With four teams on a bye this week (CLE, LAR, CIN, PHI), chances are you’ll need to make some waiver wire pickups to help fill those voids on your team. As we enter Week 9, we are now moving into the back half of the season, which means fantasy playoffs are coming soon enough. 

As I’ve said every week this far, active fantasy managers win their leagues. Injuries are unpredictable and in order to stay in contention for the fantasy playoffs in your leagues, you’ll need to nail your waiver wire pickups and find some hidden gems that could kickstart your team in the right direction for a late push. 

With that being said, here are my top waiver wire pickups at all major fantasy positions that are worth considering adding to your team. Players are chosen based on their schedule strength moving forward and efficiency in their respective offenses. 

And of course, some players will be added that are drop-worthy candidates, but by no means are must-drop players. 

Players must be owned in less than 60 percent of ESPN leagues to be included in the fantasy football Week 9 waiver wire pickups column. All ownerships for waiver wire players will be provided and will reflect that of Monday evening.

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Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups 

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (47.9%)

Through seven games, Derek Carr is the QB19 on the year, but overall he’s been a reliable fantasy option. Last week was an outlier of his season thus far as he only threw for 112 yards and one touchdown along with six rushes for 41 yards, but that game was experiencing extreme winds the whole time. His next three matchups are all division games starting with LAC, then DEN and KC. Both the Broncos and Chiefs have been strong against opposing quarterbacks, but the Chargers have allowed 14 passing touchdowns this season. All three of these games will be hard-fought and good games, so I like Carr’s upside moving forward with these next few matchups. 

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers (39.8%)

Bridgewater certainly disappointed his fantasy owners last week when he only put up 12.04 fantasy points against the worst defense against opposing quarterbacks in Atlanta. But with Christain McCaffrey, it’ll help Bridgewater’s value moving forward. With his next two matchups being stingy defenses against the Chiefs and Bucs, he probably won’t do too much but he plays Detroit and Minnesota in his next two, which are key matchups for him to return solid fantasy value. Both teams rank bottom-ten for points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and with CMC back in the mix, the Panthers offense should be even more high-powered and impressive moving forward into the back half of the season. At just under 40 percent ownership still, Bridgewater deserves to be on every roster, at least as the backup. 

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos (5.1%)

After returning from injury, Lock looked out of sorts and wasn’t making good decisions with the football, but brought his team back late for the win in Week 8 against the Chargers throwing for 248 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. At just 5 percent ownership, he’s likely available in your league, especially deeper leagues. He has some enticing matchups coming up with Atlanta this week followed by Las Vegas, Miami, and New Orleans. Atlanta ranks last in multiple defensive categories and with a healthy offensive squad, Lock could do some damage. He’s more of a stash and see how he performs against these poor defenses type right now, but he’s talented and has great upside moving forward. 

Credit: Julio Cortez/AP Photo

Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups 

J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens (48.8%)

With Mark Ingram out Week 8 with an injury, the Ravens backfield was down to J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. The carry split was nearly 50/50 as Edwards carried the ball 16 times for 87 yards and a touchdown while Dobbins carried the ball 15 times for 113 yards. No matter what, the Ravens are going to use the RBBC approach like the Rams, but it’s obvious that Dobbins made more of his opportunities and he should out-snap Edwards moving forward. If Ingram misses more time, I love Dobbins’ value and upside moving forward in this run-first offensive scheme by Baltimore. His next three matchups are the Colts, Patriots, and Titans so it’d be wise to shy away from him for this week’s matchup. The Colts allow 14.3 FPPG to opposing running backs, the league’s third best. 

Philip Lindsay, Denver Broncos (59.1%)

Lindsay just made the cut here at just over 59 percent ownership, but if he’s available, you should grab him. With much uncertainty surrounding the NFL’s consequences on Melvin Gordon for his DUI, Lindsay could be the lead back in Denver sooner than later. He only had six carries in Week 8, but made the most of it ending with 83 yards and an explosive 55-yard touchdown. His upcoming matchups include Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Miami which all rank in the bottom half of the league for points allowed to opposing running backs. Grab him before it’s too late! 

