Think fantasy football is all fun and games? Well, you’re right. It pretty much is. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little bit of work involved.
The dreaded bye week gauntlet is upon us, as 12 of the NFL’s 32 teams have byes over the next two weeks (Week 9’s lineup includes Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee). Chances are, you have several players who will sit out this week, and in addition to the injuries that take their toll on the league every Sunday, your lineup probably could use some help.
Good thing the waiver wire is here! Even if pickings are slim, getting to the free agent pool first can help you get a leg up on other players inevitably looking to fill similar holes in their roster. Here’s the cream of the Week 9 crop that you should target before they get scooped up.
Quarterback: Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Smith might be the most boring name on the waiver wire, but a matchup against the New York Jets in Week 9 should get you excited. The porous Jets pass defense has yielded twenty or more fantasy points to all but two opposing quarterbacks in standard-scoring leagues this season, and one of those was Derek Carr in his first NFL start. Smith should be the top streaming quarterback target this week.
Other quarterbacks to watch: Blake Bortles, Ryan Tannehill, Mike Glennon, Robert Griffin III, Austin Davis
Running Back: Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you’re in a bigger league, your waiver wire pool might be pretty shallow. If so, try rolling the dice with Sims. The Buccaneers’ third round pick out of West Virginia, Sims missed the first half of the season with an ankle injury. He’s back now, and Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey have been virtually ineffective all season. With a shaky Cleveland Browns run defense on the schedule in Week 9, Sims could make a splash in his NFL debut.
Other running backs to watch: Jonas Gray, Jonathan Stewart, Darren McFadden, Jeremy Hill, Khiry Robinson
Wide Receiver: Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
We know, everyone and their grandmother caught a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday. But Bryant might be more than just a flash in the pan. The rookie is fast developing into the No. 2 receiver that Pittsburgh hoped Markus Wheaton would be and has now caught three touchdown passes in the last two weeks. The Baltimore Ravens will be a tough matchup in Week 9, but the Steelers get the Jets in Week 10. Bryant is a good guy to have on your roster going forward.
Other wide receivers to watch: Brandon LaFell, Allen Robinson, Andre Holmes, Andrew Hawkins, John Brown
Tight End: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The bad news: Seferian-Jenkins’ fumble in overtime Sunday cost his the team the game. The good news: He caught his first touchdown pass earlier in the game and now has posted five or more fantasy points in back-to-back weeks. Sure, it’s not much, but the Bucs get the Browns in Week 9, so if you’re desperate for a tight end, the rookie is a decent option.
Other tight ends to watch: Dwayne Allen, Lance Kendricks, John Carlson, Jared Cook
Have a fantasy/NFL question for Darren? Send it to him via Twitter at @darren_hartwell
Photo via Jason Bridge/USA TODAY Sports Images
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