10 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Targets Heading Into Week 9
Somehow, we're over halfway through the fantasy football regular season. If your team is staring at 4-4 or worse, then this is a crucial waiver run that can potentially propel your team back into the playoff hunt. Conversely, if your team is doing well, stockpiling talent can improve your lineup or enable trades to make you a true contender.
Week 8 was #bad. I hated it and so did you. But on we march into Week 9, with clear minds and brave hearts.
With some injuries in Week 8 and the Cleveland Browns (thank goodness), Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, and Los Angeles Rams on bye, we're missing some key fantasy contributors as well. Let's dive in.
I'll stick to players rostered on 60% or fewer of Yahoo teams and also list some other viable pickups who may be available in shallower leagues or relevant in only deeper leagues.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Roster Percentage: 26%
It's slim pickins' on the waiver wire at quarterback, folks. So please bear with me.
Daniel Jones isn't anybody's idea of a fun start, but here's your reminder that he scored 30+ fantasy points on four different occasions as a rookie. He's trending up, too. Monday Night's likely bad performance against the vicious Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense aside, Jones has 15 and 22 fantasy points in his last two games. If Jones doesn't fall for no reason, he would've had a top-8 QB performance against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Washington Football Team is an average fantasy matchup on paper, but that's despite facing a pretty easy schedule of QBs which includes Baker Mayfield, early-season Carson Wentz, Andy Dalton/Ben DiNucci, Jared Goff, and Jones himself.
Jones also now has trusted weapon Sterling Shepard back, who immediately stepped in and produced in his first game back. Trending upward with improving weapons and a solid matchup, Jones is a usable streamer this week.
Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills
Roster Percentage: 54%
I GET IT. Zack Moss might not be available in your league. It's gonna be okay.
Just following the numbers, Moss is available in almost HALF of Yahoo! leagues. It's likely he was dropped in plenty of leagues due to his injury earlier in the season, as well as his bye week, and other injury crunches within fantasy lineups.
After scoring two touchdowns on Sunday, Moss needs to be at the top of your waiver list. He has a clear red zone role on a good team, and that's enough to make him a priority on waivers if he's there.
Damien Harris, New England Patriots
Roster Percentage: 46%
There is a cruel irony in having to write up this column. I touted Zack Moss and Damien Harris all offseason. Then this week they both finally went off, for my opponent, and basically outscored my team starting Kareem Hunt, Adam Thielen, Allen Robinson, Mike Davis, Mark Andrews, and A.J. Brown.
But you don't care about my fantasy team. You care about waiver pickups. Harris is a good one, not just because he had 16 carries on Sunday at the Buffalo Bills, but because he faces the New York Jets this week. He's definitely on the RB2 radar given the teams we have on bye.
Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
Roster Percentage: 31%
Cue the Michael Scott "Oh My God It's Happening" gif. Darrell Henderson left Sunday's game with a thigh injury, and rookie Cam Akers stepped in and absorbed 10 touches in the second half versus the Miami Dolphins.
Importantly, Malcolm Brown had nearly as many full-game touches (12) as Akers had in the second half. Given Akers' recent lack of usage, it appears Sean McVay views Akers as the direct backup to Henderson.
Akers is a must-add regardless of the Rams' impending bye. We saw a similar situation with Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram's pre-bye injury, and Edwards finished with 87 yards and a touchdown on Sunday versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jordan Wilkins, Indianapolis Colts
Roster Percentage: 1%
Look, I don't get it either. But we're not here to fall victim to the assumption of rational coaching, we're here to follow the usage breadcrumbs. Jordan Wilkins had 21 touches on Sunday in a massive road rout against the Detroit Lions.
Honestly, can we blame the Colts coaching staff? Jonathan Taylor is fifth-worst among qualified runners in Football Outsiders' rushing Success Rate, and that was before he racked up 22 yards on 11 carries on Sunday. Wilkins, meanwhile, rumbled his way to 89 yards on a team-high 20 carries.
This has the makings of a nightmare three-person backfield and we certainly don't know if Wilkins' role is here to stay.
But, we do know this team wants to run the ball, and it features its running backs heavily in the passing game. We also know Wilkins now has 20+ touches in his range of outcomes. Those data points alone make him a worthy waiver claim, with the hope that his 1A backfield role lands him as an RB2 for the future.
Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
Roster Percentage: 49%
This is much less about chasing Marvin Jones two touchdowns (although they don't hurt), and more about his uptick in usage combined with Kenny Golladay's injury. Golladay left early with a hip injury and didn't return, which is obviously a big story to monitor.
That immediately thrusts Marvin Jones back near the top of the target pecking order in Detroit. Notably, since Detroit's bye Jones' targets have trended five>six>seven, which is a vast improvement from his pre-bye usage.
With the Minnesota Vikings' sieve-like secondary on tap, Jones is immediately a WR3, with WR2 upside, if Golladay misses any time.
Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers
Roster Percentage: 34%
Coming off a big division loss and clearly bereft of playmakers not named Davante Adams, Lazard should seamlessly step back into his role as the second receiver on Green Bay. Here's your reminder that Lazard was the WR13 in Week 1 and the WR5 in Week 3. Lazard is playable right away and needs to be picked up in the event he is taken off Injured Reserve as soon as this week.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
Roster Percentage: 42%
Still, are we sure we need any? Shepard returned in Week 7 and immediately put up 6 catches, 59 yards, and a touchdown on 8 targets, good for a very comfortable 26.7% target share. There's no reason anyone with a 25%+ target share should be on your waiver wire.
Jordan Reed and Ross Dwelley, San Francisco 49ers
Roster Percentage: 2% and 0%, respectively
Admittedly, we're hedging a bit here as we deal with a murky injury situation for the San Francisco 49ers' tight ends. We know George Kittle left the game and didn't return. Initial X-rays came back negative, but since the Niners take on the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night, it's unlikely Kittle will be out there.
Normally, Ross Dwelley would step in as the clear next in line. He even caught a touchdown after Kittle left the game.
But, we can't forget Jordan Reed, who would likely dominate tight end pass down snaps if healthy. We haven't heard much about Reed's injury situation. It sounds like Reed was on the practice field this week, but wasn't really close to being ready for the game. Given it's a short week, Dwelley is likely the man for those in desperation mode.
It's still worth pointing out that if Kittle's injury is serious, Reed is the preferred long-term pickup, with a higher athletic ceiling and likely bigger role in the offense when healthy.
(Update: Kittle is out eight weeks with a broken bone in his foot, according to Adam Schefter.)
Washington Football Team
Roster Percentage: 12%
This one is pretty straightforward. Here are the weekly finishes for the defenses that have played against the New York Giants this season, starting with Week 1: D/ST7, D/ST5, D/ST6, D/ST3, D/ST7, D/ST16, & D/ST7. And realistically, the Tampa Bay D/ST is not going to end that streak tonight.
The matchup matters far more than the talent, although the Washington D/ST actually ranks second in Adjusted Sack Rate, per Football Outsiders. This is a high-floor, high-ceiling spot for the Washington Football Team.