Finding a great waiver pickup

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's amazing how quickly an entire summer's worth of research can go down the drain with the twisting of a knee, the dreaded high-ankle sprain or a broken collarbone. So here we are just over halfway through the 2010 fantasy football season and your dream of a championship could depend on a free agent pickup.

It's not an easy assignment.

In the days after Tony Romo went down with his injury, Jon Kitna was all the rage with owners everywhere who placed claims assuming he could produce like the 2002 TSN Walter Payton Award winner.

Unfortunately, for all those new Kitna owners and owners of Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, he has not come through for them. In his two starts against Jacksonville and Green Bay, Kitna has thrown just two touchdown passes against six interceptions.

It's become painfully clear that Kitna is not the answer.

In another example, look at all the hype for Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount preceding Week 9. In the last preseason RapidDraft ADP rankings, Blount, then a running back with the Tennessee Titans, was listed at No.474. Since a 12-team, 20-round draft only uses 240 players, you can see he wasn't even a consideration back on September 1st.

However, following a 120-yard, two-touchdown performance for his new team, Blount was THE waiver pickup last week. Everyone put in a claim and he's now owned in about 70% of all leagues.

And of course in his first start for most fantasy owners he disappointed them, throwing up a 13-carry, 46-yard, four-point effort.

This week, the clamor could be for San Diego wideout Seyi Ajirotutu. He has come on in the wake of the Chargers massive injuries at the wide receiver position and on Sunday posted a 111-yard, two-touchdown game worth 31 fantasy points. The demand might only be tempered by the fact that San Diego is off this week and Vincent Jackson is due back shortly thereafter.

The list of broken dreams which couldn't be saved by a waiver pickup is long. At one point all these players were hot commodities on the waiver wire: Brandon Jackson, Mark Clayton, Mike Tolbert, Chris Ivory, Marshawn Lynch, Max Hall, Brandon Tate, Kenny Britt, Deion Branch and Anthony Gonzalez. Some have played well in spots, but for the most part, they have disappointed fantasy owners.

On the other hand, sometimes, a waiver claim can really give your team a lift.

Buffalo receiver Steven Johnson has been a solid performer. He's averaged 17 points-per-week over the past six contests. Others who have played well include; Michael Vick, Brandon Lloyd, Peyton Hillis and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And clearly those who picked up Indianapolis tight end Jacob Tamme haven't regretted it one bit. His first start yielded six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown and this Sunday against Philadelphia he was targeted a team-high 17 times and came through with an 11-catch, 108-yard, one touchdown game worth 25 fantasy points.

Which is why fantasy owners, good ones anyway, continue to make pickups and don't quit on their dream when their team hits a rough patch. Miracles can happen and a player can give you an "All-Pro like" performance in the right situation.

As the late Jimmy Valvano said, "Don't give up, don't ever give up!"

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at