Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire options that are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. I’ll list any players at the top who are above the 50% threshold (or are household names) but are still somewhat widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
WEEK 9 BYES: Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints
Best Options if Available: Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 57%), Gardner Minshew (Jax, 54%)
Derek Carr (Oak, 26%) — Carr has posted his best fantasy performances in consecutive weeks, throwing for a combined 578 yards and five TDs with one INT in road games against the Packers and Texans in Weeks 7-8. He’s also averaged a healthy 10.0 YPA in that span and he got his favorite wide receiver back in the mix for Week 8 in Tyrell Williams. Carr’s schedule isn’t too bad the next four weeks (vs. Det, vs. LAC, vs. Cin, @NYJ) and the offense could lean on this passing game a little more with Josh Jacobs gutting it out through a shoulder injury.
Sam Darnold (NYJ, 23%) — Darnold has been absolutely miserable the last two weeks against the Patriots and Jaguars, throwing seven interceptions while losing a fumble. He completed 21/30 passes for 218 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions against the Jags in Week 8. Darnold infamously saw ghosts on Monday Night Football and he absorbed eight sacks against Jacksonville. Darnold has been miserable under pressure and that is bad news since their O-line is a disaster right now, and he’s now dealing with a non-throwing thumb injury. Darnold does have six juicy spots in a row in starting this week (@Mia, vs. NYG, @Was, vs. Oak, @Cin, vs. Mia) but his recent performances didn’t give us any confidence that he’ll be able to take advantage of them. He’ll at least likely have his boy Chris Herndon (hamstring) back soon so there’s a chance he could right the ship.
Ryan Tannehill (Ten, 30%) — Tannehill gave this offense an immediate upgrade in his first start of the season against the Chargers in Week 7, but he struggled a little bit in an easy matchup against the Buccaneers in Week 8. He completed 21/33 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns as he benefited from some short fields on his first two touchdown passes. Tannehill is still averaging a healthy 8.3 YPA in his three appearances and his talented receiving corps suddenly has some life with Marcus Mariota sent to the bench. Tannehill doesn’t have the easiest schedule in the upcoming weeks (@Car, vs. KC, bye, vs. Jax) but he has some low-end QB2 appeal with his performance so far.
Daniel Jones (NYG, 23%) — The rookie Jones has had a rough go of it recently since his dramatic win over the 49ers in Week 3, but he bounced back with a huge fantasy performance in Week 8. He completed 28/41 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-26 loss to the Lions. He did lose another fumble, giving him 13 turnovers in his six games but he continues to show a lot of fight and a lot of promise each week. The Giants defense is going to force Jones to throw it quite a bit most weeks and he should get Sterling Shepard (concussion) back soon, but he’s not easy to trust right now even with a decent schedule (vs. Dal, @NYJ, bye, @Chi).
Matt Moore (KC, 8%) — Moore played well in his first (and last?) start for Patrick Mahomes in Week 8. He completed 24/36 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers as he stood toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night Football. Mahomes got some limited work in last week and he could push to return this week against the Vikings so Moore could be one-and-done as the starter. If the Chiefs give Mahomes another week to rest, Moore will be a tougher spot on the road against the Vikings this week, but he showed enough in Week 8 to warrant some consideration as a streamer if forced to play.
Best Options if Available: Kenyan Drake (Ari, 61%), Jamaal Williams (GB, 62%), Adrian Peterson (Was, 52%), Duke Johnson (Hou, 60%), Ronald Jones (TB, 46%), Frank Gore (Buf, 58%), Kareem Hunt (58%)
Jaylen Samuels (Pit, 21%) — Samuels had his knee scoped after Week 5 and he nearly played in Week 8 after getting full practices in all week. Ultimately, the Steelers gave Samuels an extra game to rest since they didn’t really need him against the Dolphins, but they may desperately need him in Week 9. James Conner avoided a major injury when he sprained his AC joint in Week 8 but he could miss a game or two. Benny Snell also picked up a knee injury against the Dolphins leaving just Trey Edmunds at the end of the game. Samuels should be back in the lineup this week against the Colts and he could be looking at a workhorse right away if Conner is unable to play. Samuels totaled 20+ FP back in Week 4 when the Steelers used the Wildcat against the Bengals on Monday Night Football, and the Steelers could work him back into their gameplans moving forward even when Conner is healthy. Samuels is a valuable handcuff to James Conner, who hasn’t exactly been the picture of health since the end of last season as he continues to pick up small, nagging injuries.
