Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 9: Target Joshua Palmer, Greg Dulcich, More
Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Joshua Palmer.
With another wild football Sunday in the rearview mirror, it's time to assess the state of our fantasy teams and add (or cut) accordingly.
Thankfully, Week 8 was lighter on the injury front than what was a brutal Week 7.
- WR Cooper Kupp (LAR) suffered an ankle injury and is considered day to day.
- TE Mark Andrews (BAL) is dealing with a shoulder injury which is not expected to be serious.
- WR Rashod Bateman (BAL) suffered a foot injury and is expected to miss a few weeks.
- RB Mark Ingram (NO) suffered a sprained MCL and could miss 3-4 weeks.
- WR Christian Watson (GB) exited Sunday Night Football with a concussion.
Beyond injuries, Week 9 brings Bye-Nado 1. The Browns, Cowboys, Giants, Steelers, Broncos and 49ers are on bye, meaning you will need to find replacements for stars such as Amari Cooper, Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Courtland Sutton, Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.
Whether you need a player to replace dead weight on your roster, or just need a Week 9 streamer, make sure to check out Action Network's top targets at each position — all of which are available in at least 50% of Yahoo! leagues — that you should prioritize come Tuesday night.
Note: Yahoo! roster percentages are reflected in parentheses as of Monday and fantasy rankings are exclusive of the Monday Night Football game.
Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups
Justin Fields, Bears (41% rostered)
Frankly, I was wary of starting Fields in what should have been a difficult matchup against Dallas' defense, which ranked No. 2 in defensive DVOA entering the week.
He posted his best fantasy performance of the year in the Bears' 49-29 loss, completing 17-of-23 attempts for 151 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed eight times for 60 yards and a touchdown and is the QB5 heading into Monday Night Football.
Fields has been trending upwards after a fairly rough start and is the QB6 on a per-game basis since Week 5. The dual threat is averaging 53 rushing yards per game, which gives him a nice floor.
Next three games: vs. Dolphins, vs. Lions, at Falcons
Taylor Heinicke, Commanders (7%)
I recommended picking up Heinicke last week as a potential fill-in for Patrick Mahomes or Justin Herbert managers. He was solid in the Commanders' 17-16 win over the Colts and completed 23-of-31 attempts for 279 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also tacked on six carries for 29 yards and a touchdown and is currently the QB8 with one game left to play.
This will be Heinicke's second game in a row finishing as a top-13 quarterback. Similar to Fields, he provides a high floor with his rushing production.
Next three games: vs. Vikings, at Eagles, at Texans
Andy Dalton, Saints (14%)
I was all about Dalton as a waiver wire pickup and a Week 8 start. He performed well in New Orleans' 24-0 shutout of the Raiders and completed 22-of-30 attempts for 229 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Dalton is the QB17 heading into Monday night and has at least 17 fantasy points in each of the last two games. It's unclear if the Saints will continue to roll with him with Jameis Winston healthy. If they do, he should be a high-end QB2 with six teams on bye.
Next three games: vs. Ravens, at Steelers, vs. Rams
Other quarterbacks to consider: Marcus Mariota, Falcons (26%), P.J. Walker, Panthers (6%)
Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers, Rams (31% and 1%)
Williams was the Rams’ fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. He missed the first six games of the season due to an ankle injury that required surgery, but he is expected to return from injured reserve soon. The rookie could be in line for a hefty workload right out of the gate, which seems to be the plan according to The Athletic.
Cam Akers, who was expected to be the starter this year, is sidelined amid friction with the coaching staff. It's still possible Akers is traded, though even if he remains with the team, I cannot envision a scenario where he is given a full workload.
With Akers ostensibly out of the picture, Darrell Henderson Jr. led the backfield in Week 6. The team then opted to switch to fourth-string running back Ronnie Rivers in Week 8, which signals Los Angeles likely does not view Henderson as a long-term solution.
Rivers and Williams could both end up being useful in a backfield very much up for grabs.
Next three games: at Buccaneers, vs. Cardinals, at Saints
Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs (7% and 34%)
This backfield is a mess.
Ahead of the Chiefs' Week 7 matchup against the 49ers, it was announced that Pacheco — not Clyde Edwards-Helaire — would be the team's starting running back. Pacheco saw eight carries for 43 yards and participated in 30% of snaps. Edwards-Helaire still ended up with the better fantasy game with six carries for 32 yards and a touchdown and participated in 27% of snaps.
McKinnon actually led the trio in yards and snaps, tallying four touches for 64 all-purpose yards. He leads all of the Chiefs' running backs with a 42% snap participation rate this season.
