New Orleans Saints running back Tim Hightower (34) sheds Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) on his way to a 28 yard gain at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans October 30, 2016. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo
MIAMI, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Terrific Tom Brady isn't the only superstar with a Week 9 bye.
The Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, and Washington Redskins join the New England Patriots on the bench this week. That means there will be plenty of holes in your lineup and hopefully your opponent's as well.
Still, there are plenty of emerging stars available to employ en route to another victory. Some of the players from the bye week teams are also droppable.
Here are my top players to add and top players to drop for Week 9.
QB | Colin Kaepernick, Case Keenum; RB | Tim Hightower, Charcandrick West, Antone Smith; WR | J.J. Nelson, Kendall Wright, Adam Humphries, Tyreek Hill; TE | Eric Ebron; D/ST | Green Bay Packers; K | Will Lutz
QB | Josh McCown or Cody Kessler; RB | Kapri Bibbs, Duke Johnson Jr., Dion Lewis, Peyton Barber, Rob Kelley, James Starks; WR | Sammie Coates, Corey Coleman, Donte Moncrief; TE | Dennis Pitta, Cameron Brate; D/ST | Baltimore Ravens
QB | Alex Smith; RB | Chris Ivory, Ryan Mathews, Dwayne Washington; WR | Michael Floyd, Tyler Lockett; TE | Julius Thomas
Although he is not a great real-life quarterback, San Francisco 49ers gunslinger Colin Kaepernick can pile up fantasy points. With the likes of Brady, Carson Palmer, and Andy Dalton serving bye weeks, it might be the time to put him in your lineup if you are desperate. Kaepernick is always a threat to takeoff from the pocket and give you rushing stats. He gets a porous New Orleans Saints defense at home this week. I like his chances to throw multiple touchdown passes and rush for at least 50 yards.
Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher says that he will keep Case Keenum under center for a battle against the Carolina Panthers. With the Panthers coming off of a big victory, this could get ugly for Keenum, so he is purely a desperation play immediately. But Keenum does have some solid matchups ahead if you have a quarterback with a Week 10, 11, or 12 bye. After the Panthers, he faces the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Saints.
This group is where you need to research your waiver claims and stock up. Tim Hightower, Charcandrick West, and Antone Smith all deserve consideration for your roster, even if you have adequate depth at the running back position. It is a toss-up for who has better immediate value when it comes to Hightower and West, but the former is likely a better long-term add. Hightower looks like he could be 'the guy' for the New Orleans Saints. Saints coach Sean Payton voiced confidence in Hightower after the Saints beat the Seattle Seahawks 25-20, saying that the 30-year-old earned more work going forward. Last week, the Saints benched workhorse Mark Ingram after a fumble in the first quarter. Hightower responded to the promotion with 102 yards on 26 carries. With a matchup against the 49ers, Hightower is not a bad play in Week 9 and could produce RB2 numbers.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West is a hot commodity again this season. Once slotted as the No. 3 running back for the Chiefs, West looks like a possible workhorse back in Week 9. Spencer Ware left last week's victory after a concussion and Jamaal Charles is still struggling to return from knee surgery. West had 60 yards on 16 touches last week. I expect even better production against the Jacksonville Jaguars, putting him on the RB2 radar.
Although he has a bye week, Arizona Cardinals speedster J.J. Nelson looks like a breakout star down the stretch. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians already named Nelson his No. 2 wide receiver following a two-touchdown performance in Week 8. I expect the production to continue as Carson Palmer warms up. Nelson is extremely valuable because of his unique ability to chew up a ton of yards per catch. He has been targeted 19 times in his last two games and gets a matchup against the 49ers in Week 10. Although he has matchups against the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons in Week 11 and 12, he also has upcoming tilts against the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, and Saints.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries is worth a look in deeper leagues if you previously missed out on the likes of Jamison Crowder or Davante Adams in previous weeks. Humphries, 23, has yet to score this season but has averaged 11.6 yards per reception en route to 291 yards on 25 catches. With Vincent Jackson on injured reserve, Humphries is sure to have some additional value. He also gets an upcoming schedule including a game against the Chicago Bears and two matchups against the New Orleans Saints.
Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron could be a sneaky pickup. Some owners might have to drop him this week because he has a matchup against the Minnesota Vikings before a Week 10 bye. I like him as a depth-add to your lineup if you are unstable at the tight end position. Ebron looks like an important piece of the offense for MVP candidate Matthew Stafford. He hauled in a career-high seven receptions for 79 yards in a Week 8 loss to the Houston Texans. If you can't grab him this week, you could have another shot next week when he is set for his bye.