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Fantasy Football Week 9 Waiver Wire: Priority pickups heading into the season's second-half

Andy Behrens
·10-min read

In addition to the usual injuries and illnesses of 2020, this week we also have the trade deadline to contend with. So there's a lot happening in fantasy circles. We're here to help prioritize the top fantasy pickups. All players listed below are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, and all are approved for immediate use. If you have needs, we have solutions...

Running backs on the wire

Damien Harris, New England Patriots (46% rostered)

It's fair to say that not much has gone according to script for New England lately, but the team's running game has been just fine since Harris entered the mix. Harris rushed for 102 yards on 16 carries on Sunday against the Bills, the second time in four games he's reached triple-digit yardage. He's now averaging 5.7 YPC on 49 attempts. Give the man a clean rushing lane and, generally speaking, good things are gonna happen...

Harris is only rarely used as a receiving option, so he's definitely at risk of being erased if game-flow doesn't favor the run. But that shouldn't be an issue next week when the Patriots face the Jets on Monday at MetLife. Harris is basically unbenchable in Week 9, considering the matchup.

Recommended offer, assuming $100 budget: $22

Jamycal Hasty, San Francisco 49ers (42%)

This will serve as final call on Hasty, who is now one of two remaining healthy-ish running backs for the Niners. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. are both on IR and Tevin Coleman reinjured his knee in Sunday's loss. Hasty handled an inefficient 13 touches against Seattle, gaining only 31 total yards, but he found the end zone on a nifty 1-yard stretch in the second-quarter...

The Niners next play on Thursday night against Green Bay, so there's really no time for any other backs to get healthy enough to return. It's going to be all Hasty and Jerick McKinnon, facing a defense that was just steamrolled by Dalvin Cook. Hasty should rank as a playable RB2 in the week ahead, but let's not assume he'll retain his standing beyond the team's Week 11 bye.

Offer: $16

Jordan Wilkins, Indianapolis Colts (1%)

If you're a past or current member of the Colts, there's a decent chance you scored a touchdown on Sunday against Detroit. Nyheim Hines had a pair of receiving TDs, Jack Doyle had one, Trey Burton took a direct snap and ran for a score and Wilkins delivered a 1-yard touchdown.

Notably, rookie running back Jonathan Taylor did not visit the end-zone, despite his team's relative dominance. Taylor somehow finished with just 31 scoreless scrimmage yards on an afternoon in which the Colts scored 41 points. He was out-snapped by Wilkins, 38 to 25, and dramatically out-rushed, 89 to 22. Wilkins' short rushing score actually came one play after Taylor was stuffed. Not a great day for the rookie. He's now reportedly dealing with an ankle issue, too.

Wilkins, clearly, is looking like a solid pickup based on Sunday's usage. He actually started the second half ahead of Taylor, for what it's worth. We need to view this backfield as something of a committee heading into a messy Week 9 matchup with Baltimore. Head coach Frank Reich offered some very standard-issue rode-the-hot-hand comments regarding Wilkins following Sunday's win, but it's tough to imagine the vet won't see an increase in opportunities moving forward. Wilkins has averaged 5.2 YPC over the course of his career, so it's not as if he's never shown a few flashes of talent. Again, next week's matchup is rough, but Wilkins clearly merits a long look.

Offer: $14

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (30%)

Pretty much every time J.K. Dobbins broke off a decent gain on Sunday (which happened frequently), some corner of the internet declared that he'd finally taken over the featured role for Baltimore. And then, inevitably, Gus Edwards would return to the game and continue piling up yardage. In the end, both backs were great. Dobbins rushed for 113 yards on 15 carries while Edwards gained 87 on 16 attempts, including a 1-yard score. Gus checked out briefly with a knee malfunction, but he returned.

You can't add Dobbins in any competitive league in all likelihood, but Edwards remains widely available. He's seen 30 carries over the Ravens' last two games, breaking the plane twice. The team loves him; he's not going away. Edwards is a complete non-factor as a receiver, so you can deemphasize him in any sort of PPR format. But if you like touchdowns, keep him in your plans.

Mark Ingram's high-ankle sprain makes him a question mark for Week 9. If Ingram can't go, both Dobbins and Edwards will be recommended plays at Indianapolis, despite the difficulty of the matchup.

Offer: $13

Matt Breida, Miami Dolphins (18%)

Myles Gaskin has been one of the better breakout stories of this fantasy season, but he’s going to be sidelined reportedly for three weeks with an MCL issue. The Dolphins dealt for DeAndre Washington at the deadline and he’s likely to see a few snaps at some point. But for now, Breida is the presumptive head of this backfield, with Jordan Howard perhaps in a supporting role. Breida has plenty of talent, though he’s been an inefficient rusher for Miami through half a season (3.5 YPC). He’s a capable receiver, too, so he can fill a three-down role. Add wherever you’re moderately desperate.

