Week 9 Upgrades, Downgrades, and Waiver Wire Wonders
by Sigmund Bloom, exclusive to Footballguys.com
Updated: November 1, 2022
The number in red next to a waiver wire gem indicated the percentage of a "blind bid" budget used in some leagues to award free agent pickups. If your league does not use blind bid waivers, consider the number a way to rank the quality of waiver wire additions.
- QB Justin Fields, CHI (waiver wire: 25-50%)
- QB Jared Goff, DET (waiver wire: 7-15%)
- QB Tua Tagovailoa, MIA
- QB Marcus Mariota, ATL (waiver wire: 5-10%)
- QB Dak Prescott, DAL
- QB Taylor Heinicke, WAS (waiver wire: 3-5%)
- QB Lamar Jackson, BAL
- QB Kyler Murray, ARI
- QB Jacoby Brissett, CLE (waiver wire: 1%)
- QB Mike White, NYJ (waiver wire: 1% in very deep/2QB/Superflex)
- QB Bailey Zappe, NE (waiver wire: 1% in very deep/2QB/Superflex)
- QB Joe Burrow, CIN
- QB Derek Carr, LV (waiver wire: DROP)
- QB Mac Jones, NE (waiver wire: DROP)
- QB Trevor Lawrence, JAX (waiver wire: DROP)
- QB Kenny Pickett, PIT (waiver wire: DROP)
- QB Daniel Jones, NYG (waiver wire: DROP FOR 15-30% OR HIGHER)
Running Back Upgrade
- RB DOnta Foreman, CAR (waiver wire: 50+%)
- RB Travis Etienne, JAX
- RB Christian McCaffrey, SF
- RB Antonio Gibson, WAS
- RB Kenyan Drake, BAL (waiver wire: 7-15%)
- RB Nyheim Hines, BUF (waiver wire: 7-15%)
- RB Tony Pollard, DAL
- RB Jamaal Williams, DET
- RB Rhamondre Stevenson, NE
- RB Jeff Wilson, MIA (waiver wire: 5-10%)
- RB Khalil Herbert, CHI
- RB Latavius Murray, DEN (waiver wire: 3-5%)
- RB Justice Hill, BAL (waiver wire: 1%)
Running Back Downgrade
- RB Darrell Henderson, LAR (waiver wire: DROP)
- RB Brian Robinson, WAS (waiver wire: DROP FOR 5-10% OR HIGHER)
- RB Eno Benjamin, ARI (waiver wire: DROP FOR 5-10% OR HIGHER)
- RB Damien Harris, NE (waiver wire: DROP FOR 25-50% OR HIGHER)
- RB Josh Jacobs, LV
- RB James Robinson, NYJ (waiver wire: DROP FOR 10-20% OR HIGHER)
- RB Gus Edwards, BAL (waiver wire: HOLD)
Wide Receiver Upgrade
- WR Devin Duvernay, BAL (waiver wire: 15-30%)
- WR Darnell Mooney, CHI (waiver wire: 15-30%)
- WR Garrett Wilson, NYJ (waiver wire: 15-30%)
- WR Kadarius Toney, KC (waiver wire: 12-25%)
- WR Rondale Moore, ARI (waiver wire: 10-20%)
- WR D.J. Moore, CAR
- WR DeAndre Hopkins, ARI
- WR A.J. Brown, PHI
- WR Jerry Jeudy, DEN
- WR Diontae Johnson, PIT
- WR Jakobi Meyers, NE
- WR Josh Palmer, LAC (waiver wire: 3-5%)
- WR George Pickens, PIT
- WR Darius Slayton, NYG (waiver wire: 1%)
Wide Receiver Downgrade
- WR Rashod Bateman, BAL (waiver wire: DROP)
- WR WanDale Robinson, NYG (waiver wire: DROP)
- WR Tee Higgins, CIN
- WR Elijah Moore, NYJ (waiver wire: DROP FOR 10-20% OR HIGHER)
- WR Josh Reynolds, DET (waiver wire: DROP)
- WR Davante Adams, LV
- WR Cooper Kupp, LAR
- WR DeVante Parker, NE (waiver wire: DROP FOR 5-10% OR HIGHER)
Tight End Upgrade
- TE Isaiah Likely, BAL (waiver wire: 12-25%)
- TE Greg Dulcich, DEN (waiver wire: 7-15%)
- TE Dalton Schultz, DAL
- TE Tyler Conklin, NYJ (waiver wire: 3-5%)
- TE Kyle Pitts, ATL
Tight End Downgrade
- TE Harrison Bryant, CLE (waiver wire: DROP)
- TE Irv Smith, MIN (waiver wire: DROP)
- TE Mark Andrews, BAL
QB Jacoby Brissett, CLE - (waiver wire: 1%) - Brissett, his offensive line, and his receivers were all excellent on Monday night. He'll get three more starts after the bye and then Deshaun Watson will take over. One of the games is against Buffalo, so Brissett will have limited usefulness for fantasy from here on out even though he has laid the groundwork to start somewhere else to open next season.
