Fantasy football owners may take some solace knowing that Week 9, the last of the worst bye weeks in the 2016 season, is nearing and they can eventually see the light at the other end of the tunnel.
Just like Week 8, a whopping six teams and their fantasy studs will be resting up in Week 9. The Arizona Cardinals (Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson), the Chicago Bears (Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Howard, Zach Miller), Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Jeremy Hill), Houston Texans (Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins), New England Patriots (Tom Brady, LeGarrette Blount, Rob Gronkowski), and Washington Redskins (Kirk Cousins, Jordan Reed) will all be unavailable next week.
However, the waiver wire, even though we’ve reached the heart of the season, still poses plenty of opportunities both for one-week plug-ins and maybe even future starters for the rest of the season.
Here’s our Week 9 waiver wire dissection, complete with the latest stats and ownership values, as well as whether or not each player is worth a pickup.
Byes: Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans
After missing the first three games of the season, Wright took some time to fully acclimate in 2016, and in the last three weeks he’s posted two incredible games, including his 133-yard performance against Cleveland and this week with 84 yards and a touchdown off five targets against Jacksonville. In terms of targets, Wright’s third on the team with only sixth with 22, but he did miss those three games. For now, he’s a WR3 or FLEX 2 play, not great, but Wright is owned in just 6 percent Yahoo and 3.7 percent of ESPN leagues.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
In his second game back from injury, the rival to Kansas City’s Travis Kelce exploded for nine receptions for 102 yards and score off 12 targets. Chances are Eifert isn’t available in your league, since he’s available in 25 percent of Yahoo and 22.8 percent of ESPN leagues, but if he is up for grabs move quickly and spend those remaining waiver-wire dollars on the player the Bengals offense really needs. Eifert opens up lanes for A.J. Green, and last year he proved to be a PPR machine with 52 receptions off 72 targets.
Adam Humphries, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With Vincent Jackson lost for the season, the Bucs are desperate need of a No. 2 receiver behind star wide out Mike Evans, and Humphries has greatly stepped up while battling tight end Cameron Brate for targets. To date, Humphries is second on the team with 38 targets to Brate’s 36, but he’s yet to reach the end zone. For those willing to take a risk, Humphries is owned in 18 percent of Yahoo and 6.4 percent of ESPN leagues while Brate’s owned far more in most formats.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
With Kelce now the No. 1 receiver, Jeremy Maclin’s well off pace for his third straight 1,000-yard season by averaging only 54 yards per game. Clearly, the Chiefs are in need of receiving threats and the rookie Hill has stepped up. He’s reached the end zone in three of the last four games, and he helped to stretch the field in Week 8 with five receptions for 98 yards and a score off six targets. He’s also quite attainable: owned in 3 percent of Yahoo and 1.5 percent of ESPN.
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions
The former first-round pick largely disappointed in the first four games of the season, and then he missed three straight due to injury, but in Week 8 quarterback Matthew Stafford showed a lot more confidence in Ebron by targeting him 10 times, equaling Ebron’s career-high. He didn’t, however, reach the end zone, something Ebron’s done only seven times in his career. Availability isn’t the issue with Ebron since he’s owned in 37 percent of Yahoo and 28.3 percent of ESPN leagues, it’s consistency. He’s a massive target for Stafford, standing 6-foot-4 and powerful, so Ebron may be worth a gamble.
Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns
Some owners have already pounced on the Browns No. 2 back (owned in 66 percent of Yahoo and 67.2 percent of ESPN leagues), and for good reason. Johnson’s actually tied for second in the league among running backs with 34 receptions and ranked fourth with 297 receiving yards. If you have a roster spot available, specifically an RB2 or FLEX2, Johnson’s your man, but don’t expect monster rushing numbers. Johnson’s gained only 211 yards off 42 attempts.