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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice: Pickups to Target, Stash & Drop (Week 9)

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice: Pickups to Target, Stash & Drop (Week 9)

Remember when De’Von Achane ran for 203 yards and scored four touchdowns in Week 3, and there was a massive FAAB bidding war for him in every league where he wasn’t already rostered?

Yeah, that was great.

Alas, it’s been a while since we had a waiver wire gem as sparkly and as valuable as Mr. Achane. Some fantasy managers have a sizable chunk of FAAB money burning a hole in their pockets and can find no player worthy of a big, budget-depleting bid.

Maybe you feel as if you should start throwing some of that money around. It’s not as if you can carry it into next season, right? Use it or lose it.

Don’t spend your FAAB just to spend it. There may yet be another Achane coming down the pike. Or you could run into injury problems and find yourself needing to patch multiple lineup holes. Don’t just restlessly churn the bottom of your roster. Waiver pickups should plug lineup holes, upgrade your depth, or offer grand-slam upside. If a waiver claim doesn’t accomplish any of those three objectives, you’re just wasting your money.

This is a roundabout way of saying that this week’s waiver crop isn’t great. But it isn’t terrible either. There’s some interesting talent at the so-called “onesie” positions — quarterback and tight end. And while there are no glittering prizes at running back or wide receiver, there are some widely available RBs and WRs worth your attention.

Those of you who aren’t wedded to a single team defense and like to stream that position are in luck. The streaming options are bountiful since there are so many QB injuries, hence a lot of defenses facing backup quarterbacks. There’s no need to pay more than a buck for any defense when there are so many appealing options. And remember: The quality of the defense itself matters less than the quality of the quarterback that defense is facing. It’s the Golden Rule of streaming defenses.

It’s worth noting that Kyler Murray is rostered in 56% of Yahoo leagues and thus fails to qualify for inclusion in this article. But if Murray is available in your league and you need QB help, pounce. Jahan Dotson, who finally had a breakout game (8-108-1) in Week 8, is rostered in 51% of Yahoo leagues. Roschon, an intriguing rookie whose role with the Bears is still evolving, also has 51% rostership in Yahoo leagues.

Enough with the prelude. Let’s go shopping.

Grade: C+

Rostership percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Recommended FAAB bids are based on a $100 budget.

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RUNNING BACKS

Written by Bo McBrayer

Darrell Henderson (LAR): 45% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @GB, BYE, SEA
  • True value: $15
  • Desperate need: $24
  • Budget-minded: $9

Analysis: Aside from a heart-wrenching vulture job by teammate Royce Freeman, Henderson was the lead back yet again for the Rams. Dallas was ahead on the scoreboard from the word “go.” Henderson still carried the rock 12 times for 31 yards and was somehow the leading receiver for L.A. on the day with 54 yards on three receptions. Both are viable options to add on waivers, but most ultra-serious leagues will only have Freeman available.

Tyjae Spears (TEN): 50% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @PIT, @TB, @JAX
  • True value: $13
  • Desperate need: $20
  • Budget-minded: $8

Analysis: According to reports, the Titans have “told Derrick Henry they don’t plan on trading him before the deadline.” That seems awfully foolish, if true. Regardless, the rookie from Tulane is more than just a handcuff behind Henry. Should the King be dealt by Tuesday (because the Titans are full of bologna), Spears would immediately vault into RB2 territory. As it stands, he’s a stash-plus who will earn double-digit touches in negative game scripts with oodles of big-play upside.

Emari Demercado (ARI): 36% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CLE, ATL, @HOU
  • True value: $12
  • Desperate need: $19
  • Budget-minded: $7

Analysis: Dare I say Demercado is the bell-cow RB for Arizona? After his 17 touches in Week 7, the undrafted rookie had 20 rushing attempts vs. Baltimore on Sunday. Unfortunately, he did not reprise his role in the passing game in Week 8, with only one target and reception. James Conner still has no timetable to return from IR, so this is likely our last chance to gobble up solid volume on a team that is very good at running the football.

