Fantasy Football: 11 waiver wire targets for Week 9


Fantasy Football: 11 waiver wire targets for Week 9


Injuries hit the NFL this week like an avalanche and there's no doubt you've felt the reverberations throughout your fantasy leagues, even if your team was somehow unscathed.

Seriously, just look at this list of players who were hurt in Week 8:

Le'Veon Bell
Matt Forte
Steve Smith
Keenan Allen
Reggie Bush
Khiry Robinson
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Geno Smith
Eddie Royal
Calvin Johnson
Kendall Wright

And that's only the guys who make an impact in fantasy leagues.

Throw in Joseph Randle's reported release Tuesday and suddenly the entire fantasy landscape is in turmoil.

But don't worry, we're here to help in what may be one of the most important waiver weeks ever.

We can also promise we'll give better analysis than Frank Thomas:

Here are 11 guys you can target on waiver wires this week:

1. DeAngelo Williams, RB, PIT

Hello, old friend. Williams starred in the first two weeks of the season during Le'Veon Bell's suspension (38 standard points in two games) and then disappeared from fantasy relevance. Until now. Williams is back in the spotlight and in the mix with a dangerously explosive offense after Bell's season-ending knee injury. If Big Ben can get back on track (which he should), Williams should have a lot of lanes to run through. He's easily the top waiver claim of the week. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

2. Jeremy Langford, RB, CHI

Beyond Williams, Langford should be your next target on the waiver wire this week. Matt Forte is expected to miss some time, which means Langford is primed for a HUGE uptick in usage. After Forte came out of the Week 8 game, Langford received 12 carries in one half and also was targeted on third down on the Bears' final drive. He dropped that pass (which helped contribute greatly to the loss), but still, the intention was there to lean on the rookie in a key situation. Langford won't be Forte, but with the veteran running back possibly leaving after the season, this is a prime opportunity in a lost season for the Bears to see what they have in Langford and determine if he can be a feature back moving forward. (Tony Andracki)

3. Malcom Floyd, WR, SD

The 34-year-old Floyd showed he’s still got something left in the tank with his four-catch, two-touchdown, 92-yard performance against the Ravens last week. The Chargers have lost four in a row and things won’t get easier with Keenan Allen undergoing a kidney procedure that could render him out the rest of the season. That would mean Floyd becomes the No. 1 WR on the NFL’s top and most frequent passing offense. Sign me up. Allen’s sidelining doesn’t mean San Diego will throw any less. Floyd could head into the WR1 conversation if everything falls into place. (Mark Strotman)

4. Vernon Davis, TE, DEN

The biggest splash of the NFL trade deadline was the 31-year-old Davis heading to one of the league’s best passing attacks. While it’d be unwise to believe Davis will put up numbers like Julius Thomas did a year ago – Thomas was a healthy 26-year-old – this is an intriguing add considering Davis is just two years removed from a 13-touchdown season. Denver’s running attack has found life and Emmanuel Sanders and Demariyus Thomas are still Peyton Manning’s top two targets. Still, Davis is worth a speculative add and is a guy who could have TE1 value the rest of the way. (Strotman)

5. Kamar Aiken, WR, BAL

It was really sad to see 89 go down this Sunday (let's be honest, this can't be his last year now right?). But sadly the show must go on. Aiken seems primed to take over as the lead receiver for the Ravens and as the saying goes "Someone has to catch the ball on offense." He's performed pretty well so far this year (40 standard points) and doesn't have much competition elsewhere. Aiken could be a sneaky FLEX play for the rest of the season. (Paschall)

6. Tavon Austin, Athlete, STL

We need to bring back the "athlete" label from preps football to describe Austin. He has at least 20 rushing yards in four straight games and 141 total on the season. Throw in his 24 receptions, 285 receiving yards and six total TDs and you have the makings of a fantasy wild-card. Except this X-factor has scored 10+ points in four straight games in PPR leagues and has the potential to take it to the house anytime he gets the ball. So how is he only owned in 45 percent of ESPN leagues? (Andracki)

7. Stevie Johnson, WR, SD

Johnson was a popular pickup in fantasy leagues earlier this year when he tallied 11 catches and two touchdowns in the first two games of the season. But he's disappointed since, missing Weeks 5 and 6 with a hamstring injury and he was limited again in Week 8 with a shoulder issue. But Keenan Allen could be done for the year and with Philip Rivers leading the world in pass attempts and completions, Johnson joins Floyd as intriguing fantasy options. Somebody has to absorb all of Allen's targets, right? They can't all go to Danny Woodhead. (Andracki)

Montee Ball/Pierre Thomas/Christine Michael, RBs

If you're desperate for running backs because you've had a stud like Forte or Bell or even Arian Foster (last week) go down, keep an eye on these guys. Thomas just signed on with the San Francisco 49ers and Michael could be in line for an increased role with the Cowboys releasing Randle. Ball was a former top "prospect" at RB and looked like he could get the reins in the Broncos' high-powered offense to start 2014, but was ultimately released prior to the start of the 2015 campaign. The Bears reportedly have interest and other teams could come calling for Ball's services. (Andracki)

Bonus: Michael Crabtree, WR, OAK

This is your weekly reminder that Crabtree is good and that my preseason bold prediction looks pretty damn good. After another big game in Week 8, Crabtree is firmly in the Top 25 WRs and is on pace for 91 catches, 1,104 yards and 7 scores. He is owned in only 68.3 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. That should be 100 percent, no question. (Andracki)

Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night


Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night

The Green Bay Packers managed to pull off a dramatic comeback victory on Monday night, defeating the Detroit Lions 23-22 on a last-second field goal from Mason Crosby. But after the game, it wasn't Aaron Rodgers usual clutch ways that people were talking about, it was the officiating crew, who had two controversial hands to the face penalty calls against the Lions that all but killed any momentum they had going. 

As you can see in the clip above, both hands to the face calls seemed questionable at best, and downright ludicrous at worst. What makes the calls so tough is the timing. The first hands to the face penalty on Lions DE Trey Flowers came after he sacked Rodgers on third-and-10 and the penalty both took away the sack and provided the Pack with an automatic first down. Later in the drive, Rodgers dropped in a great 35-yard touchdown pass to bring Green Bay within two points 

The second questionable hands to the face call came on third-and-4 and it was the most costly call of the game. The Packers received another automatic first down and ran down the clock—Detroit was out of timeouts—to set up the eventual game-winning, walk-off field goal from Crosby. 

And it didn't take long for many people, everyone from former NFL greats to NFL reporters, to chime in on social media with their thoughts on the officiating that seemingly cost Detroit a crucial win. 

With the Green Bay win, the Lions moved to last-place in the NFC North, while the Bears now sit 2.5 games back of first place heading into their Week 7 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

The Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers pulled off another incredible (or maybe controversial) victory over the Detroit Lions in Monday night's NFC North slugfest, 23-22, to advance to 5-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

It was the worst possible outcome for the Chicago Bears, who could've used a little help from the Lions to keep pace with Green Bay entering Week 7.

Instead, the Bears (3-2) are now 2.5 games behind the Packers ahead of their showdown with the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Soldier Field.

It could be worse for Chicago. Detroit's loss drops their record to 2-2-1 on the season and moves them into the division's cellar. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings had arguably their strongest showing of the season in their 38-20 victory over the Eagles and improved to 4-2 on the year. Their four wins slot them ahead of the Bears for second place in the North even though Chicago currently owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Here are the NFC North standings heading into Week 7:

1) Packers (5-1)
2) Vikings (4-2)
3) Bears (3-2)
4) Lions (2-2-1)