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Working the Wire: Week 9

By Josh Tinelli | 10/30/23 |

Each week I’ll provide you with a rundown by position of key waiver wire adds. We’ll evaluate not just breakouts based on past performance, but also who could deliver this week based on a soft matchup. Stats will be provided based on a 12-team PPR league, with players less than 75% (preferably less than 50%) ownership being considered.

Note: This column will be updated tomorrow at the conclusion of Week 8.

Week 9 Byes: Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, San Francisco


Will Levis

Will Levis, TEN @ PIT

Levis started for an injured Ryan Tannehill, and looked the part of an NFL quarterback as the rookie threw for 238-4-0, while also rushing 7 times for 11 yards. With the Titans playing on a short week, Levis is expected to get the nod again as Tannehill works his way back from an ankle injury. The Steelers are a middle-of-the-pack defense against QBs, but so were his Week 8 opponent, Atlanta.

Derek Carr, NO vs CHI

Carr had a nice stat line in a shootout against the Colts, throwing for 310-2-0. Up next, he faces the Bears, who have allowed the 4th-most yards and 2nd-most passing TDs.

Mac Jones, NE vs WAS

Jones has shaken off his rough Week 4-6 performances and has back-to-back games with 2 TD passes. Up next is the forgiving Commanders pass defense, that has allowed the most passing TDs and 3rd-most passing yards to opposing QBs.

Other QBs to consider: Gardner Minshew IND (@ CAR), Taylor Heinicke or Desmond Ridder ATL (vs MIN)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Sam Howell, WAS vs PHI: Howell had his best game of the season, throwing for 397-4-1 and rushing for 3-11 against the porous Philadelphia secondary. Howell has shown he can produce against weaker defenses, but Week 9 against the Patriots is not one of those cases.

Kyler Murray, ARI vs BAL: Kyler did not play (as expected), and it looks like he won’t play in Week 9 either. However, he is still eligible for an add if your league has IR slots.

Running Backs

Emari Demercado, ARI @ CLE

Demercado again was the lead back against the Ravens, going 20-78-0 on the ground combined with 1-1-1-0 receiving. He gets a tough matchup against the Browns in Week 9, but the Cardinals have shown a willingness to ride their lead runner. With a combined 38 touches over the last two weeks, Demercado would make a fine fill-in for teams with RBs on a bye.

Darrell Henderson, LAR @ DAL

Henderson was on this list last week, but since he was relegated to the practice squad and only added back to the active roster on Saturday, he is still available in over half of Yahoo leagues. He ended up producing 12-31-0 on the ground and 3-3-54-0 through the air against a tough Cowboys defense. Up next, he gets a favorable game against the Packers (allowing the 7th-most points to RBs) before a Week 10 bye. Kyren Williams is not slated to return until at least Week 12 from IR.

Other RBs to consider: Justice Hill BAL (vs SEA), Jamaal Williams NO (vs CHI)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Chuba Hubbard, CAR vs HOU: Hubbard was the clear lead back even though Miles Sanders returned from injury, out-touching Sanders 17-2. Hubbard produced 15-28-0 rushing and chipped in 2-2-26-0 receiving; poor efficiency, to be sure, but it looks as though he has taken control of this backfield and that should translate to low end RB3 numbers for the foreseeable future.

D’Onta Foreman, CHI @ LAC: Foreman led the Bears backfield in rushes for Week 9, but with Roschon Johnson returning from a multi-week concussion absence, it was largely a RBBC as Johnson saw 9 touches and even Darrynton Evans got 7 (turning one into a TD). With the Bears playing catch-up, Foreman’s 9-34-0 rushing line and only 1 reception for 2 yards is going to be typical for as long as Justin Fields is out.

Pierre Strong Jr. CLE @ SEA: While Jerome Ford was doubtful early in the week, he ended up playing and getting 9 carries. Strong delivered 10-41-0 rushing and had a nice catch and run for 41 yards, but with Kareem Hunt also getting 14 carries this was another full-blown RBBC that ended up eroding value for everyone. If Ford is ready to roll for Week 9, Strong can be dropped.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Brandin Cooks, DAL @ PHI

Cooks grabbed a touchdown to go 4-3-49-1 receiving against a stingy Rams secondary. Up next, he gets the Eagles, who have allowed the most fantasy points to WRs in the league. CeeDee Lamb will obviously have a big game, but the Eagles have shown the WR2 can have a nice day against them too.

Demario Douglas, NE vs WAS

Douglas led New England WRs in snaps and targets in Week 8 en route to a 7-5-25-0 line against the Dolphins. With Kendrick Bourne out with a torn ACL, Douglas could be the WR1 for NE going forward. This couldn’t happen at a better time, as Week 9 he faces the Commanders, who have been torched by WRs for the most yards and TDs in the NFL.

