We have a six-team bye week on our hands, an absolute fantasy football nightmare. All of us have roster holes to patch in Week 9, so let’s get to work. Below you’ll find a collection of priority pickups, all available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and approved for use.
Wide receivers and tight ends on the wire
Moore enjoyed life in the slot on Sunday, hauling in seven of eight targets for 92 yards and a highlight score:
(A highlight for him, a brutal lowlight for three Vikings would-be tacklers.)
He entered the week with a DOT of just 5.8 yards, so it’s not as if he’s seeing high-yield downfield chances. But hey, at least he’s not being targeted strictly at the line of scrimmage, as he was last season (1.4 aDOT). Moore is clearly an explosive talent — he averaged 108.2 scrimmage yards per game at Purdue — and he’s now seeing 6-8 targets per game. He’s a playable WR3 until further notice.
Recommended waiver offer, assuming $100 budget: $19
Mike Williams is expected to miss at least four weeks with a high-ankle sprain, so you should all know how to proceed. We’ve been through this drill a few times with Chargers receivers. Palmer and DeAndre Carter are the next men up in the team’s wide receiver hierarchy behind Keenan Allen and Williams. This week, LA gets an exceedingly friendly matchup with Atlanta’s defense, a group that’s allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. Palmer isn’t necessarily going to give us a perfect Williams impersonation, but he’s a competent receiver who saw a dozen targets the last time he took the field — and, again, the matchup ahead is ideal.
Aaron Rodgers might not be entirely pleased with the state of his receiving corps, but let’s not pretend nobody made a play for him in the loss to Buffalo. Doubs delivered at least one notable highlight, showcasing excellent hands and body control on this second-quarter touchdown grab:
The rookie finished his night with four catches for 62 yards on a team-high seven targets. With Allen Lazard sidelined by injury, Doubs is pretty clearly the most startable Green Bay receiver. He’s perhaps not fully in the circle of trust in our game, but he’s heading into a matchup with Detroit, a defense that’s allowed a league worst 8.4 yards per pass attempt. Doubts is going to rank as a playable fantasy option in a challenging week.
MVS is coming off a 111-yard performance, he consistently plays 70-plus percent of the snaps for Kansas City and his quarterback is an actual sorcerer. Patrick Mahomes entered Week 8 leading the NFL in passing yards, touchdowns and passer-rating. At some point soon, Valdes-Scantling is gonna give us a multi-TD game; he’s third on the team in targets (38), yet he hasn’t visited the end zone for an offense that leads the NFL in scoring (31.9). MVS has an aDOT of 12.2, so he’s seeing high-yield opportunities from the game’s most productive passer. We want potential week-winners like this as our WR3s in deep leagues.
Kadarius Toney is getting all the attention from fantasy managers — he was very quickly added in hundreds of thousands of Yahoo leagues, post-trade — but, whenever he’s ready to play, his opportunities won’t look like Valdes-Scantling’s targets. No one is going to fight you for MVS at the moment, despite his established role in an elite offense.
Engram had to actually leave the country to find the end zone this season, but, finally, it happened. Here’s proof:
Is your fantasy team’s tight end seeing six or more targets every week? If not, you should really give Engram a long look. He’s been targeted 29 times over his last four games, catching 19 balls for 231 yards and one score. Engram has a date in Week 9 with the Raiders defense, a group that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
The former Coastal Carolina star had a dominant preseason for Baltimore, catching all 12 of his targets, forcing his way into a meaningful role in his first pro season. With Mark Andrews sidelined by multiple injuries on Thursday night (shoulder, knee), Likely starred. He caught six balls for 77 yards on seven chances, with a 10-yard TD included:
If Andrews can’t go in Week 9 against New Orleans, Likely he is a top-6 fantasy tight end. But even when Andrews is back in the mix, Likely deserves a bump in usage, especially with Rashod Bateman set to miss multiple weeks and the Ravens in need of weapons. This is a talented rookie who gave his team an enormous lift in Week 8. Add as needed.
Other receivers to add: Garrett Wilson (after four unhelpful weeks, he showed signs of life with six catches for 115 yards against New England), Michael Hardman (he just delivered what will ultimately be the best game of his season ahead of the Chiefs’ bye, but, like MVS, he’s an established high-ceiling option in a juggernaut offense), Alec Pierce (managed to deliver 65 yards in Sam Ehlinger‘s first NFL start), Terrace Marshall Jr. (he’s played over 80 percent of the snaps in back-to-back weeks for Carolina and saw nine targets in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons).
