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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 9
10/31/16; Updated: 11/1/16 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

Dak Prescott is performing like a bordeline QB1 and will get the start Wk 9 according to Jerry Jones.


Dak Prescott, DAL – Prescott is available in about 15-40 percent of fantasy leagues – despite the much-deserved hype surrounding his impressive rookie campaign. He was off to his worst start of his young pro career until he turned it around in the fourth quarter and led a comeback OT victory – registering his best fantasy day thus far with 287-2-1 and adding 38 rushing yards and a TD on the ground. He and the Cowboys are facing the Browns in Week 9.

Marcus Mariota, TEN – The Titans passing game looks to be improving at a good time, as DeMarco Murray’s workload needs diminishing. Mariota (60 -90 percent owned) was sharp in Week 8 (81 percent completion rate, 270-2-0) and is a talented, mobile QB with plenty of upside. The Titans will look to push the ball downfield when they travel to San Diego in Week 9 and use Derrick Henry a bit more.

Sam Bradford, MIN – It’ll be interesting to see what Bradford (20-40 percent owned) can accomplish Monday night with Stefon Diggs back against the Bears. I’ll be updating with those developments, but he’s already an excellent candidate for a bye week plug-in for fantasy owners without the services of Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, Kirk Cousins and the glorious Tom Brady in Week 9. The Lions pass defense is among the worst in the league, surrendering (on average) 31 percent more fantasy points to opposing QBs.

UPDATE: Bradford had a weak Monday night game, missing some throws and eventually totaling 228-1-0 – numbers that made him look a lot better than he was. Diggs is awesome and the Vikings might open things up a bit against Detroit, but I’m much less enthusiastic about this recommendation after watching Minnesota offense struggle against Chicago’s mediocre defense.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ – Fitzpatrick was mediocre in good Week 8 matchup with the Browns, completing just 16-of-34 passes for 228-1-0, but he didn’t turn the ball over. He’s also the only viable QB they have at this point and he’ll have an interesting matchup in Week 9 facing a decimated Miami secondary. The Dolphins pass rush is the defense’s lone redeeming quality, so if Fitzpatrick gets okay protection, he could do well enough to serve as a desperation play.

Tyrod Taylor, BUF – Taylor finished with 183-0-0 in Week 8 (he doesn’t have any receivers!) and 26 yards and a TD on the ground – and a week without turnovers was basically his only laudable success against the Pats. He’s not a good start in Week 9 facing the Seahawks.

Brock Osweiler, HOU – Rumors of lost confidence could provide some insight into Osweiler’s struggles, which continued in his forgettable 186-1-1 performance in a win over the Lions. Osweiler may win some games, but he’s not getting the ball to DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller is dealing with a leg injury suffered in Week 8, and TE C.J. Fiedorowicz also left the game with a head injury. The Week 9 bye should serve this team well.

Running Backs

Darren Sproles, PHI – Sproles is owned in about 60-85 percent of fantasy leagues but might be available in yours – and he’s running well and looking much more lively than most veterans in their 12th season. He ran for 86 yards and 5-17-0 receiving in the loss to Dallas but looks like the Eagles’ top option at RB heading into Week 9 against the Giants.

UPDATE: The Eagles are still undecided as of Tuesday morning if Sproles has surpassed Ryan Mathews as the lead back, but regardless of what they say, he’s the top add if available.

Tim Hightower, NO – After Mark Ingram was benched for fumbling early in the game, Hightower (1-10 percent owned) took over and ran for 102 yards and a TD on 26 carries, helping the Saints secure a tough victory against the Seahawks. He’s on my radar heading into Week 9 facing the 49ers, even if Ingram regains the coaching staff’s confidence. So far, it looks like the Saints are committed to spreading the carries around and going with a hot-hand approach.

UPDATE: Hightower seems to have a few more touches coming his way and the 49ers are the worst in the league against opposing RBs.

Charcandrick West, KC – UPDATE: After Spencer Ware left with a concussion, West took over lead back duties and finished with 14 carries for 52 yards in Kansas City's Week 8 win over the Colts. He added 2-8-0 on three targets, but isn’t much of a pass-catching back as Ware or Jamaal Charles (knee), who didn’t play in Week 8 and isn’t looking too good for the tilt with Jacksonville. West (5-25 percent owned) could start if Ware doesn't get cleared in time for this week’s contest. He’ll be one of the top waiver selections despite it being short-term help since Ware is likely to return soon.