Mark Walton (Mia, 34%) — If you’ve been reading this report for the last four weeks, there’s a good chance you’re among the 34% of Yahoo owners that already have Walton rostered. The Dolphins were always going to try to move Kenyan Drake at the trade deadline since he’s a free agent at the end of this season, and they finally did it before their Week 8 game against the Steelers. That means Walton is staring at a workhorse role the rest of the season ahead of Kalen Ballage, who has vultured him twice at the goal line already. Walton did have a costly fumble in the fourth quarter against the Steelers on his way to finishing with 11/35 rushing and 3/19 receiving, but the best part was that he played 87% of the snaps in Week 8. Walton was an interesting prospect with the Miami Hurricanes but he fell into the fourth round in 2018 because of a shaky Combine. He then had three different run-ins with the law this past off-season, which earned him his release for Cincinnati. Keep your expectations low for any offensive player in Miami but at least it looks like Walton could get a chance to see 14-18 touches per game going forward. He also has some passing-game chops so he’s a high-end RB3 going into the back half of the season with the potential for more.
Raheem Mostert (SF, 6%) — Both Matt Breida (ankle) and Jeff Wilson (head) failed to finish Week 8’s blowout victory over the Panthers, which is notable since the 49ers play on Thursday Night Football this week. If the 49ers err on the side of caution with Breida, who had an injury-plagued 2018 campaign, Mostert could take on double-digit touches next to Tevin Coleman this week against the Cardinals. The 49ers are averaging a league-high 38.9 carries per game for 181.1 rushing yards/game (2nd-most) and the Cardinals just allowed Latavius Murray total 157 scrimmage yards and two TDs. Mostert would be a low-end RB2 option this week if both Breida and Wilson are out.
Darrell Henderson (LAR, 28%) — Henderson has been a disappointment since he was drafted in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts this summer because he hasn’t had a role behind Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown. That’s changed the last three weeks with Gurley and Brown dealing with injuries. In Week 8 against the Bengals, Henderson posted 11/49 rushing and 2/20 receiving as he had more touches than Gurley in their blowout victory. Henderson brings much more explosiveness to this backfield than Brown and HC Sean McVay would be wise to work him in more as we enter the second half of the season. Henderson could go back to having no role out of their Week 9 bye when Brown returns, but I think there’s a chance they move Henderson ahead of Brown going forward. It’s worth stashing Henderson now and he’d have a ton of value if Gurley misses more time in the future.
Derrius Guice (Was, 30%) — Guice has been on the IR since Week 1 with a torn meniscus but he’s on track to return after their Week 10 bye. The Redskins should give Guice a chance to be the lead runner ahead of Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson when he returns since their season is going nowhere. However, nothing is guaranteed with this joke of an organization so we can’t take anything for granted. Compared to the rest of this team, Peterson and Thompson are playing pretty well so Guice is unlikely to see 60% or more snaps when he gets back, but he should have a fantasy-relevant role.
Kalen Ballage (Mia, 10%) — Ballage isn’t very good but he’s going to get more chances at playing time since the Dolphins traded away Kenyan Drake to the Cardinals. In the first game without Drake, Ballage played just 17% of the snaps and he posted just 3/8 rushing and 1/11 receiving against the Steelers in Week 8.. Walton is the preferred waiver wire addition since he’s jump ahead of Ballage on the team’s depth chart, but Ballage has some limited appeal in non-PPR formats since he’s been their preferred goal-line back.
Tra Carson (Det, 0%) — The Lions fooled everyone, including themselves, by using the 27-year-old Carson as their top runner in the first game without Kerryon Johnson. Carson doubled his career carries with 12 totes for 34 yards against the Giants in Week 8 as presumptive starter Ty Johnson had just eight touches and J.D. McKissic had just four touches. DISGUSTING. It’s best to just avoid this mindfield of a backfield if you’re able to.
Alexander Mattison (Min, 24%) — Starting RB Dalvin Cook is primed for a huge season, but he has had some injury issues throughout his career dating back to his days at Florida State. The Vikings have just Ameer Abdullah behind Mattison and I’d expect Mattison to see a heavy workload if Cook missed time. He’s the best handcuff in fantasy right now and he’s close to having standalone value with how much work he’s getting each week.
