Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 9


Last week, the fantasy world, including us, was falling all over itself to tout Kenneth Gainwell after Miles Sanders’ ankle injury. Fast forward a week, and two other Eagles’ RBs, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard, will be among the top Week 9 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. That’s how quickly things change in the fantasy football, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. The Eagles’ RB committee joins guys like Carlos Hyde, who took over for an injured James Robinson, Pat Freiermuth, who continues to get more targets with JuJu Smith-Schuster out, and Saints QB Taysom Hill, who’s expected to start in place of an injured Jameis Winston, as potential waiver claims this week.

There weren’t many “must-have” breakouts in Week 9, which will continue to be the case unless there are injuries. There are a few interesting pickups (Tajae Sharpe, Van Jefferson, Ameer Abdullah, Logan Thomas, Will Fuller, Deshaun Watson), whether it’s because they did something of note in Week 8 or they’re eligible to be traded/come off the IR soon. However, our full free agent list features a slew of Week 9 streamer suggestions at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list. With Detroit, Washington, Tampa, and Seattle on bye next week — plus plenty of key players still banged up — finding matchup-based sleepers will be key this week (and every week going forward).

After many fantasy owners were burned by Gainwell and the Eagles’ RB situation last week, some will be reluctant to invest a high waiver claim on Scott or Howard this week. However, both will have value in Week 9, and at least one should have value the following week, too. If you need a back next week, it’s worth it to pay up for one of these players The same goes for Hyde if James Robinson’s injury looks like it will keep him out a week or two. Other than those three, though, there really aren’t any players worth claims unless you’re desperate a certain position. 

Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 9

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

  • Boston Scott, RB, Eagles.Scott received most of the early RB snaps for Philadelphia in Week 8, and he took advantage, rushing 12 times for 60 yards and two TDs. Jordan Howard also had 12 carries and scored twice, but considering Scott is more versatile and played more in the first and second quarters, we’re willing to say he’s the “lead” back in this committee until Miles Sanders (ankle) returns in a few weeks. Kenneth Gainwell (13 carries, 27 yards) actually led the Eagles in carries, but almost all of his playing time came in garbage time when the game was well out of hand. The Chargers present a premium matchup next week, makingScott a borderline “must-start.”– Matt Lutovsky

  • Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles.Howard was mixed into the Eagles backfield fairly early and often, rushing 12 times for 57 yards and two scores against Detroit. It was almost an identical line as Boston Scott (12-60-2), though Scott played more at the very beginning of the game. Still, Howard looked good and was well ahead of Kenneth Gainwell in the pecking order. Not all matchups will be as favorable as this one, but next week’s game against the Chargers is actually even better on paper. Howard will be a worthwhile RB2/flex. — ML

  • James Robinson injured his ankle early against the Seahawks, opening the door for Hyde to take over. The veteran back managed 51 total yards on 13 touches (nine carries, four receptions), and that type of workload/production can be expected next week against Buffalo. Given the matchup, it’s unlikely many fantasy owners will want to play Hyde, but starting RBs always have value, especially during four-team bye weeks. If Robinson has a multi-week injury, Hyde will have more value, though a matchup against the Colts in Week 10 is a tough one, too. — ML

  • With Jameis Winston (knee) likely out for a significant amount of time, Hill, who’s been out with a concussion, is expected to start if he’s cleared this week. We’ve seen Hill have fantasy success when he’s started in the past, and his rushing ability gives him a high floor every week. He’s worth adding in single-QB leagues. — ML

  • Parker finally returned from a hamstring injury in Week 9, and he was targeted 11 times against Buffalo, catching eight for 85 yards. Tua Tagovailoa has attempted a ton of passes every game since he’s been back from injury, so there is plenty of volume to go around in this offense. Parker and Jaylen Waddle are strong plays, at leats in PP R, heading into a matchup with Houston — Jackson Sparks

