Fantasy Football Waiver Wire - Week 5
by Tim Heaney and Bryce McRae
on October 2, 2008 @ 12:37:48
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 its 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 to block others from adding the player to their fantasy football team.
Fantasy Football Free Agents: Priority Additions
The following group of players should be high on your radar and are worthy of being added immediately to your fantasy football team.
Deuce McAllister, Running Back, New Orleans Saints
- McAllister is available in about 55 percent of leagues polled.
- In Week 4, he rushed 20 times for 73 yards and a touchdown. He also had one reception for another 10 yards.
- After seeing spot duty during the first three weeks, McAllister was a big factor in Week 4 and showed some signs of the McAllister of old. While his knees may never be the same, he was utilized 21 times, including seven plays within the red zone.
Le'Ron McClain, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens
- McClain is available in about 56 percent of leagues polled.
- Entering Monday night, McClain, a fullback, is 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 games.
- McClain's 260-pound frame is a load to bring down, and he figures to be a weekly element within their conservative offense. The run-first mentality used to protect rookie quarterback Joe Flacco works in his favor for weekly touches.
Michael Bush, Running Back, Oakland Raiders
- Bush is available in 55 percent of leagues polled. However, keep in mind the Raiders have Week 5 off.
- In three games, Bush is averaging 14.7 rushing attempts, 64.3 rushing yards, 0.33 rushing touchdowns, 2.67 receptions and 28.3 receiving yards per game.
- This one is a bit volatile, as running back Justin Fargas (groin) missed the last two games with a groin injury and could be back after the team's Week 5 bye. Rookie Darren McFadden (toe) has also been limited the past two weeks due to a toe injury.
- The Raiders are a run-first team, though, so Bush could still be involved enough for someone who needs backfield depth.
Tim Hightower, Running Back, Arizona Cardinals
- Hightower actually gave way to starter Edgerrin James for two touchdowns inside the 5 last week but still plunged into the end zone from one yard out. He has found paydirt in three of his four games this season.
- The rookie is still averaging 1.25 plays per game inside the 5 - a more consistent pace than James' average of 0.50.
- The goal line threat would be a capable bye week substitute. He's available in only 29 percent of polled leagues.
Rudi Johnson, Running Back, Detroit Lions
- In Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers he rushed for 83 yards and caught three passes for 48 yards, with a score, as the Lions rode the hot hand.
- The Lions were not afraid to use Rudi exclusively when he was performing well, even with apt rookie Kevin Smith in tow. Johnson looks to be back in playing shape and picking up the Lions' playbook.
- Even if he splits time with Smith, the Lions are aiming to go back to a run-first philosophy to try to be competitive early in games, meaning Johnson could see a legitimate number of touches.
- Johnson is coming off a bye, so be sure to look for his name on the waiver wire. The vet is available in 24 percent of leagues polled.
NEW - Mewelde Moore, Running back, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Starting running back Willie Parker (knee) is out again for Week 5 while rookie tailback Rashard Mendenhall (shoulder) is done for the season; this opens up a spot for Moore, who will likely share carries with recently signed running backs Gary Russell and Najeh Davenport.
- Up to this point, Moore has received just nine carries - eight coming last week - for a total of 19 yards while catching three passes for 37 yards. His best season came with the Minnesota Vikings in 2005 when he ran for 662 yards and one touchdown on 155 carries while catching 37 passes for 339 yards and two scores.
- Moore is a solid receiver and would appear to be a better option in point-per-reception leagues, but keep in mind Steelers backs are averaging just 1.8 receptions per game.
- Moore is available in about 97 percent of leagues polled.
Lance Moore, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints
- Moore is available in 88 percent of leagues polled.
- The pass-happy Saints are hurting, as wide receiver Marques Colston (thumb) and tight end Jeremy Shockey (sports hernia) are out of action.
- Quarterback Drew Brees has shown the ability to produce huge numbers in the Saints' offense regardless of whom he is throwing to.
- Moore is coming off a seven-catch, two-touchdown performance that saw him produce 101 yards receiving. In the last month, he has averaged 4.25 receptions, 51.2 yards receiving and 0.50 touchdowns per game.
- He has been targeted 5.75 times per game, including 0.75 looks per week within the red zone.
Robert Meachem, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints
- Meachem is available in about 42 percent of leagues polled.