Reggie Bonnafon (Car, 4%) — Bonnafon has emerged as the top option behind Christian McCaffrey after his 5/80/1 rushing performance against the Jaguars in Week 5. If McCaffrey would miss time, Bonnafon wouldn’t see the type of workload that CMC sees on a weekly basis but he could certainly find himself in the RB2 conversation.
Rashaad Penny (Sea, 31%) — Penny is simply a handcuff for Chris Carson at this stage of the season with Carson dominating snaps in this backfield. Penny would see most of the work if Carson is out with C.J. Prosise likely mixing in, as well.
Tony Pollard (Dal, 13%) — Pollard’s complementary role has evaporated with Zeke back to dominating the work in this backfield. Elliott owners would be wise to scoop up Pollard if he’s thrown to the scrapheap if you want to handcuff your top-five pick.
Ty Montgomery (NYJ, 3%) — Montgomery has done little playing behind Le’Veon Bell — he was a little more active as a receiver in Week 6, though — but Montgomery would have RB2 potential as the lead back in New York.
Giovani Bernard (Cin, 6%) — Gio is a must-own in any week that Mixon is out of the lineup. Bernard is a capable runner and receiver who can take on a big role as we’ve seen in the past when Mixon has missed time. Gio is one of the best handcuffs in the league and it looks like he could have some low-end standalone value playing next to Mixon.
Ryquell Armstead (Jax, 2%) — It might be wise to scoop up Armstead if you’re a Leonard Fournette owner as he’s the clear #2 RB on this depth chart. Fournette doesn’t have the best history of staying healthy for too long.
Best Options if Available: DeSean Jackson (Phi, 60%). Kenny Stills (Hou, 60%), Phillip Dorsett (NE, 50%), Jamison Crowder (NYJ, 51%)
Danny Amendola (Det, 9%) — The Lions lost Kerryon Johnson for the season and their defense has been a mess all season so Amendola’s role is growing right now with Lions going with more 3-WR sets going forward. He’s had his two highest snap rates the last two weeks (71% and 67%) with Johnson out of the lineup, including in Week 8 even with the Lions playing with a substantial second half lead. For the second straight week he posted eight catches as he caught all eight of his targets for 95 yards against the Giants in Week 8. Matthew Stafford is back to putting up massive passing numbers like he did at the start of the decade, averaging 299.0 passing yards/game. Amendola now has three games with 7+ catches and 90+ yards in six tries this season and his role has been much bigger than expected this season with TE T.J. Hockenson unable to emerge in the middle of the field so far as a rookie. Amendola is never going to play 90% of the snaps or surpass Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, but he’s carved out a healthy WR3 role for PPR formats playing with a vintage Stafford in recent weeks.
Diontae Johnson (Pit, 12%) — Mason Rudolph (concussion) was back in the Steelers lineup out of their bye in Week 8 and Johnson was back to being a viable WR3. The second-year quarterback has had a strong connection with the third-round pick out of Toledo in their limited action together. In his three full games with Rudolph, Johnson has 14+ FP and a touchdown in each game with a healthy 14/213/3 receiving on 19 targets combined. JuJu Smith-Schuster did show some signs of life with Rudolph against the Dolphins in Week 8, but Johnson has quickly shown he’ll be busy when Rudolph is quarterbacking this offense.
A.J. Brown (Ten, 17%) — Quarterback play has kept Brown down this season but he has a chance to break out in the second half of the season. The Titans finally pulled the plug on Marcus Mariota and went with veteran starter Ryan Tannehill in Week 7, and the move has immediately paid dividends for this Titans passing attack. Brown saw only three targets in Week 8 against the Buccaneers but he made the most of them with 2/11/1 receiving, scoring the game-winning touchdown in the red zone in the fourth quarter. Brown is a high-end WR4 going forward with the potential for more if Tannehill can continue to play at a much higher level than Mariota.
DeVante Parker (Mia, 27%) and Preston Williams (Mia, 13%) — The Dolphins will roll with Williams and Parker as their top two WRs, and they’re each in the WR4 range since they’re getting plenty of targets each week. They don’t have much upside at all since they’re playing on potentially the worst team in the history of football, but they do have a better chance at success when Ryan Fitzpatrick is in the lineup. Parker had a three-game TD streak snapped in Week 8 against the Steelers as he posted 5/59 receiving on eight targets while Williams managed 4/42 on seven looks. Williams and Parker each have scary floors and limited ceilings playing in this terrible offense but they’re at least getting enough weekly volume to make them palatable.
