Week 9 is in the books, so we look to the waiver wire for reinforcements ahead of the final four weeks of the fantasy football regular season. One important public service announcement: Christian McCaffrey left Week 9 with a shoulder injury that could cause him to miss time yet again.
CMC had picked up right where he left off in his first game back, racking up 37.1 PPR points. Check the wire in every league for Mike Davis, who was widely dropped once McCaffrey started doing his thing. Otherwise, we're looking at several players with decent short-term value but few worth heavy bidding.
Now, on to the Week 10 FAAB report. The first player at each position will be a more widely available player to consider in standard 12-team leagues, with deep-league targets to follow. FAAB ranges will cover the following general guidelines:
- 0-1% FAAB: Can't hurt to roster if you have an open bench spot
- 2-10% FAAB: Immediate standalone value unlikely, but upside underrated
- 11-20% FAAB: Situation is great, and the player is trending up
- 21-35% FAAB: Player will be started in majority of leagues
- 36-50%+ FAAB: Serious change in workload that could lead to immediate high-end fantasy value
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (24%)
Tua Tagovailoa followed up his relatively disappointing NFL debut with a much better performance in Week 9. The No. 5 overall pick led Miami to yet another win, putting the surprising Dolphins square in the playoff hunt midway through the season. He also saw improvement on the more concerning statistical aspects of his first NFL start.
Tua Tagovailoa Weeks 8-9
|Yards per attempt||aDOT||Avg. time to throw||QBR||PFF passing grade|
Tagovailoa mustered only 93 passing yards in the team’s Week 8 win over the Los Angeles Rams, though a defensive score and punt return for a touchdown lightened the load for the entire offense. Still, a 5.1 aDOT and corresponding 4.2 yards per attempt on only 12 completions left some cause for concern.
If Tua is following a rookie learning curve, it took a sharp turn upward this week. The Dolphins offense kept pace with the high-powered Arizona Cardinals, and the defense held on for a huge win over an NFC West contender.
Tagovailoa went 20-of-28 for 248 yards with two touchdowns and no picks this week, although he nearly threw one INT on a ball intended as a sideline throwaway. The rookie has tallied one big-time throw and two turnover-worthy plays through two starts (zero picks).
Passes gaining 15+ yards in Week 9:
1. Josh Allen – 12
T-2. Tua Tagovailoa – 8
T-2. Justin Herbert – 8 pic.twitter.com/mXr5tCynNn
— PFF (@PFF) November 9, 2020
In Week 9, Tua showed off his rushing ability with seven carries for 35 yards, including the game-clinching scramble late. He made two tacklers miss and averaged 2.6 yards after contact per attempt.
The 22-year-old has a long way to go to establish his NFL credentials, but the Dolphins will surely take his collective performance thus far after his long recovery from a serious hip injury.
Tua and the Dolphins have a home date with the No. 6 overall pick and the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10. Justin Herbert and the Chargers are putting up 420 total yards per game, while their defense allows the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
FAAB Recommendation: 5-10%
Houston Texans RB Duke Johnson (16%)
David Johnson exited the Texans’ Week 9 contest with a concussion after only seven snaps, leaving full-time work to Duke Johnson for most of the afternoon. The sixth-year back out of Miami handled the role just fine with 16 carries for 41 yards and a TD while catching all four targets for 32 yards — good for the RB3 finish on the week.
Duke’s value hinders on David’s Week 10 availability, but there’s no doubt that The U’s all-time leading rusher can handle a full-time role. Last season, Duke earned PFF’s 11th-best rushing grade (74.2) among running backs with at least 60 carries and 14th-highest receiving grade (71.0) among RBs with at least 27 targets.
After being almost criminally underused in Cleveland for four seasons, the 5-foot-9, 210-pounder has spent the vast majority of his time in Houston backing up RBs who he generally outplays. David's overall offensive grade (56.9) ranks 52nd among running backs this season and he has underperformed his expected fantasy points by 17.0 on the year.
Duke would be a top-15 option for as long as David is out, though the concussion isn't guaranteed to even cost him Week 10. Still, Duke is the type of player we should be stashing just in case — the Texans in Week 10 visit the Cleveland Browns, who are a top-10 running back matchup according to PFF’s strength of schedule tool. After that, they’ll host the New England Patriots — the No. 1 matchup for RBs that week.
FAAB Recommendation: 8-10%
Indianapolis Colts RB Jordan Wilkins (25%)
Week 9 was more of the same for those concerned about Indianapolis Colts RB1 Jonathan Taylor, at least from a usage perspective. A week after ceding early-down work to Jordan Wilkins to close out a 41-21 blowout of the Detroit Lions, Taylor failed to reclaim his clear-cut RB1 duties. He punched in a short touchdown to salvage his fantasy day but also lost a fumble.
Wilkins (23 snaps), Nyheim Hines (23) and Taylor (21) split the snaps pretty evenly, while Wilkins handled 11 carries (39 yards) to Taylor’s six (21 yards + TD). All three backs caught two passes.
