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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Wonders

I'm here to make you money and win you acclaim.

Drafts are important, but leagues are won on the waiver wire. The NFL is a marathon, injuries are the rule rather than the exception, and without depth, your brilliant early draft picks don't really matter if you can't stitch together an answer at QB in Week 11 when your guys go down. Trust me - I won my pay league last year with Tyler Thigpen at QB down the stretch. After squeezing all of the juice that I could from the stones of Kyle Orton and Matt Schaub. You can dance across a river of crocodiles if you know what turtle to ride before it submerges.

Here's an early heads up on guys that you need to target with upside. Odds are at least one of these guys is available to you on the waiver wire right now and if you play in a league of jackasses, you may be able to scoop up several. Others are probably easily obtained via the trading of overrated name recognition riff-raff. I'll list percentage ownership next to their name according to Yahoo FF to demonstrate their availability.


LeSean McCoy (50%) - The perfect instrument for the Eagles offense backs up the fragile Brian Westbrook and is owned in only half of the leagues out there. He'll earn 8-10 touches when Westbrook is healthy and there's a solid possibility that he'll start several games when Westbrook is out. Look at the WR talent, Westbrook's injury history, Andy Reid's offensive philosophy, the improved OL quality. This isn't tough to piece together.

Leon Washington (56%) - The best player on the entire Jets offense scored nine touchdowns last year while barely touching the ball. The Jets will find a way to double his touches and he's the perfect security blanket out of the backfield for Mark Sanchez on a team with mediocre receiver talent.

Ray Rice (75%) - Looking for this year's DeAngelo Williams? It's unbelievable to me that a guy who will produce as one of the top backs in the league is available in a quarter of the leagues out there and likely was available in the 11th round in most others. He's dramatically undervalued. If someone in your league scooped him up, I'd make a point of trading for him before the Ravens play KC.

Donald Brown (55%) - See my LeSean McCoy write up. The guy is quality and well-suited to what the Colts want to do. Addai is not a picture of good health and I expect Brown to see quality snaps.

I like Fred Jackson (50%), Cadillac Williams (24%) and Correll Buckhalter (23%) as early season plays. Jackson will get heavy work (20-25 touches per game) until Marshawn Lynch returns from suspension and many a player has been Wally Pipped in similar circumstances. Buckhalter is an OK back who will start in Denver until Moreno gets integrated into the offense and Cadillac has won the starting job in Tampa. For now.


Chris Henry (44%) - Oh, I hear you. He's a thug, he's a clown, blah blah blah. He's also in the top quintile of NFL WR talent. He dominated preseason games like he was playing against toddlers and he's Randy Moss-lite as a red zone threat. Plays on a team that will play from behind all year and he's flanked by quality in OchoCinco and Coles. Who draws the double team? Admit it - you have Antwaan Randle El or some shit as your #4 or #5 receiver don't you? Fix that. Immediately.

I'm not overwhelmed with anyone else, but keep an eye on Josh Morgan (26%) and Hakeem Nicks (37%). SF doesn't have any other options at WR with Crabtree's hold out and Nicks is a big-time downfield threat and a nice complement to the formidable Giants' running game. His last two preseason games? 7 catches, 208 yards, 3 TDs.


Vernon Davis (48%) It's hard not to have a quality TE on your roster given the depth in the NFL at this position, but injury will come calling. Be ready. Davis has real ability, the Niners have gotten rid of OC Mike Martz - who hates tight ends the way that I hate spoken word poetry, and the Niners are dedicated to pounding Frank Gore and the play action game into a weak division on a team without a true #1 wide receiver. What does that suggest?

Looking for a breakout? Keep an eye on Jermichael Finley (9%) in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers loved Finley in the red zone all preseason and he has quality WRs outside to assure him of single matchups against safeties and LBs. This could be his year.


Assuming you play in a semi-competent league and Matt Ryan isn't sitting on the waiver wire, there are no screaming buys available, but Jake Delhomme, Chad Pennington, Joe Flacco, Kyle Orton and Trent Edwards can get you useful situational play. Edwards looks appealing because of his WR talent and the fact that the Bills backs are talented out of the backfield, but their OL is horrendous. Spot play him against a team without a pass rush. If you have two quality QBs, my advice is to dangle one of them (particularly after a game in which they temporarily inflated their value by lighting up New Orleans), get some real value at WR or RB, and play the waiver wire game with these guys when needed.

Far too many people would rather lose starting Donovan McNabb against the Ravens than win with Shaun Hill starting against Kansas City. I suppose no one makes fun of you on the league boards when you lose with a name brand. Conversely, I take pride in winning leagues with utter shit at QB and letting others puzzle over my "good luck."

Those are my two cents. What are your thoughts?