Luckily for fantasy owners, week 9 was another week in which no major injuries occurred. Still, you live and die on the waiver wire – especially at this stage in the season. There aren’t any major pickups heading into week 10, but there are some guys coming back from injury who can really help your squad down the final stretch, including Dion Lewis and James Starks. DuJuan Harris is coming off a great week in which he finished as a top 10 fantasy RB. A couple of deep WR sleepers are included on this week’s list as well. Who headlines the list?
For any start/sit questions prior to setting your weekly lineups, hit me up on Twitter @JonValencia_WiB.
*All percentages based on ESPN leagues
RB DuJuan Harris (San Francisco 49ers) – 31.4% owned
It seems like every year for the past couple of seasons, DuJuan Harris has lifted himself into fantasy relevance in the 2nd half of the season – the “late year bloomer”. With Carlos Hyde out this past Sunday, Harris was given the keys and ran with them. He posted an impressive 17 point performance in just his 2nd game this season – going for 142 total yards with a score. He added 5 catches in the passing game where he scored his TD and compiled 83 yards.
With Hyde’s health likely to be an issue down the final stretch of the season, Harris should be a hot commodity on the waiver wire this week. He’s put together consecutive games with double-digit carries and should see a consistent workload if he continues to perform. An even better option in PPR formats.
RB Dion Lewis (New England Patriots) – 30.2% owned
Dion Lewis could easily prove to be the most valuable pickup on this week’s list. While he’s yet to suit up this season, he’s set to be active in week 10 or week 11. Last season he proved to be a reliable FLEX option, scoring 4 TDs in 7 games. He’s an extremely valuable PPR option, accumulating 36 catches in those 7 games.
In the Patriots offense, Lewis could play a vital role down the home stretch. New England has lacked consistent production out of the backfield, and Lewis will likely be the guy back there when he returns. He has the potential to catapult your team en route to winning your fantasy championship. Pick him up before it’s too late.
RB Paul Perkins (New York Giants) – 3.5% owned
The rookie out of UCLA is a guy I’ve kept my eyes on all year long. During the preseason I projected him to catch on later in the season and become a more focal component in the Giants’ offense, which now appears to be happening. On Sunday he was given a season-high 11 carries – the same amount of Rashad Jennings. Perkins actually out-rushed Jennings this past week, and added 3 catches as well.
From here on out, it’s not too farfetched to think that Perkins could emerge as the lead back for the Giants. While he averaged less than 3 yards per rush, he finished the game strong, putting together some solid runs. I think the Giants will continue to implement him into the offense and feed him the ball. He’s a guy who could serve as a good FLEX option to finish the season.
RB James Starks (Green Bay Packers) – 18.3% owned
All season long Green Bay’s running game has been non-existent. Starks has been out since week 5, and even pre-injury he wasn’t a viable fantasy option, compiling only 5 fantasy points in 4 games. However, with Eddie Lacy now out, Starks will be the feature back for the Packers.
Any #1 back is relevant in the fantasy spotlight based on workload. The Packers are eager to get their running game re-implemented after stringing together a losing streak. Starks could be what boosts their offense. Worthy of FLEX start when he returns in week 10.
WR Taylor Gabriel (Atlanta Falcons) – 0.1% owned
I’m digging a little deep here, but Taylor Gabriel has put together consecutive performances of at least 12 fantasy points – it’s time to take notice. Gabriel has combined for 8 catches, 120 receiving yards and 2 TDs in the past 2 weeks – one of which was a rushing TD.
In arguably the hottest passing attack in the NFL, Gabriel has emerged as the #3 option behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, giving him fantasy value. The Falcons like the skillset he brings to the table and want to get him implemented into the offense. Next week will be key to see if he can stay consistent.
WR Rishard Matthews (Tennessee Titans) – 11.2% owned
Owned in only 11% of ESPN leagues, Rishard Matthews will see a huge ascend this week. He is the Titans #1 WR and leads all receivers in receiving yards (excluding Delanie Walker) and also leads the team with 5 TDs. All 5 of his TDs have come in the past 5 games – 2 of which came this past Sunday.
Matthews is a consistent FLEX option – scoring at least 8 points in 5 of the past 6 weeks. He’s gone for double-digit fantasy points in 2 of the past 4 weeks. He’ll continue to be the go-to guy alongside Delanie Walker through the air for Mariota. The priority WR add this week.
WR Bryce Treggs (Philadelphia Eagles) – 0.2% owned
I dug deep with Gabriel, I’m digging even deeper here with Bryce Treggs. In his first game of the season, the rookie out of Cal put together 69 receiving yards on 2 catches – including a 58 yard bomb he was able to haul in. Treggs took over the roster spot vacated by Josh Huff who was released earlier this week.
In deep leagues, Treggs may be worth the add. He’s a speedy deep threat who could prove to be a coveted option in Philly’s weak WR corps. He showed us a sample of what he’s capable of this past Sunday, let’s see if he can continue to gain momentum and confidence.
WR Robert Woods (Buffalo Bills) – 14.9% owned
Originally I had posted this piece Monday afternoon, but I needed to update it after seeing what Robert Woods did on Monday Night Football against the Seahawks. He reeled in 10 passes on 13 targets for a career-high 162 receiving yards and was inches from reaching the endzone. He surely caught national attention after that performance.
Since Sammy Watkins was initially ruled out in week 3, Woods has led the team in targets. He hasn’t been a consistently productive WR on a week-to-week basis, but he’s the #1 target for Tyrod Taylor through the air, and he should build off this momentum as Buffalo is desperately vying for a Wildcard berth.