Zach Charbonnet (SEA): 42% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @BAL, WAS, @LAR
  • True value: $11
  • Desperate need: $18
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: Some managers might see Charbonnet on waivers and bid conservatively on him as a mere stash behind Kenneth Walker. The rookie from UCLA is one of my favorite second-half breakout candidates, so I’m using this opportunity to bid more aggressively if I see him on the wire. Walker was playing hurt in Week 8, leading to Charbonnet logging 31 snaps in the game to Walker’s 24. I expect the two of them to become a formidable duo for the rest of the season.

Leonard Fournette (BUF): 4% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CIN, DEN, NYJ
  • True value: $8
  • Desperate need: $13
  • Budget-minded: $4

Analysis: Fournette has reportedly passed a physical and is being signed to the Bills’ practice squad. At first blush, it appears the Bills view the 28-year-old Fournette as an upgrade over the 33-year-old Latavius Murray in the complementary role behind lead RB James Cook. Although it might take a couple of weeks for Fournette to get back to NFL-level fitness, he carried heavy workloads at times during his tenure with the Buccaneers, and Fournette’s run-catch versatility makes him a nice insurance policy in case Cook were to go down. It’s possible Fournette will be ready to provide low-level stand-alone fantasy value in a few weeks, and it’s not inconceivable to think that Fournette could become even more valuable than that at some point during the second half of the fantasy season.

Justice Hill (BAL): 37% rostered

  • Next Opponents: SEA, CLE, CIN
  • True value: $7
  • Desperate need: $12
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: It was a bit disappointing to see Hill take a back seat to Gus Edwards on Sunday. Hill’s eight touches consisted of four rushing attempts and four receptions for 55 yards. Edwards found the end zone three times, making it truly bittersweet to see Hill tie for the team lead in receiving yards. I still have faith in the Oklahoma State speedster in PPR formats, so add him where needed.

Royce Freeman (LAR): 22% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @GB, BYE, SEA
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate need: $11
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: The buzzard was circling. Or was it a duck? That mysterious bird who stole a goal line touchdown from Darrell Henderson (and Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua) was the journeyman RB from Oregon. Henderson handled some receiving work, while Freeman turned his nine carries into 44 yards and the aforementioned score. The Rams clearly do not trust rookie Zach Evans. He was inactive yet again, this time behind newcomer Myles Gaskin. Such a clear one-two punch is valuable, especially when the supposed second fiddle gets goal-line carries.

Ezekiel Elliott (NE): 47% rostered

  • Next Opponents: WAS, IND, BYE
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: The expectations for Zeke are as low as they have ever been. This might be why we’re still a little impressed with his sporadic production in New England. His seven carries in a Week 8 loss to Miami resulted in more than five yards a pop, but he did not find the end zone. The vet might be widely dropped to waivers after Tuesday’s run, and there are worse players who could be plugged into a position that requires fortification.

Antonio Gibson (WAS): 48% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @NE, @SEA, NYG
  • True value: $4
  • Desperate need: $7
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: It’s not very exciting. Antonio Gibson has been completely removed from the running game by offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy this season, only finding the field as a mop-up receiver. You are more likely to find Gibson on Wednesday after waivers run as someone dropped by another manager. Be frugal, but Gibson still deserves to be on a roster for the upcoming war of attrition at RB.

Stash Candidates:

Rico Dowdle is starting to see an uptick in opportunities as Dallas attempts to navigate unfamiliar territory with Tony Pollard‘s workload. Dowdle is still a premium stash handcuff, since he would be thrust into an incredible opportunity if Pollard were to miss any time.

Remember Samaje Perine? I certainly don’t. Neither does Sean Payton, as undrafted rookie Jaleel McLaughlin has cemented himself as the change of pace to Javonte Williams in Denver. McLaughlin’s receiving ability and elusiveness in space are exciting enough for you to hold him at the end of the bench in case of emergency.

