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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 15
12/11/12 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

Colin Kaepernick, SF (@NE, @SEA, ARI) – It took a while for Kaepernick to get going in Week 14, but when he did, he gashed the Miami defense for a 50-yard TD run that greatly assisted his 185-0-0 passing day. Kaepernick protected the football and completed 18 of 23 passes, so he’s probably not in danger of losing his starting job.

Digging Deeper

Jake Locker, TEN (NYJ, @GB, JAC) – Locker threw for 262-1-2 and had 51 rushing yards in the loss to Indy. He’s an option in two-QB leagues the next few weeks, but you’d have to be desperate to roll the dice with him as your No. 1 guy.

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (JAC, BUF, @NE) – Tannehill has a favorable Week 15 matchup and he played relatively well against the 49ers. His stock is on the rise as the season winds down.

Scouring The Barrel

Kirk Cousins, WAS (@CLE, @PHI, DAL) – If anything’s seriously wrong with RGIII’s knee, then Cousins would get the start in Week 15. He’s universally available and doesn’t have huge upside, although the creative pistol offense could yield decent numbers with such favorable matchups the last three weeks of the season. Update: RGIII has a Grade I sprain of his LCL, which means he might play with a brace on the knee. We should know by Thursday if the talented rookie will be good to go at Cleveland.


Jay Cutler, CHI (GB, @ARI, @DET) – The Vikings neutralized Cutler for a large portion of the game and eventually knocked him out with a neck injury, but he managed to compile 260-1-2 on 22-for-44 passing and 16 rushing yards on two carries – stats on par with his per-game average for 2012. Update: Cutler plans on playing Sunday barring “something drastic.”

Sam Bradford, STL (MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Bradford did what he needed to do to beat the Bills – protect the football. He had 209-1-0 passing, 13 rushing yards and a two-point conversion pass.

Brandon Weeden, CLE (WAS, @DEN, @PIT) – Weeden had 217 passing yards but no TDs or INTs – Trent Richardson did much of the heavy lifting in the red zone.

Nick Foles, PHI (CIN, WAS, @NYG) – Foles had the second-best game for any QB in Week 14, finishing with 381-2-0 and three carries for 27 yards and a TD on the ground. He’ll have a much tougher time against the Bengals than he did against the Bucs.

Brady Quinn, KC (@OAK, IND, @DEN) – The quixotic Quinn came back down to earth against the Browns, throwing for 159-0-1 in a brutal loss to the Browns.

Greg McElroy, NYJ (@TEN, SD, @BUF) – Mark Sanchez got the start and was predictably boring and McElroy was simply an afterthought.

Running Backs

Off The Top

David Wilson, NYG (@ATL, @BAL, PHI) – Wow. Now that was unexpected. Wilson broke out with 13 carries for 100 yards, including a six-yard TD run and an impressive 52-yard scamper that found paydirt. He also added a 97-yard kickoff return TD. Regardless of whether or not Ahmad Bradshaw gets the start next week, the Giants will have to get Wilson (50 percent owned) the ball a lot more. Update: No new word on Bradshaw’s left knee as of Tuesday afternoon. Still, it’s hard to see Wilson not getting at least 10-12 touches against Atlanta.

Joique Bell, DET (@ARI, ATL, CHI) – Bell had a decent Week 14 in prime time, rushing for 49 yards on 12 carries and hauling in 5-47-0 on seven targets. He’s available in about half of fantasy leagues and could be a major contributor in Week 15.

Digging Deeper

Robert Turbin, SEA (@BUF, SF, STL) – Turbin is owned in only about 19-20 percent of fantasy leagues and gets regular carries for the Seahawks as the change-of-pace back for Marshawn Lynch. He’s worth a look as a possible flex in deeper formats.

Scouring The Barrel

DuJuan Harris/Ryan Grant, GB (@CHI, TEN, @MIN) – The Packers will look to grind out some wins down the stretch and with Starks on the shelf, Alex Green, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant will all get looks to be the “hot hand” go-to running back. Of this lot, I like Harris because he projects as a powerful red zone option, while Green looks a bit soft and Grant is bound to be rusty. Update: Alex Green is still the starter, but HC Mike McCarthy has expressed a desire to get Harris the ball a bit more.


Jonathan Dwyer, PIT (@DAL, CIN, CLE) – Dwyer had 50 total yards (3-18-0 receiving) in a disappointing Week 14 loss to the Chargers. A TD would’ve made it okay. Update: Mike Tomlin said Dwyer will continue to start and be the feature back with Isaac Redman in pass protection on third down. Rashard Mendenhall will likely be inactive this week against Dallas and may have played his final snap as a Steeler.

Vick Ballard, IND (@HOU, @KC, HOU) – Ballard rushed for 94 yards on 19 carries and added a 10-yard reception. He’s the feature back but doesn’t see a lot of work in the red zone in this pass-first offense.

Bilal Powell, NYJ (@TEN, SD, @BUF) – Powell continued his effectiveness as a flex play, totaling 78 rushing yards (19 carries) and a TD against the Jags.

James Starks, GB (@CHI, TEN, @MIN) – Starks sustained an injury last week and after a Monday flare-up was announced out for multiple weeks.

James Casey, HOU (IND, MIN, @IND) – Update: Casey didn’t get many touches in the Monday night blowout, finishing with one catch for 30 yards.

