The fantasy football waiver wire is usually quite thin by the midway point of the NFL season, but there are always a few guys lurking out there who are poised for big performances.
With six teams on a bye this week, fantasy owners are hoping to find some diamonds in the rough.
Nobody feels particularly comfortable when it comes to plugging and playing a waiver-wire addition, but sometimes it has to be done. Due to byes and injuries, it's probably a safe assumption that most fantasy owners will have to rely on a newly acquired free agent to lead them to victory this week.
Here are three players who may be available on your league's waiver wire that will produce impressive numbers in Week 9.
Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints
Any player involved in the New Orleans Saints' high-octane offense deserves fantasy consideration, and rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills proved that in Week 8.
Although Stills has been an all-or-nothing player this season, he and All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees had a great connection against the Buffalo Bills. Stills had three catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, as his ability to make plays deep down the field was on full display.
The Saints have so many weapons that it's tough for Brees to keep everyone happy, but it allows a guy like Stills to constantly draw single coverage, which will make him a popular target moving forward.
The Bills were forced to pick their poison on Sunday, as they shut down No. 1 receiver Marques Colston, but Stills reaped the benefits.
According to the Saints' official Twitter account, Stills earned an NFL Rookie of the Week nomination for his stellar performance.
Stills has a great Week 9 matchup on tap, as the Saints will face a reeling New York Jets team. New York's defense was picked apart by the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8, with quarterback Andy Dalton throwing for five touchdowns—four of which were to Marvin Jones.
Stills is a somewhat anonymous receiver much in the same way Jones is and it wouldn't be surprising to see him soar against the Jets on Sunday.
Week 9 Fantasy Projection: 4 receptions for 101 yards and 1 touchdown.
Timothy Wright, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There isn't a lot to like about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers right now, but they are currently cultivating a potentially valuable fantasy commodity at the tight end position.
While Timothy Wright was a virtual unknown entering the season, he and rookie Mike Glennon are clearly starting to build some trust. He broke out with seven receptions for 91 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles a few weeks ago and built on that in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers.
Wright ended the Thursday night affair with five grabs for 48 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
With Buccaneers.com's Scott Smith reporting that wide receiver Mike Williams is out for the season and running back Doug Martin potentially out for the season, there is room for someone to step up. Wright did that on Thursday, although NFL.com's Michael Fabiano pointed out that much of his damage was done in garbage time.
Even so, that shouldn't matter to fantasy owners. Points are welcome no matter how they are accrued.
Wright's success in garbage time should actually be viewed as a positive due to the fact that the Bucs will face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9. Since Tampa figures to be playing from behind, Glennon will pass often and Wright will be on the receiving end on plenty of occasions.
Week 9 Fantasy Projection: 6 receptions for 77 yards and 1 touchdown.
David Nelson, WR, New York Jets
New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson didn't even start the year on an NFL roster, but he has suddenly developed into one of Gang Green's most reliable offensive weapons.
Though the former Buffalo Bill isn't an explosive player by any means, he is very savvy out of the slot and an excellent route-runner.
That has to be attractive to rookie quarterback Geno Smith, which makes Nelson an interesting bye-week replacement in point-per-reception leagues.
Nelson has racked up 80 yards in each of the past two weeks and also has 12 total receptions over that time frame. Nelson's success has more to do with injuries and inconsistency in the Jets' receiving corps than his own natural ability, but that doesn't matter in fantasy.
Smith clearly trusts him, and even though his ceiling isn't very high, his floor certainly is.
The Jets are facing the New Orleans Saints this week, which doesn't bode well for them in terms of coming away with a win, but it should be great for Nelson from a fantasy perspective. It's nearly impossible to envision the Jets keeping this one close after getting rocked by the Cincinnati Bengals last week, and that means the Jets will be forced to throw the ball a ton.
Nelson will be targeted quite a bit on short, safe routes, and while there is nothing sexy about that, fantasy owners will certainly take it.
Week 9 Fantasy Projection: 6 receptions for 85 yards and 1 touchdown.
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