Rob Kelley, WAS – Kelley (20-60 percent owned) had a solid trip to London, finishing Week 8 with 87 rushing yards and a TD in the OT tie with the Bengals. He’s on a bye this week, but should be added in all formats despite a difficult Week 10 matchup with the Vikings – since Matt Jones has struggled with fumbling and injuries.

Antone Smith, TB – Smith worked as the backup to Jacquizz Rodgers (foot/ankle) on Sunday. With HC Dirk Koetter not sounding too optimistic about Rodgers playing this week, it looks like Smith will be a solid pickup. He’s got big-play potential and is a versatile back who’ll log a decent workload if Doug Martin (hamstring) can’t suit up.

Derrick Henry, TEN – Henry (40-75 percent owned) had a breakout performance on Thursday against the Jags, running for 60 yards and a TD on 16 carries and adding 4-37-0 on five targets. DeMarco Murray got an MRI on his toe and it came back negative, but the Titans will likely use Henry more (in the passing game, as well) moving forward.

UPDATE: Still no word if Murray will be limited this week, but there is no way I’m convinced that that toe injury won’t give Henry more looks going forward. He was electric coming out of the backfield last week, even if it was against the Jags.

C.J. Prosise, SEA – Prosise (5-15 percent owned) had 23 rushing yards on four carries but added 4-80-0 on four targets Sunday – a breakthrough performance for the rookie back. He’ll likely see his usage in the passing game increase going forward and could be worth a snag in deeper leagues or PPR formats.

Alfred Morris, DAL – This is your weekly reminder to roster Morris (15-50 percent owned) as a handcuff to Ezekiel Elliott, as well as a heads-up that he might get more work if the Cowboys get out to a decent lead against the Browns in Week 9.

Dion Lewis, NE – UPDATE: I’m actually dropping James White in one league because my roster is devastated by a combination of injuries and bye weeks, and Lewis (about 25-65 percent owned in redrafts) could be the main guy once the Pats return for action in Week 10. That’s not a sure thing, mind you – but White has probably already passed his peak fantasy value. This is obviously only an option in leagues with deeper benches and for sufficiently prepared owners who aren’t hobbled by the same problems as I am.


Jacquizz Rodgers, TB – It was fun while it lasted! Rodgers ran for 69 yards and a TD in Week 8 but could be looking at a multi-week injury.

UPDATE: He was wearing a walking boot Monday, so it’s safe to say he won’t play Thursday.

Chris Thompson, WAS – Thompson ran for just 14 yards on seven carries in London but added 5-27-0 receiving. He’s the PPR guy to own in the Washington backfield.

Devontae Booker, DEN – Booker’s 54 rushing yards and TD, as well as 5-30-0 receiving, were slightly overshadowed by a fumble on another sure TD run, a vulture score by Juwan Thompson, and a shoulder injury that briefly forced him out of the game in the first quarter. Hopefully he’s good to go for Week 9 at Oakland.

UPDATE: Booker looks good to go for Week 9, but is undergoing more tests. Kapri Bibbs, who was a longshot even to make the Broncos final roster, will assume lead RB duties if Booker can’t play.

Peyton Barber, TB – Barber didn’t do much in Week 8 but could have a much larger role going forward with Rodgers likely to miss some time. Stay tuned – it looks like Smith projects to lead the backfield in touches on Thursday night but I’ll provide more info tomorrow.

UPDATE: The Falcons are more vulnerable against the pass, which is where Smith will make his hay but Barber strikes me as the best shot for goal line carries and short yardage. Mike James could snag some carries as well, but my money is on Smith for the most short-term fantasy value.

Alfred Blue, HOU – Blue had 41 yards on nine carries and briefly left with a rib injury, but returned to action. He’s still a viable deep-league waiver add and is right behind Lamar Miller in Houston.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Mohamed Sanu, ATL – Sanu’s 9-84-1 led the Falcons in receiving on Sunday, and it was his best and most efficient (10 targets) performance of the season. Sanu is owned in about 50 percent of leagues and offers marginal upside but he could obviously see more looks if Julio Jones is forced to miss any snaps with his most recent, undisclosed injury.

Tyreek Hill, KC – The speedy rookie hauled in 5-98-1 on six targets and added a 7-yard rush on Sunday in the win over Indy, giving him three TDs in his last four games. He’ll be a popular pickup this week and faces the Jags in Week 9. His numbers won’t be consistent, but he has upside in favorable matchups.

