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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays, and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 9 - Mac Jones, Khalil Shakir, Rashid Shaheed, Zach Charbonnet, more

Khalil Shakir - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

The byes are back! After not having any to deal with last week, we have the 49ers, Broncos, Jaguars, and Lions off this week. That is a lot of star power that we unfortunately will not be able to start in fantasy football. 

But this is also set up to be the best week of football in the regular season, arguably. There are some powerhouses that are facing off and there should be some high-scoring battles. That can help us survive the bye weeks. 

We are in the playoff push for many teams in fantasy and each week is starting to look bigger than the last. This article should help you survive the byes and injuries you are dealing with and have your lineup as strong as possible. 

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:


Quarterback Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options in case Justin Fields, Deshaun Watson, Matthew Stafford, don’t play or you don’t like your QBs matchup…

Sam Howell was the QB1 last week, giving you 31 fantasy points. He did so by throwing for 397 yards and four touchdowns, adding 11 yards with his legs. Howell has scored at least 18 fantasy points in five of his last seven games and has topped 21 three times, so there is clearly a high ceiling here as he's thrown multiple passing touchdowns in three of four games. The floor is always a bit risky, especially against Bill Belichick. But the Patriots have not forced many sacks or interceptions this season. Howell is a strong pivot option this week. 

Will Levis set the world on fire last week throwing for four touchdowns and dropping nearly 27 fantasy points. This is a tougher matchup against the Steelers, who both run more man coverage and generate pressure at a higher rate than Atlanta does. The floor may not be safe but the upside is certainly there. If you are in need of a replacement this week, Levis is an upside shot worth taking. 

Mac Jones is in play this week because of the matchup against the Commanders. Washington has allowed the third-most passing yards, most passing touchdowns, and the second-most fantasy PPG to QBs. They also have allowed a ton of big plays throughout the passing game and just traded away some of their best defensive playmakers. Mac is definitely an option this week. 

Daniel Jones has just one good game this season, but we do know he brings some upside. He has run for over 40 yards in three of his five starts so he can add value there. The issue is he has just one game this season with a touchdown pass. If he can get better results through the air he has the upside to give you a QB1 finish this week. But just understand the floor is single-digits. 

Aidan O’Connell and Taylor Heinicke are certainly options if you play in Superflex or two QB leagues. O’Connell only put up 9.8 fantasy points in his lone start but he is the starter the rest of the way for a Raiders team that does have very impactful weapons that can help elevate him. Heinicke is a bit more proven and even if he is just a QB2 for fantasy purposes we know there is some upside. Especially considering the weapons that he has at his disposal. In those formats, any QB getting consistent starts is worth rostering. 


Running Back Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options if Raheem Mostert, Aaron Jones, Emari Demercado, Dameon Pierce, doesn't play… 

If Darrell Henderson Jr. or Emari Demercado are available in your league or on your bench, they are top pivot options this week. If you miss out on Henderson, Royce Freeman is in play as an option as well. Freeman played 52 percent of the snaps with nine carries and scored a touchdown. He clearly has a role in this backfield and could see more run if Stafford is out this week. Freeman is a solid pivot option. 

Chuba Hubbard led the way for the Panthers last week playing 66 percent of the snaps. He finished with 15 carries and two targets and was also used a bunch near the goal line. Meanwhile, Miles Sanders played just 20 percent of snaps with just two touches. There is the risk of Sanders playing a larger role moving forward, or Hubbard struggling with efficiency like he did last week, but the usage is too good to ignore, especially in a strong matchup. The Colts have allowed the seventh-most rushing yards, second-most touchdowns, and fifth-most fantasy PPG to RBs. Hubbard is a strong pivot option this week. 

Zach Charbonnet played 56 percent of the snaps, which was more than Kenneth Walker. He also ran more routes than Walker and averaged over 10 yards per carry. That was with Walker dealing with a calf issue. If that lingers it could lead to Charbonnet being more involved again this week. The floor is low but this is an upside swing. Plus, if anything happens to Walker, Charbonnet becomes a top-20 RB at a minimum. 

Devin Singletary played 41 percent of the snaps last week compared to 43 percent for Dameon Pierce. He had 10 carries to the 12 Pierce saw. Plus, Singletary was the one used in the passing game. This has now been a trend where the two split ground work and Singletary gets the ground work. The Bucs have been stingy against backs, but if you need a safe floor Singletary is in play. 

Jerick McKinnon is just a vibes pick. McKinnon has one game this season with over six fantasy points. But in that game, he scored two touchdowns and gave you nearly 18 fantasy points. The second half of the season is when the Chiefs tend to unleash McKinnon and we know he can get hot and put up monster numbers. With this being a game the Chiefs likely have to throw and score a bunch because of who is on the other side, McKinnon is certainly sneaky. 


Wide Receiver Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options in case Drake London, Tyler Lockett, Michael Wilson, Curtis Samuel doesn't play… 

Rashid Shaheed may be boom-or-bust but that does not mean he is not a strong pivot option this week. He has four games with over 10 fantasy points, three of those he topped 18. He also has four games with under eight fantasy points. Shaheed has been the Saints' deep threat with nine of their 14 completions of 20-plus air yards. He has 368 of their 516 yards on deep passes and all three of their touchdowns. The floor is low but there are very few receivers available that provide the upside that Shaheed brings. 

Demario Douglas led the Patriots in routes (27) and targets (seven) last week. He caught just five for 25 yards but showed more upside a week prior. The Patriots are in need of a new top target with Kendrick Bourne out for the year and Douglas figures to be the next man up. He should be on the field plenty against the Commanders who have allowed a ton of production to receivers, including the second-most fantasy PPG to receivers. 

Jahan Dotson ran 48 routes last week with 10 targets catching eight of them for 108 yards and a touchdown. He scored just under 25 fantasy points and was the WR7 on the week. This is two straight games now with at least eight targets for Dotson. He was a popular breakout pick coming into the season for many fantasy analysts, myself included, and is finally starting to show why. Dotson brings a lot of upside even if the floor is low. 

Khalil Shakir had a breakout game last week catching all six of his targets for 92 yards. All of those were career highs for the second-year receiver. He replaced Deonte Harty as the lead slot receiver for the Bills. Being on the field often for one of the better offenses in the league is a good thing for any player's value. While he may be the fourth target, and the floor may not be steady, he is certainly an upside pivot option. Especially in a game that could have a lot of points scored this week. 

Jayden Reed has come to life a bit as of late topping 11 fantasy points in two straight games. He had a season-high 83 yards last week. We have not seen much more upside than that out of Reed, but if you are looking for a safe 10 fantasy points, he is your guy. 

Tank Dell has two massive games this season and then some duds. However, he is consistently on the field - running the most routes for the Texans last week. Plus, given the QB landscape this week he is playing with a top 10 QB. The floor may not be as safe as we would look but Dell is an upside swing worth taking if you are diving a little deeper at wide receiver this week. 

KhaDarel Hodge and Van Jefferson are both deeper options if Drake London sits out this week. Hodge only ran 16 routes and had three targets last week but he did lead the team in yards. He is the deep threat here and brings some upside even if the floor is very low. Jefferson ran a team-high 31 routes and caught three of his five targets for 24 yards. He brings a safer floor but less upside. With Heinicke and his throw-it-deep mindset starting, I would take a shot on Hodge before Jefferson, but both are deep-league options. 


Tight End Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Pivot options in case Darren Waller or Hayden Hurst don’t play or you need a streaming option…

Trey McBride broke out in a big way last week after being recommended as a pivot option here. He played 83 percent of the snaps, ran the most routes on the Cardinals, and finished with 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. That all led the Cardinals last week. He put up 25.5 fantasy points and was the TE1 on the week. Yeah, that is a tight end that you want to start. Even in a tough matchup against the Browns. Zach Ertz saw so much volume and that has carried over to McBride. He will clearly remain a large part of their offense. He is certainly back in play this week. 

Taysom Hill has topped 16 fantasy points in two straight and 12 in his last three. Even with Juwan Johnson back last week, Hill was used in a variety of ways and finished with 22.46 fantasy points. He split reps with Johnson, running 12 routes to his 15. Hill caught his lone target for 14 yards. But he also threw two passes, completing one for 44 yards. He ran nine times for 63 yards and two touchdowns. He is heavily featured near the goal line. You get a QB/RB/TE all in one that you can play at the thinnest position in fantasy football. 

Logan Thomas has heavily been featured here this season. Last week he scored a touchdown and gave you over 16 fantasy points. It was his third game in double-figures and his second over 16. He has one game this season with under seven fantasy points. So as far as tight ends go, he brings a relatively safe floor and high ceiling. He is in play as a streaming option this week. 

Gerald Everett or Donald Parham Jr., depending on which one starts for the Chargers, is in play this week. The Jets have allowed the most touchdowns and eighth-most fantasy PPG to the position. That was significantly higher before they played the Giants last week. Everett had scored a touchdown and topped double-digits in each of his last two games. He was starting to get used more in the red zone as well. He is in play as a streaming option in this matchup as long as he suits up. If Everett is out again this week, then you can pivot to Parham, who scored a touchdown himself last week.


Make sure to follow Michael on X, @MichaelFFlorio.

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