Ronnie Rivers Waiver Wire Week 9: Should Fantasy Managers Target Him This Week?

    Is Ronnie Rivers a Week 9 waiver wire target for fantasy managers, and how should they prioritize him against the other options available?

    Ronnie Rivers Waiver Wire Week 9: Should Fantasy Managers Target Him This Week?

    Ronnie Rivers’ fantasy football value as a potential waiver wire option for Week 9 came to the fore when he got the start for the Los Angeles Rams last week. In what has been an underwhelming Rams’ backfield this season, does Rivers getting the start mean anything, and should fantasy managers invest in him on the Week 9 waiver wire?

    Is Ronnie Rivers a Week 9 Waiver Wire Target for Fantasy Managers?

    The fact that Rivers drew the start for the Rams last week is intriguing. However, it is somewhat peculiar how things broke down. Rivers led the backfield in rushing attempts (eight) and targets (four) in Week 8, but he played fewer snaps than Darrell Henderson (36 percent compared to 41 percent).

    Another slice of intrigue is looking at their situational usage. Rivers only narrowly led Henderson in early-down snaps. Meanwhile, Henderson was dominant when it came to third-down situations. To further complicate it all, Malcolm Brown dominated goal-line snaps.

    Out of the three, Rivers may have the most weekly value right now. Nonetheless, for best ball tournaments on Underdog Fantasy, Brown’s goal line role last week makes him intriguing.

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    All of this also comes in the context of a few elements. Firstly, Henderson was on the Rams’ injury report all week with an illness. Therefore, was this split in work simply a product of uncertainty over Henderson’s health?

    Secondly, another rookie, Kyren Williams, returned to practice last week and could be activated from the IR ahead of Week 9. With yet another back potentially thrown into the mix, how will that impact the roles of the Rams’ backs?

    Finally, the trade deadline looms. The Rams could make a move for an RB, such as Kareem Hunt, who would be expected to be the lead back. Alternatively, if they do not move Cam Akers, head coach Sean McVay has said he could come back into the picture. Either of those outcomes could significantly shift the situation for Rivers in terms of his fantasy value.

    The good news is that fantasy managers will likely have some answer about this before waivers run. Therefore, if Hunt or another RB arrives in LA, there is time to adjust accordingly.

    How Should Fantasy Managers Prioritize Rivers on the Week 9 Waiver Wire?

    There is so much to consider for the Week 9 waiver wire. If you are searching for an RB this week, Rivers will be tempting. The problem is we have no idea how this backfield will shake out in the coming weeks.

    With Henderson playing more snaps but seeing fewer opportunities in terms of rushing attempts and targets, was that simply because the Rams were not sure of Rivers’ level as a pass blocker? If so, could we continue to see Rivers lead the backfield in opportunities but continue to lag behind Henderson in snaps going forward?

    When Williams returns, could he end up being the answer to both concerns? In which case, we could see Rivers phased back out of the offense completely. Then, there is the capped upside for Rivers if Brown or Henderson keeps their role around the goal line.

    These questions for Rivers create an even more clouded RB picture on the Week 9 waiver wire. Latavius Murray is a popular name after leading the Broncos in touches and finding the end zone in London. However, he also played second fiddle in terms of snaps to Melvin Gordon while proving inefficient with his touches.

    Additionally, Kenyan Drake is in another messy backfield situation with the Baltimore Ravens. Drake has found the end zone in two of the past three weeks while seeing double-digit touches in that time frame. He appears to be building back up after recovering from a nasty ankle injury he suffered last year.

    However, the Ravens’ backfield is no clearer than Denver’s or LA’s. Gus Edwards has seen double-digit touches in the past two weeks but is now dealing with a hamstring injury of uncertain severity. Justice Hill also returned to the field in Week 9, and he has been super efficient rushing the ball this year, averaging 6.4 yards per rushing attempt. While Edwards might not even play on Monday Night Football in Week 9, Drake still may not be the clear lead back, limiting his ceiling.

    If you are dipping into the RB position on the Week 9 waiver wire, you are likely scratching your head. Therefore, let’s lay out how things could be prioritized. If you need the option to start Week 9, you can all but rule out Murray, as the Broncos are on a bye this week.

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    Consequently, it’s between Drake and Rivers for Week 9 waiver options. In terms of matchups, the Ravens play the New Orleans Saints, while the Rams face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Interestingly, those two rank back-to-back in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs.

    The Saints average 16.42 fantasy points allowed to the position in half-PPR, with the Buccaneers at 15.94. In the last three weeks, the Saints are marginally better than the Buccaneers against the position (18.16 vs. 18.48) and just held Josh Jacobs and the Las Vegas Raiders’ RBs to 4.82 fantasy points in Week 8.

    However, the matchups are so close that judging it based on that for Week 9 is risky. Instead, potential opportunities should be the decision-maker. Regardless of the situation, Drake appears in line for around 10 or 11 opportunities at a minimum. However, if Edwards does miss Week 9, Drake could see 12-15 opportunities on Monday Night Football.

    Meanwhile, we have no idea what Rivers’ usage will be. Assuming Henderson is not dealing with illness again, he could shift back to RB1. Therefore, Rivers could see his usage drop back to around five opportunities, especially if the veteran back is preferred against a talented Buccaneers pass rush.

    Therefore, thinking solely for Week 9, the priority in terms of their floor-to-ceiling ratio would push Drake marginally ahead in my waiver priority. Drake would be a 10-15% FAAB (or waiver priority) consideration, while Rivers would be more in the 8-10% region. Of course, if you are desperate for an RB this week, you could stretch it to 15-20% for Drake and 10-15% for Rivers.

    Murray is the top priority if you’re looking longer-term than just Week 9. He has had double-digit touches in each of the last three games and found the end zone twice. While Gordon is seeing more snaps, Murray is getting the most usage. That could only grow going forward as Murray continues to deliver scores.

    The long-term priority for fantasy managers should be Murray, Drake, and then Rivers. In terms of FAAB, it’s roughly 15-20% for Murray, 8-12% for Drake, and 5-7% for Rivers. Of course, if you desperately need an RB to add to your roster, you might look to up those numbers by five percent across the board.

    Ben is the Managing Editor at Pro Football Network. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Ben’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @BenRolfePFN.

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