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)

Under Center Podcast: Trubisky's trust and would you rather be the Bears or Rams?


Under Center Podcast: Trubisky's trust and would you rather be the Bears or Rams?

JJ Stankevitz, Cam Ellis and John "Moon" Mullin convene at Halas Hall to discuss how to balance Mitch Trubisky's special moments against the rest of his play, including a comparison to Jay Cutler (2:35).

Then the trio breaks down Trubisky's trust - or lack thereof - in his receivers (7:50) and debates whether you'd rather be the Bears or the Rams moving forward (19:20).

They finish up by wondering how much a win on Sunday would mean to this team (25:35).

Listen to the episode here here or via the embedded player below:

Under Center Podcast


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

NFL and NFLPA reportedly making progress towards new labor agreement

USA Today

NFL and NFLPA reportedly making progress towards new labor agreement

According to a report by Mark Maske of The Washington Post, the NFL and NFLPA “have made meaningful progress towards a new labor agreement.” 

There is plenty to unpack as negotiations progress, but the most significant tidbit from this news is that there is reportedly a real possibility the eventual agreement will expand the NFL’s regular season schedule to 17 games (while eliminating games from the preseason).

Such an agreement would represent a compromise between the league and the NFLPA. According to Maske, owners had been pushing for an 18-game regular season, but the players union has remained reluctant to budge off the current 16-game schedule. Maske flagged the league’s rookie compensation scale and current marijuana policy as areas in which the owners could give ground in order to persuade the players to agree to an expanded schedule.

The report also lists a 14-team playoff field as a potential inclusion in the agreement.

The current NFL CBA — which was agreed to in 2011 — is valid through the end of the 2020 season, but Maske reports that there is “optimism” a new agreement might be reached by the end of the 2019-20 postseason.