Fantasy Football Week 9: Top 10 Waiver-Wire Must-Haves
At the midway point of the 2012-13 NFL season we have seen some great teams get off to some amazing starts, as well as quite a few underdog organizations that have wooed and thrilled many football fans around the globe.
With only six weeks left in the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, the acquisitions you decide to make are essential to the potential success of your team in the playoffs. It has been extremely difficult to contemplate which players to start this season, even your star players, because of the inconsistencies the elite ballers have been experiencing.
Sometimes it is as simple as adding a seemingly unknown reliable player from the waiver wire and starting that player when you are unsure of your usual starter. Although the playoffs are quickly approaching, there are still many valuable weapons available as free agents in fantasy football leagues worldwide.
If you are in a serious need of a change to your fantasy squad, look no further. The following players show a ton of upside for the remainder of the 2012-13 NFL season.
WR Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers
Weight: 210 pounds
Season Stats: 20 receptions out of 36 targets for 367 yards and two touchdowns
Week 8 Fantasy Points (According to Yahoo! Fantasy Sports): 8.80 Fantasy points
Availability: 22% owned by Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: @ Washington Redskins (3-5 overall) (1-2 home)
On pace to break all of his major season records, Brandon LaFell is beginning to show a ton of potential and may be a star wide receiver in this league someday. Extremely athletic, LaFell has had the tendency to break out at least one major offensive gain in almost every game this season. With Cam Newton at quarterback, although the second-year stud has struggled a bit this season, LaFell is always a fantasy threat. Some weeks this season he has been a disappointment, however, the remaining schedule ahead of Carolina looks quite promising.
With Washington on the slate this week, LaFell would be a great add, and even a solid start. You can expect Brandon LaFell to contribute at least eight fantasy points this week, even if Newton has a decent game. As the season progresses, the value of LaFell will increase, both to his team and your promising fantasy squad.
LaFell is currently listed as doubtful for this week due to post concussion symptoms, however, you can expect his productivity to continue once he returns to the field.
WR Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars
Weight: 202 pounds
Season Stats: 20 receptions out of 41 targets for 400 yards and three touchdowns
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 11.60 Yahoo! Fantasy points
Availability: 29% owned by Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: Vs. Detroit Lions (3-4 overall) (1-3 away)
Cecil Shorts has been having an extremely productive season and will only continue to improve. It seems as if Shorts' role in the Jacksonville offense will increase steadily throughout the season because of his superb efforts of late.
The each of the past two weeks Cecil has recorded 11.60 Yahoo! Fantasy points or more, and you can expect this whirlwind of dominance to continue with only one great defensive threat on the Jacksonville Jaguars schedule in the next five games.
WR Titus Young, Detroit Lions
Weight: 174 pounds
Season Stats: 26 receptions out of 38 targets for 304 yards and three touchdowns
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 22.00 Yahoo! Fantasy points
Availability: 66% owned by Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6 overall) (0-3 home)
Titus Young is another rising young receiver in this league who has been stepping up of late for the struggling Detroit Lions. In his last two games, Young has recorded a total of 15 receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
With one of the best players in the NFL on the Lions, Calvin Johnson, it may not be a priority to add the Boise State product. However, if you are in need of a receiver, and you do not add Titus Young, you may very well regret it when one of your opponents does.
QB Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Weight: 217 pounds
Season Stats: Completed 145 of 209 attempted passes for 1,659 yards, 69.4 CMP%, 12 TDs, five INTs, 70.7 QBR, and 102.1 QB rating
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 21.88 Yahoo! Fantasy points
Availability: 45% owned of Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: Bye
Yes. Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers have a bye this week, but if you are looking to cut an injured player or fill an empty spot at QB look no further. The 49ers are without a doubt one of the most dominant teams in the National Football League, headed by Jim Harbaugh. The way Harbaugh has molded Smith into a solid starting QB, while coordinating young standout Colin Kaepernick into the offense, his stats will only continue to improve.
With some weak defenses ahead on the schedule, Smith is a great add and could be started in at least three of the next five weeks. In two of the last five outings, Alex Smith has registered at least 21 fantasy points.
