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Waiver Wire Week 9: Fields Is Finally Fun

Justin Fields

Justin Fields

Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

Eighteen of the NFL’s 32 offenses want, more than anything, to establish the dang run.

More than half of the league’s teams are under their expected pass rate through Week 8. We have more than enough data to show these offenses -- some more than others -- desperately want to operate a balanced or run-first system whenever humanly possible. We may not like it (we don’t) but we have to accept it and adjust our fantasy roster decisions accordingly.

We may get giddy about landing and playing a receiver or tight end coming off a big day without fully realizing how volume driven his performance was. We then kick the nearest trashcan when that pass catcher catches two passes on five targets and scream at our computers when fantasy analysts talk up the guy’s 21 percent target share. Twenty-one percent of a miniature pie is barely a bite. We wanted three hefty slices. Give us our slices!

The Jets’ pass catchers are a prime example of players who are entirely dependent on game script (more on that below). Garrett Wilson went from a locked-in WR2 in 12-team leagues to waiver wire fodder not because he forgot how to run routes or catch the ball, but because New York’s dropback volume vanished with Zach Wilson under center. Kyle Pitts drafters know this horrible story all too well. Same goes for those who drafted Drake London in the middle rounds. Without hugely negative game script -- and sometimes not even then -- these pass catchers have almost no chance of delivering for fantasy managers.

As we make our waiver wire moves and try to position ourselves for a fantasy postseason run, we have to accept -- however begrudgingly -- that most NFL teams do not want to throw the ball. The most extreme examples are the Bears, Falcons, Cowboys, Titans, Giants, 49ers, Browns, and Saints. Don’t get worked up about a pass catchers’ talent if they’re going to be trapped in a fantasy-hostile environment. That, I know, is easier said than done.

Below are Week 9 waiver priorities, along with crowdsourced free agent budget data from fantasy football researcher Freeman Smith. Hopefully Smith’s data (from his FAAB Lab) helps you wrap your head around how your league mates will value waiver wire players this week.

Top Waiver Adds for Week 9
Priority Player Position Team Rostership
1. Justin Fields QB CHI 40%
2. Josh Palmer WR LAC 27%
3. Kenyan Drake RB BAL 31%
4. Terrace Marshall WR CAR 1%
5. Rachaad White RB TB 30%
6. Tyler Allgeier RB ATL 55%
7. Kadarius Toney WR KC 57%
8. Greg Dulcich TE DEN 42%
9. Rondale Moore WR ARI 35%
10. Romeo Doubs WR GB 47%

Quarterback

Top QB Waiver Adds for Week 9
Priority Player Team Rostership
1. Justin Fields CHI 40%
2. Andy Dalton NO 14%
3. Taylor Heinicke WAS 7%
4. Sam Ehlinger IND 12%
5. Malik Willis TEN 7%

Justin Fields (CHI)
Rostership: 40 percent

It only took the Bears one and a half seasons and two coaching staffs to recognize Justin Fields’ elite rushing ability. You truly have to respect it.

Fields has been cut loose as a runner over the past month after being treated like Vinnie Testaverde in 2021 and the first few games of 2022. He now has 42 rushing attempts for 278 yards and two touchdowns over his past four games. That comes out to 9.95 fantasy points per game in rushing alone. It’s tough to overstate just how valuable that sort of production can be in fantasy football.

Not only is Fields rushing more; he happens to be good at it. He leads all quarterbacks in evasion rate, broken tackle rate, and ranks third among QBs in yards after contact. His designed rushes inside the ten yard line are nearly unstoppable. Banking on the Bears continued use of Fields as a dual-threat quarterback (who has improved as a passer this year), fantasy managers should regard him as an every-week starter from here on out. Only five quarterbacks have averaged more fantasy points per game over the past month.

fields

fields

Andy Dalton (NO)
Rostership: 14 percent

Dalton has the third most QB fantasy points over the past two weeks. I take no pleasure in reporting this.