QB Justin Fields, CHI - (waiver wire: 25-50%) - Fields scored on a designed run and posted a strong fantasy day against a what was thought to be a good defense for the second straight week. It's safe to say he has arrived for fantasy and should be in lineups as a QB1 going forward. The Dolphins matchup this week doesn't look as imposing after Jared Goff threw for 300+ against them in Week 8.
QB Jared Goff, DET - (waiver wire: 7-15%) - Goff looked like the solid fantasy QB1 he was before injuries thinned the Lions offense. With D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown back, yards and scores came easier for the Lions. In weeks when Jamaal Williams doesn't get multiple scores, Goff could even be a strong QB1, and Jameson Williams should be back before the season is over. Goff is a reasonable streaming option against the Packers this week, with better matchups coming in the second half of the season.
QB Taylor Heinicke, WAS - (waiver wire: 3-5%) - Heinicke revived the Commanders offense in the fourth quarter and led his team to a close win with a rushing score that might have put some superflex/2QB teams or desperation 1QB teams over the top too. He'll face a beatable Vikings defense this week and should be considered a streamable quarterback in fantasy until Carson Wentz returns, which shouldn't be until after Thanksgiving.
QB Lamar Jackson, BAL - One week after going extreme run-heavy, the Ravens came out with an extreme pass-heavy game plan. Lamar Jackson performed well and produced with it, even though he lost Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews during the game. The Ravens will go to New Orleans this week with Jackson looking like a strong fantasy QB1 once again, even with a shorthanded pass-catching group... that could get help via trade.
QB Marcus Mariota, ATL - (waiver wire: 5-10%) - Mariota had his best passing performance of the year in the thrilling overtime win against the Panthers. Mariota benefited from strong run after catch performances from his teammates, and he is still a low ceiling play, but at least we know he isn't strictly run dependent for solid fantasy stats. He'll be a streamable quarterback going forward and should hold his job for the entire season now that the team is in first place at the halfway mark of the season.
QB Kyler Murray, ARI - Murray's game plan hasn't really changed all season, but he has been more effective with it since DeAndre Hopkins returned to the lineup. With a porous defense that will continue to put him in come from behind game scripts, Murray looks like a high ceiling QB1 with better games ahead. The Seahawks matchup this week should go better than the Week 6 disaster since Hopkins will be on the field.
QB Dak Prescott, DAL - Prescott knocked off the rust and looked to be in midseason form in his second week back from a thumb injury. He was able to score on the ground and focus on his tight ends and top two receivers as the Cowboys put on an offensive clinic. Consider him a safe high floor QB1 after his bye this week.
QB Tua Tagovailoa, MIA - Everything came easy to the Dolphins passing game on Sunday. Some of that should be chalked up to the Lions poor defense, but we've seen this before against better defenses than Detroit's. Tagovailoa should be considered a solid QB1 against the Bears this week and going forward.
QB Mike White, NYJ - (waiver wire: 1% in very deep/2QB/Superflex) - The Jets are saying that Zach Wilson is the quarterback as long as he is healthy, but any time a coach has confirm that, we know the truth is that they are one step closer to losing their job. White would be the next man up and we have seen how productive this pass offense can be with consistent quarterback play.
