Turning to the start of the second half of the 2015 fantasy football season, the waiver wire might be considered pretty bare by owners following the emergence of such studs as Green Bay’s James Jones and James Starks, Kansas City’s Charcandrick West, or even Cleveland’s Travis Benjamin.
But with a season-high six teams (Detroit, Arizona, Seattle, Houston, Baltimore, Kansas City) enjoying byes in Week 9 and Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell suffering a scary knee injury, owners will need to turn to the waiver-wire to find some suitable replacements, full-time or for just one week.
Several other potential pickups will undoubtedly emerge in the final four games of Week 8, but for now here are four players to target for Week 9’s waiver wire period and several others to consider or monitor.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
His stats have been all over the place this season with 14 targets in the first two weeks followed by slim pickings ever since. But other than the two weeks leading up to Week 8, so has the Vikings passing game. Rudolph is still the second-most targeted pass-catcher in Minnesota’s offense and he leads the team with three touchdowns. As the Vikings continue to push for a postseason berth, they’ll need to balance out the offense and Rudolph could be the beneficiary beside receiver Stefon Diggs. He’s owned in 51 percent of Yahoo and and 28.9 of ESPN leagues.
Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints
Watson broke into the endvzone for the third time in the last four games in Week 8, and as a one-week plug-in for a Travis Kelce he has a favorable matchup against Tennessee next week. Not to mention how hot Drew Brees has played of late, so owners should look to add as many pieces of the Saints offense as possible. Heading into Week 8, the Titans had the sixth-worst defense against opposing tight ends. He’s owned in 51.9 percent of ESPN and 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Troy Niklas, TE, Arizona Cardinals
Receiver John Brown and tight end Darren Fells’ injuries figured to garner more targets or red zone looks for Larry Fitzgerald or Michael Floyd, and they did. But their absences also created two trips to the end zone for second-year tight end Niklas in Week 8. Should Brown and Fells’ absences spill into Week 9, many owners will scour the Cardinals depth chart for their replacements. Going forward, and only in 12 or 14-team leagues, Niklas might be a solid FLEX2 option against a Seahawks D allowing the second-most points per week to tight ends.
Josh McCown, QB, Cleveland Browns
Prior to Week 8, the Cardinals owned the sixth-best defense against quarterbacks in fantasy, right up until McCown burned their secondary for three first-half touchdowns. He’s thrown for at least two touchdowns in five of the last six games, but McCown’s owned in just 11 percent of Yahoo and 10.5 percent of ESPN leagues. While he can’t be considered a long-term play yet, McCown could make up for the loss of Carson Palmer or Joe Flacco in Week 9.
Others to consider/monitor: Brian Hartline, WR, Browns; Marques Colston, WR, Saints; Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers; Tavon Austin, WR, Rams; Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons; Alfred Blue, RB, Texans; Jeremy Langford, RB, Bears