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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.
Guess who's back? Ryan Fitzpatrick has
been named the Bucs starting quarterback for Week 9.
Fitzpatrick, TB – It’s magic, you know? Fitzpatrick
completed 11 of 15 attempts for 194-2-0 in the Bucs’ 37-34 loss
to the Bengals on Sunday. He also rushed once for 18 yards. I
was skeptical of Winston’s nearly immediate resumption of starting
duties when he completed his suspension, and the Bucs are likely
faced to deal with a QB controversy in the coming days and weeks.
It’s safe to say that Fitzmagic isn’t the long-term answer for
any team’s signal calling, but his style of play seems to fit
in with this offense, its many moving parts and lack of a sustainable
running game. He’s worth adding in two-QB formats and could once
again be starting when the Bucs travel to Carolina to take on
the Panthers in Week 9.
UPDATE: Since Fitzmagic has eclipsed
400 yards in each of the three full games he’s played this
season, he’s definitely in the QB1 conversation for his
matchup against the Panthers. Editor's Note: Fitzmagic has been named the
starter for Week 9.
Prescott, DAL –UPDATE: I know adding Dak in here
will be the kiss of death to his fantasy prospects since I am
a Cowboys fan and usually they do EXACTLY the opposite of what
I expect them to do, but he needs mentioning given the team’s
upcoming matchups and the addition of Amari Cooper to his passing
arsenal. Dak has 456-3-0 passing and 115 rushing yards and two
TDs on 17 carries over his last two games – numbers that
signify a change in offensive output to go along with the coaching
changes they’ve made in the past week. Prescott is a top-end
QB2 this week and could flirt with QB1 value.
Smith, WAS – He doesn’t have a ton of flashy receiving
options, but Smith’s matchup in Week 9 facing the Falcons is about
as good as it gets. Sure, they might do most of their damage on
the ground, but the return of Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson’s
first receiving TD since 2013 (just five career) bode well for
the passing game and Smith’s prospects of posting season-high
fantasy numbers. Smith is owned in about 45-75 percent of fantasy
leagues and may be a decent bye-week fill-in this week.
Rosen, ARI – He’ll be difficult to trust as a fantasy
QB, but with Byron Leftwich taking over as interim OC, Rosen and
the Cards looked sharp in closing out a win versus the 49ers.
The offense lacked production during the first half but Rosen
had his best fantasy numbers of the season and led Arizona on
a 73-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Christian
Kirk with 34 seconds left – giving the embattled group an 18-15
win as they head into their bye week. Keep Rosen (252-2-1, 2XP
on Sunday) in your back pocket as a possible QB2 if guys like
Joe Flacco (more below on him) and Eli
Manning are mussing up your matchups.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco busted with 192-1-2 and really
can’t be trusted in fantasy moving forward. He’s safe to drop
in all single-QB formats heading into Weeks 9-11 (PIT, BYE, CIN),
and there’s a shot we could get more Lamar Jackson in the coming
Keenum, DEN – Keenum’s 262-2-1 and lost fumble was
somewhat of a disappointment considering the possibility of a
shootout with the Chiefs – but at least he wasn’t as bad as Flacco.
He’ll look to rebound against the Texans in Week 9 before the
Broncos get a bye.
Mayfield, CLE – Another humdrum performance from Mayfield
(180-2-1) shows he’s not the immediate answer in fantasy, but
next week could be more of a shootout with the offensive-minded
Barber, TB – After four weeks of duds to start the
season, Barber (50-65 percent owned) is relevant once again as
he’s rushed for 197 yards in his last three games and scored a
rushing TD this week. He’s not a huge part of the passing game
but the Bucs may try to grind out a win in Carolina and he’s safe
bet for 10-15 carries. This isn’t an enthusiastic nod of support,
but there’s not much left on the wire and no major RB injuries
affecting the landscape this week.
Smallwood, PHI – The Eagles are still without a lead
back and Smallwood (35-65 percent owned) finished Sunday in London
with eight carries for 24 rushing yards and 2-42-1. He and Corey
Clement are just about equal as flex options. He might avoid being
a popular add because the Eagles are on a bye this week, returning
in Week 10 to face the Cowboys.
UPDATE: I’ve added Josh Adams to the RBs to consider since
he had nine carries for 61 yards in the London game as well.
Jones, GB – Jones finally broke out for 86 rushing
yards and a TD in Sunday’s loss to the Rams and should see plenty
of carries against the Patriots in Week 9. He’s about 50-85 percent
owned but his recent struggles could mean he’s available in plenty
of leagues. Play him confidently as a RB3/flex in the coming weeks.
Chubb, CLE – Chubb totaled 65 rushing yards on 18 caries
and added 2-10-0 on three targets. He’s solidifying his RB3/flex
status and remains a decent option with moderate upside.
Mostert & Alfred
Morris, SF – Matt Breida was active and rushed for
42 yards on 16 carries while Morris tallied 28 yards on six rushes.
Mostert had two carries for 18 yards. This is a full-fledged committee
with a banged-up lead back.