QB Bailey Zappe, NE - (waiver wire: 1% in very deep/2QB/Superflex) - The Patriots offense has looked better with Zappe at the helm than Mac Jones. If Jones does not improve in upcoming weeks and the Patriots coaching staff is honest with themselves, we'll see Zappe again this year.
QB Joe Burrow, CIN - Turns out JaMarr Chase was the keystone to the Bengals offense after all. The run game looks like it's a work in progress and Tee Higgins doesn't look as imposing without Chase as his running mate. Burrow will face a Panthers defense, then have a bye, and then the face the Steelers defense that frustrated him in Week 1, so his fantasy value has peaked for now.
QB Derek Carr, LV - (waiver wire: DROP) - Carr was a lineup killer against the Saints in Week 8. The Raiders have been dependent on Josh Jacobs when things are going well, and when they weren't on Sunday, Carr couldn't get anything going. He'll be tough to trust as anything more than a desperation play going forward.
QB Daniel Jones, NYG - (waiver wire: DROP FOR 15-30% OR HIGHER) - The Giants were victimized by special teams gaffes as much as anything, but the offense looked feeble and didn't feature Jones as a runner, as it did in Week 7. Hopefully the team will add a passcatcher at the trade deadline, but even if they don't, Jones has some easier matchups after the bye, and he's still useful as a backup in 1QB leagues.
QB Mac Jones, NE - (waiver wire: DROP) - Jones wasn't threatening the Jets defense downfield and settled for field goals way too often in Week 8. Let's give some credit to the Jets defense, but after this performance, Jones doesn't seem like a quarterback we'll want to play except against soft defense coming up later on the schedule... but by then will he be the starting quarterback?
QB Trevor Lawrence, JAX - (waiver wire: DROP) - Lawrence is taking a back seat in the Jaguars offense to Travis Etienne and it's not that threatening of a pass offense to begin with. Without some quarterback sneak scores in recent games, he would have the scoring profile of a desperation play, and that's how we should view him going forward. He'll have a chance to redeem himself against the Raiders this week.
QB Kenny Pickett, PIT - (waiver wire: DROP) - It's not Pickett's fault that he debuted during a rough stretch in the Steelers schedule or that the game plan doesn't seem to be setting him up for success or even protecting him from the limitations of his lack of experience, but no matter how we get there, he is just a bottom of the barrel desperation play going into his bye.
Running Back Upgrade
RB Kenyan Drake, BAL - (waiver wire: 7-15%) - Drake is line to get a start against the Saints on Monday night with Gus Edwards nursing a hamstring strain, and potentially longer if Edwards isn't better after the bye or re-injures his hamstring. Consider him an RB2 for lineups this week.
RB Travis Etienne, JAX - The Jaguars offense has officially become the Etienne offense. He looks like a league winner even with the passing game striking no fear in the hearts of defenses. He'll run at the Raiders defense this week.
RB DOnta Foreman, CAR - (waiver wire: 50+%) - Chuba Hubbard's injury helped pave the way, but give most of the credit to Foreman for running hard and outlasting the Falcons defense. He should have fresh legs and be part of the Plan A every week for the Panthers, who are still in the NFC South divisional race.
RB Antonio Gibson, WAS - The Washington backfield was very close to a 1/3-1/3-1/3 split in Week 8, but only Gibson has the dual threat and big play ability to make fantasy value out of his share. Taylor Heinicke obviously likes Gibson as a target and the team is open to getting the ball in his hands when he's on the field, so consider Gibson a viable RB2/Flex and the best play in this backfield against the Vikings in Week 9.
RB Khalil Herbert, CHI - You might think that Herbert has forced himself into a full-blown committee with David Montgomery after he got 16 carries and was one yard short of a 100-yard game, but he was actually only in on 22 snaps. Hopefully the Bears realize they need a committee, if not a backfield split that favors the more dynamic Herbert going forward. He's a solid flex option against the Dolphins while we wait to see how this situation will settle.
RB Justice Hill, BAL - (waiver wire: 1%) - Hill didn't fumble in Week 8 and he should be the #2 back and get at least a handful of touches against the Saints in Week 9. If you need a desperation play at running back with six teams on bye, Hill is suitable.