Roster-worthy tight ends: Robert Tonyan (he’s drawn 22 targets over his last three games and the Lions D is on deck for Green Bay), Greg Dulcich (he can’t help you in Week 9 while on bye, but he’s now dominating tight end snaps for Denver and delivering respectable receiving stats), Tyler Conklin (any time you can add one of Zach Wilson’s top receiving threats you gotta do it, amIrite? No, of course you don’t, particularly when Buffalo is up next).
Running backs to target
For fantasy purposes, Mattison is the very best sort of backup running back. He would of course become an automatic must-start fantasy option if Dalvin Cook ever missed time for any reason, plus he has stand-alone value as a rotational player in an excellent offense. Mattison handled five carries in Sunday’s win, converting them into 40 yards, including a bruising 7-yard score. There’s little question he can deliver 90 percent (or more) of Cook’s usual production when/if he’s called upon. It’s perhaps understandable that he was dropped in many leagues when he was on bye back in Week 7, but he definitely needs to be scooped up again by someone this week.
Yup, we’re again dusting off this throwback fantasy pickup. And yes, placing a waiver claim on Kenyan Drake in the year 2022 does, in fact, reeks of defeat. But we have half a dozen teams on bye, so these are desperate times. Drake rushed for 62 yards against the Bucs on Thursday, adding four receptions, one of which resulted in a touchdown. He’s a viable fantasy starter this week against the Saints if Gus Edwards is sidelined by the hamstring issue that caused him to exit last Thursday’s win. The Ravens then head to a much-needed Week 10 bye, so Drake is simply a short term patch for your running back problems.
The Rams couldn’t even wait until November to continue their annual tradition of moving on from Darrell Henderson, a mild surprise. Henderson played a season low 24 snaps on Sunday while an undrafted Fresno State rookie Ronnie Rivers handled 12 touches, producing 36 unexciting yards. At present, no player has a firm hold on lead rushing duties for this team. The Rams could very well add a running back ahead of the trade deadline, at which point we will have to delete this blurb. But until then, Williams is a player of interest.
Last week, LA designated Williams to return from IR, so we’re likely to see him on the field fairly soon. He’s a versatile, competitive runner with excellent vision and tackle-breaking ability:
Williams caught 77 balls over his final two years at Notre Dame and excelled in pass protection, so he has an every-down skillset. He doesn’t have elite speed or athleticism by NFL standards, but he was a remarkably consistent collegiate back who produced in the most difficult matchups. We should note that Williams is coming back from a high-ankle sprain that required surgery, so it’s possible he won’t be at his best until next season. Still, he’s a flier worth taking in any 12-team fantasy league.
Additional RBs to consider: Latavius Murray (he out-touched Melvin Gordon in the London game, 15 to 12, as both backs crossed the goal-line against the Jaguars; if it weren’t for the fact that he’s headed into a bye, he’d get a full write -up here), Isiah Pacheco (the rookie is averaging 4.9 YPC and he played 30 percent of the snaps in KC’s win over the Niners in Week 7), James Cook (he gained a season high 76 yards on six touches against the Packers and found himself on the field playing meaningful snaps late in the game), Jaylen Warren (he’s heading into his bye after gaining 75 total yards against Philly, out-producing Najee Harris despite limited touches).
Quarterbacks who deserve attention
Another week, another multi-touchdown performance from Fields. Despite throwing to a talent-starved receiving corps and playing behind a shaky offensive line, Fields has actually been a rock-solid QB1 over the past five weeks. He’s on pace for 900-plus rushing yards for the season and he’s found the end zone on the ground in back-to-back weeks. It took a few games, but the Bears have begun to leverage his obvious strengths. Fields rarely reaches 200 passing yards, yet it hasn’t really mattered for fantasy purposes. Over the next three weeks, he’ll face three of the league’s most generous defenses: Miami, Detroit and Atlanta. He’s a strong stream-and-hold option if you have a need at QB.
Also on the approved list at QB: Andy Dalton (he’s tossed six TD passes over the past two weeks, despite playing without Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry; he’ll face a generous Baltimore pass defense in Week 9), Marcus Mariota (he just delivered season highs in yardage and TD passes, 253 and 3, and he’ll face a middle-of-the-pack Chargers pass defense on Sunday).
If you’re streaming D/STs
Kansas City Chiefs (31%)
KC is coming off a game in which the unit delivered five sacks and three takeaways, and, over the next two weeks, the Chiefs face the Titans and Jaguars. Sometimes, this stuff just isn’t all that difficult. Add and enjoy.