Running backs have dominated our early looks at the waiver wire recently, but this week it’s the wide receiver position demanding attention. It got started on Thursday with the unfortunate injury to Will Fuller, and carried through Sunday, where a couple of receivers broke through in a way that could have lasting power for the rest of the season. We’ll have a full look at the Week 9 waiver wire on Monday, but here are a few players you should already be considering, especially those of you invested in A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, T.Y. Hilton and Alshon Jeffery, all of whom will be on bye this coming week.
Keke Coutee, WR, Texans
Will Fuller suffered a torn ACL last Thursday night, bringing his season to a premature end. Coutee, who missed the 42-23 win over the Dolphins, should step back into the starting lineup for the rest of the season. The rookie out of Texas Tech has made the most of his opportunities, catching 21 of 30 targets for 196 yards and a touchdown. In Week 4, a game Fuller left early with a hamstring injury, Coutee racked up 15 targets, hauling in 11 of them for 109 yards. The next week, he played nearly three-fourths of Houston’s snaps, pulling down six passes for 51 yards and a score. He has proved himself capable of making plays when he gets the chance, and he’ll have plenty of opportunity the rest of the season with Fuller on the shelf.
D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
The Panthers used the 24th overall pick in the draft on Moore, then spent the first two months of the season burying him. Through six games, Moore played 150 of Carolina’s 391 snaps, which comes out to 38.4%. It’s no surprise that he played fewer snaps than Devin Funchess, but he was also behind Torrey Smith (69.3%) and Jarius Wright (51.4%) in snap rate. Moore finally took on a larger role in the offense in Week 8 with Smith inactive, and chances are the Panthers will figure out a way to permanently reconfigure the depth chart. Moore led the Panthers with six targets on Sunday, catching five of them for 90 yards. He made one big play down the field, resulting in a 33-yard catch, and had a few impressive runs after the catch on 13- and 18-yard receptions. The Panthers are sitting at 5-2, and Moore can bring something new to an offense that has seemed to find a way more often than not this season.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos
Last week, we talked about Sutton as a player to stash in advance of the NFL trade deadline, which arrives this Tuesday. That possibility is still in play, though you’ll now have to go through the waiver wire to get him. The rookie out of SMU has done well with his opportunities this season, turning 37 targets into 17 receptions for 324 yards and two touchdowns. Sutton again made the most of limited chances on Sunday, catching three of his four targets for 78 yards. For sake of comparison, going into Week 8, Sutton had fewer targets and more fantasy points than Pierre Garcon, Kelvin Benjamin and Antonio Callaway, and he was just barely behind Larry Fitzgerald and Quincy Enunwa in points scored. He achieved that despite a 13.4% target share, which was on par with the likes of Adam Humphries and Tajae Sharpe. The Broncos used the 40th overall pick on Sutton despite having Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on the roster, so they clearly view him as a significant part of their future. He may not register as a great fantasy option unless Thomas or Sanders is traded, but that’s enough of a possibility to make him a worthy player to target on the waiver wire this week, especially considering the possible playoff should he become a starter in the next 48 hours.