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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 1
9/4/13 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

Joe Flacco, BAL (@DEN, CLE, HOU, @BUF) – While Flacco isn’t universally available, he’s only owned in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues – and at least two of mine – a somewhat puzzling scenario considering his arm strength and sparkling play during the Ravens’ march to Super Bowl glory. If you’re No. 1 QB is RGIII, Eli Manning or even a stud like Aaron Rodgers, there’s a good chance the XLVII MVP is going to outscore your starter. The Broncos defense, including its secondary, is banged up. I’m not saying he’s going to be a fantasy stud all season long, but if Flacco (who’s also a pretty good value in daily fantasy games) is available in your league and you’re facing a difficult Week 1 matchup, it might be an interesting time to take a shot.

Carson Palmer, ARI (@STL, DET, @NO, @TB) – I’m not going all-in on Palmer (60 percent owned in Yahoo) this year like it’s still the ‘00s, but it’s worth mentioning that his squad has some quality receivers and the Cards will be slinging the ball downfield. I expect a few shootouts at the outset of the season.

Digging Deeper

Alex Smith, KC (@JAC, DAL, @PHI, NYG) – Alex Smith (40-45 percent owned) is an unknown commodity in the Chiefs offense and while that could be a bad thing, it’s better for him than it was in San Francisco, where a one-week absence to get the cobwebs out of his head turned into an unceremonious kick down the depth chart. The first four games could yield some positive results.

Josh Freeman, TB (@NYJ, NO, @NE, ARI) – Owned in about one-third of fantasy leagues, Freeman took a lot of heat for his erratic play, most notably from Fran Tarkenton during a radio call-in this summer. I’m not a huge fan of how Freeman has progressed during his first few seasons in the league, but I certainly don’t think he’s as “god-awful” as Tarkenton does. Looking at the first couple of games, he might be worth grabbing simply as trade fodder, as he might post monster numbers and generate some interest.

Scouring The Barrel

EJ Manuel, BUF (NE, CAR, @NYJ, BAL) – He may not play Week 1, but there’s no reason an athlete this dynamic playing on a team that’s going to get into a TON of shootouts shouldn’t be rostered in more than 18 percent of fantasy leagues. Manuel made tremendous strides in camp and he’s now without any significant competition for his job. UPDATE: Manuel has been named the starter. for Week 1.

Jake Locker, TEN (@PIT, @HOU, SD, NYJ) – Locker (7 percent owned) may not have that much going for him but he’s primed for improvement and should be stashed in dynasty leagues. That’s all I’m going to commit to!

Running Backs

Off The Top

Chris Ivory, NYJ (TB, @NE, BUF, @TEN) – The Jets QB situation may suck but it doesn’t take a lot of talent to hand the ball off to Ivory – who was brought in to add some pop to the Jets running game after the departure of Shonn Greene. Ivory (77 percent owned) always ran hard, albeit sparingly, when he played for the Saints and with his valued combination of toughness, balance and power could be a featured cog in the offense. He’s capable of rushing for 1,000 yards and garnering a handful of TDs.

Mark Ingram, NO (ATL, @TB, ARI, MIA) – Ingram won’t catch too many balls but in non-PPR formats and scoring-heavy leagues, there’s no reason he can’t be an effective RB3/flex option. He should be owned in all 12-team leagues and has a shot at a breakout campaign in 2013.

Digging Deeper

Bernard Pierce, BAL (@DEN, CLE, HOU, @BUF) – Pierce is owned in just about half of fantasy leagues despite coming on strong at the end of last season and being next man up after one of the league’s top fantasy backs. Plus, it stands to reason he’ll get more carries in his sophomore campaign when they line Ray Rice up at WR. His minor preseason knee injury seems fine and he’s a complete back who could step into Rice’s shoes should the need arise.

Danny Woodhead, SD (HOU, @PHI, @TEN, DAL) – We know that he’s capable of carrying a decent workload and he’s got some surprising big-play pop in the red zone. The main reason he’s owned in just 44 percent of leagues is that he’s still technically a backup, but the oft-injured Ryan Mathews hasn’t exactly been the model of NFL durability.

Scouring The Barrel

Kendall Hunter, SF (GB, @SEA, IND, @STL) – Hunter (12 percent owned) got snagged with a late pick in one of my home leagues just before I had the chance to back up Frank Gore with the dynamic runner. I didn’t understand why the Niners didn’t give Hunter more carries early last season, but I expect a heavier workload in 2013.

Knile Davis, KC (@JAC, DAL, @PHI, NYG) – Jamaal Charles is a brilliant runner with excellent pass-catching abilities, while Davis (6 percent) is big and fast – attributes that could pair well alongside the veteran. There were fumbling issues in college at Arkansas, and he dropped a bunch of passes in camp but if Davis can learn a few things from Charles and maintain possession of the football, there could be a larger role for him before long.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Kenny Britt, TEN (@PIT, @HOU, SD, NYJ) – I targeted Britt as a late-round pick in several drafts this year, largely because of his upside and partly because I knew he’d be there. Britt, as well as Gordon and Givens below, is still available in about a quarter of fantasy leagues on Yahoo, although in most 12-team formats they came off the board in the later rounds.

Josh Gordon, CLE (MIA, @BAL, @MIN, CIN) – The strikethrough in the first two games is because Gordon is serving a two-game suspension for ingesting cough syrup with codeine, which he admitted to taking recreationally while recovering from strep throat. That may be bizarre, but what’s more remarkable is how easy folks forget his rookie numbers from 2012, when he caught 50-805-5 despite being just a supplemental pick. Another positive drug test would trigger a 16-game suspension, but aside from the inherent risk, there’s a lot to like about this athletic vertical threat.

