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9 best players available on Week 9 waivers [UPDATE]

Injuries are creating all sorts of opportunities following Week 8. We break down the best fantasy football options on the waiver wire heading into Week 9.

Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith runs after a catch during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Nissan Stadium. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is headed into the final game of Week 8, with an ugly Monday Night Football matchup between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. There are a some significant fantasy options playing tonight, even when it involves the worst team in the league and a mediocre Steelers team. Fantasy contests will swing tonight, and there is always MNF Showdown on DraftKings.

Regardless of what you’re watching tonight, you’re also keeping an eye on the upcoming waiver wire in your traditional fantasy football leagues. If you’re anywhere in the mix in your leagues, there is always room to improve your roster. A key waiver addition can make a difference between playoffs or bust coming Week 14.

With that in mind, here are eleven of the best players available in at least 50 percent of fantasy leagues, per ESPN ownership rates. We also include a look at three players that might show up on your waiver wire radar, but are likely fool’s gold and should be avoided.

Mark Walton, RB, Miami Dolphins (11.6 percent)

Editor’s update: The Dolphins traded Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals. Get all in on Mark Walton while you still can.

Kenyan Drake did not travel with Dolphins to Pittsburgh for Week 8 Monday Night Football. It suggests he is on the verge of being traded before the Tuesday NFL trade deadline. Regardless of how Monday’s game goes, a Drake trade would mean Walton becomes the unchallenged starter (apologies to Kalen Ballage). Even on a bad team like Miami, a starter holds some value.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans (0.5 percent)

Delanie Walker was inactive with an ankle injury, and Smith took full advantage. Ryan Tannehill targeted him seven times in the passing game and Smith finished with six receptions for 78 yards and one touchdown. There is no word on Walker’s status for Week 9, but you have to wonder if the Titans might be extra conservative so they can take Smith for a further spin.

Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (8.5 percent)

The 49ers lost running back Matt Breida to an ankle injury in Week 8. His status for Week 9 is uncertain, but considering the short week before Thursday Night Football, it would not be surprising to see him sit. If he’s inactive, Raheem Mostert will be Tevin Coleman’s backup. In the Kyle Shanahan offense, multiple 49ers running backs are worth rostering. He’s a decent flex start on TNF this week if Breida is inactive.

Zach Zenner/Alfred Morris, RB, Arizona Cardinals (0.1/0.5 percent)

Editor’s update: The Cardinals just traded for Kenyan Drake. These two hold no value now.

The Cardinals running back situation is officially a mess. David Johnson was inactive with an ankle injury, leaving Chase Edmonds and Zenner as the only two healthy running backs. Edmonds struggled and then suffered a hamstring in the third quarter. He did not return to the game, leaving Zenner to get a couple touches. Morris was a healthy scratch for the game.

Arizona faces the 49ers on Thursday Night Football in Week 9, and a short week is never good for a hamstring. If Edmonds can’t get back, and Johnson remains out as is expected, this situation becomes a problem. None are a good option against a quality 49ers defense, but one will potentially be a volume play — and with four byes coming up, you might be desperate for a body.

Chris Conley, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (9.7 percent)

Conley led the Jaguars in receiving in Week 8, catching four passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. He had three receptions for 83 yards the week before, and could be in line for more playing time in Week 9. Dede Westbrook aggravated a neck/shoulder injury and missed the second half. The Jaguars have a Week 10 bye, so they might decide to give Westbrook some rest. Conley becomes an intriguing addition.

Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants (11.0 percent)

Slayton has quietly stepped up as the Giants have dealt with numerous injuries, and he had a big two-touchdown day in Week 8. He only had two receptions, but he made the most of them with 50 yards to go with the two scores. He was targeted five times, putting him behind Golden Tate (10), Saquon Barkley (10), and Evan Engram (7) in targets. If Shepard misses another week, Slayton is a decent flex option in deeper leagues against a shaky Cowboys defense.

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (49.5 percent)

The Jaguars rookie has been up and down, and was back up in a big way in Week 8. He had three touchdowns and 279 passing yards. A fumble cost him, but otherwise it was a big day. The Jaguars travel to face Houston, who has given up the seventh most fantasy points to quarterbacks. If you’re looking for a bye week fill-in, this is it.

Danny Amendola, WR, Detroit Lions (8.9 percent)

It’s been wait and see with Amendola after a huge Week 1, but he’s now put together two straight big performances. He had eight receptions for 105 yards in Week 7 and eight for 95 in Week 8. He’s facing a shaky Raiders defense in Week 9 and could be a decent spot start for one week.

Hunter Renfrow, WR, Oakland Raiders (2.3 percent)

Rookie wide receivers are usually a shaky proposition. Renfrow has quietly built some chemistry with Derek Carr. He’s a must own in dynasty and some keeper leagues, but he might still earn some re-draft league value. He caught all four of his targets in Week 8 for 88 yards and a touchdown. We need to see more targets, but he’s worth a stash consideration.