Cole Beasley (Buf, 24%) — Josh Allen is going to chuck it deep to John Brown or he’s going throw it underneath to his safety-valve Beasley. Beasley has scored 9+ FP in six of his seven games this season if you’re looking for a PPR option with a solid floor. He’s not going to offer much of a weekly ceiling since he has 25 career TDs in 109 games, but he has scored in consecutive games after posting 3/41/1 receiving on seven targets against the Eagles in Week 8.
Josh Reynolds (LAR, 0%) — The Rams are on bye in Week 9 but Reynolds could be the Rams #3 WR once they return to action after Brandin Cooks suffered another concussion — his second of the season and his fourth documented concussion in the last two yeas. Reynolds recorded 3/73/1 receiving on eight targets filling in for Cooks against the Bengals in Week 8. Reynolds has been the handcuff for these top three WRs in Los Angeles. He averaged 3.7/50.7/.5 receiving per game on 6.8 targets per game as a starter in the final six contests last season.
Mecole Hardman (KC, 33%) and Demarcus Robinson (KC, 26%) — Sammy Watkins is healthy for now so these two have lost some playing time and targets, and they’re also playing with Matt Moore for the time being while Patrick Mahomes (knee) heals. However, Mahomes will be back soon and Watkins will surely get hurt again so these guys aren’t the worst players to stash, especially the explosive Hardman who can create a long TD out of nothing like he did in Week 8 against the Packers. They’re likely off the radar for most while Moore is under center but that could change as early as this week after Mahomes got some limited work in last week.
Auden Tate (Cin, 38%) and Alex Erickson (Cin, 7%) — Tate is locked in as a starter with Tyler Boyd and we’ll see if he’s #3 WR out of their Week 9 bye if A.J. Green isn’t traded or if he’ll remain the #2 WR if Green is traded. Tate posted 5/65 receiving on 13 targets in Week 8 against the Rams and he had a garbage-time TD overturned. Tate now has 50+ yards and/or a touchdown in six straight games but we need to see what his role will be after the trade deadline. Our guy Greg Cosell said Tate has lost some significant weight and looks much more explosive than he did when he first came into the league as a seventh-round pick out of Florida State in 2018. Tate was an absolute monster in the red zone in college with 24.6% of his career catches going for TDs (16 of 65), and he’s been active in the red zone with Andy Dalton. As for Erickson, he’s registered 18/281 receiving on 27 targets the last three weeks but he could go back to the bench if the Bengals are unable or unwilling to trade Green. Erickson won’t be a priority add unless the Bengals trade Green at the deadline, meaning he would keep his #3 WR role.
Chris Conley (Jax, 2%) — WR Dede Westbrook has been nursing a shoulder injury and he left Week 8 early after he aggravated the injury. Conley has stepped up the last two weeks, posting 7/186/1 receiving on 14 targets against the Bengals and Jets. Conley erupted for two big games to start the season when Westbrook was slow out of the gates so it appears that Conley’s role could be dependent on Westbrook’s health. Conley could be worth a look against an ailing Texans secondary in Week 9 if Westbrook can’t play.
Demaryius Thomas (NYJ, 7%) — Thomas has worked his way into low-end consideration with four consecutive games with 40+ yards. He’s seen 27 total targets in that stretch for 16/214 receiving and he led the way for the Jets with 5/63 receiving on five targets against the Jaguars in Week 8. Thomas will likely be the #5 option in this offense once Chris Herndon (hamstring) returns to the fold, but Thomas can be considered as a deep flex option since he’s shown some chemistry with a struggling Sam Darnold.
Anthony Miller (Chi, 11%) — Miller has shown some signs of life in the last three weeks despite his terrible QB situation, racking up three straight games with 9+ FP. He caught all three of his targets for 67 yards against the Chargers in Week 8, giving him 50+ yards in three straight games. Miller has a scary floor playing with a bad quarterback like Trubisky, but he’s at least taken over as the #2 WR here behind Allen Robinson.
Darius Slayton (NYG, 4%) — Slayton has some fantasy juice as the top outside WR for as long as Sterling Shepard is out of the lineup — Shepard is dealing with his second concussion of the season. The rookie speedster out of Auburn hauled in two deep balls for touchdowns in Week 8 against the Lions as he finished with 2/50/2 receiving on five targets. You can consider Slayton on the low end for as long as Shepard is out of the lineup and he’s definitely a player to watch down the stretch as he develops some chemistry with his fellow rookie Daniel Jones.
