Waiver Wire Pickups - The Playoffs Edition (Week 14)

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For most of you, the playoffs are about to kick into gear and for others the season has officially come to a disappointing end.

But for those of you who remain in the chase, do not rest on your laurels and leave your team as is. There are always ways to improve and that one last addition may make all the difference in the world.

By this point, all the good guys are gone and the only quarterbacks floating around out there are either injured or buried on the depth chart.

But my friends, please, do not worry.

Because here are some waiver wire options that you might want to take a look at before your league counterparts can beat you to the punch.

Each and every year there are a few guys that lay around on the waiver wire for a few weeks before exploding onto the scene and becoming fantasy legends like Ryan Grant from a year ago.

It's important you keep evaluating your talent each week and don't be afraid to drop someone on your roster that has been getting by on name recognition alone.

Brandon Jackson Packers, RB - Monitor the injury reports coming out of Green Bay before you make Jackson an addition to your roster. In place of an injured Ryan Grant (hand), Jackson filled in admirably against the Panthers and finished with 80 yds on 11 carries.

He looked explosive coming off the edge and was an element the Packers had been missing from Ryan Grant. But if Grant does return this week, Jackson won't get nearly enough carries to merit consideration here.

Then again, if that sore hand of Ryan Grant's causes any ball control issues, expect to see a heavier does of B-Jax.

Le'Ron McClain Ravens, RB - Earlier in the year I took a chance on McClain after he scored four touchdowns in Weeks 3 through 5. I was promptly rewarded with a disastrous two carry, negative two yard performance that was the death blow for my team in Week 6.

And now here we are again, McClain coming off two impressive fantasy performances that make you want to believe he is cementing himself as the Ravens featured back. Incumbent Willis McGahee didn't register a single carry despite being healthy enough to play, according to published reports.

But then you read a quote like this from head coach John Harbaugh and confusion truly begins to set in:

"We've got a plan, and we've got a plan for Willis, I guarantee you. And he's going to be a big part in December, no question about it."

Buyer beware.

Tashard Choice Cowboys, RB - The hype surrounding Felix Jones' arrival in Dallas had the fantasy world drooling over his tremendous upside potential. But an injury in Week 6 and subsequently being placed on the IR has ended Jones' season, leaving a gaping hole in many a roster.

My friend, there is only one 'Choice' to make. (Terrible)

With a hobbled Marion Barber III (dislocated pinkie toe) unable to finish out the Boys' annual Turkey Day beat-down, new backup Tashard Choice stepped right in and finished the day with 57 yds on 11 carries.

Barber sounds as if he'll be ready to play this week, so Choice won't be in line for the bulk of the carries just yet. But just like with Jackson, if this injury persists Choice's role will only expand.

Kevin Faulk Patriots, RB - Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is quickly entering the Mike Shanahan territory of head coaches fantasy players loath due to their inconsistent approach to the run game.

This season alone, the Patriots have used Laurence Maroney, LaMont Jordan, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Sammy Morris, Heath Evans and Kevin Faulk.

But somehow Faulk is managing to produce with the small number of carries he gets every week.

Wk 11 vs. Jets: 12 touches, 87 total yds
Wk 12 vs. Dolphins: 14 touches, 105 total yds, TD
Wk 13 vs. Steelers: 13 touches, 121 total yds

Not a bad pickup in deeper leagues. He's a guy that Belichick trusts and that seems to go much further on this team than actual talent.

Mark Clayton Ravens, WR - First and foremost, just please understand that you've already missed out on his best game this season. Last weekend he not only hauled in five passes for 164 yds and a TD, but Clayton also launched a 32-yard passing TD to fellow wideout Derrick Mason.

The potential has always been there and we've all just been waiting for it to come out. Maybe it took an arm as strong as rookie Joe Flacco's for it to materialize or who knows what else.

But whatever it is, we hope he just keeps on doing it.

Amani Toomer / Domenik Hixon Giants, WRs - Both of these guys are immediate pickups in my book.

But you'll have to choose which you'll want to roll with into the postseason.

