When it comes to fantasy football, injuries can be detrimental to the season-long success of your fantasy squad and can leave you scrambling for plug-in starters, especially after another action-packed, injury-riddled week of football. Keep in mind that there are four teams on bye this week (SF, DET, DEN, JAX), which is why you will need to work the fantasy football waiver wire to grab high-upside players to help fill these empty roster spots and reduce that Sunday morning pre-kickoff panic.
If you’re looking to do just that, here are the best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 9 that could help push your fantasy team in the right direction.
All players must be owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues to be included in the best fantasy football waiver wire pickups weekly column. All ownerships for waiver wire players will be provided and will reflect that of Tuesday morning.
QB Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Sam Howell Fantasy Ownership (30.4%)
FlurrySports has been banging the Sam Howell gavel for several weeks now simply because of the sheer passing volume in the Commanders’ offense this season, but now it’s official. With so many QB injuries and bye weeks, Howell should be at the top of most fantasy managers’ radars for Week 9 fantasy football waiver wire pickups. Howell has attempted at least 41 passes in four of his last five games and faces some rather poor defenses in the next few weeks (NE, NYG, SEA).
His 30.98 fantasy point performance last week against the Eagles was his best mark of the season and I’d expect him to build off of it against these bottom-ranked teams over the next few weeks. Howell is currently ranked as the QB8 in fantasy football… why is he rostered in only 30 percent of leagues again?
Derek Carr Fantasy Ownership (21.3%)
I didn’t have Derek Carr making a fantasy football waiver wire pickups article on my bingo card, but here we are. All jokes aside, Carr has emerged as a viable fantasy option over the last few weeks and it’s because he’s throwing the ball a lot and it’s producing fantasy points in return. He hasn’t produced fewer than 15.72 fantasy points since Week 5 and has a cool 6:2 touchdown touchdown-to-interception ratio in that span.
Much like Howell, the passing volume is just extreme right now in New Orleans and it’s hard to ignore with so many QB injuries across the league. Carr has surpassed 300 yards passing in three straight games and has done a better job of taking care of the football than in previous seasons, which is why I’m expecting him to continue the strong play against teams like the Bears and Vikings over the next two weeks.
Editor’s Note: is it any surprise that the two QBs featured in last week’s fantasy football streamers are this week’s waiver wire pickups? Let us help you WIN!
Underdog Fantasy is a new type of DFS that combines the fun of season-long drafts with daily fantasy sports. Aside from their fun, addictive draft mode, Underdog Fantasy also has pick’em player props for many different sports and athletes!
RB Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Emari Demercado Fantasy Ownership (39.2%)
With James Conner still without a timetable to return from injury, Emari Demercado remains a strong fantasy option moving forward. He’s completely overtaken the RB1 spot, totaling 20-of-24 possible running back carries in Week 8 against the Ravens. Still, the rookie hasn’t been incredibly efficient, totaling 11.5 and 8.9 fantasy points in Weeks 7 and 8, respectively, but it’s clear that he’s dominating the touches right now.
With Kyler Murray possibly returning next week, the Cardinals may try to lean on their run game even more, which already ranks fourth in rushing yards per game (137.8). Considering Arizona is efficient enough at running the ball and Demercado is totaling the majority of the carries, he’s bound to have a breakout game or two and post consistent fantasy totals.
Royce Freeman Fantasy Ownership (17.1%)
While everyone is focused on the Darrell Henderson Jr. hype, why not roster his backup who has been efficient in limited touches? There’s no denying that Henderson will be the main back until Kyren Williams is back to full health, but he recorded just six more touches than Freeman, which was mainly because of the Rams playing from behind and utilizing his pass-catching ability. Freeman has averaged 5.5 and 4.9 yards per carry, respectively, in the two games since Williams was injured and even found the endzone on a goal-line carry in Week 8.
Williams is still set to miss a couple more games and, as long as the Rams keep the game scripts relatively even in their next few matchups, Freeman should see regular usage, especially in the red zone. Even if Henderson completely overtakes him and starts dominating the touches, he’d still see a decent enough role because this is Sean McVay’s offense we’re talking about.
WR Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Demario Douglas Fantasy Ownership (1.2%)
For those in dire need of a very cheap fantasy football waiver wire pickup, Demario Douglas is at the top of that list. Douglas ranked second in air yards behind only Kendrick Bourne in Week 8, but with Bourne now done for the season and DeVante Parker’s status in question after leaving with a concussion, he finds himself as the WR1. He’s logged six and seven targets, respectively, over the last two weeks and surely provides a much-needed boost to this boring Patriots’ offense that barely generates 200 yards passing per game (200.4).
I love the Demario Douglas fantasy football upside moving forward, especially because of Mac Jones’ struggles thus far but I understand the concern. New England’s offense has been very underwhelming this season –– averaging just 14.8 points per game but Douglas’ skillset and usage could unlock a new part of this offense. New England faces Washington and Indianapolis in its next two games –– two teams that rank bottom ten in defensive DVOA.
Rashid Shaheed Fantasy Ownership (18.4%)
While he still primarily gets his fantasy value from his big-play ability, Rashid Shaheed is becoming more consistent in the Saints’ passing game. Because Carr has been throwing the ball a ton across the last few weeks, Shaheed and the other pass-catchers have benefited. Shaheed has been targeted at least six times in three of the last five games and has eclipsed 18 fantasy points in two. In those two breakout performances, he caught a touchdown in each and averaged 42.5 and 51.0 yards per reception, respectively.
His low ownership coupled with his increased role make for a solid fantasy football waiver wire pickup this week. He’ll always be behind Chris Olave and Michael Thomas on the depth chart, but his big-play ability and the fact that he’s logged a 25-yard reception in five of eight games this season suggests he’s going to be utilized regularly moving forward.
TE Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
Taysom Hill Fantasy Ownership (14.7%)
Somehow, some way, Taysom Hill remains fantasy viable in 2023. Juwan Johnson’s return put a damper on Hill’s route rate, but let’s be real here: he doesn’t find fantasy value from being a tight end. Johnson will slide back into his normal TE1 role and garner most red zone targets but Hill still ran in two touchdowns on nine carries for 63 yards in Week 8.
He is a true boom-or-bust candidate as there’s a high chance the Saints are unable to utilize him the way they want each week but the overall receiver/rusher combination offers tremendous weekly upside. The Saints have found offensive success lately and Hill has been a big part of that, so it’s safe to say he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Trey McBride Fantasy Ownership (7.8%)
I don’t think many fantasy managers expected this type of breakout performance for Trey McBride in the first full game without Zach Ertz, but here we are. He hauled in 10-of-14 targets for 95 yards and a touchdown in Week 8 against the Ravens on his way to a 25.5 fantasy point performance. Arizona may just have found another weapon to help boost its offense moving forward and this is all while factoring in Joshua Dobbs as QB1.
Kyler Murray should be back within the next few weeks and one would only imagine that McBride’s role and value increase even more once he’s behind center. As I always say, the tight end position is a wasteland and volume is king. Well, we just found a gold mine at just under 8.0 percent ownership.