be a smart pickup if your TE situation is marginal.

TE Ed Dickson, BAL (@TEN, @STL, NYJ, BYE) – Again, I’m not convinced the Ravens will use Dickson this extensively (five targets, 5-59-1 in Week 1) when they face less vaunted defenses, but it’s clear this guy is no flash in the pan. He and Chandler make solid TE2s in all 12+ team formats.


WR Danny Amendola, STL (@NYG, BAL, WAS, BYE) – I said he’d be a PPR maven, and 5-45-0 is in line with my Week 1 expectations, but the dislocated left elbow leaves the rest of his season in doubt. They’re trying to avoid surgery, but it doesn’t look good, because Week 6 is reportedly the best-case scenario. It’s safe to drop him.

WR Lee Evans, BAL (@TEN, @STL, NYJ, BYE) – Four targets and zero catches is not exactly what fantasy owners had in mind. It’ll change against lesser competition, although the dominance of Ray Rice’s involvement probably won’t slow down anytime soon.

WR Mike Williams, SEA (@PIT, ARI, ATL, @NYG) – He managed 4-34-0 on five targets, and should be a big part of the Seahawks plans in 2011.

WR Steve Breaston, KC (@DET, @SD, MIN, @IND) – The Bills did an excellent job shutting down Bowe and Breaston, but don’t give up on the Chiefs offense just yet.

TE Jared Cook, TEN (BAL, DEN, @CLE, @PIT) – The upcoming schedule isn’t favorable, and neither were the Week 1 results (one catch, 7 yards).

TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN (@DEN, SF, BUF, @JAC) – I’ve been high on Gresham (6-58-1 in Week 1) since he was drafted, and he might have found a situation to flourish.

WR Greg Little, CLE (@IND, MIA, TEN, BYE) – The rookie recorded just one catch for 12 yards as Colt McCoy often checked down to his TEs and backs.

WR Andre Roberts, ARI (@WAS, @SEA, NYG, @MIN) – Four targets, 2-21-0 in Week 1. Expect more action from Roberts as teams stack the box against Wells and Kolb is forced to air it out.

WR Arrelious Benn, TB (@MIN, ATL, IND, @SF) – The good news is that Freeman targeted Benn seven times, although 4-27-0 leaves a bit to be desired.


Off The Top

LB Pat Angerer, IND (CLE, PIT, @TB, KC) – The former backup is now in line to get the majority of the tackles in this defense. I had the foresight to draft him in a couple leagues, but most IDPers haven’t yet committed to him.

DB Reed Doughty, WAS (ARI, @DAL, @STL, BYE) – Doughty busted out against the Giants for 11 total tackles. He’ll continue to threaten or surpass double digits every week. Get him owned if he’s not already.

Digging Deeper

LB Sean Lee, DAL (@SF, WAS, DET, BYE) – Aside from DeMarcus Ware, Lee was the best defensive player on the field for the Cowboys on Sunday night. He finished with 12 total tackles, an INT and a PD. Don’t miss the boat on the guy – he’s for real.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Lardarius Webb, BAL (@TEN, @STL, NYJ, BYE) – Webb will likely be the main CB target of opposing offenses, and he could benefit from an IDP standpoint. Sunday’s performance included 11 tackles (nine solos), a sack and two PD.

DB Morgan Burnett, GB (@CAR, @CHI, DEN, @ATL) – The new starting strong safety for the Packers, Burnett finished with 14 total tackles on Sunday and could be a huge contributor this season.


DL/LB Elvis Dumervil, DEN (CIN, @TEN, @GB, SD) – Dumervil wasn’t a factor on Monday night, which should worry his fantasy owners.

DL Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG (STL, @PHI, @ARI, SEA) – With Justin Tuck out in the opener, Pierre-Paul exploded for six tackles (five solos) and 2.0 sacks. He also forced a fumble.

LB Karlos Dansby, MIA (HOU, @CLE, @SD, BYE) – Dansby had five solos but didn’t see a lot of action once Tom Brady started chucking it every play.

DB Donte Whitner, SF (DAL, @CIN, @PHI, TB) – Whitner has a solid Week 1, posting five solos and a PD.

LB Daryl Washington, ARI (@WAS, @SEA, NYG, @MIN) – What an amazing first week for my IDP picks! Washington came through with a monster game (seven total tackles, 0.5 sacks, an INT and a PD). He’s probably the LB to own in Arizona.

DB Abram Elam, DAL (@SF, WAS, DET, BYE) – Elam posted just two solos on Sunday night against the Jets, and he looked a bit lost in Rob Ryan’s zone coverage scheme.