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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 5
10/1/13 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: Updates noted in Red.


Off The Top

Jay Cutler, CHI (NO, NYG, @WAS, BYE) The guy throws a lot of picks but hes also thrown for over 1,000 yards and has eight passing TDs so far this season. Hes owned in about 60 percent of fantasy leagues despite being one of the more enigmatic risk/reward fantasy characters in the NFL.

Digging Deeper

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (BAL, BYE, BUF, @NE) Hes got my attention since the pickings are pretty slim at QB right now. Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Tannehill struggled to connect with his wide receivers Monday night and was under enormous pressure from the Saints defensive lineman. He rushed for 48 yards and threw for 249 yards and a TD, but tossed three interceptions and lost a fumble. Given the right matchup, he could find some moderate value but he’s really only worth considering in two-QB leagues. I’d much prefer the guy in the previous paragraph.

Brian Hoyer, CLE (BUF, DET, @GB, @KC) Hoyer (6 percent owned) followed up his sparkling debut with another win. Hes establishing himself as a viable NFL starter and making folks forget about Brandon Weeden, who was hyped heartily prior to Week 1. Hoyer has five TD passes in two weeks and is averaging almost 300 yards per game.

Scouring The Barrel

Ryan Fitzpatrick, TEN (KC, @SEA, SF, BYE) Its hard to imagine a scenario where Id give him the start against the Chiefs but with the injury to Jake Locker, some RGIII owners who had Locker waiting in the wings for Week 5 suddenly need a bye week fill-in.

UPDATE: He’s got a weaker arm than Locker and should probably be avoided unless you’re in desperation mode.


Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (BYE, @NYJ, BAL, @OAK) The Steelers threw the ball quite a bit in the London loss to Minnesota, with Big Ben completing 36 of 51 attempts for 383-1-1. In the right matchup, hes worth a look and the return of LeVeon Bell spells good things for the offense.

Terrelle Pryor, OAK (SD, @KC, BYE, PIT) Pryor sat out Sunday after he experienced additional concussion symptoms over the weekend. Hes probably going to be okay for this week but keep an eye on his progress.

UPDATE: The Chargers-Raiders game has been moved to Sunday night at 11:35 EST due to the Oakland As playing Saturday night, which gives Pryor some extra time to recoup. He’s slated to start barring any setbacks and gets a pretty juicy matchup.

EJ Manuel, BUF (@CLE, CIN, @MIA, @NO) Manuel had a rough fantasy outing (167-1-2, 1 rushing yard on 11 attempts) but the Bills conquered the defending Super Bowl champs. Hes a fantasy backup with low-to-moderate upside.

Jake Locker, TEN (KC, @SEA, SF, BYE) On the way to a career day, Locker was carted off the field with an apparent hip injury after a tough double-shot from Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples in the third quarter. He was 18-24 for 149-3-0 and 17 rushing yards before getting injured. Fitzpatrick took over for the Titans and looks to be the starter for Tennessee for the immediate future. Locker will likely be out an estimated 4-8 weeks.

Running Backs

Off The Top

LeVeon Bell, PIT (BYE, @NYJ, BAL, @OAK) Hes still available in over one quarter of Yahoo leagues and regardless of the Week 5 bye, hell be about 100 percent owned by mid-week. Bell picked up 84 total yards and two scores against the Vikings.

Roy Helu, WAS (BYE, @DAL, CHI, @DEN) We all know how impressive Helu can look when he gets his chances and Sunday was no exception. Filling in for an injured Alfred Morris (rib contusion), Helu rushed for 41 yards and a TD on 13 carries and added two catches for 43 yards. Hes a multi-purpose backfield weapon and even though Morris will probably be healthy by the time Washington gets back to business in Week 6, its clear that Helu should be rostered in more than 12 percent of fantasy leagues.

UPDATE: Morris said Monday his ribs are “all good,” but Helu’s showing some spark in the passing game. Don’t sleep on the guy in PPR leagues.

Digging Deeper

Kendall Hunter, SF (HOU, ARI, @TEN, @JAC) Hunter got 11 carries (and a reception) in the win over St. Louis Thursday night and finished with 58 total yards and a TD. Hes a must-have handcuff for Frank Gore owners and in the right matchup provides some value even with Gore healthy.

LeGarrette Blount, NE (@CIN, NO, @NYJ, MIA) Blount busted a 47-yard TD run and added 17 additional rushing yards on his eight other carries Sunday night. He should be owned in all deeper formats but its tough to say what Belichicks backfield game plan will be from week to week.

UPDATE: Blount is nothing more than a matchup-dependent flex option in 12-teamers, but he provides more value in TD-only leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

Rashad Jennings, OAK (SD, @KC, BYE, PIT) Darren McFadden left the game early following a hamstring injury and Jennings (45 rushing yards, 8-71-0) played quite well in his stead. Follow the injury report and check back on Wednesday to get a clearer picture of how this situation shakes out.