- In the last three weeks, he has been targeted an average of two times per game. He is averaging 1.67 receptions, 68 yards receiving and 0.67 touchdowns per game.
- Meachem, in his second year, is still growing in the system. The Saints, despite injury problems, have plenty of weapons offensively, so his numbers could be hit-or-miss.
- This big-play threat is doing well and finding the end zone with limited touches.
Kevin Walter, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans
- A struggling Texans passing offense finally turned it on in Week 4; Walter benefited as he caught eight passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
- He has been targeted 19 times in the last two weeks and 23 times in three games, second only to No. 1 wideout Andre Johnson's 31.
- Walter has shown he can still produce when Johnson is healthy. From Week 10 to Week 17 in '07 (seven games), Walter averaged 5.86 targets, 3.14 receptions, 36.4 receiving yards and 0.43 touchdowns per game in Weeks 3 through 9.
- Walter is available in about 64 percent of leagues polled.
Anthony Fasano, Tight End, Miami Dolphins
- The Dolphins are coming off a bye week, meaning Fasano could be on the waiver wire.
- Fasano remains a top target in the passing offense, averaging 4.33 targets per game, including 1.33 plays per game in the red zone.
- Quarterback Chad Pennington utilizes a short-to-intermediate passing game, and they lack reliable options at receiver, meaning the tight ends are valuable in Miami.
- Fasano is available in approximately 39 percent of leagues polled.
John Carlson, Tight End, Seattle Seahawks
- The Seahawks are coming off a bye week, meaning Carlson could be available in some fantasy leagues.
- With the Seahawks' infirmary of wide receivers, Carlson assumed a heavy offensive role in the first three games. He has averaged five targets per game, including 0.67 in the red zone.
- The return of wideouts Bobby Engram (shoulder) and Deion Branch (knee) might cut into Carlson's workload, but quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has trusted him enough that he should still be a significant part of the offense.
- He's available in 53 percent of leagues polled.
Matt Bryant, Place Kicker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Bryant is coming off an emotional Week 4 performance in which he made three field goals and three extra points for a season-high 12 kicker points.
- He's perfect in eight field goal attempts this year and is tied for ninth in the league with an average of 8.8 kicking points per contest.
- Don't rely on him too much in distance scoring leagues, but if you need a kicker with consistent opportunities, scoop him up. He's available in about 93 percent of leagues polled.
Arizona Cardinals, Defensive Team
- Besides enduring a six-touchdown explosion from New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre in Week 4, the Arizona Cardinals have been steady. They have allowed 305.8 total yards per game, which ranks them ninth in the league.
- They are also tied for ninth with 10 sacks, with an average of 2.5 per contest, and have recovered an average of one fumble per game.
- The Cards are available in about 57 percent of leagues polled.
Fantasy Football Free Agents: Worth a Look
Fantasy football leagues come in all shapes and forms, so the following group of players will have greater significance in deep fantasy football leagues. In shallow leagues, they are not as high of a priority but should be considered based on your fantasy football team's needs.
- Kyle Orton, Quarterback, Chicago Bears - Don't look now, but Orton has averaged 33.3 passing attempts in the past three weeks; he has completed 19.7 of those tries per game in that stretch. He is shedding his game-manager reputation with more downfield attacks. He was in the bottom section of this report last week, but owners in approximately 83 percent of leagues in which Orton is on the wire should at least start monitoring his performance. With bye weeks ongoing, he can be a serviceable fill-in.
- Correll Buckhalter, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles - When running back 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 sat out Week 4, and Buckhalter put forth another solid effort: 66 rushing yards, with a touchdown, and two receptions for 24 yards. Westbrook owners should grab Buckhalter for handcuff purposes, but others shouldn't discard more valuable options to grab him because Westbrook might be returning in Week 5. Buckhalter is available in about 33 percent of leagues polled.
- Fred Jackson, Running Back, Buffalo Bills - Jackson continues to be an effective sub for starter Marshawn Lynch, mainly in passing situations. Lynch was held relatively in check against the St. Louis Rams in Week 4, and Jackson was able to step up. He caught three passes for just nine yards but scored on a 22-yard scamper on his way to 46 ground yards. He's a useful addition as a handcuff for Lynch and for running back depth in point-per-reception leagues. He's on the wire in about 76 percent of leagues polled.
