Fantasy Football 101: Week 9 Pickups and Other Quick Hits

Chris MaierCorrespondent INovember 1, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 2:  Tarvaris Jackson #7 of the Minnesota Vikings passes the ball during an NFL preseason game against the Denver Broncos at the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, on September 2, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

Week 8 is in the books and fantasy team's are preparing for the stretch run. Trade deadlines are nearing (if not already past). One key at this point in the season is to evaluate your roster and determine what your top needs are. Bye week fill-in, depth, or shake up the roster trade.  Please, note your playoff prognosis will influence your roster moves. 

Here is a look at this week's waiver wire options

Please note, list excludes recommendations from the past two weeks.

Click here to see last week's article

Note: To qualify as a pickup, a player must be owned in less than 40% of Yahoo leagues as of this writing (10/31). 



Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota (owned: 4%) - Jackson was grabbed in some deep leagues last week but with the Vikings season spiralling out of control, it is only a matter of time before Childress and Favre come up with an excuse to allow Minnesota one more look at Jackson. With a vastly improved supporting cast compared to his previous starting opportunities, Jackson could surprise.

Bruce Gradkowski, Oakland (owned: 4%) - When Gradkowski is healthy expect him to return to his starting job.  While eye-popping numbers are unlikely, he has been an efficient passer and the schedule should be favorable down the stretch.


Running Back: (not a great week for pickups unless you missed LaGarrette Blount last week)

Kevin Smith, Detroit (owned 3%) - After a slow start, Smith led the Lions in rushing with 51 yards versus Washington and could see his role increase as the team tries to avoid wearing old undersized Jahvid Best.

Dexter McCluster, Kansas City (owned 31%) - A rare RB/WR McCluster is battling an ankle injury but upon his return expect him to build upon his 5 catch 41 yard effort.  His best value is in PPR.


Wide Receiver:

Nate Washington, Tennessee (owned 37%) - Washington is coming off a 4 catch 117 yard outing but his value is heavily dependent on Kenny Britt's health. While Britt is out, Washington is the team's best receiving threat with Britt he is a boom or bust big play option.

Golden Tate, Seattle (owned 6%) - A speculative pick, Tate could finish strong if he given an opportunity. Caught just 2 passes for 36 yards this week but was targeted 7 times.  Keep an eye on injury reports though as he left the game this week with an ankle injury.

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay (owned 3%) - James Jones has more upside (despite donuts in 2 of the last 3 games), Nelson is a most consistent options catching 4 or more passes the past three games as Donald Driver has been hobbled.


Tight End:

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati (owned 26%) - Gresham is having a solid but unspectacular rookie season. While the yardage numbers are not there he has caught 3 or more passes in every game this season. Don't be surprised if his role increases as the season progresses as the team's flailing playoff hopes cause them to take a longer look at their talented rookie.


Detroit (owned 10%) - The Lions allow a lot of points but their attacking defense puts pressure on quarterbacks and forces turnovers. A once daunting schedule does not look as difficult as it once did.


Other thoughts:

- Beware of Seattle Seahawks players on the road. 

- Don't panic on Seattle's Mike Williams poor outing this week.  Just don't play him on the road.

- Green Bay's James Jones is a frustrating sleeper option. 100+ yards last week but has donuts in two of the last three games. He caught none of the 5 passes intended for him including multiple drops.

- I said last week but i repeat, Kyle Orton owners need to be prepared for a second half slide not to mention a deeper look at Tim Tebow late in the season. This is not a recommendation to cut him but it is time to make sure you have a quality backup option.  

- Donovan McNabb owners were already unhappy his play, now they have to be concerned with his job security. With a bye week to re-group McNabb will either step it up or begin the process of stepping out.

- Ochocinco has faded into a borderline starter. His overall numbers look solid 39 catches for 458 yards but in 5 out of 7 games he has failed to catch more than 4 passes or exceed 60 yards. Ditto Mike Sims-Walker.

- With the Cowboys sitting at 1-6 expect Dez Bryant's role to increase. He had 9 targets this week and despite his limitations Jon Kitna has a good reputation for working with young wide receivers.

- Maurice Jones-Drew owners were able to breathe a sigh of relief after his 135 yard effort vs. the list-less Cowboys. Unfortunately, his lack of touchdowns and receptions should keep owners skeptical.

- Matthew Stafford had a successful return throwing for 4 touchdowns with three going to Megatron (Ca Johnson).  This offense is as dangerous as any in the league and both players should have excellent second halves.

- CJ Spiller quietly caught 4 passes on 6 targets on Sunday.  Be patient if you can because he could breakout come playoff time.

- Bills wideout Steve Johnson has a touchdown pass in five straight games.

- LT owners need to look to bolster their backup options. His 54 yard effort vs. a tough Packers D was his second consecutive game under 60 yards.

- After Kenny Britt went down early with a hamstring injury, rookie wideout Damian Williams had 9 targets (but just 2 catches for 43 yards).

- After a slow start, Robert Meachem is emerging in New Orleans with 50+ yards in 3 of the last 4 games. The Saints offense could get a jumpstart with the return of Reggie Bush and/or Pierre Thomas in the next few weeks.


Chris Maier is Senior Editor for  He can be reached at  Follow me on twitter: nfldraft101.

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