After his Week 8 performance against the Colts, Martavis Bryant may have cemented himself in the passing rotation in Pittsburgh.
Week 9 is a heavy NFL bye week, with the FALCONS, BILLS, BEARS, LIONS, PACKERS, TITANS all on byes, so there are going to be a lot of people claimed on waivers this week.
As always, let’s take a look at who’s below the 50 percent owned in CBS leagues.
Last Week: Tannehill (now 73 percent), Griffin, Bridgewater, Bortles
Robert Griffin III, Washington (43 percent owned, last week – 36%)
Colt McCoy looked scared to death at times against the Cowboys, but he delivered some nice passes down the field as well as a blast of check downs. Still, it’s likely good enough that he will start Week 9 against the Vikings, who are seventh in pass coverage this season. Then, a bye week and then it’s likely that RGIII will return to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are the fourth worst pass coverage team in the NFL. If you can stash, then you should, this is a solid QB2 that is sitting in over half of the CBS leagues, so if there’s room, there won’t be much more time to grab him.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (25 percent, last week – 28%)
Bridgewater curbed the turnovers, but only threw one TD against the Bucs, which is disappointing. He’s averaging about 35 PA per game, including 42 last week and has Washington (2nd worst pass coverage) and Da Bears (7th worst) in his next two games, with a bye week in between. Still a good bye week play here.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (22 percent, last week – 25%)
Bortles continues to struggle with the turnovers with two more picks last week, but is also averaging almost 40 yards per game rushing, too. Point is he’ll throw and run, so that makes him an attractive bye week play. Has Cincinnati’s surprisingly struggling defense next week, so if QBs are scarce and you need one for this bye week, consider the rookie.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (11 percent owned)
Carr threw 54 times last week against the Browns and the Raiders are sure to be passing from behind in Seattle, at home against Denver and in San Diego the next three weeks. And though he’s attempted 116 passes the last three weeks, he’s tossed one INT with 5 TDs – It all makes for a nice bye week pickup.
The Running Backs:
Last week: Mason (now 76 percent)
If you are desperate for bye week running back help in Week 9, we feel for you.
Bobby Rainey (43%) and Charles Sims (11 percent), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Is this a no-vote for Doug Martin? Yes, yes it is. Rainey was again more effective with his 14 touches last week and has the Browns this week, who just allowed Denard Robinson to run for 100 yards. Sims is a longer term play, but he’s a good pass catcher and should have a role moving forward, especially if the Bucs cut bait and trade Martin.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (16 percent)
We’ve liked Taliaferro since the preseason, but that pesky Bernard Pierce has been in the way. After Pierce was a healthy scratch and Lorenzo got the inside-the-10 yard line looks, he looks like the perfect compliment to Justin Forsett’s emergence for the Ravens.
Jonas Gray, New England Patriots (15 percent)
Our line is that spending FAAB dollars on a Patriots running back is kin to sincerely answering a Nigerian prince email. After a two-TD week for Shane Vereen in week 7, New England spent their gameplan introducing us to Gray, who did well in his best Sammy Morris meets Corey Dillon type role for the Patriots. Will it continue? Shake your Magic 8-Ball and see.
The Wide Receivers:
Last week: Baldwin (now 93 percent), Adams (33 percent), Wright (7 percent)
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (33 percent, last week 22%)
We’ve liked Adams for quite a while in this space and he continues to emerge. With the Saints concerned about Jordy Nelson, Adams took advantage catching seven of his nine targets for 75 yards. As long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy, the WR3 will get action in Green Bay and if anything should happen to Nelson or Randall Cobb, Adams is ready for even more.
Riley Cooper (41 percent) and Jordan Matthews (40 percent), Philadelphia Eagles
Take aside the stats from Week 8, which were influenced by an outlier 62 pass attempt performance from Nick Foles, Cooper and Matthews are viable bye-week plays in Week 9 with the Texans on the loose, especially with Houston likely to focus efforts on Jeremy Maclin.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (39 percent)
Hunter is your classic big play wide receiver. Not quite Devery Henderson territory, but close. He led the Titans in targets with 10 last week with rookie Zach Mettenberger taking first string snaps, so he does have value in that role. He’s off this week, but if you are looking ahead, Hunter might be a nice add moving forward.
John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (17 percent)
The generically named Brown made a sensational Willie Mays in ’54 type catch to seal the deal for Arizona last week and trailed only Larry Fitzgerald in targets for the team. With Michael Floyd looking injured or at the very least ineffective, Brown has a role in Bruce Arians’ offense.
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (8 percent)
In the two weeks Bryant has been active, he has scored, including nabbing two touchdowns in the shootout at home against the Colts. Bryant is an explosive looking athlete and it has translated so far. Markus Wheaton appears to be getting the ignore button and it’s Bryant who has taken advantage the last two weeks.
Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (3 percent)
With Reggie Wayne out with an elbow injury, we liked Donte Moncrief way better than Hakeem Nicks last week and the young receiver shined in the high-scoring affair in Pittsburgh. 12 targets, seven catches and 113 yards is proof the guy catch take advantage of Andrew Luck’s passing skills. We’re saying we don’t think Moncrief ever drifts back behind Nicks on the depth chart even when Wayne comes back and is worth a roster spot as a WR5 even when that occurs.
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