Week 9 has arrived, and with that we get into my personal favorite part of the weekly grind: the waiver wire! Whether you play in a league that does standard waiver claims or FAB (free agent bidding), we will highlight players below based off players rostered in 33.3% or less of ESPN leagues. If you happen to play in a 10-team league or smaller, this article will serve more as a "watch list and stash" report, rather than a guide to directly making your top pickups and FAB bids. For a complete list of our waiver wire rankings, by position with no write-ups, check out my weekly Waiver Wire Rankings page here.
Author's Note: We want to jump on the opportunity to improve our rosters as often as humanly possible, and we do this through waivers, trades and streaming positions at QB, TE, D/ST and/or Kicker. The ability to drop these positions at the start of the week and make at least one or two additional, speculative adds, can often be the difference in hitting on a league-winner off the waivers and not. It's the owners who stand pat and stay stagnant who often see their fortunes fade down the stretch. That's why it's so important to grind the bottom of your rosters each week and not be afraid to cut players with "household names" who aren't seeing good usage. Have a specific add/drop question or anything more specific that isn't covered? Hit me up on Twitter @maddjournalist or @betpredators.
Tua Tagovailoa (Roster Percentage - 25.5%): I'll admit, it's rare that I'd ever recommend a quarterback at the top of this list who just threw for 93 yards in his NFL starting debut, but here we are. Sarcasm aside, Tua didn't really need to do much of anything in Week 8 as the Miami Dolphins D/ST dominated the Los Angeles Rams from end to end. While some of the underlying metrics didn't look good (3-for-12 on third down conversions, 3.0 yards per play, 3.9 yards per pass) keep in mind that the Rams themselves have an above-average defense and have given most opposing offenses fits in 2020. The reason I'm most bullish on Tua is because of his upcoming schedule. The Fins face uptempo Arizona in Week 9, then a soft slate between Weeks 10-12 that includes matchups with the Chargers, Broncos and Jets. Tua isn't just a one-week streamer, but a possible one-month streamer. The volume and efficiency will only go up from here, and the potential for those to increase, plus the schedule, gives him a high(er) ceiling than Allen or Foles.
Kyle Allen (2.3%): Don't look now, but the Washington Football Team comes off a bye in prime position to take control of the NFC East division and earn a 2020 playoff berth. While Kyle Allen has been anything but spectacular in his three-week stint so far as Washington's starting quarterback, he has improved in three straight weeks, posting solid lines of 16.0 and 16.86 fantasy points in his previous two starts. Like Tua above, Allen also benefits from a cake upcoming schedule between Week 9-12, where he's set to face the Giants, Lions, Bengals and Cowboys. That stretch alone could provide you with a reliable streamer all the way through the final week of the fantasy regular season (Week 13). Allen has talented weapons around him in Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin, and the defense is respectable enough to keep Washington in neutral passing, competitive situations. This coaching staff rode out Allen as its starter in 2019 in Carolina, and their faith in him gives me more confidence in Allen than in Foles.
Nick Foles (8.4%): Another middle-of-the-road fantasy quarterback in terms of production/points this season, Foles also cracks our top three recommended QB adds this week because of an upcoming cake schedule. Look, I completely understand that Foles' job security is seemingly not as safe as the guys mentioned above, like Tua and Allen, but his pamper-soft schedule actually extends past Week 12 and all the way through the fantasy championship round (Week 16). The Bears face the Titans and Vikings over the next two weeks before a Week 11 bye, then they finish up with a glorious stretch of opposing defenses that includes the Lions, the Texans and the Jaguars in Week 16. Foles has arguably the best offensive weapon out of our QB options as well, with Allen Robinson leading the way for the Chicago pass catchers in 2020 and talented rookie Darnell Mooney starting to develop rapport with the veteran signal-caller. Foles will provide us with a solid floor of 15+ fantasy points in most weeks.
