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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 12
11/19/13 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 ()

Note: Tuesday updates noted in Red.


Off The Top

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (@CLE, @BAL, MIA, CIN) – Against the Lions, Roethlisberger (66-75 percent owned) had a monster game, throwing for 367 yards and four TDs. He was the top QB of Week 11 and has an excellent matchup in Week 12 facing the Browns.

Digging Deeper

Jay Cutler, CHI (@STL, @MIN, DAL, @CLE) – Even if Cutler misses Week 12 (a tough matchup against the surging Rams), he’s got a fantasy cakewalk in weeks 13-15 and decent matchups against the Eagles and Packers in weeks 16 and 17. If someone dropped him (35-65 percent owned), he’s worth adding for those matchups. He’s week-to-week right now.

UPDATE: He’s been ruled out for Week 12 and news that the high ankle sprain is worse than initially believed could keep him out even longer. As a result, I’m not as bullish on his prospects of lighting things up during the fantasy playoffs. Josh McCown might be an excellent add.

Scouring The Barrel

Scott Tolzien, GB (MIN, @DET, ATL, @DAL) – If Rodgers can’t go in Week 12, Tolzien will likely get the call again. He threw for 339 yards on Sunday but tossed three picks and didn’t find the end zone. Minnesota’s weak pass defense gives him a much better opportunity to post dent numbers. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Tolzien has been named the starter for Week 12.


Alex Smith, KC (SD, DEN, @WAS, @OAK) – Smith had one of his best games of the season, even if he couldn’t get a win over the division rival Broncos. He threw for 230-2-0 and rushed for 52 yards and remains a mid-level QB2.

Carson Palmer, ARI (IND, @PHI, STL, @TEN) – Palmer actually had his finest fantasy game of 2013, throwing for 419 yards and two TDs, including a 91-yard bomb to Michael Floyd. There are a couple good matchups left this season for Palmer, who’s a quality QB2 with upside.

Mike Glennon, TB (@DET, @CAR, BUF, SF) – The Bucs blew out the Falcons and Glennon was once again sharp, throwing for 231-2-0. The rookie has just three turnovers in his last six games.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Rashad Jennings, OAK (TEN, @DAL, @NYJ, KC) – Jennings (22 carries for 150 rushing yards, including an 80-yard TD) is running the ball well and will remain in a timeshare even when Darren McFadden returns from his hamstring injury. He should be owned in all formats instead of less than two thirds of Yahoo leagues.

Digging Deeper

Montee Ball, DEN (@NE, @KC, TEN, SD) – Ball (35-50 percent owned) is the secondary back in Denver, and as Peyton Manning (ankle) and the Broncos rely more on their running game to wear down opponents, he’ll get more touches. Facing the Chiefs, Ball turned in his best game to date tallying 41 total yards and two rushing TDs.

Donald Brown, IND (@ARI, TEN, @CIN, HOU) – Coming off a huge Thursday night game (94 total yards, two TDs), Brown (25-55 percent owned) should see lots of work when the Colts travel to Arizona in Week 12. Considering on the erratic play of Trent Richardson, Brown should be owned in all formats.

Scouring The Barrel

Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE (PIT, JAC, @NE, CHI) – Once again, Ogbonnaya rewarded fantasy owners in PPR leagues with 69 rushing yards and 6-30-0 receiving, although he lost a fumble. He’s an effective back when he gets his chances.

Antone Smith, ATL (NO, @BUF, @GB, WAS) – Smith rushed twice for 88 yards and a touchdown (a 50-yard run) and caught a four-yard pass in Atlanta's Week 11 loss to Tampa Bay. It was an unexpected performance from an unknown fantasy commodity, but it stands to reason Smith has earned more touches going forward.

UPDATE: Mike Smith said the 28-year-old RB’s explosiveness makes it “imperative” the Falcons get him more involved.


Andre Brown, NYG (DAL, @WAS, @SD, SEA) – He failed to reach the end zone, but Brown had another solid performance, tallying 93 total yards in the win over Green Bay. He’s a decent RB2 going forward.

