The NFL season has basically reached its midway point with Week 8 now behind us. Most fantasy leagues only have another 5 weeks of regular season action to look forward to. More often than I can recall in years past, most leagues are pretty tight with most teams floating just around the .500 range so it’s hard to know if you need to make a push for the playoffs or waive the white flag and plan for next year. Hopefully, you’re in the playoff push camp and our suggestions here will help you put together a strong(er) team going forward. But if you’re one of the fantasy owners looking to have a fire sale and plan ahead for next year, some of these waiver suggestions can help you next year too. If you trade away your quality players for picks, fill those vacant roster spots with high upside young guys that might help you in coming seasons. As usual, I’m assisted by DFF’s Shane Manila & KJ Hanna, so give them a follow on twitter @DFF_Shane & @DFF_KJ and feel free to hit us up with any questions.
Just a little disclaimer before we get into this week’s waiver adds. I’m not going to bother checking ESPN ownership numbers. From my personal experience, most dynasty owners play in leagues hosted by MFL. Due to the fact that I’m in 30+ dyno leagues on MFL, I’m just going to use them as my point of reference going forward. I will check ownership of players in all my leagues, I’m thinking 30+ leagues should give me a good basis as to whether specific players are widely available in dynasty leagues. If you believe I’m incorrect please get at me @DFF_Shane.
QB: Nick Foles, Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith had a rough Sunday, leaving the game twice for what were believed to be concussions at the time. After leaving the game early due to hits to the head, Smith passed the concussion protocol and only went to the locker room for a laceration to the ear according to the Chiefs trainer. And even though Smith ended up leaving the game, again due to hits to the head, and it even though it was reported he sustained a concussion he never did actually sustain a concussion. Yeah, I’m not buying it. I saw the video of Smith’s head bouncing off the turf and his eyes rolling in the back of his head after said head bounce and he looked concussed to me. I’m going to tell you to buy some cheap insurance this week in the form of Nick Foles. Although Foles was an abject failure in St. Louis last year, he has started and been successful in the league. With Smith’s multiple “non-concussions” on Sunday I’d say go ahead and hedge your bets on that just in case. With the playoff stretch run upon us, it makes sense to stash what could end up being a starting QB on the bottom of your bench.
RB: Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints
Remember last season when Mark Ingram went down due to injury and Hightower was snatched off the waiver wire to lead many, including yours truly, to multiple fantasy championships? Man that was fun wasn’t it? After fumbling Sunday, for the second week in a row, Ingram never saw another carry against the Seahawks. Now Saints coach Sean Payton has come out to state the Saints would be moving forward with the dreaded RBBC. Something hasn’t been right in Nola all season long between Ingram and the Saints. For whatever reason, Tim Hightower is now the back to own in New Orleans. He showed last season he can handle the role quite successfully scoring 16.50,11.50, 35.90 and 21.70 fantasy points weeks 14-17. Hightower has a three down back skillset and chipped in 12 receptions for 129 yards during that four-week stretch to end last season. Hightower would be my #1 waiver add this week, blow as much FAAB or your #1 waiver priority if you have to in order to secure the rights to Hightower.
RB: Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs really, really, really have confirmed that Spencer Ware did sustain a concussion Sunday. Truth be told, in the offseason, I was bigger on West than I was on Ware and thought West would be the handcuff to own in K.C. Well, I was clearly incorrect, but West now may get a chance to show why I was so high on him. When given the opportunity last season to fill in for an injured Jamaal Charles, West performed better and showed he could be a fantasy asset. Depending on the severity of Spencer Ware’s concussion, West might have the backfield all to himself. With Charles going to visit Dr. James Andrews (never ever a good thing) there is a good chance the K.C. backfield will be down to West and Ware going forward. Even if Ware doesn’t miss time due to this concussion, C. West is only an injury away from being a bell cow back and that’s hard to pass up at this point in the season.