  • Freiermuth had been inching toward a breakout for a couple weeks, and he had his best game of the season against the Browns. Freiermuth caught four-of-seven targets for 44 yards and a TDand seems to be in line for more targets with JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder) out for the year. A matchup against Chicago next week isn’t particularly TE-friendly, but Freiermuth should continue to be at least a streaming optionin PPR leagues going forward. — ML

  • DeSean Jackson on the trade block, so Jefferson will take more of a stranglehold on the No. 3 WR job. In his first game without Jackson being active, he caught three-of-six targets for 88 yards. He seems to be the most valuable in standard leagues, and with the Rams playing a porous Tennessee pass defense in Week 9, he’s a decent streaming option right away. — JS

  • Fuller (finger) waseligible to come off the IR in Week 8, but he remained out. He’s inching closer to returning, and if he plays in Week 9 against Houston, you have to consider playing him right away. Miami is attempting a ton of passes with an ineffective rushing attack, so Fuller could have a lot of value down the stretch.– JS

  • Logan Thomas has dropped to 53-percent ownership in Yahoo leagues, and this is a chance to take advantage. He’s been dealing with a hamstring issue and has been on IR since Week 3. Washington is on a bye in Week 9, and Week 10 figures to be the time Thomas returns. We can expect him to be heavily targeted as soon as he’s back. We’ve seen him be a top-five fantasy TE before, and he can do it again in this offense starving for play-makers outside of Terry McLaurin. — JS

  • Mark Ingram is now in New Orleans, so Johnson figures to be in line for the bulk of Houston’s RB touches (if he’s not traded himself). Chances are, he won’t be superproductive on the ground, but if he’s force-fed targets, we could look up at the end of the season and see him as a consistent flex. His first game without Ingram was a disaster (as it was for everyone in Houston’s offense before garbage time), but with Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) expected back soon and a highly favorable matchup against Miami on deck for Week 9, Johnson has upside going forward. — JS

  • Most fantasy owners are assuming David Johnson will be the primary back in Houston now that Mark Ingram is gone, but that’s far from inevitable. Lindsay is the younger back with more juice, and he’s been productive in the past in his own right. Both he and Johnson are attractive simply because we don’t know how this situation will play out, and the return of Tyrod Taylor should help the Texans’ offense as a whole. Lindsay and Johnson were unproductive in Week 8, but Miami offers a much softer defense in Week 9. — JS

  • Barber’s Raiders had the week off, but Josh Jacobs (chest) is banged up, and we’ve seen Barber be productive when Jacobs was inactive. That said, there’s a new head coach and offensive coordinator since Barber’s early-season breakout, so it’s not a given he’ll be the lead back if Jacobs is out (which he probably won’t be). Still, Barber is someone to keep in mind if we get some negative reports about Jacobs early in the week. — JS

  • Freeman and the Ravens were on bye in Week 8, but this remains an RBBC backfield. Freeman will have his moments this season, especially if Latavius Murray (ankle) is still injured after the bye. There could be more clarity in this backfield as the season rolls on. Baltimore is set to face a Vikings’ defense that has been up and down this season. You may not want to trust Freeman yet, but at least monitor his usage. — JS

  • In Mike White’s first start, Crowder caught eight-of-nine targets for 84 yards against Cincinnati. Crowder has been a solid PPR asset in the past, and perhaps he can be a real weapon with a new QB under center. You can do a lot worse than a guaranteed five targets every game, though Crowder’s ceiling will be lower if Corey Davis returns from a hip injury. The Jets play Indianapolis in Week 9, and it’s been a bottom-seven unit against fantasy WRs. — JS

  • Bateman was out of action in Week 8 with a bye, but he has sneaky value for the second half of the season. He drew six targets in the first two games of his career and Lamar Jackson’s improvement in the passing game could mean a stellar fantasy outing against Minnesota in Week 9. Sammy Watkins’ potential return from a hamstring injury could hurt Bateman’s value, but he’s still worth having in case he’s the real deal. — JS

  • Gallup (hamstring) is finally back after being out since Week 1, and when Dak Prescott returns from his calf injury, he’ll have upside in one of the league’s best offenses. He’s still heavily available in a lot of leagues, but if he has a strong performance soon, he’ll be snatched right up. Get ahead of the crowd. — JS

