We’ve officially passed the halfway point of the fantasy football season. Some of us are riding high with 6-2 records basking in dreams and visions of fantasy championships on the horizon. The rest of us have located our local friendly time traveling scientist to convert our 2018 Nissan Rogue into a time machine. I honestly need an oil change as I have trouble getting it above 88 miles per hour. So, I guess I can’t go back and should instead focus on digging myself out of this hole without having the kiss my mother or have her see me in my undies. I’m talking of course of the waiver wire and where we’re going, you’ll need the waiver wire.
My goal is to keep it simple with the waiver wire recommendations in terms of layout. I will include player, team, roster percentage, free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) dollar amount (in percentage) I would use on the player, and of course a little background on why the player is suggested. The players will be listed by position in order of priority. The threshold I work with is generally less than 50% rostered in leagues. I also want to provide you something quick and easy to pull up while making your waiver claims on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. At the bottom of every article, you will find the “waiver cheat sheet.”
Carson Wentz | Indianapolis Colts
53% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
Carson Wentz has turned in over twenty-point fantasy performances three out the last four weeks. He has done so against the opponents you would expect him to, so none of this is truly surprising. However, the Indianapolis offense does seem to be moving in the right direction with the breakout season from Michael Pittman. It is a shame T.Y. Hilton has been ruled out already for Week Nine against the New York Jets, but Wentz should continue to produce without him. The Colts face the Jets, Jaguars, Dolphins, and Texans four out of the next five weeks. Especially in the next two weeks if you are a Tom Brady, Joe Burrows, or Russell Wilson manager, adding Wentz would be a great fill in for the byes or injury related concerns.
Tua Tagovailoa | Miami Dolphins
35% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
Last week I advised against adding Tua Tagovailoa because of his matchup. Well last week is last week, and this week is this week. Going into last Sunday’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa came off back-to-back games of over 290 yards passing and multiple touchdowns. Similar to Wentz, when the matchups have been even a little favorable, Tagovailoa has shined. His next two matchups are against the Texans and Ravens who allow 21.8 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. Another good thing Tagovailoa has going for him is both Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker are on the field together. Pair them with the current fourth best tight end in fantasy, Mike Gesicki, and the Dolphins offense is beginning to show its true potential. Tagovailoa is also a good bench stash as he has a premium matchup in the championship week with the Tennessee Titans.
Taysom Hill | New Orleans Saints
2% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
Trevor Siemian | New Orleans Saints
1% Rostered | 2% of FAAB (if named starter)
It was confirmed on Monday afternoon, Jameis Winston suffered a season ending ACL tear and will miss the rest of the 2021 season. It is my hope the New Orleans Saints clear Taysom Hill from the concussion protocol and name him their starting quarterback. Hill averaged 23.5 fantasy points per game last season in his four legitimate starts for the Saints. If Trevor Siemian wins the job, the outlook seems bleak for the entire passing game and might only be good news for Alvin Kamara who has struggled with Hill under center in the past. Siemian’s last meaningful start came in 2017 when he was a member of the Denver Broncos. There is also the chance the Saints make a trade before Tuesday to fill the role, but I am fully expecting Hill is named starter if his health is good. The Saints have the second easiest strength of schedule going forth as it pertains to matchups against teams allowing fantasy points to the quarterback.
Adrian Peterson | Tennessee Titans
2% Rostered | 12% of FAAB
Jeremy McNichols | Tennessee Titans
8% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
A lot can change in twenty-four hours. Sunday the Tennessee Titans lost bell cow and number one running back in the NFL, Derrick Henry, to a potential season ending foot injury. The Titans worked out and signed Adrian Peterson on Monday who last played for the Detroit Lions in 2020. Peterson touched the ball 168 times for 705 total yards with seven touchdowns last season. The short-term solution for fantasy teams and the Titans however will lie in the hands of Jeremy McNichols. He has seven total carries on the season as the backup running back and is second only to Henry’s 219. Is this not just the most absurd thing you’ve ever heard? Even though his carries may be low, McNichols is garnering some passing downs work. He is currently second on the team in targets behind A.J. Brown. Look for Peterson to take over early down work going forth with McNichols coming in for passing downs. It is a situation I am not overtly excited for, but they are healthy bodies during a season where the injuries continue to pile up.
Boston Scott | Philadelphia Eagles
20% Rostered | 20% of FAAB
Jordan Howard | Philadelphia Eagles
4% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
Well, I was half right last week recommending picking up Boston Scott. So much for Kenny Gainwell who didn’t really see the field against the Lions until the Eagles had the game well in hand. Instead, both Boston Scott and newly activated from the practice squad Jordan Howard had twelve carries and two touchdowns on the day. The Eagles look to be the pure definition of “running back by committee”. Three of their next five weeks show very favorable matchups against the Chargers, New York Giants, and New York Jets. If you have the bench room, I would grab Scott where you can. I expect him to lead the team in carries weekly, but not by a substantial margin. Gainwell looks universally droppable, but he was the Eagles passing downs back and they didn’t have much need for his services. It is a backfield to keep an eye on for sure with Scott being a flex going into more bye weeks.