Damien Harris, New England Patriots (31.3%)

Fantasy managers that own Harris need to get excited for being patient and holding onto him to see how he progressed. Following his great performance in Week 4 against the Chiefs, he was one of the top waiver wire adds the following week, but disappointed his owners with 4.3 fantasy points in Week 6 against Denver. The Patriots backfield is maybe a little more than full, but Harris is clearly the most talented. He is averaging 5.3 YPC even with his outlier of a game against Denver. When he’s been given 15+ carries, he’s surpassed 100 yards. Harris could be that guy that ends up on many fantasy championship rosters, especially with his playoff fantasy schedule being Miami, Buffalo, and New York to end the season.

Credit: Bill Wippert/Buffalo Bills

Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups 

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (55.9%)

Despite seeing 6+ targets in nearly every game this season, Beasley finished with two catches on two targets for 24 yards in Week 8 against the Patriots. Many thought Beasley would be the leading receiver this week against the Patriots but the Bills only threw the ball 18 times. The Bills face some tough teams coming up with Seattle and Arizona and they’re going to need to throw the ball to keep up with the opposing offenses. The good news for Beasley and all Bills receivers is Seattle allows the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers with a whopping 36.2. At the end of the day, Josh Allen can’t only depend on Diggs to move the ball through the air, and this Week 8 matchup was simply an outlier.

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (42.7%)

Williams was targeted eight times in Week 8 against the Broncos and caught five of them for 99 yards and a touchdown. He has seen a steady amount of targets each game this season with the exception of a few off-games. With rookie Justin Herbert behind center, I love all Chargers receivers moving forward because he isn’t afraid to make the big throw. The Chargers face the Raiders, Dolphins, and Jets in their next three matchups and Williams is still the WR2 for the offense behind Keenan Allen. Herbert has been on fire lately and it certainly shouldn’t stop with these matchups approaching, enhancing Williams’ value. 

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (36.7%)

Corey Davis could be the darkhorse waiver wire MVP add of this season, and is certainly one of those names that could end up on many championship rosters. In every game he’s played in this season, he’s surpassed 11 fantasy points and hasn’t seen less than five targets. His upcoming matchups aren’t ideal though with the CHI this week followed by IND, BAL, and IND again. Ryan Tannehill seems to value Davis over both Jonnu Smith and A.J. Brown target-wise so I really do like his upside moving into the second half of the season. For a player that’s rostered in nearly 37 percent of leagues and hasn’t put up any single-digit performances thus far, he feels like one of the biggest steals of the year. 

Credit: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups 

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (47.9%)

The only reason Goedert is under 60 percent ownership is because of his injury from the beginning of the season. He needs to be on every fantasy roster there is, especially with Zach Ertz still on IR. We all remember his breakout game in Week 1 where he put up 24.1 fantasy points, but with the next few matchups, he could do that consistently. He has his bye week this week, but it’d be a good idea to get him now before it’s too late. The Eagles play the Giants, Browns, Seahawks, and Packers in their next four matchups and all are favorable for the tight end position. It is worth mentioning that the Eagles are nearing a healthy offense with Sanders returning possibly this week and rookie Jalen Reagor returning last game, but Wentz has always loved his tight end targets in Ertz and Goedert. 

Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers (51.2%)

Ebron is one of those players that is like Corey Davis where his production is amazing yet he is still rostered in less than 60 percent of leagues. Ebron has seen at least four targets in six straight games now and that should continue with his next three matchups. Pittsburgh faces Dallas, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville which are all bottom-ten defenses against tight ends this season. The Steelers are still the only undefeated team in the league and that certainly shouldn’t end against these next three teams, but Ebron will be a big part of that. His usage and overall production are just too good to pass up at this point. He needs to be rostered in every format. 

Drop Candidates 

QB: Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, Jimmy Garoppolo

RB: Adrian Peterson, Kerryon Johnson, Matt Breida 

WR: Tre’Quan Smith, Russell Gage, Keelan Cole Sr. 

TE: Irv Smith Jr., Richard Rodgers, Mike Gesicki

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