Dalton, unlike Jameis Winston, has force fed the Saints’ offensive weapons, including, of course, Alvin Kamara, who’s pretty good with the ball in his hands. He’s been pretty good too, with the league’s fourth-highest dropback success rate over his past two games. In Week 9 Dalton goes against a Baltimore defense that can be had through the air. The Ravens should be able to force New Orleans into a pass-heavy script.

Other quarterbacks to roster

Taylor Heinicke (7 percent): The gritty Washington quarterback -- gritty being another word for bad but determined -- may have seized the starting gig for the rest of the season with his comeback Week 8 win against the Colts. That would make him a must-get in Superflex formats. In his two starts, Heinicke has been near the middle of the league in adjusted EPA per drop back and completion rate over expected. His willingness to run -- he has eight rushes in two games -- gives Heinicke a little extra fantasy juice.

Sam Ehlinger (12 percent): Though Ehlinger didn’t exactly light the world aflame in his NFL debut against Washington in Week 8, he did log six rushing attempts. That’s something. It’s certainly not nothing. Ehlinger is going to be terrible for everyone in the Indy offense but could be serviceable if he continues fleeing the pocket.

Malik Willis (7 percent): I suppose Willis can be rostered in deeper Superflex leagues. The rookie had 67 total yards in Week 8 against Houston’s terrible defense -- an unimaginable failure that should belong to the Titans for not deploying Willis as a dual-threat QB. Obviously he has no fantasy floor, which is quite the development for a quarterback who should be able to fall out of bed and run for 60-70 yards a game.

Running Back

Post Trade Deadline Analysis

Nyheim Hines to BUF: I find it exceedingly difficult to get excited about Hines -- a highly-talented back, no doubt -- making his way to the Buffalo backfield. The Bills backfield is 20th in high-value touches (receptions plus touches inside the ten yard line) and Devin Singletary isn’t going to suddenly become a healthy scratch. I could see the Bills using Singletary as the team’s primary early-down runner with Hines taking most or all of the pass-catching work. There will be some value in that, I suppose. In such a world, Singletary loses nearly every shred of his fantasy appeal and Hines becomes an occasional flex option in deeper PPR formats. Buffalo running backs have combined to account for 19 percent of the team’s targets.

The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia said he would not “be surprised if Hines has a sizable role in the Bills’ offense in more than just a standard running back role.” That would presumably mean slot receiver work -- a move that would make some sense with Isaiah McKenzie being an objective letdown in a full-time role this season.

James Cook is barely a bench stash with the Bills’ acquisition of Hines. This trade makes no sense unless the team commits to Hines as the unquestioned every-down back. For that reason, he should be rostered in all 12-team leagues.

Zack Moss to IND: Moss is nothing more than a speculative stash in Indianapolis. I guess he could complicate Deon Jackson‘s path to fantasy upside if Jonathan Taylor continues struggling with his ankle injury or if the Colts eventually fold and rest Taylor down the stretch. Jackson, rostered in 9 percent of leagues, needs to be picked up in 12-teamers.

Jeff Wilson to MIA: There are no two ways about it: This is bad for Raheem Mostert, who has carved out a valuable role in the Dolphins’ pass-first offense. Available in 65 percent of leagues, Wilson should be snatched up by any RB-needy fantasy manager. He’s deeply familiar with Mike McDaniel‘s Shanahan-style rushing offense and has been quite good in 2022. Wilson is 11th in yards before contact per rush (a measure of a RB’s ability to run to daylight) and ninth in yards after contact per rush. Mostert’s chronic knee issues could flare up at any time. Wilson has tantalizing upside as a potential every-down back in Miami’s aggressive offense.

Chase Edmonds to DEN: Broncos general manager George Paton said Melvin Gordon remains the team’s starter after the acquisition of Edmonds from Miami. Edmonds, per every conceivable number, has been the worst running back in the NFL this season. He’s miles below replacement level. Edmonds shouldn’t impact the Denver backfield all that much. I’m still picking up Latavius Murray here and there.

