Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 8
Many of Week 8’s recommended waiver-wire adds will test a fantasy manager’s patience. How willing are you to give a second chance (or in some cases third or fourth) to someone who hibernated throughout September? It’s not easy to forgive a preseason sleeper who has mostly underwhelmed, but a few young talents looked poised to finally turn the corner after an encouraging Week 7.
This column also features a major dilemma. The obvious player frequenting every waiver-wire article has a consensus rostered rate of 38.5%, as of Monday night. That’s above our imposed 30% benchmark meant to weed out the super-shallow options. Leaving him out, however, leaves me vulnerable to endlessly insulting comments. Also, there aren’t many other appetizing choices at his position. As a result, he’s featured with the highest advised bid of the season. So is a surging defense with an ideal matchup following their bye week.
Ryan Tannehill (TEN): 4% Rostered (1% FAAB)
The Titans and Tannehill are a perfect match. Both of them occasionally get everyone’s hopes up with one strong performance before taking two steps back. Nobody should get too excited about Marcus Mariota’s replacement recording 312 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers. Wait, he’s facing Tampa Bay in Week 8? In that case, he’s a suitable streamer against the NFL’s worst passing defense.
Matt Moore (KC): 1% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Anyone who drafted Patrick Mahomes is probably thinking along these lines after seeing their premium pick go down with a dislocated kneecap. In single-quarterback leagues, managers who rejected the new status quo simply must stream the position until their star returns. It’s possible the MVP could heal in three weeks or sooner, so don’t press the panic button just yet. Also don’t make a desperate FAAB claim for Moore, a serviceable replacement best suited for two-quarterback formats. A competent backup with plenty of big-play threats at his disposal, Moore went 10-for-19 with 117 yards and a touchdown in relief of Mahomes last Thursday at Denver. Temper expectations, as the upcoming schedule (GB, MIN, at TEN, at LAC) is hardly ideal. Moore obviously doesn’t have Mahomes’ arm strength, but Alex Smith was the QB4 when running Andy Reid’s offense in 2017.
Mason Rudolph (PIT): 6% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Cleared from concussion protocol last Wednesday, Rudolph should return after missing Week 6 and getting a bye to recover. Although uneven in an ultra-conservative offense, he completed 67% of his passes with a 102.5 quarterback rating. The ceiling is minimal regardless of the opponent, but he should hold his own with an efficient line akin to Week 5’s 24-of-28 for 229 yards and two touchdowns versus the Bengals. The opposing Dolphins have allowed at least two passing touchdowns in every game this year. Even Case Keenum and Josh Allen were the QB17 and QB9 against them, respectively, in the previous two weeks.
Chase Edmonds (ARI): 39% Rostered (22% FAAB)
Just in case anyone needed another reminder that NFL coaches don’t care about your fantasy teams, an “active” David Johnson played just three snaps in Sunday’s win over the Giants. He wasn’t needed, as Edmonds torched a weak defense for 126 rushing yards and three touchdowns. That gives the second-year standout five scores and the fourth-most PPR points among all running backs over the last three weeks. At this point, why wouldn’t Kliff Kingsbury utilize Edmonds even with a healthy Johnson? Looking like an untouchable blur whenever receiving the football, Edmonds should at least etch out flex value in a meatier role going forward. Should Johnson’s back issues linger, his understudy has proven more than capable of stepping right in as an upper-echelon choice. Those rostering Johnson – who honestly should have been added Edmonds before Week 7 – might need to tack on a few more bucks to their FAAB bids.
Ty Johnson (DET): 1% Rostered (8% FAAB)
*Editor’s Note: It was announced Tuesday afternoon that Kerryon Johnson will be placed on Injured Reserve.
After Kerryon Johnson exited Sunday’s game with a knee injury, Ty Johnson received the majority of Detroit’s backfield reps. He didn’t make much of the 49 snaps, registering just 29 yards on 10 carries. Still, he also caught all four targets for 28 yards. More work is on the way, as the other Johnson is expected to miss time, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Touches are touches. Just ask Edmonds what could happen if the second-string Johnson is pressed into action against the Giants.
Mark Walton (MIA): 12% Rostered (6% FAAB)
Walton’s snap count has risen in each game this season. On Sunday, he drew more snaps (38) and touches (15) than Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage combined. There’s still that pesky matter of playing for the Dolphins hindering his potential, but an expanding role puts him in the RB3/4 conversation, particularly if he can carve out steady pass-catching work.
Darrell Henderson Jr. (LAR): 28% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Let’s take the glass-half-full approach on Henderson’s Week 7. He only amassed 39 yards on a dozen touches, but that’s a noticeable opportunity uptick for a rookie who entered the day with seven carries and one catch all season. Going back to the pessimistic outlook, he didn’t make much of a strong matchup while Malcolm Brown sat out with an ankle injury. He’s also yet to establish himself in the Rams’ passing game the way many overeager drafters anticipated. The potential is there still, however, for the third-round pick to emerge as a complement to Todd Gurley in an offense yet to hit its stride.
