Here we are again…it’s football time! Week Two is always fertile ground for waiver wire pickups as the preseason hype ends and the true starters emerge from amidst the coachspeak and stats racked up against fourth-string defenses. And this week’s waiver wire is hoppin’ with some sweet pickups that could help your squad all season long. So let’s get to it!!
Willie Parker RB Pittsburgh Steelers
You’ve gotta love getting a starting Running Back straight off of the waiver wire, and here’s a chance to do just that. With Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley ailing, Willie took over the start this week and truly *ran* with it, racking up 209 total yards and a TD as the Steelers manhandled the lowly Titans defense. Parker seems to have earned the right to start for another week, and why not? Running against a Texas defense that Willis McGahee made look bad this past weekend makes Parker a hot start right off the wire! The Bus and Staley are talented but aging, and Parker stands a good chance of being a regular in the Steelers backfield if he can continue runnin’ like he stole somethin’. Who gets the carries down the road for the Black and Gold is tough to stay, but grab Parker for this coming week and ride the fortunes of the hottest Parker in Pittsburgh since the Cobra!!
Marcus Pollard TE Detroit Lions
Marcus was once a top fantasy tight end for the Colts before Dallas Clark ran him out of town, and he’s gone undrafted in many leagues. If he’s available in yours, grab him quick, fast, and in a hurry! The Lions have a tremendously talented receiving corps, but with almost non-existent pass-blocking, Joey Harrington is learning that it is difficult indeed to throw a long ball when lying on your back! Which means lots of dinks and dunks to guys who can get open quickly…like Pollard. Five catches for 58 yards and a TD is a fine afternoon. Call me crazy, but don’t be suprised when Pollard is a top 10 fantasy TE at the end of the year. No, I haven’t been drinking. Much. Grab Pollard and laugh at the Shockey owner in your league all year long! Of course if he’s also a Giants fan, you didn’t need much of an excuse to begin with, did ya?
Robert Ferguson WR Green Bay Packers
With opportunity comes success, and with the recent and unfortunate season-ending knee injury to Javon Walker, Ferguson is getting a big-time opportunity. The Packers looked bad this past weekend, but reports of the death of Favre and company are very premature and there’s still gold to be had on the Packers receiving corps! Ferguson’s a former 2nd round pick who has never quite lived up to expectations. He’s now in a perfect situation, has the physical tools, and knows the system…he may bust, but could just as likely be a nice #3 or even #2 WR for your squad. A worthy flyer at a bargain price, especially if you are (or were) a Walker owner.
Tim Rattay QB San Francisco 49ers
With #1 pick Alex Smith waiting in the wings, many thought that Rattay entered the year just keeping the seat warm until Smith is ready for the starting job. That may very well turn out to be true, but being a rookie QB is tough and Smith operated in a rather gimmicky college offense at Utah. It wouldn’t suprise me to see Rattay keep the job for most or all of this season, which could do some nice things for your fantasy squad. Tim has usually been quite productive when healthy, and with the Niners likely playing from behind for much of the season, look for Rattay to chuck the pigskin a *lot* before the year ends. And throwing against the doughboy-soft defenses of Arizona, Carolina, Seattle, and St Louis twice a year makes Rattay a nice spot starter for your squad. The knock on Rattay has always been that he gives Super Dave Osborne a run for his money in the injury department. Pick up Rattay and watch him become a potential top 15 QB on garbage-time stats alone for as long as he holds the job and keeps his head attached to his torso.
Chris Baker TE New York Jets
No, he’s not Dusty or Tammy Faye…so who is this masked Baker? Suprisingly, the Jets incumbent TE Chris Baker fought off ex-Raider and preseason starter Doug Jolley to keep his job, and backs up the decision with a monster 7 catch, 124 yard and a TD game against the Chiefs. With Pennington’s arm still reportedly weak and a new but apparently confusing offensive scheme in place, the easy target of Baker is proving attractive for young Chad and crew. Grab Baker and ride the wave as long as it lasts! Keep in mind that in his fourth year, he’s never caught more than 18 passes in a *season*, so don’t proclaim him the next Tony G just yet.
