Waiver Wire Week 9: Stat Projections for Top Fantasy Pickups and Sleepers
Buckle in, fantasy football managers.
The waiver wire is about to get wild ahead of Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season.
It already took several unexpected turns Sunday when Mike White (New York Jets), Davis Mills (Houston Texans) and Cooper Rush (Dallas Cowboys) all threw for more than 300 yards and multiple touchdowns. They won't all have staying power in the fantasy realm, but at least one is worth your waiver-wire attention.
The injury bug added more twists and turns, as Derrick Henry (foot) and Jameis Winston (torn ACL) were both lost to serious injuries. And more curves could be coming with Tuesday's NFL trade deadline.
Stay frosty out there, folks. It could be madness on the open market, but we'll try to navigate it anyway by spotlighting three of our favorite pickups and projecting their Week 9 fantasy outputs.
Mike White, QB, New York Jets
Skepticism is unavoidable and absolutely warranted here. There are Jets diehards who had probably never heard the name Mike White before Sunday.
A 2018 fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys, the 26-year-old had never started an NFL game before Week 8. Actually, he hadn't thrown an NFL pass before Week 7. He relieved an injured Zach Wilson in his first career contest and was mostly tasked with not messing things up. It was a mixed bag at best on that front, as he finished 20-of-32 for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
But on Sunday against a stingy Cincinnati Bengals defense, the Jets freed him to let it rip, and he wowed in more dramatic fashion than Hollywood could handle. He finished the outing 37-of-45 for 405 yards and three touchdowns, and while he was intercepted twice, both of those passes were tipped. He even caught a two-point conversion pass on the go-ahead score, because it was that kind of dream.
"He's a dog. He's an animal. He's a savage," Jets running back Ty Johnson told reporters. "I told him before the game, 'You're a gunslinger, so let's ride.'"
It's possible that game serves as White's lone blip on the fantasy radar, but he'll start again on Thursday, and quarterback-needy managers should invest just to see if the magic act can continue.
Projected stats: 302 passing yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions
Adrian Peterson, RB, Tennessee Titans
With Henry out of the equation for the foreseeable future, Tennessee's backfield easily becomes the most critical to watch for fantasy purposes.
And that was true even before the Titans went out and added Adrian Peterson, the 36-year-old with 14,820 career rushing yards on his resume. He might be several seasons removed from his old All-Pro form, but he's still durable (15-plus games each of the past two seasons) and relatively dependable if the volume is right.
He offers next to nothing in the passing game—he hasn't had more than 20 receptions since 2015—which could give a boost to Tennessee's pass-catching back, Jeremy McNichols. But if the Titans don't alter their formula as the NFL's most run-heavy offense, then Peterson has a chance to be the better add.
Either Titans running back is worth a roster spot until we have clarity with roles and usage, but for now, Peterson's potential floor holds slightly more value than McNichols' ceiling.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
Injuries have played a constant role in DeVante Parker's NFL story, and this season has been no different. He had missed three straight games with shoulder and hamstring injuries, and the stretch dropped his rostership percentage low enough to put him on the waiver-wire radar.
He shouldn't be available for long, though.
His return to the gridiron was productive, as per usual. Even in a tough tilt with the Buffalo Bills, the 28-year-old reeled in eight receptions on his 11 targets for 85 yards. He hasn't been targeted fewer than seven times in any of his five outings, three of which produced yardage totals north of 75.
Parker has only found the end zone once this season, but he is just two years removed from a nine-score campaign. The targets alone are reason enough to roster him, and if he can convert some of these chances into touchdowns, he could be an impact addition in any league.