Offer: $12

Additional RBs of interest: Cam Akers (headed into his bye, but it's worth noting that Darrell Henderson suffered a thigh injury in the loss to Miami), J.D. McKissic (he has 24 receptions in his last five games and consistently plays 50 percent of the snaps), Troymaine Pope (Justin Jackson was the clear No. 1 back for the Bolts against Denver, but Pope out-touched and out-gained Joshua Kelley), Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams (because Green Bay will be without Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillon this week, and probably Aaron Jones as well), DeeJay Dallas (he certainly didn't wow anyone, but 23 touches led to two spikes; his only path to continued value is for all other Seahawks backs to remain sidelined).

Wide Receivers and tight ends deserving attention

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears (6%)

If the Bears had a better quarterback and O-line, they would ... well, I suppose they would be the Bucs or Steelers, or some other competent football team. But if they had those things, Mooney would be making plays like this every single week...

He's demonstrated an ability to get open deep against everyone. Mooney roasted Jalen Ramsey on multiple routes last Monday. He somehow seems to play even faster than his 4.38 speed.

Mooney finished with 69 yards and one score on six targets on Sunday afternoon, and he's now been targeted at least five times in six consecutive games. His workload is steady and his wheels are legit. He has big-play potential on every route. Again, team context is a huge problem, but talent is not. Mooney should be rostered in pretty much all deep-ish formats. He gets Tennessee and Minnesota before his Week 11 bye.

Offer: $12

Logan Thomas, Washington FT (21%)

Tight end has been a minefield of a position all season for fantasy managers, and a significant foot injury suffered by George Kittle on Sunday made the landscape even uglier. Plenty of us are going to be looking to the wire to find TE help in the days ahead. When we do, there's a decent chance Thomas will be waiting for us. He's found the end zone in back-to-back games for Washington and he's averaging just under six targets per week. Sure, it would be nice to see a bit more volume, but let's at least appreciate the fact that he's seen seven red-zone targets, among the highest totals at his position.

Thomas doesn't have any stay-away matchups on the schedule over the next month, as he's facing the Giants, Lions, Bengals and Cowboys. He's a strong option at a thin spot.

Offer: $10

Other WR/TE options: Corey Davis (he's still barely under the threshold for this column, surprisingly enough, and coming off a second straight 10-target game), Tim Patrick (a hamstring injury kept him off the field on Sunday, but he remains his team's No. 1 receiver and Atlanta's on deck), Marvin Hall (seven targets and 113 yards on Sunday, and Kenny Golladay is likely to miss at least this week with his hip injury), Jakobi Meyers (coming off 10 targets and 58 yards, but it's understandable if you want to simply avoid this team's passing game), Curtis Samuel (rushing TDs in consecutive weeks), K.J. Hamler (speedy rookie caught a TD pass against the Chargers), Jalen Reagor (headed into a bye, but reached the end zone on Sunday night and drew six targets), Randall Cobb (returning from his bye week to a matchup with Jacksonville), Trey Burton (broke the plane as a rusher on Sunday, his third score in four games so far), Eric Ebron (spiked against the Ravens and still under 50 percent rostered), Ross Dwelley and Jordan Reed (because Kittle is likely out for the remainder of the fantasy season).

Streamable quarterbacks

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos (9%)

OK, so the Drew Lock experience isn't necessarily for everyone. He's not unusually accurate and he'll make the occasional YOLO throw into a crowd. But Lock has a big arm and a respectable young receiving corps, plus he's coming off an improbable/ridiculous comeback win against the Chargers on Sunday afternoon. He can throw a dart every now and then...

...and this gentleman's celebrations are of the highest quality. Also, his upcoming matchups at Atlanta and Las Vegas are as friendly as it gets; those two defenses both rank among the five most generous to opposing QBs for fantasy purposes. The Falcons have given up a league-high 20 passing touchdowns while allowing 311.4 pass yards per game. If you have a need to stream at QB, Lock can help.

Offer: $9

Various assorted QBs to consider: Derek Carr (gets a nice bounce-back matchup with the Chargers coming off a quiet week), Teddy Bridgewater (his team should be chasing points against KC this week), Kirk Cousins (feels odd to recommend anyone following a 14-attempt game, but he gets the Lions next Sunday), Nick Mullens (yet another week in which a Niners backup out-produced the starter, and Jimmy Garoppolo is going to miss time after aggravating his ankle injury).

Defense to add

Washington FT (12%)

Washington is sixth in the NFL in sacks (22), tied for eighth in INTs (8), first in passing yards against (185.9 YPG) and fifth in defensive DVOA. So it's a frisky group. Next Sunday, the Football Team hosts an unimpressive Giants offense coming off a short week. Daniel Jones entered Week 8 having already taken 20 sacks and tossed seven picks. Washington's D/ST could easily deliver a top-5 finish in the week ahead. After New York, they get the Lions, Bengals and Cowboys.

Offer: $2

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