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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.
Brissett, IND – In what has been a difficult season
for the Colts, Brissett has just five passing TDs. But he’s shown
himself to be a capable backup whose raw ability gives him some
upside in favorable spots, and this week he might be worth starting
in 12-team formats (and as a value play in DFS) heading into a
matchup Houston. I expect these AFC South teams to rack up the
points and maybe even flip the scoreboard – and Brissett’s owners
could be a huge beneficiary.
Hundley, GB – A full week of preparation didn’t do
much to help Hundley before a Week 7 loss to New Orleans, but
two full weeks and a bit more freedom within the Packers offense
could mean better fantasy numbers in Week 9 against the Lions.
It’s going to be a difficult week to find a viable QB option to
replace the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Philip
Rivers (the three QBs on bye), but Hundley and a couple others
could end up surprising their critics with decent games.
Stanton, ARI – Matchups notwithstanding, Stanton is
just about the last QB I’d recommend in a must-win fantasy matchup.
He’s thrown for 300 yards just once in his career (as a rookie
in 2014), and the Cardinals are likely to rely mostly on their
ground game in Week 9. But this matchup is against the 49ers,
so anything is possible. With Carson Palmer out for an extended
period of time, the Arizona coaches are planning on going with
Stanton over Blaine Gabbert – who would actually be a more interesting
narrative play given his history in San Fran.
Keenum, MIN – While there were two QB performances
that really stood out on Sunday (Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson
in a shootout for the ages) Keenum had one of the better outings
of Week 8 with 288-2-1. He’s on a Week 9 bye.
Taylor, BUF – Taylor helped his cause by not turning
the ball over and rushing for a 1-yard score in a dominant win
over the Raiders, but only managed 165-1-0 passing. The Bills
just don’t have the receiving weapons to vault his upside into
QB1 territory. In spite of that, Tyrod makes for an adequate bye-week
fill-in against the Jets in Week 9.
Goff, LAR – The Rams were on a Week 8 bye, and Goff
returns to face @NYG, HOU, @MIN, NO in his next four games – great
matchups for the emerging QB. In the FFToday.com staff league
(where I lost Aaron Rodgers as my QB1), I’ll be rolling with Goff
and Andy Dalton the rest of the season.
Early-down pounder: Alex Collins had his
first career 100-yard game last Thursday against Miami.
Collins, BAL – Collins did lots of damage on Thursday
night against the Dolphins, rushing for 113 yards on 18 carries
and adding 2-30-0. He’s now about even with Javorius Allen in
fantasy value and should be owned in all formats.
Breida, SF – Breida has just five carries for 17 rushing
yards but added 4-39-1 and his role in the passing game seems
to be expanding as the season wears on and the 49ers look more
desperate for a win. He’s more than just a handcuff but has severely
limited upside at the moment.
Burkhead, NE – The veteran back played a season-high
26 offensive snaps, had caught all seven of his targets for 68
yards and added 15 rushing yards on four carries in Sunday’s Week
8 win over the Chargers. He’s still probably the B player to the
Pats 1A, 1B and 1C in James White, Dion Lewis and Mike Gillislee,
who all have higher red zone usage and therefore more upside.
Still, an injury could shake this backfield up and give way to
the emergence of a couple valuable RBs.
Drake and Damien
Williams, MIA –UPDATE:
With Jay Ajayi traded to Philadelphia early Tuesday morning, the
RB duties in Miami will fall to a timeshare between Drake and
Williams. Earlier this month Dolphins HC Adam Gase called Drake
the No. 2 back, so it’s assumed he’ll be the first
option for a lead role and early-down carries. But Williams has
played more snaps this season as the change-of-pace to Ajayi and
should continue to handle most of the work on passing downs. Drake
may be the better fantasy bet in theory, but neither is an exciting
addition given Miami and Ajayi’s struggles thus far.
Murray, MIN – Murray rushed 19 times for 39 yards and
caught his only target for 1-8-0 in the Vikings' Week 8 win over
the Browns in London. He’s worth owning in all formats but is
largely TD-dependent based on Jerick McKinnon’s larger offensive
Booker, DEN –UPDATE: Booker rushed six times for 40
yards and a TD, adding 3-14-0 receiving. It feels good to have
recommended the only decent fantasy performance in this offense,
and it was good to see Booker show some burst. He should be getting
more touches moving forward and could be supplanting Jamaal Charles
as the better backup to C.J. Anderson since the former Chief lost
a fumble in the 29-19 loss.
Washington, OAK – In the absence of Marshawn Lynch,
Washington (40-45 percent owned) took the lead role and finished
with six carries for 26 yards, but added 8-62-1 on 10 targets
from Derek Carr. I expect Washington to remain heavily involved
down the stretch and warrant RB3/flex consideration from week-to-week.
Smallwood, PHI – Smallwood didn’t factor much in the
win over the 49ers, as LeGarrette Blount received the majority
of carries and there wasn’t much need to check down to Smallwood
on passing downs as Wentz had his way with the secondary. In tougher
matchups, we’ll end up seeing more of Smallwood and less of Blount
and Corey Clement.