Toomer is obviously Manning's most trusted target. He's basically been there since Manning took over the offense and the two now have an undeniable chemistry out on the field.

Hixon is the heir apparent to Plaxico 'Cheddar Bob' Burress and has already turned heads with his raw skills.

He's the big play potential you're looking for while Toomer is the consistent producer you need.

Who's it going to be?

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Hey guys,

Thanks for the waiver advice for last week on WR. I have to start 3 WR this week and I have 4 to choose from:

R. White
S. Breaston
D. Jackson
T. Housh

I'm sold on White for sure. I'm leaning towards Breaston and Jackson but wanted your take.

Available on the wire are:

M. Clayton
J. Gage
T. Holt
D. Hester
J. Gaffney
M. Floyd
D. Branch

If i do pick up someone from waivers, i have a Dallas defense i can drop for them as my starting D this week is Minnesota. Who should i start for my starting 3 WR and should i pick up any of those FA WR's?

Lastly...would you go Peyton Hillis or Marian Barber for this week?

Sorry for all the questions but you guys have been really helpful and insightful this year!

Olsen responds: No need to apologize Ernie, we look forward to answering everyone's questions.

So let's get right to it.

Leave your receivers alone. There isn't anyone on the wire better than what you already have and you'd only be taking a step back if you made a move.

You're right in thinking that White is a lock here against the Saints. That should be one of the more entertaining contests of the weekend.

DeSean Jackson is the Eagles leading receiver and they'll lean on him against the Giants not only in the passing game, but the return game as well.

Breaston has the better matchup for a very crowded receiving corps. Housh is the number one on a bad Bengals team.

Not very easy to decide here.

But I think you've got to go with Housh. Last week the Bengals played the Ravens, a team that's brutal for anyone to go against. Let alone a team playing with a below average quarterback, now 21 players on IR and in tough weather conditions.

They'll find more room to work with against the Colts and better weather too.

Housh, Jackson and White.

Good luck.

I could use some advice too myself, I've been struggling all year with my WRs and want to get things set for the playoffs. In a start 3 league I have:
Eddie Royal
Donald Driver
Lance Moore
Chris Chambers
Chad Johnson

I could drop one of my 4 QBs, but they're pretty good and I don't want them used against me:
Aaron Rodgers
Matt Cassel
Matt Ryan
Kyle Orton

Same with my RBs;

Who should I drop to pickup one of these WR FAs?;
Justin Gage
Malcolm Floyd
Davone Bess
Mark Clayton
anyone else?

Olsen responds: Hmm...I've got to be honest here Max, I'm not sure you need much help.

Your quarterback situation is one that I'm sure most would envy and if you were to drop one, I'd suggest Orton. He's not the same player he was early on in the 2008 campaign and compared to the rest of your rotation, I don't think he merits keeping. If an adversary were to scoop him up, you shouldn't worry too much considering he's average at best.

Keep your running backs just how they are. Forte has a great string of matchups ahead of him against Jacksoville (20th vs. run), New Orleans (19th vs. run) and Green Bay (27th vs. run). He's your primary back moving forward.

Portis does worry me some because lately it feels like every week he is having to deal with another ailment. You've got to sit him this week against Baltimore's 3rd ranked rushing defense that has only given up three scores on the ground this season. Not to mention they haven't given up a 100-yd rushing performance in 30 games or so. He'll be a nice play against the Bengals (24th vs. run) next week, but let him sit it out for now.

Slaton gets the aforementioned Packers struggling defense this weekend and is an automatic start after his ridiculous showing against the Jags on Monday night.

Grant remains a question mark with a banged up thumb and I'm sure head coach Mike McCarthy liked what he saw from Brandon Jackson enough to split carries evenly this weekend.

The only move I'd suggest making here Max is dropping Chad _________ whatever his name is and picking up Davone Bess. Miami has the softest remaining schedule in football (at Bills, 49ers, at Chiefs) and Bess will definitely take advantage.

Good luck and let us know how ya did.

