With half the season officially in the books after the Monday Night game, the Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups might look a bit bare. But with fantasy football playoffs right around the corner, I am sure there are still a few guys you can pick up to fortify your team for that first playoff week.
Let’s see who popped up this week shall we?
Josh Freeman – Buccaneers (ESPN Owned 71.6%)
While I know Freeman’s owned percentage is higher than other waiver wire quarterbacks, I’ll still add him on the off chance he is still sitting there on your wire. After inconsistent play during the first 4 weeks of the season, Freeman has been a monster since the team’s Week 5 bye, averaging 337 passing yards a game, with a total of 9 touchdowns and 1 pick. I know these games have been against disaster’s in regards to defenses, but he wasn’t putting up good numbers in good matchups before the bye. It looks like the switch has flipped in Freeman’s head, making him a QB2 with the ceiling of a QB1 in a good matchup going forward.
Russell Wilson – Seahawks (ESPN Owned 13.5%)
After being held in check by the coaching staff earlier in the season, Wilson has been allowed to open up the offense a bit more over the last 3 weeks, passing for over 220 yards in 3-out-of-the-last-4 games. I wouldn’t get too excited, however, as Wilson is still very raw and inconsistent. He should only be picked up if you are absolutely desperate at your quarterback spot because of byes.
Carson Palmer – Raiders (ESPN Owned 64.4%)
While the Raiders have been disappointing this year, old man Palmer continues to put up respectable stats, averaging 277 passing yards per outing in 2012. His decision making is still questionable after throwing yet another pick Sunday against the Chiefs, his third-straight, which now brings his TD:INT ratio to 9:5. But at this point in the season, you could do worse. Palmer could be a nice sleeper option in Week 9, facing a Bucs secondary that could be without both Aqib Talib and Eric Wright.
Vick Ballard – Colts (ESPN Owned 57.5%)
Kudos to those who decided to keep Ballard in their starting line-ups after it was announced Donald Brown would be active against the Titans. Ballard started, but eventually rotated with Brown after the opening drive. Ballard made the play of the week, and possibly play of the year, taking a screen pass and making a spectacular dive in the endzone which resulted in the overtime win. Ballard may have earned himself more playing time after that play, but it’s going to be hard to recommend him as anything more than a desperation flex if he winds up in a timeshare with Brown. Delone Carter is also in the mix.
Jacquizz Rodgers – Falcons (ESPN Owned 10%)
Unless someone winds up downgraded between now and Friday, this will be the barest running back wire so far this year. Rodgers included. Against the Eagles, Rodgers finally broke out, totaling 80 yards and catching 5 passes. Don’t expect this to be a trend, however. Michael Turner hasn’t come close to relinquishing the starting job and Jason Snelling is still in the mix for touches as well.
Jonathan Dwyer – Steelers (ESPN Owned 29.6%)
With Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman ruled out for the second-straight week, Dwyer proved he deserves to keep the starting job going forward, rushing for back-to-back 100 yard games in two starts. Mendenhall is expected to hit free agency in 2013, so rolling with Dwyer for the rest of the year would make sense. Keep in mind that Dwyer did suffer a strained right quad against the Redskins, so keep an eye on the practice reports this week.
Jonathan Stewart – Panthers (ESPN Owned 79%)
With DeAngelo Williams close to being traded, with a rumor that a contender has already contacted the Panthers before the trade deadline, this backfield is Stewart’s to lose. The Panthers offense has been hit-and miss. But in this day and age where most backfields are a committee, having a guy who will get 20+ carries a game is a bonus. Pick J-Stew up if, somehow, he is still sitting there on your wire.
Beanie Wells – Cardinals (ESPN Owned 49.6%)
Yes I know Wells still has a ways to go before he can come back. But with the Cardinals’ backfield looking atrocious against the 49ers, Wells should have a huge role right out of the gate as he comes off turf toe. So if you can pick him up and stash him away, he could be worth something by the time your playoffs roll around.
Titus Young – Lions (ESPN Owned 49.8%)
It looks like the Titus Young that many predicted would break out has arrived. Against the Seahawks’ aggressive secondary, Young tallied 9 catches for a career-high 100 yards and 2 scores. With continued attention rolling towards Calvin Johnson, who has been a huge disappointment this year, Young should continue to see a lot of single coverage and a lot of attention from Matthew Stafford. Young has earned his way into your starting line-up as a WR3 going forward.
Cecil Shorts – Jaguars (ESPN Owned 3.4%)
Since taking over for Laurent Robinson (concussions), Shorts has been a nice surprise the past 2 weeks, catching 12 passes for 195 yards and a score. His 11 targets Sunday is a good indication that Blaine Gabbert is trusting him, which should help Shorts’ value going forward. His value is rising, but he isn’t quite valued as a WR3 just yet.
Danny Amendola – Rams (ESPN Owned 42.8%)
A hot commodity earlier in the year, many owners had to dump Amendola for a guy who could actually get them points. Coming off a broken clavicle, there is a good chance the PPR monster will return after the team’s Week 9 bye. If you have the room, pick him up or pick him back up. Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens have been decent fill-in options, but neither is the talent Amendola is.
Dexter McCluster – Chiefs (ESPN Owned 6.8%)
Whether it’s Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn under center, McCluster continues to get looks as a check-down option. He has now tallied 12 catches in the last 2 weeks and scored his first touchdown of the year against the Raiders. Proceed with caution, however, as McCluster has made my waiver wire list in the past, only to bomb the next week.
Santana Moss – Redskins (ESPN Owned 30.5%)
Moss can thank Pierre Garcon (foot) and Fred Davis (IR) for his recent role in the offense. Moss has now scored 3 touchdowns in the last 2 games and could eek out one more productive day in Week 9 against the Panthers. Consider him a one-week stopgap with Garcon expected to return after the team’s Week 10 bye.
Dustin Keller – Jets (ESPN Owned 51.1%)
In a year where some of the top tight ends have been inconsistent, Keller has been a big asset the last 2 weeks. Coming off a hamstring injury, Keller has now racked up 14 catches, 160 yards and a score. Most importantly, he’s been targeted a whopping 18 times between Week 7 and Week 8, which means he should continue to put up solid numbers going forward. Keller is gradually entering TE1 status. Keep in mind that the Jets have a Week 9 bye.