Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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More Bell-Cow!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Labor Day 2008's last-minute gems brought us an instant waiver wire star in Kurt Warner and several breakout performers such as Eddie Royal, Pierre Thomas, and Steve Slaton. This year's "Waiver Wired" debut features a possible Week 1 bell-cow in New Orleans, a pair of wildcard stashes under center, several candidates to step in as immediate assets at receiver, and a handful of underrated tight ends.

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This is the first Waiver Wired of the season, so let's review the rules:

Every Tuesday, I'll go over the best available pickups at every fantasy position except kicker. Every league setup is different, so I'll try to include players who may be available in shallow leagues, and lesser-known players that are worth trying in deep leagues. I give a recommendation for each player, such as "Should be owned in 12-team leagues." This doesn't mean you should own him, just that he's good enough to improve one of the rosters in your league. If I write, "Must be owned," or "Should be owned in all leagues," I'm recommending doing what you can to find a spot.

Most of my leagues have moved to sites which allow owners to place interesting free agents on a "watch list" for future consideration. As such, each week I will throw in a few names that should be placed on watch lists for easy access when a quick decision is needed.

On to the players.

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QUARTERBACKS

Shaun Hill, 49ers – Hill has an attractive Week 1 matchup against Arizona in what promises to be a high-scoring contest. Also on the docket in the first half of the season are the Seahawks, Rams, Texans and Colts. For all the talk of Hill competing against a tougher schedule this year, that's hardly a murderer's row. After finishing in the Top-10 in points per game last season, Hill deserves to be rostered in more than 47 percent of all leagues.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Matthew Stafford, Lions – Mark Sanchez had better preseason numbers and enjoys the protection a fine offensive line, so why Stafford instead? The Lions defense, while greatly improved, is still among the worst in the NFL, which means Stafford is going to be padding his stats in comeback attempts on a regular basis. His biggest edge, however, comes in the form of the most explosive receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson. Stafford's arm isn't just first-round caliber -- it's in the rare air with Jay Cutler and the younger version of Brett Favre. With an uncoverable Johnson streaking down the sidelines, look for a lot of drives like the opening set against the Bills last week. Stafford will make plenty of rookie mistakes, but he'll also move the offense aggressively down the field and into scoring territory.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Matt Leinart, Cardinals – We covered this one in a late-round fliers article last week. Why draft a mediocre QB2 who will never get off your bench when you could be stashing a potential asset? If the 38-year-old Kurt Warner -- still recovering from hip surgery -- misses time, Leinart immediately becomes a weekly difference-maker.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Chad Pennington, Dolphins – The Dolphins have a much tougher schedule this season, but Week 2 at home against a banged up Colts secondary and Week 3 at San Diego offer promise. Pennington finished last year as a high-end QB2, but he remains unowned in 45 percent of all fantasy leagues. You could do worse for a bye-week fill-in.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Kerry Collins, Titans – It will be interesting to see how the Titans, a team that yearns to take the air out of the ball, cope with the loss of Albert Haynesworth. They won't be able control tempo without the most disruptive defensive lineman in the game, so look for Mike Heimerdinger to open the offense more than expected. Collins has a tough Week 1 matchup against the Steelers, but his schedule loosens up starting the following week against the Texans.

Recommendation: Should be owned in deep leagues

Watch List - Byron Leftwich, Mark Sanchez, Brady Quinn, Chris Simms


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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