Between Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller, I much prefer the rookie from TCU. Miller is a better receiver and can stress defenses on the edge, while Williams is more of a short-yardage plodder at this stage. Neither is getting much work behind superstar Alvin Kamara, so they’ve earned just a stash tag going forward.

Elijah Mitchell is a very good RB. His struggles have only been with staying healthy and with Kyle Shanahan’s complete disregard for managing Christian McCaffrey‘s workload. Where I certainly do not hope CMC misses any time, San Francisco is playing with fire. Mitchell would be a back-end RB1 if McCaffrey were to go down.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Written by Derek Brown

Demario Douglas (NE): 3% rostered

  • Next Opponents: WAS, IND, BYE
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate need: $9
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: Douglas was a full-time player in Week 8 with a 77% snap share and a team-leading 24.1% target share. Douglas should lead this passing attack moving forward, especially now with the news breaking that Kendrick Bourne is out with a torn ACL. DeVante Parker also left the game with a concussion, but Douglas was already seeing more pass-game work than Parker. Douglas’s upcoming matchups aren’t easy. Danny Johnson has been stellar in slot coverage for Washington since taking over for Benjamin St. Juste, allowing only a 40% catch rate and 61.3 passer rating (per PFF). Indy has held slot receivers to the 10th-lowest PPR points per target (per Fantasy Points Data).

Rashid Shaheed (NO): 36% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CHI, @MIN, BYE
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: The Saints’ zone-beating big play threat did it again. Shaheed made all three of his receptions (11.1% target share) count, as he posted a season-high 153 receiving yards with one score. This is Shaheed’s third game of the season with at least 80 receiving yards and his fourth with more than 60 receiving yards. His next two matchups could allow him to keep up the hot streak, as the Bears and Vikings utilize zone coverage on more than 70% of their defensive snaps (per Fantasy Points Data). Entering Week 8, among 89 qualifying wide receivers against zone coverage, Shaheed ranks 35th in yards per route run, ninth in average depth of target and 37th in fantasy points per route run (per Fantasy Points Data). Those numbers will only improve after his massive performance against the Colts.

Jayden Reed (GB): 17% rostered

  • Next Opponents: LAR, @PIT, LAC
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Reed is coming off arguably his best game of the season. He played a season-high 79.4% of snaps as the Packers utilized more 11 personnel. I’m not sure if that trend will stick, since Green Bay loves its multiple-TE sets, but we can hope. Reed had a 14.6% target share, as he led the team with 83 receiving yards. Reed has seen a healthy share of high-cholesterol targets, entering Week 8 ranked 19th in deep targets and fourth in red-zone targets among wide receivers. Entering Week 8, among 116 qualifying wide receivers, he ranked 28th in fantasy points per route run and 23rd in expected fantasy points per route run (per Fantasy Points Data). Reed has plus slot matchups in two of his next three games. The Rams and Chargers have allowed the second-most and fourth-most receiving yards to opposing slot receivers (per Fantasy Points Data).

Michael Gallup (DAL): 17% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @PHI, NYG, @CAR
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Gallup didn’t have a banner Week 8, with only three targets, two receptions and 20 receiving yards. He could have some usable weeks ahead, though, that are flex-worthy. His usage has increased against zone-heavy teams. Luckily for him, the Eagles and Panthers utilize zone coverage on 69% and 82.6% of their defensive snaps, respectively. Entering Week 8, against zone coverage, Gallup had an 18.1% target share, a 23% target per route run rate and a 22.2% first-read share. Each of those usage metrics against zone ranks second on the team. Philly and Carolina have allowed the most and the eighth-most PPR points per target to perimeter wide receivers. I would sit Gallup against the man-coverage-heavy Giants, but flex him against the Eagles and Panthers.