Top RB Waiver Adds for Week 9
Priority Player Team Rostership
1. Kenyan Drake BAL 31%
2. Rachaad White TB 30%
3. Tyler Allgeier ATL 55%
4. Kyren Williams LAR 45%
5. Latavius Murray DEN 40%
6. Jaylen Warren PIT 5%

Kenyan Drake (BAL)
Rostership: 31 percent

Gus Edwards (hamstring) seemingly doesn’t have a great chance to suit up in Week 9 against the Saints. Head coach John Harbaugh is already calling him questionable after Edwards tweaked his hamstring in Baltimore’s Week 8 win against Tampa. Edwards drafters should have a backup plan.

Drake, for better or worse, is second in the team’s backfield pecking order. Lamar Jackson’s role as the team’s best rusher doesn’t leave a whole lot of fantasy appeal for anyone in the Baltimore backfield. The Ravens marked (and depressing) shift to the run could inflate Drake’s carries in the short term though, and his Week 8 domination of backfield route running could carry over into a PPR-valuable role if Edwards misses Week 9.

Rachaad White (TB)
Rostership: 30 percent

Please, for the love of your miserable fantasy team, pick up White this week. The rookie has forced his way into more playing time over the past four weeks, earning 29 touches over the past four weeks in Tampa’s absurdly pass-heavy offense. The teens are calling White a “league winner” if something should befall Leonard Fournette, who appears to be washed.

Tyler Allgeier (ATL)
Rostership: 55 percent

Allgeier, as the lead back in the ultra run-heavy Atlanta offense, is RB18 in expected fantasy points over the past three weeks. He has at least 15 carries in each of those games and even caught three targets in Week 8 against the Panthers as he ran a season-high 16 pass routes. It’s not a lot, but it’s something. Look for the Falcons to run the urine out of the football in Week 9 against a horrendous Chargers front seven. Allgeier could finally be more than a floor option.

Kyren Williams (LAR)
Rostership: 45 percent

The legend of Kyren grows with every backfield failure in Sean McVay‘s offense. Williams, who suffered a two-month ankle injury in Week 1, should be back soon and has a chance -- however slim -- of being the savior of the league’s worst backfield. He’ll enter a veritable maelstrom of a backfield in which some combination of five guys will be active in a given week and could split carries and targets.

I’m struggling to even feign excitement for anyone in the Rams backfield. LA has the league’s fifth-highest pass rate over expected and PFF grades their offensive line as the NFL’s third-worst run blocking unit. Also, the Rams stink and can’t generate the sort of game script Williams -- or anyone else -- would require to be a viable RB2 option. Unless, of course, Williams dominates pass-catching opportunities, which currently belong to Darrell Henderson. Williams is a good-enough speculative stash for now.

kyren

kyren

Latavius Murray (DEN)
Rostership: 40 percent

Murray in Week 8 continued to split the Denver backfield workload with Melvin Gordon, who took on most of the pass catching work in the team’s win over Jacksonville. Gordon, somewhat surprisingly, out-snapped Murray at the goal line, two to one, while accounting for every two minute drill snap, per Pro Football Focus. Murray had 46 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries against the Jags.

As long as Gordon is healthy, Murray will only be an RB3 option in positive game scripts. I’m not entirely sure how many of those we can bank on for the Dangeruss Broncos. Murray does, however, have tremendous contingency value since Mike Boone (ankle) is on IR.

Jaylen Warren (PIT)
Rostership: 5 percent

Warren is undoubtedly the Steelers’ most explosive back. He showed as much in Week 8 against the Eagles with 50 yards on just six carries while the slow-footed and possibly injured Najee Harris continued to struggle. Warren was targeted on three of his 13 pass routes against the Eagles, catching two passes for 25 yards.

Warren played 29 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 8. If nothing else, that kind of usage makes Harris nothing more than a touchdown-dependent RB3. Perhaps that’s being generous. Fantasy managers should pick up Warren in case the Steelers’ season spirals out of control and the team rests some starters, Warren simply takes the starting job from Harris, or Harris gets dinged up. Warren should be rostered in at least half of 12-team leagues.

Other running backs to roster

Dontrell Hilliard (13 percent): Hilliard has been wildly productive in limited work behind Derrick Henry this season. He’s averaging nearly eight yards per carry and 11.2 yards per reception on 13 catches. Hilliard would certainly be a top-15 fantasy play if Henry struggles with injuries down the stretch.

