Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire players who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Our favorite players are broken down in Top Targets and the best secondary options are in our Going Deeper sections. We’ll also list any players at the top of each position who are above the 50% threshold — or are household names — and are still widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
Be sure to check out our weekly Waiver Wire podcast and our Waiver Wire Livestream for more analysis. We’ll also have Streaming articles every Tuesday that focuses on the top quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses for the upcoming week(s).
Note: The initial Waiver Wire article writeup will be posted every Monday night, followed by in-depth updates Tuesday, and continued additions/updates Wednesday.
Teams on Bye in Week 9
Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles
Teddy Bridgewater (Car, 58%)
Derek Carr (LV, 43%) — Carr has an improved cast around him, and he’s posting better numbers so far this season with multiple TDs in five straight games in Weeks 2-7. He failed to keep that streak going playing in ugly, blustery conditions in Cleveland in Week 8 as he completed 15/24 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown against the Browns. Carr was playing a bit undermanned earlier in the season, but Henry Ruggs’ returned to the lineup in Week 5 and his downfield speed has opened up the entire offense. The Raiders will also get impressive rookie Bryan Edwards back in the near future, and Carr has also breathed new life into Nelson Agholor. With Ruggs on the field, Carr’s willingness to stand in the pocket for downfield plays to develop has seemingly improved, and that’s one of his biggest negatives throughout his career. Carr has a solid slate of matchups coming up (@LAC, Den, KC, @Atl), and he’s firmly in the mid-QB2 range.
Kirk Cousins (Min, 31%) — Cousins is teetering on the edge of disaster seemingly every week, and he burned anyone that played him in Week 8 with Dalvin Cook doing whatever he wanted to the Packers. Kirk attempted just 14 passes in the victory over Green Bay, completing 11 for 160 yards and one touchdown for 10.4 FP. The Vikings kept some hope alive by beating the Packers last week, and Cousins has some beatable matchups (Det, @Chi, Dal, Car) if he actually throws the rock in the future. Cousins will be a boom-or-bust QB2 going forward, but with Justin Jefferson already proving to be a brilliant pick and with Irv Smith emerging a bit, he does have some high-end weapons to throw to.
Philip Rivers (Ind, 19%) — Don’t look now but Rivers has strung together consecutive games with 22+ FP after failing to post 17+ FP in each of his first five starts with the Colts. He completed 23/33 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns as the Colts scored 41 points against the Lions in Week 8. Jonathan Taylor and the Colts rushing attack has been a bit of a disappointment so this offense has been on Rivers’ shoulders a little more than anticipated in recent weeks. Rivers is trending up right now but he’ll be hard-pressed to make it three straight games with 22+ FP against the Ravens in Week 9. However, after Week 9 he has FOUR games against Tennessee and Houston, two good matchups, in his next six games with GB mixed in there, so Rivers could be productive more often than not the next 5-6 weeks.
Drew Lock (Den, 9%) — Lock hasn’t played particularly well since returning to the lineup off of his throwing shoulder injury, but he finally got it cooking late in their stunning comeback victory over the Chargers in Week 8. Lock completed 26/41 passes for 238 yards, three TDs, and one INT with his last completion going for a one-yard touchdown to win the game with no time left on the clock. Lock’s supporting cast is starting to get healthier, but he still needs to be helped by his matchups. At least he does have some spots to get his fantasy season rolling over the next month (@Atl, @LV, Mia, NO) if you need some low-end QB2 help, and he’s on the streaming radar against the Falcons this week.
Baker Mayfield (Cle, 41%) — Mayfield has a pair of seven-point fantasy performances sandwiching his 30-point performance in Week 7. Needless to say, he’s not exactly the easiest guy to trust right now. In his first full game without Odell Beckham (knee, IR), Mayfield completed 12/25 passes for 122 yards without a score against the Raiders in ugly, windy conditions in Week 8. Mayfield will get TE Austin Hooper (appendectomy) back after their Week 9 bye but Mayfield isn’t playing well enough to consistently put up fantasy production with his limited cast. He at least has a great slate of games coming up (Hou, Phi, @Jax, @Ten) to give him some life going forward. At least three of those teams (excluding Jax) are capable of forcing the Browns to throw it 30+ times.
