With the 2011 fantasy football season in full forced motion, it's time to change the approach toward waiver wire reporting. Owners who are actively shopping their wires, don't just want any name available, they want impact players who are going to have an affect in fantasy football down the road—like Torrey Smith.
Today I have just a few players who you are not only sure to find on you waiver wire, but you can guarantee they will have some sort of positive impact on your team.
Let's take a look at who I have in store, and after my selections, be sure to see who our own Greg Brosh has to talk about.
Nate Washington - WR - TEN: Washington was already a name that only a select few were talking about, but his value is certainly set to skyrocket after the injury news surrounding Kenny Britt.
Before today, Washington was already a viable WR 3 scoop off the wire as quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has been consistently showing interest in him (13 catches for 166 yards, 12.6 AVG) but despite those two games, Washington remained virtually untouched. In his Week 3 performance against the Broncos, Washington continued to shine catching 8 balls for 92 yards (11.5 AVG) and a single TD.
UPDATED - Monday September 26th: Kenny Britt is being reported as missing the remainder of the season, as the team confirmed he did in fact tear both the MCL and ACL according to Jim Wyatt on Twitter. Washington now becomes the number one receiver in Tennessee, and if the guy is already averaging 7 catches, 86 yards receiving for a 12.3 YPC as a WR 2, just imagine what he is going to do as the primary target.
The interesting aspect to Cruz that I think you need to consider is the fact that he was the forgotten man on the field against a very good Eagles defense, and that was in a fill-in role as the WR 2 for Mario Manningham. Once Manningham returns, Cruz will move to the WR 3 slot, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll lose value.
Cruz made a strong case for himself in an offense that is hungry for other play-makers to step up, and Cruz is definitely worth a look in those deeper formats.
If that's not enough for ya, Cruz was targeted five times, caught three of them for 110 yards and two touchdowns against those Eagles...so imagine what this guy is going to do against Arizona, Seattle, Buffalo, Miami and New England—five of the worst passing defenses in the league, all of which are his next opponents in order.
Brandon Jacobs - RB - NYG: At first glance, this mention might seem a bit odd, but keep in mind we have to take into account ALL the types of leagues that are out there, and Brandon Jacobs is a guy who is available in nearly every Yahoo! league, and has been consistently averaging just around 9 or 10 points each week.
Jacobs enjoys a time-share with Ahmad Bradshaw, but the goal in New York is to get Bradshaw going and have him get the long gains early, plug in Jacobs for the scores in the red-zone, and in short yardage passing situations.
But Jacobs also brunts slightly m,ore work in the second half, than Bradshaw as well. No matter how you slice this one, if you are dealing with multiple injuries on your roster and need a RB, Jacobs is certainly worth a look, especially if you compete in Yahoo! formats.
Torrey Smith - WR - BAL: Smith has finally done enough to convince the coaching staff he has come around, and after the injury to Lee Evans, Smith got his shot and excelled against the Rams, torching them on five catches for 152 yards and three TDs.
This is more like it! Smith was suppose to start the season, but concerns over his dropsies in camp and preseason made the coaches believe he needed more time. Whether or not they were right doesn't matter because if this is any indication of what is to come from Smith, then the initial scouting report on him will show itself to be dead on.
Since it has only been one game, he is more valuable as an add in deeper formats (since he was a slated starter), but if you can, add him to your watch list for another week, and if he goes off again, of even produces half of what he did this week, pull the trigger.
Quick Hits on Previous Waiver Wire Considerations: If you haven't already added them, Lions receiver Titus Young, Broncos receiver Eric Decker, and Bills receiver David Nelson are all worthy of long-term occupancy on your roster, should you have room, while rising players Dane Sanzenbacher (WR - CHI), Michael Jenkins (WR - MIN) and James Casey (FB/TE - HOU) are all showing huge promise, but haven't yet done enough to consider them permanent adds.
Sanzenbacher will probably emerge from that list first if you are interested, but Jay Cutler has just looked awful through three games, and unless Cutler improves, his play will limit the ceiling on Sanzenbacher. Michael Jenkins is in the same position, and James Casey is likely to gain some notoriety moving forward, and could be a nice add for those of you hurting at TE.
That's it from me, kids. Stay tuned for Greg's add, coming up shortly.
Vince Young - PHI: Michael Vick wound up breaking bones in his right, non-throwing, hand in the tough loss against division-rival Giants. The good thing is that the injury didn't happen to his throwing hand. The bad news, however, is that there is a report that Vick could miss up to 3-4 weeks. Mike Kafka looked awful in his second-straight relief effort, throwing two costly picks. So if he is healthy enough from his hamstring injury, Vince Young could get the call for Week Four against the 49ers. Kafka showed he still isn't ready to be an NFL quarterback.
Update: Vick has a deep bone bruise in his hand. Not a break. He still remains very questionable for Week Four.
Colt McCoy - CLE: McCoy had a strong Week-Four performance against a weak Dolphins secondary, throwing for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. McCoy isn't an every-week starter because of his weak arm and the talent around him still not there yet. But in two-quarterback leagues, he could be a decent option. He's averaging 211 passing yards a game.
