Waiver Wire Pickups Week 9
We have a very balanced waiver wire coming up. Usually, it’s extremely FLEX-heavy with injuries to starting running backs and breakout performances from wide receivers. However, quarterbacks and tight ends headline most of the suggested pickups this week. Let’s get right to it and go through some of my favorite targets on the wire ahead of Week 9.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (32% ESPN, 55% Yahoo)
This one seems obvious and I’m shocked that he’s not rostered in more leagues right now. Among quarterbacks who played at least 10 games last season, Kyler Murray finished as the QB7 in fantasy points per game behind only Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson. Pretty elite company, but I shouldn’t have to lay that out for you. We all know Murray is talented and he’s turned in a top-10 fantasy season in each of the three years he’s played a full slate. Don’t overthink it and add Kyler Murray to your bench as a potential starter down the line.
Sam Howell, Washington Commanders (30% ESPN, 45% Yahoo)
Hopefully, this is the last time I will ever have to mention Sam Howell in one of these for the rest of the season. I mean, what more do you want? He’s sixth in the league in passing yards, has the sixth most passing touchdowns, is 13th in rushing yards among quarterbacks and he’s the QB8 through eight weeks. He is a more than viable fantasy option and should be a bench stash in all leagues. He’s putting up numbers on a consistent basis and should be ignored anymore. I’ve been saying it for weeks, go add Sam Howell.
Will Levis, Tennessee Titans (1% ESPN, 5% Yahoo)
Am I buying into the hype too soon? Am I drinking the Kool-Aid? Am I just following the pack? Call it whatever you want, but I’m absolutely in on Will Levis. The popular comparison for him is Josh Allen and while that might be too rich for my blood, I can’t say it’s too outlandish. In his first career start, he completed 19 of 28 pass attempts for 238 yards and four touchdowns while logging seven carries for 11 yards. He’s big, he’s got a cannon of an arm and he looks the part. What’s there not to like? Look, I get it. He’s young and unproven so it might be hard to trust him right now, but what happens when he eventually does prove himself and starts to put up these kinds of numbers on a more consistent basis? What if your starting quarterback goes down and other smart managers in your league read this article and picked up Kyler Murray, Sam Howell and all the other awesome quarterbacks I suggested to be added? I’m looking at Will Levis as a low-risk, high-reward addition in a quarterback market that keeps getting more valuable by the week.
- Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts
- Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (for now)
Emari Demercado, Arizona Cardinals (39% ESPN, 36% Yahoo)
Slim pickings at running back this week, so when in doubt, look for volume. Emar Demercado might not be the flashiest add on the waiver wire, but he’s worth a pickup if you’re hurting at the position and need an immediate desperation start. He hasn’t exactly set the world on fire while serving as the starter in the absence of James Conner, but he’s been serviceable and is getting most of the opportunities in the backfield. Last week, he logged 20 carries for 78 yards which is more than enough to be considered a plug-and-play for a fantasy team that’s in a tight spot at running back.
Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams (62% ESPN, 45% Yahoo)
As long as Kyren Williams is out, Darrell Henderson Jr. is the running back that needs to be on your roster. He’s getting more snaps, carries and targets than his backfield mate, Royce Freeman, and looks like the more explosive ball carrier out of the two. While less efficient, Henderson logged three more carries than Freeman and led the team in receiving yards with 54 off three receptions. Yes, the same team that has Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua. I don’t think he’s a league winner by any stretch, but I do think he’s worth an add and could be used as a FLEX option until Williams returns from the IR in Week 12.
- Cam Akers, Minnesota Vikings
- Leonard Fournette, Buffalo Bills
- Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears
Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts (51% ESPN, 63% Yahoo)
Seriously, how is Josh Downs not rostered in more leagues than this? All he does is produce and he has a clear connection for starting quarterback Gardner Minshew. Through eight weeks, he’s the WR31 and has the 25th most targets among wide receivers so far. Not only is he seeing plenty of volume, he’s producing in this role as well. He’s only had three weeks under 13 fantasy points in PPR leagues this season and two of them were in the first two weeks of the season. Now that he’s accustomed to the system and getting more comfortable with NFL-level speed and defense, we’ve seen his production follow suit. He’s seeing elite volume and doing something with it. He should absolutely not be available in your leagues, but if he is, please do yourself a favor and pick him up as a potential weekly FLEX play in PPR leagues.
Brandin Cooks, Dallas Cowboys (50% ESPN, 41% Yahoo)
Brandin Cooks was drafted in most leagues in the summer and dropped in most leagues following a few dud performances to start the season. However, he’s warmed up to the new offense and has found the endzone in two straight games. He’s also caught at least three passes in his last two outings with 35-plus yards and has seen involvement in the run game with a carry in each of the last three contests. Cooks is still a high-caliber wide receiver and is one of the top options in a talented offense that is seeming to find their footing after an up-and-down start to the year. This might be a long-term addition, but one that should be well worth it.
- Quentin Johnston, Los Angeles Chargers
- Rashid Shaheed, New Orleans Saints
- Demario Douglas, New England Patriots
Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals (8% ESPN, 20% Yahoo)
Trey McBride will be a TE1 for the rest of the season. No, this isn’t a bold prediction article but I couldn’t help myself. He has “elite tight end option” written all over him and should be added in all leagues. We all saw what Dalton Kincaid did when his opportunities opened up and now McBride is the next young TE in line for a breakout stretch. Last week, McBride caught 10 of his 14 targets for 95 yards and a touchdown. With Zach Ertz on the IR, I expect more performances like this in the near future. Kincaid, my add of the week last week, crushed in his first game as the clear TE1. This week, I’m locking in Trey McBride as my add of the week.
- Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
- Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys
Will Holtz is a fantasy football analyst and contributes to GridironExperts.com. His goal: Help you win your fantasy football championship.