A schedule loaded with bye weeks will have fantasy football players scavenging the waiver-wire in Week 9.
For the second consecutive week, six teams will not take the field. It is the last week in which more than four teams will have a bye as the season begins to wind down toward the fantasy playoffs.
Only four weeks remain in the fantasy regular season in most leagues, leaving little time for teams to make a playoff push or ascend in the standings. Fantasy stars on the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers won't be able to help anyone this week, so it is important to find players to give you a chance to earn a win this week.
Wide receiver once again will be the major target on the waiver-wire this week, and Cincinnati Bengal Marvin Jones is sure to be the top guy taken.
Jones had a huge Week 8 with four touchdowns on eight catches. Add 122 yards into the mix and Jones went for 36 points in standard leagues and 44 in point-per-reception leagues. Though it will be nearly impossible for Jones to have another four touchdown game this season, his production over the course of the last three weeks is what makes him a must-add to fantasy rosters.
Since Week 6, Jones has posted double-digit fantasy points every week while catching at least one touchdown in each game. Teams are blanketing the Bengals No. 1 receiver A.J. Green with double coverage on every obvious passing down, and Jones is taking advantage of his opportunities with 15 catches on 19 targets. Pick Jones up, and consider starting him this week when the Bengals travel to Miami.
For owners who don't have a high enough waiver priority to add Jones, New Orleans' Kenny Stills is a viable second choice. Stills, a rookie, has emerged as the top deep threat for the Saints in recent weeks, supplanting Marques Colston. In the last two games, Stills has three touchdowns and 193 yards on six catches. His fantasy value relies heavily on his ability to make big plays, but Drew Brees should keep giving him a few looks in the Saints' pass-happy offense. There are still guys who will get more targets than Stills on the New Orleans roster, but Stills is a good replacement for a bye week player this week when the Saints face the New York Jets as the Jets rank 23rd against the pass this year.
In deeper leagues, Atlanta's Drew Davis may be worth considering. With only five catches in his NFL career leading up to Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, Davis doubled his career total by adding another five catches, with 77 yards and a touchdown in Arizona. The Falcons are in deep trouble without Julio Jones and Roddy White. If White is able to go this week against the Panthers, Davis won't have much value behind White and Harry Douglas. But, if White is scratched again, consider giving Davis a shot as the Falcons will likely trail the majority of the game again this Sunday.
Now that Sidney Rice is out for the year for the Seahawks, the value of Golden Tate will certainly increase. Add him if he is available, and snatch up Percy Harvin if he is still on the wire. He will be back soon, and the Seahawks can definitely put him to good use.
Those in need of a tight end should consider Tennessee's Delanie Walker, if Jordan Reed is unavailable in your league. Walker has three touchdowns this season and has caught three or more passes every game since Week 2. Though he isn't a threat to go for big yards, Walker is a solid bye-week addition going against the St. Louis Rams defense.
Looking for a defense this weekend? Consider the Indianapolis Colts against the Houston Texans, who will start Case Keenum at quarterback again. The Texans' backfield is also beat up, and it isn't clear who will start at running back as Arian Foster and Ben Tate nurse injuries. Tennessee's defense/special teams has scored three touchdowns already this season, and they also see a nice match up this week against the St. Louis Rams.
This week's survivor pool pick is the Green Bay Packers at home on Monday night against the Chicago Bears without Jay Cutler. If you have already used the Packers, the Dallas Cowboys may be an option against the Minnesota Vikings. It is hard to ever pick Dallas, but the Vikings have been awful and the Cowboys will look to respond from a tough loss at Detroit.
That is all for this week. Keep sending your lineup questions to my email and Twitter if you need some advice.John Livingston covers sports for The Daily Times and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.