This backfield feels wide open and could shift toward Pacheco or McKinnon with Edwards-Helaire plausibly falling out of favor with the coaching staff. The Chiefs have a nice three-game stretch coming up, which could make both fantasy relevant.
Next three games: vs. Titans, vs. Jaguars, at Chargers
Caleb Huntley, Falcons (4%)
Huntley led the Falcons' backfield in their 37-34 overtime win over the Panthers. He had 16 carries for 91 yards, while Tyler Allgeier saw 14 carries for 39 yards. Allgeier was involved in the passing game, however, and also tacked on three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.
This will continue to be a committee while Cordarrelle Patterson is on injured reserve. Allgeier, who is 54% rostered, would be my preferred add if available in light of his usage in the passing game. Huntley should also carry some value as well given how heavily the Falcons have leaned on the run and how many points they have to score in order to stay competitive in games.
Next three games: vs. Chargers, at Panthers, vs. Bears
D’Ernest Johnson, Browns (1%)
Johnson has zero rushing attempts all season, but he could end up being a valuable fantasy asset if the Browns move on from Kareem Hunt, who is reportedly on the trading block.
Hunt entered the week as the RB23 this season in half PPR and the clear No. 2 behind Nick Chubb. He is averaging 11.6 touches per game, which could be funneled to Johnson. There are numerous teams who could benefit from additional running back depth, including the Broncos, Bills, Rams, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Cardinals, Seahawks and Eagles, just to name a few.
The Browns have a Week 9 bye, so Johnson is purely a bench stash and speculative add for deeper leagues.
Next three games: BYE, at Dolphins, at Bills
Other running backs to consider: James Cook, Bills (22%), Rachaad White, Buccaneers (29%), Latavius Murray, Broncos (40%), Chuba Hubbard, Panthers (43%), Kenyan Drake, Ravens (31%)
Joshua Palmer and DeAndre Carter, Chargers (25% and 5%)
Both Palmer and Carter could be in line for increased targets after the Chargers' Week 8 bye.
Keenan Allen returned from a five-game absence due to a hamstring injury in Week 7. The WR78 in half-PPR scoring, Allen caught two targets for 11 yards and didn’t play in the second half. It was somewhat predictable that he would be eased back into action after such a long absence.
Mike Williams stole the show with seven catches on nine targets for 86 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he was injured and will likely be sidelined for multiple weeks with a high ankle sprain.
Palmer missed Week 7 due to a concussion, but he is likely to return after the bye. He would be my preferred add over Carter, though Carter did see a season-high 94% of snaps in Week 7.
I anticipate Allen will be L.A.’s WR1 while Williams is out, followed by Palmer and Carter, with Gerald Everett also seeing additional targets. The Chargers have a somewhat soft schedule coming up with the Falcons, 49ers, Chiefs, Cardinals, Raiders, Dolphins and Titans lined up over the next seven weeks — five of which rank bottom ten in pass DVOA.
Next three games: at Falcons, at 49ers, vs. Chiefs
Terrace Marshall Jr., Panthers (1%)
It was the D.J. Moore show in the Panthers' heartbreaking overtime loss to the Falcons. He has stepped up with Christian McCaffrey out of the picture and is proving to be quarterback-proof opposite P.J. Walker.
Marshall was also impressive in the effort and recorded four catches on nine targets for 87 yards. He is currently the WR23 in half PPR in what was by far his best fantasy performance of the season.
I expect Marshall to see a bump in target share with McCaffrey gone and Walker playing better than expected. He could be worth an add in deeper leagues, especially with the Falcons on deck again in Week 10.
Next three games: at Bengals, vs. Falcons, at Ravens
Garrett Wilson, Jets (48%)
Wilson overcame rancid quarterback play in the Jets' 22-17 loss to the Patriots. He popped (likely on everyone's benches) and caught 6-of-7 targets for 115 yards, including a massive 54-yard catch in the first quarter.
Wilson is the WR14 in half-PPR scoring heading into Monday night on the heels of his second-best fantasy performance this year and best since Week 2. His value has tanked with Zach Wilson taking over for Joe Flacco, but I do believe he can be productive (just not consistently), especially with Elijah Moore begging for a trade.
I would have moved him higher on this list, but he has a brutal schedule coming up with a Week 10 bye mixed in. I expect him to be a high-risk, high-reward play against the Bills and Patriots.
Next three games: vs. Bills, BYE, at Patriots
Romeo Doubs, Packers (46%)
The positive takeaways from the Packers' 27-17 loss to the Bills were few and far between.