RB: Antone Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I know I’m reaching way down here but come on, it’s week 9. Jacquizz Rodgers, who may have been the waiver wire add of the year up to this point, went down Sunday against the Raiders with an ankle injury. While the severity of the injury isn’t known at this point, we do know that Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter described it as “probably not good.” With the Bucs playing Thursday night, I’m going out on a limb and guessing Rodgers won’t be active. The next man up may be the explosive, big playmaker Antone Smith. You remember Antone Smith with the Falcons, right? Pretty much every week there was a highlight of a 75-yard touchdown run or catch from him. While the majority of the dynasty community was eyeing Peyton Barber, the Bucs went ahead and signed Smith off the street right under our noses. Then after Quizz goes down with an ankle on Sunday, the bulk, okay 4 carries, of the workload was given to Smith and not Barber. With little information regarding Doug Martin’s return and until we hear anything definitive on Quizz’s ankle injury, it just might be time to add Smith to your roster.
RB: Terron Ward, Atlanta Falcons
With Tevin Coleman out last Sunday due to a hamstring injury and still not practicing on Monday, Ward is now the compliment to Devonta Freeman in Atlanta’s backfield. Showing no fear to immediately use the previously inactive Ward, the Falcons gave him 7 touches on Sunday. He parlayed those 7 touches into 6 rushes for 46 yards and 1 reception for 11 yards. If you’re absolutely desperate due to the six teams on bye this week you can go ahead and plug and play Ward into your lineup this week. Ward is also the next man up in the backfield if anything we’re to befall Freeman but even without injury don’t be surprised if he gets a good portion of the workload that Tevin Coleman’s injury has made available
RB: Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (7.3% Owned in ESPN leagues)
At the detriment to ALL my fellow Ware owners, Spencer left the Week 8 game due to a concussion. Jamaal Charles is seeing Dr. Andrews (not a good sign) and IF Ware is out for week 9, West is an automatic add and start. West rushed for 52 yards and caught 2 of 3 targets for 8 yards in week 8. The Chiefs play the Jaguars in Week 9 and have allowed 7 touchdowns and 18.7 fantasy points per game to running backs this season. This add is more TREAT than TRICK.
RB: Rob Kelley, Washington Redskins (23%)
I was a HUGE fan of Kelley going into the season but he was not used due to Matt Jones being healthy. But, with Jones having fumble issues and now an injury, Kelley started in week 8 and he didn’t disappoint. Kelley rushed 21 times for 87 yards and a touchdown and now is averaging 5.0 yards/carry on the season. Kelley could be a lottery ticket that needs to be owned. However, owners beware as the Redskins have a bye in week 9 then face the mighty run defenses of the Vikings and Packers in weeks 10-11.
RB: Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (2%)
Timmy Hightower was not only productive on Sunday but could be pushing an RBBC in New Orleans. After Ingram was benched for fumbling in the 1st quarter of Week 8, Hightower rushed for a 26/102 line. Not too shabby. However, that was the good, the bad was that he was given 5 goal-line opportunities and failed on each carry. If you have a roster spot to burn or are just looking for someone who could give you a few points in a tough bye week, especially considering the Saints are playing the abysmal run defense of the 49ers in week 9, you could do worse than Hightower.
RB: Antone Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.1%)
The Quizz left Week 8 with a foot injury and was diagnosed with a sprained foot and is not expected to play on a quick turnaround TNF game. Enter Antone Smith. Most would have thought that Peyton Barber would take over the role but Smith out snapped Barber 22 to 3. The Bucs are re-signing Mike James, which shows that Quizz is not returning anytime soon, but I am expecting Smith to get the start in Week 9 versus a Falcons team that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game (23.2) to RBs this season. Until Martin can return to the field, Smith or whatever healthy RB is in TB will start.
RB: CJ Prosise, Seattle Seahawks (8%)
CJ split snaps with Christine Michael at 21 each in week 8 versus the Saints. Prosise was decent with his opportunity, carrying 4 times for 23 yards and caught 4 passes for 80 yards. Thomas Rawls is still a few weeks away so if you’re in a PPR league and need a bye week fill-in, Prosise could help.
RB: Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens (12%)
T West is still the starter, however, the Ravens have stated that they want to get Dixon more involved. BUT, if West falters, it could be Dixon’s time in Baltimore. I’ve been on the train to Dixon all year but, until he gets more snaps, he’s only an add for deep leagues.
