Bidding for difference makers

102008 Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers
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Draft Day is a curious beast. What looks so good when you're caught up in the euphoria of the draft can turn ugly quickly, leaving nothing but frustration and the kind of angst that made Sonny Crockett famous.

Things can turn in a blink. The NFL does crazy things during a season and what appeared to be a waltz to a league title can often go astray in a moment's notice.

Imagine you left your draft with the following nucleus this year:

Ben Roethlisberger
Joseph Addai
Chris Johnson
Fred Taylor
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Torry Holt
Jerricho Cotchery
Joey Galloway

Not too shabby, huh? I know I'd be happy with that core group. I know I'd be happy because I was happy. That was my core group in my main league this year. I loved the combination of proven talent, veteran dependebility, high-level production and significant upside.

Seven weeks into the season I'm struggling to remember why I liked that group so much.

Due to injuries (Addai and Galloway) and underachieving production (Roethlisberger, Addai, Taylor and Holt), that core group hasn't looked so stout. Fortunately, I've worked the Waiver Wire hard in that league and I'm giving myself a fighting chance. I haven't sat back and hoped struggling players would solve their problems. I've been working hard to solve the issues myself.

The participants in our two National Fantasy Football Championship events are no different. As we approach the midway point of the season, the expectations you had for players on Draft Day have been replaced by the realities that some players simply aren't going to deliver the way you believed they would. That's why working the Waiver Wire aggressively is the best way to salvage a season that hasn't gone the way you anticipated.

If you're looking to make some moves this week, here's a look at some of the top players acquired in our 14-team NFFC Classic event this week and the 12-team NFFC Primetime event. Each owner begins the year with $1,000 in free-agent money and these results are based on blind bids run every week. This list will give you some insight into what some of the top fantasy players in the country are doing this week to bolster their rosters.

NFFC CLASSIC
Shaun Alexander $506
Brad Johnson $388
Jamaal Charles $330
Jeff Garcia $326
Steve Smith $260
Mike Furrey $216
Vernon Davis $200
John Carlson $178
Kolby Smith $177
Shaun McDonald $173

NFFC PRIMETIME
Shaun McDonald $455
Kolby Smith $351
Mike Furrey $344
Jamaal Charles $287
Brad Johnson $259
Ray Rice $225
Steve Smith $181
Jeff Garcia $179
Shaun Alexander $151
Tashard Choice $130

You can see owners in both of our events were shopping for immediate help at critical positions this week as well as prospecting for future fantasy gold. Larry Johnson's suspension for this week's game against the Titans made Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles hot targets in our free-agent bidding. Tony Romo possibly missing Sunday's prime matchup against the hapless Rams made Brad Johnson a hot commodity. And in Detroit, the departure of Roy Williams has opened the door for either Shaun McDonald or Mike Furrey to step in as the No. 2 WR opposite Calvin Johnson. So both of those players were heavily targeted as well.

As far as future prospecting, the return of Shaun Alexander to the NFL made him a target and he went for $506 in our Classic event as he could secure a role in time as a valuable backup behind Clinton Portis in Washington. Tashard Choice will handle the No. 2 RB duties in Dallas with Felix Jones out, giving him value and Steve Smith's huge Monday Night performance in Week 6 has made him a target as well.

If you're in dire straits this week because of byes, injuries, poor performances or all of the above perhaps this list of players will be a guide to help you manage your team this weekend and beyond. These are the players the best fantasy players in the world believe can help their team this week and for the remainder of the season.

Can they help yours as well?

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