Week 8 promises to bring about tough decisions for fantasy owners. Not only is the wear and tear of the season causing injuries to mount, the NFL is also throwing a curve ball by having 6 teams on byes instead of the typical 2 to 4 teams. That means it’s more important than ever to get things right with this week’s waiver wire choices.
To help out, we’ve rounded up another group of Featured Pros. As always, the experts ranked a list of RB/WR/TE targets based off of rest of season value. Their picks were then combined to produce consensus waiver wire rankings. We’ll also share the experts’ D/ST recommendations for week 8.
Waiver Wire Rankings (Standard Scoring)*
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Week 8 Waiver Wire Advice
We also asked each expert to share some specific tips for this week’s waiver wire. Here are the experts’ suggestions on who you should target in week 8.
Q1: Give us your thoughts on the waiver wire targets you especially like as pickups.
Harry Douglas and Mike James need to be owned in all leagues. With Doug Martin seemingly out for the season, James is going to be the featured back going forward. Yes, he is on a team that is not an offensive juggernaut by any means but any RB projected to average 15+ carries is an asset in fantasy football – especially with heavy bye weeks coming up.
Jordan Reed is a must-add for anyone not owning an elite TE already as he is going to be a borderline TE1 going forward. Jarrett Boykin is also a must-add after the significant injury Jermichael Finley sustained on Sunday. He seems to be locked in as one of Aaron Rodgers top targets for the foreseeable future.
Averaging more than 8 targets per game, Kendall Wright is a rare waiver wire commodity. The Titans entire offense looked better on Sunday with Jake Locker back in action and there is significant room for growth here in the second half of the season. You’d like to see more touchdowns (Wright scored just 4 in his rookie season) but take the looks and the high floor that comes along with them.
Go ahead and get a waiver claim in on Mike James – it’s only so often that a starting RB becomes available and with the injury to Doug Martin it appears that is what James will be for the remainder of 2013 – but temper expectations. Tampa Bay hasn’t been running well all year due, in large part, to inconsistencies with run blocking. Again, enjoy the volume but James ranks as no better than a low RB2/Flex until I see more from the run game.
Jarrett Boykin won’t post a Week 7 line (8 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD) every game. Generally, Jordy Nelson is going to see the bulk of the targets (he won’t be covered by Joe Haden every week) and James Jones is going to make his way back into the lineup before too long. However, filling the ‘Cobb-role’ for the Pack the former undrafted FA looked sharp, narrowly missing on a TD before finally crossing the plane later in the game, and leaving a 20 yard reception on the field due to a holding penalty. Boykin projects as a weekly WR3 play in the Green Bay offense.
With Doug Martin out of action, Mike James steps in as one of the top 2 acquisitions this week. He’d be number 1 if not for the fact that he’s not as good a RB as Doug Martin. Martin was struggling to get anything really going this season. James is not a great talent, but he’s thrust into a prominent role at the RB position and RB depth is always an issue during the middle parts of the fantasy season as you have injuries and bye weeks to deal with. He’s going to be snagged up quickly, and he should be because of the position, but if Doug Martin was producing only so-so fantasy numbers, those who acquire James shouldn’t be expecting anything more than what Martin has gotten.
As soon as Julio Jones went down I targeted Harry Douglas in my leagues as a player to acquire. Between Jones being done for the season, Roddy White struggling to stay healthy, and Tony Gonzalez just not being the dominant player he used to be, Douglas had to have some fantasy upside simply by attrition. He’s not a special talent, but he’s been in Atlanta since 2008, knows the offensive system, came in the same draft class as QB Matt Ryan, and has never really been given the opportunity to be more than the #3 WR. Now he has that chance. And with the Falcons struggling to have a rushing attack, the ball has to go somewhere. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Well, I offer up Douglas as a prime example.
As a Bucs fan, I was very disappointed to hear about Doug Martin’s torn labrum, but I wasn’t surprised. Each week, the Bucs try to be more of a disaster than the week before, and this just followed suit. Mike James actually ran well in limited snaps over the past few weeks, but that’s a big difference than getting the full-time gig. He’ll likely struggle behind an offensive line that is proving to be highly overrated, but RB1s with 20-plus touches per game are hard to come by in fantasy, so James is my top recommended pickup.
Q2: For folks looking to rent a D/ST in week 8, what readily available option should they target first?
The Carolina Panthers are an obvious choice as they get the lowly Buccaneers on a short week. The Bucs will be without Doug Martin and should be forced to throw into the much improved Panthers secondary. If they are already taken or you don’t want to enter the bidding war for them this week, the New Orleans Saints are my second option. They are much improved unit under Rob Ryan and will have had 2 weeks to prepare for their home matchup against the Bills.
I like the New Orleans Saints as a grab and play defense week 8. They’re only owned in 18% of Yahoo leagues but they’re coming off the bye, they’re at home and they face a Buffalo Bills team playing a second consecutive road game. The Saints are averaging over 3 sacks and 2 turnovers forced per game. They’re an aggressive defense facing a QB in Thaddeus Lewis who has fumbled 3 times in two starts (losing 1) and has thrown 1 interception. There’s now 2 games of tape for Rob Ryan to find a way to rattle Lewis and I think he will.
The fact that the Panthers DST remains unowned in a majority of leagues is mind-boggling. I’m a weekly streamer and I think they have great legs beginning as an option against a Bucs team on a short week starting a rookie RB and QB (in fairness to Mike Glennon he’s looked poised the last couple of weeks). They represent long-term value for gamers who like to stock a unit they can use week in and out. The team struggled against the Bills in Week 2 but since then have posted an average of more than 15 FPPG with a low of 9. Tampa gives up the 8th most fantasy points per game to opposing DSTs and Carolina trails only Kansas City in defensive points allowed per game.
Strangely, most of the top fantasy defenses are facing some of the most troubled offenses this week, including: Panthers (TB), 49ers (JAC), Seahawks (STL), and Chiefs (CLE). So I’m suggesting picking up the Patriots defense (vs. MIA). They’ve been beat up with injuries, but should get healthier this week. They are ticked off after a controversial Jets game, and will face a Dolphins offense that’s averaging around 300 offensive yards per game over its past three games.
Thanks to this week’s Featured Pros for sharing their advice! Best of luck to everyone with your week 8 waiver wire decisions.