Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mining the Waiver Wire Gems

The home stretch is right around the corner, and Dr. C Bass is in good shape...a combined 17-1 in my money leagues. I know better than to count my ka-chings before they hatch, however...which is why I've been scouring the waiver wire in search of depth for two already strong squads. Here are some unpolished gems I found that can help YOUR squad:

Quarterbacks



Damon Huard. There are rumblings that Trent Green may not get his job back. 11 TDs to 1 INT and a 5-2 record as a starter can sure throw a monkey wrench into things. Huard has looked nothing short of spectacular since taking the reins. Take a flyer if he's still available.

Tony Romo. He's got some great weapons to throw to: T.O., Terry Glenn, and...hey look! They found Jason Witten! It pains me to say it, but Romo has looked very solid.

Steve McNair. Is that a Brian Billick offense finding success? Wow, amazing what a real, healthy NFL quarterback can do with even a mediocre surrounding cast. McNair loves the TE (Heap...check) and has a long history with Derrick Mason. Good things can happen for McNair.

David Garrard. The new starting QB in Jacksonville doesn't throw as pretty of a pass as Leftwich, but he won't take as many sacks, either. He's got a nice corps of WRs to throw to and seems to be estabilishing a rapport with Ernest Wilford and Matt Jones, who we'll talk about later.

Mark Brunell. The Rodney Dangerfield of free agent fantasy QBs...he gets no respect, despite being one of the season's highest scoring free agent fantasy signal callers in most leagues. Hardly a sexy pickup, but once Santana Moss returns to health, Brunell actually will have some upside as the maestro of an Al Saunders offense.

Honorable Mention: Ben Roethlisberger and Joey Harrington. Both have played well from a fantasy standpoint, but both play for teams that need to get back to running the football in order to have success. Pass on both for now.

RUNNING BACKS

Wali Lundy. He plays for a bad team, but he looks to carry the load for the Texans from here on out and has looked impressive in limited action so far. Sam Gado and Ron Dayne pose little to no threat to Lundy.



Leon Washington. See above, but Washington is even more explosive and plays for a better team. The Jets are clearly growing tired of Kevan Barlow's act (that is, a miniscule yards per carry average), and Washington has cleared the century mark in 2 of his last 4 games. If Leon's still around, snatch him up.

Anthony Thomas. SOMEONE has to carry the football in Buffalo now that Willis McGahee is out with cracked ribs. Enter the A-Train. Don't expect world-beater performances, but Thomas can get you a few points here and there.

Dominic Rhodes. He's been left for dead with the emergence of Joseph Addai, but Rhodes is only an injury (or a couple of fumbles) away from being a Top 10 back. Even so, Rhodes will be playing a role in this offense down the stretch. Stamp it.

DeAngelo Williams. This is more of a speculative play that DeShawn Foster won't stay healthy. Bear in mind that Williams himself is coming back from a bum wheel, so temper your expectations somewhat for this explosive and talented rookie.

Cedric Benson. This is another speculative play. Thomas Jones was very underwhelming against the Dolphins, and the Bears are paying Benson way too much money to caddy for a RB putting up mediocre performances. Benson is finally healthy, so another stinker by Jones may clear the way for Benson to start piling up the carries...and yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Ernest Wilford or Matt Jones. At this point in the season, the free agent pool is littered with draft-day sleeper wideouts left for dead. These two have talent and should be rescued from the schmoe pile.

Doug Gabriel or Troy Brown. Tom Brady has to throw to SOMEBODY in New England. These two are shaping up to be the top two wideouts among a cast of nobodys. If you're desperate for a WR, you can do a lot worse than one of these two.

Derrick Mason. Steve McNair is back. This means good things for Derrick Mason's future. Mason is a real talent and doesn't deserve to rot in the free agent pool. Save him from such a fate and add him to your roster if you can.

Joe Jurevicius. The Browns passing game is nothing special, but Joe has either caught a TD or gone for 75+ yards in 3 of his last 5 games. Looks like he's finally healthy. G'head...take a flier. He only racked up double digit TDs last year.

TIGHT ENDS

Owen Daniels. Has outscored almost every other fantasy TE, yet still finds himself in the free agent pool in most leagues. 5 TDs on the year and 3 in his last 4 games. What are you waiting for??? Go get him!!!

David Martin. Forget Bubba Franks, Martin has emerged as the top pass-catching tight end for Brett Favre. Since Brett seems to be finding green and gold jerseys with more regularity this season, that's good enough for me.

Randy McMicheal. A lot of people have given up on him; their loss is your gain. The dude is too talented to not produce all year, and the QB change in Miami should benefit him.

K/DEF:

WHO CARES??? I mean, if you're up all night sweating kickers and defenses, then you're in pretty good shape. Go to bed with a smile on your face if those are the only holes you need to plug, because owners of early-round duds Shaun Alexander, Chad Johnson, Reggie Bush, and LaMont Jordan would kill to have your problems. There are always decent kickers and defenses, especially during Bye week periods. See if someone left a gem out there unprotected for you. I got David Akers and the Ravens defense this way. Not everyone has an eye on these things, which can benefit you. In the same 12-team league in which I stole Akers and the Ravens defense off the scrap heap, the following are available: Mike Vanderjagt, Dave Rayner, Jeff Reed, Ryan Longwell, and Neil "Nice" Rackers, as well as the Broncos, Patriots, and Eagles defenses. Wow.