As this is the first of our Waiver Wire posts for the 2009 Fantasy Football season, we’ll begin with a quick overview. Each week we’ll be posting a list of the best players still available in a majority of fantasy leagues.

Depending on the depth and format of your league some of these players may offer more value than others, so to help clarify, we have classified them into three different categories. The first is “Must add in all formats,” which means exactly that. These players should be owned in all league formats. The next category is “Must add in deeper leagues.” We classify a deep league if you have 12 or more teams, or an abundance of roster spots. The final category is the “Watch List.” Keep an eye on these players as they could emerge to have some fantasy value in the near future.


Must Add in all Formats:

Cedric Benson Bengals | RB

Owned in about 80% of leagues right now, Benson is getting no respect. We are not saying he is a great RB, we are just saying that he is in a great situation and he could get 20 carries a game. Look for Benson to have a solid week 1 against Denver’s weak run defense.

Julius Jones Seahawks | RB

Owned in only about 65% of leagues, Jones is in the same boat as Benson. He isn’t that great of a running back but he is in a great situation. Two things determine a great fantasy player: how good of player he is, and how many touches he gets. Look for Jones to get a majority of the carries in Seattle even with Edge out there.

Leon Washington Jets | RB

Washington is one of the most exciting players in the NFL and he is only owned in about 60% of leagues. He is going to catch a lot of passes and he will get more carries than he did last year. Washington has value even with a healthy Thomas Jones, but if Jones goes down look for Washington to have a huge fantasy impact.

Must Add in Deeper Leagues:

Correll Buckhalter Broncos | RB

Moreno is not 100% and we think Buckhalter could take advantage of this. It wouldn’t surprise us if he maintains the #1 RB position even when Moreno is completely healthy. Buckhalter is only owned in about 20% of leagues and he is a great gamble at this point. He should have a solid game against the Bengals in week 1.

Earl Bennett Bears | WR

Bennett is the #1 receiving option in Chicago and we like his chances for putting up big numbers this year. Cutler and Bennett were teammates in college and it would not surprise us at all if Bennett is a great fantasy WR. He is only owned in about 30% of leagues so if you are looking for WR depth look no further.

Jamal Lewis Browns | RB

We know he is old and there were reports that he almost got cut, but he has rushed for over 1,000 yards for each of the last 3 years. James Davis is going to challenge Lewis for some carries but look for Lewis to continue to be the featured back. He is only owned in about 85% of leagues right now.

Trent Edwards Bills | QB

We were surprised to see that Trent Edwards is only owned in about 50% of leagues. With T.O. and Lee Evans as his receivers, Edwards has a great chance for a break out year. You should consider giving Edwards a shot as your backup QB.

Watch List:

James Davis Browns | RB

Lewis is the featured back but look for Davis to get into the mix early in the season. There is a chance that Davis could take over even if Lewis is healthy. However, it will probably take a Lewis injury for Davis to have a lot of value. Davis is only owned in about 40% of leagues.

Darrius Heyward-Bey Raiders | WR

Heyward-Bey is only owned in about 25% of leagues, which is way less than the unsigned Michael Crabtree. Don’t forget Heyward-Bey was taken in front of Crabtree in the NFL draft. Heyward-Bey is the #1 WR in Oakland and could be a big part of that offense. Keep an eye on him on Sunday.

Chris Henry Bengals | WR

Henry is an interesting fantasy player this year. He has a healthy Carson Palmer throwing him the ball and he could be in line for a break out year. Henry is owned in about 40% of leagues, so add him to your watch list.

Ricky Williams Dolphins | RB

A lot of people don’t realize that Williams had almost 900 total yards and 5 TD’s last year. He is going to get a decent amount of touches this year. Look for Ricky to take a lot of carries away from Ronnie Brown. As of now Williams is owned in about 35% of leagues.

Derek Anderson Browns | QB

If Anderson is named the Browns starting QB he could be a nice backup for your fantasy team. He had an awful ’08 season but don’t forget about his break out year in ’07. We will know a little before game time on Sunday who the starter is and we think Anderson is worth a look if he wins the job. He is owned in less than 10% of leagues right now.

Jermichael Finley Packers | TE

As of now Finley is behind Donald Lee in the depth charts, but that could change very soon. Finley impressed a lot of people this preseason and he proved to be effective in the red zone. We doubt Finley will be even close to a top-5 TE but we wouldn’t be surprised if he is putting up top-10 TE numbers by the end of the season. He is currently owned in less than 10% of leagues.