Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Gardner Minshew, JAC – We’ve talked about him before
and he’s still available in over 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
The matchup next week is a decent one, as the Texans usually yield
some decent numbers to opposing QBs and are now missing J.J. Watt,
who’s gone for the remainder of the season with a torn pec.
Sam Darnold, NYJ – I know, I know. But this is Miami we’re
talking about, and there are no ghosts there. He’s 15-20
percent owned in fantasy and should be a fine streaming play at
QB this week.
SF – Just 33 percent owned in ESPN leagues, the 49ers don’t ask
much of their QB with their awesome running game and solid defense.
But everybody seems to play well versus the Cards. Garoppolo threw
for 175-2-1 in Sunday’s win and he should improve on those numbers
in Week 9.
DEN – UPDATE: I was really looking
forward to seeing Joe Flacco (out 5-6 weeks with a neck injury)
play in Week 9 against the Browns after he destroyed the coaching
staff in his post-game comments. The truth is that this Broncos
team does have some weapons, although they are all relative greenhorns
and lack the consistency of seasoned NFL veterans. Allen will
start for Denver against the Browns, and the 2016 sixth-round
pick (by the Jacksonville Jaguars) has never played a regular-season
snap. It’ll be a baptism by fire against Cleveland and their capable
pass rush, but you never know who you have until you give them
a shot. He’s only a deep league desperation addition in two-QB
leagues and a minimum-salary DFS dart throw, but at least he’s
not flaccid Flacco.
Matt Moore, KC – Moore completed 24-of-36 passes for 257-2-0
in Week 8 against the Packers. The Mahomes-less Chiefs were a
bit overmatched and couldn’t keep up with “the Aarons”
but should get their star QB back by Week 10 at the latest. Mahomes
is pushing to return next week, so stay tuned to the injury report.
Moore won’t be much of a fantasy option facing the Vikings.
Jacoby Brissett, IND – Brissett completed 15-of-25 passes
for 202 yards in the Colts Week 8 win over the Broncos, adding
34 rushing yards and a lost fumble on six carries. He did lead
the Colts a late drive that set up the game-winning field goal,
breaking a tackle to avoid a safety and tossing a sharp 35-yard
strike to a toe-tapping T.Y. Hilton on the final series. Brissett
makes for a much better play in Wek 9 against the Steelers.
Derek Carr, OAK – Oakland came away with another loss but
Carr completed 18-of-30 passes for 285-3-0 in Week 8. He faces
the Lions in Week 9 in what may end up bring a shootout.
NO – Drew Brees returned for the Saints and threw for 373-3-1,
relegating Bridgewater to fantasy irrelevance barring another
injury to the HOF QB.
WAS - UPDATE: Guice (29.2 percent
owned in ESPN leagues) practiced with the Redskins on Monday,
putting him on track to play in Week 11 when he is eligible to
return off IR. Washington's 2018 second-round pick has battled
knee injuries since coming to the NFL, but should be healthy enough
to return for the stretch run - albeit on a very bad team. He
underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in mid-September and
will likely still be facing a committee situation with Adrian
Peterson and Chris Thompson (toe). Guice has some long-term upside
and makes for a possible playoff push add - just don't expect
balloons to come falling out of the sky when you take him.
SF – Believe it or not, Coleman sat the bench for most fantasy
owners in Week 8 as he rushed for 105 yards and 3 TDs (adding
2-13-1 receiving) and scored about 40 fantasy points. And he’s
still only 65.3 percent owned in ESPN leagues, meaning he could
be available in yours. He’s the clear lead back on the SF RB committee
and has a few good matchups on the docket.
PIT – UPDATE: A shoulder injury
to James Conner puts Samules (who missed Week 8 with a knee injury
but is close to a return) squarely on the waiver wire radar for
Week 9. The Steelers may choose to pick up another RB with Benny
Snell also injured, but we’ll know more of the severity of all
these ailments later in the week. Stay tuned.
Jamaal Williams, GB – Arron Jones stole the show on Sunday
night with 220 total yards and a couple scores, but Williams (55-65
percent owned) is still contributing in the Packers offense and
had a fine game on Sunday. He ran the ball seven times for 22
yards and a TD and added 3-14-1 in the win over Kansas City.
ARI – The Cardinals acquired Drake from the Dolphins on Monday
morning for a conditional 2020 sixth-round pick. Both Chase Edmonds
and David Johnson are expected to miss the TNF game, so the Cardinals
were in the market for a running back and Drake (70-75 percent
owned) could provide some short-term value in their absence. He’s
just not going to do much once the main guys get back.
Henderson, LAR – Henderson is just 20-25 percent owned and
is getting regular work in the Rams’ offense with Malcolm Brown
injured. He handled 11 carries and rushed for 49 yards (2-20-0
on three targets) in Sunday’s 24-17 win over the Bengals in London.