Honorable Mention: Philip Rivers (8.1%), Kirk Cousins (14.2%), Daniel Jones (18.6%), Baker Mayfield (25.1%), (Drew Lock (5.1%), Andy Dalton (6.2%)
Deep(er) League Adds: Nick Mullens (0.4%), Jake Luton (0.2%), Jarrett Stidham (0.3%), Mitchell Trubisky (1.2%), Mike Glennon (0.2%), CJ Beathard (0.0%)
(NEW) Matt Breida/DeAndre Washington (Roster Percentages - 20.0% and 0.2%): We received triple the news as of today/Tuesday, as reports out of Miami are that Myles Gaskin will miss at least three weeks with a sprained MCL. While many will rush to the waivers and overspend on Matt Breida, I would exercise caution here. Breida has shown to be very brittle when getting hefty workloads in the past, and while his value obviously gets a boost here with no Gaskin in front of him, I would temper expectations in the long term. The Dolphins also made two trades today, shipping away slot receiver Isiah Ford to New England and trading for DeAndre Washington, who will leave Kansas City and have a legit shot at earning meaningful reps in Miami. Washington showed promise in late 2019 when filling in for the then-injured Josh Jacobs in three games, totaling 54 carries, 215 rushing yards, 2 TD's on the ground and 16 catches on 19 targets for 119 receiving yards. If you don't have a calculator handy, that's a more-than-solid average of 18 carries, 72 rushing yards and 5+ catches/6+ targets for 40 receiving yards per game, aka high upside RB2 numbers. We can't just blanket copy/paste those stats into his new role in Miami, but at least we've seen what both Breida and Washington have done in featured roles in the past. While Breida's short-term value will certainly be higher than of Washington's, especially in Week 9 against Arizona, Washington has a cleaner bill of health and will most likely come in at a fraction of the FAB bid cost of Breida.
Gus Edwards (Roster Percentage - 4.8%): The "Gus Bus" was on full display in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, racking up a team-high 16 running back carries for 87 yards, a touchdown and a long run of 25 yards. While I'm fully aware that J.K. Dobbins stole the show in this matchup, we can confidently ride out two tailbacks in fantasy in this run-happy Ravens offense. Dobbins (15-113, long run of 28) will still split carries quite evenly with Gus while Mark Ingram remains out/hobbled, and with Lamar Jackson continuing to struggle passing the ball, expect Baltimore to lean on the run more of than ever. The Ravens face the Colts, Patriots and Titans over the next three weeks before a rematch with the Steelers on the road in Week 12, and as it stands currently, we might not be seeing Ingram back on the field for a while. Gus could also carve out a role as the team's goal-line back over this Ingram-less stretch, and he currently ranks as the Ravens' top PFF-graded RB this season (#27 overall) over Dobbins.
DeeJay Dallas/Rashaad Penny (11.7% and 2.2%): The Seattle Seahawks running backs room is a hobbled mess at the moment, and it left rookie DeeJay Dallas to inherit the entire backfield in Week 8. Dallas posted career-highs in nearly every statistical category, going 18-41-1 on the ground and 5-5-17-1 through the air. The efficiency wasn't there, sure, but the matchup was also a tough one, and Dallas still has a lot to learn and improve on. Opportunity is the name of the game, however, and if Carson, Hyde and Homer all continue to struggle staying healthy then we can feel very confident in banking our fortunes on Dallas as the main RB in a highly efficient, highly potent offensive attack. Also, you're in a deeper league, have an extra IR slot or an extra bench spot for a high upside flier, you could do worse than stashing Rashaad Penny. The last we saw Penny was in December of 2019, and before getting hurt he had ripped off two games with 14+ carries and a combined 203 yards and two TD's.
