Hot Routes: Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

By Will Mirrer

Weekly recommended fantasy football free agent pickups, all under 50% ownership in ESPN leagues. Generally divided between “priority” value adds relevant to all teams, “bye week fill-in” adds relevant to teams dealing with byes at that position, and “speculative” adds.


  • Priority
    • Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (41.5% ownership)
      • Romo returns to this page for the fourth straight week – he needs to be picked up now while other owners are still focusing on dealing with quarterback bye weeks.  He could be back as early as Week 11 and should be added if your quarterback isn’t Brady or Rodgers.  Romo’s upside may match any other quarterback’s down the stretch.
    • Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (35.4%)
      • Listed as a speculative add here just a week ago, Carr threw for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns week 8 against the vaunted Jets defense. Look for him to become a back-end QB1 with upside as the season continues; consider his difficult remaining schedule an annoyance Carr will generally be able to deal with.
  • Bye Week Fill-In:
    • Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17.4%)
      • Winston hasn’t thrown an interception in a month and now has a Giants defense that just gave up 7 passing touchdowns last week (to a Hall of Famer, but still . . .).  Despite injuries all over the Bucs offense, Winston is worth consideration as a bye week plug-in for week 9.


  • Priority:
    • DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (28.4%)
      • With LeVeon Bell done for the year, look for DeAngelo Williams to resume lead back duties, as he did weeks 1 and 2 during Bell’s suspension.  He doesn’t have the same gamebreaking or receiving ability, but DeAngelo has proven to be more than competent in the lead role, and in this prolific offense, he could be a solid RB2 down the stretch.
  • Bye Week Fill-In:
    • Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (3.7%)
      • With Matt Forte now sidelined two weeks, Langford will likely lead Chicago’s backfield this week against the Chargers and makes a solid play against the embattled, beat up Chargers defensive front.  Remember that Forte will be back down the stretch, however.
    • Speculative:
      • David Cobb, Tennessee Titans (14.9%)
        • David Cobb, a 5th round rookie running back, received buzz in August in advance of fantasy drafts before being placed on Injured Reserve with a calf injury.  He’s eligible to return this week, and I’ll be surprised if he fails to carve out a meaningful role quickly, given the current quagmire in the Tennessee backfield.
      • Kendall Gaskins and Pierre Thomas, San Francisco 49ers (0.1% and 0.2%, respectively)
        • With Hyde, Bush, and Mike Davis all hurt, I’d monitor Gaskins and Thomas closely to see who looks primed to lead San Francisco’s injury-depleted backfield this week.


  •  Priority:
    • Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (20.6%)
      • With the one and only Steve Smith also done for the year, Kamar Aiken will serve as the nominal number one receiver.  He’s not 1/100th of the receiver Smith is, but at least the targets will be there, and that’s enough.
    • Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers (28.6%)
      • Keenan Allen is also injured for the rest of the year with a scary kidney injury.  Stevie Johnson, a renowned route runner, could be a primary recipient of the extra Rivers targets to go around.
    • Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers (27.7%)
      • And Floyd, like Stevie, should see an uptick in targets as well due to the Allen injury.  His should be more of the high variance, deep ball variety.
  • Bye Week Fill-In:
    • Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears (3.7%)
      • Eddie Royal will almost assuredly miss week 9.  Wilson will step up into the number 2 WR role. With Forte sidelined as well, Cutler may need to lean on his secondary receiver more often than usual, making Wilson a sneaky start this week.
  • Speculative:
    • Chris Givens, Baltimore Ravens (0.1%)
      • I’m sure you’re noticing a theme here – with so many injuries around the NFL week 9, most adds in this space are related to little used receivers and backs expected to have an enlarged role in the wake of recent injuries.  Givens, a deep threat Baltimore recently traded for from St. Louis. could gain a bigger role in the wake of Steve Smith’s torn achilles.


  • Priority:
    • Vernon Davis, Denver Broncos (15.5%)
      • Traded to the Broncos this week, Vernon’s upside instantly increases in a competent offensive system.  Don’t expect Julius Thomas 2013 – it’s not Peyton Manning in 2013, after all – but it’s ok to be excited about an athletic freak being added to the mix in Denver.
    • Crockett Gilmore, Baltimore Ravens (13.7%)
      • Gillmore is the starting tight end in Baltimore and, as noted above, Steve Smith is out for the year.  Those targets gotta go to somebody!
  • Speculative:
    • Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9.7%)
        • ASJ, a 2nd round draft pick in 2014, went down with an injury in week 2 after lighting up the Titans with two touchdowns week 1. He may return this week, and with V-Jax hurt, expect ASJ to be thrown into the mix early and often.


(Remember, this list only includes defenses owned in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues and thus applies only to those who stream defenses weekly)

  • Cincinnati Bengals (@Cleveland Browns; 38.9%)
    • The Bengals did a strong job defensively against Big Ben in week 8 and now face Johnny Manziel on Thursday Night Football.  Defensive takeaways galore, baby.

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