Allen Lazard (GB, 15%) — These young Packers WRs aren’t too appealing right now with Aaron Rodgers spreading the rock all around the field, but Lazard has been the most consistent option the last three weeks. However, he doesn’t have much appeal if Davante Adams (toe) is able to return this week. Lazard caught all five of his targets for 42 yard against the Chiefs, and he’s a low-end WR4 option for as long as Adams is out of the lineup.
N’Keal Harry (NE, 12%) — Harry has been on the IR since the start of the season with an ankle injury, but he’s nearing a return when he’s first eligible in Week 9. He returned to practice two weeks and the Patriots will ramp up his practice load before his potential debut against the Ravens in Week 9. The Patriots do have a bye in Week 10 and there’s no way you’re using Harry in Week 9 so he’s not a priority add at this point. However, if you’re in a deeper league and you’re swinging for the fences, Harry isn’t the worst stash just in case he starts to tap into his first-round talent. The Patriots added Mohamed Sanu last week but they did place Josh Gordon on the IR. Harry does have some work to do just to climb their depth chart so keep expectations low if you add him in the next couple weeks.
Best Options if Available: Jason Witten (Dal, 51%), O.J. Howard (TB, 44%)
Chris Herndon (NYJ, 28%) — Herndon was first eligible to return off his four-game suspension in Week 6 but he, unfortunately, picked up a hamstring injury before his return. Herndon has missed three additional games on top of his four-game suspension but there’s a chance he could make his 2018 debut this week against the Dolphins. HC Adam Gase said Herndon is progressing and looking better for Week 9. He finally got in some limited practices before Week 8 so he’s finally trending in the right direction. When he’s finally healthy enough to play, Herndon has top-12 potential at the position over the rest of the season.
Dallas Goedert (Phi, 13%) — Goedert is tough to completely trust in a fantasy lineup since he’s playing next to one of the better fantasy TEs in Zach Ertz but he’s now topped 9+ FP in four of his last five games. In fact, our pal Graham Barfield pointed out that Goedert and Ertz have posted very similar numbers over the last month. Goedert posted 3/22/1 receiving on five targets against the Bills in Week 8 in windy conditions while playing a season-high 78% of the snaps. Goedert is a low-end TE1 while DeSean Jackson (hernia) is out of the lineup and he’d still have streaming appeal when D-Jax is able to return.
Darren Fells (Hou, 18%) — Fells is easily on pace for a career year at 33 years old after his best game of the season in Week 8. He caught all six of his targets for 58 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders, giving him five a career-best five touchdowns in a season already with eight games to be played. Fells could easily go back to being a complete afterthought like he has been his entire career but at least Will Fuller (hamstring) is currently out of the picture to free up some targets.
Jonnu Smith (Ten, 19%) — With Delanie Walker (ankle) essentially out the last two weeks, talented third-year TE Smith has had two strong performances with 9/142/1 receiving on 10 targets combined. As one of the top streaming TEs in Week 8, he managed 6/78/1 receiving on seven targets against the Buccaneers. If Walker misses more time, Smith suddenly has some life with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback and he’d be a strong streaming option this week against the Panthers.
Noah Fant (Den, 13%) — The Broncos traded Emmanuel Sanders away before Week 8 and it was Fant who stepped into the #2 receiver role in the first game. Fant led the team with eight targets but he produced only 5/26 receiving against the Colts. He did have an end-zone target but he primarily saw underneath targets, which is disappointing because of his athletic ability. Fant is at least on the streaming radar for PPR formats but he won’t be helped out by Joe Flacco’s absence since Joe has always loved targeting his TEs.
Jack Doyle (Ind, 15%) — Doyle has shown a pulse since Week 3, catching 18 passes in the last five games, but he had topped out at 22 yards in a game in Week 4-7. He had his best yardage game of the season in Week 8, posting 4/61 receiving on five targets against the Broncos. Doyle isn’t an ideal option since he splits the tight end workload with Eric Ebron, and the Colts have been a run-heavy squad with their O-line dominating in the trenches. He’s only viable for PPR formats since Ebron is the preferred end-zone target.
Dallas Cowboys (@NYG, 31%), Seattle Seahawks (vs. TB, 53%), Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Chi, 39%), New York Jets (@Mia, 11%), Denver Broncos (vs. Cle, 28%)
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