Ranking the free agents
Of all the words being used these days to describe one's feelings toward the Minnesota Vikings, you don't hear envy being tossed out there that much.
But that was my first thought when I saw that the Vikes had waived Randy Moss. I was jealous. I'll leave the debates about how it was handled, why it happened and whether it should have been done to, um, pretty much everyone else.
But I love that they could do it. That the Vikings said, "You know what? It cost us a third-round pick and a lot of money, but we don't care. We're waiving him. We're done, we're through, there's the door."
I wanna do that.
I wanna waive Randy Moss. From my 14-team fantasy league in which I "bought low" on him two weeks ago. Who knew he could go lower? But I'm stuck with him because there's no one on the waiver wire who has his upside. So I'm stuck with his underperforming, disappointing posterior.
Which is why I'm jealous of the Vikings. Most people can't just waive a bad decision -- hell, most teams can't. But wouldn't be great if you could?
I want to waive being a Redskins fan. I've been one since I was 5 years old and living in Virginia. I don't want my blood to bleed burgundy and gold for a team with a coach that pulls your franchise quarterback in a winnable game with two minutes to go. For Rex Grossman. I don't care what the question is, Rex Grossman isn't the answer.
I wanna waive Kenny Britt from my lineup in Week 8. And waive him from all of your benches back in Week 7.
I wanna waive the decision to spend 10 hours of my life on every M. Night Shyamalan movie after "The Sixth Sense." Never again.
I wanna waive my "Love/Hate" column from this past week. Bad week, my friends. Bad week.
I wanna waive the people that text, e-mail, or tweet me questions like "Do I start this guy or that guy?" when I've already ranked every player, in order, twice a week. I don't do those for my health, you know.
I wanna waive the girl I took to my junior prom in high school. Either take off the shoes or shut up, but stop whining about them hurting.
I wanna waive people who misquote me. I'm gonna miss enough calls on my own, I don't need you making them up for me. Or misunderstanding my "Love/Hate." No, I didn't say "bench Drew Brees." I ranked him ninth. I merely like him less than my fellow rankers.
I wanna waive every single person who judges someone else without having any comprehension about what their life is like. Seriously, walk a mile and all that.
I wanna waive pretty much every single picture of me, starting with the logo they keep insisting to throw in my column with a picture that's clearly three years old. The only thing I hate more than pictures of me are pictures of me that are out of date.
I wanna waive Angelina from "The Jersey Shore" and all the people who share her sensibility and attitude. I realize I am judging here and that goes against my earlier one, but you know what? I think I'm safe on this one.
I wanna waive people who treat me as if I am a dumb child. Like, when I say, "Can I borrow an umbrella?" and they say, "You didn't know it was going to rain today?" Of course I didn't know. If I knew, I would have brought an umbrella, now, wouldn't I? If I can't get my printer to work, don't ask if I've tried turning it off and on and checked to see if it has paper. Of course I've checked. Because I'm not a complete idiot.
And finally, I wanna waive this column. Sort of.
As I looked through the pickups for this week, I realized there are no new names. I've talked about all these guys, often for many, many weeks. The biggest, most obvious guy is LeGarrette Blount and I've talked about him in so many weeks (since Week 2, actually) that I've literally run out of bad punching puns. I don't stand a fighter's chance of coming up with a new one.
Instead of my usual "Don't look back in anger" section and all the other stuff I normally do, I'm just gonna rank the free agents, by position. You've already read my thoughts on all of them in multiple weeks, so here's who I think you should get, depending on team need, if they are still out there.
If you are curious as to whom I like the most overall (say a QB versus a WR) then just look at the FAAB price I suggest bidding on; the more money I think you should bid, the more I like them. The percentage in parentheses is their ownership percentage in ESPN.com standard leagues and the money is the suggested bid amount based on a $100 free-agent budget.
Finally, a reminder that the Broncos, Titans, Rams, 49ers, Redskins and Jaguars are on a bye this week.
Pickups of the WeekIs there a tornado in here baby? Because you blow me away.
Top quarterback free agents
Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers (27 percent, $30): Now that the Bucs have a legit run game, he's gonna be even more of a threat. Double-digit points in every game except the Steelers game and he's not alone in that. Will get a few points with his legs every week and has a legitimate shot at being an every-week starter, not just bye week material.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions (25 percent, $25): I'm not expecting four touchdowns every week, but we saw Shaun Hill have a lot of success with this offense, and with a healthy Calvin Johnson and a bad secondary, the Lions are going to have to continue to score.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills (33 percent, $22): OK, it wasn't 20 points, but he gutted out 14 and you know he'll keep throwing. Only concerns about the weather (wind blows hard in Buffalo) and Fitzy's arm strength (it's not great) keep him from being higher. Still a believer.
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs (45 percent, $15): Even with the resurgence of the Raiders (his Week 9 opponent) it's still a cake schedule the rest of the way.
Vince Young, QB, Titans (60 percent, $10): On a bye this week and we're not sure how long Kenny Britt is out. But with teams putting eight in the box on Chris Johnson, VY will have to throw. And he will.
Others receiving votes: I don't expect David Garrard, Jaguars (25 percent, $10) to get five scores ever again, but it's not just the Dallas game. He's been better than you think this year. Unless they wind up with Randy Moss, there's nothing awesome about Sam Bradford, Rams (28 percent, $8), but he's a very good real-life quarterback and will be a solid low-double-digit guy every game from here on out. Clearly, Jon Kitna, Cowboys (16 percent, $6) is gonna have to throw and if his teammates could actually hold onto the ball, he could be a solid fantasy play. We'll see how many games he remains the starter, but it's worth noting Jason Campbell, Raiders (5 percent, $5) now has 37 points in his past two games and double digits in three of the past four. And he's on a bye this week, but I thought Troy Smith, 49ers (2 percent, $2) actually looked kind of good on Sunday.
