Week 8 of the NFL season might not have contained many great fantasy performances. But at least it was not a hospital week, like Week 7 was.
You came. You saw. You played. And 50 percent of you even won your fantasy match ups in Week 8. That's great. But 100 percent of you need to already be looking forward to Week 9.
At this point of the season, there are three possible situations that your fantasy team could be in:
- Your team is dominating and all but assured of a playoff spot.
- Your team is within a game or two of .500 and you are in the thick of the hunt for a playoff spot.
- Your team has been terrible and you are more or less out of contention for the playoffs this season.
Each of these situations call for a different strategy when working the waiver wire.
Teams in Situation No. 1 can try to acquire the best players to help them for the rest of the season or during the playoffs.
Teams in Situation No. 2 need to acquire players that can help them immediately. You don't have the luxury of playing for tomorrow when you need to win today to stay alive.
Owners in Situation No. 3 just have to try to have fun. If you are in a keeper league, start reshaping your roster for the future. If you are in a redraft league, just try to win every week and play the role of spoiler. Giving up and failing to set your lineups is not acceptable.
Figure out which situation your team falls into. We are at the point of the season where some teams cannot afford to lose another game if they want to make the playoffs.
If your team is 3-5, you do not have time to wait on Roy Helu to finally get the starting job for the Redskins. It is time to win or go home, and you should plan your lineup accordingly.
Without further ado, your waiver wire targets for Week 9.
TIM TEBOW (@ OAK): Maybe I'm crazy, but Tebow played about as badly as he possibly could in Week 8 and he still had 12 fantasy points.
The Raiders' defense is not as talented as the Lions' defense that beat up on Tebow and the Broncos in Week 8. Tebow will be dropped in many leagues this week, and he should be a top-12 option if you need a fill-in at QB.
ANDY DALTON (@ TEN): You might be able to wait on Dalton.
The Bengals play the Titans, Steelers and Ravens over the next three weeks. But the key for Dalton is his playoff schedule: Week 15 at St. Louis and Week 16 vs. the Cardinals.
If your team has an excellent record and a shaky QB situation, Dalton would be an excellent player to stash on your bench.
SAM BRADFORD (@ ARI): Bradford is expected to return after missing two games with an ankle injury.
The addition of Brandon Lloyd and the return of Mark Clayton will help Bradford immensely. Despite playing an excellent first half against the Ravens in Week 8, the Cardinals have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.
BRANDON JACOBS (@ NE): Ahmad Bradshaw suffered a foot injury in Week 8. He briefly left, then returned to the game. The Giants have confirmed that Bradshaw re-aggravated a preexisting injury in Bradshaw's surgically repaired foot.
Not to mention that, at this time last season, the Giants began to decrease Bradshaw's touches while giving the ball to Jacobs more frequently.
JAVON RINGER (vs CIN): This is a purely speculative pickup.
Ringer runs behind the same offensive line as Chris Johnson; the difference is that Javon Ringer has actually run well behind that offensive line.
Because of the monster contract they just handed Johnson, the Titans cannot really bench him. But he can suffer an "injury" that keeps him out for a while, if not the season.
The Titans' playoff hopes are not dead yet, but Chris Johnson is slowly killing them.
Which of these Steelers WRs will finish the season with the most fantasy points?
TAIWAN JONES (vs DEN): Michael Bush should already be owned in your league.
It is not looking promising for Darren McFadden playing in Week 9. Michael Bush will be the workhorse if McFadden is out, but the Raiders will use Taiwan Jones in the passing game and as a change-of-pace option on offense.
He could see 10-to-15 touches, but Jones is such an explosive player that he could do quite a bit without a ton of touches.
CHRIS OGBONNAYA (@ HOU): This is more for Week 10 when the Browns face the Rams, but even against the Texans, Ogbonnaya could be useful if Peyton Hillis is out.
Montario Hardesty is already out indefinitely and Hillis is sketchy for Week 9. There is not a ton of upside here, but starting RBs always have some value.
TASHARD CHOICE (vs SF): No way is Choice a fantasy option in Week 9.
But this is Mike Shanahan we are talking about here. Yep. The Cowboys cut Choice and he was claimed by the Redskins. Ryan Torain has looked terrible and the Redskins refuse to use Roy Helu as their featured back.
That means that Choice could see significant work sooner than later.
ANTONIO BROWN (vs BAL): Brown is the complement to Mike Wallace that the Steelers have been looking for.
After his performance in Week 8, look for Brown to play significantly more snaps than Hines Ward after Ward returns. In PPR leagues, Brown is an even more attractive pickup.
EMMANUEL SANDERS (vs BAL): If Antonio Brown is already owned in your league, Emmanuel Sanders is worth a shot. Sanders was not targeted as frequently as Brown in Week 8, but Sanders was definitely a part of the Steelers' passing offense.
In deep leagues, Sanders might be worth using when the matchup is right.
MICHAEL CRABTREE (@ WAS): While he is owned if quite a few leagues, Crabtree is on the waiver wire in plenty of leagues.
He has surpassed Vernon Davis as the No. 1 target in the 49ers' passing game. Don't expect spectacular statistics, but Crabtree should be a solid option most weeks from here on out.
GREG LITTLE (@ HOU): We are still waiting for a big game from Little.
It will come. You probably do not want to be starting Little yet, but he will have fantasy value by the end of the season, . He is clearly the No. 1 option in the passing game for the Browns. And Little is very talented. That is all you can ask for out of a player on your bench.
JASON AVANT (vs CHI): Avant lacks the explosiveness or pedigree of DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin, yet he is the most reliable receiver that the Eagles have.
Michael Vick trusts Avant to be where he is supposed to be and to make the tough catches. Avant is a decent WR3 in PPR leagues in Week 9 vs. the Bears.
BRENT CELEK (vs CHI): Celek might not be an every-week starter in fantasy, but he has been a top-10 TE in each of his past two games.
It seems that part of the Eagles' plan to get their season back on track was to involve Celek in the passing game. And it is working.
JAKE BALLARD (@ NE): Ballard has seen his role and his targets increase throughout the season. He has soft hands and he is a big target whom Eli Manning trusts.
Facing a battered Patriots defense that just got schooled by Heath Miller, Ballard should be a fine start in Week 9.
That's all folks. To those of you sweating out the Chargers and Chiefs on Monday night, good luck. To everybody else, good luck in Week 9 and for the rest of the season. If you have any questions or anything to add to the discussion, please use the comments. Thanks for reading.
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