Aaron Jones stole the show and was dominant on the ground with 143 rushing yards. Doubs also had a nice day for fantasy as the Packers' top target with Christian Watson exiting early with a concussion. He caught 4-of-7 targets for 62 yards and a touchdown and is currently the WR26 in half-PPR scoring with one game left to play.
Doubs could be in line for an uptick in targets with Allen Lazard out with an ankle injury and Watson potentially sidelined in concussion protocol.
I would definitely consider streaming him next week against the Lions' bottom-of-the-barrel pass defense — especially if Lazard and Watson both miss more time.
Next three games: at Lions, vs. Cowboys, vs. Titans
Mecole Hardman and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Chiefs (35% and 35%)
Numerous Kansas City players had good fantasy days when the Chiefs demolished the 49ers, 44-23, in Week 7.
JuJu Smith-Schuster led the attack with seven catches for 124 yards and a touchdown, followed by Valdes-Scantling, who had three catches for 111 yards.
Hardman was also involved, both on the ground and through the air. The Georgia product tallied four catches for 32 yards and a touchdown and tacked on 28 rushing yards via two attempts, both of which resulted in touchdowns.
Consistency has never been Hardman's or Valdes-Scantling's forte. Both are high-upside options with bust potential.
Next three games: vs. Titans, vs. Jaguars, at Chargers
Rondale Moore, Cardinals (35%)
Moore and DeAndre Hopkins had fantastic games in the Cardinals' 34-26 loss to the Vikings. Moore caught 7-of-8 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown and rushed twice for 12 yards. Hopkins caught 12-of-13 targets for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Moore is the WR6 in half PPR while Hopkins is the WR2 heading into Monday night. Moore should be the Cardinals' WR2 while Marquise Brown is on injured reserve. He has streaming potential this week with the Seahawks' exploitable defense on tap in Week 9.
Next three games: vs. Seahawks, at Rams, vs. 49ers
Demarcus Robinson, Ravens (0%)
Robinson had his best game of the season in the Ravens' 27-22 win over the Buccaneers. He caught 6-of-8 targets for 64 yards and was the WR31 in half PPR, trailing only backup tight end Isaiah Likely in all receiving categories. Bateman saw just one target and is dealing with a foot injury.
I expect Devin Duvernay to be elevated as the Ravens' WR1 while Bateman is out. Robinson could also be in line for a nice uptick in work and may be worth adding in deeper leagues.
Next three games: at Saints, BYE, vs. Panthers
Other wide receivers to consider: Kalif Raymond, Lions (1%), Darius Slayton, Giants (7%), Mack Hollins, Raiders (7%), Parris Campbell, Colts (38%), Alec Pierce, Colts (41%), K.J. Osborn, Vikings (4%), Donovan Peoples-Jones, Browns (20%), David Bell, Browns (1%)
Isaiah Likely, Ravens (5%)
Likely is coming off of a breakout game on Thursday night against the Buccaneers. He caught six-of-seven targets for 77 yards and a touchdown with star tight end Mark Andrews dealing with a shoulder injury. He led the Ravens in all receiving categories and is currently the TE2 in half-PPR scoring with one game left to play.
Andrews' shoulder injury is not believed to be serious, but with the loss of Bateman and the uncertainty of Andrews' status heading into Week 9, Likely will likely be a popular waiver claim at just 5% rostered. He would immediately vault into the TE1 conversation if Andrews sits.
Next three games: at Saints, BYE, vs. Panthers
Evan Engram, Jaguars (43%)
Over the last four weeks, Engram is quietly averaging 7.25 targets per game and is the TE8 per game in half-PPR scoring. He was impressive in the Jaguars' Week 8 loss to the Broncos and caught 4-of-6 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown — his first of the year.
Engram is currently the TE4 with one game left to play and has a mouthwatering two-game stretch coming up against the Raiders and Chiefs. He should be considered a low-end TE1 with a relatively safe floor.
Next three games: vs. Raiders, at Chiefs, BYE
Greg Dulcich, Broncos (42%)
Both tight ends in the London game shined in what was otherwise a dull affair. Dulcich had yet another strong fantasy performance and caught 4-of-5 targets for 87 yards. He is currently the TE8 for the week and the TE4 on a per-game basis since joining the team in Week 6, behind only George Kittle, Travis Kelce and Mike Gesicki.
You may not have the luxury to add a player going on bye, but if you have the space and need a tight end, Dulcich should be your guy.
He will be the Broncos' TE1 moving forward with Albert Okwuegbunam fading into obscurity and potentially off to a new team as we approach the NFL trade deadline.
Next three games: BYE, at Titans, vs. Raiders
Other tight ends to consider: Tyler Conklin, Jets (12%), Cole Kmet, Bears (23%), Harrison Bryant, Browns (8%)