UPDATE: It’s hard to say what, if any role Smallwood will
have now that Jay Ajayi is in Philly, though it’s possible
he stays involved on passing downs, with Blount shifting to exclusively
goal line work and short yardage. Smallwood is certainly safer
to drop in 10-team and other shallow leagues.
Riddick, DET – Riddick rushed just four times for 21
yards and caught two passes for 24 yards in Week 8 against the
Steelers – another lackluster performance that puts him on the
possible drop list heading into Week 9. I think he’s still worth
holding onto, since any kind of injury to Ameer Abdullah will
force Riddick into more significant game situations.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Richardson & Tyler
Lockett, SEA – I included Richardson (40-45 percent
owned) in my WRs to consider for Week 8, so hopefully a few of
you took advantage of his breakout game and the 6-105-2 receiving
line that made him a Top 5 fantasy WR for Week 8. A matchup with
Washington portends more good things for him and the rest of the
Seahawks offense, and that includes Tyler Lockett, who went off
for 6-121-0 on eight targets in Week 8 and is owned in just 30-35
percent of fantasy leagues.
Davis, TEN –UPDATE:
Davis is still dealing with a hamstring injury but could be ready
to play this weekend – a big deal considering he caught
6-69-0 on 10 targets in Week 1 (and played 42-of-64 snaps) before
reinjuring his hammy in Week 2 against the Jaguars and missing
the next five games. Davis is a next-level talent and could be
a huge fantasy factor down the stretch.
Doyle, IND – Doyle is still available in about a third
of fantasy leagues, and I picked him up in one 10-team league
where I needed a fill-in for Delanie Walker. Strangely enough,
I think I may have found a better starter than Walker, as Doyle
erupted for 12-121-1 on 14 targets from Brissett in Week 8. That
makes 25-215-2 on 32 targets over his last three games. That’s
good enough for TE1 status and the middle of the second tier after
Gronk, Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce.
Anderson, NYJ – Anderson had looked like a bit of a
malcontent in a couple of previous games, throwing his helmet
in disgust or frustration near the end of a Week 7 loss and earning
a costly penalty. But the squeaky wheel got the grease in Week
8 as Josh McCown targeted the second-year WR six times, with Anderson
hauling in all of them for a 6-105-1 line in the loss to Atlanta.
He’s in the flex conversation for Week 9 against the Bills.
Crowder, WAS – Heading into training camp in 2017,
Crowder was a value darling of many early mock drafts and was
going as early as rounds 6 and 7 in 12-team leagues. Soon, however,
the hype around Terrelle Pryor starting seeing him dip, and through
six games this season had contributed a paltry 19-149-0 – barely
enough for the bench spot radar. Consequently, he was owned in
about 50-60 percent of leagues heading into Week 8, when he exploded
for 9-123-0 on 13 targets from Kirk Cousins. And seeing what happened
last week in Seattle, the Week 9 matchup with the Seahawks means
he should be once again added in all formats and deployed as a
WR3. What a trip.
Howard, TB – The Bucs offense looked dreadful in Week
8 and Howard caught both his targets for 16 yards. Jameis Winston
just doesn’t look 100 percent yet, but maybe he’ll fare better
against the Saints in Week 9.
Sanu, ATL – Sanu had a solid 6-74-1 on even targets
and seems poised for more consistent production now that he’s
healthy. He should be owned in all formats.
Goodwin, SF – Goodwin was questionable heading into
Week 8 with ankle and back injuries but was active. Unfortunately,
he didn’t catch a pass on three targets and remains a risky play
Stills, MIA – Stills hauled in 5-65-0 on 10 targets
Thursday night and should hold value as a moderate upside WR3/flex
heading into Week 9 at home against Oakland.
UPDATE: The Dolphins may not be done making moves after the Ajayi
trade, and reports of them shopping Jarvis Landry means that Stills
and Leonte Carroo (mentioned above in the WRs “to consider”)
could see increased value. Stills is worth owning in all 12-team
leagues and Carroo is on the radar in deeper formats.
Woods, LAR – The Rams were on a bye but Week 9’s matchup
with the Giants is a good one for a steady receiver like Woods,
as well as rookie Cooper Kupp and the ground game of Todd Gurley.
Thompson, BUF – Thompson had just one catch for 4 yards
on his lone target in Week 8 as the game quickly turned into the
LeSean McCoy show.
Smith-Schuster, PIT – After reports of a possible concussion
threw some cold water on Smith-Schuster’s prospects for
Week 8, he was cleared to return to action and Martavis Bryant
was relegated to inactive status. The rookie took full advantage,
hauling in 7-193-1 on 10 targets, including a 97-yard TD reception
that won the game for the Steelers. With opposing defenses tasked
with defending Antonio Brown and focusing so much energy on stopping
Le'Veon Bell, JSS could be in for some more big games after the
Week 9 bye.