- Miles Austin, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys - Austin has assumed the No. 3 wideout role with little question. The speedster has scored in back-to-back weeks and was targeted six times in Week 4, matching his combined total from his first two weeks of action. Quarterback Tony Romo loves to spread the rock around the field, and Austin has proven that he can provide ample fantasy points with a small workload. He's available in about 85 percent of leagues polled.
- Steve Breaston, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals - Wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin (head) aren't the only ones benefiting from the Cards' dangerous air arsenal. Breaston caught nine passes for 122 yards in Week 4. He was one of three receivers to top the century mark, proving Warner doesn't discriminate amongst his targets. There's a chance that Boldin will miss time due to a vicious hit he absorbed in Week 4, so Breaston could temporarily be the No. 2 wideout in a powerful offense. He's available in almost all leagues polled.
- Visanthe Shiancoe, Tight End, Minnesota Vikings - Regardless of who's taking the snaps in Minnesota, Shiancoe has been in the receiving mix. He was targeted eight times against a stout Tennessee Titans defense in Week 5 for a total of 11 in the last two weeks. Both started by quarterback Gus Frerotte, from whom Shiancoe also caught a touchdown pass in Week 3, too. He had nine targets in the first two contests with Tarvaris Jackson at the helm. He caught a season-high four passes for 47 yards in Week 4 and already has 10 catches this year; he had 27 in '07. Shiancoe is available in about 86 percent of leagues polled.
- San Francisco 49ers, Defensive Team - The Niners aren't a heralded unit, but they have improved leaps and bounds from last season. They're tied for sixth in the NFL with five interceptions and have recorded an average of two sacks per contest this year. They're available in about 75 percent of leagues polled.
- New Orleans Saints, Defensive Team - Fantasy owners have laughed at the Saints pass defense, but it might be time to take a look at what they can do. Rejuvenated linebacker Jonathan Vilma has given them another asset at the position, and defensive end Charles Grant looks like his old self. The team has 10 sacks on the season, which has them tied for ninth. They contained the offense of San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz in Week 4, allowing a mediocre 312 net yards and recording six sacks. The Saints are available in 85 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. This group also includes one-week plays for those that need bye week or injury replacements.
- NEW - Domenik Hixon, Wide receiver, New York Giants - With wide receiver Plaxico Burress suspended for one game, Hixon is set to start in his place for the team's Week 5 game. In two games this season, Hixon is averaging 3.50 targets, which he has turned into an average of three receptions and 44.5 receiving yards per contest. The Seattle Seahawks, Hixon's Week 5 opponent, have been generous to this position with an average of 11.33 receptions, 172.7 receiving yards and 0.67 touchdowns allowed per game. Hixon is available in about 91 percent of leagues polled and could be used as a one-week play given his newfound playing time.
- NEW - David Martin, Tight end, Miami Dolphins - Martin has a great matchup this week against the San Diego Chargers, who are giving up 7.25 receptions, 88.5 receiving yards and 1.25 touchdowns per game to the position - all of which rank as the highest averages in the league. Martin saw a season-low two targets in Week 3, but he managed 11 over the first two weeks. His targets have translated into eight receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown this season. The eight-year veteran is available in about 98 percent of leagues polled. He can be used as a one-week play.
- NEW - Kris Brown, Place kicker, Houston Texans - Brown has connected on all five of his field goal attempts this year, including both last week. He has also made all five of his extra-point attempts. The Houston offense finally showed signs of life in Week 4 as they matched their previous season total with three touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Colts are giving up the most points per game to kickers this season (11.7), which comes on a league-high 3.67 field goal attempts and 1.67 extra points per game. Brown is averaging 5.5 points (one field goal and 2.5 extra points) per game in four meetings with the Colts over the last two years. Brown, who is a one-week play, is available in 65 percent of leagues polled.
- NEW - New England Patriots, Defensive Team - The 49ers turned the ball over three times against the New Orleans Saints last week while quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan was sacked six times. On the season, the 49ers are allowing a league-leading 4.75 sacks and turning the ball over 2.25 times per game. The Patriots are coming off their bye week and have been preparing for the 49ers offense for two weeks. View them as a one-week play, and they're available in about 27 percent of leagues polled.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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