With the NFL Season winding down, it has come time to wind down the weekly Waiver Wire Article. Thanks to all the dedicated readers for your support during the season. This seems like as good a time as any to put together this year’s All-Waiver Wire Team. Last week we talked Turkey, this week, Waiver. Players on the All-Waiver Wire Team are players that in all likelihood were not selected by any teams on draft day. Looking at the players on this list, well, it’s a pretty good team. A good draft goes a long way towards winning a fantasy championship, but equally important is weekly vigilance on the waiver wire. Enjoy!
Derek Anderson, Cleveland
Each and every year there is a quarterback that comes from the deepest of depths on draft day to become a fantasy stud. The list of players in years past is too long to get into in this small space. Anderson certainly qualifies as coming from the deepest of depths. Charlie Frye was the opening day starter for the Browns, and with rookie Brady Quinn waiting in the wings, Anderson shouldn’t have been on the radar. Anderson came off the bench in week one, then in week two he lit up the Bengals for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns. He hasn’t slowed down since. Twenty-two TD passes on the season and currently ranked as the #5 fantasy quarterback overall, Anderson has established himself as an elite fantasy quarterback and must start every week this season.
Matt Schaub, Houston
After getting out of Atlanta, Schaub was very low on many draft day cheat sheets, and rightly so. He hadn’t been given much of a chance with the Falcons, and quarterbacks in Houston specialized more in getting sacked than anything else. Schaub started the season quietly, 225 and 227 yards in weeks one and two, three TDs combined. Without Andre Johnson, his TD totals left much to be desired, but his yardage numbers have consistently been around 300 yards per game. After missing a few games himself, now that he and Johnson are back healthy, he’s put up 250+ yards and 2 TDs in the last couple of games. Perhaps not enough to be a weekly starter, but he has proved to be a good fantasy backup QB and spot starter.
Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers started losing starting RBs early and often this season. Carnell Williams, Michael Pittman, etc. Graham’s coming out party came in week three when he ran for 75 yards and 2 scores against the Rams. After a couple of slow weeks, he had nearly 200 yards of total offense against the Lions and hasn’t looked back. Though the fantasy owner would like to see more touchdowns from him, he has consistently been around 100 yards of total offense every week since week seven. He’s not slowing down either, in fact he appears to be getting better, finding the end zone in each of the last three games. Graham has proved to be gold to the owner that was able to grab him early in the season to reap the benefits now.
LenDale White, Tennessee
I have some reservations about having White on the team, but I think that given what we’re trying to accomplish here, White deserves a spot on the roster. The Titans backfield was a minefield on draft day, what with Chris Brown and Chris Henry not only in the mix, but rated ahead of White on most cheat sheets. White started off slowly this season, but he was always “in the mix” as we say. The first three weeks of the season saw him carry the ball for 55 yards on average, then in week 6 things started to click with a 64 yard and a TD performance. The next three weeks saw him perform worthy of a starting fantasy spot, 100+ yards and 2 scores over those games. Though he has tailed off at this point in the season, the astute fantasy owner that picked him up and was able to play him during his good times, and even better, was able to trade him for something good in return, got their money’s worth out of White.
Wes Welker, New England
The Patriots had a busy off season, bringing in fantasy studs Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth. The shrewd fantasy owner also noticed New England picked up Wes Welker, a nice possession guy that could also return kicks. This didn’t make much of a fantasy splash, especially on draft day, but Welker has proved his worth as a fantasy starter for most of the season. He averaged 70 yards in the first three weeks of the season, then had a bit of a slow down. Since week six, he has been a fantasy starter. 124 yards and 2 TDs that week, followed up by 138 yards and 2 more TDs the following week. He hasn’t slowed down since, including a 13 catch 149 yard performance last week against the Eagles. Welker has been a valuable asset to not only the Patriots, but to the fantasy owner that was able to pick him up early in the season.
Roddy White, Atlanta
This slot came down to White and rookie Dwayne Bowe, both have similar numbers, but in the end I decided on White since it’s more likely that he wasn’t selected on draft day. Atlanta was not a place that the fantasy owner wanted to touch on draft day. The Michael Vick situation left a cloud over the franchise and no one knew how the team would respond. Not to mention, no one knew what was going to happen at quarterback. Like the Falcons, White began quietly, but he gave notice in week three that he was going to be a decent fantasy option with a 127 yard and a TD performance. From there, his numbers aren’t outstanding, but they are pretty consistent. Not as many TDs that you’d like so see, but 50-60 yards on average with two 100+/1 TD games sprinkled in made White a bye week fill in and spot starter for the fantasy owner that picked him up.
Donald Lee, Green Bay
This one was an easy choice. Lee began the season as the backup to Bubba Franks for the Packers, so on draft day he was an after thought. The first four weeks of the season saw him split time with Franks right down the middle, and his numbers were very consistent, 4 catches, around 40 yards. That was enough to make him a bye week fill in. Then Franks got hurt and Lee took over the role full time. He tossed in a few 70+ yard games, and lately he’s been finding the endzone, twice in week eleven against the Panthers. Lee certainly isn’t in the elite category, but for a guy that was likely on waivers after draft day, he has proved to be a valuable commodity to fantasy owners all season.
Nick Folk, Dallas
This one was also a pretty easy choice. Folk’s status as the starter in Dallas was a question right up to week one of the season. Fantasy owners know that rookie kickers are to be avoided at all costs. Folk had an easy week one, as Dallas found the endzone six times. Week two he saw some real action, and he connected on three field goals and four extra points. Week three he solidified himself as a fantasy starter with another four extra points and two more field goals. The Cowboys offense has generated plenty of scoring opportunities for Folk, and he hasn’t disappointed. 17 field goals on the season and a whopping 43 extra points has him ranked well within the top ten fantasy kickers this season. Not bad for a guy that probably wasn’t even on most cheat sheets on draft day.
There was a bit of competition here, but in the end I decided on the Lions, a team that was likely near the bottom of the defensive rankings on draft day. The Detroit defense hasn’t lit the fantasy world on fire, but from #30 on draft day, to just inside the top 10 overall fantasy defenses, that’s a pretty good jump. Their coming out party was week four, a two touchdown effort against the Bears where they recorded six sacks and picked off three passes. From that point on, they’ve been a pretty good defense for the fantasy owner to start based on their matchup. They played better at home (another 2 TD effort in week 9 while hosting the Broncos), and though they give up significant yardage amounts, their sack and turnover numbers have been fairly consistent from week to week.