Some of you fantasy football owners need to get with the program and work the waiver wire during the midseason bye weeks. It’s hard to believe there are leagues with no needy teams considering the rash of injuries and byes heading into Week 9.
Still, there are some top players still available at each position.
If you want to survive with your best players missing action, it’s time to make some moves by getting on the wire and placing your claims.
Here’s a look at the top pickup for each offensive position before Week 9 kicks off on Thursday night.
QB: Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles
It’s hard to believe Terrelle Pryor is still owned in just 36 percent of fantasy leagues. With three big-name starters—Colin Kaepernick, Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford—on byes in Week 9, you’d be wise to consider Pryor against the fading Philadelphia Eagles.
While he hasn’t been the model of efficiency as a passer, he has actually surprised to some degree in that department. He’s currently completing 63.1 percent of his passes but has thrown just five touchdowns to seven interceptions.
He has that big-play potential, though:
Terrelle Pryor had 15.3 of his 16.2 fantasy points on the first play from scrimmage.— John Paulsen (@4for4_John) October 28, 2013
And his rushing ability—391 yards rushing and 7.4 yards per attempt—alone makes him an interesting fantasy option against the Eagles’ porous defense. One way or another, Pryor will get his fantasy points against the Eagles.
RB: Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (Bye)
It’s never a bad idea to plan ahead and stash a running back, as they’re the most valuable commodity on the waiver wire. If you’re in one of the 47 percent of leagues that Andre Ellington is still available, you’d be wise to pick him up heading into the Arizona Cardinals' bye week.
Ellington, a rookie, had a breakout performance while getting his first start in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons. He totaled over 150 yards rushing and found the end zone on an explosive 80-yard burst early in the game.
That demonstrated explosiveness will make it impossible for Bruce Arians and Co. to keep the dynamic rookie off the field, even when Rashard Mendenhall returns from injury.
WR: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Darrius Heyward-Bey should already be on your fantasy team after Reggie Wayne’s season-ending ACL injury. For some reason, he’s available in 55 percent of leagues.
Don’t let his production to this point fool you, with Wayne out, he instantly becomes the best option for Andrew Luck on the outside. T.Y. Hilton will continue to be a home-run threat, but Heyward-Bey’s improved route-running ability and increased role should make him a viable WR2 or flex option moving forward.
Against Houston, things will be tough in his first real crack at the top receiver job. The Texans boast the best pass defense in the NFL, allowing under 150 yards per game through the air. Grabbing him now will pay dividends in the long run, if you haven’t already.
TE: Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Scott Chandler, owned in just 17 percent of leagues, is not a long-term solution by any means. But the Buffalo Bills tight end has had flashes this year and was a big part of the team’s offense in Week 8.
His matchup isn’t favorable against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9, but considering the pressure Thad Lewis will be under, looking for his tight end and getting rid of the ball quickly will be his best option.
Chandler’s contributions to protecting Lewis may keep him from having a huge day, but other than Stevie Johnson, there aren’t very many options in the passing game.