Week 9 Waiver Wire: Top Pickups at Every Position

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIOctober 30, 2012

Week 9 Waiver Wire: Top Pickups at Every Position

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    Week 9 is also known as the bye week for the St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets. That leaves a few fantasy stars unavailable to their owners like Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Shonn Greene and the entire Patriots offense.

    Sometimes, fantasy owners don’t have enough depth on their rosters to comfortably compensate for the temporary loss of their teams’ cornerstones. Recent NFL developments, however, have provided quality bye-week options via the waiver wire.

    Carson Palmer of the Oakland Raiders has a fantastic home matchup in Week 9 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who should be without both of their starting cornerbacks due to suspension.

    If he’s available, he should be a fine replacement for Tom Brady this week—but he won’t make this list because he’s already owned in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com fantasy leagues.

    Read on to find out who will make the cut.

Quarterback: Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

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    Weeden is coming off a pretty bad fantasy performance in Week 8 against the San Diego Chargers. He didn’t turn the ball over, but he wasn’t dynamic with it either.

    He finished with 129 passing yards and four rushing yards on four carries as the Browns came away with a 7-6 win. In Week 9, Weeden will face the Baltimore Ravens for the second time in his young career.

    Weeden’s stat line in Week 4 at Baltimore wasn’t horrifying: 320 passing yards and an interception. If not for a slew of receiver drops, his line would have looked even better.

    That was before the Ravens lost Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb.

    Baltimore is coming off a bye week, but two weeks isn’t enough time to fix the gaping holes created by two of the team’s best defenders.

Running Back: Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Whether Dwyer is going to be a good fantasy play in Week 9 depends upon the status of Rashard Mendenhall’s health.

    Dwyer is giving the Steelers the ability to let Mendenhall take his time coming back from his Achilles injury. He took 17 carries in each of the last two games and topped 100 yards in each one as a result.

    Week 9 matches him up with the New York Giants; not exactly the best running back matchup, but New York has allowed some nice fantasy performances at home this season.

    The last two running backs the Giants have faced fared well from a statistical perspective. Alfred Morris carried the ball 22 times for 120 yards and caught two passes for 10 yards in Week 7.

    Trent Richardson had 17 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown in addition to five catches for 47 yards in Week 5.

Wide Receiver: Titus Young, Detroit Lions

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    After the Titus Young preseason sleeper hype subsided, Nate Burleson got hurt in Week 7 and opened the door for Young to produce.

    Burleson is out for the season with a broken leg. Meanwhile, Young enjoyed the best game of his young career; he caught all nine of his targets for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

    That production is sustainable over the long term.

    He won’t get two touchdowns every game, but he does benefit from Calvin Johnson drawing double and triple-coverage from opposing defenses.

    Young’s Week 9 opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, have allowed one or two touchdowns to wide receiving corps in each of their previous five games.

Tight End: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

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    Olsen has just one touchdown this season. He’ll look to make it two against the Washington Redskins in Week 9.

    Washington has allowed seven touchdowns to tight ends in eight games this year. Despite Olsen’s lack of fantasy production, he has managed to get multiple receptions in all but one of the Panthers’ 2012 games.

    The Redskins have given up at least five catches to tight ends in each of their last five contests.

Defense: San Diego Chargers

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    The San Diego defense held the Cleveland Browns to just seven points on the road in Week 8. Four days later, they’ll welcome the Kansas City Chiefs to Qualcomm Stadium.

    Kansas City’s offense is not very good.

    It has committed 25 turnovers (and allowed three defensive touchdowns) in seven games this year and topped out at 27 points scored in any one game—an overtime win against the New Orleans Saints.

    That just means that the Saints defense is even worse than the Chiefs offense; also evidenced by the fact that it has given up 50.6 more total yards per game than any other team in the NFL.

Kicker: Phil Dawson, Cleveland Browns

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    Dawson lit it up against the Baltimore Ravens for his best fantasy game of the season in Week 4. He kicked three 50-plus-yard field goals and an extra point for a 16-point fantasy day in standard leagues.

    That was on the road. This week, he’ll be at home.

    A repeated matchup obviously doesn’t mean that the game will play out the same way the second time as it did the first time around. Still, the Baltimore defense has gotten considerably weaker over the last month.

    Even if the Browns don’t drop 43 on the Ravens like the Houston Texans did in Week 7, they should at least be able to get into field goal range often enough for Dawson to make an impact as a fantasy kicker.