All season, we've had two strategies for making waiver claims: (1) getting guys with upside who might pan out later in the year; and (2) claiming mediocre players who have a good matchup that week.
This week, you can throw the first strategy out the window.
We're in Week 16, and since most leagues end this week, stashing a guy on your bench serves no purpose. As for this week's matchups, I'm a bit disappointed there, too. I guess that's what happens when the crummy teams are playing each other (Browns vs. Bengals; 49ers vs. Rams) and the league heavyweights are going head to head, too (Giants vs. Panthers; Cowboys vs. Ravens; Steelers vs. Titans; Falcons vs. Vikings). There are some waiver claims I like, but for the most part, if you're playing for your league's title, play the guys who got you there.
Dan Orlovsky, QB, Lions: The Lions have an excellent chance at beating the Saints this week, and Orlovsky is the biggest reason why. (Well, Calvin Johnson would have a lot to do with a Lions win, too.) Check out Orlovsky's stats the past four games in which he has started -- at least 220 passing yards and one touchdown in every game, with only two interceptions total. The Saints are bad against the pass (20 touchdowns allowed), and Orlovsky will have to throw a lot for the Lions to stay close. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest to see Orlovsky go 25-of-35 passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns this week. It would take guts of steel to use Orlovsky in your championship game, but not as much as you think. Consider it this way -- he's a better option than the following quarterbacks: David Garrard, Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ken Dorsey, Shaun Hill, Marc Bulger, Kerry Collins, Ben Roethlisberger (at Titans), Chad Pennington, Jeff Garcia/Brian Griese, JaMarcus Russell, J.P. Losman/Trent Edwards, Seneca Wallace, Tarvaris Jackson and Jason Campbell. That's half of the starting quarterbacks in the league, and if weather is bad in other games Sunday morning, I might add others to the list.
Shaun Hill, QB, 49ers: Hill has played fairly well, and he gets the Rams this week in a dome, where weather won't be a factor. If you don't think that matters, the Rams have given up an eye-opening 8.5 yards per pass this season; no other team except the Lions is over 7.7. At this stage of the season, to be giving up almost 1 yard more per pass than every other team is bad.
Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Vikings: Wow, where did last week's performance come from? Jackson looked good, but he's still a bottom-tier option for this week.
Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan, RB, Patriots: The Patriots will not get to play the Raiders every week, but Morris and Jordan (in that order) have another appealing matcup this week against the Cardinals, who haven't beaten a good team since Week 6. The Cardinals have been terrible when they travel to the East Coast (Jets, Eagles), so it wouldn't be surprising to see Morris and Jordan have a good game if the Patriots play with a lead.
Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns: Edwards killed a lot of fantasy teams this season, and I know Ken Dorsey is the one throwing to him. But the Browns play the Bengals this week in Cleveland. When two scrub teams play at this stage of the season, anything can happen. A 6-3 final wouldn't be shocking (especially if the weather is bad). But with these teams, a 31-30 final is possible, too. Edwards is the best athlete on either offense and put up 102 receiving yards Monday night. In a game like this, you never know.
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Devery Henderson, WR, Saints: With Marques Colston and Lance Moore both healthy, Henderson typically wouldn't be a guy to consider. But the Saints play Detroit this week in a dome, and the Lions give up 8.7 yards per pass. Henderson is the quintessential deep threat -- a "hit or miss" option -- and he has a decent chance for a "hit" in this matchup.
Matt Prater, K, Broncos: The Broncos will score more than their share of points this week against the Bills. Mike Shanahan likely will keep the pedal to the floor all game to ensure that the Broncos' Week 17 matchup with the Chargers is meaningless.
Garrett Hartley, K, Saints: There will be plenty of field goals and extra points for Hartley indoors against the Lions.