Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 8
Those looking for a spark in Week 7 were likely left wanting, as three teams were shut out for the first time in five seasons. Perhaps that Thursday night madness between the Raiders and Chiefs stole all of the fireworks? What that means heading into Week 8 is having to hope people overreact to the duds and drop some viable players, as well as overlook those who had solid performances in Week 6 but didn’t quite make the leap in Week 7. Compounding the depth issues will be the six teams on a bye, as the Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Giants, and Titans will all hit the hammocks.
If Andy Dalton (55% owned) is available, his date against the Colts warrants a stream. Those seeking an available QB should target Josh McCown (12%) given his increasing chemistry with his new crew. Latavius Murray (41% owned) is not to be forgotten either, as he finally looks close to 100% back there and should shine when Minnesota is in control of the game. As usual, ownership levels discussed here are taken from Yahoo leagues.
Priority Pickups – <30% Owned
Jalen Richard (OAK – RB): 11% owned (8% FAAB)
Given Marshawn Lynch‘s ejection and subsequent one-game suspension, Richard becomes an interesting one-week buy after he led Oakland RBs in snaps (26) in their Week 7 win over the Chiefs. He delivered 31 ground yards on nine carries and 45 air yards on four catches, for the record. He’s going to form a platoon with DeAndre Washington (who we’ll discuss in a bit) but Richard’s pass-catching work does help give him a higher floor, especially in PPR. Oakland’s matchup against the Bills isn’t particularly inviting, but the Bills have played better pass defense than rush defense thus far and the Raiders could find a spark with these two backs rotating in. Let’s face it, Lynch has looked like he missed a year.
DeAndre Washington (OAK – RB): 3% owned (8% FAAB)
So, we’ve spoken about Jalen Richard already but we can’t ignore the bigger back of the pair. He made that size and power no more apparent than when he rumbled, bumbled, and stumbled over several Chiefs for a bruising four-yard touchdown on Thursday. He really hadn’t done anything before that, tallying just 14 rushes for 20 total yards and zero scores across six games, but ended up with 33 rushing yards on nine totes and three catches for seven more yards in Week 7. We said how Richard led Oakland’s RBs in snaps, but Washington trailed him by just one. This should be close to a 50/50 split in Week 8 against Buffalo, making Washington a viable flex option in many 12-team formats given the bye-week blues.
Corey Davis (TEN – WR): 25% owned (8% FAAB)
Without any gigantic WR adds, Davis remains a priority despite still being injured and Tennessee hitting their bye week. The dynamic first-round rookie is expected to hit the practice field next Monday and is trending toward a Week 9 return against the Ravens, and could find himself playing a rather large role across from Rishard Matthews if Delanie Walker (ankle) can’t go. Even if Walker does suit up, Davis managed to total 10 targets in Week 1 when all hands were on deck. It’s a shame that he missed prime matchups against the Colts and Browns and will have to tangle with the Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers upon his likely return, but will then see the schedule open up in Weeks 12-16 for those precious playoff weeks.
Matt Forte (NYJ – RB): 30% owned (8% FAAB in PPR)
While Forte’s workload was trimmed with the return of Bilal Powell — his snap count went from 44-of-76 (58%) to 28-of-56 (50%) — he was the lead dog against the Dolphins, totaling 82 yards (41 rushing, 41 receiving) for a neat PPR finish. I’m a little worried that the Jets were simply easing Powell back into action a bit after he missed Week 6, but Forte’s momentum should have his coaches utilizing him next week against Atlanta in a game where Gang Green is going to need plenty of offense. I wouldn’t trust him as more than a flex in standard formats, but the Falcons did allow big receiving totals to both Tarik Cohen and Ty Montgomery in Weeks 1-2 (and just allow a 5-28-1 receiving line to James White) and could be attacked there.
Dion Lewis (NE – RB): 29% owned (7% FAAB)
Once again, Lewis was the leader of New England’s backfield, registering 82 yards on 14 touches with a team-leading 26 snaps. My concerns over Rex Burkhead gumming up the works to the point where any one guy becomes near-unusable were assuaged here, though it was Burkhead’s first game back after a four-week absence. Mike Gillislee, who was the early-down back to open the season, only became a factor as a late-game hammer to kill the clock. Look for Lewis to flirt with 15 touches yet again in a plus Week 8 matchup with the Chargers.
Kenny Stills (MIA – WR): 22% owned (6% FAAB)
Stills would log a season-high 72 snaps (out of 73 total Miami plays) on his way to a beautiful 6-85-2 line on nine targets, with both TDs coming on fourth-quarter strikes from Matt Moore. Jay Cutler is reportedly dealing with multiple cracked ribs and looks very dicey for a Thursday tilt with the Ravens on the road, which could very well be a plus for Stills and the Dolphins at this point.
Mr. Kenny remains dependent on TDs to generate serious value — this was his first game with more than four catches — but his big-play ability is what makes him valuable in this league. He’d be a decent boom-bust flex play if DeVante Parker ends up being able to play, but the short week also hinders his chances at making enough of a recovery. That would put Stills in a prime spot once again, even in a less-than-stellar matchup.
Robby Anderson (WR – NYJ): 19% owned (4% FAAB)
While Anderson couldn’t replicate his 12-target tally from Week 6 against the Patriots, he still managed to deliver a useful 3-35-1 line on five looks from Josh McCown against the Dolphins. While he’s averaging just three catches per game, he shouldn’t be an afterthought with so many teams on bye considering the Jets will likely be throwing a lot as they host the Falcons in Week 8. Per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, the Falcons are weakest against the No. 2 WR (25th entering Week 7) and so Anderson becomes an intriguing target for WR-needy owners.
