Week 8 is wrapping up and chaos continues to roll on. Backfields continue to turn over and the new realities the NFL reveals constantly remind us not to cling to our conceived notions. It's a reminder that pain is always present in the joy that is fantasy football. Now we must look forward to options to assist in beefing up our fake teams to move forward, whether it be long-term replacements or a streamer just to get by.
It's just those sort of symptoms that the Deep Dive is prescribed to help alleviate. NFL Fantasy's editorial overlord Alex Gelhar dutifully attacks the waiver wire to give you the top adds for the coming week in hopes of bolstering your roster. However, in this arena, we'll look at options to help those of you looking to go a little bit further down the rabbit hole, whether you play in a deeper format or are at the mercy of your incredibly sharp league-mates who scour the waiver wire relentlessly. A player can only qualify for the deep dive if they're owned in less than 10 percent of NFL.com leagues. With that, here are 11 players you can consider adding before Week 9 either as deep FLEX plays or simply as bench stashes.
Provided that Joe Flacco clears the concussion protocol in time to play Sunday, he'll have had 10 days to do so, he makes for a "not the worst" streamer in Week 9. The Titans will provide a soft-landing spot for his return. Tennessee's 3.8 sack rate ranks 31st in the NFL, while their 5.2 touchdown rate allowed is the eighth-highest. Additionally, Flacco played his best half of football by far on Thursday night before his early exit. He went 10 of 15 against the Dolphins, threw a 34-yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin and had the team driving for another score at the end of the second-quarter.
The 49ers backup running back earned nine touches in the team's Week 8 blowout loss in Philadelphia, including four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. He hasn't cracked 40 percent of the team's snaps since Week 5 but does appear to be the primary handcuff to Carlos Hyde, through and through. Perhaps that's not worth much in a struggling offense like the 49ers, but Breida deserves to be stashed once your roster is done dealing with the bye weeks.
Heading into Monday Night Football in Week 8, Devontae Booker has played on just 34 snaps in his previous two games. However, he appears to have a secure passing game role locked-down with seven catches in the last two weeks combined. Booker was on the field for just four rushing plays to 28 passing plays in that stretch. On the other hand, C.J. Anderson has just one catch on two targets since Booker took over as the passing-down back. If the Broncos continue to struggle as a team, they may find themselves in negative game scripts more often. With Booker playing well, they have no incentive to stop giving this second-year back work.. pick.
The Seahawks need to, as much as possible, give up any hope of having a running game. They simply can't do it, so why keep trying? If Seattle does go completely pass-heavy and up-tempo, that would heavily favor a pass-catching back like C.J. Prosise, who hasn't been seen in weeks. Should Prosise never find his way back into this offense, J.D. McKissic would hold down the receiving role.
The Carolina Panthers of the National Football League's NFC South conference extended veteran running back Jonathan Stewart and spent the No. 8 overall pick on Christian McCaffrey in the offseason. Yet, here we are at the midway point of the 2017 season and they're integrating Cameron Artis-Payne for a spark in their ground game. Artis-Payne went out for 10 snaps on Sunday, after coach Ron Rivera hinted at more work for the third-year back. He had played just one snap all year prior to Week 8. Rivera liked what he saw from Artis-Payne and would like to keep him involved. McCaffrey has been an utter whiff as a pure runner through eight weeks of the season so Artis-Payne may well still inherit double-digit carries in the event of a Stewart injury. Are we really at this point of the season already? We're ahead of the sadness schedule.
So, Dolphins coach Adam Gase is fed up. In a Friday morning media session, Gase threw daggers at every level of his offensive personnel, using sharp phrases like, "It's a joke. We've got too many guys who don't want to take it home with them." He reportedly kept pointing to the team's "best players" according to the Palm Beach Post. Notably, he offered up this assessment of the running game, "We've got to stop trying to hit home runs all the time. It's on the running back. Do your job. It's not hard to do." Well, that sounds pointed. Jay Ajayi has touch totals of 27, 26, 26 and 17 the last four weeks, and as Gase notes, hasn't produced much. He's averaged over 3.1 yards per carry in just one of those games. If the frustrated head coach wants to change up his backfield, he could turn to Kenyan Drake or Damien Williams.
After his 64-yard yard touchdown catch against Washington, the Eagles rewarded Mack Hollins with a 25.7 percent share of the snaps in Week 8. That doesn't sound like much, but it was a season-high. Additionally, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah believes Mack Hollins will continue to see his role grow as the season wears on. It's worth noting that Jeremiah nailed it with his read of another Eagles receiver back in August when he said Nelson Agholor would take over the slot job this season. Hollins is a big target at 6-foot-4 and over 220 pounds with speed for the outside. He could take snaps from Torrey Smith who has just one catch over the last three weeks.
Roger Lewis has been in this space since the destruction of the Giants wide receiver corps several weeks back and it hasn't amounted to really any production. We might finally get a chance to see if he can offer any fantasy value, as the Giants are out of a two-game stretch where they faced off against the Broncos and Seahawks before their Week 8 bye. The upcoming matchup against the Rams provides at least a somewhat softer landing spot. He's worth a speculative add, just in case. </content:power-ranking>
Pierre Garcon suffered a neck injury against the Eagles, which bears monitoring as the 49ers square off with the Cardinals in Week 9. If Garcon is on the field and draws shadow coverage from Patrick Peterson, Marquise Goodwin could be the next in a long line of secondary wide receivers ripping up the Arizona pass defense. Goodwin has a five-catch for 116 and four for an 80-yard game in the last four weeks but both were followed by a two for 26-yard and goose egg outing, respectively. You know it's a rocky road with no real floor with Goodwin, but he at least provides a realistic ceiling to chase. </content:power-ranking>
As Alex Gelhar noted in the main waiver-wire piece, the Rams tight ends are in a great spot this week against a Giants defense that has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in every game they've played this season. Tyler Higbee is indeed in the leader in the clubhouse at that position for LA, but if you're desperate you could consider Gerald Everett. The rookie tight end has just one game with more than a single catch this year and averages just 30.4 percent of the snaps. Yet, Rams coach Sean McVay has shown an ability to game plan around specific opponents this season and this is an easy to identify weakness in the Giants' defense.
Delanie Walker escaped his Week 7 injury scare against the Browns with just a bone bruise but did not practice Monday. If Walker can't go in Week 9, exciting rookie Jonnu Smith would draw the start. A gifted athlete, Smith has already flashed this season and would get a nice matchup against the Ravens. Despite being Football Outsiders' No. 5 overall defense, they're ranked dead last at defending the tight end position. </content:power-ranking>