Khalil Shakir (BUF): 1% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CIN, DEN, NYJ
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Shakir saw a big bump in playing time in Week 8 with a 66% route run rate. He had a 15% target share, finishing with 92 receiving yards and a scorching 3.07 yards per route run (per Fantasy Points Data). I worry this could all be a flash in the pan. The snaps could remain, but I worry about Shakir’s ability to draw targets consistently, as he had only a 3.8% first-read share in Week 8. Shakir is a pickup this week, though. The idea is to stash him and consider flexing him against the Broncos, who have allowed the most PPR points per target this season (per Fantasy Points Data).

Josh Reynolds (DET): 40% rostered

  • Next Opponents: BYE, @LAC, CHI
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Entering Week 8, Reynolds has had a 66% route run rate with an 11.3% target share and a 21.3% air-yard share (per Fantasy Points Data). Reynolds has put together a strong 2.11 yards per route run with three top-36 fantasy wide receiver weeks this season. Reynolds is a player to consider rostering now, because once he returns from his bye, he gets the turnstile Chargers’ secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

Jameson Williams (DET): 41% rostered

  • Next Opponents: BYE, @LAC, CHI
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: In Week 7, Williams had a 43% route run rate and an 11.3% target share. He has been the team’s downfield threat since his return (22.0 aDOT in Week 7). Williams could see his snaps continue to trend up, especially exiting their bye. His upcoming date against the Chargers is enticing. They have allowed the sixth-most deep passing yards and the fifth-highest deep-adjusted completion rate (per Fantasy Points Data). Williams could explode in that matchup, even on limited snaps.

Stash Candidates:

Consider stashing Wilson now. With Kyler Murray‘s return on the horizon, Wilson’s best days of the 2023 season could be ahead of him. The remainder of the Cardinals’ schedule is littered with zone-coverage-heavy teams, which should help Wilson. He has been an afterthought in this passing offense against man coverage, but against zone, he entered Week 8 with a 14.4% target share and 2.28 yards per route run. Those are solid if not flex-worthy, numbers. If Murray can breathe life into this aerial attack, Wilson could be a solid stretch-run addition to your roster.

QUARTERBACKS

Written by Bo McBrayer

Sam Howell (WAS): 45% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @NE, @ SEA, NYG
  • True value: $8
  • Desperate need: $13
  • Budget-minded: $5

Analysis: With a smirk on my face, I told you so! Howell was stellar again in Week 8 against the Eagles. It was his fifth top-13 performance in eight games, so there is absolutely no reason why he should continue to grace this article. Howell is this season’s Geno Smith, and his gigantic performance should completely quell the asinine rhetoric about him losing his starting job to Jacoby Brissett. Howell is my starter in a handful of 1QB leagues, as I consider him to have transcended streaming status.

Derek Carr (NO): 36% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CHI, @MIN, BYE
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: Yet another sparkling QB matchup was met by an adequate performance by Carr. Not a decimal point more. The Saints have two more of these blessings before their bye week for those of you who are risk-averse. Lock Carr in for a floor (and ceiling) of 18 points. Spend accordingly.

Daniel Jones (NYG): 36% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @LV, @DAL, @WAS
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: The Giants simply cannot roll Tommy DeVito out there to start in Week 9. Jones was not cleared in time for Sunday with his neck injury, but Tyrod Taylor‘s serious rib injury will likely press the franchise to clear Jones more hastily. Big Blue has been terrible all around this season. They need their “franchise QB” back in a big way. Jones has top-12 upside every week, but with incredible volatility. He is the anti-Carr.

Bryce Young (CAR): 12% rostered

  • Next Opponents: IND, @CHI, DAL
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: I paid close attention to the Houston-Carolina game on Sunday. I felt that Young would perform better than CJ Stroud. Even in a defensive struggle, the top overall pick was polished on his way to a turnover-free 235 yards and a touchdown. He is a sneaky streaming option the next two games against the Colts and Bears. The Heisman winner has improved every single week and will continue to do so.

