It’s important not to overreact to individual stat lines. For example, some players scored two touchdowns this week yet probably won’t do that again this season, while other players saw the field for most of their team's snaps but couldn't quite make it to the end zone.
Remember: chase the usage, not the box score.
Here are some early waiver wire targets, as well as the biggest risers and fallers from NFL Week 9. For a more detailed 32-team view of the week, including snap counts, check out the Complete Week 9 Fantasy Football Recap.
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RB Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens have been without Latavius Murray for two games, which has given Freeman time to establish himself as a clear top-two running back on the team. He played more than the other backups put together, becoming the first back to play more than half of the team's offensive snaps in over a month. He gained 79 yards on 13 carries and caught a touchdown. Even when all of the backs are healthy, Freeman should maintain a significant role in the offense. Ty’Son Williams can be cut after not handling a single carry in this game.
|Baltimore Ravens||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
WR Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens wide receiver remains available in over 75% of ESPN leagues despite his impressive performances. He was targeted a career-high eight times yesterday, leading to five catches for 52 yards. He also received a career-high in terms of percentage of offensive snaps. That’s impressive considering Baltimore ran 98 offensive plays, which would typically lead to more rotation among players. In the right matchup, he is already a borderline fantasy starter. He should only get better from here.
WR DeSean Jackson, Las Vegas Raiders: Reports surfaced that Jackson would be signing with the Raiders shortly after the conclusion of their game on Sunday. He will be a direct replacement for Henry Ruggs III, as they were two of the seven wide receivers with a 17.0-plus-yard aDOT and over 30 targets over the last two seasons. The difference is that Jackson has graded better in that time. It shouldn’t take long for him to overtake Zay Jones in playing time. If he gains chemistry with Derek Carr, he could become a fantasy starter.
TE Dan Arnold, Jacksonville Jaguars: The former Panther has been the Jaguars' top receiving tight end for four games now, and he’s gained 60 or more yards in three of them. He sits among the top 10 tight ends in receiving yards over the past five weeks despite the Jaguars having their bye week in that time. He would have a lot more fantasy value if Jacksonville made it into the red zone more often. Even without a touchdown, there are few tight ends with a fantasy floor as high as his currently.
RB A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers: Dillon continues to outperform fellow running back Aaron Jones. The two players handled relatively similar workloads in Week 9, with Dillon averaging more yards per carry. The sophomore back caught all four passes thrown his way for 44 yards, while Jones didn’t catch any of his targets. This was the easiest game remaining on the Green Bay running backs' schedule, with a rough three-game stretch coming up. Jones will continue to see more offensive snaps as he will stay in to block more, but the fantasy value between Dillon and Jones is getting more and more similar.
|Green Bay Packers||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins: The first-round rookie wide receiver remains the brightest spot on the Dolphins offense, no matter which quarterback is throwing his way. He received at least 84% of offensive snaps for the fourth straight game. Waddle caught eight of 10 passes thrown his way for 83 yards, helping the Dolphins to victory. He ranks among the top four offensive players in targets over the last four weeks. The former Alabama wide receiver has too high of a floor to leave on the bench.
WR Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers: The third-round rookie receiver split time with Jalen Guyton for the first time all season. He caught both passes thrown his way for 22 yards. The former Tennessee receiver had just seven catches over the first seven games of his career. This isn’t enough to get him on fantasy rosters in the short term, but he could become fantasy relevant by the end of the season.
RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints: When the Saints added Mark Ingram II, it was clear that Kamara wouldn’t see 30 touches in a game again. He was down to 17 touches on Sunday compared to 14 by Ingram. New Orleans has largely played in competitive games so far, but the schedule will be getting easier. It’s possible the Saints give the ball to Ingram even more so Kamara can be more well-rested for a potential playoff run. He is still a must-start every week, but it’s seeming less likely he will be a top-three running back the rest of the season.
His target ceiling fell with the return of Christian McCaffrey, and his playing time could eventually fall with the addition of Willie Snead IV. In Snead’s first game with the Panthers, he played in just under half of the team’s pass plays. No one on the roster was threatening his playing time before, but now we could start to see more three-receiver sets with D.J. Moore, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Snead.
TE Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers have continued to shift toward a committee at tight end. Donald Parham and Stephen Anderson both scored touchdowns, and both had season-highs in receiving yards. It was also the first time Cook’s percentage of offensive snaps dropped below 50%. The former Saint will remain a part of the offense the rest of the season, but opportunities will be harder to come by.
|Los Angeles Chargers||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets|