Waiver Wire Watch: Week 9 Targets
As the weeks tick off, so to do the chances for our FAAB to matter. In most leagues, we have five regular season games to go, leaving players only five games to get injured, five games to break out, five games to produce for your fantasy team. It’s a numbers game, and every time the number to the right of the word “Week” goes up, the players you pick up have one less opportunity to impact your lineup.
As time goes by, you are also running short on opportunity to spend your FAAB or use your prestigious top slot in the waiver order. You can’t take either with you to 2019, so why leave anything behind? Having 90% of your FAAB available does nothing to help your team in the playoffs. Don’t be shy! Spend heavily, leaving only enough to protect yourself in the late stages of the season. Saving anything more than 20% is a waste.
This is a simple concept, and, to be honest, not likely to be the sort of thing you can take advantage of to a degree that it will win you a league outright. But in an age where fantasy players have so much access to so much great advice, if you can weave together multiple small edges by doing things like properly managing waivers, over time it can add up to a big, shiny trophy.
And with that, let’s get down to business.
Throughout this series, we will be using PPR scoring, a $100 FAAB budget and a 50% threshold for player ownership. The intro to Week 1’s edition of Waiver Wire Watch (WWW) goes into far more detail about that. Please also use the linked sources to take a moment to familiarize yourself with Josh Hermsmeyer’s air yards and our own Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA) metrics. I’m going to be using AirYards.com and aFPA more and more as the year goes on. As always, John Paulsen will edit this piece and reorder/adjust the prices as necessary.
- Baker Mayfield, 43% owned ($3)
- Dak Prescott, 34% owned ($2)
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, 7% owned ($2)
- Derek Carr, 26% owned ($1)
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Ding-dong, the witch is dead, the witch is dead. Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead!!!!
With any sort of luck, Mayfield is about to light a post-Hue Jackson and Todd Haley world on fire. He’s been fine for fantasy fill-in purposes up to this point, scoring as a low-end QB2 in his rookie campaign. That’s not good enough for me, though; I’m greedy. If there is any justice in this world, whomever is calling plays going forward will do a better job than the unholy duo of Jackson and Haley. Certainly, they can’t be any worse. Editor's Note: They actually could be worse. Cleveland faces the Chiefs this week, which should give Baker a shot at 40+ attempts. He’ll also be more than useable next week against the Falcons.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
This hasn’t been a banner season for the third-year pro, but he has started to come around of late. After averaging 10.1 PPG the first three weeks, Prescott is putting up a much more respectable 20 PPG over his last four outings. He’s been consistent too, scoring at least 18.4 points in three of those four games. That Prescott has been that productive is a bit of a miracle considering Dallas is throwing it only 29.4 times per game, a bottom-five mark in the league. Credit Dak’s legs: his 40 rushing attempts are third in the NFL among quarterbacks, behind only Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton. Those attempts have borne fruit, netting him 6.8 PPG over the aforementioned four game stretch. It doesn't hurt that the Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper, either.
The biggest immediate issue with Prescott is his Week 9 matchup against a Titans defense that hasn’t been a great matchup for opposing quarterbacks. Part of that is a volume thing, as teams haven’t needed to throw to beat the offensively-challenged team from Tennessee. To that point, the Titans’ defense has seen the fifth fewest pass attempts in the NFL this season. With a trip to Philly in store, Week 10 is a far better matchup.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With Monday's news the Bucs will go with Fitzpatrick over Jameis Winston this week, we get to have another go-round with the beard of magic. Which Fitzpatrick will show up this week against a solid Panthers defense is anybody's guess, making starting him a fun little gamble for owners. If we get the same guy that we had the first two weeks of the season and in the second half against the Bengals on Sunday, it should be smooth sailing to 20+ fantasy points. If the Week 3/4 version makes an appearance, get ready to cry in your pretzels. If I knew what to expect, I wouldn't be here, I'd be out buying Powerball tickets. If that seems like a copout, it is, and I'm OK with that.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Carr has failed to top 15.5 fantasy points in five of seven games, even missing the 6.3 point mark in two of those. So, what in the heck is he doing on this list? Allow me to explain: Oakland plays the 49ers, who’ve been the sixth most generous defense to quarterbacks according to aFPA. Not good enough? Then I’ll do you one better: San Francisco just gave up 19.3 points to Josh Rosen, which is only two fewer than he scored the previous three games combined. It also doesn’t hurt that Carr is coming off his second most productive game of the year. The 27.8 points he scored at home against Indianapolis are the second most the Colts have given up all season. Carr won’t be a QB1 in our Week 8 ranks, but he should slot in as a solid QB2. With Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck and Carson Wentz all taking the week off, owners will be scrambling for options off the wire. If they land on Carr, they should be just fine.
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