Nick Mullens (SF, 1%) — The 49ers have been ravaged by injuries this season and it continued this week with Jimmy Garoppolo (high-ankle) and George Kittle (foot) each going down in Week 8 with potentially season-ending injuries. Jimmy G is expected to miss the next six weeks after aggravating his high-ankle injury in Week 8, but there’s a chance we don’t see him again this season. If Mullens or C.J. Beathard get the 49ers back into contention, HC Kyle Shanahan could stick with the quarterback that got them into that position. If the 49ers fall out of contention, Shanahan may not have the motivation to stick Garoppolo back into the fire with nothing to play for. Either way, Mullens will likely get the first chance to play after coming on in relief for Jimmy G in Week 8. Mullens completed 18/25 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks in less than two quarters of action. Mullens will be playing undermanned without his Kittle going forward, and Shanahan won’t hesitate to switch to Beathard if Mullens struggles at any point. Still, the pending free agent Mullens owns a career 8.4 YPA average in 13 appearances under Shanahan so he’s capable of producing if you’re looking for some QB2 help.
Nick Foles (Chi, 9%) — Foles hasn’t been getting many style points since he took over as the team’s starter in Week 4, but he’s at least getting plenty of passing volume each week with 39+ attempts in each of his five starts this season. He completed 28/41 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns, and one INT in an overtime loss to the Saints in Week 8, which was his first start with multiple TD passes. The Bears have now lost consecutive games and they’re 2-3 under Foles. He’s not guaranteed to play all four quarters behind if he’s struggling in a given week with Mitchell Trubisky waiting behind him. Foles is an uninspiring low-end QB2 option even with some solid matchups looming (@Ten, Min, bye, @GB).
Tua Tagovailoa (Mia, 6%) — Tua won his professional debut against the Rams in Week 9, but the fifth overall pick had little influence over the result with Miami’s defense dominating Los Angeles’ offense. He completed 12/22 passes for just 93 yards (4.2 YPA) with a three-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker, and Tua failed to post any rushing yardage on two carries. Fantasy owners shouldn’t have Tua anywhere close to a fantasy lineup for the time being until we see him have some success through the air, including this week against the Cardinals.
Jake Luton (Jax, 0%) — The Jaguars have been contemplating making a QB change and Gardner Minshew’s thumb injury will elevate Luton to the starting spot coming out of their Week 8 bye. Luton makes the most sense to start since the Jaguars were high on him in August, and they have every motivation to evaluate him since this team is going nowhere at 1-6. The best-case scenario is that Luton is a gem and a backup for the future, which means they could flip Minshew for a Day Three draft pick next off-season. The worst-case scenario is that Luton isn’t ready and he helps them get closer to a top-five draft pick. Our Greg Cosell loved Luton as a deeper QB prospect last spring. He has excellent size (6’6”, 224 pounds) and a strong enough arm to make all the necessary throws, to go along with his more than functional movement ability. Our John Hansen said Luton was fantastic when he interviewed him at the Combine, and Luton agreed with Cosell’s assessment of his game so he’s also very smart!
Zack Moss (Buf, 54%), Justin Jackson (LAC, 56%), Damien Harris (NE, 47%), Joshua Kelley (LAC, 46%),
JaMycal Hasty (SF, 42%) — San Francisco running backs are dropping like flies this season with Raheem Mostert (ankle, IR), Jeff Wilson (ankle, IR), and Tevin Coleman (knee) each dealing with injuries. With Coleman getting hurt in his first game back after a lengthy absence, Hasty led this backfield with 12/29/1 rushing and 1/2 receiving against the Seahawks. HC Kyle Shanahan has been monitoring Jerick McKinnon’s workload in recent weeks and he’s been primarily used as a receiver with 4/40 receiving in Week 8. McKinnon played on 50% of the snaps while Hasty saw 40%. The 49ers will be without Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle moving forward so there may be fewer scoring opportunities moving forward. Still, this 49ers backfield consistently pumps out fantasy production so Hasty needs to be added if he’s still sitting on your waiver wire with the 49ers potentially down to just Hasty and McKinnon for the time being.