Elijah Mitchell (60 percent): The 49ers offense belongs to Christian McCaffrey now. No other Niners running back will hold a shred of fantasy value as long as CMC is healthy and upright. Mitchell would seem to be next up if McCaffrey were to miss time. He should return from injured reserve in the next week or two.

Isiah Pacheco (34 percent): Merely a bench stash at this point, Pacheco would become a viable fantasy option if the Chiefs fully committed to him as their early-down back or if Clyde Edwards-Helaire were to miss time. Until then, it’s a classic mid-off between CEH and Pacheco. For now, Pacheco is a touchdown-dependent flex play in 14-team formats.

James Cook (22 percent): The rookie has been impressive in recent weeks. In Week 8, he totaled 76 yards on a mere six touches in the Bills’ win over Green Bay. Josh Allen’s rushing and the Bills’ commitment to the pass means everyone in the Buffalo backfield will have limited opportunity, but Cook would be an intriguing PPR option should Devin Singletary lose his grip on the starting job or miss time with injury.

D’Ernest Johnson (4 percent): Johnson becomes a savvy if speculative bench stash with rumors swirling about the Browns trading away Kareem Hunt at the league’s deadline. Johnson -- who was superb in spot starts last year -- would then be one snap away from an every-down role in the run-first Cleveland offense.

JaMycal Hasty (9 percent): The Jaguars have made it abundantly clear that Hasty would be the next guy up in the backfield if Travis Etienne were to go down. In such a scenario, Hasty could potentially take on a workhorse role with Snoop Conner -- who is definitely an NFL player -- serving as a breather back.

Raheem Blackshear (2 percent): Chuba Hubbard missed Week 8 with an ankle injury and D’Onta Foreman -- the GOAT, many are saying -- is the only person standing between Blackshear and a starter’s workload in a Carolina offense that has shifted dramatically toward the run since P.J. Walker‘s ascent to starter.

Justice Hill (4 percent): Hill lost out on passing game usage last week against the Bucs after Gus Edwards left the contest with a hamstring injury. Kenyan Drake, meanwhile, operated as something resembling a workhorse back. Hill is purely a contingency option who can be stashed just in case.

Wide Receiver

Post-Trade Deadline Analysis

Chase Claypool to CHI: Mostly this is a downer for those who drafted Darnell Mooney as a target and air yards hog in a run-first offense. I talked in the intro to this column about a big piece of a small pie, and that’s exactly what Mooney has had, with 43 percent of the Bears’ air yards -- the second highest air yards share in the NFL -- and 28 percent of the targets. Claypool will likely take away a chunk of those targets and make Mooney an even more frustrating fantasy option.

Claypool’s move to Chicago should be a boon for Justin Fields. The Athletic’s Adam Jahns said the big-bodied “Claypool should fill the needed go-up-and-get-it role in the offense. Fields needs that type of help. Claypool’s presence also will allow offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to use Mooney’s speed in different ways, including from the slot. The Bears have the worst passing offense in the league. That won’t change overnight. But adding Claypool undoubtedly helps.”

Claypool, available in 42 percent of leagues, can be picked up in 14-team leagues. It’s hard to imagine him holding much value in 12-team formats though.

Top WR Waiver Adds for Week 9
Priority Player Team Rostership
1. Josh Palmer LAC 27%
2. Terrace Marshall CAR 1%
3. Kadarius Toney KC 57%
4. Rondale Moore ARI 35%
5. Romeo Doubs GB 47%
6. Garrett Wilson NYJ 45%
7. Nico Collins HOU 15%
8. Devin Duvernay BAL 53%

Josh Palmer (LAC)
Rostership: 27 percent

Palmer’s rostership has dropped off the face of the earth in recent weeks. He missed Week 7 with a brain injury. His short-term appeal lies in what could be a marked increase in snaps, routes, and targets in an LA offense that will be without Mike Williams (ankle) for a while. And Keen Allen (hamstring) is iffy for Week 9.