TE Cade Otton, TB @ HOU

Otton had a solid day (for a TE), going 6-4-27-0 against the top-10 Bills defense in Week 8. In Week 9, he gets a much more favorable draw against the Texans, who have allowed the 2nd-most receptions and 6th-most yards to the position. With a tough bye week for tight ends (Kittle, LaPorta, Engram), Otton could be worth streaming.

Gerald Everett, LAC @ NYJ

Everett was ruled out against the Bears in Week 8, but he practiced in full on Friday so he should be good to go on MNF. The Jets have allowed the most TDs to the position, and Everett has scored in his last two games. Look for him to find paydirt again in Week 9 as Justin Herbert has thrown 6 of 13 TDs to the position.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Allen Lazard NYJ (vs LAC), Treylon Burks TEN (@ PIT), Dalton Kincaid BUF (@ CIN), Tyler Conklin NYJ (vs LAC)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Josh Palmer, LAC vs CHI: Palmer was bothered by a knee injury all week, and appeared to have the same knee looked at during the game. He ended up with a 4-3-24-0 receiving line as rookie Quentin Johnston saw his best game of the season. It will be interesting to see how Palmer practices this week, but a tough matchup against the Jets is not a great Week 9 matchup.

Josh Downs, IND vs NO: Downs delivered again against the Saints, going 9-7-72-0 as the clear No.2 option behind Michael Pittman Jr. Up next is a stingy Panthers defense coming off their first win of the season.

Kendrick Bourne, NE @ MIA: Bourne spiked a TD to save his fantasy owners’ day after catching only 3 passes for 36 yards. Unfortunately, Bourne looks to be done for the year with a torn ACL.

Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson, WAS vs PHI: As expected, the Eagles were going to be very forgiving through the air, as Sam Howell had his best day of the year, throwing for 4 TDs and nearly 400 yards. Dotson was the biggest beneficiary, as his 10-8-108-1 line topped the Commanders in yards and receptions. Samuel had a relatively quiet 4-4-22-0 as Jamison Crowder had a nice day as the #3 WR.

Jake Ferguson, DAL vs LAR: Ferguson ended up having a nice day against the Rams, going 4-4-47-1 in Week 8. Targets were tough to come by as Dak spread the ball around to nine different receivers.

Taysom Hill, NO @ IND: Hill wasn’t very productive catching the ball against the Colts, but fantasy managers won’t complain after he went 9-63-2 rushing and even threw a 44-yard pass. In the barren TE wasteland, even though New Orleans doesn’t throw to TEs much, Hill’s activity in the red zone makes him a good option for managers that don’t have a top 5 option at the position.

Trey McBride, ARI @ BAL: McBride’s snaps had started to grow over the last few weeks, and with Zach Ertz headed to IR, McBride was expected to see even more looks. However, no one could have expected him to go nuclear against a brutal Ravens defense, as he blew up for 14-10-95-1, leading the team in targets, receptions, and yards. While this can’t be expected every week, Ertz’s target totals indicate that if McBride can continue to get looks, he could be a solid fantasy asset down the stretch.

Defense/ Special Teams

Patriots vs WAS

The Patriots have created 2 turnovers each of the last two games against dangerous offenses (Bills, Dolphins). In Week 9 they get a much easier task against a Sam Howell-led Commanders offense that has allowed the most sacks and 5th-most INTs to opposing defenses.

Raiders vs NYG

The Raiders have yet to play on MNF against the Lions in Week 8, but next week they’ll face the hapless Giants that have tied the Commanders for most sacks allowed and have scored the fewest points so far this season (11.9 points per game, next-worst is the Raiders at 16.0). With Tyrod Taylor spending Sunday night in the hospital, the Giants may be forced to start undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito, who took over for Taylor against the Jets or Daniel Jones (neck).

Giants vs Raiders

The Giants have strung together three solid defensive games out of their last four. They forced 4 sacks and 2 turnovers while holding the Jets to 13 points. In Week 9 they face a Las Vegas team that has scored the 2nd-fewest points and has given up the most INTs.

Last week’s waiver adds:

Dolphins vs NE: New England did a nice job overall of limiting mistakes, only allowing 3 sacks and 1 INT against the Dolphins. Miami allowed only 17 points to the Patriots for the 2nd time this season.

Jets @ NYG: The Jets allowed only 10 points and generated 4 sacks against backup QB Tyrod Taylor as they took the Giants to the wire to eke out a win.

Chargers vs CHI: Los Angeles produced 2 INTs and allowed only 13 points against the Tyson Bagent-led Bears at home, a solid outing overall.