Heading into Week 9, we are all still working on the first goal in season-long fantasy: getting into the tournament at the end of the year. Once you get in, the goal becomes taking the whole thing down. We can start preparing for that second step right now. That’s why, after the standard weekly waiver column, we are going to provide you with a deep look at how you can potentially use the waiver wire to set yourself up for success in the fantasy playoffs during Weeks 13 through 16.
As always, if you have a question on this week’s column feel free to hit me up on Twitter @RyanReynNJ or via email at [email protected]
WEEK 9 WAIVER WIRE
Note: In leagues where Gardner Minshew is still available, he would be in play as the top streaming option this week.
1. Sam Darnold – 3% FAAB Budget (Also comes with potential long-term viability)
2. Cam Newton – 3% (Kyle Allen is the Week 9 starter for Carolina)
3. Derek Carr – 2%
4. Daniel Jones – 1%
5. Mitch Trubisky (Two QB league consideration)
6. Ryan Fitzpatrick (Two QB league consideration)
Note: In leagues where Adrian Peterson is still available, Peterson is behind Jaylen Samuels on this list, but ahead of Darrell Henderson for those in need of playing time this week. Kenyan Drake was also traded to Arizona, which puts him in position to see meaningful run as soon as this Thursday if David Johnson and Chase Edmonds injury issues persist.
1. Jaylen Samuels – 25% FAAB Budget
2. Darrell Henderson – 5%
3. Raheem Mostert – 3% (Dependent on injuries)
4. Tony Pollard – 2%
5. Alexander Mattison – 2%
6. Ronald Jones – 1%
7. Mark Walton – 1%
8. Kareem Hunt – 1% (Hunt cannot return until Week 10)
9. Derrius Guice – 1% (Guice cannot return until Week 11)
10. Peyton Barber – 1%
11. Tra Carson – 1%
1. Jamison Crowder – 15% FAAB Budget
2. Phillip Dorsett – 10%
3. Danny Amendola – 3% (PPR spot start option)
4. Cole Beasley – 2%
5. Chris Conley – 2% (Dependent on Dede Westbrook’s status)
6. Diontae Johnson – 1%
7. Darius Slayton – 1%
8. Allen Lazard – 1%
9. Josh Reynolds – 1% (On a bye)
10. Antonio Brown – 1%
1. Chris Herndon – 5% FAAB Budget
2. Darren Fells – 4%
3. Dallas Goedert – 3%
4. Jason Witten – 2%
5. Cameron Brate – 1% (Dependent on J. Howard’s status)
6. Noah Fant – 1%
7. O.J. Howard – 1% (Injury status pending)
Note: If Buffalo is available in your league, they would top this list while being usable in each of the next several weeks.
1. Eagles – 2% FAAB Budget
2. Browns – 2%
3. Cowboys – 1%
4. Packers – 1%
1. Matt Gay – 0% FAAB
2. Daniel Carlson – 0%
QB: Teddy Bridgewater, Joe Flacco, Kyle Allen, Ryan Tannehill
RB: Kalen Ballage, Ito Smith, Dion Lewis, Malcolm Brown
WR: Dante Pettis, Nelson Agholor, Josh Gordon, Keke Coutee, Deebo Samuel, Geronimo Allison, Corey Davis, A.J. Brown
TE: Kyle Rudolph, Jordan Reed, David Njoku
- Sam Darnold, QB, Jets, 3% FAAB Budget: Offensive line issues, questionable game planning, and Robby Anderson trade rumors have reduced the enthusiasm on the Jets future offensive prospects. However, the Jets still have a soft stretch in their schedule coming that begins at Miami in Week 9 and ends at home versus Miami in Week 14. While the floor is lower than we originally expected through this run, especially if Anderson is traded, you may be able to get Darnold cheaper as a result. If the Jets offensive struggles continue in Miami, you always have the option of moving off Darnold after this week.
- Cam Newton, QB, Panthers, 3%: Kyle Allen has been announced as the Panthers starter for Week 9, so Newton is not an option for this week and he may not be in Week 10, either. With that said, the Panthers have an appealing schedule run through the fantasy playoffs, which has been detailed further in the Preparing for the Playoffs section.
- Derek Carr, QB, Raiders, 2%: The Raiders are 2-point home favorites with an implied team total of 26.5 against the Lions in Week 9. The contest itself has the second highest game total (51 points) of Week 9. With Tyrell Williams returning from injury, Carr and the Raiders offense are in strong position for fantasy purposes in a potential shootout.