Mark Ingram, NO (@ATL, @SEA, CAR, @STL) – Ingram had disappointing week following a Week 10 breakout, notching just 29 total yards in the win over San Fran. Next week, facing the paltry Falcons, he should be used a lot more.

Dennis Johnson, HOU (JAC, NE, @JAC, @IND) – Two carries, 2 yards. As long as Tate’s healthy enough to play, Johnson is simply a handcuff.

Bobby Rainey, TB (@DET, @CAR, BUF, SF) – Rainey busted out with 163 rushing yards and two TDs, adding two catches for 4 yards and another score through the air. He’s putting up the kind of numbers that folks expected Doug Martin cold garner heading into 2013. He should be owned in all leagues – even though he’s still available in a bunch – and makes sense as a RB2 with upside going forward.

Brian Leonard, TB (@DET, @CAR, BUF, SF) – He put together an okay day in PPR leagues with 4-21-0 receiving and 16 rushing yards, but Rainey is the clear favorite for touches in the Bucs offense.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Michael Floyd, ARI (IND, @PHI, STL, @TEN) – I neglected to start Floyd in one of my leagues and paid a dear price, as the NFL sophomore blew up for 6-193-1. One of the top scoring WRs in Week 11, he should be owned in all formats and has a great matchup against Indy in Week 12.

Kendall Wright, TEN (@OAK, @IND, @DEN, ARI) – Wright is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s go-to guy in the Titans offense and is as talented a receiver as anybody in the AFC South division. He gets consistent looks and makes tough catches, and while his value is greater in PPR leagues, the TDs and yardage will soon start piling up as well.

Digging Deeper

TE Garrett Graham, HOU (JAC, NE, @JAC, @IND) – After a huge Week 11 (7-136-1, lost fumble), Graham gets to face the Jaguars who have lots of trouble stopping opposing TEs. Owen Daniels is still not back, making Graham (25-40 percent owned) a must-own in 12-team leagues.

UPDATE: Daniels is targeting a Week 14 return and is slated to start some running drills this week. He’s still at least a couple weeks away and in a lost season, won’t take the field unless he’s close to 100 percent.

Rod Streater, OAK (TEN, @DAL, @NYJ, KC) – I’ve been waiting for Streater’s big game all season, but had given up on him in more than one league. He had 6-84-1 in the win over Houston and is a relatively easy and effective pickup considering his low ownership rate and relative consistency as a possession receiver.

Jerricho Cotchery, PIT (@CLE, @BAL, MIA, CIN) – UPDATE: Cotchery is just 22 percent owned despite 34-503-7 this season and Browns CB Joe Haden will likely be shadowing Antonio Brown in Week 12. Last week, Haden completely shut down A.J. Green, so it’s highly possible Cotchery gets a lot of looks from Roethlisberger and finds pay dirt once again.

Scouring The Barrel

TE Mychal Rivera, OAK (TEN, @DAL, @NYJ, KC) – The rookie TE had his best game thus far, tallying 5-54-1 on six targets in the upset win over Houston. Even when Terrelle Pryor comes back, it makes sense that Rivera will see more looks.

Jarius Wright, MIN (@GB, CHI, @BAL, PHI) – The second-year pro out of Arkansas showed some of the brilliance of the latter half of his rookie season, hauling in a couple of TD passes from two different QBs in the loss to Seattle. He finished with 3-69-2 and will get plenty of targets facing the Packers.


Jarrett Boykin, GB (MIN, @DET, ATL, @DAL) – Once again, Boykin saw some targets (8) and hauled in 6-91-0, a solid outing in PPR leagues.

Tavon Austin, STL (CHI, @SF, @ARI, NO) – Austin had a Week 11 bye and faces Chicago in Week 12. It’ll be interesting to see how many targets he gets, because he had a monster Week 10 game with just three.

Kenny Stills, NO (@ATL, @SEA, CAR, @STL) – Stills struggled to get open against the stifling 49ers defense. Brees just didn’t have enough time to get him the ball downfield. He’ll have a much easier job in Week 12.

