Week 9 Fantasy Football: Top 10 Waiver-Wire Pickups in 12-Team Leagues

Jay ClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterOctober 30, 2012

Week 9 Fantasy Football: Top 10 Waiver-Wire Pickups in 12-Team Leagues

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    The following countdown touts the top 10 waiver-wire pickups for 12-team leagues heading into Week 9.

    Obviously, free-agent quarterbacks like Alex Smith, Russell Wilson, Brandon Weeden and Sam Bradford are the likeliest candidates for most points on a weekly basis, but I would also place an equal or higher priority on landing possible dynamos at receiver, running back and tight end.

    I would also favor a strategy of grabbing or stashing a bye-week kicker like Greg Zuerlein, David Akers or Stephen Gostkowski after one of your fellow owners dumps them in order to avoid taking a zero in the kicker slot.

10. WR Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams

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    2012 Stats: 32 Catches, 395 Yards, 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Danny Amendola (shoulder) is a good bet to return to the Rams for their Week 10 clash with the 49ers.

    2. Through five games, Amendola has collected double-digit targets four times—including a season-high 16 in Week 2. In that game against the Redskins, Amendola caught 15 balls for 160 yards and one touchdown.

    3. Provided Sam Bradford can stay upright throughout the season, Amendola is a top-20 asset in points-per-reception leagues, when healthy.

    4. Most fantasy owners might wait until next week to grab Amendola. Why not spend a lot less money on Amendola's pickup before the Rams' bye? This is assuming of course that you can spare the one-week roster hit. 

9. QB Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

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    2012 Stats: 1,659 Yards Passing, 12 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. In standard-scoring leagues, Alex Smith is currently the 16th-ranked fantasy quarterback.

    2. Through eight games, Smith has accounted for either 300 yards passing and/or multiple touchdowns four times.

    3. Against the Cardinals on Monday, Smith completed 18 of 19 passes (232 yards and three TDs) for an incredible completion mark of 95 percent.

    4. For those seeking a stealth starter for the fantasy-playoff period of Weeks 14 and 15, Smith has attractive matchups with the Dolphins and Patriots.

8. QB Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

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    2012 Stats: 1,912 Yards Passing, 9 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Prior to the Chargers-Browns quagmire last week, Brandon Weeden maintained a top-15 ranking among fantasy quarterbacks (19 points per game).

    2. Through eight games, Weeden has attempted 35-plus passes six times.

    3. Since Week 2, Weeden has accounted for 300 total yards or multiple touchdowns five times.

    4. Weeden's modest success coincides with the the development of fellow rookies Trent Richardson and receiver Josh Gordon.

    This group represents one of the NFL's best rookie threesomes in years.

7. RB Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins

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    2012 Stats: 215 Total Yards (155 Rushing), 1 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Daniel Thomas has registered a touchdown in three of his last four games.

    2. Thomas has played an integral role in Miami's last two victories (Weeks 5 and 8), garnering 17 touches and two TDs.

    3. Most fantasy owners forget Thomas was the Dolphins' primary back heading into the 2011 campaign, even with the acquisition of Reggie Bush.

    4. In his first two games last year, before going down to injury, Thomas accounted for 239 total yards and one touchdown. Bush controlled the Miami job from that point forward. 

6. RB LaRod Stephens-Howling Arizona Cardinals

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    2012 Stats: 224 Total Yards (133 Rushing), 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. LaRod Stephens-Howling gets a relative free pass for his 38-yard clunker against the 49ers, simply because he's neither the first, nor the last back to struggle against San Fran's stingy defense.

    2. Against the Vikings in Week 7, Stephens-Howling rolled for 145 total yards (104 rushing) and one touchdown.

    3. With Ryan Williams (done for the season) and Beanie Wells on the shelf, Stephens-Howling will likely be given every chance to succeed in the Arizona offense.

5. WR Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals

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    2012 Stats: 36 Catches, 454 Yards, 5 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Andre Roberts has drawn six-plus targets seven times—including a season-high 11 against the 49ers.

    2. Through eight games, Roberts has crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown five times.

    3. Roberts boasts seven catches in back-to-back outings (Weeks 8/9).

    4. From a Week 9 perspective, the Packers have had the NFL's 31st-ranked pass defense since Week 4, surrendering 306 yards per game.

4. RB Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts

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    2012 Stats: 366 Total Yards (319 Rushing), 1 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Last week, Donald Brown rushed for 80 yards (on just 14 carries) in his return from injury.

    2. In his last four games, Brown has averaged 17 touches for the pass-oriented Colts.

    3. Brown has notched at least 80 total yards in his last three outings.

    4. The Colts tailback has the physical tools to be a productive NFL starter. He could also be a viable weapon in a time-share scenario with Vick Ballard. 

3. WR Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    2012 Stats: 20 Catches, 400 Yards, 3 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Through seven games, Cecil Shorts has crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown four times.

    2. Shorts has tallied double-digit targets in his last two games, a telltale sign that the second-year wideout is ready to start in 12-team PPR leagues.

    3. Shorts has the requisite size, speed and explosion to be a viable NFL receiver for the foreseeable future.

    4. With Maurice Jones-Drew sidelined (foot), the Jaguars are making a more concerted effort to be balanced offensively.

    5. With rookie Justin Blackmon still adjusting to the pros, the door is wide open for Shorts to emerge as Jacksonville's go-to target.

2. RB Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    2012 Stats: 331 Total Yards (299 Rushing)

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Jonathan Dwyer has racked up 100-plus rushing yards in back-to-back outings. Of equal importance, he cracked the century mark both times on only 17 carries.

    2. When healthy, Dwyer has the size and physical tools to be a top-25 running back.

    3. This endorsement of Dwyer comes with some trepidation, since Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman could return to the Steelers lineup any day now.

    On the flip side, Mendy and Redman are no locks to stay healthy every week.

1. WR Titus Young, Detroit Lions

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    2012 Stats: 26 Catches, 304 Yards, 3 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Titus Young, a top-40 receiver in my preseason rankings, has rocketed up fantasy boards in the last two weeks, catching 15 balls for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

    2. Young has assumed the mantle of the Lions' No. 2 receiver in the wake of Nate Burleson's season-ending injury.

    3. The second-year pro has collected 17 targets in the last two weeks—his highest two-game output since the tail end of last year.

    4. For PPR leagues, Young has the capacity to average 13 fantasy points from this point forward.


    For a look at Week 9's top 30 free agents, click here.