- Daniel Jones, QB, Giants, 1%: Jones and the Giants are 7-point home underdogs against Dallas on Monday Night. While the floor is low here for Jones and the Giants offense against a Dallas team that has dominated them in recent years, Big Blue does have an implied team total of 20 ½ in Week 9’s third highest projected game total (48). With the Giants pass defense likely to get smoked by Dak Prescott, there is potential for Jones to pad numbers, as he did last week against the Lions, in a come from behind effort.
- Mitch Trubisky, QB, Bears, Two QB League Consideration: Playing Trubisky, in any format during the 2019 season, is not for the faint of heart. For those in need in two quarterback formats, the Bears travel to Philadelphia in Week 9, where they face an Eagles secondary that has yielded 300-plus yard passing performances to Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, and Case Keenum this season. While the floor is extremely low for Trubisky, he threw for 303 yards against the Eagles in the 2018 playoffs.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Dolphins, Two QB League Consideration: One can almost admire the reckless abandon that Fitzpatrick often infuses into his approach to quarterback play. While the floor for playing Fitzpatrick would involve him getting replaced by Josh Rosen, the Dolphins have one of their most winnable games in Week 9 as they host the Jets and their exploitable pass defense.
- Jaylen Samuels, RB, Steelers, 25% FAAB Budget: James Conner suffered a shoulder injury late during Monday Night Football and did not return, putting his future status in doubt. After missing time due to a knee scope, Samuels was inactive for Week 8 despite practicing in full heading into the matchup. One could reasonably expect that Samuels will be active in Week 9, who has had a role in the Steelers passing game and as a Wild Cat quarterback in primary reserve duty behind Conner. Should Conner’s shoulder injury result in missed time, Samuels would be first in line to fill his shoes, as he effectively did in December of 2018. Even if Conner is able to grit through yet another injury, Samuels would still have value as a stash option going forward.
- Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams, 5%: On the surface it looks like Henderson (28 snaps, 13 touches) split time with Todd Gurley (32 snaps, 10 touches) in London against the Bengals in Week 8. When digging deeper, all of Gurley’s playing time came when the game was within 1 score, while 10 of Henderson’s 13 touches came in the second half while the Rams were up by two scores. So, while the Rams are more confidently relying on Henderson with Malcolm Brown sidelined, the vast majority of Henderson’s workload in Week 8 came while the Rams were comfortably ahead. That makes Henderson more of a premium handcuff with a steadily intriguing role moving into the Rams bye.
- Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers, 3%: Both Matt Breida (ankle) and Jeff Wilson (concussion) left Week 8 due to injury and did not return, leaving both of their availabilities in doubt heading into Week 9’s Thursday Night Football matchup in Arizona. If Breida in particular can’t go, Mostert has been effective and he’d slide in along with Tevin Coleman in the 49ers league-leading rushing attack. Mostert is also on the injury report with a knee issue, which means his status will need to be monitored heading into Thursday Night.
- Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys, 2%: If your fantasy team is in a strong enough position to carry a premium stash option at running back, Pollard would become a max FAAB bid type of fantasy asset were Ezekiel Elliot to miss any time.
- Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings, 2%: Mattison is another premium handcuff that has been excellent in primary reserve duty behind Dalvin Cook. If Cook were to miss time, Mattison would become a max FAAB bid type of fantasy asset.
- Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers, 1%: The Buccaneers running back trio of Jones, Peyton Barber, and Dare Ogunbowale stayed the same for another week as each continues to see significant playing time. While Jones and Barber are in more of a direct timeshare, as Ogunbowale handles passing down work, Jones is a more explosive runner than Barber. Jones is also a second-round pick in his second season, meaning that if the Bucs are eventually eliminated from playoff contention, they could be reasonably inclined to increase Jones workload down the stretch in order gauge their running back situation heading into the offseason.
- Mark Walton, RB, Dolphins, 1%: Walton continued to lead the Dolphins backfield in usage Monday Night, as he had 11 carries for 35 yards while catching 3-of-6 targets for 19 yards against the Steelers. With Kenyan Drake now in Arizona, Walton is set to see the heavier half of the running back timeshare over Kalen Balage, particularly as a pass catcher.
- Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns, 1%: Only one more week until Hunt can return to action. While we can only assume that Browns decision makers have no intention on reducing Nick Chubb’s workload, it is reasonable to expect that Hunt will take over the primary reserve duties behind Hunt while potentially playing a larger role in the passing game than the present reserve running backs in Cleveland have to date.
- Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins, 1%: Guice is on track to return in Week 11 against the Jets. While Adrian Peterson has played well in Bill Callahan’s offense, it would make sense for the Redskins to give Guice a considerable share of the backfield workload to see what they have in the young running back down the stretch.
- Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers, 2%: Barber continues to function within a three-man timeshare with Ronald Jones and Dare Ogunbowale. While Barber leads Jones in playing time on the season, both running backs are stuck in a nearly even split.
- Tra Carson, Lions, 1%: Kerryon Johnson’s absence left the Lions backfield in a four-way usage mess last week as Carson, Ty Johnson, D. McKissic, and Paul Perkins all received touches against the Giants. Carson out-carried Ty Johnson 12-to-7 in Week 8, though Ty Johnson also had 4 targets and Carson had none. With Carson also getting the only red-zone carry for the Lions, he is worth monitoring for the time being. No Lions running back is presently playable heading into Week 9.
- Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets, 15% FAAB Budget: Week 7’s Monday Night meltdown against the Patriots resulted in Crowder’s Yahoo ownership falling to 50%, which means he may be available again in your league. The Jets have a run of soft opponents on deck, beginning this week in Miami and closing in Week 14 when they host the Dolphins. Crowder can be a valuable asset during that stretch, especially in PPR formats. Should Robby Anderson get moved before the trade deadline, Crowder would become the standalone top target for the Jets the rest of the way.
- Phillip Dorsett, WR, Patriots, 10%: Barring a trade before today’s deadline at 4:00 P.M. Eastern, Josh Gordon’s move to IR ensures Dorsett’s significant role on the perimeter in the Patriots offense. In the second half of the season, the Patriots have several opponents capable of forcing more neutral game scripts, which would benefit all of the Patriots pass catchers. While there should be some concern that the acquisition of Mohamed Sanu will push Dorsett to third in the pecking order for wide receiver and tight end targets, Dorsett has an established rapport with Tom Brady.
- Danny Amendola, WR, Lions, 3%: Over the past two contests, the Lions have combined for 61 points as Amendola has caught 16-of-19 targets for 200 yards during that two-game stretch. The Lions head to Oakland next, which is Week 9’s second-highest projected game total (51 points). Amendola can serve as a strong spot start in PPR formats in a game projected to be both close and high scoring.
- Cole Beasley, WR, Bills, 2%: Beasley is a high-floor PPR asset that remains tied for the Bills’ target share lead (22%) with a solid weighted opportunity (.46) on the season. Buffalo hosts a beatable Washington secondary as 10-point home favorites in Week 9, making Beasley worth consideration as a bye week fill in for PPR leagues.
- Chris Conley, WR, Jaguars, 2%: Especially if Dede Westbrook ends up missing Week 9’s matchup with the Texans, Conley is worth consideration as a high-ceiling flyer against a Houston secondary that has been torched by wide receivers throughout the season.
- Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers, 1%: To put it plainly, Mason Rudolph’s passing offense is not reliable. With that said, Johnson had another strong performance as he caught 5-of-7 targets for 84 yards and a score against Miami on Monday Night Football. The Steelers are 1 ½ point home favorites against the Colts in Week 9, making Johnson a volatile play in a contest that is at least projected to be close.
- Darius Slayton, WR, Giants, 1%: Few could have hoped for more out of Slayton through the first 8 games of the season. Slayton is coming off a matchup with the Lions where both of his catches went for scores, which is an outcome that looks great in the box score but is not sustainable. However, as long as Sterling Shepard remains sidelined with his second concussion on the season, Slayton continues to see significant playing time with multiple targets a game. The rookie speedster has a Monday Night date with Dallas in Week 9.
- Allen Lazard, WR, Packers, 1%: Lazard’s offensive snaps against the Chiefs were nearly even with Geronimo Allison’s. Both wide receivers played significant snaps in the slot, while Lazard caught all 5 of his targets for 42 yards as Allison caught 1-of-3 targets for 7 yards in Week 8. Considering that Aaron Rodgers asked for Lazard by name late in Week 6’s contest with the Lions and that Allison has largely underperformed this year, it’s worth keeping tabs on Lazard’s role heading into Week 9 against the Chargers, to see if he starts to supplant Allison.