ARI – Edmonds was held in check by the Saints defense before departing
in the third quarter with a hamstring injury, rushing for 8 yards
on seven carries and adding 2-5-0 receiving. Kliff Kingsbury said
Monday that Edmonds might not play Thursday night against the
49ers. With David Johnson (ankle) also sidelined, the Cardinals
will roll with a committee of the newly acquired Kenyan Drake,
Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner – with Drake being the most exciting
of these dart throw plays in fantasy.
Murray, NO – Murray rushed 21 times for 102 yards and a touchdown
in the Sunday’s win over the Cardinals, adding 9-55-1 receiving.
It was a huge performance from a player who we liked heading into
Week 8. The Saints are on a bye this week and Alvin Kamara should
return in Week 10 – but Murray should be rostered in 12-team leagues
for his standalone value and handcuff upside in this offense.
DET – With as well as Matthew Stafford has been throwing the pigskin,
the Lions didn’t need Johnson on Sunday, but the RB was a disaster
in fantasy with just seven carries for 25 yards and a 13-yard
reception. I had way too many shares in DFS and played him over
Damien Williams (TD for the Chiefs) and Devin Singletary (solid
game for Buffalo) because of the matchup and the word that he’d
be getting a large workload. It's possible the Lions make a trade
to add a running back before Tuesday's deadline, but if they don’t
Johnson will be a low-floor FLEX for Week 9 in Oakland. Sorry,
SEA – Owned in fewer than 65 percent of ESPN leagues, Metcalf
has had some solid games this season but if coming off his best
from a scoring standpoint. He caught two TD passes from Russell
Wilson and is a bona fide red zone beast this season with 4 TDs
through eight weeks. He’s a risky start in PPR leagues but should
be owned in all formats based on his TD upside.
DET – We profiled him earlier in the season and he busted for
a couple of weeks – and now he’s got two straight games with eight
catches and a mess of yards (8-105-0 in Week 7, 8-95-0 in Week
8). Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones may be hauling in the TDs,
but Amendola (8.9 percent owned in ESPN leagues) is a PPR maven
who’s through his bye and has a favorable Week 9 matchup.
DAL – UPDATE: Don’t forget about
this guy! Gallup (still available in over 20 percent of ESPN leagues)
was on a Week 8 bye with the rest of the team and had a couple
quiet games following his monster Week 5 against Green Bay (7-113-1),
so some owners may have dropped him heading into the bye. He did
catch three of four targets for 34 yards in the Week 7 win over
the Eagles, and this week gets to face the Giants – a team he
ripped apart for 7-158-0 in Week 1. He’s a risk-reward play of
the highest order and makes sense for deeper leagues and DFS.
Darius Slayton, NYG – From my Week 7 article: “Another
Giants WR I’m keeping an eye on is Slayton, who has seen
at least five targets in three of the first four games he's suited
up for. The Round 5 draft pick has above-average speed, decent
hands and plenty of upside as a downfield threat – which
could be exploited more once Saquon Barkley is healthy.”
So that happened, and then Slayton (10-15 percent owned) hauled
in 2-50-2 on Sunday, one of eight NFL players to have two TD catches
in Week 8. Add him if you like TDs.
OAK – Tyrell Williams and TE Darren Waller are the top targets
in this Oakland passing game, but Renfrow (2-5 percent owned)
is coming on strong and posted 4-88-1 on four targets Sunday.
He’s an explosive player after the catch and worth a look in deeper
TE Ryan Griffin, NYJ – Wow! Griffin was spectacular in
defeat on Sunday, picking up a pair of scores in his 4-66-2 line.
He gets a cake matchup at Miami in Week 9 and is universally available
TEN – Davis caught 2-of-6 targets for 9 yards in Tennessee's Week
8 win over the Bucs, while A.J. Brown, Tajae Sharpe and TE Jonnu
Smith (filling in for an injured Delanie Walker) all caught TD
passes from Ryan Tannehill.
Mohamed Sanu, NE – Sanu played a little more than half
of the Patriots offensive snaps (37 of 69) and had two catches
for 23 yards on five targets Sunday in the decisive victory over
the Browns. He should be mixed in more frequently in upcoming
games, including against the Ravens in Week 9.
Cole Beasley, BUF – “The Beas” hauled in 3-of-7
targets for 41 yards and a TD in the Bills’ Week 8 loss
to the Eagles – a game that featured high winds and poor
defense from the Bills. Beasley had not scored in his first five
games with the team, Beasley but now has TDs in back-to-back games.
Kenny Stills, HOU – Stills had an excellent matchup coming
in but caught just 3-of-5 targets for 22 yards in Houston’s
Week 8 win over the Raiders. He’s a boom-or-bust WR3/4 moving
Alex Erickson, CIN – More of the same for Erickson, who
caught 5-of-6 targets for 92 yards in the negative game script
for the Bengals in their Week 8 loss to the Rams. He’s worth
owning in 12-team leagues and all sizes of PPR league.
Zach Pascal, IND – One catch for 6 yards on two targets
for Pascal in Week 8. The roller coaster continues.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN – He had some nice games heading into
Week 8 but caught just 3-of-3 targets for 17 yards in the Vikings’
Week 8 win over the Redskins.