It is no secret that luck is a legitimate factor in any fantasy season, whether it is the good kind or the bad kind. That includes luck with injuries, your head-to-head opponent’s score, and timing with acquiring players before they break out. It is also true that fantasy is an odds-based game where the most successful teams are those who can manage those ebbs and flows by utilizing every roster spot with potential difference-makers and going outside the box when disaster strikes. Easier said than done, I know, but the second half of the season is when those seemingly-innocuous contingency plans can quickly become your primary options. Here are a few options to beef up your roster for this week and beyond.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end. If anyone featured below is at risk of not playing or is relegated to a bench role late in the week, I will do my best to keep you all updated on Twitter (@BrandonMillerFB). All players below are under 65%-rostered as of 11/03/21.
Jeremy McNichols (RB, Tennessee Titans)
With a nearly identical rostered percentage as Titans newcomer Adrian Peterson, fantasy managers appear to be split on their feelings about who will step up to a more prominent role in the absence of megastar Derrick Henry. The most likely scenario is that we will soon get a mix of both the 36-year-old Peterson’s “power forward and get what is blocked” approach that he has adopted in his twilight NFL years combined with McNichols’ blend of above-average speed and receiving skills. While some might speculate that McNichols will remain the change-of-pace and passing-down option, I feel he is a capable runner (4.4 yards/carry in 56 career attempts) who will lead the backfield in touches more often than not given his ability to play all three downs. Particularly this week in a game against the Rams that I expect the Titans to be trailing, McNichols is my preferred option.
* Boston Scott (RB, Philadelphia Eagles)
Since my Kenneth Gainwell recommendation last week was an abject disaster, what could go wrong going back to the well on another Eagles RB? Feel free to not answer that. In all seriousness, this week’s matchup against the Chargers is better than it may appear at first glance as the LAC defense has given up the third-most fantasy points per game to RBs. If the Eagles do fall into a negative game script (currently 1.5-point home underdogs), Scott has shown the receiving chops to remain relevant as he led Philly’s RBs in receiving yardage last season despite being targeted 16-fewer times than starter Miles Sanders. Perhaps Week 8 was an anomaly, but the 5’6″, 203lbs Scott also opened some eyes with two short-yardage scores last week. Slot him in as an RB3/ low-end Flex.
Other names to consider (in order): Devontae Booker (66% Yahoo, top streamer if Barkley is out), Devin Singletary, Tony Pollard (59% ESPN, priority add/ handcuff), AJ Dillon, D’Ernest Johnson, Nyheim Hines, Adrian Peterson, Ty Johnson, Latavius Murray, Carlos Hyde (monitor James Robinson status), Mark Ingram II, Kenyan Drake, David Johnson, Rex Burkhead, Kenneth Gainwell, Jordan Howard, Derrick Gore, Samaje Perine, Salvon Ahmed, Sony Michel, Phillip Lindsay, Brandon Bolden, Devonta Freeman, JaMycal Hasty, Rhamondre Stevenson, Damien Williams (check status), Marlon Mack, Demetric Felton, Alex Collins (bye – priority stash), J.D. McKissic (bye – stash), Alexander Mattison (handcuff), Jeff Wilson Jr (IR – stash).
* DeVante Parker (WR, Miami Dolphins)
With Parker currently checking in between 60-70% rostered in ESPN and Yahoo leagues, this may be your last opportunity to get him on your roster if you believe that his per-game averages of 8.6 targets, 5 catches, and 65.4 receiving yards will sustain (five games active so far). The 1-7 Dolphins are not expected to be in too many positive game scripts this season, so Parker will be counted on to shoulder the receiving load alongside Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki as Miami likely plays catch-up most weeks. Although Week 9’s matchup against the Texans presents one of the few opportunities where the Dolphins will actually be favored (-6.5) and could be leading throughout, I still feel Parker will get enough work to provide a solid floor and is a reliable depth WR in terms of rest-of-season outlook.
Van Jefferson (WR, Los Angeles Rams)
Since I typically like to discuss new names in this article instead of rolling out repeats each week, it is time that Van Jefferson gets his due respect for a 2021 campaign that has seen him already surpass last year’s season-long total in half the games played (392 receiving yards so far in 2021 vs 220 yards in 2020). He is not at the tip-top of my recommended WR streamers this week as I would slot him behind Christian Kirk in the rankings below, but that should not take away from what he has done thus far or has the potential to do in this chain-moving offense. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are fantasy mainstays who are not forfeiting their spots on the depth chart barring injury, but Jefferson is already a fringe low-end WR3/WR4 as is and would naturally be a high-priority waiver add if either were to miss time. The Rams’ Week 9 opponent Titans are above-average against the run while surrendering the most fantasy points per game to opposing WRs, opening the possibility for Jefferson to continue this efficient production as Matthew Stafford‘s tertiary option.