Dexter Williams and Tyler Ervin (GB, 0%) — For Week 9 only, these guys are top targets. The Packers play on Thursday, and with rookie AJ Dillon on the Covid list, he’s out. And Jamaal Williams is also out, since he’s been around Dillon in the RB room. With Aaron Jones also likely out, it will likely be the second-year man Williams out of Notre Dame. He’s been only a practice squad back-of-the-roster guy for the Packers since last year, but he was arguably the best big-play RB in the 2019 draft. He averaged 6.4 YPC in college on 257 carries and he can also catch the ball. They also have Tyler Ervin, who will be well in the mix. Ervin is more of a scatback and a return man, but he’s got receiving chops as well, so he will definitely get work and could be the primary pass-catching back. UPDATED: 11/3
La’Mical Perine (NYJ, 42%) — Perine is getting a chance to show what he can do, and he does have a three-down skill set. Of course, after playing 70% of the snaps in Week 7, he was down to only 49% in Week 8. He’s still competing with Frank Gore and Ty Johnson for snaps and touches, but the Jets are still inclined to get Perine more involved since they used a fourth-round pick on him this spring. He managed just 8/27 rushing and 2/6 receiving on three targets in their blowout loss to the Chiefs in Week 8 while Gore posted 10/30. Perine is going to be a volatile option playing in the league’s worst offense, but his role should be the least of the concerns right now. Perine should be owned in 12-team leagues and deeper since he has the potential to see 15+ touches a game going forward. It would be great for him if they traded Gore, which isn’t out of the realm of possibly.
Gus Edwards (Bal, 30%) — Mark Ingram missed last week with his ankle injury and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported before Week 8 that Ingram could miss this week’s matchup against the Colts, as well. Edwards handled exactly 14 carries with a touchdown for the second straight game with Ingram out of the lineup. He finished with 14/63/1 rushing against the Steelers while J.K. Dobbins added 15/113 rushing. Edwards is worth an add to grab a piece of this Ravens backfield, which could be a bit thinned out once again this week. Edwards has the chance to get 12-15 carries once again this week if Ingram is out against the Colts, and there’s a chance he could stay more involved going forward since their rushing attack looked sharp without Ingram.
Wayne Gallman (NYG, 2%) — Gallman’s stock was on the rise this week after Devonta Freeman left Week 7 early with an ankle injury, and it’s at worst holding steady after Gallman played 43% of the snaps in Week 8 and had a solid fantasy day with 11/44/1 rushing and 1/18 receiving. Dion Lewis did play 28% of the snaps and had a great TD catch, but the real problem for Gallman is a pending return for Freeman - and maybe even veteran Alfred Morris, who played 28% of the snaps in Week 8. Gallman does still have potential on the chance they want to hand him the primary role to evaluate him over the veteran Freeman, who is not long for the roster. We’ll see about Freeman this week, but Gallman has a chance to be the man once again this week against the Football Team. UPDATED: 11/3
Deejay Dallas (Sea, 24%) — The Seahawks were down to just Dallas and a banged up Travis Homer in their backfield in Week 8, and the fourth-round pick came through for fantasy with his huge role. He posted 18/41/1 rushing and he caught all five of his targets for 17 yards and a touchdown in Seattle’s victory over San Francisco in Week 8. Dallas looked like a rookie in his first extended playing time, averaging just 2.5 yards per touch, but he still produced 22.8 FP because of volume and valuable goal-line work in this potent offense. Dallas could go back to a secondary role this week since Chris Carson (foot) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) were game-time decisions in Week 8. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to add Dallas, especially if you own Carson, just in case he’s the top back for another week against a shaky Bills run defense. Carson’s status is going to be unclear until late in the week, most likely, so he’s no lock to return.
Cam Akers (LAR, 31%) and Malcolm Brown (LAR, 20%) — Darrell Henderson has clearly played his way ahead of Brown and rookie Akers through the first seven weeks of the season, but Henderson did leave Week 8 early with a thigh injury. Brown led the backfield with 10/40 rushing and 2/17 receiving against the Dolphins while Akers posted 9/35 rushing and he added a 19-yard catch in the loss. Henderson may not miss any time with his injury because the Rams are on bye in Week 9, but it still might be worth adding Akers just in case HC Sean McVay plans on getting the rookie more involved in the offense starting in Week 10. It would be very 2020 for Akers to emerge and deliver for fantasy down the stretch after being arguably THE bust of the year the first two months of the season.