Palmer had a 94 percent route participation rate before his Week 6 concussion and most recently caught nine of ten targets for 56 yards against the Broncos. He could operate as the Chargers’ No. 2 wideout -- or WR1, if Allen is out -- when the team returns from its Week 8 bye.

Terrace Marshall (CAR)
Rostership: 1 percent

That Marshall has six catches on 12 targets for 118 yards over the Panthers’ past two games might be proof we exist in a vast computer simulation. Either that or Robbie Anderson‘s departure opened up a bunch of snaps and routes for the second-year wideout. We’re looking into this very strongly.

Marshall in Week 8 against Atlanta ran nearly every pass route as Carolina’s clearcut No. 2 wideout. D.J. Moore will certainly continue to dominate targets, but (vastly) improved play from P.J. Walker and a full complement of snaps should make Marshall -- a highly-touted prospect headed into the 2021 NFL Draft -- a WR3/4 option for the remainder of the season.

Kadarius Toney (KC)
Rostership: 57 percent

Toney was smartly picked up in a lot of leagues in the days after he was dealt to the Chiefs in exchange for draft picks, ending the soured marriage between Toney and Giants coaches who had no intention of integrating him into the offense. I suspect Toney’s hamstrings will heal up quickly now. The Kansas City air is good for the hammies.

Toney, who just one year ago was among the game’s elites in yards per route run and targets per route run, will be brought along slowly in KC, per head coach Andy Reid. Those who recently rostered Toney -- or held on for dear life since the start of the season -- might not be able to deploy him as a fantasy option until the middle of November. It might be early December before Toney emerges as an every-down player in Patrick Mahomes’ offense. The upside is there, and it’s good enough to chase. There’s always a chance -- maybe a good one -- that Toney will further complicate wide receiver usage that threatens to turn us into Jokers by season’s end.

toney

toney

Rondale Moore (ARI)
Rostership: 35 percent

Here’s my weekly Rondale Moore entry. His slot usage has bounced around more than my kid after two sips of Coke, making his usage maddeningly difficult to predict. Moore was back in the slot for most of his routes in Week 8 against Minnesota, and, as usual, excelled. He caught seven of eight targets for 92 yards and a touchdown with a 1.4 average depth of target. That sort of usage could make Moore a perfectly good PPR scam going forward.

The main issue for Moore -- and anyone not named DeAndre Hopkins -- is that Arizona’s offense has been run heavy for much of 2022. In fact, headed into Week 8, the Cardinals were below their expected pass rate in five of six games. Thankfully, they were pushed by the Vikings. We can’t rely on that every week though.

Romeo Doubs (GB)
Rostership: 47 percent

All it took was for every other Packers wide receiver to be injured for Doubs to become the team’s No. 1 receiver. Aaron Rodgers, days after not-so-subtly criticizing the rookie for mistaken-ridden recent play, targeted him five times against Buffalo on Sunday night, the most among Green Bay wideouts.

It’s not the most analytical take I’ve ever had, but here goes: Doubs did everything he could in Week 8 to earn back the trust Rodgers had lost in him over the past two weeks. He made a circus catch in the back of the end zone and a contested grab near the sideline with a defender draped all over him. Doubs heard the criticism and came through. There’s no algorithm to measure how much this matters for fantasy, sadly.

Doubs becomes something close to a default top-24 fantasy option if the Packers enter Week 9 against Detroit down a bunch of wideouts. Even through his struggles, Doubs ran a full complement of pass routes. The shine on Doubs fades considerably if and when Allen Lazard is back from his shoulder injury.

Garrett Wilson (NYJ)
Rostership: 45 percent

I did not, back in September, think I would write up Wilson ever again after the rookie’s emergence in Joe Flacco‘s passing offense. Things have gone decidedly downhill since Zach Wilson‘s unfortunate return to the lineup thanks to Jets coaches smartly hiding their backup-level quarterback.