J.D. McKissic (31.9%): A lot of fantasy owners might've dropped McKissic after Washington's Week 7 win over the Dallas Cowboys, and with The Football Team on bye in Week 8 it's possible McKissic is still sitting there on your waiver wire all by his lonesome. McKissic was quiet in Week 7, posting just 5-35 rushing and 2-2-16 receiving, but he the pass-catching specialist simply wasn't required to do much in an extremely positive game script for Washington. When The Football team needs to throw and is playing from behind, however, McKissic will immediately provide PPR value for teams needing to fill RB2/RB3/Flex spots during byes and injuries etc. From Weeks 4-6 McKissic tallied 19 catches and at least six targets and 40 receiving yards in three straight games. He's still splitting snaps with Antonio Gibson and is being used in pivotal long down and distance situations, as well as the two-minute offense, as per Pro Football Focus. McKissic doesn't have a massive season-long ceiling, but he can fill a hole in a pinch for your starting lineup.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Wilkins (0.5%), Damien Harris (31.3%), Wayne Gallman (14.9%), Brian Hill (6.9%), Carlos Hyde (29.2%), Tony Pollard (17.5%), Jordan Howard (13.8%)
Deep(er) League Adds: Eno Benjamin (0.3%), Jonathan Ward (0.0%), D'Onta Foreman (0.0%), Jeremy McNichols (0.9%), (Troymaine Pope (0.0%), Travis Homer (2.1%), Patrick Laird (0.1%), Lynn Bowden Jr. (0.5%)
Jalen Reagor (Roster Percentage - 14.3%): Six targets in his first NFL action in more than six weeks isn't a bad start for the rookie Jalen Reagor, who hauled in three catches and a receiving score on Sunday Night Football in Week 8. In Reagor's other two games - Week 1 and Week 2 - he also received four targets in each game and an extremely deep average depth of target (aDOT) in the process. Reagor actually ranked seventh in the NFL yards in his rookie debut in Week 1, racking up 136 air yards on just four targets despite playing a full game with Desean Jackson on the opposite side. DJax is now injured and out of the picture, and I expect the ceiling to be quite massive from Week 10 and onward. Reagor and the Eagles get an extremely juicy schedule off the bye, facing the Giants, Browns, Seahawks, Packers, Saints, Cardinals and Cowboys in consecutive order. Buy as many Eagles as you can in fantasy right now. The matchups and projected game scripts to finish the 2020 fantasy season are borderline mouthwatering.
Preston Williams (32.5%): One important stat that many may overlook in Week 8 is that Preston Williams lead all Dolphins wide receivers with five targets on the day, just one less than running back Myles Gaskin. Williams will continue to benefit from extra attention shown to DeVante Parker on the opposite side, and in Week 8 we also saw Parker shadowed by Jalen Ramsey and finishing with just one catch for three yards. Williams was pushing Parker for 1A/1B duties in 2019 during his rookie campaign before getting hurt, and he might just in fact prove to have more chemistry and connection with the rookie Tua under center. I don't expect Miami to see many positive game scripts like they did against the Rams on Sunday - where Tua threw for just 93 yards in his NFL starting debut - and Preston will reap the rewards of those upcoming neutral/negative scripts with nice matchups also upcoming against the Cardinals, Chargers, Broncos, Jets and Bengals. Preston Williams already has a WR2 upside type of track record.
Darnell Mooney (3.7%), KJ Hamler (1.8%) and Laviska Shenault (25.0%): Once we get outside of the WR2/3 level, the position becomes extremely deep in terms of weekly streamers and high-upside stashes. The time is now to invest in rookies as much as possible, however, especially rookie wide receivers. We have a talented trio listed here too, with Mooney, Hamler and Shenault all having clear paths to being one of the top two to three wideouts on their respective teams. I'll go for ceiling here, however, as opposed to "floor pickups" such as your run-of-the-mill Coles, Tates and Bournes. We know who those guys are, and there's a reason they're still on waivers. Mooney has emerged as the No. 2 option opposite A-Rob and a true deep threat. Hamler has flashed as a promising route-runner and was used almost exclusively in the slot in Week 8, where he thrived at Penn State. Shenault could flourish with fellow rookie Luton, with Minshew on the mend. I'll invest in ceiling while "safer" fantasy owners go for the overrated floor plays.
