Most fantasy football seasons have four or five weeks left in the regular season, and making the right waiver-wire claims can have a huge impact for fantasy owners looking to make a final push toward the playoffs. There were no significant injuries related to fantasy output in Week 8, but there were several players who emerged as excellent bye week fill-ins and legitimate fantasy threats going forward. Here is a look at five players who would be great waiver-wire pick-ups for Week 9.
Brandon LaFell, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
Owned in 38% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues
LaFell has a chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady that seems to be improving every week. It may have something to do with tight end Rob Gronkowski finally being at full strength and attracting a lot of attention from defenses, but it also looks like Brady and LaFell are operating on the same wavelength. In his last five games, LaFell has averaged 5.2 catches, 83 yards, and one touchdown per game.
Martavis Bryant, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
Owned in 9% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues
Bryant flashed big-time potential combined with big-time inconsistencies during the preseason this year. He was activated on game day for the first time in 2014 in the Steelers’ Week 7 win over the Houston Texans and continued that trend into Week 8. In his first two NFL games, Bryant has caught seven passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns. He has added another dimension to the Steelers’ offense and won’t be leaving the lineup anytime soon.
Andrew Hawkins, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
Owned in 33% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues
Hawkins has emerged as the top receiving threat in Cleveland, yet remains available in nearly all fantasy football leagues. For the season, Hawkins has 36 catches for 470 yards and one touchdown. In the Browns’ last two he has averaged six catches for 100 yards making Hawkins an excellent option for owners looking for a bye week fill-in.
Jonas Gray, Running Back, New England Patriots
Owned in 7% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues
Gray got called up from the Patriots’ practice squad shortly before their Week 7 game against the New York Jets. He played sparingly in that game, but got the bulk of the carries in the Patriots’ dominating win over the Chicago Bears in Week 8. He carried the ball 17 times for 86 yards and appears to have jumped ahead of Shane Vereen, who is more of a third-down back, in the pecking order at running back for the Pats. He won’t put up DeMarco Murray-types of numbers, but he can be an above-average fantasy running back going forward.
Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars
Owned in 25% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues
With Justin Blackmon suspended for the 2014 season, Robinson has emerged as the top receiver in Jacksonville. He has caught 39 passes for 453 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. Blake Bortles is Robinson’s quarterback, and he is as inconsistent as any quarterback in league, nonetheless, Robinson is a steady performer who would be a productive addition to most fantasy rosters at this point in the season.