Tuesday, October 28, 2014


By Will Hoover

Week nine is a crucial time in fantasy football. It’s the point in the season where you’re in one of three positions. Either you’re Winning and rolling towards the playoffs, losing and skimming the bottom, or are up and down win and lose where every game counts. With only five games left its make or break for many owners. Its five games to refine your roster, add depth, or rebuild with some of these key waiver wire acquisitions. It was brought to my attention that some key players were left off last week’s list. And that I also have been adding “new blood” players only. So this week I’ll add some of my previous mentioned waiver wire candidates, all of which are owned in less than 30% of leagues. If Ronnie Hillman, Jonathan Stewart, Denard Robinson, Bobby Rainey, Brandon LaFell, Odell Beckham Jr, John Brown, or Kenny Stills are still available in your league I recommend signing them immediately. If these players are long gone like in every league I’m associated with, then look for the following players for some “new blood”. I’ll list these players by position, percentage of ownership (espn leagues) and their week 9 opponent.
  1. Martavis Bryant: WR, .6% ownership, WK 9 vs Bears
The Steelers have been in desperate need of a WR2 all season. Early this year Markus Wheaton flashed but never seized the job. Week 7 was the debut of 6’4” rookie Martavis Bryant who has unique speed (4.41 combine) for a big receiver. Since his debut Bryant has 7 receptions for 123 yards and 3 touchdowns, showing a high level trust from Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger by being targeted heavily in the red zone. Bryant was college team mates with fellow rookie Sammy Watkins at Clemson, so working in the WR2 role shouldn’t be an issue. The Steelers new high powered offense will give Bryant plenty of opportunities to score fantasy points. Add Bryant and play him as long as the Steelers stay hot.

  1. Jonas Gray: RB, .1% ownership, WK 9 vs Broncos
At 5’10” and 225lbs Jonas Gray is a big running back who fills the Stevan Ridley role well. Undrafted out of Notre Dame Gray ran for 791 yards on 114 carries (6.9 avg) for the Irish before tearing his ACL in 2011. Jonas went from the Patriots practice squad to being called up as the second running back behind Shane Vereen all in one day. In week 7 Gray got his first NFL game time with 3 carries for 12 yards, a rather inconspicuous debut. In week 8 Gray jumped to 17 carries for 86 yards leading all Patriot running backs in carries. Shane Vereen has showed he’s more of a hybrid RB/WR, while Jonas Gray will be the traditional running back for the Patriots. Add Jonas Gray for RB depth and value as goal line back.

  1. Donte Moncrief: WR, .2% ownership, WK9 @ Giants
Reggie Wayne’s injured elbow gave Donte Moncrief his first considerable playing time in week 8. The rookie responded with 7 catches for 113 yards and 1 touchdown on 12 targets. Meanwhile veteran Hakeem Nicks had only 1 catch for 27 yards on 5 targets. Moncrief has excellent speed for his size and can get separation from NFL caliber defensive backs, something Hakeem Nicks can no longer do. In the Colts high octane passing game Moncrief will get plenty of targets even when Reggie Wayne returns. Add Moncrief for WR depth with continued break out potential.

  1. Allen Robinson: WR, 3.0% ownership, WK 9 @ Bengals
Rookie receiver Allen Robinson was the Jaguars second round pick this year coming out of Penn State. Robinson and fellow rookie Blake Bortles have created chemistry over the past three games. In that span Robinson has 17 receptions for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns while leading the Jaguars in targets. The Jaguars are not an offensive power house but Bortles increasing comfort with Robinson is a sure sign of things to come. Add Allen Robinson for WR depth and flex appeal.

  1. Theo Riddick: RB, .2% ownership, WK 9 BYE
Although on his bye week Theo Riddick is a nice add in most leagues. While filling in for Reggie Bush, Riddick has gradually gained touches from Joique Bell to the point they were nearly even in week 8. Theo Riddick has a similar skill set to Reggie Bush being able to equally catch the ball as run it. Riddick’s quickness allowed him to switch from RB to WR at Notre Dame and then back to RB after injuries left the Irish thin at the position. His receiving skills are a perfect fit for the Lions pass happy offense. Theo’s skill set allows the Lions to use him in multiple ways and increases his value to the team. Riddick will be valuable while Reggie Bush is out and maybe even longer.

  1. Heath Miller: TE, 19% ownership, WK 9 vs Rams
Old reliable, that’s what Heath Miller is. As the Steelers evolve very few long time veterans have stayed throughout.  Sure Roethisberger and Polamalu are still there but not many others. Miller has been fantasy relevant for years and looks to stay that way in the Steelers new powerful offense. A trustworthy target, Miller will be a security blanket for Roethilsberger this season since there’s a lack of experienced receivers in Pittsburgh. Add Miller as a low end TE option or a bye week fill in.

  1. Charles Sims: RB, .2% ownership, WK 9 @ Browns
Third round rookie running back Charles Sims will be eligible to return in week 9 after spending the first 8 weeks on the IR designated for return list. No time better than now for the Buccaneers who have struggled mightily in the running game this year. With rumors of a Doug Martin trade and now Martin’s injured ankle, Sims is poised to have a big break out. Considered one of the top running back prospects in the draft, the elusive Sims has dual threat capabilities with his rushing and receiving skills. A lot of people are saying Charles Sims is the Buccaneer’s next superstar. Pick up Sims if you’re in need of running back help and stash him on your bench and wait to see happens in Tampa Bay.

  1. Marcus Lattimore: RB, .3% ownership, WK 9 vs Rams
While he has sat on the shelf for nearly two years Marcus Lattimore is almost ready for action. After suffering one of the brutalist knee injuries in recent football history (dislocated knee, torn ACL, MCL and PCL) with multiple structural damages. Lattimore left South Carolina to enter the NFL draft where the 49ers gambled a 4th round pick on the injured running back. Lattimore is a true wild card for the 49ers, his immense potential and elite running back capabilities are all over shadowed by his rebuilt knee. The league is waiting to see if his explosion and cutting abilities are even close to what they were in college. If Lattimore is the same back the rest of the league better watch out. Marcus will be gradually be worked into the offense and if he can handle it could surpass Carlos Hyde as the 49ers second running back behind Frank Gore. It’s a wait and see approach with Lattimore but I suggest signing him now and stashing him on your bench before he’s in demand.

GOOD LUCK! And follow me on twitter for more football news.

Will Hoover@UGsportsreort   

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