Honorable Mention: Jakobi Meyers (0.5%), Tim Patrick (17.2%), Mecole Hardman (27.3%), Michael Pittman Jr. (5.0%), Randall Cobb (14.3%), Denzel Mims (5.7%), Anthony Miller (13.3%), Russell Gage (16.8%), Golden Tate (31.5%), Scotty Miller (29.9%)
Deep(er) League Adds: Hunter Renfrow (14.6%), Kendrick Bourne (5.6%), Demarcus Robinson (3.9%), Marvin Hall (0.0%), Josh Reynolds (1.3%), DaeSean Hamilton (0.1%), Auden Tate (0.1%), Damiere Byrd (1.3%), Zach Pascal (2.3%), Braxton Berrios (2.1%), Lynn Bowden Jr. (0.5%)
Logan Thomas (Roster Percentage - 8.1%): It has been a hot minute since we've seen Logan Thomas, as his Washington Football Team had its bye in Week 8, but in the two games prior to the bye week Thomas was starting to catch on and show major chemistry with Kyle Allen. Thomas has a touchdown in back to back games and has now posted receiving lines of 4-3-32-1 and 4-4-60-1 in his previous two outings. Most impressive is the fact that Thomas is one of only a handful tight ends to have at least four targets in every single game this season. The converted quarterback is playing his first ever season as any team's number one tight end after spending most of his life under center, and in a COVID-shortened offseason he's just now starting to improve at his new position. Washington's upcoming schedule is nothing to fear, as we noted above with Kyle Allen and J.D. McKissic, putting The Football Team in prime position to be in a lot of neutral/negative game scripts with increased passing volume in the process.
Jordan Reed/Ross Dwelley (1.6% and 0.0%): Take your pick here, as George Kittle's season is officially over following his MRI after Week 8's loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Kittle's absence paves the way for both Reed and Dwelley to carve out respectable roles in a team that favors targeting the tight end more than most. It was Reed who flashed big in Week 2 with 7-50-2 on eight targets against the Jets, but he was injured in the next game and at this point it's extremely difficult to trust his health moving forward. In a one-game scenario I would favor Reed and his athletic profile to project for a bigger ceiling than Dwelley, but long-term I believe Dwelley can be the more consistent option here if Reed gets banged up again. Alas, I know that it's hard to roster two tight ends, especially two unproven tight ends in 2020 for that matter, but with tight end being such a dumpster fire this year you could do a lot worse than rostering either, or both, to see how the targets shake out. A slight nod to Reed as a one-week streamer as well.
Irv Smith Jr. (4.3%): Smith returned from the Vikings bye in Week 8 to post a dud, posting just one catch for 16 yards on two targets as Dalvin Cook (30-163-3 and 2-63-1) ATE against the Green Bay Packers. Smith, now in his second year out of Alabama, is a far superior pass-catching talent to teammate Kyle Rudolph, but the usage and passing volume week to week might prove to be a tad inconsistent. I'll still rank him here in our top three, however, being the state of the tight position right now is so inconsistent and poor itself. Smith Posted back-to-back games of four catches, five targets and 55+ yards in his previous two games, and he profiles as a solid third option for Kirk Cousins behind Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson in the Vikings passing attack. Smith currently ranks fourth overall for Minnesota in targets (19), third in receiving yards (149) and third in yards per catch (13.5). Smith possesses not just chain-moving ability, but big play ability as well, as evidenced by receptions of 15+ yards in each of his last three outings.
Deep(er) League Adds: David Njoku (2.2%), Will Dissly (0.9%), Mo Alie-Cox (2.9%), Jordan Akins (1.3%), Taysom Hill (1.9%), Jace Sternberger (0.4%)