If you want to take chances on waiver wire, check out these guys

If your draft or auction is over and you did not fare well, don't sweat it. The waiver wire process gives you ample opportunity to improve your team over the course of the season. Even if you think your team is beyond help, go look at the stats that Earnest Graham and Ryan Grant posted last year. As the commercials say, all you need to do is find "this year's Earnest Graham."

That's where I come in. Each week, I will take a look at various players who might be available in fantasy leagues and are worth considering as waiver-wire additions. My emphasis won't be on one-week wonders (i.e., the fourth-string WR who happened to catch a long TD pass on a third-and-15 play), but on guys who might, if things fall right, be useful additions to your fantasy squad.

My recommendations might appear risky, but keep in mind that there isn't much to lose here -- if the risk does not pan out, you can simply cut the player and pick up someone else. So without further ado ...

Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals: Yes, I know that Kurt Warner was named the Week 1 starter (and if Warner is somehow available in your league, then by all means add him right away). But Warner is old, injury-prone, and has almost no chance of starting all 16 games. Leinart, the Cardinals' 2006 first-round pick, is still viewed as the Cardinals' QB of the future. For that reason, and because it was clearly a close race between Warner and Leinart to begin with, head coach Ken Whisenhunt won't hesitate to yank Warner if he struggles or gets hurt. If/when that happens, Leinart gets to throw to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, and his home games won't be impacted by weather. Of all the current backups at QB, Leinart may have the highest ceiling. At worst, he's a good handcuff for Warner owners.

J.T. O'Sullivan, QB, 49ers: From a fantasy perspective, the chances are good that O'Sullivan will be as productive as Kyle Orton. Unlike Orton, however, O'Sullivan has never before gotten a chance to start, so we don't know for sure that O'Sullivan will fail. He probably will, don't get me wrong, but if you are forced to look at quarterbacks in the 24-32 range, I'd take a chance on O'Sullivan before Orton, Chad Pennington, Brodie Croyle or Matt Ryan. Crazy things happen in the NFL; you just never know.

Chris Perry and Kenny Watson, RB, Bengals: The Bengals' unexpected decision to cut Rudi Johnson -- their starting running back since 2003 -- thrusts Chris Perry into the starting role. If he's somehow available in your league, Perry is an immediate, must-add. That said, Perry has never made it through a season without an injury, and Watson proved last year that he can produce if given the chance. Therefore I'd also add Watson and consider him one of the most likely backup running backs to be starter-worthy for your fantasy squad at some point this year.

Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints: Deuce McAllister is coming off of a torn ACL and Reggie Bush's inability to run between the tackles is increasingly apparent. Simply put, as of right now, Pierre Thomas is my choice to be "this season's Earnest Graham."

Ryan Torain, RB, Broncos: The Broncos' history of finding good running backs late in the draft is well documented. Early this preseason, Torain, the Broncos' rookie fifth-rounder, looked like he might follow in the footsteps of Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, et. al. Then he dislocated his elbow and his 2008 season looked lost. The timetable now indicates that Torain might be back by late October. I don't think Mike Shanahan loves Selvin Young or Andre Hall, so Torain is worth stashing away in deep leagues, especially if you can put him on DL. I wouldn't be surprised to see him produce starter-worthy stats in the second half of the NFL season.

Eddie Royal, WR, Broncos: Royal had a nice preseason and will be starting in Week 1. With Brandon Marshall suspended for the opener against Oakland, Royal might get more than his fair share of targets. Royal is definitely worth adding in all formats, perhaps even as a starter in Week 1.

Martin Gramatica, K, Saints: Continuing the theme of kickers on high-scoring offenses, Gramatica has won the job for the Saints. Will he resurrect his career there? Maybe, maybe not. But when taking a flier on a kicker, choose the guy on the team that you know will put up points. In this case, the Saints clearly fit the bill.

Indianapolis defense: There is no position in which I like playing the matchups more than fantasy defense. For Week 1, the Colts get the anemic Bears' offense at home. If the Colts are available in your league, and you don't have a top defense, go get 'em.

Cincinnati defense: No, the Bengals' defense is not good. But this is a weekly article, and the Bengals get the Ravens and rookie QB Joe Flacco, in Week 1. If you are hurting for a Week 1 defense, you could do worse.

Mark P. Stopa is a fantasy writer for Rotowire.com. For more information, please visit Rotowire.com

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