Will Levis (TEN): 4% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @PIT, @TB, @JAX
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: I didn’t want anything to do with Will Levis. His prospect profile was littered with red flags and alarm bells, which led to him falling to the second round. After his first NFL start, I can certainly say I was wrong about a lot of things when it comes to the University of Kentucky standout. He was poised and showed good instincts at the line of scrimmage – two things I considered glaring weaknesses in his college tape. He also fed his best player, DeAndre Hopkins, for three of Levis’ four touchdowns on the day. Levis stretched the field while also taking easy looks. The Titans roll into a three-game road stretch, so his mettle will be tested. I wouldn’t mind streaming Levis on the cheap; he has plenty of athleticism and upside to boot.

Stash Candidates: N/A

  • Stream, don’t stash! QBs should only be added off waivers to start in a pinch. Those precious baby bench spots are best reserved for skill players.

TIGHT ENDS

Written by Derek Brown

Trey McBride (ARI): 20% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CLE, ATL, @HOU
  • True value: $10
  • Desperate need: $16
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: You might be asking yourself why a player with McBride’s talent was buried at the beginning of the season, splitting time with Zach Ertz. I have no clue, but he has been unleashed now. Even before his Week 8 monster performance, McBride has popped in efficiency metrics as a player who has been screaming for more work. He entered Week 8 ranking ninth in receiving grade, fifth in yards after the catch per reception and third in yards per route run (per PFF). In Week 8, McBride put an exclamation point on these metrics with a stellar 10 receptions and 95 receiving yards on 14 targets. He drew a ridiculous 37.8% target share against a horrendous matchup for tight ends. McBride could flirt with top 10-12 fantasy TE status for the rest of the season. Pick him up now and plug him in as a starter.

Michael Mayer (LV): 19% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NYG, NYJ, @MIA
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate need: $10
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: Over the last two weeks, Mayer has been a full-time player. A Week 7 blowout loss to the Bears made his route-run rate noisy, but he played 92% of the snaps before the Raiders put in backups. Since Week 6, he has had a 13.0% target share, a 13.4% air-yard share, 2.00 yards per route run and a 10.3% first-read share (per Fantasy Points Data). Mayer is in the same tier as McBride. His usage could put him in the TE1 conversation for the rest of the season.

Taysom Hill (NO): 35% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CHI, @MIN, BYE
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Hill is the Saints’ Swiss army knife. When the knife is sharp, use it to cut through the opposition’s defense. Hill had nine carries for 63 rushing yards and a pair of scores vs. the Colts on Sunday. He now has four games with at least eight fantasy points (0.5 PPR) and two outings with at least 14.8 fantasy points. New Orleans has struggled in the red zone all season. If Hill continues to operate well as a red-zone hammer, he’ll carry heavy touchdown equity with the chance to score in any game.

Logan Thomas (WAS): 45% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @NE, @SEA, NYG
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Thomas had another productive week against a zone-heavy team. Thomas has had four games with at least six targets and five outings with at least 40 receiving yards. Anytime you can tack on a touchdown to receiving stats like that, you’ll likely see a player finish as a top-12 fantasy tight end for the week. With Washington continuing to chuck it religiously, Thomas is a TE2 who can pop off with a TE1-worthy fantasy outing in any week.

Luke Musgrave (GB): 22% rostered

  • Next Opponents: LAR, @PIT, LAC
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: I’ve waxed poetic about Musgrave’s route run rate in and snap shares in this article for plenty of weeks, so I don’t need to bore you with that. The reality of Musgrave’s situation is that he has been banged up and is dealing with a struggling first-year starting quarterback who is trying to find himself. That factor will continue to limit Musgrave moving forward, as he is a TE2 who can offer TE1 upside in any week if the matchup is right and Jordan Love can muster a decent passing outing. The Rams and Chargers have given up the highest and the fifth-highest yards per reception to tight ends.