Sammie Coates, PIT – UPDATE: If Ben Roethlisberger is healthy enough to play this week, Coates (who was nursing a finger injury before the bye) could be the sneakiest pickup of all the WRs out there in more than 50 percent of casual leagues (he’s more like 65-76 percent owned in more competitive leagues). Dropped by many to make room for higher-upside receivers in the wake of Big Ben’s latest ding, Coates is a boom-or-bust receiver but one with an almost unlimited ceiling in the Steelers’ offense.

Kendall Wright, TEN – Wright (10-25 percent owned) seems to do most of his damage in even-numbered weeks in 2016, while he did the opposite in 2014 and 2015 – seriously, check his game logs, it’s actually kind of hilarious. Wright is still rotating in and out of series but remains a solid home-run-hitting threat in an offense that features a bevy of grinders. The Chargers defensive backs could be faced with a tough task this week and its likely Wright can break through with a big play or two. He’s averaged six targets per game over his last three.

J.J. Nelson, ARI – Nelson saw 12 targets in Week 8 and caught 8-79-2. I removed him from two DFS entries right before lock because I was worried he wouldn’t see enough red zone snaps…and that backfired, didn’t it? Nelson is talented young player and while small, could be an excellent slot receiver seeing more looks when the Cards return from their Week 9 bye.

UPDATE: Nelson was named the new starter in three-WR sets alongside Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown, with talented-but-goofy Michael Floyd the odd man out. His value is skyrocketing.

Jamison Crowder, WAS – Crowder (45-85 percent owned) had a big day on Sunday, but Washington is on a Week 9 bye. He’s definitely worth an add if you can spare the bench space, which might be a tough proposition with so many teams off this week. Crowder has actually been one of the most consistent fantasy producers this season, with 40-498-4 in eight games.

TE Dennis Pitta, BAL – UPDATE: Just when I think it’s safe to drop Pitta (and I have), he emerges once again with a decent matchup. His upside is limited, but if you need an emergency fill-in to get you between 5-10 fantasy points, he’s your guy. He’s about 45-65 percent owned and his upside is definitely at its maximum facing the high-powered Steelers, who get in some shootouts from time to time.

TE Cameron Brate, TB – UPDATE: Brate (30-60 percent owned) may have more upside than Pitta, but he’s probably less of a sure thing than both the other TEs listed here. The Bucs don’t throw a lot to their TEs, and I wouldn’t either if I had Mike Evans.

TE Austin Hooper, ATL – UPDATE: I was waiting to see if Tamme would be ruled out for Thursday night, and he has been. So Hooper, a 6-3, 254-pound rookie out of Stanford, gets a chance to follow up his 5-41-0 performance against the Bucs. Hooper has caught everything thrown to him this season (11-195-1 on 11 targets), making him a reasonably safe fill-in option at TE especially in PPR formats.


Davante Adams, GB – Adams had 12 catches for 74 yards and no TDs against the Falcons on Sunday. He’s a target monster (30 in his last two games) and makes for a solid WR2 play next week facing the Colts.

Brandon LaFell, CIN – LaFell was targeted only twice by Dalton in London, and caught just one ball for six yards. He’s a boom-or-bust option most weeks and is on a Week 9 bye.

Quincy Enunwa, NYJ – I hope that Enunwa’s 4-93-1 on 11 targets from Fitzpatrick helped some folks out this week, as I was bold in my recommendation to add the playmaking WR.

Marqise Lee, JAC – Lee had an awful Week 8 (1-21-0, lost fumble) but still is worth adding in deeper leagues for his moderate 10-15 point upside in PPR formats.

Russell Shepard, TB – Shepard was targeted just three times by Jameis Winston, but caught 2-24-1, including an impressive and athletic 19-yard TD. He’s a TD-dependent WR5.

TE Gary Barnidge, CLE – His seven targets from Josh McCown were about par for the course, but he failed to make a big mark this week, catching just 3-42-0. He’s got a decent matchup Week 9 against the Cowboys, who let up a lot of short passes underneath to TEs. His ownership shot up significantly this week, to about 75-85 percent, after it was revealed that his buddy Josh McCown would be starting at QB.

UPDATE: I’m less psyched about him if Cody Kessler starts again at QB against Dallas, but he’s easily a Top 10 TE play and a solid second-tier option.