In my week 8 waiver article I advocated to add Corey Coleman, Corey Davis and Greg Olsen to your rosters as they neared their respective returns from injury. I think I was a week or two premature with my call, but I would rather be too early than late. Their ownership percentages haven’t changed much from last week, so once again, if you need help at the wide receiver or tight end position and can afford to waste a bench spot for 2 weeks, snag them because their returns are nearing. There weren’t many big injuries this week other than Jameis Winston possibly re-injuring his shoulder and Zach Miller’s leg, so there really aren’t any surprises to discuss here.
Because there aren’t many exciting adds this week, I think it’s a good opportunity to start thinking about some high upside players on bad teams who are currently flying under the radar. Often times, when teams are out of contention, they try to evaluate their younger talent to evaluate what they have for the future. Off hand, the Browns need to evaluate Corey Coleman, which means he may get extra looks if the Browns try to see if he can be a true #1 WR. The Raiders are almost out of it at 3-5, and you have to ask yourself if they will continue the Marshawn Lynch experiment or see what they have for the future with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. If you picked up Washington or Richard for a spot start in week 8, you may not want to drop them right away. The Colts are awful, and trade rumors are circulating about Frank Gore. If the Colts decide to see what they have in their younger running backs, Marlon Mack could be a league winner for you.
The 49ers are still winless and Pierre Garcon isn’t getting any younger. Trent Taylor isn’t a special athlete by any means but he’s a solid slot receiver and he may get extra looks if the 49ers go into evaluation mode, especially now that the 49ers upgraded their QB with Jimmy Garoppolo. Adam Shaheen was the Bears 2nd round pick in 2017 and with Zach Miller out, look for the Bears to see what he can do as they slip out of contention.
This week, the Bears, Browns, Chargers, Patriots, Steelers and Vikings are all on bye. That means a lot of production needs to be replaced this week because the following players will be absent from fantasy lineups this week:
Patriots – Tom Brady, Dion Lewis, James White, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski
Bears – Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen
Browns – Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, David Njoku
Chargers – Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry
Steelers – Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster
Vikings – Jerrick McKinnon, Latavius Murray, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph
Jimmy Garoppolo – QB SF 49ers – Matt Ryan didn’t have the greatest 2015 as he acclimated to Kyle Shanahan’s offense, but his 2016 season, year 2, was one of the best statistical seasons put together by a quarterback in NFL history. I am not saying the same will happen for Jimmy G, but he will be better than CJ Beathard and he will instantly make everybody around him better in San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan now has a legitimate signal caller to run his offense, watch out. All of a sudden Marquise Goodwin looks more intriguing. I don’t care what his stats were in New England, or about his limited body of work, he learned how to prepare from the best in the business and he will have one of the best offensive coordinators in the league coaching him.
Josh McCown – QB NY Jets – Josh McCown is the #9 quarterback in fantasy football right now and is only owned in 24% of Yahoo leagues…let that sink in. Everybody thought the Jets might go 0 – 2017 but they have been extremely competitive this year and McCown has remained healthy. The Jets don’t have stud play makers but Jermaine Kearse, Robby Anderson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins have been getting it done as his supporting cast. The Jets host the Bills this week who have been solid against opposing quarterbacks, but it’s not an impossible matchup. McCown wasn’t supposed to do much against a solid Falcons defense last week but he still managed to throw for 257 yards and 2 TD’s. While McCown isn’t knocking it out of the park each week, he is putting up consistent numbers, landing in the top 6 each of the last 3 weeks.
Jared Goff – QB LA Rams – Goff is owned in 46% of Yahoo leagues and was most likely dropped in several leagues because the Rams were just on bye. Similar to Josh McCown, Goff hasn’t been lighting it up in spectacular fashion, but he has been consistently getting it done as long as the matchup is right. This week the Rams play at the Giants which isn’t the best matchup but the Giants have been inconsistent on defense so far this year. The Rams will throw the ball to the open receiver, so although it’s unclear which receiving option will get it done for the Rams this week, Goff should put up modest fantasy numbers.
Trevor Siemian – QB Denver Broncos – Siemian is only owned in 29% in Yahoo leagues after starting out the season as the hottest QB in fantasy football. The Broncos had some difficult matchups beyond week 3, and the schedule eases up a little for the next few weeks, starting with week 9 when the Broncos play at the Philadelphia Eagles who have been struggling on the back end. The Broncos won’t be able to run on the Eagles and will need to pass. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will pose as serious mismatches for the Eagles corners especially if Ronald Darby continues to miss time which will only help Siemian come through. If you are a Tom Brady owner and weren’t rostering a backup QB, Siemian may save you this week.
Sterling Shepard – WR NY Giants – Shepard is owned in only 56% of Yahoo leagues and should be the #1 wide receiver in the Giants offense. Look for Shepard and Evan Engram to dominate targets for the balance of the 2017 season. Shepard should be fully recovered from his ankle injury coming off the bye and participated in practice on Monday. Shepard did have 8 touchdowns as a rookie in 2016, so he can be a viable redzone threat, not just a high volume, low yardage, no touchdown scoring slot receiver.
