If you are fortunate enough to make it to a Week 16 championship, the end of Week 8 officially marks the halfway point of your season. By now, you should have a good idea of where your team stands and the roster work you need to do. Whether you’re planning ahead for upcoming bye weeks or planning ahead for a title run by acquiring players with appetizing playoff schedules, you have to make every roster spot count. Here are a few players that I think can fill in as capable streamers in Week 9 and possibly beyond.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end.
Raheem Mostert (RB, San Francisco 49ers)
If Matt Breida sits for the 49ers’ Thursday night contest against the Cardinals, don’t be afraid to use Mostert as an RB3/FLEX fill-in this week. Currently tops in the NFL with nearly 39 team rushing attempts per game, the run-heavy 49ers produce enough weekly backfield touches to support two fantasy-relevant options. Again, if Breida sits, that equates to Mostert seeing double-digit touches in a complementary role to Tevin Coleman. Mostert is currently first in yards per carry (5.7ypc) among players with at least 50 rush attempts, flashing the ability to produce efficiently even without a starter’s workload. The former track and field standout has the speed to break off big gains at any time and the Cardinals have been a below-average defense against the run so far this season.
Duke Johnson (RB, Houston Texans)
I’m not here to provide any revelations about Johnson’s fantasy value; chances are he will continue to get around 7-10 touches per game as the change-of-pace option to Carlos Hyde. He likely won’t turn into the high-floor PPR/ James White clone we might have imagined to start the year, but Johnson has been effective when called upon. He wastes little time behind the line of scrimmage as the most north-south runner in the NFL (per Next Gen Stats’ Efficiency metric) and is averaging 5.8 yards per carry on 47 rushes. He’s not the flashiest add out there, but Duke Johnson can give you respectable numbers as an RB4/RB3 with potential for more in a game that could turn into a shootout with the Jaguars in London.
Diontae Johnson* (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
When it comes to young or inexperienced players who have yet to prove themselves as reliable fantasy options, we have to be willing to pivot quickly and, in my case, admit I was wrong. Initially, I figured that James Washington would step up as the Steelers #2 WR due to his college connection with Mason Rudolph. Instead it has been the rookie third-round pick out of Toledo that has followed closely behind JuJu Smith-Schuster atop the Steelers’ receiving pecking order. Rudolph is coming off his most pass attempts in a game this season (36) and hooked up with Johnson for a 45-yard touchdown in Week 8, their second connection of 40+ yards this year. With their bye week out of the way and matchup on deck against the Colts’ middling secondary, Johnson is a solid add for this week and potential depth piece to help you through the upcoming slog of bye weeks.
Danny Amendola (WR, Detroit Lions)
I am well-aware that Amendola has fooled us before with enticing stat lines only to stumble the following week. When it comes to picking the best streaming candidates to fill out your roster, however, there is no room for grudges over letdowns or underachieving fantasy seasons that happened in previous years. Since Kerryon Johnson exited the lineup in Week 7, the Lions have utilized Amendola and the short passing game as an extension of their struggling rushing attack. Over the past two weeks, Amendola has hauled in a combined 16 catches on 19 targets for 200 yards. His health will always be a question mark, but Amendola has found himself in a favorable position to produce WR3/FLEX numbers more often than not considering his recent involvement and team context.
Chris Herndon (TE, New York Jets)
Alright, let’s try this again. I recommended Herndon prior to Week 6 before he went down late in the week with a hamstring injury that he has been tending to until now. Now that he is finally expected to reach the field on Sunday, Herndon is a must-add for any TE-needy teams whether it’s for Week 9 or possibly the rest of the season. The Jets’ schedule is lightening up significantly for the next six weeks which should serve as the proving ground for whether or not Herndon can be trusted down the stretch and into the fantasy playoffs. The TE position is extremely thin at the top so it won’t take much for Herndon to work his way into fringe-TE1 status as long as he can re-establish the connection he displayed with Sam Darnold last season.
Accountability is everything so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Ty Johnson (RB, Detroit Lions): Hopefully you didn’t have to spend too much to get Ty Johnson last week. While I think it’s unfair to judge him based on one week as the listed starter, I also don’t have much faith in the Lions’ run game to support anything other than the occasional FLEX performance. Hang on to him for now but don’t hesitate to cut bait in a couple weeks if things don’t start trending in the right direction.
Mark Walton (RB, Miami Dolphins): Walton’s Week 8 performance overall was mediocre (11 carries for 35 yards, three catches for 19 yards, one fumble), but you have to roster a player being counted on as the lead back, even if it’s for a team that may not win a game this season. He’s a worthwhile RB3/FLEX depth piece that could get you through these trying bye weeks.
Corey Davis (WR, Tennessee Titans): The Titans passing game managed to find the end zone three times last Sunday but Davis was not on the receiving end of any of them, hauling in just two of six targets for 19 yards. I’m not ready to give up on him just yet because he’s still receiving a healthy amount of air yards and Tannehill should continue to provide more of a passing threat, but I won’t fault you for dropping him if you need the roster spot.
DaeSean Hamilton (WR, Denver Broncos): Hamilton failed to catch his only target on Sunday and the Broncos lost Joe Flacco for an indefinite amount of time with a neck injury. You know it’s not a good situation when you’re relying on Flacco to get you fantasy points and now we don’t even have that. Feel free to keep on your watch list but you can let him go to the waiver wire.
Kyle Rudolph (TE, Minnesota Vikings): Unlike the very top options at tight end who can provide a safe yardage floor and semi-regular visits to the end zone, streaming tight ends are a crapshoot primarily dependent on whether or not that player scores a touchdown. Rudolph had one of those “didn’t find the end zone” tight end weeks, chipping in three catches on three targets for 17 yards. Set him loose and spin the wheel of streaming tight ends if you need to.
Jonnu Smith (TE, Tennessee Titans): Smith led the Titans in receiving last week in place of Delanie Walker, totaling six catches on seven targets for 68 yards and a touchdown. As long as Walker remains out, I can see Smith grasping this opportunity and having potential as a weekly back-end TE1. Smith is an excellent athlete who can rip off chunks of yardage, which is a huge bonus in a streaming tight end market that is largely TD-or-bust.