SUPER SPECULATIVE STASH:
RB: Alfred Morris, Dallas Cowboys (15%)
Even if you don’t own Ezekiel Elliott, owning Morris could be a golden ticket IF Zeke goes down. Also, early rumors started on Sunday morning that the NFL isn’t finished with the Elliott domestic abuse issue. It’s purely speculative at this point but you should grab Alfred Morris and stash him as a preventative measure.
WR: Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans (3.7%)
Maybe Week 7 was just a hiccup in the Mariota/Wright target party? I think it’s safe to say Wright is Mariota’s favorite target and the only semi-reliable player outside of Demarco Murray in the Tennessee offense. Averaging 6 targets, over 4 catches and 76 yards per game and 2 TDs over the past 3 weeks, putting KW in your WR3 or Flex spot in a PPR league is starting to look less crazy. KW is facing the Chargers in Week 9, who have allowed 23 fantasy points per game to WRs. Use Wright as a plug and play who could evolve into more in the next few weeks.
WR: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (1.5%)
Hill has emerged as the Chiefs’ most reliable WR. Tyreek was targeted 6 times and made 5 receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown in week 8. Quiz time! Below are the last 3 weekly point totals for Hill and Maclin in a PPR league. Can you tell who is who?
A) 3, 11.5, 17.5
B) 5.5, 6, 11.5
Yup, Hill is A. Is Hill more valuable than Maclin? Not exactly, as his usage isn’t completely consistent but he is becoming more of the K.C. offense every week. I’d add him and start him in a tough bye week and potentially have a WR2/3 if consistency happens.
WR: Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh Steelers (44%)
Remember me? Coates was dropped in a decent amount of leagues after coming back from a thumb injury to post a 0 point game in Week 6 and a 1 point game in Week 7, not to mention losing his QB. But, Coates has had time to get healthy AND as of Tuesday morning, Big Ben will be returning in Week 9. With the Steelers bye week over and a decent upcoming schedule (Bal, Dal, Cle, Ind), if you can add him or buy low, do it!
WR: J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals (1.2%)
With injuries piling up in AZ and a QB who likes to air it out, Nelson is a top add for the rest of the year. J.J. has stepped into a situation where the offense has been stagnant, injuries piling up (Brown, Fitz) and players being phased out (Floyd). Leading all Arizona WRs with an 8/79/2 line against Carolina, after the bye week J.J. has the chance to continue his streak in Week 10 vs. the 49ers. So add and stash him now while others don’t have the luxury to do so.
TE: Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (28%)
The Lions have been dealt a ton of injuries this season and Ebron has been one of the main victims. Having not played since Week 4, we didn’t know what to truly expect from Ebron, however, he came out with a bang! Ebron went 7/79 on 10 targets vs. the Texans stout defense in Week 8. The unfortunate thing is Ebron didn’t get a red zone target, which capped his ceiling and may continue into Week 9 as the Lions take on the Vikings. However, unless you have another serviceable TE, Ebron can be added as a bye week start and or TE depth for when the schedule loosens up.
TE: Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (34.5%)
All of us at Dynasty Football Factory were and remain all in on Cameron Brate. However, our expectations are now tempered as he has not gained the extra targets as expected since Vincent Jackson went on IR. We still believe Brate is in for a larger role, especially with his red zone targets, but he is more of a TD-dependent TE at this time. His schedule is awfully soft in the upcoming weeks (Atl, Chi, KC) and I for one expect more of a repeat of Week 8’s numbers (3/22/1) more than week 7’s numbers (3/29/0).
I’m going to start with a slightly unusual add this week, but IDP is growing in popularity and if somebody emerges that I think can help you, I’ll throw it out there for you.
LB: Elandon Roberts, New England Patriots (<1%)
So, in case you missed it, the Patriots traded away starting linebacker Jaime Collins to the terrible Cleveland Browns and that is going to open a spot in the lineup for the rookie out of Houston. The Pats have liked what they’ve seen out of their 6th round draft pick and he’ll have a chance to crack the starting lineup. Starting middle linebackers are hard to come by barring injuries, so snatch him up if you can.
