Fantasy Football: Winning Your League Using the Waiver Wire

Kenny Ducey@kennyduceyContributor ISeptember 7, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 3: Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks to make a pass play in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFL preseason game at Giants Stadium on September 3, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

With the NFL Season just around the corner, I thought I’d give some fantasy football players who are trying to step up their game some help. One of the most important parts of fantasy football is the waiver wire.  Adding and dropping players is essential to having depth and insurance on your team, and without it, you could find yourself outside your league’s playoff picture.  I’ll list some names here that may be available in 10 team standard leagues, and if they’re not, should be sought after.

Percy Harvin, WR, MIN (93.6% owned in ESPN leagues)

When I saw Harvin available in my league, I immediately pounced on him. The owned percentage indicates that chances that he is a free agent in your league are slim, but I’m telling you, trade for this guy.  If you haven’t drafted yet, draft him in a late round.  At Florida last year, Harvin was all about speed and big plays.  With Brett Favre as the quarterback in Minnesota, what makes you think that’s going to be any different in the NFL.  We all know Favre is a gunslinger, meaning he loves to chuck the ball deep down field hoping for a big play.  That gunslinger will start calling Harvin’s number, because with Harvin’s explosive breakaway speed, the two will rack up yards faster than Adrian Peterson rushing against a Pop Warner squad.

James Davis, RB, CLE (31.4% Owned)

If stable guys like Leon Washington and Chester Taylor are taken (and they probably will be), and you need a backup RB, look no further than James Davis.  Davis is entering what will be an intriguing rookie year. I say that because the starter in front of him, Jamal Lewis, is getting very old, and the wheels could start to fall off this season.  Between Jerome Harrison and James Davis (The two other RB’s in the Cleveland system), Davis looks more ready to become an every-down back than Harrison does. Quite simply, I think he’s going to see more touches than most other backups this year.  Another guy I should throw out there for RB, Correll Buckhalter. If anything goes awry with Knowshon Moreno, Buckhalter will not only fill the void, he will probably excel in doing so.

Earl Bennett, WR, CHI (29% Owned)

OK, so if you can’t get Harvin, who do you pick up? Earl Bennett.  He and his former college teammate Jay Cutler are sure to find each other quite a few times this year in Chicago. Remember the huge rookie year Eddie Royal had as a result of Cutler? Experts are predicting the same for Bennett. Plus, I looked at the available WR’s who were under 20% owned, and the only other possibilities were Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson.  They are currently fighting for a spot in New Orleans, so I would pick up whoever starts to get the ball more, as they are both tremendous talents.

Mark Sanchez, QB, NYJ (25.1% Owned)

Believe it or not, Sanchez is one of the few fantasy QB’s that has an increasing “% Owned”.  Why? Because the rookie out of USC was hyped so much coming out of the draft, and he certainly didn’t disappoint in the preseason. He won the starting job in NY, and after doing so performed exceptionally well in games.  The immediate argument from Mark Sanchez haters is that this was the preseason, but it is still a good sign of things to come.  Put it this way, if you’re picking a QB up out of the free agent pool, they’re hopefully not going to be your starting QB. What Sanchez holds is incredible potential for this year, and if he succeeds, which there’s a good shot of, no one will be happier than his fantasy owners.  He’ll make a few rookie mistakes during games, but what he’s showed thus far is that he can rebound from those, work hard during the week, and perform better in the next game. Have no fear in picking up Mark Sanchez.

Jermichael Finley, TE, GB (10.7% Owned)

I decided to throw a TE in here just because it never ceases to amaze me what holes fantasy owners can find themselves in.  This kid has tremendous talent, and is starting to show us that he has built on that, catching for over 40 yards and two touchdown passes in a recent preseason game.  Even as a backup at the moment, Finley should  get a good number of receptions and maybe even touchdowns this year. Although this TE could rack up some points for a touchdown or two this year, he’s not a reliable backup TE. One of those should have been drafted. Jermichael Finley is someone who could be a big sleeper this year, and if you didn’t draft that backup TE, then he could very well save your behind.

Well, that about does it for guys you should be picking up when the season starts. Another article will be written later in the season on more waiver wire pickups. If you can’t wait for it, shoot me an email at, and I would be happy to answer any questions you have regarding fantasy football.

Kenny Ducey is the owner of The Sports Guys, and a contributor to Bleacher Report.