Cade Otton (TB): 2% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @HOU, TEN, @SF
  • True value: $0
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Otton’s usage metrics are nothing to speak highly about, so as my dad has always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Otton makes this week’s TE list because of the matchup. Houston has allowed the fifth-most receiving yards and the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends. If Otton sneaks into the end zone or gets a bump in usage because of the matchup, he can sneak in as a TE1 in Week 9.

Stash Candidates: None

DEFENSES

Atlanta Falcons: 33% rostered

  • Next Opponents: MIN, @ARI, BYE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: We would normally be disinclined to recommend a defense that entered Week 8 ranked 25th in defensive fantasy scoring and just made Will Levis look like a future Hall of Famer in his first NFL start. But the Falcons have a Week 9 home date with the Vikings, who will be trying to pick up the pieces after losing QB Kirk Cousins to a torn Achilles. The likely replacement for Cousins is rookie fifth-rounder Jaren Hall. Expect a few rookie mistakes from the BYU product.

Las Vegas Raiders: 13% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NYG, @NYJ, @MIA
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Raiders’ defense is averaging 4.4 fantasy points per game and ranks 25th in defensive DVOA, but Las Vegas is blessed with Frank Sinatra scheduling the next two weeks: “New York, New York.” First, the Raiders face the Giants, who were allowing a league-high 15.1 fantasy points per game to team defenses entering Week 8 and then cobbled together only 10 points Sunday in an overtime loss to the Jets. Daniel Jones could be back at QB for the Giants this week, but Jones has taken 28 sacks and thrown six interceptions and five starts. Then, in Week 10, the Raiders face Zach Wilson and the Jets. Although the Las Vegas defense isn’t actually good, you could roll with it in your fantasy league for the next two weeks.

Washington Commanders: 27% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @NE, @SEA, NYG
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Commanders have collected 25 sacks this season, putting them inside the top 10 in that category. They get an appealing home matchup against Mac Jones and the Patriots, who were giving up an average of 12.1 fantasy points per game to team defenses going into Week 8.

New England Patriots: 27% rostered

  • Next Opponents: WSH, IND, BYE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: One of the highest-scoring team defenses in recent years, the New England D has produced very little fantasy value in 2023. The Patriots entered Week 8 ranked 29th in defensive fantasy scoring and haven’t turned in a double-digit point total all season. But the Patriots have a chance to get there this week against sack magnet Sam Howell and the Commanders. Howell has been sacked 41 times and has thrown eight interceptions in eight games. Although the New England pass rush has been more toothless than usual, the Patriots should be able to collect some sacks against Howell, and perhaps some turnovers as well.

Los Angeles Chargers: 26% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @NYJ, DET, @GB
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Chargers’ defense ranked 29th in DVOA and 23rd in defensive fantasy scoring heading into their Week 8 matchup against the Bears, but this ugly duckling of a team defense could have a swan-like performance this week against Zach Wilson and the Jets. Wilson has taken 13 sacks in his last three games, and the Jets could muster only 13 points last week in an overtime victory against the Giants and their mediocre defense.

New York Giants: 6% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @LV, @DAL, @WSH
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Continuing the theme of below-average defenses that benefit from matchups against bad offenses, we present to you the New York Giants, who entered Week 8 ranked 23rd in DVOA and 28th in defensive scoring but get a friendly matchup against the Raiders this week. Las Vegas came into Week 8 having allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses, and QB Jimmy Garoppolo has all the mobility of the Statue of David.