Kenny Stills (HOU): 14% Rostered (10% FAAB)
The Texans simply had too many options for Stills to shine on a weekly basis. That should change now that Will Fuller is expected to miss “multiple games” with a hamstring injury, per the Houston Chronicle‘s Aaron Wilson. Stills, who was averaging just 47 yards per game with his new squad, promptly accrued 105 yards at Indianapolis. His 61 snaps nearly doubled his previous team-high of 32, so look for him to settle into a high-profile role as Deshaun Watson‘s second wideout behind DeAndre Hopkins. There’s immediate WR3 potential with the Raiders and Jalen Ramsey-less Jaguars on tap. Leading the NFL with 7.4 expected yards after the catch per reception, according to Next Gen Stats, the perennially overlooked Stills offers plenty of upside.
DeVante Parker (MIA): 11% Rostered (7% FAAB)
Preston Williams (MIA): 10% Rostered (4% FAAB)
Ryan Fitzpatrick is at least starting to move the chains a bit for Miami. Perhaps Parker and Williams, also highlighted here prior to facing Washington in Week 6, will continue to benefit with garbage-time brilliance. Parker found the end zone for the third consecutive contest among Sunday’s season-high 10 targets. The floor remains low — see Week 2’s zero yards — but he has also reached 55 yards in four of six bouts. Better late than never, right?
Although yet to score a touchdown since Week 1, Williams is averaging 52.2 yards per game on a team-high 44 targets. He’s broken a play beyond 20 yards in each of the last four contests. The priority depends on your league settings, needs, and risk-aversion. Williams makes a safer bye week fill-in for PPR formats, but Parker is far more likely to demand attention in leagues of all sizes and scoring.
Anthony Miller (CHI): 13% Rostered (3% FAAB)
Miller didn’t earn either of Chicago’s two meaningless fourth-quarter touchdowns, but he did pad his numbers to escape Week 7’s loss with a respectable five catches for 64 yards. That quietly gives him nine catches for 116 yards over the last two games after combining for 28 yards through Week 5. Furthermore, Sunday’s nine targets set a career-high after collecting seven in his previous outing. The turnaround came after he cut off a left shoulder harness, which he said he’s done wearing. A hyped prospect in each of the last two preseasons, Miller could finally be ready to validate the buzz as Chicago’s slot wideout.
Danny Amendola (DET): 6% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Sunday marked the second time Amendola cleared 100 receiving yards with double-digit targets. He totaled 43 yards in the other three contests, but a suspect Giants secondary is ripe for exploitation. He’s a reasonable replacement option in deeper PPR leagues for those willing to stomach the wide range of outcomes atypical for a possession receiver.
Zach Pascal (IND): 1% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Four games into his season, Pascal has procured 239 receiving yards and three touchdowns following a breakout (106 yards, 2 TDs) Week 7. He has now seen seven targets in two of his last three bouts. The 24-year-old isn’t consistent enough to trust just yet. However, he’s at least gaining ground over as the Colts’ second wide receiver alongside T.Y. Hilton. That could turn into a fantasy-friendly role with Jacoby Brissett tossing multiple touchdowns all but once this season.
Alex Erickson (CIN): 1% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Playing the role of Tyler Boyd last Sunday, Erickson caught eight of 14 targets for 137 yards in a loss to Jacksonville. The four-year pro had 15 targets and 109 yards all season before the unexpected outburst, which came at the expense of both Boyd and Auden Tate. Cincinnati’s receiving corps is now an even trickier group to handicap as A.J. Green works his way back to the gridiron. Green isn’t ready just yet, so Erickson warrants a dart throw as part of a high-volume offense. Andy Dalton has attempted 40.9 passes per game — with a minimum of 36 — for the 0-7 Bengals, so there’s garbage-time upside for whoever captures his attention late in losses.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN): 23% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Left for dead early in 2019, Rudolph registered six catches for 36 yards in five games. Although Week 6’s 36 yards thus felt like a major breakout, it wasn’t nearly enough to trust him again when paired with three targets. In addition to scoring his first touchdown of the season, Rudolph also set season highs in catches (five), targets (six), and receiving yards (56). He still hasn’t crossed pay dirt against anyone besides the Lions since Week 3 of last season, but [Insert weekly reminder of how awful tight end is here]. You’d still have to be really desperate to play him Thursday night against Washington. It’s not hard, however, to imagine some really desperate gamers needing to replace Mark Andrews with a bye-week filler.
Josh Hill (NO): 1% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Hill has offered one touchdown in each of the last three seasons, so Sunday’s score might have simply filled his low quota. He’s here, however, because the Saints face the Cardinals in Week 8. Despite shutting down Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison embellished the tally of tight end touchdowns against Arizona to an NFL-high eight. The matchup could especially make Hill worth a last-resort flier if Drew Brees returns.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 39% Rostered (1% FAAB)
They’re over the 30% cutoff point, but the Steelers should be available in most active leagues coming off a Week 7 bye. They’ll return to face the Dolphins. You know the drill. Fitzpatrick and Co. had a respectable outing against the Bills, but they’re still averaging a grotesque 10.5 points per game. Prior to their break, Pittsburgh had produced 20 sacks and 15 takeaways in six games.
Indianapolis Colts: 14% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Fresh off upsetting the Chiefs, the Colts welcomed back Darius Leonard. With their star linebacker in tow, they compiled two picks and three sacks in a home win over the Texans. That’s by far the toughest offense they’ll encounter until Week 12’s rematch. Their next four opponents: Denver, Pittsburgh, Miami, and Jacksonville. Those quarterbacks will be a bit easier to handle than Watson and Mahomes.