- Josh Reynolds, WR, Rams, 1%: Even though the Rams are on their bye in Week 9, Reynolds could be filling in for Brandin Cooks over the next several weeks as Cooks suffered yet another concussion last week in London against the Bengals.
- Antonio Brown, WR, Free Agent, 1%: Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweet that “The more teams I talk to, the more I believe someone signs AB after the trade deadline” is interesting enough to put Brown back on the radar if you can afford a dead roster spot. If Brown were to join Green Bay, Seattle, or Baltimore especially he would become a potential difference making type of waiver add in that given week. We’ve all seen his floor in 2019, so adding Brown at this point would be a speculative move that comes with the prospect of major upside.
- Chris Herndon, TE, Jets, 5% FAAB Budget: Herndon’s hamstring injury paired with his 4-game suspension has caused him to miss the first 7 games for the Jets this season. However, the Jets have a string of appealing matchups starting this week in Miami. While we have to keep an eye on Herndon’s injury status while having a backup plan ready in case that news is undesirable, he could potentially start for many fantasy teams this week if he’s active.
- Darren Fells, TE, Texans, 4%: Fells sees major playing time every week, he has had 6 or more targets in 3 of the Texans last 6 games, and he has hauled in 5 touchdowns over that span. He’s volatile week-to-week, as is virtually anyone outside of DeAndre Hopkins in Bill O’Brien’s offense, but Fells does have a considerable red-zone role in a high-performing offense.
- Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles, 3%: Goedert’s offensive snaps continued to rise in Week 8 as he played 55-of-73 snaps while catching 3-of-5 targets for 22 yards and a score at Buffalo. While Goedert has not “taken over” for Zach Ertz, Goedert’s playing time and usage have been gradually catching up to Ertz over the last several weeks.
- Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys, 1%: Witten has had 4 efficient targets in all but one contest this season (he had 7 in that one outlier) as he faces a Giants secondary on Monday Night Football that was dismantled by Dak Prescott on opening day. If you’re in need of a streaming option in Week 9, grabbing a share of the Dallas passing offense via Witten is a solid choice.
- Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers, 1%: With J. Howard sidelined with injury, Brate was in on 54-of-81 offensive snaps while catching 3-of-6 targets for 32 yards in Tennessee. If Howard should miss Week 9, Brate is a way to get a share of the week’s highest implied total (52 ½) as the Seahawks take on the Bucs in Seattle.
- Noah Fant, TE, Broncos, 1%: In the first week after the Emanuel Sanders departure, Fant lead the Broncos in targets (8) while tying Phillip Lindsay on the day in receptions (5). Joe Flacco’s neck injury resulting in Branden Allen taking over in Week 9 reduces some of the enthusiasm on Fant’s usage spike, but the talented rookie is still worth monitoring going forward.
- O.J. Howard, TE, Buccaneers, 1%: Howard’s 2019 fantasy season has been a disaster and he has a wide range of outcomes this week. He could miss his second contest in a row with a hamstring injury. It has been rumored that he could actually be traded today. If he suits up, the matchup between the Seahawks and the Bucs has an implied total of 52 ½, the highest of Week 9. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with grabbing the talented Howard and sticking him on your bench to see if his situation improves.
- Eagles Defense vs Bears, 2% FAAB Budget: Whenever one considers playing the Eagles defense in fantasy that decision begins with the Eagles front having an advantage over their opponent’s offensive line, which is the case in this matchup. The Eagles are also 5-point home favorites against a struggling Bears offense with a volatile quarterback in Mitch Trubisky. While it’s possible that the Bears exceed expectations against a vulnerable Eagles secondary, the upside in this matchup makes the Eagles defense worthy of strong consideration this week.
- Browns Defense vs Broncos, 2%: The Browns have had a difficult schedule to this point in the season, making this a must-win situation against Denver in Week 9. The strength of the Browns defense is their front four, and it will be applying pressure against backup quarterback Branden Allen. This matchup provides the sack and turnover opportunities we are looking for when streaming defenses for fantasy purposes.
- Cowboys Defense at Giants (Monday Night), 1%: The Cowboys are 7-point road favorites against a rookie quarterback in Daniel Jones who has fumbled 7 times, thrown 7 interceptions, and taken 21 sacks over his 6 NFL starts.
