Last week, the fantasy world, including us, was falling all over itself to tout Kenneth Gainwell after Miles Sanders’ ankle injury. Fast forward a week, and two other Eagles’ RBs, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard, will be among the top Week 9 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. That’s how quickly things change in the fantasy football, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. The Eagles’ RB committee joins guys like Carlos Hyde, who took over for an injured James Robinson, Pat Freiermuth, who continues to get more targets with JuJu Smith-Schuster out, and Saints QB Taysom Hill, who’s expected to start in place of an injured Jameis Winston, as potential waiver claims this week.
There weren’t many “must-have” breakouts in Week 9, which will continue to be the case unless there are injuries. There are a few interesting pickups (Tajae Sharpe, Van Jefferson, Ameer Abdullah, Logan Thomas, Will Fuller, Deshaun Watson), whether it’s because they did something of note in Week 8 or they’re eligible to be traded/come off the IR soon. However, our full free agent list features a slew of Week 9 streamer suggestions at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list. With Detroit, Washington, Tampa, and Seattle on bye next week — plus plenty of key players still banged up — finding matchup-based sleepers will be key this week (and every week going forward).
MORE WEEK 9: Full waiver list
After many fantasy owners were burned by Gainwell and the Eagles’ RB situation last week, some will be reluctant to invest a high waiver claim on Scott or Howard this week. However, both will have value in Week 9, and at least one should have value the following week, too. If you need a back next week, it’s worth it to pay up for one of these players The same goes for Hyde if James Robinson’s injury looks like it will keep him out a week or two. Other than those three — and maybe Hill, depending on your QB situation — there really aren’t any players worth claims unless you’re desperate a certain position.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 9
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Boston Scott, RB, Eagles. Scott received most of the early RB snaps for Philadelphia in Week 8, and he took advantage, rushing 12 times for 60 yards and two TDs. Jordan Howard also had 12 carries and scored twice, but considering Scott is more versatile and played more in the first and second quarters, we’re willing to say he’s the “lead” back in this committee until Miles Sanders (ankle) returns in a few weeks. Kenneth Gainwell (13 carries, 27 yards) actually led the Eagles in carries, but almost all of his playing time came in garbage time when the game was well out of hand. The Chargers present a premium matchup next week, making Scott a borderline “must-start.”
Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles. Howard was mixed into the Eagles backfield fairly early and often, rushing 12 times for 57 yards and two scores against Detroit. It was almost an identical line as Boston Scott (12-60-2), though Scott played more at the very beginning of the game. Still, Howard looked good and was well ahead of Kenneth Gainwell in the pecking order. Not all matchups will be as favorable as this one, but next week’s game against the Chargers is actually even better on paper. Howard will be a worthwhile RB2/flex.
MORE WEEK 9: Full waiver list
Carlos Hyde, RB, Jaguars. James Robinson injured his ankle early against the Seahawks, opening the door for Hyde to take over. The veteran back managed 51 total yards on 13 touches (nine carries, four receptions), and that type of workload/production can be expected next week against Buffalo. Given the matchup, it’s unlikely many fantasy owners will want to play Hyde, but starting RBs always have value, especially during four-team bye weeks. If Robinson has a multi-week injury, Hyde will have more value, though a matchup against the Colts in Week 10 is a tough one, too. — ML
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Steelers. Freiermuth had been inching toward a breakout for a couple weeks, and he had his best game of the season against the Browns. Freiermuth caught four-of-seven targets for 44 yards and a TD and seems to be in line for more targets with JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder) out for the year. A matchup against Chicago next week isn’t particularly TE friendly, but Freiermuth should continue to be at least a streaming option in PPR leagues going forward.
Van Jefferson, WR, Rams. Jefferson caught three passes (six targets) for 88 yards in Week 8, which shows the kind of big-play upside he has. He’ll be interesting going forward as a quasi-handcuff to both Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, and with DeSean Jackson on the outs with the team, Jefferson will be the primary big-play, boom-or-bust guy going forward. The Rams offense is good enough to support three viable fantasy receivers in a given week, so Jefferson has plenty of upside.
For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including more streaming options at every position, check out our full Week 9 list.