Top 6 Fantasy Waiver Pickups for Week 9

Ready for the playoffs? The moves you make now could set the stage.

What a week! For those of you on the East Coast, let me first start off hoping you're safe and that you've got the peace of mind to worry about things as relatively trivial as fantasy football. For those of you on the West Coast, well, us East Coasters are super jealous right now. Enjoy your burritos and your perfect weather. Jerks.

With all that said, of course, fantasy football waits for no one and Week 8 was chock full of surprising performances and breakout players. Our mathematical model knows exactly how to separate the wheat from the chaff though, so allow us to make some polite recommendations. This is numberFire's top Week 9 pickups, powered by the wonder of math and our projections model.

Top 6 Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups for Week 9

WR Cecil Shorts - Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 11.6
Leagues Owned: 12%

The receiver situation in Jacksonville has been nothing short of horrific. Of course, Blaine Gabbert performing like he's never seen a football before doesn't exactly help the cause. What will help the cause, however, is we may finally have someone who actually wants to be a WR1 for his team. That person is also someone who yours truly beat in a 4x100 heat at the NCAA Division III Championships. His name is Cecil Shorts, and he's here to be your new flex. Or your financial advisor, because come on, the cat's name is Cecil. Only obese sluggers and accountants have that name!

To the numbers: Cecil had 12 targets, the highest on the Jaguars by quite a big margin. He's been a little shaky on this so far this year, converting only 20 receptions on 41 targets. Of course, what matters most is doing something with those targets; Cecil Shorts happens to add 0.84 points to his team for each catch that he makes. Pretty good, right? That's probably why his comparables include Donte Stallworth, the late Chris Henry, and Randy Moss.

Now, it's worth noting that in this space last week, we told you to pick him up. So why didn't you, you foolish beast? Listen to us this time around, won't you?

RB Jacquizz Rodgers - Atlanta Falcons
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 8
Leagues Owned: 32%

Once a sexy choice for a late-round draft pick, Jacquizz's value has plummeted so low, you'd think that his middle name was Zynga. (Wikipedia doesn't even list what his actual middle name is. First time they've let me down.)

He's a net-loss as a rusher unfortunately, succeeding only 20.51% of the time and actually hurting his team each time he touches the ball. His real value is in the passing game, where he converts over 80% of his targets and adds 0.34 points to his team's offense each time out.

Now of course it's true that Michael Turner is ruler of the roost in Atlanta - we're not going to even debate that here. There is, however, significant value to having the backup RB for a team that is consistently winning late in games, not to mention one that is obviously a change-of-pace back from the starter, both on the ground and through the air. I wouldn't say yet that Quizz has really shown the potential he showed in his days in Oregon State, but given more work, he can be a legitimate deep flex and perhaps more in PPR leagues.

WR Chris Givens - St. Louis Rams
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 12
Leagues Owned: 13%

Let's dispense with the obvious up front: the Rams are terrible. They make baby Dick Vermeil cry.

There are a few rays of light though. Daryl Richardson is proving to be a bit of surprise, and Sam Bradford... well, he doesn't look as bad as Blaine Gabbert does. But no star is burning as bright right now as Chris Givens, the human epitome of a binary number. (He's off and he's on. Binary. Work with me here, people.)

Like Cecil Shorts, Givens' net efficiency is very positive: he adds 0.78 points to his team above expectation each time he catches the ball. Want some comparables? Donald Driver in 2000 and Demaryius Thomas in 2011. That's some good company.

Just absorb this staggering statistic: he's had a play of fifty or more yards in five straight games. Five! I don't think the the Jets have even a single play that long this year and to be honest, the Jets stink so bad I don't even have the interest in finding out. So if you need a boom/bust guy - highly recommended if you've got a very stable team that has consistent scorers - Chris Givens may be your one-way ticket to paradise.

WR Titus Young - Detroit Lions
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 22
Leagues Owned: 44%

Consider this pick much more a nod to his past performance and not necessarily our view of him as a long-term viable WR2 in Detroit. But with Nate Burleson out for the year and as long as the Lions have a total and complete inability to rush the ball with any effectiveness, Titus Young Sr. has WR3/Flex value.

Titus has serious value on the basis of a very high catch rate, converting 26 receptions off of just 38 targets. This puts him in the upper quartile of the league as far as conversions, so just imagine how he's going to perform as his targets go up!

Oh, and the news keeps getting better: Detroit is playing Jacksonville this week, home of a defense so porous, Betty White once put up a buck on the ground.

QB Josh Freeman - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 22
Leagues Owned: 52%

If you haven't been paying attention - and judging by attendance numbers, you haven't - Josh Freeman has quietly been top 10 QB for the past month now. Between Doug Martin's solid play and Vincent Jackson kicking ass and taking names (when he's not being chased down), Freeman has been lurking in the shadows. Now, he's ready for his spotlight - and what better time to do it than against the Raiders?

Using our fancy math model, we've got Josh Freeman as the 8th most efficient QB, adding nearly 0.25 points to his team for each pass that he makes. In terms of raw efficiency, that puts him ahead of Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford. Just some math for thought.

Odds are you've got a backup QB stashed deep on your bench - and odds are he's not as good as Freeman. Or, to put it another way, if he is better than Freeman, he's too good to be sitting on your bench. Trade him and pick up Josh.

WR Danny Amendola - St. Louis Rams
Week 8 Fantasy Points: 0
Leagues Owned: 54%

You forgot about the human 9-yard completion, didn't you? Well he's back and despite the bye week, he's a huge target looking ahead to the playoff chase.

I have to be honest with you - it feels very odd to be recommending multiple Rams in the same article, unless we're talking about recommendations for which team to relegate to the SEC. In fact, if you wanted to throw in Daryl Richardson, that could be a decent choice as well. The bottom line is that despite the Rams' horrific play, there is some serious value to their skill players - after all, garbage time points count just as much as regular points. Always remember that, grasshopper!

Who I would pick up this week, in order (with auction waiver $, assuming a $100 spending limit)
1. Freeman ($11)
2. Rodgers ($6)
3. Givens ($5)
4. Amendola ($5)
5. Shorts ($4)
6. Young ($3)