Montell Owens, JAC (@MIA, NE, @TEN) – As expected, Owens shouldered most of the load against the Jets and finished with solid numbers: 91 rushing yards, TD and 1-11-0 receiving.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (CIN, WAS, @NYG) – While he’s only available in about 10-15 percent of fantasy leagues, plenty of fantasy owners cut bait on Maclin after a couple of dud performances in the heart of their playoff runs. But a 9-104-1 day on Sunday versus the Bucs has reignited his fantasy flame.

WR Kenny Britt, TEN (NYJ, @GB, JAC) – The Titans are committed to getting Britt the ball as the season finishes up, and the next three weeks should continue to offer opportunities for the offense to click. Britt is still available in about a third of fantasy leagues.

Digging Deeper

WR Brandon Gibson, STL (MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Gibson had his best game of 2012 with 6-100-1 in the win over Buffalo. He’s got some tasty matchups the next couple weeks and should be worth starting as a WR3/flex in 12-team leagues.

WR Rod Streater, OAK (KC, @CAR, @SD) – The rookie wideout had 4-100-0 in the loss to Denver and now has 7-196-1 over his last two games. He’s a risky WR4/flex play in 12-team leagues but has plenty of upside.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Marvin Jones, CIN (@PHI, @PIT, BAL) – Jones caught 3-45-0 on four targets in the loss to Dallas and had a 37-yard rush on an end around. He’s a useful target in the red zone and could be worth a look in deep leagues.

TE Clay Harbor, PHI (CIN, WAS, @NYG) – With Brent Celek suffering a concussion and likely on the shelf for Week 15, Foles will continue to look to Harbor (6-52-1 in Week 14) as a safety valve.


TE Brandon Myers, OAK (KC, @CAR, @SD) – Myers followed up his epic Week 13 performance with a dud on Thursday night against the Broncos: One measly catch for 7 yards.

WR Golden Tate, SEA (@BUF, SF, STL) – The Seahawks barely needed a passing game in their 58-0 drubbing of the Cards and Tate hauled in just 2-6-0 on three targets.

WR Donnie Avery, IND (@HOU, @KC, HOU) – The Titans did an excellent job limiting Andrew Luck’s big-play effectiveness, and Avery finished with just 3-31-0 on nine targets. He also had a rush that gained three yards.

WR Andrew Hawkins, CIN (@PHI, @PIT, BAL) – Hawkins played well in the loss to Dallas (6-44-1) and looks like a good bet for a big game in Week 15.

WR Mike Thomas, DET (@ARI, ATL, CHI) – Strangely, Thomas had zero targets against the Packers but managed to gain 25 yards on two rushing attempts.

WR Lestar Jean, HOU (IND. MIN, @IND) – Update: Jean hauled in two catches for 31 yards in the 42-14 MNF drubbing.


Off The Top

LB Bobby Wagner, SEA (@BUF, SF, STL) – Wagner has 110 total tackles this season and three INTs over his last three games. He’s been a welcome addition to what’s become one of the best defensive units in football and he’s a playmaker with plenty of fantasy upside.

DB Harrison Smith, MIN (@STL, @HOU, GB) – The rookie safety has been all over the field for the Vikings the past few weeks and he capped off another monster day with a pick-six against the Bears. A ballhawking defender who’s on pace for around 100 tackles, Smith will likely finish among the top 10 fantasy DBs in 2012.

Digging Deeper

DL Jabaal Sheard, CLE (WAS, @DEN, @PIT) – Sheard has been an IDP disappointment in 2012 but has 3.0 sacks and 14 total tackles in his last five games. He’s a risky play but could be worth a look in super-deep formats.

LB Thomas Davis, CAR (@SD, OAK, @NO) – Davis has been coming on strong since the Panthers lost Jon Beason for the remainder of the year. Over the past four weeks he’s racked up 38 total tackles – and he had an INT against the Falcons.

Scouring The Barrel

DL Desmond Bryant, OAK (KC, @CAR, @SD) – Bryant is coming off a solid game against the Broncos and has a favorable schedule in the last three weeks. He’s my super sleeper DL option of the week.

DB Reshad Jones, MIA (JAC, BUF, @NE) – Jones has played extremely well down the stretch for the Dolphins with 37 total tackles (32 solos) in his last four games. The Jags, Bills and Pats all offer plus matchups for the Miami DB.


DL Cliff Avril, DET (@ARI, ATL, CHI) – Avril finished the Sunday night battle with just two solos and a sack – an average performance.

LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Dunbar had one of his better games of the season in Week 14, racking up seven total tackles as well as a PD and INT.

DB Jordan Babineaux, TEN (NYJ, @GB, JAC) – Eight total tackles but no junk points – an average game for Babineaux.

LB Demorrio Williams, SD (CAR, @NYJ, OAK) – Williams didn’t follow up with a monster game, finishing with five total tackles against the Steelers.

DB Janoris Jenkins, STL (MIN, @TB, @SEA) – After scoring in consecutive weeks, Jenkins turned in a decent game in Week 14 with six total tackles and a PD.

DL Corey Liuget, SD (@PIT, CAR, @NYJ, OAK) – Another solid game from Liuget, who had 1 tackle, a sack and two PD in the win over Pittsburgh. He’s a top 20 fantasy DL.