Chris Givens, STL (ARI, @ATL, @DAL, SF) – Givens, unlike the previous two receivers, doesn’t carry as much baggage but he only caught 42 of his 80 targets last season as a rookie. This year, he’ll be playing in the same offense as legitimate possession threat Tavon Austin, and catching 60-900-7 (or even more) is well within his reach. While the schedule looks a bit tough to start, it’ll ease up during weeks 5-10, when the sophomore will likely be clicking with Sam Bradford.

TE Zach Sudfeld, NE (@BUF, NYJ, TB, @ATL) – I managed to somehow pick him up in a dynasty league about a month ago, but following the announcement that he’s earned the “move” TE role in the Pats’ offense, he’s now owned in 65 percent of Yahoo leagues. Fortunately for many fantasy owners, that still leaves them with a chance to pick him up. Even playing about 60 percent New England’s offensive snaps will give Sudfeld ample opportunity to contribute, especially with Rob Gronkowski still recovering from surgery and slated to miss some action.

Digging Deeper

Malcom Floyd, SD (HOU, @PHI, @TEN, DAL) – Okay, so the situation in San Diego isn’t that great, but as a starting wide receiver for the Chargers, Floyd is certainly capable of producing like a WR2 in fantasy, achieving something to the tune of 55-850-6 without much effort and little improvement over last season. That’s worth more than the 47 percent ownership the veteran is currently sporting in Yahoo leagues, especially when you consider that Vincent Brown – nearly interchangeable when it comes to objective fantasy value – is owned in 73 percent of leagues.

Ryan Broyles, DET (MIN, @ARI, @WAS, CHI) – Broyles was on a lot of “sleeper” lists for 2013, but he’s still available in about 60 percent of fantasy leagues, which is understandable when you consider (a) he’s not technically a starter and (b), the depth at WR this season. There’s not much of chance he’ll be a WR2 but he could be a worthy spot start as a WR3/4 and flex in deeper formats.

Scouring The Barrel

TEs Dwayne Allen/Coby Fleener, IND (OAK, MIA, @SF, @JAC) – The Colts are expected to use their tight ends a lot more this season and while Allen (18 percent owned) and Fleener (16 percent owned) will vulture catches and TDs from each other, one will likely emerge as a Luck’s favorite in 2013.

Robert Woods, BUF (NE, CAR, @NYJ, BAL) – Woods is an exciting rookie receiver who the Bills expect to be their receiver of the future. He impressed just about everybody in training camp with his maturity level and understanding of Doug Marrone’s offense. He’s owned in just 9 percent of fantasy leagues and he’s entrenched as the No. 2 wideout. Go for it!

Rod Streater, OAK (@IND, JAC, @DEN, WAS) – Matt Flynn’s noodle arm may have been a better fit for Streater’s football profile, especially in PPR leagues, but it’s expected that newly crowned starter Terrelle Pryor will look Streater’s way as well. The second-year receiver (7 percent owned) suffered a concussion a couple weeks ago but he’s primed for fantasy relevance in ’13.


Off The Top

DB John Cyprien, JAC (KC, @OAK, @SEA, IND) – The rookie safety from Florida International is a hard-hitting tackler and ball hawk – and he’s immediately going to be pressed into action on the NFL stage. Unlike the guy who went directly ahead of him in the draft, Matt Elam, Cyprien won a starting job with a strong camp and could be a Top 20 DB in 2013.

DL Calais Campbell, ARI (@STL, DET, @NO, @TB) – Campbell is a defensive powerhouse who doesn’t quite get the respect he deserves in the IDP community. He’s coming off a solid season and should finish with over 60 total tackles and 7-10 sacks, not to mention a half dozen or so PD.

Digging Deeper

DL Corey Liuget, SD (HOU, @PHI, @TEN, DAL) – This should be Liuget’s breakout campaign but the Chargers defensive end isn’t surrounded by a ton of talent. He’s a steady run defender and should post career highs in both sacks and tackles in 2013.

LB Bruce Carter, DAL (NYG, @KC, STL, @SD) – Carter isn’t the best IDP option on the Cowboys defense but he might emerge as a worthwhile LB2 from the WLB spot. He’ll chase down ball carriers and post the occasional big play; it just remains to be seen if he can stay healthy for an entire season.

DB Eric Reid, SF (GB, @SEA, IND, @STL) – Another rookie safety with major upside, Reid has drawn comparisons to Ronnie Lott and is probably the player the 49ers were seeking when they drafted IDP bust Taylor Mays in 2010. He’s smaller than Mays, but the LSU product and Baton Rouge native plays with both aggression and smarts – a combination that will help the Niners’ first-round selection to create some turnovers.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Jon Bostic, CHI (CIN, MIN, @PIT, @DET) – D.J. Williams couldn’t stay healthy during camp and Bostic went out and took the starting job from him. There’s been some talk that Williams could still get the MLB job, but Bostic could be worth a pickup just to wait and see what develops.

LB Moise Fokou, TEN (@PIT, @HOU, SD, NYJ) – Fokou outplayed the oft-injured Colin McCarthy, running with the first team for most of camp. He has some experience as a starter, starting 11 games for the Eagles in 2010, but don’t expect normal MLB numbers as both SLB Akeem Ayers and WLB Zach Brown will rack up numerous tackles in the Tennessee 4-3.