Curtis Painter - IND: There is belief that Kerry Collins may have suffered a concussion against the Steelers Sunday night, but it appears that Indy might make a change at quarterback even if Collins is good enough to play in Week Four. Painter didn't look all that good in relief, going 5-of-11 passing for 60 yards. I wouldn't look at Painter no matter how desperate I was. The Colts should have free agent David Garrard's number on speed dial.
Dexter McCluster - KC: As expected, Thomas Jones' 2011 debut as the starter was dreadful. He averaged a meager 2.2 yards on the ground against the Chargers and has only been able to muster up 2.6 through three games. McCluster, however, showed great burst, a willingness to hit holes and take hits. In a standard PPR league, McCluster racked up 10 fantasy points with 45 rushing yards and five catches for 17, which isn't bad for a desperation flex option. Jones will continue to start, but McCluster is a safe option if you are in absolute dire need of help. Keep in mind, though, that some league sites only count McCluster as a receiver.
Daniel Thomas - MIA: It turns out Thomas is the real deal. After a solid breakout showing in Week Two, Thomas followed that up with 95 rushing yards and added three catches for 27 yards and a touchdown. I just looked at Yahoo leagues and, surprisingly, Thomas is only owned in 67% of the leagues so far. I expect that number to increase by the end of this week. Reggie Bush (36 total yards) is showing he just doesn't have what it takes to be a starting NFL running back.
Stevan Ridley - NE: Ridley finally showed us what he can do if given the chance after rushing seven times for 44 yards in the loss to the Bills. After BenJarvus Green-Ellis' disappointing first half, he slowly started giving up touches to Ridley in the second half. Ridley might not be someone who will put up fantasy points every week. But if you can afford to pick him up and stash him away for another week or two, he could be worth the wait. He is clearly more talented than the "law firm."
Kendall Hunter - SF: Frank Gore said he isn't sure if he will be available to play the Eagles in Week Four after "tweaking" his ankle in the second quarter against the Bengals. Hunter could be a decent addition and a flex option against an Eagles Defense that is close to last in yards given up on the ground this year. He couldn't be any worse than Gore, who has failed to top 60 yards rushing in any of the last three games.
Jonathan Stewart - CAR: Stewart put up another flex-quality game in the team's first win over the Jaguars, putting up 85 total yards and catching three receptions. He split carries evenly with DeAngelo Williams (10), but averaged 5.9 yards a carry compared to Williams' 1.8. Stewart likely will never have that breakout games because Williams is in the way. But through three weeks of action, Stewart is clearly the better of the two. The re-signing of Williams in the offseason is looking like a huge mistake.
LaDainian Tomlinson - NYJ: Shonn Greene might be the starter and the main ball carrier, but LT is still getting it done through the air, catching a team high 116 yards off five receptions. LT is only worth owning in deeper PPR leagues because he is inconsistent. He only caught one pass for seven yards in Week Two.
Willis McGahee - DEN: Many owners opted to keep McGahee on the waiver wire with the news that Knowshon Moreno was healthy enough to return to action for Sunday's game against the Titans. There was just one big problem; he wasn't, but was still active for the game anyway. Moreno didn't see a single snap Sunday, leading to McGahee's first receiving touchdown of the season. Moreno could be ready by Week Four, but McGahee still figures to get a decent amount of work, despite chipping in just 52 yards on 22 carries. McGahee is still only a desperation flex option at best. His legs are shot.
Ryan Grant - GB: Grant earned some flex consideration after his big 92 yard rushing day against the Bears. On the flipside, James Starks managed just five yards on eleven carries and didn't look very confident when given the ball. It didn't help that he also lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. Grant could be someone to look at against the Broncos in Week Four.
Sidney Rice - SEA: Rice blew up in his 2011 debut, racking up eight catches out of ten targets for 109 yards in the win over the Cardinals. Keep in mind that Tarvaris Jackson is still the starting quarterback and the Cardinals secondary has been awful this year. So while you should pick Rice up, temper expectations.
Steve Smith - PHI: Smith could be thrust into the starting role for Week Four's game against the 49ers after Jeremy Maclin injured his hamstring against the Giants. Maclin's backup Riley Cooper also suffered a concussion, which would leave Smith as the possible starter across from DeSean Jackson. Many owners will look at Jason Avant instead, but I believe the team would rather leave him in the slot and use Smith and Jackson on the outside. Just remember that Smith's value, if he does start, would be capped with Vick out for multiple weeks.
Update: Maclin is currently day-to-day after it was revealed that his hamstring injury is not as bad as previously reported. Still questionable for Week Four.
Donald Jones - BUF: Jones is another guy to look at only in deeper leagues. While he tied with Stevie Johnson with ten targets and led the team with 101 yards on five receptions against the Patriots, his value will be inconsistent every week. He only totaled 27 yards over the first two weeks.
Randy McMichael - SD: Antonio Gates reportedly tore the scar tissue in his plantar fascia, so he could be facing multiple weeks of inactivity. If so, McMichael could be someone worth looking at. Against the Chiefs, McMichael managed four receptions for 51 yards. Since the Chargers' play-calling calls for a lot of use out of the tight end position, McMichael could be serviceable if your waiver wire is picked dry at the tight end position.