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Philip Rivers has been a treasure trove of dumb facial expressions over the years. I'm going to miss those when he retires. (Stephen B. Morton/AP Photo)

Week 9 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups

Working the waiver wire each week is crucial if you’re going to make it in your fantasy football league. Guys rise up depth charts because of injuries or benchings, some have mid-season breakouts, and others are still available just because they’re flying under the radar. Whatever the case, there are always valuable contributors waiting for you to claim them. I’m giving you guys who are owned in under 50% of ESPN leagues as of writing. So, check your waiver wire right after reading this and pick up a difference-maker for your fantasy squad for Week 9.

Philip Rivers (11.0% owned)

Don’t call him washed up yet because the 39-year-old Rivers is coming off back-to-back top-10 weeks in fantasy, with an average of 24 points between those two games. Rivers became irrelevant in fantasy after it looked like the Colts were going to lean heavily on the run game to complement their strong defense. But it didn’t take Head Coach Frank Reich long to see that his team is complete shit at running the ball. Following Week 8’s struggles on the ground, the Colts are now picking up a league-worst 3.5 yards per carry. Meanwhile, their 7.5 net yards per pass attempt are the fourth-most in the league. Reich seems like a smart guy, so I have to imagine he’ll keep throwing the ball.

I did some research to try and find out what has given the passing game new life these past few weeks. From what I could find, I guess the answer is that Trey Burton is healthy and they’re playing a little more up-tempo on offense. Hey, what works, right?

Rivers’s big performances came against the Bengals and Lions, who don’t exactly have the stiffest of pass defenses, but additional pass-friendly matchups are coming up on Indy’s schedule. In Weeks 10-12, Indy has a pair of contests against the Titans with a matchup versus the Packers in between. Both of those teams boast strong offenses and are less-than-spectacular against the pass. That’s a good combination for a veteran QB like Rivers to put up numbers. In superflex leagues, Rivers is a good QB2 option for those weeks.

Zack Moss (36.4% owned)

“It seemed weird that the Bills would draft a running back in the third round after they just had a back average over five yards per carry on 151 rushes in his rookie season. Turns out they were right to not trust [Devin] Singletary as a three-down back.”

I wrote that back in Week 7. Well, here we are in Week 9, and that third-round rookie continues to make his mark.

Moss had his first top-10 weekly finish in Week 8 after going for 81 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots. Singletary put up a double-digit game himself, but it’s clear now that Moss will be in the backfield for scoring opportunities. The Utah alum took four carries inside of New England’s 10-yard line on Sunday. Singletary didn’t get any such work.

Look at this dude’s thighs. I know the NFL’s full of supremely gifted athletes, but I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to stop a human fire hydrant from scoring inside the 5-yard line. (Adrian Kraus/AP Photo)

Buffalo’s run game is now a two-man show of equal opportunity. Singletary and Moss both got 14 carries against the Patriots, while over the past three weeks, Moss has 29 touches to Singletary’s 36. If Moss is going to keep getting short-yardage work though, he’s the guy you want from this backfield.

Buffalo will face some tough run defenses in the second half of their season. Seattle will be in town this upcoming Sunday though, and they don’t have the best red-zone defense. If you’re in a pinch and need a flex in your standard league for Week 9, Moss is a solid option from the waiver wire.

Damien Harris (30.2% owned)

This past Sunday was a rough one for most Patriots players, but not Harris. His 102 yards were a new career-high, while his third-quarter touchdown was the first of his career. The second-year back out of Alabama is now averaging 69.8 rushing yards per game on 5.7 yards per attempt in four games this season.

Things get a little dicey from here, as Sony Michel is eligible to return from IR this week. Neither Harris nor Michel is about to take away third-down duties from James White, and there’s only so much early-down work to go around. So, here’s why I’m willing to bet on Harris.

Cam’s been a disaster throwing the ball the past few weeks, at least partly because he only has replacement-level receivers. Since that’s not about to change anytime soon, the Pats need to keep running the ball if they want to salvage this season, which is why they’ll probably remain in the top three in rushing attempts. And even though Michel’s eligible to return next week, he’s still on IR for the time being and there hasn’t been any word that he’ll be healthy enough to suit up for Week 9.

In the meantime, the Pats have the Jets this coming Sunday and the Texans in Week 11, which gives Harris flex appeal in standard for at least the next few weeks. His outlook for the rest of the season will depend on Michel’s role once he returns, but given the way Harris has been playing, Michel might not get too much work when he does come back.

Corey Davis (36.0% owned)

Yep, we’re doing this again. I’d prefer to get some new names on this column, but since Davis is balling out while still being available in a majority of leagues, my hands are tied.

Davis returned to the lineup in Week 7 after a pair of absences, and he must have done something spectacular with himself during that time off because when he came back, he became Ryan Tannehill’s new go-to receiver. The fourth-year wideout posted 14 catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 20 targets in Tennessee’s last two contests. The former fifth-overall pick has scored double-digit fantasy points in PPR in all five of his games this season. He’s also now Tennessee’s top wideout. No, seriously. Davis’s 39 targets, 29 catches, and 369 receiving yards are all team highs.

Sports have taught me many things. One of those things is that you should never bet against a guy who’s playing for a new contract. (Jim Brown/USA Today)

What’s crazy is that it’s not like the Titans were missing any receivers these past few games. Davis is just getting more volume than any of them. Maybe it doesn’t continue, but considering he was playing well even when he was second banana to A.J. Brown, he still has great fantasy value over the rest of the season. The Titans face the Bears in Week 9 and Ravens in Week 11, but it’s pretty smooth sailing otherwise. Tennessee will play teams in the bottom half of the league for fantasy points allowed per game to wide receivers in six of their other seven games.

This is simple stuff. Davis is 14th in points per game in both standard and PPR for wide receivers with at least five games played. He’s the must-add of the Week 9 waiver wire.

Dallas Goedert (40.1% owned)

I had Richard Rodgers on this list back in Week 7, but now you can kick him off your squad in favor of Goedert. The third-year tight end made his first appearance on Sunday since Week 3 following an ankle injury, and expectations were high for his return. You can understand why. He had a great matchup against a Cowboys defense that’s in revolt and the Eagles are missing a lot of weapons on offense. Well, things didn’t exactly go to plan, with the South Dakota St. alum’s stat line showing a catch for 15 yards on one target.

I don’t know if he’ll draw a lot of interest on the waiver wire in Week 9. In addition to his bad game, Philly has their bye in Week 9, while a host of injured skill-position players will return soon, including lead tight end Zach Ertz. And that’s why this is the perfect time to grab Goedert.

This is still the Eagles though, and they love their tight ends. Despite the lack of production, Goedert ran a route on 84.8% of Carson Wentz’s dropbacks in Week 8. You can’t expect the world of a guy in his first game back from an ankle injury, and now he has an extra week to heal up before a great matchup against the trash pile that is the New York Giants. Goedert will be a great start in that game, and potentially through the end of the month, depending on how Ertz’s ankle heals up. Goedert is probably going to fly under the radar on this week’s waiver wire, so you can (and ought to) secure him with a low-priority claim.