WR: Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (44%)
C’mon out there, only 44% owned? What more does this guy have to do to get his ownership over 80% where it should be. He’s averaged 22 points per game in PPR leagues over the last 4 games. He’s quickly becoming one of Kirk Cousins favorite targets and a real threat in the red zone for the ‘skins.
WR: Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns (31%)
Grab him now cheap before he starts playing again and you have to pay up for him. You can probably get him this week for a few dollars, but if he comes back in 2 weeks and scores a touchdown and goes for 100 yards, you’re going to have to blow your entire blind bidding budget on him then. Think 2 steps ahead, if you need a WR, grab him now.
WR: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (1.5%)
I’ve been featuring him here in the waiver wire pick up article for weeks and his ownership is still under 2% while he’s averaged 14.5 points per game over the last 4 weeks. He’s an emerging star. In dynasty leagues, ADD HIM RIGHT NOW, this kid is going to be a legit WR1 for fantasy purposes as long as he can stay out of trouble off the field.
WR: Russell Shepard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3%)
His snaps on offense will be limited because the Bucs want to keep him fresh for his role on special teams. Even so, he’s managed a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. Mike Evans is the clear number 1 here, and with Vincent Jackson injured there still hasn’t been anybody who has stepped up to take over that abandoned #2 role. So far, Shepard has been the most productive, he’s worth a flier if you need help due to injuries or bye weeks.
TE: Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons (<1%)
The Falcons have had injuries at tight end and as of right now Hooper has secured the starting job. He grabbed 4 balls for over 50 yards in his first career start, so he flashed a little skill out there. He’s a rookie, so expect some growing pains, but as of now, he’s probably going to be the #3 target for the Falcons until Tamme comes back.
TE: Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers (4%)
See my write up on Corey Coleman above. Injured player, due back soon, but much cheaper today than if you wait until he comes back. A high upside potential TE1 down the stretch run for fantasy football, grab him if you have room and need help at TE. He might be a league winner.
RB: Rob Kelley, Washington Redskins (22%)
Whelp, I listed him here last week and if you were interested, I hope you grabbed him on the cheap because after his performance in London he’s gonna cost you a pretty penny now. The ‘skins are on the bye this week, so that might keep his price in check a bit, but I fully expect him to take over the starting job as the season progresses and Matt Jones continues to underwhelm.
RB: Daniel Lasco, New Orleans Saints (0%)
So, we’re digging pretty deep here, but Mark Ingram is in the doghouse in N’awlins due to fumbling, and Tim Hightower has been given the lion’s share of the work as a result. Until Lasco got hurt during Week 7, he steadily saw his snaps increasing and looked to be competing with Hightower for the number 2 job. So, although I don’t expect him to put up RB1 numbers, he’s worth a stash as he’s an injury away from significant touches and has added value in PPR leagues.
RB: Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4%)
Antone Smith is getting more attention, but Barber is a younger, better back. There’s a reason Smith has never been a full-time player in the NFL… He’s just not that good. With the Bucs down to their 4th & 5th running backs, I’ll bet on the young kid over the journeyman in his 30s.
RB: C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks (8%)
In PPR leagues, this is an immediate must add. He’s the 3rd down back to own in Seattle and now finally healthy, he went for over 100 yards in his breakout game. He’s a dynamic playmaker and will be eating into touches out of the backfield going forward.
RB: Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles (3%)
Ugh… I felt really good about this until he coughed up a costly fumble in a primetime game on Sunday night. There’s already talk that Sproles might be taking the #1 job from Matthews and if so, who is going to take over Sproles’ duties? If the Philly coaching staff is done with Matthews, why would they carve out another role for him? Sproles has never been a lead back over the course of his 12-year career. His career high in carries was 93 in 2009 and his career high in touches was 173 in 2011, what can the Eagles realistically expect from him. All that leaves Smallwood as the remaining candidate to get an increase in touches as the season goes on.
That should do it for this week. Hopefully, some of these guys come through for you in Week 9 and push you towards a 9-0 start… or at least a playoff birth. As always thank you for reading, and we wish you well using these recommendations. We hope to see you here again next week, good luck!