Fantasy football waiver wire recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated. FAAB $ amounts are based on a $100 budget.
Check back for any updates throughout Monday and Tuesday as more injury news becomes available.
Bye weeks: Bears, Bengals, Giants, Texans
Fantasy football waiver wire targets
Priority free agents
1) WR Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers: Last week, Aiyuk made an appearance in the “stash” section in case Kyle Shanahan decided to come to his senses after we saw the second-year receiver get targeted a season-high seven times in Week 8. This past Sunday, San Fran looked his way eight times, resulting in a 6-89-1 line (plus one fumble lost). With several matchups ahead that suggest increased passing volume by the Niners, Aiyuk is a weekly lineup decision once again. San Francisco faces LAR, @JAC, MIN, @SEA and @CIN in the next five games — if he cannot maintain utility in that stretch, he’s not worth rostering.
2) WR Elijah Moore, New York Jets: Recommended in this space as a one-week play vs. Indianapolis, Moore delivered the goods to the the tune of 7-84-2 on eight targets, spanning a pair of backup quarterbacks. The Jets face Buffalo, a defense that has allowed receivers to rack up short-area catches but do little with them, this week, and then Moore takes on the Miami Dolphins — fantasy’s best PPR matchup for the position entering Week 9. Week 11 sends him to Houston for another exploitable defensive matchup. The rookie has scored at least 10 PPR points in three straight and warrants a low-end flex play even with this difficult Buffalo defense ahead. Be more skeptical of him upon QB Zach Wilson’s return from a knee injury, however.
3) RB Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens: After the upcoming game against Buffalo, Baltimore has positive matchups for Freeman against Miami, at Houston, and vs. Philly. The way the veteran has played the last two weeks should earn him more time the field, even when Latavius Murray returns. Freeman is likely rostered in competitive circles but shouldn’t be hovering anywhere near 50 percent at this point. Play him vs. Buffalo only if necessary, due to his receiving skills, but look at him as an RB2 target for the other three matchups in the next month.
4) RB Ty Johnson, New York Jets: Johnson gets a bump from “only if you’re super desperate” to “must be owned in all formats” following his fourth straight game in PPR double figures. In the last month, he has scored once on the ground and twice via the passing game, averaging more than five targets per contest in the last three weeks. Buffalo isn’t an ideal opponent to face in Week 10, but the versatile back has a fighting chance of keeping his double-digit streak alive. The following three games pits him against a trio of easily exploitable defenses, creating one of the easiest schedules for running backs in that window.
5) WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns: No OBJ means more DPJ … and, in Week 9, it resulted in a TD. Volume won’t be on his side, because that’s not how this offense operates, but we’ll see the occasional deep shot at trying to catch defenders off-guard as they focus so much on this backfield. The Michigan product has the necessary vertical game to stretch the field, and he’s a reasonable weekly lineup option in the next trio of games heading into a Week 13 bye. Cleveland heads on the road to face New England, returns home for Detroit, and then hits the trail once again for a visit to Baltimore — all three of these defenses ranked inside of the top 11 for yards per catch allowed to the position.
6) RB Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals: Chase Edmonds sprained his ankle and could miss up to four weeks as the long end of a high-ankle sprain prognosis. Arizona will rely heavily on James Conner, and rightfully so, but Benjamin could be worth a sniff in deeper setups. Arizona gave him nine carries in Week 9’s blowout win vs. San Fran, and he found the end zone to help justify their efforts to get him more involved — not bad for a 2020 seventh-rounder who has a total of 11 career rushing attempts. We’re talking “warm body at a vital position” territory here, so don’t get overly excited about him. One ancillary perk: Conner is brittle, so this could turn into something even more interesting with a little misfortune.
7) WR Olamide Zaccheaus, Atlanta Falcons: We’re at the stage of the season where you begin to see a lot of “last week we told you to keep an eye on Player X, and now he is ascending” … Zaccheaus fits the bill. He was included as a “watch list” — the entire Atlanta receiving corps was — after Calvin Ridley stepped away. Zaccheaus snagged only three passes in Week 9, but two of them were good for scores, and that should be the only reason a gamer is concentrating attention his way. Roster Zaccheaus and see how this plays out. He can be used in a pinch with four teams on bye once more in Week 10. At Dallas this week will be a decent barometer, and then he has meetings with several of the more susceptible pass defenses (NE, @JAC, TB, @CAR). There’s staying power with selective deployment ahead.
8) WR DeSean Jackson, Las Vegas Raiders: At 35 nearly years old, Jackson still has the wheels to get over the top. And he has a quarterback who loves chucking it down field. The veteran journeyman will have utility in a pinch as he bids to fill the vertical role left behind following the release of Henry Ruggs III. The Raiders play five straight teams with varying degrees of weakness at stopping the long ball. He should maintain enough weekly utility to trot him out to cover a bye or as an injury fill-in.