There was talk after the Week 8 victory that Taylor might have been dealing with an injury, and the Colts were up by so much it didn’t really matter who ran the clock out on the Lions. Week 9 was the opposite scenario — a close game against a tough opponent, yet Taylor carried the ball only a single time in the second half.
It’s worth noting that Wilkins has played quite well this season. He has forced 19 missed tackles on the year, good for a 31% rate. Taylor went five weeks without making someone miss — his single forced missed tackle this week nudged his rate up to 8% on the year. Hines is going to be involved in this passing offense either way, but Wilkins would offer a solid floor if he siphons much more of this workload away from Taylor.
Wilkins’ roster rate shot up to 98% in NFFC Online Championship leagues after last week’s showing. He’s a must-add for all Taylor owners and should be a high priority for anyone looking for a lottery ticket ahead of the fantasy playoffs.
FAAB Recommendation: 4-6%
Washington Football Team RB J.D. McKissic (24%)
Kyle Allen’s season-ending injury is likely to slow this offense even more. But if Sunday’s usage was any indication, receiving back J.D. McKissic could be the biggest beneficiary. The fifth-year back saw a ridiculous 13 targets against the Giants, hauling in nine for 65 yards. His aDOT was behind the line of scrimmage at -0.8, but these plays certainly add up in full-point PPR leagues. Despite a middling 7.2 yards per catch, McKissic finished the week as the RB4 without scoring a touchdown and taking just three handoffs.
Those rostering Antonio Gibson are rightly furious — the highly touted rookie is a converted wide receiver, after all. Yet with the Football Team trailing for most of the day, it was McKissic gobbling up the passing downs and playing a total of 45 snaps to 25 for Gibson. The rookie punched in a short touchdown to keep fantasy managers from going full-on Joaquin Phoenix-Joker level insane.
With Alex Smith under center for the foreseeable future, McKissic looks like a decent floor play until someone decides to do the right thing and unleash Gibson.
FAAB Recommendation: 6-8%
Miami Dolphins RB DeAndre Washington (2%)
The Miami Dolphins have been one of the NFL’s bigger surprises this season, pushing for an AFC playoff spot through the season’s first half behind one of the game’s cooler veteran QBs in Ryan Fitzpatrick and now Tua Tagovailoa.
Unfortunately, deciphering the team’s running back usage has been less than enjoyable, as the team spent the first few weeks utilizing Jordan Howard as a literal goal-line back (Week 3 rushing line: 3-1-1). Then Myles Gaskin bowed out with a knee injury shortly after acquiring bell-cow status.
The Dolphins traded for DeAndre Washington shortly after the Chiefs acquired Le’Veon Bell. The former Oakland Raider looks like the most complete back on the roster, having handled 108 carries and caught 36 passes last season on 41 targets. Washington played well last season for Las Vegas — he and Matt Breida rank side-by-side in PFF rushing grade at No. 25 (Brieda) and 26 (Washington) for 2019.
Miami’s RB usage in Week 9 did not suggest that any of Howard (10-19-1), Patrick Laird (one carry for -1 yard; one catch for 17) or Salvon Ahmed (7-38-0) are in line for anything more than part-time roles. Breida was a surprise scratch with a hamstring injury late in the week but should be back in the mix at some point.
Washington had to go through Covid-19 protocol but will be available for Week 10. The Dolphins didn’t give up a ton of draft capital to acquire his services, but the fifth-year man out of Texas Tech is the closest they have to an every-down back at the moment.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-6%
Buffalo Bills WR Gabriel Davis (1%)
The Bills’ fourth-round rookie flew under the redraft radar this year after entering the league as a bit of a project. Buffalo was high on the former UCF Knight, however, and got him involved early with 33 snaps and 24 routes in Week 1. He scored his first NFL touchdown the following week and added another in Week 4.
Davis is playing a healthy amount of snaps and is seeing his fair share of high-value targets. He has 13 red-zone targets on the year, which is tied for 25th in the league. The only rookie WRs with more red-zone receiving work are Brandon Aiyuk and CeeDee Lamb. Davis’ three touchdowns are second to Chase Claypool among rookie WRs.
The overall target share has fluctuated too much to view Davis as a reliable fantasy starter, but his usage has spiked when other Bills WRs have missed time or left with injury. He saw a season-high 10 targets in Week 5 with John Brown inactive. Josh Allen exploded for 415 passing yards this week, so there was plenty to go around.
The Bills’ crowded WR room likely stands in the way of us seeing Davis’ true ceiling this season. But the 21-year-old rookie has flashed big-play upside with a 15.9 aDOT that ranks 10th in the league. And it hasn't taken a ton of volume for him to show up in the fantasy rankings now and then. On just 22 routes in Week 9, he saw five targets with four catches — all for first downs — and one TD.
