Week 8 provided football fans with plenty of excitement as nine teams across the NFL scored 30 or more points going into Monday night’s matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams.
Amid all the scoring were some second and third-tierfantasy players making names for themselves with impressive performances. Several of these players are on waiver wires everywhere and should be added, and in some cases started, in Week 9 regardless of what scoring system is used.
Let’s look at players from every position worth using a roster move to acquire before Week 9 begins on Thursday.
Marvin Jones, WR
If not for Calvin Johnson‘s incredible 329 receiving yards, Marvin Jones would have been the most impressive wide receiver of Week 8. The Bengals’ sophomore wideout has gotten at least five targets in each of the last three weeks, and on Sunday, he caught eight passes for 122 yards and an astounding four touchdowns on eight targets. In his last three games, Jones has tallied a total of six touchdowns, 15 receptions and 250 receiving yards.
That touchdown total certainly won’t be maintained consistently, but Jones is going to be a threat to find the endzone each week because he’s receiving a lot of one-on-one matchups with defenses paying so much attention to elite, No. 1 receiver A.J. Green on the outside. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is looking Jones’ way often and trusts him to make tough catches in traffic.
Even in leagues that don’t use point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, Jones is a must-add from the waiver wire and someone who should be started each week as a WR2, WR3 or a flex option.
Jason Campbell, QB
With Colin Kaepernick, Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford all on byes this week, consider picking up Jason Campbell for a spot-start in Week 9. The veteran backup started Sunday’s game for the Browns against the undefeated Chiefs, and he threw for 293 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also completed 61.1 percent of his passes. This performance should give Campbell at least another start even if Brandon Weeden is healthy enough to play in Week 9.
When you consider the fact that the Browns offense does have a few star players in the passing game, including tight end Jordan Cameron and receiver Josh Gordon, there’s little risk in starting Campbell next week.
Andre Ellington, RB
Ellington owners have been frustrated at the lack of carries he had been receiving in recent weeks, but that changed on Sunday when the Cardinals made the young running back the focal point of their offense.
With a season-high 15 carries, he rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown, including an 80-yard run. Ellington now has a 7.7 yards per carry average this season, and it seems that nearly every time he touches the ball, good things happen for Arizona’s offense. The former sixth-round draft pick is also contributing to the team’s passing attack with 22 receptions for 192 yards and a touchdown this season, which makes him even more valuable in leagues that use PPR scoring.
The Cardinals have a bye in Week 9, but Ellington should be picked up immediately in all fantasy leagues because he’s by far the best running back available and is a high-end RB2 for the rest of the season.
Josh McCown, QB
The Bears will start Josh McCown over the next few weeks while starting quarterback Jay Cutler recovers from an injury. The 34-year-old veteran will have a lot of quality targets in the passing game, including talented receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, a pass-catching running back in Matt Forte and a reliable tight end in Martellus Bennett.
McCown took over for Cutler in Chicago’s Week 7 loss to Washington, and completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He’s a good bye week replacement if you own either of the Mannings, Stafford or Kaepernick.
Dexter McCluster, RB
McCluster doesn’t have a true position because he lines up as a receiver and a running back at different times in each game, but he’s productive and worth owning in all types of fantasy leagues. He’s especially valuable in PPR leagues because he’s a tremendous receiver out of the backfield, and Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is a conservative passer who would rather make a safe play by checking down to a running back instead of throwing deep to Dwayne Bowe.
McCluster was targeted 10 times on Sunday and made seven catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. The former second-round pick has been targeted 20 times over the last three weeks and is worth starting as a flex option in Week 9 because he has a favorable matchup against a Bills defense that ranks 24th against the pass and 25th versus the run.
List of Best Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 9 (among those not mentioned above)
QB: Mike Glennon (TB), Jake Locker (TEN)
WR: Kenny Stills (NO), Aaron Dobson (NE), Terrance Williams (DAL), Harry Douglas (ATL)
RB: Brandon Bolden (NE), Andre Brown (NYG)
TE: Tim Wright (TB), Jordan Reed (WAS), Scott Chandler (BUF)