- Packers Defense at Chargers, 1%: Phillip Rivers is among the very best, immobile pressure managers of all-time, and he has taken 14 sacks and thrown 7 interceptions behind an injury-ravaged Chargers offensive line this season. The Chargers also fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt leading into this contest, who has been Rivers’ play caller during two different stints with the Chargers. The potential continuity issues paired with the Packers pass rush versus the Chargers exploitable offensive line make the Packers Defense worthy of consideration this week.
- Matt Gay, K, Buccaneers, 0% FAAB Budget: While you would have to check for weather conditions in Seattle, plugging Gay into your lineup this week is a way to get a share of this matchup that has Week 9’s highest implied game total (52 ½).
- Daniel Carlson, K, Raiders, 0%: If you’d prefer a kicker at home, the Raiders versus the Lions has Week 9’s second highest implied game total (51). Oakland is an outdoor venue, so one should always check weather conditions before plugging in a kicker.
Preparing for the Playoffs
The title says it all, we want to do whatever we can to you get ready to succeed in the fantasy playoffs. That’s why we will be providing a deep dive on fantasy assets that are in advantageous spots throughout Weeks 13 through 16. The majority of the offensive players and defenses included in this section presently fall below the ownership thresholds we use for inclusion in the weekly waiver wire column. In some cases, we have included a few options that have been trending downwards in ownership for several weeks.
We do not have a crystal ball, so injuries or depth chart fluctuations may alter the viability of some of these fantasy assets as we draw closer to the fantasy playoffs. We will be updating this section weekly to reflect any of those changes as they happen. As is always the case, your individual roster construction and league format would dictate which of these considerations are more valuable for your fantasy team.
Cam Newton (Week 13 vs Wash, Week 14 at Atl, Week 15 vs Sea, Week 16 at Ind): We don’t know exactly when Newton will return from injury. However, with Kyle Allen having no chance in Week 8 at San Francisco, betting on Newton to return sooner than later is a bet we comfortably endorse. Considering Newton’s very appealing four-game stretch through the fantasy playoffs, start shopping for Newton now if he’s available in your league. For Christian McCaffrey owners in particular, pairing him with Newton (once he returns) will give you close to complete touchdown equity in the Panthers offense through this stretch. The Newton and McCaffrey duo also offers you the chance to double up on McCaffrey’s production as a pass catcher.
Baker Mayfield (Week 14 vs Cin, Week 15 at Arz): If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m not the least bit surprised by the Browns offensive struggles to this point. The Browns disappointing start has been making Mayfield available in more leagues every week, which might present you with a buy-low opportunity on a talented quarterback with an exceptional skill group. In addition to the appealing matchups in Weeks 14 and 15 for Mayfield, the Browns also host the Dolphins in Week 12. For quarterback streamers, pairing Mayfield with Daniel Jones could provide you with high-ceiling options in each week through the fantasy playoffs.
Sam Darnold: (Week 13 at Cin, Week 14 vs Mia): I don’t care about no ghosts, because the biggest concerns with Darnold going forward are his vulnerable offensive line and the Jets coaching staff’s lack of ability to adjust in game. With that in mind, consider Darnold a high-ceiling option at quarterback from now through Week 14. Despite the attractive matchups, Darnold also comes with the risk of being limited by his offensive coaching staff and offensive line.
Daniel Jones (Week 14 at Phi, Week 15 vs Mia, Week 16 at Wash): Jones has struggled with pressure management since his middling career at Duke, which makes the road games in Philadelphia and Washington high-ceiling opportunities for Jones that come with a disastrous floor due to those opponents pass rushes. The Week 15 home game against Miami, however, is a big-ceiling contest for the Giants offense and the type of environment Jones could really shine in. For quarterback streamers, pairing Jones with Baker Mayfield could provide you with a high upside play from Weeks 12 through 16.
Gardner Minshew/ Nick Foles (Week 13 vs TB, Week 15 at Oak, Week 16 at Atl): The matchups for the Jaguars passing game through the fantasy playoffs are very enticing. The Jaguars “should” stick with Minshew, but that does not mean that they won’t turn to Foles once he returns from injury. Whoever the Jaguars quarterback is in Weeks 13, 15, and 16, they will almost certainly be listed among our streaming options for that given week when the time comes.
