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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 17
12/26/12 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

Chad Henne, JAC (@TEN) The Jaguars impressed in Week 16 by taking the Pats down to the wire and Henne could put up big numbers versus a reeling Titans defense that was shredded by the Packers.

Digging Deeper

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (@NE) Tannehill wants to make a good last impression before heading into his sophomore campaign. Hes no longer a rookie, really, and hes capable of a big day in New England, where its unlikely the Pats will be playing their best defense.

Scouring The Barrel

Michael Vick, PHI (@NYG) - Vick (owned in just 50-55 percent of fantasy leagues) will start for the Eagles in Week 17 after Nick Foles was diagnosed with a broken hand. While he's likely to be a bit rusty, the veteran QB is auditioning for a 2013 starting job and is still capable of huge fantasy performances. Give him a shot against the reeling Giants. Update: While Vick isn’t looking at Week 17 as an audition, a strong performance helps his chances at landing a good gig next season.


Sam Bradford, STL (@SEA) Bradford only threw for 196-2-1, but it was still the 13th best performance by a QB in Week 16. Hes not someone Id trust in Week 17 against the Seahawks.

Christian Ponder, MIN (GB) Once again the Vikings did it with their running game and Ponder (174-1-0; 48 rushing yards) put up mediocre fantasy numbers.

Mark Sanchez, NYJ (@BUF) The start went to Greg McElroy and Sanchez is clearly done as a fantasy option for 2012 and perhaps for the rest of eternity.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Montell Owens, JAC (@TEN) Owens played well in both the running and passing game Sunday and has a good chance at finding the end zone against the Titans. Hes a decent RB2 for Week 17. Update: Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t likely to make a Week 17 return and Rashad Jennings is on IR. It’ll be the Owens show in Tennessee.

Peyton Hillis, KC (@DEN) A big Week 16 (101 rushing yards on 15 carries) almost assures well see more of him in the finale. The Chiefs like to grind it out and Hillis is the ultimate grinder.

Digging Deeper

LaMichael James, SF (ARI) If the 49ers are smart, they wont push Frank Gore too much against the Cards, a scenario that opens the door for a big game from James. If youre still playing in Week 17, James could be a standout performer on a schedule full of question marks. Update: The 49ers are playing for a division crown, so they’re looking for a win. Still, James could be a worthwhile contributor, especially if the 49ers get a big lead.

Scouring The Barrel

Ryan Grant, GB (@MIN) The Packers got a huge game from Grant against the Titans in Week 16 and theyll likely ride him hard during the regular season finale against the Vikings. 75-80 yards and a TD is a decent bet. Update: Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said Alex Green (concussion) will “definitely be available” in Week 17, so now we’re likely looking at a three-headed committee in the season finale.


Danny Woodhead, NE (MIA) With just three rushes for 9 yards, Woodhead owners relied on his 2-38-1 receiving line for his fantasy production.

Mike Tolbert, CAR (@NO) Tolbert carried the ball just five times for 28 yards and didnt reach pay dirt on Sunday.

Curtis Brinkley, SD (OAK) With Ronnie Brown active and Jackie Battle handling most of the work, Brinkley had just one carry for 3 yards and both Battle (53 total yards) and Brown (39 total yards) were held in check.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

WR Santana Moss, WAS (DAL) If Im RGIII, Im looking at Santana Moss a lot against the Cowboys who have a hard time defending crafty little receivers in the red zone. Moss is available in about 40 percent of fantasy leagues and hes got an excellent matchup.

Digging Deeper

WR Donnie Avery, IND (HOU) I expect to see a lot of targets go to Avery in the season finale against the Texans. The Colts are a passing team and while T.Y. Hilton has performed well lately, Avery is a good possession receiver with plus route-running skills. Hes also available in about 50 percent of fantasy leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

WR Dwayne Harris, DAL (@WAS) The Redskins will likely double-cover Dez Bryant and why wouldnt they? This leaves the door open for a sleeper to shine and Harris fits the bill.

WR Drew Davis, ATL (TB) With the Falcons likely to sit starters in Week 17, I have a feeling we could see a lot of Drew Davis, especially in the red zone. Call it a hunch, but this guy could be a fantasy gem this week. Update: HC Mike Smith announced the Falcons would “play to win the game,” but there’s no evidence he won’t pull the starters early if the game gets out of hand. Like I said before, Davis isn’t likely to have a monster game, I just have a feeling he will.


WR T.Y. Hilton, IND (HOU) Hilton had his weakest fantasy performance since Week 10, catching just two passes for 34 yards. Her also had one incomplete pass attempt in the red zone.

TE Dennis Pitta, BAL (@CIN) Pitta didnt reach the end zone but hauled in 4-56-0 in the decisive win over the Giants. Hes an emerging fantasy option and will be a low-end TE1 in drafts next season.

WR Leonard Hankerson, WAS (DAL) RGIII targeted the dynamic Hankerson just twice and LH finished with one catch for 10 yards.

WR Domenik Hixon, NYG (PHI) Hixon grabbed Eli Mannings only TD pass of the game and finished with 3-36-1 in Week 16. Not bad for a fill-in.

TE Tony Moeaki, KC (@DEN) Moeaki was a late scratch and wasnt active for Week 16s loss to Indy.

WR Joseph Morgan, NO (CAR) No targets, no catches. We knew this could happen although I figured a deep threat like Morgan would be used more against the Cowboys.


Off The Top

DL Jabaal Sheard, CLE (@PIT) The Bengals did an excellent job getting to Ben Roethlisberger and the Browns are a prideful bunch who will leave it all out on the field in Week 17. Expect a big game from Sheard.

Digging Deeper

DB Stevie Brown, NYG (PHI) The Giants defense could create lots of turnovers in Week 17 and Brown is a ballhawking, risk/reward DB with the opportunity to make game-changing plays. Im giving him a shot against Philly.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Will Witherspoon, TEN (JAC) Akeem Ayers has been more of a situational pass rusher than an every-down SLB, while Witherspoon has filled in more on passing downs. Im banking on a standout game from the hardworking veteran LB in the season finale.


DL Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (@BUF) Wilkerson had his third-best fantasy performance of the season, finishing with five total tackles a sack and a PD. Hell be a Top 15 DL in 2013 and has been one of the only bright spots for the Jets this season.

LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN (KC) After three quarters of relative quiet, Woodyard finished strong and ended up with eight total tackles and 1.5 sacks, demolishing Colt McCoy on the Browns final offensive play.

DL Derrick Morgan, TEN (JAC) The Titans had trouble getting to Aaron Rodgers and Morgan finished with just three solo tackles. At least it wasnt a goose egg.

LB Chase Blackburn, NYG (PHI) Blackburn had three solos and four assists in the devastating loss to Baltimore. Hes not a great fantasy option (his 2013 prospects are cloudy at best) but manages to put up okay numbers from time to time.

DB Thomas DeCoud, ATL (TB) DeCouds five solos and assist were a help to a fantasy line with no PDs or INTs.

DB Quentin Jammer, SD (OAK) While McElroy had a couple turnovers, they werent at the hands of Jammer, who had just two total tackles.