We are officially halfway through the 2021 NFL season, and there have been many surprises and disappointments for fans and fantasy managers. Week 9 was super bizarre in the NFL: the Bills lost to the Jaguars, the Giants beat the Raiders, and Denver crushed Dallas. Meanwhile, there were still some huge performances from individual players, including Justin Herbert, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, Jonathan Taylor, Matt Ryan, and Lamar Jackson.
This is a make-or-break time for fantasy managers looking to make a playoff push, and the waiver wire can be your best friend or worst enemy. Check out the article below as well as the Lineups fantasy football rankings & projections pages to help you get to the playoffs and win your league.
Carson Wentz – Indianapolis Colts
Average % Rostered: 50.4%, FAAB: 4%
The fact that Wentz is still available in almost half of ESPN leagues is fairly shocking to me. He has put together strong performances every game since the Colts’ Week 3 loss to the Tennessee Titans. In fact, Wentz has had at least 19 fantasy points in every other game this season besides that game against the Titans. This past week was another terrific performance from Wentz; he threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns against the New York Jets in their 45-30 win. Next week, Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, which should not be a problem. He has low-end QB1 potential for the rest of the year, outside of a few particular matchups.
Teddy Bridgewater – Denver Broncos
Average % Rostered: 24.7%, FAAB: 1%
It has been a roller coaster through nine games for the Denver Broncos and Teddy Bridgewater. The Broncos are 5-4 and certainly still in the playoff hunt despite being in fourth place in the AFC West. Bridgewater just had a big game against the Dallas Cowboys in a huge upset game on the road, throwing for 249 yards and one touchdown while also rushing for one touchdown. He has been solid all year and brings value as a streamer, especially considering he faces the Philadelphia Eagles next week. Bridgewater is a mid-tier QB2 but could help fill your lineup if you are in need of a quarterback.
Brandon Bolden – New England Patriots
Average % Rostered: 7.4%, FAAB: 1%
Once again, the New England Patriots’ backfield is banged up, leaving Brandon Bolden to absorb the majority of the work in next week’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Bolden has been quite volatile this season due to the amount of running backs that the Patriots have deployed. Still, with James White being out for the season and Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson looking doubtful for next week with head injuries, Bolden could get a lot of touches. You should play Bolden as a low-end RB2 option and he would be a terrific play in the flex.
Ty Johnson – New York Jets
Average % Rostered: 20.5%, FAAB: 1%
Ty Johnson has solidified himself as a solid pass-catching back in a Jets offense that has put up some points in the past few weeks. He will only get about 4-5 rushing attempts per game but has value as a flex in deeper PPR leagues as he sees a solid amount of targets. While Johnson has to compete with Michael Carter for work, he still has enough value right now as a plug-and-play option if you are running thin at the position.
Rashod Bateman – Baltimore Ravens
Average % Rostered: 24.8%, FAAB: 3%
Bateman has played in three NFL games in his young career and has clearly impressed Ravens’ quarterback, Lamar Jackson. Bateman has brought in 12 of his 20 targets in those games for a total of 161 yards. While Bateman has not scored yet, he brings value as a flex play in deeper PPR leagues. He could have a breakout game at the right time and win a key game for fantasy managers.
Elijah Moore – New York Jets
Average % Rostered: 15.3%, FAAB: 3%
The past two games for Elijah Moore have been somewhat of a breakout for the rookie. In Week 8, Moore brought in all six of his targets for 67 yards and followed that performance up with a huge game against the Colts. He was targeted eight times in that game and caught seven of them for 84 yards and two touchdowns. While the Jets won’t win many games, they have been putting some points up, which should continue to help Moore’s production.
Tim Patrick – Denver Broncos
Average % Rostered: 24.7%, FAAB: 2%
Short of a couple of games that were stinkers, Patrick has been quite reliable for fantasy managers this season. While Patrick does not get a ton of targets, he seems to always catch what is thrown his way. Last week was a big one for Patrick as he had his best game of the season, catching four of his five targets for 85 yards and one touchdown. Patrick is a solid play next week as a flex player and should be considered a low-end WR3 since Jerry Jeudy is back.
Logan Thomas – Washington Football Team
Average % Rostered: 47.8%, FAAB: 1%
Thomas seems like he will be set to return in Week 10 from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for several games. He should be a huge help to several fantasy managers considering he is still rostered in less than half of the ESPN fantasy football leagues somehow. Thomas is a terrific tight-end option, and if you are struggling to find a consistent one or could use a little extra help, he could be your answer. You should assume Thomas will be a low-end TE1 option as long as he is healthy. He has top-five potential and could be the difference between winning a championship and coming up just short.
Evan Engram – New York Giants
Average % Rostered: 26.8%, FAAB: 1%
Evan Engram has had three straight respectable games for the Giants and has finally found a groove after an injury-riddled beginning of the 2021 NFL season. Engram has totaled 12 catches for a combined 97 yards and two touchdowns during that three-game stretch. Engram should be viewed as a high-end TE2 option for fantasy managers that are struggling with a consistent tight-end or have a bye week coming up.
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