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. I’ll
also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous
Bridgewater, CAR – We’ve covered Teddy
ad nauseum here this season, but he’s still just 30-50 percent owned
in fantasy leagues and he’s coming off a monster game at KC. Adding
Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) back can only help his upside heading
into a matchup against the reeling Bucs defense.
Tagovailoa, MIA – Like Bridgewater,
he’s appeared here before, but is only 20-30 percent rostered.
With his speed, accuracy, smarts and poise, I’m excited about
the next few matchups (LAC, @DEN, @NYJ, CIN, KC). After watching
him complete 20 of 28 pass attempts for 248-2-0 and adding 35
yards on seven carries during Sunday’s big win over the Cardinals
– just his second start as a pro – I’m not sure there’s any limit
to his fantasy upside.
JAC – We listed Luton (2-5 percent owned) as someone
to consider last week, and he played well for an NFL debut, completing
26 of 38 pass attempts for 304-1-1, adding a 13-yard rushing TD
in Sunday’s 27-25 loss to the Texans. More than the raw numbers,
it’s interesting that the Jaguars offense opened up – with the
rookie averaging an impressive 8.0 yards per passing attempt.
Gardner Minshew still has prohibitive injuries to his thumb, so
Luton could be worth another start next Sunday against the Packers.
Gilbert, DAL – The Cowboys offense
looked completely different with Zack Martin healthy and Gilbert
at the helm. The 29-year-old journeyman appeared at ease in the
Cowboys offense on Sunday against a tough Pittsburgh pass rush
and defense – completing 21 of 38 passes for 243-1-1 and adding
28 rushing yards on three carries. Gilbert's future depends on
the status of Andy Dalton (concussion) moving forward and what
the coaching staff decides – since he’s obviously got the weapons
to succeed and be a decent QB2.
NE –UPDATE: Cam missed
a few open throws and stumbled a bit here and there but finished
with an acceptable fantasy performance (274-0-0, 16 rushing yards
– including two rushing touchdowns) in Monday night's 30-27
win over the Jets. Unfortunately he’s dealing with a sore
neck after the MNF game and is a risky play next week against
DEN – Lock threw for 313-2-1 on 25-for-48 passing, adding
seven rushes for 47 yards and an additional score during the loss
to the Falcons, but those numbers were fueled in part by a terrible
second-half Falcons defensive effort. Still, he’s been a better
QB in his past two outings after coming back from injury and faces
a weak Raiders defense in Week 10.
HOU – With David Johnson (concussion) out, Duke Johnson
(15-20 percent owned) rushed 16 times for 41 yards and a TD. He
added 4-32-0 and could be the man again next week if David Johnson
can’t get through the protocol in time for the Week 10 matchup against
McKissic, WAS – McKissic is clearly
a huge part of the Washington offensive game plan each week; he
caught another nine of a team-high 14 targets for 65 receiving
yards, adding three rushes for 17 yards on Sunday. Game script
be damned, McKissic faces a Lions defense next week that ranks
poorly against opposing RBs.
Ballage, LAC – Justin Jackson sustained
a knee injury early in Week 9 and Ballage (universally available)
ended up with the most carries (15), rushing for 69 yards and
a TD (and adding 2-15-0 receiving) in the 31-26 loss to the Raiders.
Ballage had only been elevated from the practice squad on Saturday
and led the backfield after injuries to Troymaine Pope (concussion,
inactive) and Jackson. Joshua Kelley retains a limited role but
the Ballage/Pope/ Jackson situation requires more updates. Ballage’s
long-term value is further complicated by the ultimate return
of Austin Ekeler (hamstring) from IR, but he could worth a look
if nobody else is available outside Kelley.
Ahmed, MIA – The Dolphins running
game should be a complete mess, with Miles Gaskin (MCL) now on
IR for a minimum of three games and Jordan Howard running like
he’s wearing cement cleats, but Tua and Ahmed (seven carries for
38 yards versus the Cardinals) carried them to victory. Howard
may have chipped in a TD, but Ahmed needed three less carries
than Howard to effectively double the veteran back’s yardage total.
Ahmed is definitely worth considering in deep formats if Matt
Breida (hamstring) misses another week of action.
Jackson, LAC – Reports had Jackson
returning after the first quarter injury, he didn’t get any touches
so we’ll have to stay tuned.
BUF – Moss had 18 rushing yards and a TD with 2-30-0
receiving on Sunday, leading the team with a modest nine carries
as Devin Singletary received just two totes. The rookie is poised
for a much larger role in the offense moving forward.
Dobbins, BAL – Dobbins has 12 carries
for 30 yards and caught both his targets for five yards on Sunday.