  • Johnson only totaled five touches against the Steelers, but he vultured a touchdown from Nick Chubb. As long as Chubb is banged up, Johnson will get some usage. The Browns play Cincinnati in Week 9, and while their defense looked good until Week 8, it gave up 258 total yards and two touchdowns to the combination of Michael Carter and Ty Johnson. Johnson is worth stashing until Kareem Hunt (calf) returns. — JS

  • Abdullah came out of nowhere to rush eight times and received five targets for 66 total yards in Week 8. The Panthers look to be decreasing Sam Darnold’s passing attempts and putting the ball in the hands of their RBs more often. Until Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) comes back, Abdullah should carry some value. Week 9 against New England may not be the time to trust him, though. — JS

  • Many expect Watson to be traded by the Nov. 2 trade deadline, with the Dolphins or Panthers as the most likely landing spots. It’s unclear if he’ll actually be able to play, as the NFL hasn’t yet ruled on his availability because he’s been on the Texans’ exempt list this whole season. Until the NFL says something, Watson will be eligible to play right away, so he could have value as soon as Week 9. Of course, he could just easily not see the field at all this year. We know the talent Watson has, so he’s worth stashing just in case. Even if you don’t need him, it’s not a bad idea to keep him off someone else’s team. — ML

  • Mack’s placement on this list is all about his potential landing spot in a trade. He’s been rumored to be on the move for a while, and with the trade deadline coming up, we should know soon whether he has any additional value and is worth keeping around or if he’s nothing more than a handcuff who will be on the waiver wire in most leagues. — ML

  • Wentz has scored multiple touchdowns in six straight games, and against Tennessee, he threw for three touchdowns. Despite his turnovers, he had a nice fantasy outing and should be expected to do so against the Jets’ generous secondary. — JS

  • Bridgewater looks banged up, be he usually delivers with a least a touchdown or two. His receiving corps is at full strength, and he’ll play Dallas in Week 9. Denver should be forced to pass to keep up with a potent Cowboys’ offense. — JS

  • Since his return for his ribs injury, Tagovailoa has shown he can take advantage of juicy matchups. He looked good against Jacksonville and was Week 7’s top fantasy scorer against Atlanta, so we’ll ride with him again in a matchup with Houston. He struggled against Buffalo, but we knew that was going to be the case going in. — JS

  • Lance could take over at any time if Jimm Garoppolo struggles, so stash him just in case. — JS

  • It looks like Calvin Ridley will be out for an extended period of time due to a personal matter, and Sharpe tied for the team lead with six targets against Carolina. This may not have meant much to us if Ridley wasn’t going to miss time, but there is plenty of opportunity for Sharpe while he remains out. He’ll play New Orleans in Week 9, who have been a bottom-10 unit against WRs. — JS

  • It was frustrating to see Gage draw zero targets against Carolina, but since Calvin Ridley (personal) is going to be out for an unknown period of time, Gage has potential value heading into a nice matchup against New Orleans — JS

  • Renfrow was on a Week 8 bye, but he’ll continue to be an attractive PPR piece as he’s drawn five or more targets in every game except one this season. His ceiling is limited, but his floor is safe enough to trust in your lineup against the Giants in Week 9. — JS

  • Davis has been disappointing this season, but he drew five targets and caught a touchdown against Miami, serving as a de facto tight end in the absence of Dawson Knox (hand). At least while Knox is out, Davis is worth watching for increased usage. Buffalo plays the Jaguars in Week 9, so any of the Bills’ patch-catchers could be in for huge days. — JS

  • Assuming Hilton is healthy (he left Sunday’s game after a hard hit late in the game), he’s another streaming option, as he’ll take on the Jets in Week 9, He didn’t do much in Week 8, but he was targeted five times and should continue to be a key part of the Colts’ offense.– JS

