Unfortunate injuries and ensuing bye weeks can throw a wrench into the fantasy football season, and those challenges are only exacerbated when playing in larger leagues. For fantasy managers in those scenarios, the waiver wire can provide a nice short-term solution, albeit knowing which players to look for can be a deciding factor.
Here are the best waiver wire pickups for 14-team fantasy leagues, where the options may be a bit more slim.
Week 9 Fantasy football waiver wire pickups in 14-team leagues
Tyjae Spears, RB, Tennessee Titans
Rostership: 36.1% ESPN
Whether or not Derrick Henry is traded away by the deadline, it’s tough to ignore Spears’ growing role as Tennessee’s RB2. The Titans rookie turned three carries into 27 yards last week, while again remaining a fixture in the passing game with three receptions for nine yards. For now, he remains an intriguing stash play who will remain heavily involved in game scripts where the Titans are playing from behind often.
Quentin Johnston, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Rostership: 31.4% ESPN
The Chargers rookie wideout set career highs in Week 8 with five receptions for 50 receiving yards, and it seems like his level of production will get a boost in the short term. Mike Williams was already lost for the season, but Joshua Palmer suffered an apparent knee injury in Sunday night’s win over the Chicago Bears. Any time that Palmer misses would elevate Johnston in the passing game, so he’s surely worth a pickup to monitor moving forward.
Sam Howell, QB, Washington Commanders
Rostership: 30.3% ESPN
After finishing with 30.98 fantasy points in Week 8, it marked Howell’s fifth top-13 performance in eight games, illustrating the high ceiling the second-year quarterback boasts on a weekly basis. Howell leads the NFL in dropbacks (369) this season, so it’s no secret that Washington is comfortable with their quarterback airing it out on Sundays.
The upcoming matchup with the New England Patriots is less than ideal, but he’s bordering QB1 fantasy territory given his passing volume.
Rashid Shaheed, WR, New Orleans Saints
Rostership: 18.4% ESPN
Looking for a big-play threat to add to your fantasy team? Shaheed did it again in Week 8, catching three passes for 153 yards and a score to total 24.3 PPR fantasy points. Shaheed ranks ninth in average depth of target heading into Week 9 and has two enticing matchups with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings on the horizon, who run plenty of zone coverage that is liable to get exposed by the deep ball.