Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Football: Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 9

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Eight weeks of the NFL season are now nearly done, with the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams set to take the stage on Monday night, and the stretch run of the season is on the horizon for fantasy football owners. No matter where you are in your league’s standings right now, from playoff contender to potential spoiler, making good waiver wire additions still matters with the litany of injuries we have seen.

Week 9 is another challenging week for fantasy owners, with six teams on a bye (Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars). So the list of notable players unavailable to their owners includes Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Matt Stafford, Reggie Bush, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Larry Fitzgerald and Victor Cruz, with many others that are startable depending on your league size and scoring format also idle for the coming week.

I have once again focused on players who are available in over half of Yahoo! leagues with this week’s list of waiver wire recommendations, along with my typical focus on players who have not appeared on the list before (or at least recently). I also try to recommend players (and team defenses) that have the best chance to sustain value for more than a week, since I personally find that to be the most valuable, but there are times when a player who is a one week “plug-and-play” is hard to resist and becomes worth recommending.

Here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” for Week 9.

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Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders

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Pryor did not shine as a passer against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8, going 10-for-19 for 88 yards with two interceptions, but he did have a 93-yard touchdown run on his way to 106 yards on the ground in the game. But things get much easier over the next two weeks against the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, who both entered Week 8 in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing quarterbacks (ESPN scoring). After that some tougher matchups will come against the Houston Texans (Week 11), Tennessee Titans (Week 12) and Kansas City Chiefs (Week 15), but Pryor’s running ability can help make up for any lack of production he has through the air. Owners in 12-team leagues looking for a bye week fill-in for Week 9 and a QB2 after that should consider adding him.

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Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos

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Ball had just four carries for 16 yards from Week 5-Week 7, but he had 11 carries for 37 yards and his first career touchdown against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. He may be in line for an increased role after the Broncos come out of their bye in Week 9, and he should be in the mix for goal line carries at minimum. Ball was surely dropped in a lot of leagues after his slow start to the season, but Week 8 may be the start of something and owners that can afford to stash him for a week should consider adding him immediately.

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Mike Tolbert, RB, Carolina Panthers

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Tolbert had seven carries for 35 yards along with four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8, and he now has four touchdowns (two rushing, two receiving) over the last three games. The looming return of Jonathan Stewart (ankles) clouds Carolina’s backfield situation, but as if on cue DeAngelo Williams suffered a bruised quad in last Thursday night’s game and his status is unclear going forward. No matter how the playing time and touches are divided in the Panthers’ backfield, Tolbert is likely to get the majority of the goal line work and is worth adding in deeper leagues based on that.

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Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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Heyward-Bey went into Indianapolis’ Week 8 bye on a high note with four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown, along with one carry for 30 yards, against the Denver Broncos in Week 7. With Reggie Wayne out for the season with a torn right ACL, the former first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders is in line for more targets from Andrew Luck, which is good news for his fantasy potential. Heyward-Bey should not be relied on as an every week starter yet, if at all, but owners looking for wide receiver depth can consider adding him since he is at least trending the right direction.

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Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

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Jones had eight catches for 122 yards and four touchdowns against the New York Jets on Sunday, and he now has a touchdown in three straight games with 15 receptions for 250 yards over that span. A four-touchdown game is obviously an outlier, but Jones has built some rapport with quarterback Andy Dalton and should benefit from the attention opposing defenses pay to A.J. Green. Two of Cincinnati’s next three opponents, the Miami Dolphins (Week 9) and Cleveland Browns (Week 11) entered Week 8 in the top 10 of the league against opposing wide receivers (ESPN scoring), but any fantasy owner in a 12 or 14-team league that needs to add wide receiver depth can consider adding Jones.

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Dexter McCluster, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

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McCluster had seven receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, and he now has 11 catches (on 15 targets) for 137 yards over the last two games. With Dwayne Bowe underachieving so far this season, McCluster seems to be emerging as a primary option for Alex Smith ahead of a favorable Week 9 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills entered Week 8 allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (32.4 per game, ESPN scoring) and have now allowed multiple touchdowns to the position in six of their eight games this season. It’s at best uncertain if McCluster can be a consistent option for fantasy owners over the rest of the season, but those in deeper leagues that find themselves in a bye week bind for Week 9 can consider adding him.

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Timothy Wright, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Wright had five receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in Week 8, and he now has 19 catches for 195 yards on 26 targets over the last four games with fellow rookie Mike Glennon under center for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay’s upcoming schedule has a mix of good (Week 10-Miami Dolphins) and bad (Week 9-Seattle Seahawks, Week 14-Buffalo Bills) matchups, but as a primary target for Glennon owners that need a TE2 in 12 and 14-team leagues can consider adding Wright.

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Nick Novak, K, San Diego Chargers

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Novak has been up-and-down this season, as he has had four games with single-digit points and three games with at least 13 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) over the first seven games of the season. San Diego’s upcoming schedule has favorable-looking matchups in Week 9 (Washington Redskins), Week 10 (Denver Broncos), Week 11 (Miami Dolphins) and Week 14 (New York Giants) and a couple of tougher matchups in Week 12 (Kansas City Chiefs) and Week 13 (Cincinnati Bengals), but outside of a road game in Kansas City in late November and a Week 15 rematch with the Broncos there are no potential bad weather games on their schedule. Novak may continue to be a bit inconsistent, but he is a worthy addition in 12-team leagues with his bye week now done.

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Oakland Raiders Defense

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The Raiders held the Pittsburgh Steelers to 18 points and 276 yards of offense on Sunday, while also sacking quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times and intercepting him twice. They have now posted at least seven fantasy points (ESPN scoring) in each of their last four games with at least 11 fantasy points three times in that span. A very favorable matchup is coming against the Philadelphia Eagles, who have scored just 10 points in their last two games and now look likely to have to turn to rookie Matt Barkley under center next Sunday. After that a couple more favorable-looking matchups will come in Week 10 (New York Giants) and Week 11 (Houston Texans), so the Oakland defense has a chance to sustain some fantasy value at a key time for owners.