Fantasy football waiver wire advice, Week 9: Who to target with Tom Brady, Alex Smith on bye

Scott Heavey

Fantasy owners with Tom Brady could be scrambling to the waiver wire this week, with the Patriots on a bye in Week 9. Unfortunately, the pickings could be slim with Sam Bradford, Alex Smith and Mark Sanchez also taking a break. We break down the best of the rest.

The New England Patriots are on a bye in Week 9, putting Tom Brady on benches in fantasy leagues across the nation. A lot of owners will be forced to hit up the waiver wires for a starting quarterback.

Unfortunately, the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and the New York Jets will also be resting, removing backups Alex Smith, Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez from the waiver pool.

There are still a few notable names left capable of getting you through the weekend, however. Once again, the following five QBs, ranked from worst to first, are owned in 60 percent or less of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues this week:

5. Russell Wilson -- Own percent: 15% Through eight games: 129-for-210 passing, 1,466 yards, 10 TDs, 8 INTs

The Seattle Seahawks ran their offense through Wilson last week for the first time in his career, allowing the rookie to attempt a season-high 35 passes. He delivered for the most part, throwing for 236 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Wilson has a very good matchup this week against the Minnesota Vikings, and could pay dividends for owners late in the season as the Seahawks grow more confident in him as a quarterback.

4. Brandon Weeden -- Own percent: 22% Through eight games: 165-for-299 passing, 1,912 yards, 9 TDs, 10 INTs

Weeden was awful last week, going 11-for-27 passing for 129 yards against the San Diego Chargers. He gets a mulligan due to awful weather, however. He threw two touchdown passes in each of the three games prior, and has been a viable fantasy option for the most part outside of a stats-skewing, four-interception game in the season opener. The Cleveland Browns face a reeling Baltimore Ravens squad this week that is struggling to stop the ball rushing or passing.

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick -- Own percent: 51% Through seven games: 133-for-218 passing, 1,435 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs

Fitzpatrick has been rather erratic for fantasy owners this season. He threw zero touchdowns in Weeks 5 and 6 after throwing a league-leading 12 in his first four games. He seemed to get back on track in Week 8, passing for 225 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Tennessee Titans. The Houston Texans will be a much tougher matchup Sunday, but Fitzpatrick has a lot of upside based on big fantasy performances in the past. Just keep in mind that his floor is arguably lower than anyone else on this list.

2. Carson Palmer -- Own percent: 47% Through seven games: 162-for-269 passing, 1,941 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INTs

The Oakland Raiders are struggling in all facets of their game, but at least Palmer has played relatively well. Unfortunately, he hasn't exactly been consistent, with three games with less than 210 yards passing and four with 297 or more. He has also thrown multiple touchdowns just twice this season. Still, a potential shoot-out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is an enticing matchup. He poses the least risk of anyone else on this list if you need a steady fantasy stop-gap, and has the potential for a big day against a secondary giving up 310 yards per game.

1. Josh Freeman -- Own percent: 60% Though seven games: 123-for-223 passing, 1,800 yards, 14 TDs, 5 INTs

This is really just a friendly reminder that you should pick up Freeman immediately if he is somehow still available in your league. Odds are he isn't, after throwing nine touchdowns over his last three games. The Raiders have given up 12 passing touchdowns this season and have intercepted just five passes, giving Freeman a pretty cushy matchup. Consider him a solid fantasy starter in standard leagues this week.

For more fantasy info, head over to the SB Nation Fantasy War Room 4-8:30 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. Check out SB Nation's own Fantasy Football game, Pick 6!

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