I have JOSEPH ADDAI this week against cin. He has been very inconsistent since coming off his injury and the colt’s offense is not playing well. Also, Dominic Rhodes continues to get carries. Should I start Addai or should I go with another option in Larry Johnson, Tim Hightower or Willie Parker?

Olsen responds: At this point in the season, where every single decision is crucial to success, taking chances is not something you want to do.

Addai is right up there as a candidate for the biggest fantasy football bust this season. That being said, Addai may be in line for a bounce back game at home against the Bengals. They possess the league's 24th ranked run defense and four out of Addai's six touchdowns this year have come at home.

But the reality is you have someone on your team that has an even better matchup.

Larry Johnson.

The Broncos rushing defense is terrible, allowing over 144 yds per game and have given up 17 rushing touchdowns. This is setting up perfectly for LJ to have a monster game just when you need it most.

He's been steadily building himself back after going through those legal problems in the middle of the season and looked solid against the Raiders, running for 92 yds and a TD.

What's helping him even more is this week the Cheifs WRs don't have to deal with Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders. Tyler Thigpen couldn't buy an open receiver besides Tony Gonzalez and LJ still managed to find running room.

Earlier this season the Broncos were on pace to finish with the highest average QB rating for opposing quarterbacks in a season. They've since brought it back down below such historic proportions, but the point cannot be missed.

Thigpen will be able to move the ball through the air, setting LJ up for some big chunks of yardage and you should see him raise the dynasty sign at least once on Sunday.

As for your other options, I'm not sure what to think.

That Cowboys vs. Steelers game is such a wild card that it truly could go either way. Hightower has been struggling mightily as of late, but does face a team in which he went over 100 yds against in their last meeting.

If you made me pick one out of the bunch, I'm going with LJ. Two, and I'm rolling with LJ and Addai.

Good luck.

I need some help narrowing down these RB's. Who should I star for my three spots?

LaDanian Tomlinson
Joseph Adddai
Tim Hightower
Warrick Dunn
Willie Parker
Larry Johnson

I think LT is a lock against Oakland but Addai is struggling and W Parker is still hurting. Who do I start?

Olsen responds: L.T. is a lock, but that still doesn't mean that it's a guarantee.

His struggles this year have been well-documented, so I won't bore you with those. You have to start him this week even if everything in your gut tells you not to because if he doesn't produce against the Raiders, he's not going to do it against anyone.

History is on your side this week so I'd be confident in L.T. coming out with a big day in front of a national T.V. audience (albeit only those who have the NFL Network).

For your second back, I'd ask you to read the previous commenter's predicament. The both of you are faced with the same plight, except you have Warrick Dunn and he does not.

Good luck.

I have a question for you, would you rather start justin gage for the titans or Derrick Mason for the ravens, cause I mean derrick mason has had multiple 15 points atleast each game, so I was just wondering for your advice.

Olsen responds: In this case I would definitely go with Mason.

The Ravens offense has suddenly found an aerial attack, albeit an average one, and Mason is benefiting greatly from the arrival of Joe Flacco.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that he's averaging 15 points, but he's a yardage monster that will occasionally find the end zone and is perfect for PPR leagues.

Start Mason, he's the smarter play.

Who should I use as my flex (PPR league):

Clinton Portis
Sammy Morris
Chester Taylor

Thanks for the advice.

Olsen responds: I'm looking at Portis like he's the bubonic plague this weekend: don't go near him.

He missed practice again yesterday and will probably be another game-time decision. But I wouldn't start him regardless. The matchup is terrible and the Redskins just aren't playing good football right now.

It comes down to Morris and Taylor.

Taylor will definitely do more for you in a PPR format, simply because Adrian Peterson can't figure out how to run a screen and Taylor is runs it to perfection.

But Morris will get more touches and could get a goal line score or two against the hapless 'Hawks.

I'd take a chance on Taylor. It's very likely the Vikings are going to be up big at some point in this game and Taylor will figure heavily into the outcome.

But if you don't want to take a chance and play it safe, Morris is your guy.

Good luck.

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About the bloggers

Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on December 2, 2008 8:04 AM.

The best and worst of Week 13 was the previous entry in this blog.

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