Fantasy Football Waiver Wire - Week 3

by Ryan R. Bonini on September 18, 2008 @ 10:52:04 PDT


Free Agents to Pick Up in Your Fantasy Football League

If you are serious about winning your fantasy league football championship, it is important to stay on top of your fantasy football team throughout the course of the year.

Each week during the NFL fantasy football season, KFFL brings you our Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, which breaks down players who should be on your radar to pick up in your league. Sitting on your hands and not being aggressive in picking up fantasy football free agents is not a wise move. Sometimes, even if you do not need the player for your starting lineup, it is wise to tuck the player away for depth as well as blocking others from adding the player to their fantasy football team.

Fantasy Football Free Agents: Priority Additions

The following group of players are players that should be high on your radar and are worthy of being added immediately to your fantasy football team.

J.T. O'Sullivan, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers

  • O'Sullivan remains available in about 26 percent of leagues polled.
  • Offensive coordinator Mike Martz has proven many times he can make fantasy-quality players out of non-household names. O'Sullivan, through three games, is averaging 235 yards passing and one touchdown per game.
  • Turnovers can be a factor, and you need to weigh them against your league's scoring system. He has averaged 0.33 interceptions and 0.67 fumbles lost per game.

Brian Griese, Quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The Bucs went to the air in Week 3 as Griese launched 67 pass attempts against the Chicago Bears. He registered 38 completions with two touchdowns but was picked off three times.
  • Griese has thrown three touchdowns compared to those three interceptions since overtaking quarterback Jeff Garcia for the starting job.
  • Griese, who is available in about 89 percent of leagues polled, has a better arm than Garcia, giving the typically run-first Bucs more potential in the vertical game. With Griese, though, you'll have to accept the possibility of frequent turnovers if you play him.

Steve Slaton, Running Back, Houston Texans

  • Slaton, who should be owned in all formats, remains available in about 29 percent of leagues polled.
  • He is coming off of his first start, which saw him record his first 100-yard rushing outing.
  • Through two games, Slaton is averaging 79.5 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing touchdowns, 3.5 receptions and seven receiving yards.
  • With running back Ahman Green (ankle) being the poster boy for injured running backs, Slaton should continue to see a solid amount of looks weekly.

Le'Ron McClain, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens

  • McClain is available in about 90 percent of leagues polled.
  • The Ravens' fullback is becoming an ultra-back quickly, seeing an average of 18 rushing attempts per game so far this year. He is averaging 76 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 1.5 receptions and 14 receiving yards per game through two weeks.
  • The Ravens' game plan focuses on running - a lot. McClain's 260-pound frame is a load to bring down and he figures to be a weekly element within their conservative offense.

Pierre Thomas, Running Back, New Orleans Saints

  • Thomas remains available in about 62 percent of leagues polled.
  • He is averaging 7.3 rushing attempts, 25 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 2.33 receptions and 16 yards receiving per contest through three games.
  • Running back Deuce McAllister (knees) still is not where he needs to be health-wise, leaving plenty of scraps after Reggie Bush's touches for Thomas, who is also seeing some goal line looks.

Michael Bush, Running Back, Oakland Raiders

  • Bush is available in 51 percent of leagues polled.
  • In two games played, Bush is averaging 15 rushing attempts, 72.5 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing touchdowns, 0.5 receptions and 2.5 receiving yards per game.
  • Running back Justin Fargas (groin) missed Week 3 with a groin injury and has a long history of injury problems. If his groin persists, it will lead to even more opportunities for Bush. Rookie Darren McFadden (toe) is also not 100 percent.
  • Through three games, the Raiders love to run! They are second in the league in rushing with 107 attempts.
  • The Raiders have a Bye week, so you'll have to sit on him until Week 5, but pick him up before someone else does.

Michael Pittman, Running Back, Denver Broncos

  • The Broncos' running back cluster is scaring people away from picking Pittman up; he's still out there in about 56 percent of leagues polled.
  • Pittman is averaging 1.33 rushing touchdowns and four red zone plays per game, including 3.33 per contest inside the 5. It looks like halfbacks Selvin Young and Andre Hall will be used primarily between the 20s.
  • Don't expect Pittman to be your top back as he still has to compete with Young and Hall for touches, but his red zone use is hard to pass up.

Rudi Johnson, Running Back, Detroit Lions

  • After spending the early part of the season learning the offense, Johnson ran for 83 yards on 14 carries along with three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. Rookie halfback Kevin Smith received just three carries.
  • The team wanted Johnson to see some work early but kept him in because he was running well.
  • The run-first Lions had 20 carries opposed to 31 passing attempts last week. They had been unable to focus on the run in the first two weeks because they faced big deficits early in the game.
  • The more experienced Johnson should be grabbed if he's on the wire; he has built his case to earn at least a split with Smith. He's available in 43 percent of leagues polled.
  • The Lions are on a Bye this week, though, so you'll have to stash him.

Brandon Lloyd, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears

  • It hurts thinking it's time to start considering a Bears' receiver, but Lloyd is making a strong argument to do just that. Plus, he is available in about 96 percent of leagues polled.
  • He is averaging 4.33 receptions, 72 receiving yards and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game through three games.
  • The Bears employ a conservative, run-first system, but quarterback Kyle Orton is taking his shots from time to time. With none of the Bears' other receivers stepping up statistically, Lloyd may be able to finally turn around his career as Chicago's No. 1 option.

Ike Hilliard, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Like a fine wine, is Hilliard getting better with age? He is available in about 87 percent of leagues polled.
  • He is leading Buccaneers receivers in receptions, averaging 5.33 per game. He isn't picking up a lot of yardage - just 47.7 yards per game - but he is finding the end zone. He is averaging 0.67 touchdowns per contest through three games.
  • Wide receiver Joey Galloway (foot) is dealing with a foot injury and missed Week 3; the team could rely on Hilliard more often in the coming weeks.

