In last week’s waiver wire, I told you to be aggressive because there was a lot of talent out there and the bye weeks were going to get here real soon. Well, soon is now. There are six teams on their byes in Week 9, and that will lead to a very active waiver process in most leagues. The good news is that there still are plenty of options, it’s just going to be tougher to win bids.
As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.
If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn Tuesday afternoon and check out my expanded waiver wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers — 74 percent
The most obvious recommendation of the week, but I’m throwing him out there because he is available in more than one out of four leagues. Ride the hot streak if he’s available. The Steelers host the Ravens this week and Baltimore will be without its top cornerback, Jimmy Smith.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 50 percent
Palmer is rounding back into shape and can play for you on most weeks. Arizona’s offense is deep and well run by HC Bruce Arians. Add Palmer as a strong QB2 or bye week option. Arizona visits the Cowboys this week.
Eli Manning, Giants – 58 percent
Manning has been dumped by a lot of owners after a dud in Philadelphia and the season-ending injury to Victor Cruz. While the Cruz injury is significant, it is more than made up for by the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. — a receiver who can pretty much do it all. Manning can help you as a matchup play or bye week option. He has an appealing home matchup with the Colts this week.
Robert Griffin III, Washington — 36 percent
This is not a move for this week, because Griffin may not return until Week 11. Having said that, he could return if he shows his coaches that he’s ready for contact. The reason to go after Griffin is because his upside is so high. The Washington offense is mostly healthy, and with Griffin’s mobility there’s a lot of fantasy potential. If your quarterback spot lacks upside, Griffin is a worthwhile investment.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 10 percent
It may not be pretty — in fact, at times Bortles is tough to watch. He’s definitely taking his lumps as he learns on the job — making choices that veterans would never make. On the upside, he adds foot points to the box score with regularity and his team generally is trailing down the stretch of games, so you’ll get volume on most weeks. Consider Bortles as a potential add if you have a Week 9 storm at the position.
Michael Vick, Jets — 3 percent
Vick is the starter now. He can still take chunks of yardage with his feet and that helps. Vick will also have the benefit of having Percy Harvin as he gets more acclimated with the Jets’ offensive system. Vick is definitely worth an add in 12-team leagues. He has more fantasy potential than Geno Smith did. He can help you this week if you are hurting — even in smaller formats.
Denard Robinson, Jaguars — 57 percent
When you can rip off a 100-yard game against the Dolphins defense while running behind the Jaguars offensive line, you are going to get noticed. Robinson’s schedule gets better going forward and he’s a compelling option in all league sizes at this point. He’s taken charge of this backfield. Be aware that Robinson is listed as a WR on some sites, including Yahoo!
Ryan Mathews, Chargers — 64 percent
He could return soon — perhaps even this week. Mathews was running very well when he went down, and he’s a potentially strong RB2 down the stretch once he returns. While he may not be a solution to your Week 9 woes, but he can be a big asset the rest of the way once he’s back. Stash him if you can.
Tre Mason, Rams — 54 percent
Jeff Fisher haunts my dreams. OK, that’s a bit strong, but the way the Rams use their running backs is downright schizophrenic. The running game, and the offense as a whole, is disjointed as a result — with substitutions on every play at all the skill positions and a rookie quarterback at the helm. Still, Mason is the guy who should win the backfield over time. He’s the guy who puts stress on the defense because he can get more than what’s blocked. He should be owned in all leagues, even after last week’s disappointing output. He’s a flex option this week as the Rams visit the 49ers, but he could be a weekly RB2 in the near future.
Jonas Gray, Patriots — 6 percent
He’s looked good so far, and the Patriots seem to be committing to him in the big back role vacated by Stevan Ridley. Will it continue? It’s tough to say, because we’re talking about the Patriots here, and things can change quickly, as we’ve seen many times over the years. That said, Gray is a good option right now and he can help you if you need a back this week. He’s also got upside the rest of the way if he can keep the job, since the Patriots offense clearly is on the upswing.
Andre Williams, Giants — 50 percent
It appears he will get another start in place of Rashad Jennings. That makes Williams a nice Week 9 option with a home matchup against the Colts. Just remember that his long-term value is clouded as Jennings could return at any time.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens — 8 percent
If last week is any indication, Taliaferro is going to be the Ravens’ goal-line back going forward. He is looking like a better scheme fit than Bernard Pierce, who was not even active in Week 8 despite being healthy. The Ravens are blocking the run very effectively, and starter Justin Forsett could begin to run out of gas at some point. Taliaferro is a nice Week 9 option as a flex or emergency RB2, but he also has rest-of-the-season value as well — especially in bigger formats.