Top running back free agents
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers (21 percent, $35): Like fists of fury (hard to believe I haven't used that one), Blount suckered his way into owners' hearts last weekend. The No. 1 pickup this week, as I've been writing about this guy for a while, you know I think it's legit. A solid No. 2 from here on out.
Mike Tolbert, RB, Chargers (60 percent, $15): Not dead yet; I find it surprising that he's still out there.
Danny Woodhead, RB/WR, Patriots (33 percent, $12): He qualifies at both positions in our game but I'm listing him here because he's more valuable as a running back. The Patriots keep finding ways to get him involved.
Darren Sproles, RB, Chargers (60 percent, $8): Until the Chargers get some guys back healthy in the receiving game, they will continue to have to check down to Sproles as part of their passing attack.
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions (31 percent, $5); Given that he got just as many carries as Jahvid Best last week and looked good running them, and Best is never the picture of good health, Smith needs to be owned.
Keiland Williams, RB, Redskins (1 percent, $3): On a bye this week and we'll see if Ryan Torain is ready go when they come back, but given Torain's most recent injury and his history, Williams is a good handcuff.
Others receiving votes: He had a rib injury, but if he's OK, it's worth noting that LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals was getting the rock before Tim Hightower when Beanie Wells got hurt. With Torain an injury risk and Keiland Williams unproven, it's worth noting that Washington signed James Davis off the practice squad. And I'm not sure who is healthy these days for the Colts, but the way things are going for them this year, don't be shocked if Javarris James, Colts, is your starting running back next week. Again, let's see it first, but a reminder that Lovie Smith claims he is going to use Chester Taylor, Bears as their goal-line back. ... And as long as we are stashing guys on bye weeks it's worth noting that Clinton Portis started running on Monday.
Top wide receiver free agents
Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars (78 percent, $20): Even though I hate his inconsistency, he needs to be owned in every league. I'm assuming he's owned in yours, but just in case, here's a reminder to grab him.
Steve Johnson, WR, Bills (51 percent, $17): With apologies to my ESPN colleague, all he does is catch touchdowns.
Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers (57 percent, $16): The Bucs are not the best team in the NFC. But they're not that far off, either. And this guy leads them in every major receiving category.
Patrick Crayton, WR, Chargers (9 percent, $12): Still the best option they've got.
Lance Moore, WR, Saints (69 percent, $8): With five scores in his past six games and second on the team in targets to Colston, I like him more than teammate Robert Meachem (61 percent, $5), who has at least seven points in three of his past four.
Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals (48 percent, $6): If he had anyone else throwing to him
Others receiving votes: If Britt is going to miss significant time (and it looks like he will), then Nate Washington, WR, Titans, is a nice addition to your team and your living room wall. Man makes a mean poster. If I am owning one of Sam Bradford's wideouts, it's Danny Amendola, WR, Rams. I know he did nothing last week, but I still like James Jones over Jordy Nelson as the Donald Driver fill-in on Green Bay. I need to see it again before I trust it, but you can't totally ignore what the Raiders and specifically, Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, did last week. We have to see how long Austin Collie is out, but clearly, Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts, will be on the field until he's back. Finally, again, on a bye this week and there are rumors the Redskins are in the hunt for Randy Moss, but I continue to be tantalized (I'm easy that way) by Anthony Armstrong, WR, Redskins.
Top tight end free agents
Jacob Tamme, TE, Colts (5 percent, $15): Sorry Sean, who wrote into our podcast, but I have to talk about a player who not only had six for 64 and a score on Monday night, but looked good, had Peyton looking for him often and will continue to be a big part of one of the best offenses in the NFL. I like him more than any of the other guys available and figure he's a low-end top-10 guy the rest of the season.
Visanthe Shiancoe, TE, Vikings (73 percent, $6): Gets the biggest boost with Randy out of town.
Todd Heap, TE, Ravens (33 percent, $5): As long as he stays healthy.
Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions (25 percent, $5): Even when he's not that involved, he's got a shot at scoring.
Tony Moeaki, TE, Chiefs (45 percent, $3): Wish he had done more against the Bills, but I still like him, as do the Chiefs.
Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You
As always, these are not guys I'm saying you should drop, and, as always, some of you will ignore that caveat. Like, this week Donovan McNabb is in there. Do I think McNabb won't be productive the rest of year? Not at all. Love McNabb. But considering they are on a bye this week, the whole Shanahan thing and Washington's upcoming schedule combined with the emergence of other viable fantasy quarterbacks, I'm fine with it if you need the space.
Every team's needs are different and these are good players who will have productive weeks but who I feel ultimately won't lead you to the promised land, based on schedules, this week's byes and who else is available in ESPN.com standard 10-team leagues.
Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Alex Smith, any Saints running back not named Pierre Thomas or Reggie Bush, C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, Jerome Harrison, Laurence Maroney, John Kuhn, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Steve Slaton, Jonathan Stewart, Kenny Britt (assuming the injury is bad), Devin Hester, Brandon Tate (last week was a fluke), Jerricho Cotchery, Nate Burleson, Louis Murphy, Jacoby Jones, Kevin Walter, Eddie Royal, Danario Alexander, Benjamin Watson, Jeremy Shockey, Greg Olsen, Brent Celek, Kevin Boss, John Carlson, Baltimore Ravens D/ST.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- doesn't want to waive you. You, he loves. He is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. He is a charter member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his cyberfriend
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