Fantasy Football 2014: Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups


We’re now past the midway point in the season, and things really aren’t looking any clearer in the NFL fantasy landscape. Week 7’s top scoring QB Russell Wilson ended week 8 behind former 3rd stringers Colt McCoy an Zach Mettenberger, while Ben Roethlisberger, who hadn’t posted more than 273 yards or 2 TDs in the past 3 weeks exploded against what had been looking like a solid Colts defense for over 500 yards and 6 TDs. And in a game where Tom Brady threw for 354 yards and 5 TDs, former favorite target Julian Edelman finished with just 1 reception for 14 yards. Meanwhile WR Brandon LaFell (14.1% on NFl)(8.8% on ESPN) caught 11 passes for 124 yards and a TD. I mentioned LaFell a couple weeks back and gave him a bit of a lukewarm endorsement, but he’s caught 19 of 22 passes for 276 yards the past 3 weeks and seems to finally be on the same page with Tom Brady. He’s should be owned in all formats though this week could be tough against the Broncos if he draws coverage from Aqib Talib and the Patriots are on bye in week 10, but the schedule gets easier after that and LaFell could be a valuable piece for those making a push for the playoffs.

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  • While I’m on the topic of players I’ve mentioned before I’m going to put out last call notices on two Jaguars players still available in a ton of leagues that shouldn’t stay that way for long. WR Allen Robinson (0.9% on NFL)(3.9% on ESPN) has been a favorite target of rookie QB Blake Bortles since he took over the starting job and with TDs in consecutive weeks fantasy owners are finally being forced to take notice. Robinson needs to be owned in PPR leagues and the Jaguars recent success moving the ball down field makes him valuable in standard scoring formats as well. RB Denard Robinson (15% on NFL)(16.4% on ESPN) saw a decent bump in ownership last week, but is still available in a ton of leagues and with the uncertainty clouding the value of several teams backfields Robinson has plenty of value as a clear starter and the best runner on a Jaguars team that looks leagues ahead of where they were when Bortles first took over.

    If you’re new to the column the parentheticals () to the right of a players name reflect their ownership percentage in and ESPN fantasy leagues respectively. Generally I like to keep my pick-ups to players owned in less than 30% of leagues, but their are exceptions. The names are in no particular order and are generally grouped by position. I end each column with my pick for streaming QB and D/ST of the week, if you’re into that sort of thing. Any questions? Criticism? Praise? leave comment at the bottom of the article, I’m usually pretty quick to respond. Alright, let’s get into some new names for week 9 waiver wire pickups:

    Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers: (10.2% on NFL)(9.2% on ESPN) With Doug Martin’s status for week 9 in doubt after he was forced out of Sunday’s game early due to injury and rookie Charles Sims yet to be activated from IR (more on him in “one to watch”) so Mike James is the only candidate to get more touches if Martin can’t go against the Browns, but he’ll be hard to trust after barely touching the ball all year. Rainey hasn’t been great, but he’s looked the best out of the group. It’s a nice matchup against the Browns and Rainey might have a little extra motivation playing against his former team.

    Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Ravens: (2% on NFL)(12.2% on ESPN) I mentioned him way back in week 4’s pick-ups after what I thought was his breakout game against the Browns, but after putting up solid numbers again in week 4 Taliaferro became an afterthought in the Ravens least until this past week when he returned to action punching in 2 TDs from the 1 yard line and taking an additional 5 carries for 25 yards while also catching 2 passes for 42 yards. Taliaferro has looked like the Ravens best back every time he touches the ball and if last week’s usage is an indication that he’s moved past Bernard Pierce (who was a healthy inactive Sunday) on the depth chart he’ll continue to produce fantasy relevant numbers with a chance that he passes Justin Foresett as the primary ball carrier before season’s end.

    Jonas Gray, RB, Patriots: (0.3% on NFL)(0.1% on ESPN) I’m not ready to trust any Patriots running back outside of Shane Vereen (and even that’s iffy) but Gray has taken over the Stevan Ridley role in the Patriots offense, and will likely hold on to it for at least one more week after averaging just over 5 yards per carry in a win against the Bears. That said, week 9 is against a Broncos team that has been tough against the run and since the Patriots tend to use their power back only when they’re winning, so it’s not a great match-up and then the Patriot head into their bye week 10.

    Juwan Thompson, RB, Broncos: (0.5% on NFL)(0.7% on ESPN) coming off a 2 TD performance Thompson could be in line for a little added work against a Patriots team that has had trouble stopping the run. Ronnie Hillman has 71 touches the past 3 weeks, not a huge workload and I’m not suggesting Thompson becomes the starter, but this is Hillman’s first stretch as a starter in the NFL and against a team that can be beat up the middle, the Broncos could turn to their bruising back 10-12 times instead of just the 6-8 he’s been getting. It might not seem like much, but it doesn’t feel much riskier than trusting Jonas Gray if you’re only looking for a bye week fill-in.

    Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: (0.5% on NFL)(0.5% on ESPN) Bryant followed up a modest 2 catches for 40 yards and TD debut in week 7 with a breakout week 8 against the Colts where he caught 5 passes for 83 yards and 2 TDs. Of course, Ben Roethlisberger isn’t going to throw 50 passes for 500+ yards and 6 TDs every week, but the Steelers clearly like having Bryant in the rotation opposite Antonio Brown, and at 6’4, 211lbs he presents a physical mismatch for opposing corners that fellow receivers Lance Moore and Markus Wheaton don’t. Expect him to get more work going forward, and not just in the red zone.

    Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts: (0.1% on NFL)(0.2% on ESPN) With Reggie Wayne out it was rookie Donte Moncrief who stepped up opposite T.Y. Hilton, not Hakeem Nicks. While Wayne could be back as soon as next week against the Giants, and worst case should be able to return following the Colts week 10 bye, the bigger news is that Moncrief has overtaken Nicks on the depth chart, and after taking full advantage of his opportunity (7 catches 113 yards, TD) expect the 6’2, 221lb rookie to continue to see a fair share of the targets in the Colts pass happy offense.

    John Brown, WR, Cardinals: (2.6% on NFL)(2.5% on ESPN) He’s a high risk/high reward play, but the Cardinals have a pretty favorable schedule for WR’s going forward. As the third receiver Brown’s not on the field as much as Fitzgerald and Floyd, but he’s still managed to get at least 5 targets each of the past 4 weeks and failed to gain at least 40 yards only once (week 5 against the Broncos.) The Cardinals clearly like him a lot and should continue to find ways to get the ball in his hands.

    Kenny Britt, WR, Rams: (1.1% on NFL)(0.8% on ESPN) With Brian Quick now out for the rest of the season Britt will get a chance at an expanded role. It’s possible that Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey or Chris Givens steps up but Britt will likely get the first shot at replacing Quick’s production this week against the 49ers.

    Mychal Rivera, TE, Raiders: (0.5% on NFL)(0.6% on ESPN) I’ve been waiting for a reason to put Rivera in one of my columns since he was oddly mentioned as a building block for the Raiders in the offseason. He’s been a non factor most of the year, but lead all Oakland pass catchers in week 8 with 7 catches on 9 targets for 83 yards. Week 9 is a match-up against a Seattle team that has struggled a against TE’s and Rivera’s performance against the Browns should earn him extra looks going forward.

    One to Watch:

    Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers: (1.0% on NFL)(1.2% on ESPN) The hype train is already in motion for the Buccaneers rookie who’s missed the entire season to this point as he recovers from ankle surgery. Sims is eligible to return to the active roster this week, but as of this writing remains on the IR. When he does return to the active roster Sims is expected to command immediate touches for the 1-6 Buccaneers in hopes that he can revive a rushing attack that has failed to get going. Of course the Buccaneers issues with the run game are much deeper than current starter Doug Martin, as the offensive line hasn’t blocked especially well and a general offensive ineptitude combined with a defense prone to giving opponents early leads forces the team to focus more on the pass game. In short Sims won’t be coming into a completely ideal situation, but the Buccaneers are looking for a light in a lost season, so Sims could quickly take over as the primary ball carrier and pass catcher for the Buccaneers and he’s got the talent to make those touches count. Sims will be a top waiver add sooner than later, so if you can wait out a week with him on your bench he could pay dividends come playoff time. Also a definite add for anyone relying on Doug Martin.

    Streaming QB of the Week:

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Texans: (5.2% on NFL)(3.9% on ESPN) The bye weeks and QB shake-ups make this a bit of a tough one, but Fitzpatrick has at least 200 yards and a TD the past 3 weeks with a 4 to 1 TD to INT ratio and the Eagles have really struggled against the pass. Carson Palmer should also continue to put up numbers if you grabbed him last week and want to roll with him, and Eli Manning’s Monday night matchup with Indianapolis intrigues me, but he’s owned in a quite a few leagues (40% on NFL)(60% on ESPN.) If you’re looking to take a risk, it would be just like the Redskins to shut down Dez Bryant and Tony Romo one week only to be torched by Teddy Bridgewater and Cordarrelle Patterson the following week.

    Streaming Defense of the Week:

    Minnesota Vikings D/ST: (6.4% on NFL)(9.3% on ESPN) I’m going to attempt to ride the hot hand at defense this week and go with the Minnesota Vikings fresh off a game ending fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. The Vikings have 15 sacks in their last 3 games while generating 6 turnovers (4 against the Bills in week 7) and allowing no more than 17 points in each of those games. Colt McCoy has done a good job protecting the football in limited work, but the Redskins offensive line has allowed it’s share of sacks and the offense struggles to generate points. On the other side of the ball the Redskins defense looked good against a talented Dallas team and could have a big day if they get pressure on Teddy Bridgewater and the run defense returns to form after being gashed by Superhuman Demarco Murray.