WR Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
Weight: 196 pounds
Season Stats: 40 receptions for 60 targets for 351 yards and three touchdowns
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 10.70 Yahoo! Fantasy points
Availability: 43% owned by Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: Vs. Chicago Bears (6-1 overall) (2-1 away)
The past four games Kendall Wright was targeted a total of 27 times, catching 22 of those passes. Showing reliability and consistency, Wright is one of the best receivers on the waiver wire and could be started the rest of the season if need be. The Tennessee Titans have a favorable schedule ahead, and Wright may be a priority in upcoming weeks with his recent success.
Key Players: LB Cameron Wake, CB Chris Clemons, LB Karlos Dansby, DE Randy Starks, CB Sean Smith
Injury Report: CB Richard Marshall (OUT), WR Brian Hartline (Questionable), QB Matt Moore (Probable)
Fantasy Point Weekly Average: 10.43 Yahoo! Fantasy points
Week 9 Opponent: @ Indianapolis (4-3 overall) (3-1 home)
Nobody may have predicted that the Miami Dolphins would be aggressively competing for first place in the AFC East. However, with some solid offense and tenacious defense, the South Beach underdogs have been very successful of late.
The next three games on their schedule are against the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills. So, the Miami defense should produce some high quality fantasy points in the upcoming weeks.
Although the Miami Dolphins have one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL, they are also currently the second overall ranked rushing defense in the NFL only giving up an average of 82.0 rushing yards per game.
If Cameron Wake can continue to put constant pressure on the opposing QB and the secondary can continue to lock down receivers while also forcing turnovers quite consistently, this Miami squad may be one of the most valuable defenses in the NFL in terms of fantasy contribution.
WR Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
Weight: 210 pounds
Season Stats: 18 receptions out of 45 targets for 193 yards
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 6.70 Yahoo! Fantasy points
Availability: 21% owned by Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: Vs. Detroit Lions (3-4 overall) (1-3 away)
Justin Blackmon has started off a lot slower than many may have hoped. However, Blackmon may be getting more comfortable with this Jaguars offense after his best performance of the season last week, recording four receptions out of eight targets for 67 yards.
As Justin Blackmon and Blaine Gabbert continue to mold a successful relationship, the Oklahoma State product will increase in productivity.
K Shayne Graham, Houston Texans
Weight: 210 pounds
Season Stats: 13 FGM in 14 FGA, has made 3 FGs from 40-49 yards, and one FG 50+
Week 8 Fantasy Points: Bye
Availability: 51% owned by Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: Vs. Buffalo Bills (3-4 overall) (2-2 away)
Shayne Graham has been as reliable as one could possibly ask of a fantasy kicker. In all seven games played this season, Graham has put up at least eight fantasy points. When it comes to consistency, Graham has been just that this year.
Only missing one field goal so far, Graham has exhibited some serious accuracy and solid range.
TE Anthony Fasano, Miami Dolphins
Weight: 255 pounds
Season Stats: 23 receptions out of 35 targets for 180 yards, 11 first downs and three touchdowns
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 6.40 Yahoo! Fantasy points
Availability: 14% owned by Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: @ Indianapolis Colts (4-3 overall) (3-1 home)
After getting off to a rough start, the Miami Dolphins have won their last three games and have a very attractive schedule ahead. Anthony Fasano has seen increased action as the season has progressed and will become a very important weapon to the Miami offense especially if Matt Moore takes the reins at quarterback.
Only four significant defenses remain on their schedule. New England Patriots (twice), San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. Other than those opponents, the rest of the year should be fairly easy on the Miami offense as long as the Dolphins can continue to build on the momentum that they have created in the past three games.
As long as the Miami offense thrives, Anthony Fasano will be a valuable fantasy asset.
WR Michael Jenkins, Minnesota Vikings
Weight: 214 pounds
Season Stats: 24 receptions out of 45 targets for 287 yards and one touchdown
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 7.80 Yahoo! Fantasy points
Availability: 1% owned by Yahoo! Fantasy owners
Week 9 Opponent: @ Seattle Seahawks (4-4 overall) (3-0 home)
Off to a surprisingly good start at 5-3, the Minnesota Vikings may be a force to be reckoned with. In two of the last three games, Michael Jenkins was targeted at least nine times. Young quarterback Christian Ponder has grown to trust the veteran receiver Jenkins and should continue to heavily target the 6'4" threat throughout the rest of the season.
If you add Jenkins, start him cautiously in the upcoming weeks, however, I see at least four or five very productive games in the future for No. 84.