Jordan Wilkins (Ind, 1%) and Nyheim Hines (Ind, 29%) — Wilkins has been getting weekly touches as the primary backup to lead runner Jonathan Taylor. With Taylor struggling mightily out of their bye (11/22 rushing), HC Frank Reich rode the hot-hand of Wilkins who led the backfield with 20/89/1 rushing against the Lions. Hines also hit double-digit fantasy production for the first time since Week 3 by posting 3/54/2 receiving against Detroit. The Colts invested a second-round pick in Taylor and he gives this offense their best chance of reaching their full potential, but his mediocre play has opened the door for more snaps for Wilkins and Hines for the time being. It also came out Monday that Taylor is dealing with “a little bit of” an ankle injury, per Reich. We’ll see if Taylor misses any practice time this week, but he should still get the first crack to get going against the Ravens this week. Reich is likely to keep using the hot-hand approach going forward unless Taylor starts playing like a second-round pick so Wilkins and Hines are very much in the mix. Just keep in mind that neither is a lock to do a damn thing any given week. Wilkins, for example, got 9 carries three straight weeks Weeks 2-4, and then he got 2 carries for 0 yards total Weeks 7-8.
J.D. McKissic (Was, 28%) — He’s a real pest when it comes to Antonio Gibson, but that doesn’t look to be changing in the near future. McKissic has been operating as the 1B in Washington’s backfield, and the Football Team didn’t have much use for him in Week 7 as they played with a lead the entire game. He finished with just 5/35 rushing and 2/16 receiving against the lowly Cowboys, which was his first game without double-digit FP since Week 4. He did still play 1 more snap than Gibson (34 vs. 33). The Football Team likes him in the passing game, and in Week 7 they gave Gibson a whopping 20 carries, despite appearing previously to be hesitant to put too much on his plate. McKissic is clearly dependent on a negative game script, which won’t be a problem most weeks in Washington since they’re one of the worst teams in the league. McKissic doesn’t offer much upside, but he’s good for about 8-to-12 FP most weeks because of his passing game production if you’re looking for a flex option in PPR formats.
Brian Hill (Atl, 11%) — Hill needs to be elevated to more than just a good handcuff after playing 36% of the snaps in Week 8 with 14 opportunities (11/55 rushing and 2/9 on 3 targets). Todd Gurley is clearly managing his body and he was on the sideline for a healthy portion of the first half. The Falcons would likely use a committee between Hill and Ito Smith if Gurley missed time, but Hill is the overwhelming favorite for volume and is obviously the preferred handcuff for anyone looking to grab the backup to the mediocre Gurley, who seems to be hanging on by a thread. If Gurley misses time, Hill is immediately a viable RB2.
Eno Benjamin (Ari, 0%) — Kenyan Drake is expected to miss a few weeks with a slight ligament tear in his ankle, and the Cardinals don’t have a clear #2 option behind Chase Edmonds for as long as Drake is out. Benjamin, a 2020 seventh-round pick, is the most talented option with the chance to emerge as the secondary option over Jonathan Ward and D.J. Foster. HC Kliff Kingsbury wouldn’t tip his hand when it came to his #2 RB last week, “I'd say at this point it would be a group effort…I wouldn't say there is one we're leaning towards over the other two. We'll have a competition between those guys and see who practices the best, and then kind of take it from there.” Benjamin certainly isn’t guaranteed to have a big role coming out of their bye, but he’s still a smart bench stash this week in deeper leagues just in case he’s the #2 option and Kingsbury decides not to use Edmonds as a bell-cow back. Kingsbury recruited the Texas product Benjamin coming out of high school, so it’s not like he’s unfamiliar with him. Eno needs to be in a certain type of offense, and he’s in that offense with the Cardinals.
Troymaine Pope (LAC, 0%) — Pope wasn’t even listed in Yahoo’s player database during Week 8 so that will tell you just how out of nowhere his performance against the Broncos was, since we’ve seen dead people in their DB in the past. Pope had just one carry this season before he exploded for 10/67 rushing and 5/28 receiving on seven targets in Week 8. Justin Jackson (47% of the snaps) led this backfield with 22 opportunities for 142 scrimmage yards while Joshua Kelley (24% of the snaps) managed 25 scrimmage yards on eight opportunities. The journeyman Pope (29% of the snaps) will most likely go back to obscurity in the second half of the year, but owners in deeper formats may want to give him a look just in case Anthony Lynn keeps using him after a strong performance in Week 8.
Matt Breida (Mia, 21%) — The Dolphins are making Jordan Howard a healthy scratch every week now, leaving this backfield to Myles Gaskin and Breida. Gaskin served as the workhorse back in Week 8 with 24 opportunities while Breida had just 4/13 rushing without a target against the Rams. If Howard continues to be a healthy scratch going forward, Breida could be looking at 8-10 touches per game. He would also likely take over the majority of the work if Gaskin missed time so Breida is worth a look in deeper formats.