The Bills’ offense can’t support four wide receivers every week, as explosive as it might have looked against Seattle. But Davis is clearly the next man up if any of the team’s top three WRs checks out, and he looks more than ready for the challenge.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-6%
Chicago Bears WR Darnell Mooney (14%)
Like Davis, rookie fifth-rounder Darnell Mooney has carved out a significant role in his team’s passing attack early in his rookie season. Mooney has the benefit of having already ascended to the Bears’ No. 2 WR role. That, unfortunately, has not been as lucrative as Davis’ No. 4 WR spot with Buffalo.
Still, Mooney is checking all the boxes of the fantasy-relevant asset. He ran a season-high 52 routes in Week 9 and garnered a 15.4% target share. He’s seen at least five targets every game since Week 3. Mooney has averaged a 15.5 depth of target on the season, and the Bears have targeted him with 10 red-zone shots — which have unfortunately only gone for four catches and two scores.
As noted last week, Mooney is being hampered by inaccurate quarterback play. Nick Foles ranks seventh in the rate of uncatchable inaccurate passes this season. Mooney has only seen 34 catchable passes on his 51 targets.
The volume is apparently still increasing here. And the Bears have the luxury of going up against the forgiving defenses of the Houston Texans (Week 14) and Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 16) in the fantasy playoffs. Mooney isn’t someone to push all your chips in on, but he’s worth a reasonable bid for the right to monitor his performance on your fantasy bench.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-6%
Denver Broncos WR KJ Hamler (2%)
The third rookie WR on the FAAB docket this week, KJ Hamler is a name to file away as his usage increases.
The second-rounder out of Penn State erupted for season highs in targets (10), receptions (6) and receiving yards (75) this week. His expected fantasy points ranked 12th on the week, though he underperformed by 2.5 points largely because of two drops on the day.
Hamler has run 75 routes over the past two games as the Broncos have leaned heavily on the passing game, dialing up 105 passing plays versus 32 rushes over the past two weeks.
Hamler is clearly the No. 3 option among WRs in an offense that also features its tight ends heavily, so neither Gabriel Davis upside nor Darnell Mooney volume exists here. But this has been an offense somewhat in flux since the loss of Courtland Sutton in Week 1 with various injuries at RB and QB alike.
Hamler’s 55 snaps in Week 9 trailed only Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick at 61 and 60, respectively, and far outpaced DaeSean Hamilton’s 27. He’s been getting his fair share of slot snaps, which would be of particular benefit if the rookie would stop dropping passes — his five on the season is relatively exorbitant on only 29 targets.
In deeper leagues, there are only so many opportunities to slip $1 players onto the ends of benches. Hamler offers pedigree, draft capital and a history of explosive playmaking ability. He’s the WR27 over the past two weeks on only 13 targets.
FAAB Recommendation: 2-4%
Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola (2%)
The Detroit Lions’ veteran slot man is nothing more than a bye-week floor play in full-point PPR leagues, but it’s worth reviewing his usage during the three games Kenny Golladay has missed this season.
- Week 1: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 81 yards, 13.1 PPR points
- Week 2: 7 targets, 2 receptions, 21 yards, 4.1 PPR points
- Week 9: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 77 yards, 14.9 PPR points
Amendola garnered a 20% target share over this three-game sample, the vast majority of which was out of the slot. He’s seen four red-zone targets and an end-zone look, with plenty more of those to go around when Golladay isn’t available.
The 35-year-old has yet to find the end zone this season and has never been a big touchdown guy. This is what it is: unexciting, inexpensive, cowardly; call it what you want. It's also a free way to bank 8-12 PPR points in a pinch.
FAAB Recommendation: 0-1%
Cleveland Browns TE Harrison Bryant (3%)
The fourth-round rookie was a popular add after breaking out for two touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7 en route to TE1 status. A subsequent windstorm-aided clunker and bye week have caused the former Florida Atlantic Owl to rejoin his rookie friends on the vast majority of waiver wires.
But what did he really do to deserve this? Bryant ran a season-high 23 routes against Las Vegas on a day when the Browns only dropped back to pass 30 times. He caught all three of his targets for an underwhelming 25 yards. And, sure, he lost a fumble.
But outside of Jarvis Landry’s 10 targets, no other Cleveland pass-catcher saw more than three looks. Bryant ran 10 more routes than fellow TE David Njoku and looks primed to maintain a role if and when Austin Hooper returns — he’s been out since Week 6 after an appendectomy.
The Browns surely used their Week 9 break to recalibrate an offense that lost star receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for the season during Bryant’s breakout game. In six-plus games this season, Beckham saw 15 red-zone targets, including five end-zone shots — these are all up for grabs. Hooper only scored one touchdown through six weeks, though he saw 23 targets over his final three games.
Rookie tight ends rarely help our fake teams over an entire season, but red-zone roles can lead to spike weeks like we saw against Cincinnati.
FAAB Recommendation: 0-1%