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Fantasy Football: Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 9


Week 8 will end Monday night, but at this point most fantasy football owners know what their result will be this week and where that leaves them in their league standings through eight weeks for better or worse. Any shortcomings people have on their roster are also becoming clear, if they hadn't been clear already.

Four more teams have a bye in Week 9, as the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets and St. Louis Rams all being idle. But the overall impact for fantasy owners may be minimal, with the Patriots the only team off this week with clear-cut top tier fantasy options on their roster (Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker) and others that are worth starting consideration most of the time. That said, the running back depth for some fantasy owners may be particularly depleted with Frank Gore, Stevan Ridley, Shonn Greene and Steven Jackson idle.

As I have tried to do each week to this point, with rare exceptions, the players on this list are those I feel can have the best long-term impact for fantasy owners. Of course those that are widely available also take precedent, as I avoid players who are owned in more than half of Yahoo! leagues entering the week.

Week 9 can be considered the start of the stretch run in a lot of fantasy leagues, with only three more weeks of byes left on the NFL schedule, so making good roster additions and getting rid of the “dead weight” on your fantasy roster can have an increasing impact from this point on. With that in mind, here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” for Week 9.

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Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks


Wilson went 25-for-35 for 236 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, and now has multiple passing touchdowns in two of his last three games. A favorable-looking matchup is coming in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings, who entered Week 8 in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks (17.3 per game, ESPN scoring) and have now lost top cornerback Chris Cook (arm) potentially for the season. After that Wilson does not have many clearly favorable matchups on the schedule, so his overall consistency may not be great. Still, he is a viable QB2 in deep leagues and those in need of an upgrade can do a lot worse.

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Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans


Locker has been sidelined in recent weeks with a left shoulder injury, and Titans' head coach Mike Munchak has said he will get the starting job back once he is healthy. Munchak did reportedly say Locker threw the ball well in practice last week prior to being ruled out for Week 8, so if he continues to make progress this week a return for Week 9 against the Chicago Bears is not out of the question. If there is any question about Locker’s status Matt Hasselbeck may make another start in a tough matchup, but it seems to be only a matter of time before Locker is back in the lineup. Fantasy owners with a primary quarterback that has already had a bye week should consider taking a flier on Locker as a QB2 with upside.

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Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers


Dwyer had 17 carries for 107 yards with one catch for eight yards against the Washington Redskins in Week 8, giving him back-to-back 100-yard rushing games as the Steelers’ starting tailback. His role may again be reduced if Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles’) or Isaac Redman (ankles) are able to return to action in Week 9 against the New York Giants, which makes him a fairly risky addition at this point. But since Dwyer averaged 6.7 yards per carry during his two starts, it makes since for the Steelers to continue to give him a significant role. All in all, Dwyer is likely to be one of the most added running backs in fantasy football this week even with some level of risk.

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Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins

The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Thomas had 15 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown and one catch for three yards on Sunday against the New York Jets, as he had more carries than Reggie Bush (14) in the game. The fact that the game was a blowout may have led to increased work for Thomas, but he at least appears to be 100 percent after dealing with a concussion earlier in the season. The Dolphins may continue to use Thomas as a complement to Bush and the possibility of him continuing to vulture touchdowns from the former Heisman Trophy winner is real. Just how many carries Thomas will get on a weekly basis is hard to predict, but improved health and a potentially expanding role makes the second-year man out of Kansas State well worth considering as an addition in most fantasy leagues.

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Titus Young, WR, Detroit Lions


Young had by far his best game of the season on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, with nine receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 15 catches over the past two games, and should continue to have a significant role with Nate Burleson (broken leg) out for the season. Some favorable matchups are coming over the next three weeks against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, so Young is emerging just in time for fantasy owners that kept him on their roster hoping for an eventual breakout. But his poor start to the season likely led to him being dropped in a lot of leagues (37 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues), and rightfully so under the circumstances. Young’s ownership percentage should rise significantly again this week, so now would be the time to grab him if you need a wide receiver.

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Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars


Shorts had eight catches (on 12 targets) for 116 yards against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8, and how has 12 receptions (on 22 targets) for 195 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks. He has established himself as the Jaguars’ No. 1 wide receiver with Laurent Robinson sidelined with concussion issues and rookie Justin Blackmon struggling to get going, so his role should remain significant down the road. The Jaguars’ quarterback situation is a concern, but Blaine Gabbert did throw for over 300 yards on Sunday despite an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. Shorts is not an every week fantasy starter at this point, but he is trending the right direction and owners in need of a WR3 or WR4 in 12 and 14-team leagues should consider adding him.

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Dallas Clark, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Clark had three catches for 40 yards against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8, and now has eight catches and a touchdown over his last two games. Buccaneers’ quarterback Josh Freeman has played well since the team’s bye, and Clark’s role has a chance to continue to grow. A favorable matchup is coming in Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders, who entered Week 8 in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing tight ends (7.5 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring) and allowed seven receptions to the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight ends on Sunday. Clark is surely no longer the matchup-proof top tier fantasy option he once was, but those that need to bolster their tight end depth can consider taking a look at him.

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Nick Novak, K, San Diego Chargers


Novak made both of his field goal attempts in Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns, and now looks firmly in place as the Chargers’ placekicker with Nate Kaeding (groin) being placed on injured reserve last week. San Diego has far too much talent to struggle offensively the way they did on Sunday, and some kicker-friendly matchups are coming starting against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9. Three of the Chargers next five opponents entered Week 8 in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing kickers (ESPN scoring), and further down the road a couple of favorable matchups are coming in Week 15 (Carolina Panthers) and Week 17 (Oakland Raiders). With the uncertainty of his job status now gone, fantasy owners who seek a viable kicker can consider adding Novak.

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Justin Medlock, K, Carolina Panthers


Medlock went 5-for-5 on field goals and made his only extra point against the Chicago Bears on Sunday in what is clearly his best game of the season to this point. Even with the overall ineptitude of the Panthers' offense, he has a good chance to make it two in a row with a favorable matchup coming in Week 9 against the Washington Redskins. Washington has allowed eight field goal makes over their last three games and have allowed at least eight points to an opposing kicker in each of their last seven games. The Panthers’ offense should have little trouble moving the ball on the Redskins’ defense, so Medlock should get ample opportunities for the second straight game. Carolina's offense has too much talent not to start to produce better than it has, so Medlock has a chance to become a solid, under the radar fantasy option. At the very least, those in search of a bye week fill-in for Week 9 can consider adding him.

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Miami Dolphins Team Defense

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The Dolphins’ defense looked good on Sunday against the New York Jets, allowing just nine points with four sacks and an interception in the game as they also scored a touchdown on a blocked punt. They have put up at least 14 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) in three of their last four games along with forcing multiple turnovers in four of their last five contests. Things are setting up for the Miami defense to continue their recent momentum over the rest of the season, with the only clearly unfavorable matchups coming against the New England Patriots in Week 13 and Week 17 and matchups against some dismal offenses (Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars) on the slate. A Week 7 bye may have led to many fantasy owners overlooking this unit, but the Miami defense can safely be added as a low-risk option with solid upside going forward.