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It’s not too late. Week 8 is in the books and for most leagues that means that we are half way through the season. By no means is it too late to turn a season around and with the myriad of injuries this past week, the waiver wire is just the place to do it.
Each week, this article will aim to highlight running backs that you should consider targeting on your league’s waiver wire.
Jake has split these players up into three tiers from most desirable to most desperate. Additionally, I’ve included players at the bottom of this list that I would be comfortable cutting as I don’t see them contributing in a major way this season.
Cream of the Crop Running Backs for Week 9 Waiver Wire
These are running backs that I would add no matter what if they are available on your waiver wire. These players have a chance to be starters and weekly contributors to their NFL teams.
DeAngelo Williams (RB, PIT) - 50% owned on Fleaflicker
Not much to say here. Le’Veon Bell appears to be out for the season, Big Ben is back running the offense, and DeAngelo was oustanding stepping in for Bell earlier this year. I think Williams is a top-15 back going forward on one of the best offenses in the league. Most importantly, Pittsburgh has proven that it is not afraid to give Williams goal line carries (see his three-TD game from earlier this season), something Carolina never was comfortable doing.
Jeremy Langford (RB, CHI) - 10% owned on Fleaflicker
Like Le’Veon Bell, Matt Forte also hurt his knee, but it does not seem nearly as serious. However, with Forte out, Langford took the reins as an every-down back and was fairly successful racking up 46 yards on the ground on 12 carries. Langford did commit a potential game changing drop in the 4th quarter, so it remains to be seen if he can be effective in the passing game, but he has RB-2 upside if Forte misses the Monday Night matchup.
David Cobb (RB, TEN) - 39% owned on Fleaflicker
No one in the Tennessee backfield has truly separated himself from the pack in recent weeks, leaving the door open for touted rookie David Cobb to make an immediate impact upon his return. Cobb has been out with a calf injury he suffered in the preseason, and will be eligible to return in about a week, making him a very interesting stash option in all formats. If he is able to prove the feature-back skills that he flashed in the preseason were legitimate, then he could quickly find himself in the RB2 conversation on a team sorely in need of help on the ground.
Wait and See Running Backs for Week 9 Waiver Wire
These are running backs highly available on the waiver wire who you should consider stashing if you have room.
Antonio Andrews (RB, TEN) - 30% owned on Fleaflicker
Andrews was the clear leader in the backfield this past weekend, receiving 19 touches in a loss to the Texans. With Tennessee down the entire game, one may have expected to see more Dexter McCluster in this one, but it was Andrews who was given the ball on a consistent basis. I’ve written about Andrews for several weeks and while he is not a special talent, I still see 2013 Zac Stacy here if he is given the touches. Andrews will face New Orleans, Carolina, and Jacksonville over the next three weeks, all of whom rank in the bottom half of the league in defending the rush from a fantasy perspective. He’ll be useful at least one more week as David Cobb tries to work his way back into game shape.
Karlos Williams (RB, BUF) - 44% owned on Fleaflicker
The rookie bruiser should finally be back at 100% after a lengthy absence due to a concussion, and as his health returns so does his fantasy value. Williams is a much better inside runner than the jumping-and-cutting LeSean McCoy, and has already showed a penchant for finding the end zone (three touchdowns in four games played). As the complementary back on a run-first team, he has flex appeal on his own, but as the handcuff to one of the league’s more injury-prone feature backs, he should be owned in every league with 10 or more teams.
Honorable Mentions: James Starks (RB, GB) - 48% owned
Hail Mary Running Backs for Week 9 Waiver Wire
These are desperation plays who shouldn’t be starting for you. The injury bug, bye week troubles, or something else needs to be affecting your team to add these players.
Theo Riddick (RB, DET) - 31% owned on Fleaflicker
Another absolute disaster of a game for the Lions. At this point it is almost a guarantee that they will be down and down big and that is when Riddick does most of his damage as a dynamic pass catcher. It seems as though Ameer Abdullah has frustrated the Lions coaching staff enough to lose any semblance of a major role, as he touched the ball just once in Sunday’s loss. This should free up even more touches for Riddick, and I’d be more than comfortable using him as a bye week fill-in.
Chris Polk (RB, HOU) - 22% owned on Fleaflicker
As most predicted, it was Alfred Blue who led the Texans backfield in touches in the team’s first game without Arian Foster. Blue rushed for just 39 yards on 14 carries while catching five passes for 33 yards. This performance certainly did not solidify Blue’s role as the lead back, and while Polk was similarly unimpressive he did have eight carries and one catch of his own. Clearly this backfield is unsettled, and many believe Polk is the better all-around talent of the two. He is definitely a better pass-catcher, and on the pass-happy Texans the third-down role could be productive even if Polk doesn’t supplant Blue as the starter.
Honorable Mentions: Joique Bell (RB, DET) - 50% owned, Tre Mason (RB, STL) - 46% owned