Week 9 is going to be a difficult week for many teams. There will be six NFL teams on bye for Week 9 (Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans), leaving gaping holes in some Fantasy team lineups. That means the waiver wire will be humming with action. Team owners will be looking for the names below among many others, and they’ll also be trolling for players that are being dropped because they are on a bye. Remember, nobody is “safe.” If you drop a player on bye to fill a roster spot, you can bet that player will be grabbed if he’s any good. So don’t make that mistake. If you have to, suffer through one week of a less than full team if you need to, especially if your record is three games over .500 or better. You’ve already all but made the playoffs and are in good shape. Conversely, if your record is .500 or worse, you need to get going and do something bold, as your season is in danger of ending quite soon. With that in mind, we have everything from handcuff suggestions to all out desperation plays in this week’s early look at the Week 9 waiver wire.
Lorenzo Taliaferro (RB, Ravens) – So, Bernard Pierce was a healthy scratch for this game, reportedly because of his 2.3 yards per carry stat line over the past few weeks. That means Taliaferro could see regular action going forward, at the very least getting the goal line work along with a handful of targets, giving him flex value in 12-team leagues. He could end up being very valuable to Fantasy owners with the Ravens facing Jacksonville and Houston during Weeks 15 and 16 respectively. Taliaferro should be owned in all leagues for that alone.
Jonas Gray (RB, Patriots) – If you haven’t learned the truth about Bill Belichick and the way he deploys running backs by now, go ahead and blow as much of your FAAB money as you like on Gray. Kidding aside, you simply cannot count on a Patriots running back to provide steady weekly production, not even Shane Vereen. It’s not about talent; it’s all about the way Belichick uses players. Gray got the work this week but next week it could easily be Vereen or even James White, who also got a few carries against the Bears. The Patriots face the Broncos in Week 9, a game that promises to be a shootout. The Denver rush defense is now considered the best in the NFL, with the fewest yards per game allowed (72.4). So it’s doubtful that Gray will be much help during one of the worst bye weeks on the schedule. Or maybe he will. Who knows? Personally, I wouldn’t bother paying for the privilege to find out.
Anthony Dixon (RB, Bills) – Dixon had a rough day against the Jets, rushing 22 times for just 44 yards and not catching any passes. Then again, Bryce Brown didn’t do anything either, though, none of this was surprising given how stout the Jets are against the run. What’s even worse is that the schedule doesn’t get any easier with the Chiefs, Dolphins and the Jets again coming up in the next three weeks. And Fred Jackson should be back in a couple of weeks anyway. Deeper league managers might get some use out of him as a flex option, but again, don’t break the bank. If you can nab him off the waiver wire for a buck, that’s about all you should invest in Dixon, and the same goes for Brown.
Bobby Rainey (RB, Buccaneers) – Doug Martin suffered an ankle injury after an underwhelming 10 carries for 27 yards. Rainey didn’t fare all that much better, with eight carries for 25 yards. The Buccaneers’ offensive line is in shambles and there is no relief in sight. If Martin is our for an extended period of time, Rainey might get the call to handle the heaviest share of the workload, but there is also talk that Charles Sims will be activated and give a shot at the featured back role, which would relegate Rainey back to his current status as the backup/change of pace back. Keep an eye on the injury reports for Martin before making any kind of move for Rainey. The Bucs’ offense isn’t a good bet to provide much Fantasy help regardless of which of the two backs ends up running, so consider Rainey to be no more than a desperation grab and you’ll be just fine.
Charles Sims (RB, Saints) – You should ready the Rainey write up if you haven’t already. Basically, Sims is a rookie that has been unable to stay healthy enough to make an impact anywhere. Bobby Rainey’s inconsistency and issues protecting the football stand in the way of him taking over for Doug Martin, who is rumored to be on the trading block. Sims is considered a better talent than Rainey, so if the opportunity comes along don’t be surprised to see Sims handling the featured back role. Once again, Martin will have to go in a trade and Sims will have to prove himself, which makes investing in either Sims or Rainey a risky proposition that might not pay off. That leaves Sims as another desperation move.
Jeremy Hill (RB, Bengals) – Giovani Bernard injured his hip in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Ravens and didn’t return to the field. Hill took over for the final seven minutes but it didn’t affect his overall performance significantly. If you own Bernard, you really need Hill on your roster because Bernard seems to get banged up often and you never know when one of these injuries is going to sideline him for a significant amount of time. If the Bernard owner in your league doesn’t own Hill, this is a perfect time to propose a trade to try and extract someone off his roster. Simply remind the Bernard owner that he needs Hill as a handcuff and offer to “help him out” in return for a WR3 or TE that would add to your depth. Otherwise, there isn’t much need to grab Hill unless you want to speculate on a future Bernard injury and have the roster space.
Donte Moncrief (WR, Colts) – Moncrief got a chance to strut his stuff with Reggie Wayne sidelined due to an elbow injury, and strut he did, to the tune of seven catches for 113 yards and a TD. He doubled his overall yardage for the season and caught his first TD. Unfortunately, once Wayne returns, the rookie will again be relegated to the occasional snap if he even plays. However, it is quite possible that his eye-opening performance impressed the coaching staff enough to start working him into the game plan even when Wayne returns. He certainly did more on Sunday than Hakeem Nicks has done all year. It’s also quite possible that Wayne’s injury is worse than we’re being told, which could also open the door to more snaps for Moncrief. Overall, he’s more valuable to dynasty owners than anything else, but he is worth a flier if you can get him cheap, as there may be more big games ahead for him if either of the above scenarios plays out.
John Brown (WR, Cardinals) – Michael Floyd owners are cussing Carson Palmer and perhaps Offensive Coordinator Harold Goodwin after a game in which Floyd caught zero passes and was targeted just four times, while Brown was targeted 10 times (more than any previous game this season) and made five catches for 119 yards and a score. No, Brown hasn’t leapfrogged over Floyd on the depth chart, but he’s clearly going to be targeted just as often as Floyd, if not more, going forward. If he was somehow overlooked and is sitting on your waiver wire, you simply have to add him. He’s a WR3 with WR2 upside and the occasional big game is obviously a possibility, as he proved Sunday.
Malcom Floyd (WR, Chargers) – Floyd has been targeted 21 times over the last three games, exactly seven times in each game. Meanwhile, as we warned you earlier this season, Eddie Royal has done his usual disappearing act. Even though he’s listed as the WR3, Floyd is really the WR2 on this team and his performance and stats are reflective of that status; it just took a while for it to happen. Floyd will continue to see as much action as Keenan Allen in this offense, and with several juicy matchups over the next couple of weeks, he could end up being very valuable to your Fantasy team. If he’s available, bid on him aggressively.
Martavis Bryant (WR, Steelers) – Bryant had a breakout game against the Colts, and he obviously has Ben Roethlisberger’s confidence now, as he was targeted several times in key first down situations and caught two TD passes. Over the past two games, only Antonio Brown has more targets than Bryant, so it appears he will be a big part of this offense going forward. Bryant is another receiver to bid aggressively on in all leagues, as the Steelers’ schedule is littered with good matchups in which he will thrive.
Kenny Britt (WR, Rams) – Brian Quick was carted off the field Sunday, which should mean more opportunities for Britt. However, with Austin Davis now quarterbacking this team and the offense being so spread out (10 different receivers were used Sunday), Britt might not get enough targets to make a mark in Fantasy. Consider him a depth acquisition, but no more than that.