UPDATE: The Raiders are saying it’s “too early” to speculate on how much time McFadden will miss but it’s looking like a multi-week time frame. Jennings vaults to low-end RB2/solid flex value this week against the Chargers.

Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE (BUF, DET, @GB, @KC) The Browns have won two in a row and their passing game looks healthy with Hoyer under center. Ogbonnaya only had 27 rushing yards on five carries, but his 5-21-1 capped off a decent fantasy performance. Its a full RB committee in Cleveland but Ogbonnaya offers some decent PPR upside as hes used frequently on passing downs.


Fred Jackson, BUF (@CLE, CIN, @MIA) Jackson posted the 12th best fantasy numbers among RBs in Week 4, rushing for 87 yards and a TD against the Ravens. C.J. Spiller (ankle) left the game early again.

UPDATE: Both Jackson (knee) and Spiller plan to play Thursday night against the Browns but it’s unclear how the workload will be distributed. For now, I’m assuming a 50-50 split.

Danny Woodhead, SD (@OAK, IND, @JAC) Woodhead exploded for 5-54-2 receiving to go along with 32 rushing yards and posted the fourth-best numbers of any RB in Week 4. Pretty good first two waiver wire recommendations, huh?

Isaiah Pead, STL (JAC, @HOU, @CAR) Pead was inactive for Thursdays tilt, as expected. The Rams desperately need him to get healthy because its abundantly clear that Daryl Richardson and Zac Stacy arent getting it done.

Johnathan Franklin, GB (DET, @BAL, CLE) The Packers were on a bye this week and the timing couldnt have been better as Franklin (foot), Eddie Lacy (concussion) and James Starks (knee) are all nursing injuries.

UPDATE: Both Lacy and Franklin practiced on Monday while Starks continued to rest the knee. The Packers promoted Michael Hill to the active roster, so I’m expecting a 50-30-20 percentage breakdown of touches for Lacy-Franklin-Hill.

Brandon Bolden, NE (@CIN, NO, @NYJ) Bolden suited up Sunday night but only contributed 17 rushing yards and one reception for negative yardage. The Pats backfield always seems to be in a state of flux.

UPDATE: Bolden hurt his knee picking up a blitz in the first half but returned to the game in the second half. His window is closing and the re-injured knee issues don’t help.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Alshon Jeffery, CHI (NO, NYG, @WAS, BYE) Despite a healthy dose of preseason hype, Jeffery is owned in fewer than 50 percent of fantasy leagues. On Sunday, he turned in a monster performance hauling in 5-107-1 and adding 27 rushing yards. Hes not going to make hay every week but when Brandon Marshall draws double teams, Jeffery is capable of big things.

TE Charles Clay, MIA (BAL, BYE, BUF, @NE) – UPDATE: A versatile offensive weapon used in a variety of looks between the 20s as well as in the red zone, Clay is making a name for himself and provides extraordinary value in deeper formats. With the preseason injury to Dustin Keller, Clay is a trusted option for the Dolphins. He could be a Top 10 fantasy TE by the time he finishes the season as the 6-3, 255-pound Tulsa product can be deployed as a fullback, TE and split out at WR on occasion.

Marlon Brown, BAL (@MIA, GB, @PIT, BYE) Brown had 4-34-1 in the loss to Buffalo and remains a productive WR4 with WR3 upside. Torrey Smith ended up having another big day but there will be plenty of opportunities for Brown, especially if the Ravens continue to struggle running the football.

UPDATE: Brown’s slight hamstring strain doesn’t appear to threaten his Week 5 status.

Digging Deeper

TE Garrett Graham, HOU (@SF, STL, @KC, BYE) The Texans had a tough opponent in Week 4 but Graham (5-69-1) emerged as a go-to guy for Matt Schaub. Hell be tough to count on for consistent numbers but his development is worth following.

Robert Woods, BUF (@CLE, CIN, @MIA, @NO) Woods just looks better and better every week. Hes still not quite a fantasy WR3/flex in 12-team leagues but is already worth a regular start at WR4 in deeper formats.

UPDATE: With Joe Haden likely covering the nicked-up Stevie Johnson (hamstring), Woods could be Manuel’s go-to guy against the Browns.

Scouring The Barrel

TE Sean McGrath, KC (@TEN, OAK, HOU, CLE) McGrath seized a ripe opportunity with Anthony Fasano inactive, posting 5-64-1 in the win over the Giants. Hes a deep league TE and has improved his numbers each week this season.

Jeremy Kerley, NYJ (@ATL, PIT, NE, @CIN) Kerley stepped up with the injuries to Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes and is capable of some decent stat lines given the right matchup. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: There’s a decent chance that Kerley hauls in a few long passes in garbage time. I’m keeping him in mind for my daily fantasy leagues as a cheap salary cap option.