Pass route volume fell off the face of the flat earth for Wilson and the rest of the Jets pass catchers in October. Wilson in Weeks 5 and 6 ran a combined 31 routes -- an unfathomably low number. As you may have seen, the Jets had to chase points in Week 8 against the Patriots, inflating routes and pass attempts so Wilson was once again usable for fantasy purposes (catching six of seven targets for 115 yards). This week the Jets face a swift execution at the hands of the mighty Bills, who will surely force Wilson to drop back and once again chase points in what should be a massacre. You can trust Wilson’s routes will look something like they did during the glorious Flacco era; he could certainly get there on sheer volume alone.

The problem with Wilson -- and the rest of the Jets pass catchers -- is that the team will deflate the ball at any opportunity. Wilson is a WR3 option against Buffalo and isn’t playable in almost any format if the Jets head into a game as run-establishing favorites.

Nico Collins (HOU)
Rostership: 15 percent

If Brandin Cooks -- always the subject of trade deadline chatter -- is dealt to another team on Tuesday, Collins becomes the unquestioned No. 1 wideout in Houston. Collins, who missed Week 8 with a groin issue, had accounted for a stunning 35 percent of the team’s air yards in the three games before his Week 7 groin injury. Collins would be a volume-driven top-30 wideout if Cook is traded away.

Devin Duvernay (BAL)
Rostership: 53 percent

Rashod Bateman‘s expected multi-week absence in the Baltimore offense turns Duvernary into the team’s default No. 1 wideout for the next few weeks. Bateman re-injured his foot in Week 8 and could miss upwards of a month.

Duvernay saw six touches -- with four receptions on four targets -- in Week 8 against Tampa. Bateman missed most of that contest. And from Week 4-6, with Bateman on the shelf, Duvernay led Ravens receivers in routes and was targeted on 22 percent of those routes, the second highest rate in the offense behind Mark Andrews’ 26 percent. The Ravens shifting dramatically to the run over the past three weeks isn’t the best development for anyone in the offense besides (maybe) Andrews. A continued emphasis on the run should limit Duvernay’s targets, though he should suffice as a WR3 in 12-team leagues.

Other receivers to roster

Kalif Raymond (1 percent): Raymond has solid underlying metrics -- as he did for much of 2021 -- as Detroit’s offense struggles with receiver injuries and is constantly forced into pass-heavy scripts. Running around 43 percent of his routes from the slot, Raymond has 13 receptions on 17 targets over his past three games in a full-time role in the Lions offense.

Treylon Burks (17 percent): Burks (toe) should be back soon from injured reserve. The rookie wideout was second on Titans receivers in targets per route run (21 percent) before suffering the toe injury. And Ryan Tannehill will certainly be back under center for the Titans after Malik Willis’ abysmal Week 8 showing. Burks would have to outright dominate targets in the run-first Tennessee offense if he’s going to be more than a WR3 for the rest of the season.

Tyquan Thornton (6 percent): The rookie saw extensive playing time in Week 8 following DeVante Parker‘s exit. Parker suffered a knee sprain and could miss time. Thornton should see a spike in snaps and routes as New England’s most explosive pass catcher. He’ll be a fringe fantasy option, however, in a run-first Patriots offense.

Khalil Shakir (1 percent): Shakir can be picked up on the off chance that he usurps the struggling Isaiah McKenzie as Buffalo’s primary slot guy. Shakir in Week 8 ran 11 routes to just 16 routes for McKenzie -- part of a trend that has seen the rookie find his way onto the field more and more. Shakir excelled in his lone 2022 start, gaining 75 yards and scoring a TD on four receptions.

Tight End

Top TE Waiver Adds for Week 9
Priority Player Team Rostership
1. Greg Dulcich DEN 42%
2. Isaiah Likely BAL 5%
3. Evan Engram JAC 43%

Greg Dulcich (DEN)
Rostership: 42 percent

I pleaded with you to pick up Dulcich if you didn’t have one of the game’s elite tight ends. I even sent handwritten notes to your home. I stood outside your door in the rain with a boombox on my shoulder. I tried everything.