Tennessee Titans: 2% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @PIT, @TB, @JAX
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Titans’ defense hasn’t scored a lot of fantasy points this season, but it’s a respectable unit that can really stuff the run and force opposing offenses to be one-dimensional. Tennessee faces Pittsburgh this week, and the Steelers probably won’t fare well on offense this week if they have to lean entirely on their popgun passing attack. It’s not clear who’ll be starting at quarterback for the Steelers in Week 9. Kenny Pickett injured his ribs on Sunday and was replaced by Mitchell Trubisky. Either one will make the Titans a viable streaming option

Indianapolis Colts: 8% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CAR, @NE, BYE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Colts have scored five or fewer fantasy points in each of their last five games, but they get a nice Week 9 matchup against the Panthers. Carolina entered Week 8 having allowed the eighth-most fantasy points per game to team defenses, and Panthers QB Bryce Young has taken 20 sacks in his last five games.

Green Bay Packers: 18% rostered

  • Next Opponents: LAR, @PIT, LAC
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Packers will only be an attractive streaming option this week if the Rams are without starting QB Matthew Stafford, who injured his thumb on Sunday, so check Stafford’s status before committing FAAB money to Green Bay. If Stafford is out, the Packers would face backup QB Brett Rypien, who completed 5-of-10 passes for 42 yards and was sacked once in relief of Stafford on Sunday.

Stash Candidates: None.

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KICKERS

Blake Grupe (NO): 17% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CHI, @MIN, BYE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Grupe had attempted at least two field goals in every game this season until Week 8, when his only attempt was a successful 27-yarder against the Colts. Grupe did, however, make all five of his PAT tries on Sunday. He entered Week 8 ranked ninth in fantasy points per game among kickers. Grupe gets good indoor matchups the next two weeks against the Bears and Vikings, two teams that may struggle to move the ball. The Bears have been without QB Justin Fields (thumb), and the Vikings will be without QB Kirk Cousins (Achilles).

Ka’imi Fairbairn (HOU): 15% rostered

  • Next Opponents: TB, @CIN, ARI
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Fairbairn’s only kicking opportunity on Sunday was a measly extra point, as the Texans’ offense sputtered in a 15-13 loss to the Panthers. But Houston has been respectable on offense this season, and Fairbairn went into Week 8 ranked fourth among kickers in fantasy points per game with 10.8. Fairbairn has missed only one field goal in 2023 and is perfect on extra points. He gets a solid Week 9 matchup against the Buccaneers, who went into Week 8 having allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to kickers.

Matt Gay (IND): 20% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CAR, @NE, BYE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Gay is 14-of-16 on field goals and 21-of-21 on extra points this season. He and the Colts face the Panthers this week, and while Carolina has actually been one of the stingier teams to opposing kickers so far this season, the 1-6 Panthers should in theory be a decent matchup for opposing kickers. In Week 10, Gay gets a good matchup against the Patriots, who have been hemorrhaging fantasy points to kickers all season.

Cameron Dicker (LAC): 34% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @NYJ, DET, @GB
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Dicker gets a positive Week 9 matchup against the Jets, who entered Week 8 having allowed 10.2 fantasy points per game to kickers, sixth-most in the league. But the usual Dicker caveat applies: He’s a very accurate kicker (29-of-31 on career FGs and 40-of-40 on career PATs going into Week 8), but the fourth-down aggression of Chargers head coach Brandon Staley will occasionally rob Dicker of field goal opportunities.

Nick Folk (TEN): 18% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @PIT, @TB, @JAX
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Do we trust rookie QB Will Levis to keep it rolling after throwing four TD passes in his first NFL start? Folk went into Week 8 tied for fourth in fantasy points per game (10.8) among kickers, and he hasn’t missed a kick all season, having gone 16-of-16 on field goals and 12-of-12 on extra points. But Folk’s fate is tied to his offense, and while Levis was undeniably impressive in his NFL debut, it’s possible he’ll struggle in a road game against the Steelers. Feeling lucky?

Stash Candidates: None.

FOOL’S GOLD

Commanders WR Jamison Crowder caught 7-of-7 targets for 95 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles on Sunday. Curtis Samuel sustained a toe injury in that game, so it’s possible Crowder will get more playing time in the next week or two. But don’t grab Crowder based on his glittery Week 8 surface stats. He played only 23 of Washington’s 72 offensive snaps – a 31.9% snap share. Since 2021, Crowder has averaged 8.9 yards per catch and has scored three touchdowns in 24 games.