Best Handcuff Stashes
Tony Pollard (Dal, 19%) — Pollard ran for 455 yards on just 86 carries (5.3 YPC) as Ezekiel Elliott’s primary backup last season, and there’s a chance he could have more standalone value if he’s given a bigger role as a sophomore. Pollard would immediately be a low-end RB1 if he’s thrust into a bell-cow role at any point this season.
Alexander Mattison (Min, 57%) — Mattison is the top back when Dalvin Cook misses time like he did earlier this season with his groin injury. We did learn in Week 6, though, that OC Gary Kubiak will use Ameer Abdullah in passing situations so Mattison isn’t a bell-cow back when Cook is out of the lineup. It looks like Cook will return for Week 8, as well.
Devontae Booker (LV, 0%) — The Raiders have built a large part of their offense around stud RB Josh Jacobs, and they also use Jalen Richard as a hurry-up and change-of-pace back. However, Booker is likely the handcuff for the early-down work in Las Vegas if Jacobs misses time.
Devine Ozigbo (Jax, 2%) — James Robinson has earned the right to be the team’s workhorse back with his play in the first half of the season, but Ozigbo would be the next man up since Chris Thompson would stick in a passing-back role (Thompson went on the Covid-19 list on Oct. 24 but he’s off it now).
Christian Kirk (Ari, 58%), Corey Davis (Ten, 47%), Emmanuel Sanders (NO, 55%), Mike Williams (LAC, 53%), Cole Beasley (Buf, 57%), Marvin Jones (Det, 49%), Sammy Watkins (KC, 45%)
Allen Lazard (GB, 34%) — Lazard has been out of the lineup since he needed core-muscle surgery after Week 3, but he could return to the field this week against the 49ers after getting some practice time before Week 8. Aaron Rodgers could certainly use Lazard at his disposal since no secondary WR has stepped up since he left the lineup. Lazard posted 18+ FP in two of his first three games before needing surgery so he should be scooped as a WR4 option going forward if he’s been dropped. You may want to wait until the trade deadline passes Tuesday at 4pm, though, since the Packers have been in the market for a wideout.
Sterling Shepard (NYG, 29%) — Shepard spent a month on the injured reserve with a foot injury, but he didn’t look rusty in his return against the Eagles. He immediately stepped into the #1 WR role for Daniel Jones in Week 7, posting 6/59/1 receiving on nine targets (26.7% share) while playing a healthy 77% of the snaps. In Week 10, he picked up right where he left off last week with 70% of the snaps and 8/74 on 10 targets. He’s clearly their main possession receiver, and Jones is very comfortable throwing him the ball. Shepard’s biggest problem has been stringing together multiple healthy games, but if you need him you can start him while you can, especially in a PPR. UPDATED: 11/3
Curtis Samuel (Car, 15%) — Samuel has been mostly a disappointing fantasy asset through his first four seasons, but he’s shown some signs of life with 11+ FP in his last three games. For the second straight week he scored a rushing TD after being lined up as a traditional running back, and he added a 29-yard touchdown reception off a flea-flicker against the Falcons in Week 8. Samuel has now posted 39+ scrimmage yards in every game and he has 3+ catches in five straight games. OC Joe Brady is scheming Samuel touches every week so he suddenly has some upside as a WR4.
Jalen Reagor (Phi, 25%) — Reagor returned to the lineup in Week 8 after a five-game absence after needing thumb surgery. He came through in his first game back with 3/16/1 receiving on six targets (21.4% share) and he added a two-point conversion for good measure against the Cowboys. The Eagles are dying at WR with DeSean Jackson (ankle, IR) and Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) unable to stay or get healthy, and they’ve also been without Zach Ertz (ankle, IR) recently. Travis Fulgham has been a real success story the last couple of weeks, but there’s certainly room for Reagor to challenge him to be the top option in this passing attack in the second half of the season. Reagor is on bye this week, but he’s an upside add off the waiver wire with the potential to be a fantasy difference-maker down the stretch.
Tim Patrick (Den, 19%) — Patrick had posted 14+ FP in three straight games and 100+ yards in two consecutive games until he ran into the Chiefs in Week 7 in sloppy conditions. He finished with 3/44 receiving on four targets and he left the fourth quarter early with a hamstring. The injury forced him to miss their Week 8 showdown with the Chargers, but he was at least pushing to play, which is a good indication he should be ready to play against the Falcons in Week 9. Patrick will likely stick in the X receiver spot going forward with Courtland Sutton done for the year, and he’s actually the most-seasoned receiver for Drew Lock in his fourth season at 26 years old. He’s playing well enough to stick in the WR4 conversation as he’s become the most trusted WR in this passing attack with Sutton out of the lineup.