Martin & Jalen
Richard, OAK – As expected, Martin got the bulk of
touches with 13 carries for 72 yards and a fumble, adding 2-17-0
on two targets, while Richard contributed 8-50-0 receiving and
14 rushing yards on two carries. It’s hard to see Martin or Richard
users excited moving forward, but the next three matchups could
yield more scoring chances.
Jones, TB – The rookie suffered a hamstring injury
during the Week 8 game and tallied -3 rushing yards on two carries
and 1-4-0 receiving, and Peyton Barber looked healthy and productive
with 85 rushing yards and a TD on 19 carries.
UPDATE: Jones is expected to miss "a few weeks" with
the injury and gives a boost to Jacquizz Rodgers, who has been
working as the Bucs’ primary passing-down back this season.
Ivory, BUF – LeSean McCoy is expected to play Monday
night and Ivory is currently probable with a hamstring injury
that saw him limited earlier in the week but allowed him to play
a full practice Saturday. He’ll likely play through it and get
the bulk of carries if McCoy sits. We’ll update tomorrow.
UPDATE: There’s been talk of a trade looming for McCoy,
who had a solid passing game numbers on Monday night but rushed
for only 13 yards on 12 carries. Ivory could be thrust into a
lead back role soon.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Jones, Jr., DET – He’s about 85 percent owned so he
and Watkins would be the top adds if they are available in your
league. So far, Jones has been mostly TD-dependent, but the 7-117-2
performance in Week 8 against the Seahawks makes him a hot commodity
heading into a matchup with the Vikings in Week 9.
Watkins, KC – Watkins hauled in 8-107-2 and was the
top fantasy WR this week along with Jones and Tyler Boyd (who’s
gone off most waiver wires at this point but is still just 90
percent owned in ESPN leagues). Watkins is owned in about 85 percent
of leagues as well but is a must-add given the usage in Week 8
and the knowledge that both Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense
is essentially matchup-proof.
Parker, MIA –UPDATE: Last Thursday night’s
game where Parker went off for 6-134-0 may seem like ages ago,
but this week could be your first opportunity to add the talented
WR off the wire. He seems like he’s on the same page as
the front office and coaching staff now, so give him a look!
Bourne, SF – Bourne has had a few decent games this
season and hauled in 7-71-0 on Sunday. He’s universally available
and could see an uptick in usage moving forward after being targeted
10 times against the Cards in Week 8. The Raiders await in what
portends to be a favorable Week 9 matchup.
Doyle, IND – Doyle clearly was dealing with a more
serious injury than we all knew in the first few weeks of the
season, because he went for 6-70-1 in his return game and could
be shouldering an even load with Eric Ebron as the Colts head
into their Week 9 bye. Stay tuned and only grab him if you have
the room and are willing to take a risk.
Dickson, SEA –UPDATE: Dickson made an immediate
impact with 2-54-1 in the win over Detroit, and fellow Seattle
TE Nick Varnett isn’t really a pass catcher. He’s
a solid TE2 facing the Chargers this week and could get a handful
of targets and some red zone looks.
Brown, BAL – Brown had just 3-28-0 on seven targets.
He’s a solid WR who can have big days, but this offense is killing
Smith, NO – Smith finished with 3-18-0 on 4 targets
on Sunday night. He’s got 13 targets over his last three games
and remains a boom-or-bust flex in deeper formats.
Allison, GB – After averaging over 70 yards receiving
per game before his injury, Allison was targeted just once in
his return to the field, going for 14 yards. It’s possible his
hamstring was bothering him, but this could signify a move toward
more targets for rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous
St. Brown moving forward. Stay tuned.
Nelson, OAK – Targeted four times, Nelson finished
with one catch for 14 yards. I had one DFS lineup with both he
and Allison going and monster totals from just about everyone
in it, and it likely cost me a big payoff. The Raiders just don’t
seem all that committed to him as a reliable receiving target.
McDonald, PIT – McDonald’s 3-47-0 was something, but
it’s hard to trust either of the Steelers’ TEs heading into a
tough stretch over the next few games. Perhaps they’ll be forced
to throw more to them if their blistering running game stalls
out a bit.
Uzomah, CIN – Uzomah has been usable as a streaming
tight end of late, but he hurt his shoulder in the first quarter
on Sunday and finished without a catch. Another DFS darling burns
his owners in a favorable spot.
Sutton, DEN – Sutton’s 3-78-0 fit right in with his
standard performance this season, as he’s yet to get past three
receptions, but the 78 yards was a season high.
UPDATE: With DeMaryius Thomas traded to the Texans, Sutton’s
value takes a huge jump. He should get 3-5 more targets per game
if the Broncos are smart.
Sharpe, TEN – The Titans were on a Week 8 bye and Sharpe
will be tough to trust – but he’s exactly the type of receiver
that flusters the their Week 9 opponent, Dallas.
Gallup & Allen
Hurns, DAL – Speaking of the bye-week Cowboys, I’m
still bullish on Gallup even with the addition of Amari Cooper,
and Hurns is probably a boom-or bust option in deeper leagues