Robert Meachem, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints

  • Meachem is available in 63 percent of leagues polled.
  • He caught a score in his first game in Week 2, and he hauled in two passes for 86 yards in Week 3, including a 74-yard grab.
  • Meachem is a big-play receiver who should continue to thrive without receiver Marques Colston (thumb) in the picture and now with tight end Jeremy Shockey (sports hernia) out three to six weeks. 

David Patten, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints

  • Patten is available in 43 percent of leagues polled.
  • He caught just two passes for 12 yards last week, but he's still the No. 1 wideout with Marques Colston (thumb) and tight end Jeremy Shockey (sports hernia) out of action. He has been targeted 4.67 times per game - the most of the non-Colston options at receiver.

Joe Nedney, Place Kicker, San Francisco 49ers

  • The suddenly high-powered Niners offense has helped Nedney average 9.67 points per game this year; during the Niners' recent two-game eruption, Nedney has averaged 11 per contest.
  • Nedney, who is available in 84 percent of leagues polled, is 7-for-9 on field goals this year but only 1-for-3 on attempts of 40 yards or more. He is averaging three field goal attempts per game.
  • Offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense is starting to click as quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan is moving the ball well, which should benefit Nedney's scoring opportunities.

Fantasy Football Free Agents: Worth a Look

Fantasy football leagues come in all shapes and forms, so the following group of players will have higher significance in deeper fantasy football leagues. In shallow leagues, they are not as high of a priority but should be considered based off of your fantasy football team's needs.

  • Trent Edwards, Quarterback, Buffalo Bills - We upgraded Edwards from last week's Watch List. He has held on to the ball while proving to be a stable game manager, averaging 244.3 passing yards per game while tossing just one pick. The Bills offense is centered on the running game, but he's a safe option for those who have been bitten by the quarterback injury bug this year. Edwards is available in approximately 34 percent of leagues polled.
  • Correll Buckhalter, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles - When halfback Brian Westbrook (ankle) left the game due to injury in Week 3, Buckhalter seamlessly stepped in with 43 rushing yards, six receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. Westbrook's MRI results released Monday, Sept. 22, did not reveal ligament damage. If Westbrook is a go for Week 4, Buckhalter, who's available in about 91 percent of leagues polled, returns to backup duty. Westbrook owners might want to grab Buckhalter for handcuff purposes, but others shouldn't discard more valuable options to grab him.
  • Hank Baskett, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles - Baskett was not affected by the return of receiver Reggie Brown (hamstring) as he caught eight passes for 85 yards in a Week 3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's averaging four receptions, 65.7 receiving yards and 0.33 touchdowns per game this season. He might not be a long-term solution once wideout Kevin Curtis (sports hernia) returns, but Baskett could be a reliable No. 3 wideout until then, especially if Brown is slow to return to form. Baskett is available in about 84 percent of leagues polled.
  • Antonio Bryant, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Wideout Joey Galloway (foot) missed Week 3, and Bryant took advantage by catching 10 passes for 138 yards while being targeted 19 times. With Brian Griese at quarterback, the Bucs are more apt to target their receivers, making Bryant relevant in the passing game. He's available in 93 percent of leagues polled.
  • Rian Lindell, Place Kicker, Buffalo Bills - Lindell is available in about 83 percent of leagues polled. He is just 5-for-7 on field goal tries but made a game-winning 38-yarder in Week 3 and has converted all nine of his extra-point attempts. The Bills offense looks like a unit on the rise, meaning Lindell should continue to see scoring chances.
  • Atlanta Falcons, Defensive Team - We had the Falcons in this section last week before they earned three takeaways and notched a pair of sacks against the bumbling Kansas City Chiefs. Atlanta, who is available in 87 percent leagues, ranks in the middle of the league with an average of 306.7 net yards allowed per game, but they're tied for sixth in the league with 1.33 interceptions per contest. They would be a solid backup defense in deep leagues.
  • Denver Broncos, Defensive Team - Playing the Broncos, who are available in 82 percent of leagues polled, is purely based on their Week 4 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. Interim quarterback Tyler Thigpen's sandlot ball presents a great matchup for any opposing defense, especially in the takeaways column. If KC goes with Damon Huard (neck), it's not as if this offense will be taking a big step up. Denver has allowed 425.0 net offensive yards per contest, so don't retain them after Week 4 if you pick them up.
  • New Orleans Saints, Defensive Team - Speaking of one-week plays, the Saints play the San Francisco 49ers - an intriguing matchup against a high-powered offense with a weak offensive line. In offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system, Niners quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan has been sacked 13 times, and San Francisco is tied for the league lead with six turnovers. Playing the Saints beyond this week is a risk, but this matchup should help if you're cycling defenses on the waiver wire. New Orleans is available in 87 percent of leagues polled.

Fantasy Football Free Agents: Watch List Options

The following fantasy football picks should not be players you immediately acquire - unless your team is in dire straights. These players are, however, options that are showing some life and should be kept an eye on to see if they materialize into worthy options.

  • Billy Miller, Tight End, New Orleans Saints - With tight end Jeremy Shockey (sports hernia) out three to six weeks, Miller steps in as the presumed starter at tight end. Miller had two catches for 41 yards in Week 3, and he occasionally put up a solid fantasy effort last season. The team might be willing to look to him in the future. Don't pick him up yet, but he's someone to watch for a matchup play down the road if it looks like he will have a significant role in the offense. With wideout Marques Colston (thumb) out, too, this team is running out of reliable pass catchers. Miller is available in all leagues polled.
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About Ryan R. Bonini

Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA, received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.

His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports,, and many others. He has also been featured on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA, FSWA and FSTA.

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