Carlos Hyde | Jacksonville Jaguars
7% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
According to reports on Monday, it appears James Robinson has avoided serious injury after leaving Jacksonville’s 31-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. It might be the only good news to come out of the game. Carlos Hyde took over when Robinson exited with nine carries for thirty-two yards along with six receptions for forty yards. A decent flex performance in PPR, which many managers would gladly take especially during the bye week shuffles. If Robinson misses anytime, which at this point only a week is expected, Hyde faces the Buffalo Bills who give up the second least amount of fantasy points to running backs. I would only add Hyde if you were the Robinson manager or your team situation was absolutely dire.
Van Jefferson | Los Angeles Rams
13% Rostered | 12% of FAAB
Van Jefferson is someone I have mentioned a few times in the “always deep” portion of the waiver article, but have yet to put fingers to keys on. The news the Rams and wide receiver DeSean Jackson have agreed to seek a trade outside of the Rams has me more excited than ever for Jefferson. On the season he has 392 yards receiving on twenty-four receptions with three touchdowns. He has thirteen targets though his last two games. The Rams play the Titans on Sunday, who give up by far the most receiving yards to wide receivers this season (1728!). Even behind Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, look for Van Jefferson to solidify his role as the number one deep threat for the Rams.
DeVante Parker | Miami Dolphins
35% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
DeVante Parker returned to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday after a four-game absence with eight receptions for eighty-five yards. His performance came against a team giving up the second least amount of yards to receivers this season. It was a season high for Parker in both yardage and receptions. Teammate Jaylen Waddle actually out targeted Parker on the day, but was only able to haul four of his twelve targets in for twenty nine yards. As long as Parker is healthy, his eight targets a game should serve your fantasy teams well.
Tajae Sharpe | Atlanta Falcons
2% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
Russell Gage | Atlanta Falcons
15% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
When a player needs to step away from the game for his own mental wellbeing, it seems like fantasy really comes second. Hopefully Calvin Ridley can find the peace he needs and returns to the football field soon, if that would be what he wants. In the meantime, the Atlanta Falcons are left without a dependable WR1 for the immediate future. In Ridley’s two absences this season, Tajae Sharpe has filled in averaging 5.5 targets and 55.5 yards per game. It is a poor substitute for last year’s number four wide receiver. Another wide receiver who can expect to see his targets increase in Russell Gage, who followed his solid Week Seven performance of sixty-seven yards and a touchdown with zero targets in Week Eight. I expect Gage to bounce back rest of season as he is well off his two-season pace of 5.7 targets per game. The Falcons have the Saints next week, but follow it up with great matchups against Dallas, Jacksonville, and Tampa Bay.
Jamal Agnew | Jacksonville Jaguars
2% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
Jamal Agnew leads the Jacksonville Jaguars in targets with twenty-five over the last three games. He has turned them into seventeen receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown. The usual return specialist has been an unexpected receiving threat since D.J. Chark was injured in Week Four. He also saw a season high fifty-five snaps last week which was more than presumed Jaguars WR2 Laviska Shenault. Following a Week Nine matchup against the stingy Buffalo Bills, the Jaguars face teams who allow at least the tenth most fantasy points per game in three of the next four weeks.
Wide Receiver is always deep, so here are a few more players rostered in less than 25% I would recommend rostering on your bench:
Pat Freiermuth | Pittsburgh Steelers
11% Rostered | 7% of FAAB
The Pat Freiermuth Era has arrived in Pittsburgh. Maybe I need to pump the breaks a bit. This offseason while we fawned over Kyle Pitts, I kept finding myself doing the glace over the shoulder to the second round pick out of Penn State. Freiermuth has back-to-back games with seven targets while fellow Steelers tight end Eric Ebron has a total of two. The fourteen targets have all also come since the season-ending injury to Juju Smith-Schuester, so there may be a trend here for this production to continue as Ben Roethlisberger’s third option in the passing game. He is also second on the team in red zone targets.
Dan Arnold | Jacksonville Jaguars
5% Rostered | 6% of FAAB
Since arriving via trade from Carolina, Dan Arnold has made his presence known for the Jaguars. Arnold is second on the team in targets with twenty-three over the past three games which he has turned into sixteen receptions for 159 yards. The Week Nine meeting against the Bills isn’t the most intriguing, but should the Jaguars trail, the work he will see cannot be overlooked. Rest of season, the Jaguars only have four games against teams allowing fifteen points or more to tight ends. However, two of them come during the fantasy playoffs against the Texans and the Jets.
New Orleans Saints
46% Rostered | 3% of FAAB
After their three turnover, one touchdown performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, the New Orleans defense and special teams may just be matchup proof for me going forth. They have a home game against the Atlanta Falcons who are trying to regroup after losing their star wide receiver for the foreseeable future. The Saints rank third among total points by the DST even considering they’ve had their bye week.
43% Rostered | 2% of FAAB
Carolina’s DST bounced back from a down performance two weeks ago against the Giants, by allowing only thirteen points while recording three sacks and two interceptions against the Falcons. They face a Patriots offense who have allowed double digits to the DST’s three times this season.