It looked like a mostly uneventful injury week in the NFL until Monday morning when news of Derrick Henry’s serious foot injury broke. That led to a five-hour window where both Jeremy McNichols and Adrian Peterson were vaulted into the top Week 9 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. They join breakouts Boston Scott and Jordan Howard, as well as injury replacements Carlos Hyde and Taysom Hill. Those players will likely require waiver claims, but many more notable players will be targeted as free agents after waivers clear around 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday mornings in ESPN and Yahoo leagues.
Our full free agent list features several more potential multi-week contributors (Pat Freiermuth, Van Jefferson, DeVante Parker, Derrick Gore) and a bunch of Week 9 streamer candidates at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST. As always, the streamer suggestions can be found at the end of this list. Also, if you need a new kicker or are into legs in a non-sexual way, check out our Week 9 kicker rankings.
Peterson and Scott will certainly require high waiver claims/FAAB bids. Howard also likely will because of the Eagles favorable matchup against the Chargers, and Hyde might even though James Robinson (heel) could be back and Jacksonville has a tough matchup against the Bills. Someone will likely bid on Hill and possibly even McNichols, so this definitely shapes up as a competitive week on the wire.
Peterson should be your first choice since he has the most long-term upside, but if you don’t need an RB this week — and likely won’t going forward — then you can stay out of the fray and shoot up the waiver pecking order. There will be plenty of solid free agents who can help if you have a hole or two in your lineup this week.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 9
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Taysom Hill, QB, Saints. Jameis Winston (knee) is out for the year, opening the door for Hill to reclaim the starter’s role he held for four games last year. In that time, he averaged 208.5 passing yards, 52.3 rushing yards, and two TDs (one rushing, one passing) per game. That averages out to 23.54 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in four-point passing TD leagues. He also had five total turnovers in that span, so we’ll round down to 21 FPPG. That total would place him just under Kirk Cousins for 11th among QBs in FPPG this year. His rushing ability gives him a high floor, and while he doesn’t have the sky-high ceiling of most QBs, he’s still a steady starter and should be picked up in all formats. Hill has missed the past three games due to a concussion, but he’s expected to clear the concussion protocol and be available against Atlanta in Week 9.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Titans. Peterson was signed by the Titans on Monday afternoon to replace Derrick Henry (foot), who’s out for the next six-to-10 weeks. The 36-year-old future Hall-of-Famer hasn’t played this year, but last season in 16 games with the Lions, he rushed for 604 yards and seven TDs (3.9 yards per carry). His physical running style is similar to Henry’s, and while he obviously doesn’t still have the talent of Henry, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Titans lean on him. Given that he’s going to a run-heavy team, Peterson has upside, at least for a few weeks. Jeremy McNichols is still likely to get touches, particularly on receiving downs, but Peterson might volume his way to RB2/flex-level numbers, especially since he’s the most likely to get goal-line touches.
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Titans. Even with Adrian Peterson in town to “replace” Derrick Henry (foot), it’s fair to think McNichols will get a good amount of playing time. He’s been a steady player for the Titans this year, operating mostly in the receiving game. That shouldn’t change, and given Peterson’s age (36) and lack of playing time this year, McNichols could certainly split touches in Week 9 against the Rams. Consider him a PPR flex until we see how Tennessee uses him.
Derrick Gore, RB, Chiefs. Gore came out of nowhere to rush 11 times for 48 yards and a TD on Monday night. He was still behind Darrel Williams in terms of touches (19 to 11) and yards (110 to 48), but Gore looked like the better runner and was trusted around the goal line. It’s unclear when Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee) will be back, but it’s fair to assume Gore will continue to see around 10 carries per game until CEH returns. That gives him potential flex value, including next week against Green Bay.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington. Thomas has dropped to 53-percent ownership in Yahoo leagues, and now’s the time to take advantage. He’s been dealing with a hamstring issue and has been on IR since Week 3, but he could return in Week 10 after Washington’s bye. We can expect him to be heavily targeted as soon as he’s back. He’s been a top-five fantasy TE before, and he can do it again in this offense starving for play-makers outside of Terry McLaurin. Michael Gallup (calf), Will Fuller (finger), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (knee), and Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) are other notable players who could be coming off the IR soon.
For additional waiver/free agent suggestions, including top pickups Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, Carlos Hyde, Pat Freiermuth, and more streamers, check out our full Week 9 list.