Dulcich’s fantastic usage continued unabated in Week 8 against Jacksonville. He ran a route on 93 percent of Denver’s dropbacks against the Jaguars and caught four passes for 87 yards (he has 12 catches for 182 yards and a score in three games). The uber-athletic Dulcich has worked his way up the team’s pass-catching pecking order and should be considered a TE1 option from here on out. Hardly any tight ends are running more routes than the rookie. That’s all we need when the tight end in question is, you know, good.

Isaiah Likely (BAL)
Rostership: 5 percent

This waiver pickup could all be for naught if Mark Andrews’ shoulder injury isn’t as serious as it appeared on Thursday night. Likely stepped in and showed off his athleticism and reliable hands -- just as he did in the preseason -- on his way to six grabs for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs. He drew a target on a not-horrible 20 percent of his pass routes.

If Baltimore rests Andrews in Week 9 against the Saints, Likely is a locked-in streaming option for anyone who doesn’t roster a top-end tight end. I would use Likely over Kyle Pitts, for instance, if Andrews is sidelined. Tight ends are averaging 6.3 targets per game against New Orleans.

Other tight ends to roster

Evan Engram (43 percent): Not quite as exciting as Dulcich or Likely (if Andrews misses time), Engram has become a reliable floor option in 12-team formats. He has 30 targets over his past four games, with at least six looks in each outing. He even scored a touchdown in Week 8 against Denver, in case you did not believe in miracles. Engram has the third most tight end pass routes in the NFL this season and should be rostered in way more than half of leagues.

Tyler Conklin (12 percent): Conklin, who was all but phased out of New York’s offense in Weeks 5 and 6, is back to running nearly 100 percent of the routes in the Jets horrendous pass offense. Conk Daddy has 10 catches on 17 targets over the past two games. I suppose he’s worth a waiver claim for the truly desperate fantasy managers among us. Just know that he’ll be useless if the Jets can play from ahead and run the ball like it’s 1977.

Juwan Johnson (7 percent): Nick Vannett somehow ate into Johnson’s routes in Week 8 against the Raiders. Maybe it was the blowout game script. I would need to watch the game, and I’ve never watched the game (please see my Twitter bio). Johnson, who caught two passes on three targets for 17 yards against the Raiders, will remain a workable option in Week 9 against the Ravens if Adam Trautman (ankle) is sidelined.

Cade Otton (13 percent): You hate yourself for rostering Otton after a disappointing Thursday night performance in which he had a touchdown called back and dropped another score. But he had a 90 percent route participation rate and managed five targets. The process! If Cameron Brate (neck) is out again, Otton remains a volume-based fantasy play in Week 9.

Foster Moreau (3 percent): Moreau continues to fill in for the perpetually hurt Darren Waller. He now has nine grabs on 14 targets in the past two games as the Raiders’ primary pass-catching tight end (he had a 93 percent route rate in Week 8). He’ll continue to be serviceable in Week 9 if Waller remains out.

Johnny Mundt (1 percent): Irv Smith may have suffered a serious ankle injury in Week 8 against Arizona. An absence for Smith would catapult Mundt -- who caught a touchdown against the Cardinals -- into an every-down route-running role in Minnesota’s productive passing offense. He’ll be a sneaky play against Washington in Week 9 if Smith is out.

Kicker

Jason Sanders (MIA)
Rostership: 17 percent

Sanders, highlighted in this space last week, got a little unlucky against Detroit. The Dolphins put up 31 points and Sanders made his only field goal try, finishing with eight fantasy points.

The Dolphins are 4.5-point favorites this week against a depleted Chicago defense that has little chance of stopping Miami’s ultra-aggressive passing attack. Sanders is a safe option in a game environment that should be friendly for every Dolphins player.

Greg Joseph (MIN)
Rostership: 18 percent

Rostering Joseph has been something short of fun this season. Minnesota only has 14 field goal tries through seven games and Joseph has missed four of those attempts. It’s been bleak. Nevertheless, we trust the process, and the process says Joseph -- with the Vikings as three-point favorites against Washington -- is a viable fantasy play in Week 9.

The Commanders have given up multiple field goal attempts in each of their four 2022 losses. If Joseph can actually put the football between the crossbars, we’re in business.