Arnaz Battle WR San Francisco 49ers
As mentioned earlier, the Niners look to be a team that will throw early and often this year. It’s unclear who their top receiver is, but before the year is through that man may be Arnaz Battle. A converted Notre Dame QB, Battle had a strong camp and has the athleticism and size that make for a dangerous pass catcher. Five catches for 59 yards and a TD against the Rams this past weekend may just be the beginning for this guy. If this is the year he blossoms, you’ll be glad you’ve got him!
Ernie Conwell TE New Orleans Saints
Tight ends abound on the waiver wire picks this week! Ex-Ram Conwell seems to have emerged from the TE muck in the Big Easy with the release of Boo Williams, and he made the best of his chances against a tough Panthers defense with a 6 catch 71 yard effort. The Saints have worked the TE successfully in the past and Conwell proved to be a capable receiver while on the Rams. Yet another solid pickup in the tight end category. Just keep your eye on the injury report as he got his bell rung at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Alex Smith TE Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dare I say it…yet *another* Tight End on the list! There were’t this many picks at the position over the course of the entire season last year! The ‘other’ Alex Smith is a talent I’ve loved all preseason and he’ll be the best rookie TE of the class in my opinion. Smith charged out of the gates in his first pro game with a 4 catch, 34 yard and 2 HUGE TD performance! If Smith continues to be a red-zone force, watch him become a sneaky top 10 pick at his position by season’s end!
On the Radar
Frisman Jackson WR Cleveland Browns
Frisman who? Where did this guy come from? Who knows, but 8 catches for 121 yards and a TD get my attention! Maybe he just slipped Dilfer a $50 before the game, maybe there’s something more going on here. with the likes of Antonio Bryant, Braylon Edwards, and Dennis Northcutt ahead of him on the depth charts, I’d like to see more from this guy before I go running to the waiver wire, but you now have my attention, young Frisman!
Frank Gore RB San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Barlow looked like dirt yet again running the ball for the Niners. They won’t wait all season for him to come around like they did last year. Gore may have knees that are less sturdy than your average Whiffle-ball, but he was a talent runner at Miami and could steal the job if given a shot. If Barlow continues to falter, Gore could become a Smokin’ Hot pickup sooner than later.
Ron Dayne RB Denver Broncos
Dayne wasn’t even made eligible for the game this past weekend, but with Mike Anderson tearing rib tissue (ouch!) and Tatum Bell not producing as many thought he would, Dayne could see some substantial carries before long. His style is much more suited to the ‘hit-the-hole’ running system of Denver than that of the Giants, and we all know what Shanahan did with perhaps lesser talents in Reuben Droughns, Olandis Gary, and perhaps even Mike Anderson himself. If you have the roster room, consider picking up Dayne for a few weeks until a starter emerges in Denver. It may be a wasted move, but the upside is as big as Dayne himself! Well…*almost* as big…
Marcel Shipp RB Arizona Cardinals
Shipp is an unspectacular but solid player that seems to get overlooked every year. This year the savior in the Cardinals backfield was supposed to be rookie JJ Arrington, but he’s been unimpressive in camp and preseason games, and the job is still open. Neither of these guys did much this past week against the Giants, but keep in mind that the Cards were hopelessly behind for a good portion of the game. If Arrington continues to struggle running and blocking, Shipp could become worth a roster spot for you.
Dan Wilcox TE Baltimore Ravens
Another ‘come from nowhere’ TE this week! Wilcox outproduced the more coveted Todd Heap this past weekend with 8 catches for 78 yards and a TD. The Ravens passing game is a mess, but somehow they still put up over 350 yards on the Colts defense. Once again, Wilcox is likely a ‘wait and see’ guy, but another game like this will make him a hot waiver wire pickup indeed.