RB Nyheim Hines, BUF - (waiver wire: 7-15%) - Hines scored against the Commanders and posted his best fantasy day of the year even though the Colts had a new low volume passer at quarterback. On his new team, he has a lot more touchdown potential and Devin Singletary injury upside.
RB Christian McCaffrey, SF - How open to embracing McCaffrey's talents are the 49ers? He became the first to run in, throw, and catch a score since LaDainian Tomlinson in his first week as the true starter. McCaffrey getting traded to San Francisco will change the balance of power in some leagues.
RB Latavius Murray, DEN - (waiver wire: 3-5%) - Murray wasn't that efficient running the ball, but he was in on almost half of the snaps and got the rushing score in the win over the Jaguars in London. He's going into his bye, but will be viable deep league depth after that with some Melvin Gordon injury upside.
RB Tony Pollard, DAL - Pollard did everything we could have hoped in a limited but lead back role. The Cowboys will go back to Ezekiel Elliott after the bye, but this at least creates the pretext for using Pollard more if Elliott struggles or gets dinged again before the end of the season.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson, NE - Damien Harris is healthier, but Stevenson was still the lead back and his pass-catching chops intersect perfectly with Mac Jones penchant for the short passing game. Stevenson is an everyweek RB2 scoring like an RB1 right now.
RB Jamaal Williams, DET - Williams isn't going to get as much work with D'Andre Swift back, but as long as the Lions offense is improved and keeps setting him up goal line opportunities, he'll still be a viable RB2/Flex play. The matchup gets a little tougher this week against the Packers, but Williams is still worth a spot in lineups.
RB Jeff Wilson, MIA - (waiver wire: 5-10%) - Wilson gains value with the trade to Miami. Elijah Mitchell is coming back and was going to push Wilson to third string. With Chase Edmonds gone, Wilson becomes the backup to Raheem Mostert, so he's a Mostert injury away from fantasy relevance.
Running Back Downgrade
RB Eno Benjamin, ARI - (waiver wire: DROP FOR 5-10% OR HIGHER) - Benjamin never got on track as the Cardinals trailed in the second half and the running game was held in check by the Vikings. James Conner should be back one of these weeks, and Darrel Williams was back in Week 8, so his window of value is closing.
RB Gus Edwards, BAL - (waiver wire: HOLD) - Edwards was running well after being used sparingly early in the win over the Bucs. He then hurt his hamstring and left the game. The team doesn't think it's a serious injury, but it's difficult to picture him playing in Week 9, even though the game is 10 days after he suffered his injury. Baltimore has a Week 10 bye, so Edwards has a good chance to be back in Week 11.
RB Damien Harris, NE - (waiver wire: DROP FOR 25-50% OR HIGHER) - Harris was on the field for over 40% of the snaps, but it appears the Patriots see him as the second back in their committee, which will give him a thinner margin of error, especially when the team is settling for five field goals. He's just a matchup flex with Rhamondre Stevenson injury upside going forward and probably not worth a spot in the lineup against the Colts.
RB Darrell Henderson, LAR - (waiver wire: DROP) - The Rams came out of the bye with a decision to reduce Henderson's workload so they could use Ronnie Rivers more. Cam Akers could come back to the team after the trade deadline, so it's difficult to see a path for Henderson to have sustained value this year.
RB Josh Jacobs, LV - After a three-week league winner run, Jacobs fantasy production plummets and the Raiders got shut out in New Orleans. He's still an everyweek play, but if Jacobs has a poor game against the Jaguars, we'll probably wish we had sold him at the peak of his value and wonder what we really have going forward.
RB Brian Robinson, WAS - (waiver wire: DROP FOR 5-10% OR HIGHER) - Robinson is adding physical running to the Washington backfield... and not much else. He is mired in a three-headed backfield and his value is totally touchdown dependent at this point. He's just a desperation play.
RB James Robinson, NYJ - (waiver wire: DROP FOR 10-20% OR HIGHER) - Robinson actually got on the field in his Jets debut, but the results weren't promising. The Jets offense looks very limited with Zach Wilson, although that could create a path to value for Robinson in a run-heavy approach that pairs with an improving defense.