Other names to consider (in order): Cole Beasley (69% ESPN/ Yahoo), Kenny Golladay (check status), Kadarius Toney (check status), Jarvis Landry (68% Yahoo), Christian Kirk, Darnell Mooney, Hunter Renfrow, Jamison Crowder, Rashod Bateman, Russell Gage, Rondale Moore, Tajae Sharpe, Laviska Shenault Jr., Bryan Edwards, Marquez Callaway, Mecole Hardman, Robby Anderson, Nelson Agholor, Tim Patrick, K.J. Osborn, Zach Pascal, Jamal Agnew, Brandon Aiyuk, Elijah Moore, Quez Watkins, Randall Cobb, Kendrick Bourne, Tre’Quan Smith, Darius Slayton, Allen Lazard, Michael Gallup (check status), Sterling Shepard (check status), Will Fuller V (IR – stash).
* Pat Freiermuth (TE, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Next up on this season’s list of tight ends that I hope perform their way out of eligibility for this article is Pat Freirmuth, who has seen his targets hold steady at seven in each of the last two weeks. Frankly, I am not as sold on Freirmuth as I have been on other recent holders of this spot (such as Hunter Henry from the list below), but there is something to be said about the rapport he has demonstrated with Ben Roethlisberger. His 22 catches on 27 targets is the fourth-best catch percentage in the league and a welcome improvement from Eric Ebron‘s 60.6% catch rate over two seasons with Pittsburgh (63 catches on 104 targets). Even with Ebron likely back to siphon some targets away from the youngster this week, I feel the coaching staff would be wise to keep a good thing going with Freirmuth as their clear top TE option.
Other names to consider (in order): Hunter Henry (63% ESPN, #1 priority TE add), Jared Cook, C.J. Uzomah, Dan Arnold, Tyler Conklin, Evan Engram, Mo Alie-Cox, Cole Kmet, Jonnu Smith, David Njoku, Austin Hooper, Albert Okwuegbunam, Hayden Hurst, Tommy Sweeney, Anthony Firkser, Adam Trautman, Blake Jarwin, Tommy Tremble, Jack Doyle, Jordan Akins, Donald Parham Jr., Marcedes Lewis, Foster Moreau, Ross Dwelley, Ricky Seals-Jones (bye – stash), Dawson Knox (injured – stash), Logan Thomas (IR – stash).
Accountability is everything, so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Kenneth Gainwell (RB, Philadelphia Eagles): There is not much to say except I was just wrong on this one. Despite Gainwell spending the entire season as Philly’s backup, he was unexpectedly dog-housed when the game mattered in favor of veterans Boston Scott and Jordan Howard. He is not a must-drop in case that turns out to be an anomaly, but he is an easy cut if you need the roster space or have more exciting options.
Michael Carter (RB, New York Jets): Carter has now hopefully put his days as a streamer in the rearview mirror after a breakout Week 8 that saw him amass 15 carries for 77 rushing yards and a score along with nine catches for 95 yards. He is a solid RB2 rest of season.
Kenny Golladay (WR, New York Giants): Well, we are still waiting on Golladay and the Giants offense as a whole to get healthy, but I can feel the day is coming. Maybe hope springs eternal for me with this struggling collection of young talent, but I still think Golladay and Kadarius Toney have the ability to be Flex options in spite of everything that has occurred up to this point. Unless Golladay or the Giants coaching staff explicitly says that his knee will not get any better this season, I am targeting him as a second-half sleeper.
Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars): Unless the targets start trending up or the Jaguars get creative with finding ways for Shenault to get the ball in space, he is best left on your Watch List.
Robert Tonyan (TE, Green Bay Packers): Tonyan had a respectable night going with three catches on four targets for 49 yards until he was lost for the season with an ACL tear. The Packers did not make any TE moves at the NFL trade deadline, leaving Green Bay’s TE group as one to avoid in fantasy.
Make sure to check out AJ Passman’s priority waiver wire adds article every Tuesday for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday. Good luck in Week 9!
(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)