Josh Gordon, CLE (BUF, DET, @GB, @KC) Gordon put up 4-71-0 in his second start of 2013 but didnt get into the end zone. Hes still a worthy WR3 with upside and should be started most weeks going forward.

Kenbrell Thompkins, NE (@CIN, NO, @NYJ, MIA) Thompkins had another great game with 6-127-1 in the win over Atlanta and looks like a he could be steady fantasy contributor as he develops rapport with Tom Brady.

Brandon LaFell, CAR (@ARI, @MIN, STL, @TB) Panthers were on a Week 4 bye but the Week 5 matchup against the Cardinals could give him some opportunities.

TE Zach Miller, SEA (@IND, TEN, @ARI, @STL) One catch for 7 yards in the OT win over Houston. Hes off the fantasy radar for now.

Ryan Broyles, DET (@GB, @CLE, CIN, DAL) Broyles didnt have a catch in the win over Chicago. He was a major sleeper bust in Week 4.

Nate Washington, TEN (KC, @SEA, SF, BYE) I hope you gave Washington a shot against the Jets because he had the third-best numbers of any fantasy WR in Week 4 (4-105-2) and it may be the last chance you have to play him for a while. With the injury to Locker and some difficult matchups ahead, hes probably bench fodder for the next few weeks.

Stephen Hill, NYJ (@ATL, PIT, NE, @CIN) Hill suffered a head injury on the opening series and is likely out for next week, given the current concussion protocol. It was a rough day for the Jets, who face a slew of tough opponents in the upcoming weeks.

Dwayne Harris, DAL (DEN, WAS, @PHI, @DET) Harris was targeted just twice and caught one ball for 13 yards in the loss to San Diego. Miles Austin was inactive and it was Terence Williams (7-71-0, lost fumble) who got a lot of the work opposite Dez Bryant.


Off The Top

DL Charles Johnson, CAR (@ARI, @MIN, STL, @TB) Johnson is a solid IDP defensive end surrounded by defensive standouts in the Carolina front seven. Hes worth adding if someone dropped him during his Week 4 bye.

LB Brad Jones, GB (DET, @BAL, CLE, @MIN) Its a very favorable stretch coming up for Jones, who may have been dropped in IDP leagues because of the Packers Week 4 bye. Hes racked up 26 total tackles and a FR in three games this season.

Digging Deeper

DB DaNorris Searcy, BUF (@CLE, CIN, @MIA, @NO) With Jairus Byrd out, Searcy has been making plays in the Buffalo secondary and projects to be a Top 20 IDP defensive back this season should he hold onto a starting safety spot. Hes already made 27 tackles (19 solos), including a sack in Week 1 and four PD in the win over Baltimore.

LB Spencer Paysinger, NYG (PHI, @CHI, MIN, @PHI) The relatively unknown Paysinger (hip) seems healthy now and has 23 total tackles (22 solos) on the season. He’s coming off a big game against the Chiefs where he made seven solo stops and added a sack and a fumble recovery. The young LB is emerging as one of the only bright spots on the Giants defense and he’s going to have plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Buster Skrine, CLE (BUF, DET, @GB, @KC) Skrine gets a lot of work in the Cleveland secondary and has 22 tackles (19 solos), an INT and seven PD through his first four games. Hes a steady IDP contributor who benefits from having Joe Haden at LCB.

DL Cedric Thornton, PHI (@NYG, @TB, AL, NYG) Hes made 16 tackles so far this season and with the Giants offensive line allowing serious penetration, hes got an excellent matchup in Week 5. Hes a versatile defensive lineman who qualifies as DT-eligible.


LB Daryl Smith, BAL (@MIA, GB, @PIT, BYE) Smiths had interceptions in two straight games. He posted 12 total tackles in Week 4 and should be considered a LB1 in IDP leagues.

DL Greg Hardy, CAR (@ARI, @MIN, STL, @TB) Panthers were on a bye in Week 4 but Hardy is poised for a big day against the Cards this week.

LB Justin Houston, KC (@TEN, OAK, HOU, CLE) The Giants swung a lot of their pass blocking at Houston (two solo tackles), only to leave Eli Manning exposed to the wiles of veteran OLB Tamba Hali.

DB Major Wright, CHI (NO, NYG, @WAS, BYE) As I expected, Wright was busy against the Lions, racking up six total tackles (three solos) as well as a PD and INT. It was his second INT in as many games.

LB Manny Lawson, BUF (@CLE, CIN, @MIA, @NO) Lawson had five solo tackles and a sack in the win over Baltimore. Hes a decent LB3 with some upside, as the only other LB worth owning in Buffalo is Kiko Alonso.