This is, by far, the thinnest week for waivers this season. If you have your league's top claim or have some FAAB dollars to spend, the two best additions out of the waiver pool may be defenses. The Falcons, Bengals, Rams, and Saints are all off on bye this week so, hopefully, your bench depth carries you to glory in Week 9 -- because this is a completely barren waiver wire:
Main Waiver Wire Targets
Check to see if they're available! Mark Walton, RB, MIA; Jaylen Samuels, RB, PIT; Cam Newton, QB, CAR
Note:Kenyan Drake was the most dropped player on NFL.com this past week and he is undoubtedly Week 9's top add if he's floating out there on your league wire. Arizona plays San Francisco in two of their next three weeks, but Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris will be Drake's only competition for touches while the Cardinals are without David Johnson (ankle, back) and Chase Edmonds (hamstring).
Derrius Guice, RB, WAS -- Guice was back practicing with the Redskins on Monday, putting him on track to play in Week 11 when he is eligible to return off of injured reserve. Guice underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in mid-September and he'll return to a likely committee with Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson (if he can get healthy himself). Washington's offense has been a disaster this season and a potential committee situation doesn't help, but Guice is one of a few pickups that you can make this week that carry any long-term upside. Guice is currently available in about 80 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Jonnu Smith, TE, TEN -- Smith went off against the Bucs secondary for 6/78/1 last week with Delanie Walker (ankle) sidelined, rewarding sharp fantasy managers that streamed him in a great matchup. It's notable that Smith was still a part-time player in Week 8 without Walker -- he ran a route on just 18 of Ryan Tannehill's 38 dropbacks -- but any tight end with bankable volume and a pulse is playable in fantasy. If Walker misses Week 9 against the Panthers, you can go back to Smith in your lineup once again.
Chris Herndon, TE, NYJ -- Is this the week Chris Herndon makes his debut? On Monday, HC Adam Gase said that Herndon is making progress and "looks better for this week." If Herndon is healthy, he is the top streaming option for Week 9. There isn't a better matchup to knock off the rust than the Dolphins.
Chris Conley, WR, JAX -- Dede Westbrook (shoulder) left early last week, allowing Chris Conley to ascend as the Jags' No. 2 option opposite D.J. Chark. Conley went for 4/103/1 against the Jets, also marking his second-straight week with 7 or more targets. If Westbrook can't suit up in Week 9, Conley will be on the WR3 radar against a Texans secondary that is allowing a league-high 43.1 PPR points per game to wideouts.
Tra Carson, RB, DET -- It took the Lions over a year and C.J. Anderson getting cut to make Kerryon Johnson their featured runner, so it shouldn't have necessarily been a surprise that they went with a backfield committee in Kerryon's first missed game. What was surprising, however, was that Ty Johnson got just 8 touches while Tra Carson saw a team-leading 12 carries. Carson also handled Detroit's only red-zone rush of the game. No Lions back is playable in Week 9 after Johnson (40 percent snap rate), Carson (30 percent), J.D. McKissic (25 percent) and Paul Perkins (10 percent) all split snaps against the Giants, but if you have an empty bench spot to fill, Carson is worth stashing to see how his role evolves over the next few weeks.
Raheem Mostert, RB, SF -- Both Matt Breida (ankle) and Jeff Wilson (concussion) did not finish the game against the Panthers, and with a short week upcoming, the 49ers may have to roll with a Tevin Coleman and Mostert combo on Thursday night against Arizona. If Breida misses, Mostert will be on the FLEX radar attached to San Francisco's league-best rushing attack.
Other targets: Anthony Miller, WR, CHI; Cole Beasley, WR, BUF (PPR only); Danny Amendola, WR, DET (PPR only); Josh Reynolds, WR, LAR (Rams on bye this week, though)
If Gardner Minshew is still available in your league (owned in 53 percent of NFL.com leagues), he's this week's top streaming option against Houston. Minshew has now finished as a top-16 fantasy QB in every start he's made this season while the Texans have allowed Matt Ryan (330 yards, 3 TDs), Patrick Mahomes (273 yards, 3 TDs), Jacoby Brissett (326 yards, 4 TDs), and Derek Carr (285 yards, 3 TDs) to go off against them over the last month.
Derek Carr (vs. DET) -- Carr hasn't exceeded 38 pass attempts in a game yet this season and his low volume has kept him off of the fantasy radar most weeks, but a home matchup against a back-sliding Lions defense is very appealing. While Carr hasn't had any big fantasy weeks yet, he has tossed at least two scores in four of his last 5 games and he's quietly enjoying the most efficient season of his career. Meanwhile, Detroit has allowed over 300 yards or multiple passing TDs in every game so far this season.
Sam Darnold (at MIA) -- Darnold has now really struggled in 3 of his 4 starts this season, but a matchup against Miami is enough to put him back in fantasy's good graces...even if it's just for a week. The Dolphins have allowed a top-15 fantasy performance to every quarterback they have faced this year. I prefer Carr to Darnold for Week 9 streaming purposes.
Tight End Streamers
Jonnu Smith and Chris Herndon are the top two options this week, but there are a few other possibilities off of the wire if you're desperate for points. Dallas Goedert has 13/150/2 on 20 targets over the last month while Zach Ertz has complied 13/169/1 on 26 targets in this span. Goedert gets the Bears next, and they've allowed the ninth-most PPR points to tight ends this season. ... Darren Fells has played on 90 percent of Texans snaps in two of the past three weeks, hitting 6/69 in Week 6 against the Chiefs and 6/58/2 vs. the Raiders last week. The Texans passing attack beyond DeAndre Hopkins is game-plan dependent, but at the very least, Fells is in a nice matchup against a Jags' defense that just gave up 4/66/2 to Ryan Griffin. ... Noah Fant saw eight targets last week in the Broncos first game without Emmanuel Sanders against the Colts, but the QB change to Brandon Allen lowers Fant's floor even more.
Jets defense (at MIA) -- Step 1 of streaming defenses in 2019: Pick up the team against Miami. Step 2: Profit. Every single D/ST to face Miami has finished top-10 against them.
Browns defense (vs. DEN) -- Cleveland's season hasn't gone to plan, but a matchup against Brandon Allen (in place of the injured Joe Flacco) is worthy of a streamer play. The Browns' schedule has been tough with the Rams, Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks, and Patriots over their last five games -- but this unit has kept getting after the quarterback, recording multiple sacks in every single contest.
- -- Graham Barfield is a fantasy editor and analyst for NFL.com. Catch him on the NFL Fantasy Football podcast with Marcas Grant and Michael Fabiano, Fantasy LIVE on NFL Network, watch him on Fantasy League One, and follow him on Twitter @GrahamBarfield. *