The decisions fantasy owners make on the Week 9 waiver wire could make or break how the rest of the season shakes out.
At least five options—one quarterback, two running backs and two receivers—have produced over the short-term and are worthy of a spot on your fantasy roster. They all come with risks but also a high upside.
In the following slides, we'll break down the top five make-or-break options on the Week 9 waiver wire.
Over his last three games, Freeman has thrown for 1,010 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception. His average fantasy scoring output over that span is a very good 24.7, which compares favorably to Manning (23), Brees (23.7), Brady (21.7), Rodgers (25.3) and RG3 (22.3).
Fantasy owners have taken notice (Freeman owned in 71 percent of ESPN leagues), but for the 29 percent where Freeman is available, it's time to pounce now. He has the weapons at receiver (Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams) and running back (Doug Martin) to keep producing, but his availability will dry up in a hurry over the next few days.
Nab Freeman now, and in the right matchup down the stretch (games at Oakland, San Diego, at New Orleans over final nine), start him with confidence of a big fantasy output.
Rarely do you see a running back go over 100 yards in back-to-back weeks and still remain under 30 percent owned. But that's the case with Dwyer (29.1 percent of ESPN leagues), who again hit the century mark Sunday against the Washington Redskins (17 carries, 107 yards).
The Steelers will have a muddy running back position once Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman are back in the fold, but there's no reason for Pittsburgh to go away from a back who has been as productive as Dywer over the last two games.
The schedule also offers up a number of plus matchups for Dwyer, including New York, Baltimore (twice), Kansas City and Cleveland.
In a dried out waiver wire pool of backs, Dwyer is clearly the best option available for most leagues.
Givens doesn't get a lot in terms of volume, but he certainly makes the most of his limited opportunities in the Rams passing offense.
In catching a 50-yard touchdown early Sunday against the New England Patriots, Givens extended his streak of at least one play of 50 or more yards to five games. And while he has just 11 catches over that five game span, Givens turned those chances into 324 yards and two touchdowns.
His fantasy-point averages over the five games is a respectable 8.8. He's also owned in less than three percent of ESPN leagues, so getting him this week should be realistic for just about every fantasy owner in need of a big-play, high-ceiling receiver over the second half of the season.
ESPN's Adam Schefter continues to stir the pot that Rams starting running back Steven Jackson could get dealt before Tuesday's trade deadline. If such a deal does go down, hurry out and get Richardson, who would be in line to take over the starting job in St. Louis.
A seventh-round pick of the Rams in 2012, Richardson is owned in just 12 percent of ESPN leagues. And over his last three games, Richardson is averaging a scoring output of seven fantasy points—even as the second fiddle to Jackson.
If Jackson is sent packing this week, Richardson's usage will go up across the board. The obvious future for the Rams at the position, he's worth getting on your roster
Possibly no waiver wire pickup will be as hot as Titus Young this week.
The No. 1 receiver points-wise (22 for Week 8 of the fantasy season) Young (owned in 49.8 of ESPN leagues) caught nine passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns against a good secondary in the Seattle Seahawks.
Watch now as owners scramble to pick him back up. Remember, Young was a popular sleeper pick to start 2012.
Nate Burleson's season-ending injury opened the door for Young to finally start to assuming the role of burner opposite Calvin Johnson. One hundred eighty-one receiving yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks have been the result. Get him while he's hot.