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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Kenneth Gainwell, Allen Lazard, Rashod Bateman (2021)

by Andrew Gould | @andrewgould4 | Featured Writer
Oct 26, 2021

Fantasy football managers can exhale. Six teams went on bye in Week 7, stripping rosters across the land of high-caliber starters. This week, however, only gives the Ravens and Raiders a respite.

Desperation levels should dip, and no manager should have to seriously contemplate taking a zero with an idle player instead of making an uncomfortable drop. That’s good news, as the waiver wire isn’t particularly compelling entering Week 8.

Of course, there are always injury situations to monitor, streamers drawing a favorable matchup, and intriguing talents receiving an increased role. There just aren’t many slam-dunk free agents worthy of a sizable FAB investment. Managers may find the most waiver-wire success by studying last week’s transition log and seeing if anyone valuable got cut because of their Week 7 bye.

Note: Rostered percentages provided via Yahoo leagues.

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Top 5 Waiver Targets of Week 8

Kenneth Gainwell (RB – PHI): 22%
Boston Scott (RB – PHI): 2%
Miles Sanders left Week 7’s game with an ankle injury. Per NBC Sports’ Reuben Frank, the Eagles running back is “week-to-week,” but unlikely to suit up this weekend for an opportune matchup at Detroit.

Remember how much Sanders has frustrated fantasy managers before expecting league-winning production from his successor.

Since Sanders left Sunday’s game early, we already got a first glimpse at what looks to remain a timeshare. Gainwell garnered nine touches (five carries, four catches) to Scott’s eight (seven carries, one catch), with each scoring a touchdown. Gainwell is the higher-priority add, as he played more snaps (35) while receiving eight targets. The rookie has received eight red-zone opportunities this season, which he’s parlayed into three touchdowns.

Scott, on the other hand, hadn’t logged a single run before Week 7. However, the 5’6″ back tallied 304 yards on 60 touches in four games without Sanders last season. He’s at least poised to impede Gainwell’s path to fantasy glory. If Sanders can’t go trick-or-treating this Sunday, Gainwell is a tepid RB2 — and Scott a decent flex flyer — against the winless Lions.

Allen Lazard (WR – GB): 5%
We’ve spent years trying to identify Green Bay’s next breakout wide receiver alongside Davante Adams, only for them all to fall by the wayside. Lazard has teased fantasy managers over the past couple of years, even drawing considerable praise from Aaron Rodgers, but he’s yet to get consistent work.

That’s poised to change this Thursday. On Monday, the Packers placed Adams on the COVID IR, making it highly unlikely the superstar wideout plays in Week 8. That vacates a gargantuan 33.4% of Green Bay’s targets and 41.8% of its receiving yards.

Nobody is going to slide into that full role, but Lazard is the best bet to capitalize. With a 70% career catch rate, the 25-year-old produces when given a chance. He’s also scored a touchdown in back-to-back games, drawing 11 targets in the process. He’s a viable starter to replace Adams in a high-stakes NFC matchup at Arizona. Robert Tonyan, rostered in 51% of Yahoo leagues, would climb closer to TE1 territory if Adams sits.

Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL): 32%
Bateman followed a subdued NFL debut (29 yards) by catching three of six targets for 80 yards. It wasn’t a groundbreaking performance, especially since the Ravens attempted 41 passes in a 41-17 loss to the Bengals. Yet he certainly made his touches count, gaining at least 20 yards (20, 25, 35) on all three receptions. The first-round pick continued to play starter’s snaps (46 of 73) as Baltimore’s No. 2 wide receiver to Marquise Brown.

It might be wise to stash Bateman now before Baltimore’s Week 8 bye. The speedster wields game-changing potential over the next two months.

Michael Gallup (WR – DAL): 40%
The Cowboys designated Gallup to return from the IR, giving them three weeks to activate him. His Week 8 status remains unknown, but this could be the last chance to stash him. In 2019, Gallup posted 1,107 receiving yards and six touchdowns alongside Dak Prescott. Last year, he averaged 69.6 yards through Week 5, the game in which Dallas lost Prescott for the season.

Even as the No. 3 wide receiver in a crowded offense, Gallup should get enough opportunities to help fantasy managers. The pie is big enough to share for a team that’s first in yards and points per game.

Notable Players 36-50% Rostered

Tua Tagovailoa (QB – MIA): 48%
Tagovailoa has accrued 620 passing yards and six touchdowns in two games since returning from fractured ribs. Volume is the name of the game; the second-year quarterback attempted 87 combined passes in those losses against Jacksonville and Atlanta. The 1-6 Dolphins are last in rushing offense behind a leaky offensive line, so Tua will have to keep throwing often. That should especially be true as massive Week 8 underdogs at Buffalo.

Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC): 41%
Many managers couldn’t afford to stow Lawrence on their bench during his Week 7 bye. However, that’s not a knock on his recent play. Following a bumpy start, this year’s No. 1 overall pick posted a quarterback rating over 90.0 in each of his last three games. He averaged 8.1 yards per pass attempt in the process, scoring two passing and rushing touchdowns apiece. The rookie still brandishes mountainous upside, which Lawrence could display against a subpar Seattle secondary.