Kendrick Bourne (SF, 3%) — Deebo Samuel missed Week 8 with a hamstring injury and HC Kyle Shanahan has already said Deebo is unlikely to play on Thursday Night Football this week against the Packers. Bourne stepped up next to Brandon Aiyuk against the Seahawks in Week 9, and he turned in 8/81 receiving on 10 targets. Bourne saw 5+ targets in each of his first four games before Deebo returned to the lineup and took on a bigger role. Bourne is never a sexy option, but he has a chance to reach double-digit FP for the fifth time this week against the Packers. The 49ers could be without George Kittle (foot) for the rest of the season so Bourne could have a bigger role going forward even when Deebo returns to the lineup. He’ll likely be doing it with Nick Mullens, though, with Jimmy Garoppolo looking at an extended absence after aggravating his high-ankle injury.
Mecole Hardman (KC, 30%) and DeMarcus Robinson (KC, 2%) — Hardman has really needed an injury in front of him to have a better chance of producing for fantasy, and it happened with Sammy Watkins suffering a hamstring injury and missing the last three weeks. Hardman finally exploded with Watkins out of the lineup in Week 8, posting 7/96/1 receiving on nine targets against the Jets. Robinson also came through with 4/63/1 receiving on five targets but Hardman out-snapped him 45 to 36. Hardman is the swing-for-the-fences play if Watkins can’t play against the Panthers in Week 9.
Darnell Mooney (Chi, 6%) — Mooney has been operating as the #2 WR behind Allen Robinson, and he’s coming off his best fantasy performance of the season in Week 8. He posted 5/69/1 receiving on six targets against the Saints, scoring on a three-yard pass from Nick Foles. Mooney has seen 5+ in each of the last six weeks, and he has 3+ catches and 35+ yards in three straight games. The Bears have been high on him and they’ve been blown away with his speed and how quickly he’s picked things up, but his lack of strength and physicality has been apparent. Mooney will continue to get big-play chances and he’s trending in the right direction even with sporadic QB play.
Randall Cobb (Hou, 15%) — Cobb has seen a steady diet of targets in the middle of the field from Deshaun Watson most weeks. The veteran slot WR saw a team-high 10 targets (25.6% share), which he turned into a team-best 8/95 receiving against the Packers in Week 7. Cobb should stay active and he should get more comfortable with Watson as they work together longer for those looking for help in deeper PPR formats. It’s also only a matter of time before Will Fuller and/or Brandin Cooks misses time with an injury, and his role would grow in that scenario, and they don’t have a TE of note for the middle of the field.
Laviska Shenault (Jax, 30%) and Keelan Cole (Jax, 31%) — The Jaguars are rolling with D.J. Chark, Shenault, and Cole as their top-three WRs every week. Shenault and Cole combined for just 4/56 receiving on five targets against the Chargers in Week 7 with Minshew throwing for just 173 yards on 14 completions. The Jaguars have been contemplating making a QB change and Gardner Minshew’s thumb injury will mean sixth-round pick Jake Luton will get a chance to start out of their Week 8 bye. That’s not the best news for this passing attack even with Minshew’s play declining in recent weeks, but there’s always a chance one of these WRs could have some immediate chemistry with the rookie. Shenault and Cole are in the WR4/5 range when they return to action against the Texans this week.
Michael Pittman (Ind, 7%) — Pittman saw his first game action last week after missing a month after he needed surgery for compartment leg syndrome in his calf. He had a limited role in his first game back, catching his only target for six yards in a victory over the Lions in Week 8. Pittman was starting to get more involved in this passing attack when he suffered his injury back in Week 3, and Philip Rivers could certainly use some additional help with T.Y. Hilton’s career is trending downward. Hilton also left Week 8 early with a groin injury so Pittman’s role should be growing in the upcoming weeks. Pittman has a chance to be the #1 receiver in this passing attack by the end of the season so feel free to stash him if you have the roster space.
