Top Players to Add in Week 9
A great draft makes a great team, but leagues are won and lost on the waiver wire. Injuries happen, and stars emerge from the ashes. Successfully navigating the waters of the waiver wire will lead to a winning season. Here are my top five targets to help you win through the wire this week.
An important thing to consider: there could be players rostered in over 50% of leagues that are available on waivers. Be vigilant; watch your league’s Free Agency pool and look for players who were given up too early.
Byes are back in Week 9: the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, and Denver Broncos all have the week off.
1. Darrell Henderson Jr. – Sorry ESPN readers, this one is for Yahoo managers and those in the 39% of ESPN leagues with Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. as my number one waiver pickup for the second straight week. Maybe I’m a little biased towards a fellow Jr., but this is the last week Henderson should be able to qualify for this article in any league. Kyren Williams is still on IR and while Royce Freeman has been getting his share (we’ll get to him later), Henderson continues to fill the Rams’ lead running back role. Henderson again led L.A. in rushing attempts with 12 for 31 yards but also caught all three of his targets for 54 yards. His involvement in the passing game is what gives him the edge over Freeman and why he continues to be my number-one waiver target. The Rams play the Green Bay Packers next, who allow 18.43 points per game to running backs, the ninth-most in the league.
2. Zach Charbonnet – This one is not so much about how Seattle Seahawks running back Zach Charbonnet looked, but how much (or little) we saw Kenneth Walker III last week. Walker only played 24 snaps last week, his first time with a snap count under 50 percent all season. It was also the first game Charbonnet (34) out-snapped Walker (24). Walker did miss practice last Wednesday and Thursday, so the injury may be still lingering. It will be interesting to see if Walker will miss any practices this week, but Charbonnet would be in a very favorable position if Walker misses any time.
3. Jahan Dotson – Right after I declared Curtis Samuel as the WR2 in Washington, Jahan Dotson goes out and gets himself 10 targets. He caught 8 of them for 108 yards and a touchdown, good enough for WR7 before MNF. This was Dotson’s best game by a mile this season, but with the consistent targets and Sam Howell continuing to look like a very legit starter Dotson should continue to have Flex value minimum with lots of upside.
4. Devin Singletary – Devin Singletary has slowly turned into Devin Multiple-Carry. In the last two weeks, Singletary saw his two largest snap count percentages of the season, 54 percent and 40 percent, and when compared to Dameon Pierce’s snap count percentages (33 percent and 43 percent) the gap in the Houston Texans backfield appears to be closing. Singletary also has seen two targets in each of the last two weeks compared to Pierce’s zero. Singletary has also had 22 carries over the last two weeks compared to Pierce’s 25 carries. Singletary has also scored more fantasy points in each of the last two weeks than Pierce. While I can’t say if this trend will continue, Singletary is at least worth a speculative add.
5. Brandin Cooks – For the second straight week, Brandin Cooks caught a touchdown. Cooks has been targeted exactly four times in each of the last four games (talk about consistency),. This week the Dallas Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles, who allow the most points to wide receivers (28.75 points per game). James Bradberry gave up two touchdowns last week alone, and Darius Slay hasn’t played like himself in recent weeks, either. Cooks is well-positioned to post one of his best games of the season.
Others Receiving Votes
Royce Freeman, LAR (17% ESPN, 22% Yahoo) – If Darrell Henderson Jr. is already rostered in your league, I do like Rolls Royce Freeman as an alternative. Freeman out-snapped Henderson last week 33 to 29, had much better yards per attempt (4.9 to 2.6), and rushed for a touchdown. Freeman offers some upside, but he’s touchdown-dependent, which is why I have him lower than Henderson.
Quentin Johnston, LAC (31% ESPN, 19% Yahoo) – Maybe all Quentin Johnston needed was some time to find his rhythm. Last week was the first time Johnston had more than three targets, and he earned six, catching five of them for 50 yards. It was the first time all season Johnston had more targets than Joshua Palmer. That’s a positive sign and I’m taking it as good omen of things to come. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Chargers play the New York Jets next week , who allow the fewest points (only 10.57 points per game) to the wide receiver position. If my fantasy team is (6-2) or (7-1), I’m very comfortable spending a roster spot on Johnston and watching him develop.
Demario Douglas, NE (1% ESPN, 3% Yahoo) – With Kendrick Bourne out for the season I turn to another New England wide receiver; shout out to Demario Douglas. Demario, or “Pop,” as the rookie is affectionately known, is second in targets among wide receivers on the team; I expect him to take over the main role going forward. This week the New England Patriots face the Washington Commanders, who allow the second-most points per game to wide receivers at 28.5.
Kendrick Bourne, NE (36% ESPN, 46% Yahoo) – While I was writing this week’s article the news came out that Kendrick Bourne has torn his ACL and is out for the season. If you’ve followed this article this season you’ll know I was a huge fan of Bourne, calling him my number 1 waiver pickup after Week 1 and always mentioning him here. While Bourne never reached the numbers to be excluded from this article this will be his final mention, but his spirit will live on forever in our hearts.
Trey McBride, ARI (7% ESPN, 20% Yahoo) – Zach Ertz who? Trey McBride filled in and showed out the tight end position for the Arizona Cardinals this week. McBride caught 10 of his 14 targets for 95 yards. All three of those numbers surpass anything Ertz did this year. If your team is set at the skill positions and you need a waiver wire target, consider yourself the groom who just found his McBride. Keep in mind though the Cardinals play the Cleveland Browns next week who allow the fewest points to tight ends, only 2.71 points per game. If not for that matchup, McBride would be in my Top 5 this week.
Taysom Hill, NO (15% ESPN, 35% Yahoo) – The chest injury that left Tayson Hill questionable before the game must have been the ‘S’ burned into his chest. Hill led the New Orleans Saints in rushing with 63 yards on nine attempts, matching his season high for attempts. He also rushed for two touchdowns; before this game, he had only a single rushing touchdown all season. While Hill is an unpredictable firecracker of a tight end, he has enough upside to be rostered in most leagues.
Sam Howell, WAS (30% ESPN, 45% Yahoo) – Sam Howell put up his best game of the season and is Week 8’s QB1 (before MNF). Howell had his first 4 touchdown game and put up nearly 400 passing yards (397 to be exact). The most impressive stat to me was Howell was only sacked once! He did throw a pick, but it came after the team fell behind late, so I don’t hold it too much against him. Howell faces New England next week, who are average against quarterbacks, allowing 16.50 points per game.
Will Levis, TEN (1% ESPN, 4% Yahoo) – Mayo Man has arrived! It was refreshing to watch Will Levis breathe new life into the Tennessee Titans’ passing offense in Week 8. Ryan Tannehill has two touchdown passes this year, Levis threw four(!) in one week to go along with 238 yards. To trust a player with one career start is a bold leap but with Trevor Lawerence, Brock Purdy, and Jared Goff on bye as well as Kirk Cousins‘s injury, Levis could be an interesting play next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kyler Murray, ARI (31% ESPN, 56% Yahoo) – We’re getting closer to a potential Kyler Murray return in Arizona! While he’s rostered in over half of Yahoo leagues consider your last reminder to ESPN managers, get a piece now before the shares are all gone. The upside could be worth it for anyone getting by on mediocre quarterbacks so far.
Cleveland Browns (49%) face the Arizona Cardinals and their question at quarterback.
Las Vegas Raiders (38%) face the New York Giants, who allow 18.02 points per game to defenses, the most in the league.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter/X)