Charles Sims, Buccaneers — 7 percent
Sims, a rookie, should return this week, and the expectation is that he plays a lot in combination with Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey. Sims probably is not a good option as a starter this week, but he could be by Week 10. Factor in Martin’s recent injury, and Sims is a player to add — and he’s a must-add if you play in a PPR league. There also are some trade rumors surrounding Martin, which adds to the rookie’s appeal. Sims is perhaps the best receiving running back that we’ve scouted since we opened our doors at Rotobahn. He’s got serious hands.
Bryce Brown, Bills — 40 percent
While last week was a bit underwhelming and while Brown did not even start, I expect his role in the offense to grow. The one thing to remember with Brown is that he’s off this week. The Bills host the Chiefs after their bye. Brown is a nice stash option in all leagues.
Theo Riddick, Lions — 2 percent
The health of Reggie Bush will be a factor here, but Riddick is a very talented back who can post good PPR numbers. He’s a player to monitor in case Bush misses more time. The Lions have their bye this week, so this is more for Week 10 and beyond, but Riddick is a guy to know about in all PPR leagues.
Odell Beckham Jr., Giants — 56 percent
How he is still so widely unowned is amazing to me, but it’s good news for you if you have a chance to land this future star. Pick up Beckham and start him the rest of the way in all leagues and scoring formats. He’s a WR3 with the upside to be much more.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers — 54 percent
Evans is another weekly starting option who is on far too many waiver wires. Scoop up this red zone monster if he is available in your league. The Bucs are past their bye week and they play a solid schedule the rest of the way. They travel to Cleveland this week.
Brandon LaFell, Patriots — 36 percent
LaFell’s hot right now and he’s taken control of the split end position in the Patriots offense. He needs to be owned in all leagues right now and is a weekly starter until proven otherwise. Go get him.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers — 7 percent
He’s scored three times in his first two games as a pro and it is no fluke. The Steelers desperately needed a red zone target and Bryant has filled the void. He should continue to do so and he can help you as a bye week fill-in in Week 9 and perhaps the rest of the way. He’s has a home game vs. the Ravens this week, and Baltimore has injury issues at cornerback.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – 57 percent
He’s the main man right now, but he’s not a guy with a ton of upside and I expect other players to start stepping up — creating a more balanced offense down the stretch. Still, Baldwin can help you this week and he has a nice home matchup against the Raiders.
Josh Gordon, Browns — 62 percent
Are you out ahead of the pack in your league? If you are, you can really frustrate your competition by adding Gordon now — a few weeks ahead of his Week 12 return. Gordon gives you a potential WR1 for the playoffs. How valuable is that?
Justin Hunter, Titans — 50 percent
He scored last week, and I like his chances of doing that a lot more down the stretch now that Zach Mettenberger is the quarterback in Tennessee. Just be mindful that the Titans are on their bye this week.
Davante Adams, Packers — 14 percent
Adams has become entrenched as the Packers‘ third receiver and is nearly an every-down player at this point. This will lead to respectable weekly numbers and a few big games down the stretch. He’s a nice option during the bye weeks — even in smaller formats.
Kenny Stills, Saints — 12 percent
Stills is starting to heat up, and you still can add him in a great many leagues. He gives you big-play potential every week and makes a nice bye week replacement. He’s fully healthy, and Drew Brees is throwing the deep ball with renewed effectiveness.
Donte Moncrief, Colts — 3 percent
He looked good last week and he can help you this week if Reggie Wayne sits out again. Moncrief is a bit raw, but he’s a big play waiting to happen catching balls from Andrew Luck.
Dwayne Allen, Colts — 74 percent
You still can add him in some leagues, and I strongly suggest you do so. Allen is becoming a trusted red zone target for Andrew Luck, and there’s a lot of weekly value in that.
Jace Amaro, Jets — 5 percent
With most of the top tight ends owned in most leagues, Amaro could be a decent option for you this week. He will be better with Michael Vick now under center and he’s playing more and more snaps each week. He’s also a nice red zone weapon.
Larry Donnell, Giants — 65 percent
The Giants are using him consistently, and he is a red zone weapon. Donnell is a very nice way to get your team through a bye week crunch. He can start for you on most weeks if you need him.
Tim Wright, Patriots — 14 percent
He was more involved last week and that could continue. Either way, Wright can help you this week if your starter is on his bye. He scores touchdowns.
Scott Chandler, Bills — 6 percent
Had one catch last week, but it went for six. He’s been a bit more relevant since Kyle Orton took over at quarterback. If you are in dire need, Chandler is worthy of consideration.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings — 30 percent
He’s a draft-and-stash option who could really help you when he returns in a few weeks. Norv Turner always features his tight ends, and that most certainly will be the case with Rudolph when he returns. We are talking about a potentially elite weekly play if things break right.