Jakobi Meyers (NE, 1%) — The Patriots have been dying for a WR to step up for Cam Newton in recent weeks, and the second-year pro Meyers has been the one to do it over the last two games. Meyers led the Patriots in receiving for the second straight game in Week 8, posting 6/58 receiving on 10 targets (40% share) against the Bills. Julian Edelman (knee, IR) is looking at an extended absence while N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd haven’t cut it on the perimeter this season so Meyers should continue to get opportunities from Newton going forward. The Patriots have a limited passing game so Meyers could easily go back to disappointing at any point, but he’s played well enough to be considered in deeper formats especially against the Jets this week.
Quintez Cephus (Det, 0%) and Marvin Hall (Det, 0%)) — Kenny Golladay is unlikely to play in Week 9 after suffering a hip injury against the Colts last week. Hall, a primary deep threat, stepped up and posted 4/113 receiving on seven targets after Golladay left in Week 8. Meanwhile, Cephus has been a healthy scratch since Week 4, but he operated as Golladay’s direct replacement when he missed the first two games of the season. The fifth-round pick out of Wisconsin saw 13 targets and posted 6/97 receiving with Golladay out of the lineup, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s back in the starting lineup this week.
Denzel Mims (NYJ, 9%) — The Jets are an absolute dumpster fire but, to be fair to Sam Darnold, he has been playing with the deck completely stacked against him. Mims could help Darnold in the second half of the year, and they’re going to give their second-round pick all the chances in the world to play going forward. Mims posted just 2/42 receiving on three targets against the Chiefs in Week 8 with Jamison Crowder (groin) and Breshad Perriman (concussion) both out of the lineup. It’s tough to get too excited about Mims playing with Darnold on this completely broken team, but there are worse stashes than the second-round pick since he should see a healthy dose of targets each week. Perriman is suffering some sort of injury almost every week at this point so Mims has a real chance to emerge.
Auden Tate (Cin, 1%) — Tate received rave reviews for his performance in training camp, but HC Zac Taylor had him buried behind the other Michael Thomas until Week 8. Tate saw his first real chance for playing time against the Titans, and he took advantage by catching a team-best seven passes for 65 yards on seven targets (18.9% share). Tate has played fairly well when given the chance to play since last season, and he should see more opportunities going forward behind top option Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins.
Josh Reynolds (LAR, 3%) — Reynolds has emerged a bit ahead of Van Jefferson in the #3 WR role in Los Angeles, which has helped him post 44+ receiving yards in four straight games. He posted 4/44 receiving on nine targets against the Dolphins in Week 8 with Jared Goff attempting 61 passes. Reynolds is worth consideration in deeper formats once the Rams come out of their Week 9 bye.
Dez Bryant (Bal, 1%) — He’s been signed to the Ravens practice squad, so he can be activated to the roster at any time. No one can expect much from the veteran, but he must be in good enough shape for Baltimore to sign him. He’d be a possession option, and he can play inside or outside, but his value will come down to his red-zone work and ability to score TDs. But he’s a stash only in leagues where there’s nothing on the WW.
Dallas Goedert (Phi, 63%), Jimmy Graham (Chi, 58%), Eric Ebron (Pit, 45%)
Jordan Reed (SF, 2%) — HC Kyle Shanahan said he was optimistic Reed (knee) would return to the lineup for San Francisco’s Thursday night showdown with the Packers this week. San Francisco really needs Reed going forward with news that George Kittle is looking at an eight-week absence for a broken bone in his foot. The 49ers activated Reed from the injured reserve last week so he’s nearing a return to action. He posted 7/50/2 receiving on eight targets the last time he filled in for Kittle back in Week 2 against the Jets. Reed is never guaranteed to stay healthy for too long, but he’s always been pretty productive for fantasy when he’s given a sizable role in a decent or better offense. If Reed can’t play this week, Ross Dwelley would be the next man up for anyone needing a streaming option this week.
Logan Thomas (Was, 22%) — Thomas has seen exactly four targets in four straight games, and he’s made his looks count the last two weeks with 7/102/2 receiving against the Giants and Cowboys. It’s no coincidence that he’s doing well over his last two games because Kyle Allen has their offense heading in the right direction. Allen could make Thomas a thing in the second half of the season so he’s a nice pickup for depth with starter potential as long as Allen or Alex Smith is at QB. He gets another date with the Giants when they come out of their bye in Week 9, whom he posted 3/42/1 receiving against the back in Week 6.