Pierre Strong had 10-41-0 rushing and 1-41-0 receiving against the Seahawks on Sunday. He was part of the Browns’ three-pronged approach at running back. One of those prongs, Jerome Ford, was seemingly destined to miss Week 9 with a high-ankle sprain, but Ford played and had nine carries and one reception. With Ford not missing any time and Kareem Hunt continuing to play a significant role in the Cleveland backfield, there’s no point to picking up Strong, who’s destined to be a third wheel.

DROP RECOMMENDATIONS

Droppable:

It’s QB drop week, and we’ll start with Kirk Cousins, who’ll be widely dropped this week through no fault of his own. Cousins had been enjoying a fine season but tore his Achilles Sunday against the Packers and will be out for the season. You like that?! No, we do not.

Kyler Murray is expected to return to the Cardinals’ lineup in Week 10, which means that Josh Dobbs has only one game left in his run as Arizona’s starting quarterback. Unfortunately, that run will end against a strong Browns defense. Dobbs isn’t a viable streaming option this week and can be jettisoned.

Since Week 3, Jordan Love has averaged 219.2 passing yards per game and 6.0 yards per attempt, with five TD passes and eight interceptions. The last three of those games have been against the Raiders, Broncos and Vikings, so it’s not as if we can blame Love’s struggles on tough defensive matchups. If you’re still holding him, cut him loose and stream the position.

McKinnon is still being rostered in 35% of Yahoo leagues, which is hard to fathom considering that he’s averaging 2.6 rushing yards and 15.8 receiving yards per game. Granted, McKinnon does have a knack for finding the end zone, with 10 touchdowns last year and two touchdowns on only 26 carries this year. But good luck figuring out exactly when McKinnon is going to score his touchdowns.

K.J. Osborn had fantasy value with Justin Jefferson hurt and Kirk Cousins healthy. With Cousins done for the season and Jaren Hall taking over at quarterback for the Vikings, Osborn is no longer fantasy-viable.

Desmond Ridder went into concussion protocol, but after fumbling seven times, throwing six interceptions and taking 25 sacks in eight games, Ridder might remain out of the lineup for a while. Even if Falcons head coach Arthur Smith decides to let Ridder keep his starting job rather than giving backup Taylor Heinicke a shot, Ridder hasn’t done enough to keep his spot on fantasy rosters.

Droppable with a chance of regret:

Kenneth Gainwell is strictly a backup to D’Andre Swift with no standalone fantasy value. And the thing is, Gainwell might not even be a true handcuff, because if anything were to happen to Swift, the Eagles would probably parcel out RB touches to the trio of Gainwell, Boston Scott and Rashaad Penny.

Elijah Moore hasn’t provided 60 receiving yards in any game this season, and he has zero touchdowns. It’s too early to give up on Moore in dynasty leagues, but you can probably move on in redraft leagues. There just haven’t been many signs that a 2023 breakout is nigh.

Miles Sanders was out-snapped by Chuba Hubbard 45-12 on Sunday and out-touched 17-2. Sanders was RB17 in PPR fantasy scoring through the first three weeks of the season, but his fantasy relevance has gone up in a puff of smoke.

Don’t drop yet:

The few fantasy managers still hanging on to Dalvin Cook should continue to keep him around until Tuesday’s trading deadline has passed. It’s possible Cook could be dealt to a team that needs backfield help.

Jonnu Smith had a 13-yard catch Sunday on his only target of the game. Smith has only seen four targets in his last two games after averaging 6.4 targets, 5.0 receptions and 56.4 receiving yards over a five-game stretch from Week 2 to Week 6. If you can’t afford to carry a second tight end, feel free to cut Smith loose. Just realize he has a pretty decent matchup against the Vikings this week.

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