Rishard Matthews, MIA (CAR, @NYJ, @PIT, NE) – Matthews has a lot of upside but didn’t get into the end zone. He still managed 4-52-0 on six receiving targets. Ryan Tannehill did a much better job distributing the football and getting everyone involved.

TE Brandon Pettigrew, DET (TB, GB, @PHI, BAL) – Pettigrew contributed 3-37-0, an average day for the Lions TE. He should get more looks next week against the Bucs.

Jermaine Kearse, SEA (BYE, NO, @SF, @NYG) – Kearse left the game early after suffering a concussion before scoring any fantasy points. Percy Harvin projects to replace him on most snaps going forward.

UPDATE: Pete Carroll said Monday that Harvin’s snap count (he was limited to just 20 snaps in his 2013 debut) will be lifted following the Week 12 bye.

TE John Carlson, MIN (@GB, CHI, @BAL, PHI) – Carlson had 5-69-0 in the loss to Seattle, but he appears to be a much bigger part of the offense with Kyle Rudolph out of commission for the time being.


Off The Top

DL Julius Peppers, CHI (@STL, @MIN, DAL, @CLE) – In Week 11, Peppers enjoyed his best IDP performance since his 2009 days with the Panthers – when he returned an INT for a score. He didn’t score this time around, but he did make 11 tackles (eight solos) and record 2.0 sacks. The Rams should be easy pickings for this rejuvenated veteran.

DB Barry Church, DAL (@NYG, OAK, @CHI, GB) – Church made 14 stops against the Saints but the Cowboys’ bye in Week 11 surely meant some of his owners had to dump him. He’s racked up 80 total tackles this season and is among the busiest safeties in the game.

Digging Deeper

LB Kevin Burnett, OAK (TEN, @DAL, @NYJ, KC) – Burnett had another excellent game (seven solos and a sack) in Week 11 and should see plenty of action facing the Titans. He’s available in about 75-85 percent of IDP leagues.

DB Alterraun Verner, TEN (@OAK, @IND, @DEN, ARI) – Verner is one of those DBs who plays with consistency and big-time upside as a tackler and pass defender, but doesn’t get a lot of respect in IDP leagues because of everyone’s fascination with LB and safeties over cornerbacks. I like his chances to post big numbers in Week 12.

Scouring The Barrel

LB Brad Jones, GB (MIN, @DET, ATL, @DAL) – Jones is finally healthy and had a huge game against the Giants, piling up 13 total tackles (11 solos) and a sack. He’s worth starting the next couple weeks as an LB2.

DL George Selvie, DAL (@NYG, OAK, @CHI, GB) – Selvie is an excellent pass rusher and he’s coming off a bye week where untold numbers of fantasy owners were forced to drop him. He’s available in about 75-90 percent of IDP leagues and has a solid Week 12 matchup.


LB DeMeco Ryans, PHI (BYE, ARI, DET, @MIN) – Ryans had a relatively weak IDP outing, tallying just seven total tackles (five solos) in the win over Washington, who never got the chance to sustain long, grinding drives.

DB Eric Berry, KC (SD, DEN, @WAS, @OAK) – Berry had six solos in the loss to Denver and couldn’t make any big plays to stop Peyton Manning and the Broncos, who ran the ball well, especially in the red zone.

DB Tramon Williams, GB (MIN, @DET, ATL, @DAL) – Good call here – Williams had his best IDP performance of 2013 with eight solo tackles a PD and INT. He’s got a chance for another big game next week (albeit a risk-reward situation) against the Vikings.

DL Sheldon Richardson, NYJ (@BAL, MIA, OAK, @CAR) – Richardson has nine total tackles in the loss to Buffalo, his second best IDP game of the season.

LB Vincent Rey, CIN (BYE, @SD, IND, @PIT) – Rey followed up his Week 10 breakout with another big game, posting 12 total tackles (seven solos) and a PD. Unfortunately, the Bengals are on a Week 12 bye.

DL Cedric Thornton, PHI (BYE, ARI, DET, @MIN) – The solid young DL had five solo tackles but couldn’t get to RGIII in the win over Washington.