RB Le’Veon Bell, Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins: This one comes with a caveat: Only play Bell if Latavius Murray remains out. Bell has scored a TD in two of his last three games, but until Week 9, the volume wasn’t there to any worthwhile level. His 11 carries (no targets) came in a tight game vs. Minnesota and produced 48 yards with a score, but as long as Devonta Freeman is rolling as he has been, Bell is only a deep-league flier for a cheap TD vs. a defense that has given them out like candy.
TE Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers: Five different tight ends have scored in the eight games played by LA this year, coming at a rate of once every 8.4 receptions. The position has struggled the last two weeks, which could make Conklin even riskier than usual, but some of that is due to the teams being able to attack on the outside as the Chargers have been mired by injuries at cornerback. In the three previous games, however, each opponent had a TE score, and David Njoku went for a ridiculous 7-149-1 line. Conklin may not score a 71-yard TD, but something around 70 total yards and a score isn’t out of the question.
TE Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: With TDs in consecutive games, Doyle is on the radar once again. However, last week, his only grab was the one-yard shovel pass TD, and there’s always the threat of Mo Alie-Cox returning to his TD-vulturing ways. Super risky, but fortune favors the bold. Jacksonville has allowed nothing the last two games vs. TEs (Gerald Everett and Tommy Sweeney), but three scores and as many double-digit PPR showings were surrendered in the previous three games.
PK Greg Joseph, Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers: Kickers have averaged 2.25 field goal attempts and a trio of extra points vs. the Chargers in the last four games. Philly’s Jake Elliott failed to get into double figures last week as he was afforded only one three-point try, but five kickers have attempted two or more field goals and four have 10-plus points in 2021 against this unit in typical fantasy scoring. The offensive vs. defensive strengths suggest Joseph could kick two-plus field goals and add his name to the list of prolific fantasy outings.
Baltimore Ravens D/ST at Miami Dolphins: In leagues that deduct fantasy points for giving up real ones, Baltimore has scored in the red its last two games. This defense has a combined minus-two fantasy points in those outings, which spans a Week 8 bye, and its fantasy ownership has dipped accordingly. Whether Miami trots out Tua Tagovailoa or Jacoby Brissett, the future is bright for Baltimore as a one-week play.
Grab & stash
RB Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots: While erratic and risky, Bolden has a place on rosters in deep formats, but he’s closer to a watch lister for more casual setups. Given the concussion concerns with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, Bolden is a fringe lineup consideration for Week 10. His receiving skills keep him in the conversation some weeks, but a greater chance of increased playing time could make him a flex flier this week vs. Cleveland. In the event he draws more PT in Week 11, a trip to Atlanta cannot hurt his chances of relevancy. Stash him until we know more about Harris and Stevenson, because if both are healthy for Week 10, Bolden is untrustworthy in all but the deepest of settings.
WR T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts: The matchup for WRs is favorable over the next month or so, presuming Hilton can overcome a concussion suffered two games ago and actually stay on the field. In the next four weeks, he faces three exploitable units and one that he has thoroughly owned in his career. Even this sad, shambling carcass of a former star still should be able to make a little noise against Jacksonville and Houston. On the surface, he’s a no-go vs. Buffalo in Week 11 and a bit risky against Tampa the following game, but the way Indy defends the pass, volume could work on his side in both contests.
Keep your eye on ’em
RB Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers: Wilson was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform ahead of Week 9 but didn’t see a utilization, even with Trey Sermon inactive. The ground game remained firmly in Elijah Mitchell’s grasp, and Wilson’s TD-stealing ways were put on the back burner. Will he see an uptick in work going forward? Hard to say. Sermon wasn’t touching the ball the last few weeks anyway, but Kyle Shanahan was a strong advocate for Wilson in the past. San Francisco faces the Los Angeles Rams in Week 10, which is a favorable enough matchup on the ground, and a Week 11 trip to Jacksonville makes Wilson a possible TD target. If he remains underutilized or outright continues to be ignored, you know what to do with him.
The following fantasy-relevant players are eligible to return from the Reserve/Injured list and could be on waivers, but inclusion below doesn’t guarantee coming back in the upcoming week. The date when the player was placed on IR is in parentheses.
- PK Rodrigo Blankenship, Indianapolis Colts (10/16)
- TE Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (10/6)
- WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (9/13)
Deep diving for running backs
If you’re in a competitive league, it is unlikely running backs are just chillin’ on the waiver wire. But that doesn’t mean gamers aren’t still in need of “break in case of emergency” running backs. These players could be available for a dumpster dive:
- D’Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans (TD flier)
- Jaret Patterson, Washington Football Team (Antonio Gibson insurance)
- Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (TD flier)
- Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco 49ers (TD flier)