Weekly Streaming Options
Derek Carr at Chiefs: Assuming that Patrick Mahomes will be back for the Chiefs at this point, Carr and the Raiders offense will be heavy road underdogs projected for a considerable amount of garbage time, as well as some chance that they play up and hang with Kansas City. A neutral game script would be an even greater opportunity for Carr and the Raiders.
Andy Dalton vs Jets: By the time Week 13 rolls around, Dalton may not be under center for the Bengals anymore. If he is, the Jets are an exploitable secondary and this game has the potential to exceed its game total.
Jacoby Brissett at Buccaneers: The Buccaneers have one of football’s most exploitable pass defenses paired with one of football’s most unreliable, high-ceiling offenses. That sets up for a Week 14 matchup against the Colts that could approach, if not exceed, a game total of 50 points. A spike game for Brissett is well within his range of outcomes in Week 14.
Case Keenum vs Eagles: The Redskins could conceivably have any of their options at quarterback under center for Week 15. If it’s Keenum, he would be a volatile upside play that already threw for 380 yards back on opening day against this Eagles secondary.
Jacoby Brissett at Saints (Monday Night): A primetime matchup, in New Orleans, is likely to be a very volatile game for the Colts offense. Since it is a matchup between two offenses with strong offensive lines and capable skill groups, Brissett would have a high-ceiling and a low-floor in this spot.
Phillip Rivers vs Raiders: If Rivers lands on your waiver wire, he has a high upside matchup that could get you closer to putting your league winnings where they belong: in your pocket.
Running Back Stashes
Tony Pollard: The simple reality is that if Ezekiel Elliot were to miss time, for any reason, Pollard would be a max FAAB bid type of fantasy asset that would, at the very least, border on being a RB1.
Alexander Mattison: Mattison has been excellent all season in the primary reserve role behind Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. If Cook were to miss time, Mattison would be a max FAAB bid type of running back with the potential to be a RB1 in Cook’s absence.
Jamaal Williams: Williams already has a useful role in the Packers offense and his ownership levels are higher than what we’d typically include in the waiver wire column. With that said, Williams is currently a flex consideration in 12-team leagues that would become a viable RB2 if Aaron Jones were to miss time.
Rashaad Penny: Penny has missed multiple weeks due to injury, which has allowed Chris Carson to put a stranglehold on the Seahawks primary running back job. If Carson were to miss time, one could reasonably expect that Penny would take over and do a fair job of duplicating Carson’s production.
Potential Difference Makers
Darrell Henderson/ Malcolm Brown: If Henderson definitively leapfrogged Brown for primary reserve duty behind, if not alongside Todd Gurley, he would be among the premium stash options at running back. Since Henderson’s usage uptick has coincided with Brown being sidelined, we have the duo headlining this group.
Darrel Williams: Williams has a very reliable, well-rounded game in an elite offense once quarterback Patrick Mahomes returns. While Williams would need an injury to LeSean McCoy and/ or Damien Williams to be a factor for fantasy purposes, Darrel Williams has already shown that he can be an asset when called upon.
Jaylen Samuels/ Benny Snell: Once Samuels returns from injury, he has been the primary reserve behind James Conner while seeing significant work in the Wild Cat and the passing game even with Conner active. Barring another incident, Samuels should be back well before the fantasy playoffs. Should Samuels have a setback, Snell would be next in line in the run-heavy Steelers backfield behind Conner.
Rex Burkhead: The often injured, Swiss Army Knife of the Patriots could effectively step into either Sony Michel’s or James White’s role if needed.
Dion Lewis: Lewis’s usage has been very minimal in 2019. However, if Derrick Henry were to go down, Lewis would be set to take over the majority of his role.
Jordan Wilkins/ Nyheim Hines: If Marlon Mack were to miss time, Wilkins would take over the primary ball carrier duties and Hines would likely see an expanded role in the passing game.
Wayne Gallman: If Saquon Barkley should miss time again in 2019, Gallman would take over with some very appealing matchups throughout the fantasy playoffs.
Ryquell Armstead: Leonard Fournette has seen massive usage this season, as Armstead has served as his primary backup.
Gus Edwards: If Mark Ingram were to miss time, Edwards has been ahead of Justice Hill in the pecking order.
Raheem Mostert: The 49ers have been operating with committees at the skill positions, outside of tight end, all season. If Tevin Coleman or Matt Breida were to go down, Mostert’s role would increase and he has enough talent to make a difference.
Ty Montgomery/ Bilal Powell: Montgomery has been the primary reserve behind Le’Veon Bell for most of the season. Powell has cut into that secondary role in recent weeks, clouding who would be the next man up behind Bell.