Wide Receiver Upgrade
WR A.J. Brown, PHI - Brown had three scores against the Steelers and could have easily had four. Jalen Hurts deep ball is coming into focus and the Eagles offense is looking impossible to stop. Brown equalled his output from the last three games combined to reset our expectations much higher going forward.
WR Devin Duvernay, BAL - (waiver wire: 15-30%) - We can't get too excited because Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews were both hurt, but Duvernay got enough opportunities to be fantasy relevant in Week 8, including two carries, one of which turned into a score. Every time Duvernay is involved, he makes things happen. We'll see if it sticks against the Saints.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, ARI - In Week 7, we saw what Hopkins could do when the Cardinals play with the lead. In Week 8, we saw what he can do when they are trailing in the second half. He's a fantasy WR1 and potential league winner if this continues.
WR Jerry Jeudy, DEN - Jeudy put together two good weeks in a row with two different quarterbacks. He could be a solid WR3/Flex going forward, especially if Courtland Sutton doesn't pick it up.
WR Diontae Johnson, PIT - The trade of Chase Claypool won't turn Johnson into a league winner, but it could give him a few more targets a week and make him a safer WR3/Flex PPR play.
WR Jakobi Meyers, NE - Meyers continues to rack up catches with a limited Mac Jones at quarterback, and Devante Parker got hurt to narrow the target tree further, at least for a week. Meyers is a regular part of our PPR lineups going forward.
WR Darnell Mooney, CHI - (waiver wire: 15-30%) - Mooney didn't break through with a long score, but he was a solid play against the Cowboys as Justin Fields game is progressing by the week. He has earned WR3/Flex status heading into a matchup against the Dolphins.
WR D.J. Moore, CAR - Moore was already having his second solid game in a row with P.J. Walker, and then he caught a 62-yard score that looked like it would be the game winner... until he took off his helmet, got a 15-yard penalty, and Eddy Pineiro missed the now 48-yard extra point. For fantasy, we are still feeling good about Moore for the first time this season heading into a game at Cincinnati.
WR Rondale Moore, ARI - (waiver wire: 10-20%) - Moore's run after catch ability finally came into play in a Cardinals offense that opens up a lot of space on Kyler Murray extended plays. Consider Moore a boom/bust WR3/Flex heading into a matchup against Seattle.
WR Josh Palmer, LAC - (waiver wire: 3-5%) - Assuming Palmer is over his Week 7 concussion, he should start in place of Mike Williams for at least 2-3 weeks. He hasn't really been an impact fantasy player while Keenan Allen has been sitting, but Justin Herbert gives him a chance to matter while Williams is out, especially if Allen's hamstring still isn't 100%.
WR George Pickens, PIT - Pickens value is up even though he was shut out by the Eagles outstanding corners in Week 8. With Chase Claypool gone to Chicago via trade, Pickens target share should grow.
WR Darius Slayton, NYG - (waiver wire: 1%) - Slayton had his highest snap share of the year and posted his third startable fantasy stat line in four weeks. The Giants are going into their bye and could add another passcatcher at the deadline, but for now, Slayton is the one Giant receiver worth playing in fantasy leagues.
WR Kadarius Toney, KC - (waiver wire: 12-25%) - The acquisition of Toney feels like a move for the future as much as it is for the present, and the Chiefs passing game is crowded, but when we've seen someone take over a game like Toney did last year, we can't let him sit on the waiver wire.
WR Garrett Wilson, NYJ - (waiver wire: 15-30%) - Wilson showed off the stuff that made him a top 10 pick in April, and made himself matter in fantasy, but this Jets offense has been very inconsistent with Zach Wilson. Consider Garrett a what-the-heck WR3/Flex but one with WR1 upside while we wait to see if Zach can get this figured out.
Wide Receiver Downgrade
WR Davante Adams, LV - Adams was shut down in Week 8 by... Alontae Taylor. The Raiders offense was miserable and in it, Adams is a true boom/bust play. We'll consider this an aberration, but consider dropping Adams from the WR1 ranks if he doesn't bounce back against Jacksonville.
WR Rashod Bateman, BAL - (waiver wire: DROP) - Bateman hurt his foot again in Week 8. While the team doesn't think the injury is serious, we probably won't see him in Week 9 and possibly beyond, and it's fair to wonder if he'll truly get back to full speed this season.