Notable Players 10-35% Rostered

Daniel Jones (QB – NYG): 28%
Jones bounced back from a concerning Week 5 head injury and a Week 6 dud against the Rams to go 23-of-33 with 203 passing yards, one passing touchdown, and 28 rushing yards in a somewhat surprising 25-3 rout over Carolina. He’s a QB2 with a wide range of outcomes, but a high ceiling and mean because of his running prowess. If Tagovailoa is already rostered, Jones is the best Week 8 streamer for managers needing to swap out Lamar Jackson. Only Washington has allowed more fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks than Kansas City, which has also permitted 8.6 yards per pass attempt and a 104.0 quarter rating.

Cincinnati Bengals (D/ST): 19%
They’re playing the Jets in Week 8. If that’s not enough to convince you, the Bengals are also ninth in yards allowed and fifth in scoring defense. With 19 sacks and six takeaways, they have finished five of seven games as the DST18 or better. You might not want to keep them around beyond Sunday’s cupcake matchup for Week 9’s AFC North clash against the banged-up Browns.

C.J. Uzomah (TE – CIN): 19%
Uzomah has one-upped Alie-Cox by finding the end zone five times in his last four games after securing his second multi-touchdown outing last Sunday. However, he comes with the same reliability issues. Uzomah mustered 95 and 91 yards in those two-touchdown efforts, but he’s totaled 70 yards in the other five bouts. You’re sacrificing a low floor in the pursuit of upside. Given the nature of all lower-level tight ends, that’s a worthwhile risk for managers needing a Week 8 replacement for Mark Andrews or Darren Waller.

Mo Alie-Cox (TE – IND): 17%
He’s averaging three targets per game this season, but Alie-Cox has deposited four touchdowns in his last four games. Yet to exceed three catches or 50 yards in a game this season, he’s the definition of a touchdown-or-bust streamer at tight end. There are a few opportunities to roll the dice with the Colts playing their next three games against the Titans, Jets, and Jaguars.

Darius Slayton (WR – NYG): 15%
Sterling Shepard joined Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney on the sideline, but Slayton returned from a hamstring injury that cost him three games. Although the depleted receiver corps led to a season-high nine targets, he mustered a humdrum five catches for 63 yards. Yet even with a healthier unit, Slayton submitted 119 yards in two full games to start the season. He also displayed far more upside when scoring eight touchdowns in his 2019 rookie campaign. If those three receivers sit out again, Slayton has a huge opportunity versus Kansas City’s 26th-ranked passing defense.

Notable Players <10% Rostered

Tyler Conklin (TE – MIN): 9%
Conklin emerged as Minnesota’s clear top tight end before their Week 7 bye. Along with playing over 70% of their snaps in each game, he averaged 40.0 yards on five targets per contest. That may not sound like much, but it made him the TE16 through Week 6. Conklin tallied a season-high 71 yards before the Vikings’ bye week and returns as a viable streamer in a potential Sunday-night shootout against Dallas.

Samaje Perine (RB – CIN): 7%
Chris Evans shined as Joe Mixon‘s backup in Week 6, but a returning Perine reclaimed the role in Week 7. While nearly all of his production came on a late 46-yard touchdown with the game already out of hand, Perine matched Mixon’s 12 touches in a blowout win. He looks to be Mixon’s top handcuff still when healthy, a valuable role given the starter’s ankle woes.

Philadelphia Eagles (D/ST): 6%
The Eagles have surrendered 26.4 points per game, but that will happen to any defense tasked with facing Dallas, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay. They’ve picked off five passes in their last three games and have three multi-sack outings this season. That makes them a strong Week 8 streamer at Detroit for anyone who misses out on Cincinnati.

Brandon Bolden (RB – NE): 6%
The Patriots didn’t need to pass much during a 54-13 win over the Jets, but Bolden still set season highs in targets (seven) and receiving yards (79). Although he’s delivered mixed results since stepping into James White’s pass-catching role, there’s some appeal in deep PPR leagues.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR – GB): 5%
According to Doud Kyed of Pro Football Focus, the Packers expect to activate Valdes-Scantling from the IR in time for Thursday’s game. If he returns to an offense missing Adams, the fourth-year pro could instantly see a busy workload. He’s delivered big games on occasions and is averaging a whopping 17.5 yards per catch over his career. Consider Valdes-Scantling a high-risk, high-reward lottery ticket worth scratching in deeper leagues if Adams is inactive.

Case Keenum (QB – LV): 4%
Replacing Baker Mayfield in a shortened week, Keenum led Cleveland to a 17-14 victory over Denver with 199 passing yards and a touchdown. The 33-year-old is a perfectly acceptable NFL backup capable of running an offense when needed. That thinking extends to two-quarterback and Superflex formats. Mayfield wasn’t particularly relevant in single-quarterback leagues, so neither is Keenum.

Foster Moreau (TE – LV): 3%
With Darren Waller sidelined, Moreau secured all six targets for 60 yards and a touchdown. He’s never gotten a chance to shine, but the 24-year-old is an impressive athlete with an 82-percentile score or better in five of Player Profiler’s workout metrics. However, Moreau’s value depends entirely on Waller’s health, and a Week 8 bye gives him an extra week to recover. Most managers, especially those needing an immediate substitute for Waller, may not have the flexibility to grab Moreau now.

Dante Pettis (WR – NYG): 1%
Pettis went from 11 targets in Week 6 to just five last Sunday. However, he caught all five of them — matching Week 6’s receptions — for 39 yards and a touchdown. Monitor the injury reports to see if Shepard, Golladay, and/or Toney remain sidelined for Monday night’s matchup against a Kansas City defense hemorrhaging points.

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Andrew Gould is a featured writer and editor at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @andrewgould4.

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