Ito Smith/ Brian Hill: Smith has been in a timeshare with Devonta Freeman,until Smith left Week 7 with a concussion. Hill filled in for Smith (and Freeman after his Week 7 ejection) in each of the last two weeks.
Deandre Washington/ Jalen Richard: If Josh Jacobs should go down, Washington would take over the primary rushing duties while Richard would serve as the running back on passing downs.
The Hill to Die On
Justice Hill: He’s talented, but he has an increasingly unlikely path to meaningful playing time in 2019.
Wide Receivers and Potential Superflex Options
Patriots (Week 13 at Hou (Sunday Night), Week 14 vs KC, Week 15 at Cin): In Week 13 and 14 the Patriots have opponents capable of pushing their respective game totals well beyond 50 points, making Phillip Dorsett and Mohamed Sanu valuable commodities heading into the playoffs. If a Patriots wide receiver misses time, Jakobi Meyers’ stock would be on the rise.
Packers (Week 13 at NYG, Week 14 vs Wash): In Week 13 I will be sitting in the MetLife stadium parking lot, laying the foundation for that week’s column, as Aaron Rodgers does whatever he wants to the Giant secondary. Once Davante Adams returns, we’ll have a clearer idea of the pecking order at wide receiver behind him. That said, it’s worth monitoring Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Allen Lazard, and Jake Kumerow as we get closer to the fantasy playoffs as any Packers pass catcher seeing significant playing time could be an asset against the Giants and Redskins in the fantasy playoffs.
Jaguars (Week 13 vs TB, Week 15 at Oak, Week 16 at Atl): The Jacksonville passing game has several appealing matchups coming in the fantasy playoffs. So, if Dede Westbrook lands on your waiver wire, get aggressive. If Chris Conley or even Marquise Lee are available in your Superflex league, they could be worthy of a stash on a deep roster.
Jets (Week 13 at Cin, Week 14 vs Mia): Week 13 and 14 mark the end of the soft run through the schedule for the Jets. If Robby Anderson or Jamison Crowder land on your waiver wire, they both have strong upside from now until Week 14 as long as Sam Darnold remains active.
Dolphins (Week 13 vs Phi, Week 14 at NYJ, Week 15 at NYG, Week 16 vs Cin): The Dolphins offense, really their whole football operation in 2019, is as volatile as it gets. However, if you’re in a Superflex league and you’re interested in volatile upside, DeVante Parker and Preston Williams have been getting greater opportunity than just about anyone that you could conceivably find on your waiver wire for weeks. Albert Wilson, provided he can stay healthy, legitimately has outstanding matchups in all four of the games listed above. While the efficiency of all three of these wide receivers, in this passing offense that virtually defines unreliability, there is a real path to upside for Parker, Williams, and Wilson through the fantasy playoffs.
Giants (Week 14 at Phi, Week 15 vs Mia, Week 16 at Wash): If Sterling Sheppard lands on your waiver wire because he’s missed multiple games due to his second concussion on the season, grab him. Golden Tate will not likely be available in most leagues anytime soon, but if he is, grab him. If you have a deep bench, consider acquiring Darius Slayton, who was mentioned in the weekly waiver column for the third week in a row heading into Week 9.
None to add currently
Titans Pass Catchers at Raiders: If we’re truly being honest, the week-to-week volatility of the Titans passing offense is similar to that of the Dolphins. They simply cannot be trusted. With that in mind, Corey Davis and A.J. Brown will both be high-ceiling plays in this contest. Adam Humphries would also be worth consideration, though his week-to-week usage paired with his hefty contract have been truly baffling to this point.
49ers Pass Catchers vs Falcons: The existence of George Kittle and the arrival of Emmanuel Sanders make Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, and Marquise Goodwin volatile accessories in the 49ers’ offense. With that said, the Falcons are being lit up virtually every week by opposing offenses. Should one of the 49ers wide receivers emerge as the clear-cut number 3 option in the passing game behind Kittle and Sanders, they would have high-upside potential in this particular contest.
Broncos Pass Catchers at Chiefs: Whether it’s Joe Flacco, Branden Allen, or Drew Lock under center for Denver in Week 15, if Courtland Sutton is somehow available in your league, he’s useful now and he could pay off big here. After the Emmanuel Sanders trade, DaeSean Hamilton’s usage will be worth monitoring with this late contest in mind. Hamilton’s role did not expand whatsoever during the Broncos matchup with the Colts in Week 8.