WR Tee Higgins, CIN - Higgins impression of a #1 receiver wasn't great in Week 8. The next three weeks bring the Panthers, a bye, and the Steelers, so the anticipated volume bump and value bump from the Chase injury might not arrive on time, or at all.
WR Cooper Kupp, LAR - Shame on Sean McVay for getting Kupp hurt during garbage time down 17 points. It appears Kupp escaped without a serious injury, but he could be out for Week 9 against the Bucs.
WR Elijah Moore, NYJ - (waiver wire: DROP FOR 10-20% OR HIGHER) - If you're reading this before Tuesday afternoon, there's still an out for Elijah Moore's value this season - if he gets traded before the deadline. Otherwise, it looks like he has fallen out of favor with the Jets, and we might be dropping him if his snap count and role don't grow in Week 9 against the Bills.
WR DeVante Parker, NE - (waiver wire: DROP FOR 5-10% OR HIGHER) - Parker left the Week 8 game with a knee injury and took the Patriots downfield passing game with him. He might only miss one game - and could even push to play this week, but Parker is only a hold through his injury in deep leagues.
WR Josh Reynolds, DET - (waiver wire: DROP) - Reynolds couldn't catch a pass that might have been a game winner and he faded into the background of the Lions offense with Amon-Ra St. Brown back on the field. He's droppable.
WR WanDale Robinson, NYG - (waiver wire: DROP) - Robinson's target share shrunk in Week 8 and undermined our confidence in him as a bye/injury fill-in. The Giants are on bye and could (should?) add a passcatcher at the trade deadline, so it's probably not worth it to hold Robinson unless there's nothing compelling on the waiver wire.
Tight End Upgrade
TE Tyler Conklin, NYJ - (waiver wire: 3-5%) - Conklin had cooled off after a top 3 fantasy start to the season through three weeks, but in Week 8 he surprised by posting an elite week with Zach Wilson. The Jets offense is volatile right now, but Conklin has momentum heading into a matchup with the Bills.
TE Greg Dulcich, DEN - (waiver wire: 7-15%) - One or two weeks could be a fluke, but with a three-week fantasy relevance streak - the first three games of his career - Dulcich is firmly in the starting fantasy tight end tier heading into his bye. He has also done it with two different quarterbacks, which bodes well for his staying power.
TE Isaiah Likely, BAL - (waiver wire: 12-25%) - Likely brought back memories of the player he was in the preseason when he took over games and built high expectations for his rookie year. It took a Mark Andrews injury in Week 8, but he finally delivered on those expectations. We might not see Andrews in Week 9, so Likely is worth a pick up and one week play. He could get a dedicated role in the passing game even once Andrews is back, but that's not... umm... a strong possibility.
TE Kyle Pitts, ATL - Things are looking up for Pitts, who scored on a play designed to the ball to him and even broke free into the open field on one of his receptions. Marcus Mariota is seeing the field and throwing well for the first place Falcons, and Pitts should be put back into lineups with at least a little confidence heading into a matchup with the Chargers.
TE Dalton Schultz, DAL - For the second straight week Schultz had a very good game with Dak Prescott back, but also saw another Cowboys tight end catch a touchdown. He's back in the starting fantasy tight end group, and if he can start getting these end zone looks, he'll be a top five option.
Tight End Downgrade
TE Mark Andrews, BAL - Andrews came into Week 8 banged up and left it with an additional malady and possibility of missing Week 9 with a bye on the other side of the Monday night game against the Saints. Hopefully he'll be given time to rest and heal and then restore his value as an elite fantasy tight end.
TE Harrison Bryant, CLE - (waiver wire: DROP) - Harrison Bryant didn't inherit David Njoku's full role with Njoku sitting, and he wasn't even looked at in the passing game. He can be dropped going into the bye.
TE Irv Smith, MIN - (waiver wire: DROP) - Smith first saw Johnny Mundt get the tight end touchdown we knew was coming against the Cardinals, and then later he left the game with a high ankle sprain. He hasn't been explosive enough in the box score to justify holding him through the bye.
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