Robby Anderson – WR NY Jets – Anderson is owned in only 27% of Yahoo leagues and he broke out this past week in a tough matchup against the Falcons, catching all 6 of his targets for 104 yards and a touchdown. It’s too late, you should have added Anderson before he had a game like this, so if you are desperate for some wide receiver help you are going to have to get more aggressive bidding for him if your league uses FAAB on waivers.
Cooper Kupp – WR LA Rams – Kupp had 23 catches off 42 targets for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns going into the Rams bye. Kupp is one of Goff’s favorite targets and he can be trusted if the opposition has a weak slot corner or a strength elsewhere on the defense. Kupp is only owned in 42% of Yahoo leagues and is an extremely viable option. The Rams do play the Giants this week which is a difficult matchup on paper, but the Giants have been inconsistent on defense so far this season, so he may come through this week.
Jamison Crowder – WR Washington Redskins – Prior to week 8, Crowder had 30 targets, 19 catches for 149 yards and 0 TD’s. This week, Crowder was targeted 13 times, and hauled in 9 of them for 123 yards. Crowder almost doubled his yardage total on the season this week and still hasn’t scored a touchdown, but it appears Kurt Cousins has found his rhythm with Crowder again. Crowder was likely drafted as a WR2 or WR3 and is only owned in 60% of Yahoo leagues, meaning many owners probably grew frustrated with the lack of production and cut him. Crowder plays the Seahawks next week who can be beat in the slot. Crowder hasn’t scored a TD yet this year and that’s bound to change sooner or later.
Jordan Matthews – WR Buffalo Bills – The Bills spread the ball around to 5 different receivers on Sunday, with Zay Jones leading the way with 5 of them. That being said, this is Matthews’ second game back from thumb surgery, and he appears to be getting back into his groove. Matthews looked alright out there on Sunday and he really fits the Bills horizontal passing attack. He’s only owned in 35% of Yahoo leagues and he has the Jets this week. Matthews is the best receiver on the Bills roster and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes Tyrod Taylor’s favorite wide receiver and most consistent option.
Jack Doyle – TE Indianapolis Colts – The Indianapolis Colts are simply awful and Jacoby Brissett cannot get the ball to the Colts receivers. I understand the Bengals have a solid pass defense but TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief have been miserable against everybody except for Cleveland and San Francisco this season. Doyle is owned in 49% of Yahoo leagues and could be a decent bye week filler for you if you’re missing Gronk or Rudolph this week. Although Doyle has gotten it done lately, he has also disappeared at times, so I wouldn’t lock him in as your TE1 for the remainder of the year.
David Njoku – TE Cleveland Browns – Njoku is only owned in 10% of Yahoo leagues. He was compared to Greg Olsen during the pre-draft process and he’s starting to play more as of late. Initially he was only being used near the redzone, but lately, the Browns have been using him across the entire field and have been taking some shots to him. Although Njoku had 2 catches off 7 targets for 19 yards and 0 TD’s this past week against the Vikings, Kizer barely missed him on a deep shot. The talent and athletic ability is there, so he is worth a speculative add, especially since the Browns are out of contention and need to see what he can do.
Charles Clay – TE Buffalo Bills – Clay was one of the most consistent fantasy tight ends at the start of the year but ten he hurt his knee and he’s now owned in only 14% of Yahoo leagues. Clay was not put on IR, meaning the Bills think he may return sooner rather than later. If you can afford to stash him for a week or two and need help at tight end, take a shot and add him to your roster.
Eric Ebron – TE Detroit Lions – I am not beating on the table for you to go and add Ebron, but he’s a name to monitor with the trade deadline looming today. Ebron is owned in 32% of Yahoo leagues and although he’s clearly not a fit in Detroit, he may be a real difference maker for a different club.
Alex Collins – RB Baltimore Ravens – Collins is fairly game flow dependent. He got it done against a stingy Dolphins run defense this past week because the Dolphins laid down and the Ravens were able to simply pound the ball for a majority of the game because they never trailed. I am not excited about adding Collins to my team, but in situations where I am dealing with injury or bye week issues, I will consider adding him as he’s only owned in 33% of Yahoo leagues. I will, however, only consider playing him if the matchup is right and it looks like game flow will favor heavy rushing volume. The Ravens play at the Tennessee Titans this week who have been middle of the pack against the run, so this may not be the best week to roll him out there in your starting lineup.
Jonathan Stewart – RB Carolina Panthers – JStew is owned in 44% of Yahoo leagues and the Panthers host the Atlanta Falcons this week. Stewart is coming off an 11 carry, 34 yard and 1 TD effort against a struggling Bucs defense. Stewart is not an exciting addition, but the fact is that he’s their goal line back other than Cam Newton, and if you’re desperate he could get you a touchdown.