Bears Pass Catchers vs Chiefs (Sunday Night): All Bears pass catchers outside of Allen Robinson should be considered volatile. That said, both Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel are worth monitoring as Superflex options with this late season matchup in mind. Should Tarik Cohen stumble onto your waiver wire, he could be a massive-ceiling play in this Week 16 contest.
Bengals Pass Catchers at Dolphins: A.J. Green should be back in the fold well before Week 16, which would limit the value of Auden Tate, Alex Erickson, or John Ross should he return from injury. With that said, should Green and/ or Tyler Boyd go down with an injury over the next 7 weeks, those complimentary parts in the Bengals passing game would see another rise in usage during the fantasy championship. In that scenario, they would be especially valuable in Superflex leagues.
Tight End Options
Jared Cook: Cook has been a disappointment to fantasy owners in 2019 and he has currently been missing time due to injury. However, the Saints have a Week 13 game in Atlanta where Cook could be a potential difference maker in that contest.
Chris Herndon: By the time the fantasy playoffs draw near Herndon should have played in at least a few games, which will allow us to properly gauge his role in the Jets offense. If that role is what we expect it to be, Herndon has two strong matchups in Weeks 13 and 14.
Dallas Goedert: Goedert’s playing time and usage have been notable for multiple contests heading into Week 9. If that trend continues, or if Zach Ertz were to miss time, Goedert has a path to being a difference maker down the stretch in fantasy.
Noah Fant: The Denver quarterback situation has become murky, but Fant saw a big usage spike in the first game after Emanuel Sanders trade, making him a name to monitor going forward.
Eagles Defense (Week 13 at Mia, Week 14 vs NYG (Monday Night): Week 15 at Wash): The appeal of the Eagles defense both for fantasy and betting purposes is that their front is capable of derailing games against weak offensive lines. The Eagles play the first three games of the fantasy playoffs against turnover-prone quarterbacks, that play behind average or worse offensive lines. While the Eagles defense comes with some risk of getting shredded through the air due to their vulnerable secondary, they also come with considerable upside during money making season in fantasy football.
Packers Defense (Week 13 at NYG, Week 14 vs Wash, Week 15 vs Chi): The Packers defense opens the fantasy playoffs with 3 matchups against volatile quarterbacks, playing behind underperforming offensive lines.
Chargers Defense (Week 13 at Den, Week 15 vs Min (Sunday Night), Week 16 vs Oak): If Derwin James returns to complete this secondary with both Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram active, the Chargers defense can be a difference maker down the stretch.
Cowboys Defense (Week 13 vs Buf (Thanksgiving), Week 14 at Chi (Thursday Night)): Heading into Week 9, the Cowboys defense has underachieved to this point in the season. With that said, they start the fantasy playoffs with back-to-back Thursday Night matchups against two volatile quarterbacks.
Panthers Defense vs Redskins: As long as Trent Williams does not suit up for Washington, the Panthers defense provides an option where a good pass rush matches up against a volatile quarterback, playing behind an offensive line with weak points.
Browns Defense vs Bengals: This matchup has the potential to feature a highly capable Browns pass rush against a vulnerable Bengals offensive line that could, conceivably, be starting rookie quarterback Ryan Finley.
Texans Defense vs Broncos: The J.J. Watt injury significantly reduces the value of this play, but we will monitor the Broncos quarterback situation heading into this matchup.
Steelers Defense vs Bills: This matchup provides an opportunity for the strong Steelers front against a volatile quarterback in Josh Allen.
Giants Defense vs Dolphins: The Giants defense is a disaster, but if Miami is winless at this point and the Giants take an early lead their defense has a chance to exceed expectations in this outing.
Redskins Defense vs Giants: Daniel Jones has been a creator of sack and turnover opportunities for opponents through his first 6 starts. The one strength of the Redskins defense is their front four, which could create problems for the Giants offense.
Ryan Reynolds has privately analyzed football for investing and betting purposes for nearly two decades. Ryan began forecasting by using sports cards as a method of investing in individual baseball and football players, a practice he still takes part in today. Ryan plays DFS, high-volume best ball, and season-long fantasy while directly betting on props, totals, and point spreads that meet his conditions. Ryan has watched every snap, of every NFL game since 2014.