I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; fantasy football seasons are won and lost on the waiver wire. A good draft helps, but players will always get hurt and new ones will emerge, making waiver pickups ever so important.
No matter how good your fantasy football team, everybody will have to rely on the waiver wire every once in a while. Any team is susceptible to injuries, bad matchups and of course, bye weeks.
The Bears, Browns, Chargers, Patriots, Steelers, and Vikings are all on byes in Week 9. This will leave some big-time fantasy studs out of your lineup, meaning you’ll have to hit the waiver wire.
There’s no shame in having to resort to waivers to find a starter. Not every draft pick will work out and good production from a waiver pickup can ultimately be more rewarding.
That being said, making the right moves on waivers will ultimately propel your fantasy football team to the top. Here are the top waiver targets at each position for Week 9.
Next: 5. Quarterback Jared Goff
5. Quarterback Jared Goff, LA Rams
After a tough start to his career last year, Jared Goff is finally proving himself worthy of the first overall draft selection. The Rams are one of the hottest teams in football right now, therefore Goff should be owned in all leagues. Goff is available in 55 percent of ESPN leagues and could serve as a solid QB2 for the remainder of the season.
While Goff may not be must-start each week, Week 9 will be a great week to start him. Goff will be facing the Giants defense which has allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year.
Not only are the Giants struggling on the field, but they’re a debacle off the field as well. They had to suspend star corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie due to discipline issues, and it appears they are having the same issues with their top corner, Janoris Jenkins.
While the Rams are rolling, the Giants are imploding. We can expect the Rams to completely outplay the Giants, making Goff a great pickup. Consider Goff a great plug-and-play option if you’re in need of a quarterback.
If Goff is unavailable in your league, consider Tom Savage a good second option, as he and his loaded offense face a struggling Colts pass-defense.
Next: 4. Running Back DeAndre Washington
4. Running Back DeAndre Washington, OAK Raiders
Raiders running back DeAndre Washington looked impressive filling in during the absence of Marshawn Lynch. He’s scored a touchdown in each of the past two games and should start seeing more action, considering they can’t run Lynch into the ground.
Washington, who established a role last year as a change of pace back, fits the same role nicely with Lynch now in Oakland. Washington’s ability break off big plays gives him great upside. If you’re in a PPR league, he’ll have a low floor as he’s often targeted out of the backfield.
With Lynch returning from suspension, Washinton’s role should diminish. Although in the past two weeks, he’s proven himself worthy of playing time and should still get a considerable amount.
Washington will face a tough Bengals defense and Lynch should get the lions share of carries. Because of this, consider him a low to mid end flex play. If you’re in need of an RB/FLEX this week, Washington is your man.
Next: 3. Wide Receiver Kenny Stills
3. Wide Receiver Kenny Stills, MIA Dolphins
While some worry that Parker may take targets away from Stills, you could take a glass-half-full approach, and consider the fact that he’ll be one more receiver for the Raiders to cover, perhaps opening up the field for Stills. In addition, trading running back Jay Ajayi could cause the Dolphins to become more dependent on the passing game. Ultimately, this will increase Stills’ volume.
Stills has 199 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games. A matchup against a suspect Raiders pass-defense presents him with a great chance to extend this hot streak at home.
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Stills is available in 65 percent of ESPN leagues. Consider him a solid WR3/FLEX start against the Raiders this week. If you’re in need of a WR or FLEX this week, Stills is your man.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is on a bye, should be owned in all leagues. Somehow, he’s still available in about 35 percent of ESPN leagues. If he’s still available in your league, consider it a blessing and add him immediately. He has star potential and faces a weak Colts defense in Week 10.
Next: 2. Tight End Benjamin Watson
2. Tight End Benjamin Watson, BAL Ravens
At 36 years old, not only is Ben Watson still in the league, but he’s actually been pretty productive. In fact, in a tight end position that has been shallow, he’s ranked 14th in fantasy scoring.
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Watson’s success has been one of the quieter story-lines of the year. This is most likely due to how badly the Ravens passing-offense has struggled. Although considering Joe Flacco‘s struggles, Watson is actually having a pretty good year.
Watson will face the Titans on Sunday, who have done a decent job at defending tight ends this year. Although, they’ve allowed big games to tight ends in the past two weeks. They’ve given up 14/12.5 fantasy points (PPR) and 11/8.5 fantasy points (non-PPR) to tight ends in the last two weeks.
Even though he ranks in the top 15 at his position, Watson is still available in 86 percent of ESPN leagues. Watson could possibly be a solid TE2 for the remainder of the season. Although if you’re in need of a tight end this week, Watson should be your top target on the waiver wire.
Next: 1. Defense/Special Teams Cincinnati Bengals
1. D/ST Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals defense has been one of the tougher, grittier defenses so far this year. This has gone overlooked due to their record. They’ve proven that they’re worth owning in fantasy with some big games.
The Bengals defense has scored over 10 fantasy points three times so far this year. Their matchup with the Jaguars presents them with the opportunity for another big game.
It’s been no secret that Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles in struggling. This should be something the Bengals defense can capitalize on, hopefully forcing turnovers.
The Bengals defense is available in about 45 percent of ESPN leagues, though they’re worth being owned in all. The Bengals defense may not be a must-start this weekend, but if you find yourself in need of a defense this week, the Bengals will be your best bet.