We’re halfway through the fantasy football season, and there are plenty of intriguing waiver wire pickups entering Week 9.
Of course, there are several dynamics in play that will force fantasy football owners to think hard about their roster moving forward.
The first is the fact that four teams are on bye this week (Falcons, Bengals, Rams, and Saints) and six teams on bye next week (Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Patriots, Eagles, and Redskins). That means waiver wire additions are going to be very valuable, and it’s all about finding the ones that best fit your fantasy football roster needs.
The second is the NFL trade deadline, which could cause some of your players’ stock to go up or down depending on where they are dealt (hello, excited Kenyan Drake fantasy owners after his trade to the Cardinals). So, that’s certainly something to keep in mind when tweaking your roster for a potential playoff run.
Here are the top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 9 of the fantasy football season.
Note: All players are under 50.0 percent owned in ESPN leagues
10. Philadelphia Eagles (DST, 42.9 percent owned)
If you’re not brave enough to pick up the Jets defense, the Eagles are your best bet, both in the short term and long term. Philadelphia gets the wildly inefficient Bears offense up next, and while home games against the Patriots and Seahawks aren’t great following the Week 10 bye, a three-game stretch against the Dolphins, Giants, and Redskins is one that could allow you to build momentum heading into the playoffs. It’s also worth considering that the Eagles could add help on defense at the trade deadline, making them an even more intriguing option.
9. Chris Conley (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars, 9.7 percent owned)
Dede Westbrook didn’t play against the Jets due to injury, and Conley took advantage of his opportunity by hauling in four catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. He’s had two big games in a row, and without knowing Westbrook’s status for Week 9, Conley is an intriguing fantasy football add since the Jaguars face a struggling Texans defense.
8. Mark Walton (RB, Miami Dolphins, 11.6 percent owned)
With Drake dealt to the Cardinals, Walton is clearly the top back in Miami. Of course, you’re never going to trust any Dolphins player in fantasy football, but it’s all about the volume. Walton is going to get a ton of carries and be involved in the passing game, so he’s worth a bench add even if you rarely start him.
7. Danny Amendola (WR, Detroit Lions, 8.9 percent owned)
Amendola has posted back-to-back games with at least eight receptions and 95 yards, and the Lions’ increased passing volume due to Kerryon Johnson’s injury should only continue (unless they make a deal for a running back). With an upcoming matchup against the Raiders, Amendola is a solid pickup that could be a potential starter given how many great receiving options are on bye.
6. Sam Darnold (QB, New York Jets, 15.2 percent owned)
The schedule is why Darnold is an option. Here’s the next six games for the Jets: at Dolphins, vs. Giants, at Redskins, vs. Raiders, at Bengals, vs. Dolphins. He was seeing ghosts against the Patriots, but he could very well be seeing the best stretch of his career during these next six games. You aren’t going to start him with confidence, but there are worse waiver wire pickups on the board with so many teams on bye the next few weeks.
5. Demaryius Thomas (WR, New York Jets, 5.1 percent owned)
Update: Anderson wasn’t dealt, so Thomas’ value doesn’t really increase.
The thought process on adding Thomas is pretty simple. He has already emerged as the Jets’ top receiving option in recent weeks, and with the team likely set to deal Robby Anderson, that should add even more targets for Thomas the rest of the way. And again, the schedule is excellent.
4. Dallas Goedert (TE, Philadelphia Eagles, 24.5 percent owned)
Goedert has outproduced Zach Ertz for three straight weeks, so it makes sense why he’s one of the best tight end pickups available. While the latter figures to regain his place in the Eagles offense, Goedert is a fine pickup at a position with a lot of unpredictability.
3. Cole Beasley (WR, Buffalo Bills, 26.0 percent owned)
I’ve included Beasley on this list several weeks in a row now, and hopefully you’re someone who has already added him to your roster. He has a touchdown in back-to-back games, and his consistency is obvious with at least nine fantasy points in six of seven games this season.
2. Auden Tate (WR, Cincinnati Bengals, 34.4 percent owned)
Alex Erickson has emerged as a top receiver for the Bengals in the past few games, but Tate is still the best pickup of the two. Once AJ Green returns from injury, he’s going to command a lot of attention, and Tate has the skills and athleticism to be even more of a major force with teams likely having to key in on both Green and Tyler Boyd.
1. Rashaad Penny (RB, Seattle Seahawks, 44.9 percent owned)
Update: Penny wasn’t traded, so he’s probably not the best option of the week given his current role with the Seahawks.
This is a trade-alert pickup here, but it’s one that could pay off in a big way. There have been rumors that the Seahawks are interested in shipping Penny elsewhere, and his value could skyrocket depending on where he lands. He’s not worth an add if he stays on the Seahawks, but if you’re willing to take a chance on him being moved to a better spot, he’s a great option.