Waiver Wire Watch: Week 2

Every week, I highlight a few players that you should target in waivers. This week is especially important as owners everywhere will be scrambling to pick up the league’s surprise performers. With Tom Brady, Vince Young and Brodie Croyle missing significant time, QB is especially important this week.

I’ll use the ESPN league data when filtering players, so the only players eligible for discussion here are those that are available on the waiver wire of at least 50% of ESPN’s leagues. I’ll list each player’s percentage-owned after their name so you have an idea of how available they are in leagues around the country. I’ll always try to mention a few players that are available in 90% of leagues for those of you in 12-team leagues or leagues with big rosters. I’ll rank them in the order I’d pick them up in a league with a high-performance, PPR scoring system.


1. Matt Cassel (0.2)
Clearly, this is the pickup for Brady owners. They’re probably behind the eight ball and they might as well gamble with the guy taking Brady’s place. Can he play? Who knows, but he has a load of weapons around him.

2. Vince Young (46.8)
Yes, he’s hurt, but he doesn’t belong on the waiver wire in deep leagues.

3. Jeff Garcia (25.9)
Garcia is steady and a solid bye week fill in.

4. Trent Edwards (8.7)
Edwards is beginning to look like a starting NFL QB. I can see starting him against weaker defenses.

5. Matt Ryan (14.1)
Ryan played pretty well against a bad Lions secondary. He’ll have his ups and downs.

6. Chad Pennington (11.5)
Pennington shrugged off a shaky start to finish with pretty good numbers.

7. JaMarcus Russell (22.4)
Russell got off to a slow start, but finished with 180 yards and two TD. He’s going to have his ups and downs, but the Raiders will trail a lot this season, which means lots and lots of passes for Russell.

8. Tarvaris Jackson (7.9)
He’s got a bum knee, but he has a great running game and offensive line and a couple of solid receivers. He could surprise.

9. J.T. O’Sullivan (9.4)
The J.T. O’Sullivan era got off to a shaky start against a historically bad Arizona defense. But don’t write off Sully just yet.

10. Kerry Collins (5.0)
He’ll fill in for Young for a few weeks and will probably put up better numbers.

11. Damon Huard (0.7)
He’ll fill in for Croyle for a few weeks and will probably put up better numbers.

12. Joe Flacco (3.3)
The rookie played okay in his first game, but the main thing is that he’s starting.

13. Kyle Orton (2.8)
Orton isn’t going to win any fantasy championships, but if you’re desperate, he probably won’t throw multiple picks.


1. Steve Slaton (29.0)
The rookie finished with 16 touches for 49 yards. Not that impressive, but the Texans fell behind early and didn’t run the ball a whole lot. Ahman Green sprained his ankle and the team is bringing in free agent RBs this week, but barring a big signing, Slaton is probably the main guy going forward.

2. Sammy Morris (31.5)
Morris is Laurence Maroney-owners’ worst nightmare. He turned 15 touches (five more than Maroney) into 87 yards, and more importantly, he vultured a TD. With Tom Brady out, look for the Pats to run the ball more, which means that Morris will be a solid bye-week starter (and maybe a better fantasy player than Maroney).

3. Andre Hall (9.1)
Denver is clearly a RBBC, but Hall got the most carries (10) and yards (61). Don’t get too excited, because Michael Pittman appears to be the team’s goal line back. Ah, Skeletor, how do I loathe thee?

4. Pierre Thomas (13.4)
Thomas basically took over Deuce McAllister’s old role. He turned 12 touches into 63 yards and would see his value skyrocket if Reggie Bush were to get injured again.

5. Derrick Ward (47.3)
It’s Ward, not Ahmad Bradshaw, who’s the Giants’ RB2. Eleven touches for 60 yards is nothing to sneeze at, but Brandon Jacobs is historically injury-prone, so Ward seems to be the next in line if BJ were to go down.

6. Michael Pittman (2.3)
Pittman used to specialize in catching the ball out of the backfield. Now, apparently, he’s a goal line back. He toted the ball seven times for 13 yards and two TD against he Raiders, and would be a solid pickup in TD-heavy leagues.

7. Warrick Dunn (8.0)
Dunn did what Dunn does – 11 touches for 65 yards. He’s the RB2 behind Earnest Graham.

8. Darren Sproles (5.2)
Sproles would probably be the guy to tote the rock if LaDainian Tomlinson’s toe becomes a bigger issue.

9. Shaun Alexander (10.6)
Alexander claims he’s in the best shape of his life; will some lucky team bite?

10. Dominic Rhodes (6.5)
With Joseph Addai suffering a concussion, Rhodes becomes an interesting pickup in very deep leagues. If Addai were to miss any time (which doesn’t look to be the case), Rhodes would be RB2-quality.

11. Tim Hightower (15.0)
The rookie had 11 touches for 34 yards and a score. How many of Edgerrin James’ TDs will he vulture.

12. Brandon Jackson (7.8)
The Packers want to ease Ryan Grant back into action, and they split time with Jackson on Monday night. Grant is more explosive, but they will likely use Jackson to ease the burden.