  • Smith caught all three of his targets against Tampa Bay and scored a touchdown. Sure, it wasn’t a great performance, but Smith is still working his way back after missing the first five games of the season. We’ll have to see how Jameis Winston (knee) is doing heading into next week, but a matchup with Atlanta presents a nice opportunity for Smith. — JS

  • Every time Callaway has a decent game, we get excited, just to be let down the following week. But even after quiet games against Seattle and Tampa Bay, we’re still watching Callaway closely. If nothing else, he’s a top streaming option against the Falcons’ lackluster secondary in Week 9. — JS

  • We’ll see what Patrick’s role is with more than a one-game sample size now that Jerry Jeudy (ankle) isback, but Denver plays Dallas in Week 9, so we have to think he’ll at least be a streaming option, too. He caught all three targets for a team-high 64 yards in Week 8. — JS

  • Davante Adams and Allen Lazard shouldn’t be out long after being placed on the reserve/COVID list, but Valdes-Scantling willreturn from IR as soon as Week 9, and the race for the No. 2 WR role in Green Bay is wide open. Randall Cobb will have something to say about it, but MVP has the most upside — at least as a streamer. The Packers take on Kansas City in Week 9, so he could be in for an explosive return to the lineup. — JS

  • Just as recent asWeek 7vs. C.J. Uzomah, the Ravens love allowing nuclear performances to the tight end spot. Uzomah, Jared Cook, Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, and Noah Fant all finished as TE1 against Baltimore, so Conklin very well could, too. — JS

  • The Browns aren’t technically a great matchup for tight ends, but Uzomah has done enough this season to risk playing him almost regardless of matchup. Did you know he is the only tight end in the league to finish as the overall TE1 more than once? His 4-33-0 line against New York isn’t a surprise, as he’s a boom-or-bust guy. That said, why play itsafe at tight end when Uzomah clearly has the most upside. — JS

  • Arnold has proven to be one of Trevor Lawrence’s favorite targets, and Week 8 was no different. He caught seven of a team-high nine targets for 59 yards against Seattle. He has one of the toughest matchups possible (Buffalo) in Week 9. but his target share has made him very attractive in PPR regardless of matchup. — JS

  • Trade rumors have been swirling around Engram, but if he remains a Giant, he has a path to fantasy success against Las Vegas, who has given up the seventh-most fantasy points to the position — especially with so many New York pass-catchers banged up. If he gets traded, maybe he’ll get moved somewhere he can be more productive. Like Marlon Mack, the possibility is exciting. — JS

  • Alie-Cox is a touchdown-or-bust player, but he’s reached the end zone four times this year, and the Jets defense is beginning to unravel. So, while he’s a risk, what potential Week 9 streamer at TE isn’t? — JS

  • Robert Tonyan (knee) is done for the season, so Lewis figures to be the primary tight end for Green Bay. His upside is limited, but he could be a nice red-zone target for Aaron Rodgers, and we at least have to consider him as a streamer in deep leagues against the awful Kansas City defense. — JS

  • Cook was a top-12 tight end before the Chargers’ Week 8 bye, and Philadelphia gives up the fifth-most fantasy points to TEs heading into Week 7.We knew he’d probably struggle against New England, butCook sits on one of the best offenses in football with a star young QB, so he always has upside. — JS

  • The Broncos’ offense is starting to look half-asleep, and while the Cowboys’defense still struggles in the yards-allowed department, it has forced the second-most turnovers per game in the league (2.3). — JS

  • The Eagles’ offense could feast in garbage time like they’ve often done, but we like Joey Bosa and Co. to contain Jalen Hurts’ rushing a least a little bit. L.A. has been up and down on defense, but they’ve excelled against pedestrian offenses. — JS

  • The Raiders’ defensive line led by Maxx Crosby should dominate this game and get to Daniel Jones early and often. Crosby leads the league in pressure, and this is probably the worst offensive line Las Vegas will have faced thus far this season. — JS

  • Miami has one of the worst defenses in football, but the Texans have one of the worst offenses. Let’s see who wins out! In reality, Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) should make this Texans’ offense better, but Miami’s defense has enough talent to keep this score low in this contest. — JS

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