The Wire: Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 9, 2008

Here’s a look at the players to target on your league’s waiver wire this week. This list is ordered by the percentage of ESPN leagues in which the player is available; even if you’re not a ESPN user, it’s a decent indication of how likely you are to find the player on waivers in your league. We also note here how strongly we feel about this pickup with three categories: Instant Starter, Grab ‘n’ Stash, or Desperation Pickup.

Nate Washington, WR, Steelers (6.6% owned, Desperation Pickup) – While his reception totals for each game this year aren’t all that consistent, Washington still manages to get some solid yardage and has been adding touchdowns to that as of late. I can’t recommend you start him on a weekly basis, but if you’re in a bind and it looks like a good matchup, you might consider him at the WR3 or flex position.

Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Dolphins (19.6% owned, Instant Starter) – Obviously you shouldn’t count on an other-worldly 175 yard performance from Ginn each week, but besides a bogus game in week 6, Ted Jr. has been pretty decent this year in his rookie season. He gets to play the lowly Broncos defense this week as well, making him even more appealing.

Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints (18.4% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – With Reggie Bush still out for a bit and Deuce McAllister looking at a multi-game suspension for use of banned substances in the near future, it’s only a matter of time before Thomas gets a game or two as the team’s starter.

Donnie Avery, WR, Rams (22.3% owned, Instant Starter) – I’m not sure how this guy isn’t owned in more leagues, but since week three he has seemed to get better and better. Last week was his first true “breakout” game of his career, when he torched the Patriots for 163 yards, and he now has a touchdown in the past two games. With defenses focusing on Torry Holt, Avery keeps getting chances and should continue for a long time.

Ryan Torain, RB, Broncos (22.4% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – He probably won’t get any great fantasy stats right away, but the Broncos plan to get him involved in their game plan fairly soon to see what he can add to the team. Starter Michael Pittman (33) is an old man, so I’m sure the team would like to see what they got in Torain for the future. If you’re in a keeper league, you might take a chance on him while he’s still available if you have an available spot on your roster.

Kevin Faulk, RB, Patriots (29.0% owned, Desperation Pickup) – While last week was an anomaly in Faulk’s career, he could see at least one more of that type of game this coming weekend when the Patriots play the Colts. Apparently Belicheck would prefer to run the ball with Kevin than with their four-named rookie (BenJarvus Green-Ellis), and the rest of the running backs on the team are still banged up, so expect a decent workload for Faulk this weekend.

Leon Washington, RB, Jets (32.5% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – He’s really only a must-own for Thomas Jones owners, but if the team would just give Leon ample opportunities to show his stuff, he would be a much more consistent fantasy force. Last weekend (101 combined yards, 2 TD) was an example of what he can do when handed the rock a couple extra times.

Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals (38.1% owned, Desperation Pickup) – It looks like the Bengals have decided that Chris Perry is not starter material and is fully invested in Benson as their feature back this season. This being said, their running game isn’t anything to write home about, so only consider using Benson if you’re in a bye/injury bind or something. He’ll be good for 5-8 points on a given week.

Marc Bulger, QB, Rams (45.6% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – Bulger hasn’t been a Pro-Bowler this season, but over the past few weeks he seems to be getting better and better. With the progression of rookie receiver Donnie Avery, Marc should continue that trend. It’s also worth considering that he has a lot of divisional games left on the schedule…and for those not familiar with the division (Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco), that means some pretty solid games ahead.

Kevin Curtis, WR, Eagles (50.5% owned, Instant Starter) – In his first game back since having sports hernia surgery, Curtis finished the game with three receptions for 45 yards. While the stats aren’t stellar on their own, the fact that Kevin seems to be back in game shape and is contributing to the team means that he should only improve as the weeks go by. I’d be confident starting him as a WR3 this week against Seattle.

Chad Pennington, WR, Dolphins (58.6% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – Quietly Pennington has transformed a Dolphins offense that couldn’t find it’s way out of a paper bag last season into a team that can consistently put up multiple touchdown efforts. Over the past three games Chad has averaged around 300 yards and at least one touchdown, which are pretty solid stats from your backup quarterback. He makes a pretty good play this week against a bad Denver defense.

Kevin Walter, WR, Texans (62.6% owned, Instant Starter) – He’s a solid WR3 that is still available in 1/3 of the leagues out there. Last week he had 70 yards and two touchdowns, so you know Matt Schaub is looking his way often (and in the red zone.)

Antonio Bryant, WR, Buccaneers (65.5% owned, Instant Starter) – Bryant has been the go-to receiver for quarterback Jeff Garcia, even with the return of Joey Galloway. Expect this trend to continue for the rest of the season and feel confident playing him as a WR3 or flex.

Matt Cassel, QB, Patriots (65.5% owned, Grab ‘n’ Stash) – While I’m a little curious why he’s already owned in so many leagues (must have been his 3 TD performance in week 7 against Denver), he IS still available in about one third of the leagues out there. Cassel has slowly become a serviceable backup in fantasy football world as he becomes more and more comfortable as the starter in New England. The fact that this is a contract year and he sees big $$$ in the future means he’ll be playing his ass off for the rest of the year.

Waiver wire DEFENSES of the week: Cleveland (vs BAL), Indianapolis (vs NE), Buffal (vs NYJ) or Jacksonville (@ CIN)


Waiver wire KICKERS of the week: Matt Bryant (@ KC), Rian Lindell (vs NYJ), Josh Brown (vs ARI) or Neil Rackers (@ STL)