Trey Burton (Ind, 22%) — Burton and Mo Alie-Cox are battling it out for the top receiving TE spot in Indianapolis, and they still have Jack Doyle hanging around stealing touchdowns like he did in Week 8. Burton managed just 3/9 receiving on four targets against the Lions, but he scored a rushing touchdown for the second straight game lined up as a Wildcat QB. Burton has the most upside in this tight end room going forward, and the coaching staff is featuring him every week so we can use him with some confidence as a mid-TE2 option going forward.
Irv Smith (Min, 7%) — OC Gary Kubiak went out of his way to finally get the talented second-year TE more involved in Weeks 6-7 as the second-year TE posted double-digit FP in consecutive weeks with four catches and 55+ yards in each game. Mike Zimmer ideally wants his team to be a low-volume passing attack every week so we’re at least a bit skeptical Smith’s role will carry over to the future since Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson are going to command targets week. That scenario played out in Minnesota’s Week 9 victory as Smith caught his only targets for 16 yards as Kirk Cousins finished with just 14 attempts. Smith has shown he deserves to see a steady diet of targets every week and it’s not like the Vikings will dominate opponents with their running game and their defense like they have in the past. Smith is worth an add if you’re looking for a player with upside potential at a position that’s sorely lacking for quality upside options.
Harrison Bryant (Cle, 10%) — Bryant had a breakout performance against the Bengals in Week 7, but he came back to earth in ugly conditions with 3/25 receiving with a lost fumble against the Raiders. Charlie Weis (whose son Charlie Jr. coached Bryant at Florida Atlantic) has been raving about Bryant to our John Hansen for the last year, and he’s a player that should be added in Dynasty formats. With Odell Beckham done for the season, Bryant and David Njoku will have bigger roles in this passing attack even when Austin Hooper (appendectomy) returns to the lineup in Week 10 out of their bye. Bryant has a chance to stay involved in this passing game going forward since Baker Mayfield is lacking in playmakers at receiver right now.
Gerald Everett (LAR, 6%) — Everett has been a more reliable option over Tyler Higbee over the last month of the season with 3+ catches in four straight games. Everett posted 5/32 receiving against the Dolphins in Week 8 with Jared Goff attempting 61 passes. Everett is difficult to completely trust since Higbee is still seeing some weekly targets, but his role could continue to grow out of their Week 9 bye since he’s actually making plays compared to Higbee.
Younghoe Koo (Atl, 68%) Greg Zuerlein (Dal, 57%)
Mason Crosby (GB, 31%) - Crosby is coming off a major dud week in which he converted just two extra points. This could be a rebound game for the Packers and Crosby on Thursday night. The 49ers were humbled in Seattle last week and are coming off a short week with major injuries happening on offense. Green Bay should feast in the Bay Area in front of a national audience.
Daniel Carlson (LV, 29%) - We listed Carlson on the waiver wire last week and he hit three of four field goal attempts (a 41 yarder hit the left upright). Carlson has converted on 16 of 18 field goal attempts and has multiple field goals made in all seven of his games played this year. In fact, Carlson has attempted three or more field goals in three of his last five outings.
Dan Bailey (Min, 27%) - The Vikings offense found their groove with RB Dalvin Cook back in the lineup last week. Bailey has converted two of three field goals and all four extra point attempts at home. While Bailey has not had a field goal in back-to-back outings, we do think he could get two or three field goal opportunities against division rival Detroit.
Chris Boswell (Pit, 21%) - Boswell is not a sexy play, but he is facing the Cowboys. Even with the game on the road in Dallas, you have to like this matchup for the Steelers’ offense. Pittsburgh is averaging just over 30 points a game and Dallas is giving up over 33 points a game.
Graham Gano (NYG, 5%) - Yes, we are talking about the Giants place kicker here. This is a winnable game. Washington allows just under 24 points a game. Their defense can be stingy and that could force the Giants offense to stall and allow Gano a couple of field goal opportunities.
Patriots (NE, 78%)
Football Team (Was, 13%) — With Chase Young back, the Football Team D had their way with the Giants (14 points against, 1 sack, 1 INT), and Cowboys (3 points against, 6 sacks, 1 INT) before their bye. Now they get to face those two dysfunctional offenses again, as well as the Lions and Bengals (oh my?) over the next month.
Texans (Hou, 4%) — This Houston D has looked like a different machine since defensive mastermind Romeo Crenel took over this team before running into Aaron Rodgers. Jake Luton is not Aaron Rodgers. That’s likely who they’ll face when they play the Jaguars this week. After that, they get a few other vulnerable offenses as well. Jax, Cle, and NE are all in the top-10 for DST scoring.