The rookie’s workload could be reduced again when Mark Ingram
(ankle) returns from injury.
Harris, NE –UPDATE:
Harris rushed 14 times for 71 yards before leaving with a chest
injury during the fourth quarter of MNF. He’s not part of
the passing game but has played well lately and should be monitored
(along with the progress of Sony Michel) ahead of his Week 10
Brown, LAR – On a bye in Week 9,
his usefulness depends on the status of Darrell Henderson in Week
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
CIN – If he’s somehow still available because the Bengals
were on a bye, you have to add him. I say this as someone who is
looking at him (and CeeDee Lamb) on the waiver wire in a 10-team
non-PPR league with a bunch of dummies. I know he and Lamb are owned
in about 75-80 percent of leagues, but I have to mention them. Tee
is a complete beast and CeeDee (who seemed like a legitimate drop
last week in redrafts) seems to now have a QB. Okay, on to the less
BUF – The offense looks sharp again with “Smoke” healthy,
and he’s a solid risk-reward WR3/flex in 12-team leagues moving
forward. Brown is owned in about 50-60 percent of leagues and
should be owned in most formats.
Aiyuk, SF – Don’t get it confused
– his 60 percent ownership in ESPN leagues is a reflection of
the COVID diagnosis that kept him out of Thursday’s game, not
his ability. This future NFL superstar should be owned in all
formats moving forward regardless of opponent and who’s the QB
for the 49ers.
Meyers, NE –UPDATE:
Meyers (10-20 percent owned) went for 12-169-0 and was targeted
14 times in the MNF win over the Jets – a whopping 40 percent
of Newton's 35 attempts. The Ravens are a different team than
the Jets, and there are injuries for the Pats that need to be
monitored, but Meyers is clearly the WR1 on this offense (22-287-0
on 30 targets over his last three games) and should be added in
Perriman, NYJ –UPDATE:
Perriman (10-15 percent owned) hauled in 5-101-2 on seven targets
in the loss to the Patriots but was clearly a top target for Joe
Flacco – his former teammate in Baltimore – on this
winless Jets team. He could be a big factor down the fantasy stretch
run if the Jets continue to fall behind and he stays healthy –
and this performance bodes well considering Jamison Crowder and
Braxton Berrios were also healthy. The problem for prospective
owners is that the Jets are on a bye, but they return to face
the Chargers in Week 11. It’s a risk-reward situation for
Gallup, DAL – Like with CeeDee,
a lot of folks were throwing in the towel, but the addition of
Gilbert at QB could change things. I’ve always liked Gallup’s
ability and upside, so stay tuned – or add him before the Week
10 bye before somebody else takes the risk. And it is a risk adding
him – unless you have lots of roster space.
James, SF – Don’t get too excited
about his 9-184-1, because a bunch of 49ers WRs are on the way
back, but James (universally available) could be a big part of
the offense if they use him like they did on Thursday night.
Davis, BUF – I’ve been a fan for
a while now based on his athleticism and ability to go get tough
balls in traffic, but we could see a lot more of him moving forward
as defenses focus on stopping Stefon Diggs and John Brown. In
this case, it’s addition by addition (of both other WRs and more
red zone chances), not subtraction, for the capable rookie.
Jones, Jr, DET – He had 3-43-1 but
lost Matthew Stafford to a concussion during the game and wasn’t
as involved with Chase Daniel at the helm, so stay tuned.
Williams, LAC – Williams finished
with 5-81-0 on seven targets on Sunday. He should see another
favorable matchup next at Miami.
Samuel, CAR – Samuel saw nine targets
and caught them all for 9-105-1, adding three rushes for 13 yards
in the loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. Even with the return of CMC,
he continued to have a minor role in the ground game, helping
him retain solid flex play status against the Bucs in Week 10.
Shenault, JAC – Shenault suffered
a hamstring injury during the first quarter. Boo!
UPDATE: Shenault reportedly has
a chance to play Week 10 against the Packers, so stay tuned.
Reagor, PHI – On a bye week 9, Reagor
is a solid add this week.
UPDATE: Reagor will help with returning
punts moving forward, which only adds to his involvement and could
mean more looks in the offense.
Bourne, SF – The 49ers activated
Bourne from the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday after missing Thursday’s
game, and I still like him. Deebo Samuel’s hamstring issue may
not be gone just yet, so Bourne could be a factor this week at
UPDATE: Bourne is back on the
COVID list, so he’s safe to drop for now.
Schultz, DAL – Schultz had 4-48-0 on seven targets
and the arrow could be pointing up with Gilbert at QB.