1. Eddie Royal (13.7)
Wow. Royal lit up a strong Raiders secondary to the tune of nine catches for 146 yards and a TD. He became the second rookie in five years to go over the century mark in his first game. (Read further for the other guy.) Royal ran crisp routes and has great hands. It’s hard to judge a guy after one game, and Brandon Marshall will be the team’s #1 WR, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Royal finished the season with 75-80 catches for 1200+ yards.

2. DeSean Jackson (53.9)
Even though his percentage-owned is over the limit, I am including him for those of you that don’t know – DeSean Jackson is (probably) for real. He joins Eddie Royal as the only two rookie receivers to go over the 100-yard mark in their NFL debut since Anquan Boldin did it five years ago. Pick him up if you can.

3. Vincent Jackson (43.6)
Don’t get too excited about Jackson’s nice day (3-47-1), as he was still only an afterthought in the Chargers’ passing attack with four targets. Still, he deserves a roster spot in all leagues.

4. Ronald Curry (43.3)
Curry was targeted six times but only converted two passes for 18 yards. He did score a touchdown and it’s clear that he’s the best thing the Raiders have going at wideout, but JaMarcus Russell holds the keys.

5. Muhsin Muhammad (26.7)
Even when Steve Smith returns, Moose should put up decent numbers in PPR leagues.

6. Bobby Engram (25.8)
The Seahawks desperately need Engram back, and he’s supposed to return in Week 5 (maybe sooner). Assuming he heals correctly, he should be a nice pickup in PPR leagues.

7. Antwaan Randle El (25.8)
7-73 is a nice debut for Randle El in the West Coast Offense. He should be good for 5-50 most weeks.

8. Mark Clayton (4.4)
It’s hard to get excited about the Baltimore passing game, but Clayton turned five targets into 3-21, but also had a 42-yard TD on a reverse.

9. Deion Branch (2.9)
Seattle is hurting big time at WR and can’t wait to get Branch back. Worth rostering if you have a place to stash him.

10. Bryant Johnson (17.1)
Went 3-48 even though the 49ers had a bad day passing the ball. Mike Martz wants BJ to step it up, so he should have the opportunity to improve over the course of the season.

11. Kevin Walter (12.2)
Walter will benefit if teams double Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. He went for 3-41-1 against the Steelers and is worth a look in deeper PPR leagues.

12. Ike Hilliard (2.1)
Hilliard made the most of his six targets (6-45-1). It looks like he’s WR3 in TB, but he’s worth rostering in deep PPR leagues.

13. Hank Baskett (1.7)
Don’t get too excited about Baskett. Yes, he started. Yes, he went over 100 yards and scored a TD. But he was only targeted three times, so expect more modest numbers next week.

14. Matt Jones (1.0)
Jones started to take advantage of all his physical skill by catching six passes for 80 yards. Is this his breakout year? Doubtful.

15. Amani Toomer (31.8)
Toomer had a quiet game and should fare better in upcoming weeks.

16. David Patten (5.7)
He only caught one pass, but made it count for a touchdown.

17. Jerry Porter (9.0)
Missed the game due to injury, but the Jags could really use him out there.

18. Devery Henderson (0.9)
Henderson isn’t going to play much, but when he’s out there, he’s running the go route.


1. L.J. Smith (23.0)
He doesn’t get much love, except from his QB. 5-39-1 will make him a hot prospect this week. I put him ahead of the next two guys because he’s a proven player. (They are high-risk, high-reward players.)

2. Anthony Fasano (4.1)
8-84-1 is a great way to start the season. Pennington focused on his TEs, so Fasano is a good prospect as a TE2 with starter potential.

3. Dante Rosario (0.2)
He may not get as many looks when Steve Smith returns from his suspension, but it’s hard to argue with 7-96-1 from this hybrid TE.

4. Zach Miller (13.8)
Miller ended up with 4-34 on Monday night, but he has a pretty good shot of being the Raiders’ top receiver this year.

5. Randy McMichael (9.6)
McMichael was about the only thing the Rams had going on Sunday.

6. John Carlson (2.1)
Carlson caught four passes for 52 yards. He’s a decent backup in larger PPR leagues, especially since the Seahawks are so desperate at receiver.

7. Greg Olsen (34.6)
Bears passing game will likely be anemic all season, but Olsen has the best hands on the team.

8. Robert Royal (0.5)
Royal isn’t a big name, but with 6-52-1, it’s clear that he’s become a bigger part of the Bills’ game plan in 2008.

9. Dustin Keller (12.1)
Brett Favre loves his tight ends.

10. Desmond Clark (3.8)
Clark is probably the Bears’ second best receiving threat, after Olsen.

11. Kevin Boss (47.7)
A horrible first week has really quieted the preseason hype.

12. Ben Utecht (27.1)
If Cincy’s passing game rebounds, so will Utecht.

13. David Martin (0.2)
After Fasano (and maybe Ted Ginn), Martin is the next best receiving threat in Miami

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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