Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 9
November 2, 2015 | Evan Sandel
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DeAngelo Williams (23% Yahoo, 27% ESPN)
On a Sunday that saw too many injuries, Le’Veon Bell’s season ending MCL tear was the most stunning, as the Pittsburgh Steelers, and arguably the NFL, will have to finish the season without their most impressive running back.
DeAngelo Williams is no Le’Veon Bell, but he proved a more than capable backup at the beginning of the season, when Bell was suspended for weeks one and two. Filling in, Williams generated an impressive 204 yards, three touchdowns and 40.4 standard fantasy points.
Having only been used sporadically this season, the 32 year-old should be well rested and ready to resume that dominating pace for the remainder of the season.
This is the highest priority waiver wire add of the week and one of the most important of the season.
Jeremy Langford (7% Yahoo, 3% ESPN)
Sunday’s injury extravaganza also saw the loss of the Chicago Bears’ elite running back Matt Forte. Forte fortunately only suffered a sprain to his MCL, but is still likely to miss at least a month.
Poised to take over the role of feature back in Chi-Town is Jeremy Langford, a rookie out of Michigan State.
Drafted in the fourth round at number 106 overall, Langford is a big back at 6’0 208lbs, yet still managed to post the fastest 40-time amongst RBs in the 2015 combine, at 4.42.
The Bears will have extra incentive to give Langford a real chance as a feature back as Forte is a free agent at the end of the season, and Bear’s GM Ryan Pace needs to know what he has in the speedy young runner.
Langford will be tested immediately as the Bears will face St. Louis and then Denver in weeks 10 and 11, but there is considerable upside here and Langford needs to be owned going forward.
Kamar Aiken (18% Yahoo, 21% ESPN)
Venerable receiver Steve Smith Sr.’s final season was ended abruptly on Sunday when his Achilles tendon tore as he was hit with a shoestring tackle at midfield. It’s a disappointing end to Smith’s career, as the ageless wonder was having a superb season, albeit for a struggling Baltimore squad.
The Ravens just can’t catch a break this year, as Smith will join Pitta, Taliaferro, Campanaro, Perriman and Waller on the laundry list of Ravens offensive weapons that have had their seasons ended by injury.
Left to pick up the slack will be Kamar Aiken and Chris Givens. Aiken is a practice squad guy who has been in and out of the league since 2011, when the Buffalo Bills first signed him as an undrafted free agent. Baltimore’s rash of injuries has provided Aiken an opportunity and he’s proved capable, if not exceptional.
Aiken will be Joe Flacco’s primary target going forward, and as volume is the most important element of fantasy success, Aiken is worth rostering, and is somewhere on the WR3/4 border at the moment.
Also worth monitoring will be where else Flacco puts the ball with his favorite target out of action. Chris Givens is a speedster with boom-or-bust potential, and tight ends Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams should both see more targets. And most intriguingly, first round pick Breshard Perriman is still eligible to return and is showing some progress towards that end. If he is able to make his debut this season, a Baltimore squad that desperately needs him should reward the rookie with plenty of work.
Tavon Austin (55% Yahoo, 45% ESPN)
Austin blew up on Sunday for 119 yards and two scores, yielding his second 20+ fantasy-point week the season. The Rams’ offense is entirely centered around rookie phenom Todd Gurley, and Tavon Austin is the lightning to his thunder.
The eighth overall pick just two years ago, Austin is a dangerous weapon who the Rams’ revolving door of offensive coordinators has only just figured out how to use. Not treated has a traditional wide receiver, Austin is an extension of the running game who thrives on screen passes, rub routes and even direct hand-offs. He had three carries for 21 yards and a score on Sunday.
As Gurley’s stock continues to rise, Austin’s should piggyback along.
Derek Carr (39% Yahoo, 35% ESPN)
In one of the surprises of the weekend, Derek Carr absolutely shredded an elite Jets defense, which, to that point, had only allowed a league-best 54.8 completion percentage and 5.6 yards per passing attempt. To make it even more impressive, Carr’s success came with very little help from his best receiver, Amari Cooper, who spent most of the evening marooned on Revis Island.
Carr has now scored over 20 fantasy points in 4 of 7 games played and continues to improve.
The sophomore quarterback is living up to his potential and the Raiders look like the future. Add in all formats.
Heath Miller (28% Yahoo, 36% ESPN)
Antonio Brown isn’t the only Steeler who’s been starving for the return of Big Ben. In the two full games Ben and Heath played together before Rothlisberger’s injury, Miller averaged 8.95 standard fantasy points. In the absence of the franchise quarterback, Miller was stuck on blocking duty as the Steelers went ultra-run heavy. It’s not a coincidence that in Ben’s first game back, Heath ripped off 105 yards. If you’re hurting for a playmaker in the ultra-thin TE talent pool, this could be a reasonable solution.
C.J. Spiller – Has been effective when used this season but has gotten mysteriously little work. With Sunday’s injury to Khiry Robinson, the Saints will be forced to press him into service. Big things could be on the horizon here.
C.J. Anderson – Has been nicked up all year, but finally looked solid coming out of the bye. The best RB on a defense-first team is a valuable commodity. Also, Peyton’s arm is a soggy egg noodle and it’s about to get cold outside. If somebody got frustrated and dropped this guy, go swoop him up.
Orleans Darkwa – Left the game early with a back injury that shouldn’t carry over into next week. In a very limited sample size, he looked like the Giants’ best back for the second week in a row.
Malcom Floyd and Jacob Tamme – Will continue to be good plays for as long as Keenan Allen and Leonard Hankerson are out, respectively.
Dwayne Harris – If you remove the outlier of a dud against Philly, Harris is averaging 11.1 standard fantasy points since he was legitimately involved in the offense, and he consistently out-produces Rueben Randle. There are lots of mouths to feed in NY and it’s hard to say if he remains consistent, but he’s a ton of fun to watch, and it’s an interesting speculator’s pick.