Kenny Golladay (DET – WR): 15% owned (4% FAAB)
Pick up all of the Kenny’s! We marked Golladay as a savvy add last week, but it’s understandable that many wanted to wait due to Detroit’s bye week. Well, now the six-team bye is here and Golladay should step into Detroit’s WR2 role with Golden Tate still nursing a shoulder injury. Golladay’s own hamstring issue that has kept him out since Week 3 will have hopefully cleared up during the bye week, making him a nice short-term add for a game against Pittsburgh at home that should have a Vegas total of 50-plus.
Tyler Kroft (CIN – TE): 15% owned (2% FAAB)
Kroft was able to haul in his third touchdown of 2017 on a play-action pass and would end up catching all four of his targets for 23 yards alongside the score. He’s caught at least four balls in each of his last three games, but he’s not exactly going to “YAC” it up after getting the pigskin in his hands. That said, Andy Dalton needs a steady presence over the middle and he’s not getting it from anyone else. A.J. Green can only do so much and it appears that Kroft is establishing himself as a red-zone option worthy of Eifert-ian attention from his QB. He should help many a needy owner in Week 8 given Cincinnati’s date with the porous Indianapolis defense.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT – WR): 14% owned (2% FAAB)
Not only did Smith-Schuster bring in his third touchdown of the season on a wide-open grab over the middle on Sunday, but Martavis Bryant once again looked like Harry Houdini out there. Bryant then doubled down by not appearing at the Monday meetings, and at this point, we have to consider Smith-Schuster the real No. 2 receiver on this team.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean much right now. LeVeon Bell might as well be the WR2 behind Antonio Brown, and Pittsburgh’s defense and ground game are good enough where they don’t need to lean on an iffy Ben Roethlisberger all that much. However, should they find themselves in a dogfight with another top-10 defensive unit (like their Week 8 opponent in Detroit, for example) then they might have to open things up more. JSS should be scooped in deeper PPR formats.
O.J. Howard (TB – TE): 12% owned (2% FAAB)
While he doesn’t boast the upside of Evan Engram in receiving skills or team situation, Howard is absolutely capable of making big plays in the NFL. After catching six passes for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns on Sunday, he may have just announced that fact to the world. No one in the fantasy community has really doubted his talent, but rather the opportunity since Tampa Bay has largely deployed him as a blocker thus far. The Bucs have a receiving tight end in Cameron Brate, who they don’t utilize as a blocker. Howard has seen healthy snap totals all season long, but this was his first game with more than four targets. He didn’t suddenly supplant Brate as the Bucs’ passing TE, but they should find more ways to get him involved. He’ll be on the TE2 radar for next week against the Panthers.
Deep League Targets – <10% owned
Dede Westbrook (JAC – WR): 2% owned (1% FAAB)
Westbrook is currently on track to return after Jacksonville’s bye for a Week 9 tilt against the Bengals at home after missing the first half of the season due to core muscle surgery. In case you forgot about his lovely preseason, Westbrook turned in a whopping 288 yards and two scores on just 13 catches. Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns are nice and all, but neither of them have really done enough to demand their current target share. If Westbrook hits the ground running then he could become a real difference-maker in the second half. Of course, Jacksonville’s pivot to being a run-heavy team does hinder that dream just a tad, but it’s still worth a flier for many.
Marquise Goodwin (SF – WR): 3% owned (1% FAAB)
For all of the hype around George Kittle, it was Goodwin who looked to be in C.J. Beathard‘s crosshairs often in San Francisco’s rough 40-10 loss to Dallas on Sunday. The speedster caught four of his eight targets for 80 yards and has now seen a combined 24 targets over his last three games. It’s only translated to 11 catches, but he’s not exactly known for high-percentage routes here. While his stock would greatly improve if some touchdowns started flowing in, this is a man with the tools to bust any of these receptions all the way, and the 49ers gamescript should almost always favor them needing to air it out. Hopefully, Beathard continues to look his way, but Week 7 was a promising start to that connection. Week 8 at Philadelphia should call for plenty of shots given the way Carson Wentz is playing.
Demarcus Robinson (KC – WR): 0% owned (1% FAAB)
After Alex Smith missed Robinson on what would’ve been big plays in Week 6 against the Steelers, the two connected on five-of-eight targets for 69 yards on Thursday against the Raiders. That target total tied him with Tyreek Hill for the most on the team, beating out Albert Wilson (2) and DeAnthony Thomas (1) handily. Robinson’s 61 snaps also blew away any other Chiefs’ WR, as Hill only had 40, Wilson 33, and Thomas 4. This is not to paint Robinson as a sudden stud, but his involvement is rising with every passing week and he shouldn’t be ignored in deeper circles. That said, a Week 8 date with the Broncos does not make for an appetizing stream, but this is a still a stock you’ll want to at least monitor.
Chris Moore (BAL – WR): 0% owned (1% FAAB)
Moore ended up being Baltimore’s leading wide receiver with Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman all banged up to various degrees. Now, that’s not saying much given the state of Baltimore’s offense — he only caught two balls for 36 yards and a touchdown — but we can’t be too picky down here in the bargain bin. Moore’s 58 snaps were tied with Griff Whalen and easily beat out Mike Campanaro‘s 32, and we all know you’re not picking up Whalen. Moore could end up playing a similar role given Baltimore’s short week against a Dolphins team that was just picked apart by Josh McCown.