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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice: Pickups to Target, Stash & Drop (Week 8)

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice: Pickups to Target, Stash & Drop (Week 8)

We go from a six-team bye week to a full 16-game slate in Week 8.

It’s an odd quirk of the 2023 NFL schedule, but a welcome one after spending Week 7 trying to patch our lineups with duct tape, wads of used chewing gum and whatever else we could find.

With everyone playing this week, your waiver needs might not be as pressing as they were a week ago. That’s good, because there aren’t a lot of sparkling waiver gems to be mined this week.

That’s not to say this is a barren week on the waiver wire. There are some interesting possibilities at every position. The list of available tight ends is especially intriguing, but there are some interesting assets at the all-important RB position, too. We also have a lot of streaming defense and kicker options – which is usually the case after six teams go on bye and those defenses and kickers are inevitably dropped.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Grade: B-

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Rankings

Waiver Wire Rankings powered by FantasyProsECR ™ – Expert Consensus Rankings

 

Rostership percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Recommended FAAB bids are based on a $100 budget.

RUNNING BACKS

Written by Bo McBrayer

Darrell Henderson (LAR): 24% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @DAL, @GB, BYE
  • True value: $22
  • Desperate need: $33
  • Budget-minded: $12

Analysis: The Rams’ former starting RB was back in his familiar role in Week 7 against the Steelers. He carried the ball 18 times for 61 yards and found the end zone in his first game of the season. Fellow newcomer Royce Freeman was second fiddle with 12 carries, while rookie FAAB burglar Zach Evans was not a factor. With at least three more weeks without Kyren Williams, Henderson will be one of the hottest waiver pickups this week. Don’t go crazy, but wager aggressively if you have a pressing RB need.

Ezekiel Elliott (NE): 46% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @MIA, WAS, IND
  • True value: $15
  • Desperate need: $26
  • Budget-minded: $9

Analysis: Zeke is certainly not the key cog in the passing game like Rhamondre Stevenson, but he is still a really difficult player to stop at the goal line. Elliott scored yet another rushing touchdown in Week 7, despite only scratching out 31 yards on 11 attempts. Double-digit touches for an NFL RB is still considered at least “co-starter” volume, so Zeke needs to be rostered in more than 46% of leagues.

Royce Freeman (LAR): 29% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @DAL, @GB, BYE
  • True value: $14
  • Desperate need: $25
  • Budget-minded: $8

Analysis: Although I prefer Henderson this waiver run, he has been far from a picture of health over the years. The Rams need the running game to make their passing game work behind sunken linebackers. Freeman averaged 5.5 yards on his 12 carries in Week 7 against Pittsburgh and has considerably more burst than his veteran colleague. Perhaps the more savvy waiver addition is the former Oregon star.

Elijah Mitchell (SF): 37% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CIN, BYE, @JAX
  • True value: $11
  • Desperate need: $19
  • Budget-minded: $5

Analysis: Between Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason, I prefer the one who didn’t need to be a special teams ace to make the roster. Mitchell is on the mend from a knee injury and figures to see his snaps increase. Christian McCaffrey‘s oblique injury is thankfully not believed to be serious, but a case can be made to stash Mason on a deeper bench just in case.

Tyjae Spears (TEN): 41% rostered

  • Next Opponents: ATL, @PIT, @TB
  • True value: $11
  • Desperate need: $19
  • Budget-minded: $5

Analysis: Spears is different from a lot of “swing” RBs in that his role so far this season has been very steady. He is spelling Derrick Henry and also catching passes in long-yardage scenarios. The upcoming schedule following Tennessee’s bye looks pretty rugged for Henry, but it could be profitable for Spears’ managers.

Justice Hill (BAL): 41% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ARI, SEA, CLE
  • True value: $10
  • Desperate need: $17
  • Budget-minded: $4

Analysis: Hill only garnered four rushing attempts and one reception in Baltimore’s Week 7 drubbing of Detroit. It was a tough matchup that got out of hand quickly, leaving Hill managers wanting. The next two games should line up much more favorably for the speedy back from Oklahoma State. Arizona and Seattle have each struggled to corral RBs, especially those with Hill’s versatility.

Latavius Murray (BUF): 22% rostered

  • Next Opponents: TB, @CIN, DEN
  • True value: $9
  • Desperate need: $14
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: Most people assumed that Buffalo would run New England off the field in Week 7. Apparently that’s why they play the games, because the Bills were clearly flat in the loss. It crushed our prospects of four-minute offense with big Lat Murray chewing up yards down the stretch. Don’t be deterred from adding Murray for a bargain price this week. Buffalo will have better games, and the grizzled vet will thrive in positive game flows ahead.

Emari Demercado (ARI): 14% rostered

  • Next Opponents: BAL, @CLE, ATL
  • True value: $7
  • Desperate need: $12
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: Please don’t chase last week’s production. Demercado was the overhyped waiver addition entering Week 6 and worked in a three-headed committee with Damien Williams and Keaontay Ingram. Most managers dropped him to waivers in disgust, only to see him log a 94% snap share in Week 7 and score 11.4 PPR points. This is a stern warning that you are very likely to be outbid on Demercado in Week 8, but it’s a blessing in disguise. The next three matchups for the Cardinals are brutal. Let them blow their FAAB on a swing player twice.

Pierre Strong (CLE): 1% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @SEA, ARI, @BAL
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate need: $10
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: Jerome Ford sustained an ankle injury during the Browns’ victory over the Colts on Sunday. Strong played 17 of the Browns’ 28 fourth-quarter snaps, according to PFF snap guru Nathan Jahnke. Although Strong had more fourth-quarter snaps and touches than Kareem Hunt, it would be unwise to conclude that Strong has leapfrogged Hunt. There was some doubt about Hunt’s Week 7 availability due to a thigh injury, so the Browns were probably just being judicious about managing his work. Still, with Ford likely to miss time, Strong could be a candidate for double-digit touches the next couple of weeks.

Stash Candidates:

Seattle rookie Zach Charbonnet was just getting into a groove when he incurred a hamstring injury that knocked him out of Week 7. The UCLA product is extremely versatile and talented, so keeping him on the bench for a couple of weeks is a move that will pay dividends in the second half of the season.

Tony Pollard continues into uncharted territory when it comes to workload. As great as he is, there is genuine concern about him holding up for the entire season. Should he go down, Rico Dowdle is the next man up. He has rotated in every third or fourth series for Pollard in 2023, with more than decent results. Dowdle would break the FAAB bank in the event of a Pollard injury, so keeping him safe at the end of a deep bench is a sage move.

The Ravens love Keaton Mitchell. I won’t lie: He had some of the most scintillating college highlights I’ve ever seen. Though undersized like teammate Justice Hill, Mitchell possesses game-breaking speed and agility. Hill has struggled with injuries over the years (which Ravens RB hasn’t?), so keeping an exciting player stashed might make for a fun stretch of games.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Written by Derek Brown

Josh Downs (IND): 36% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NO, @CAR, @NE
  • True value: $4
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: Over the last three weeks, Downs has been balling, with a 19.7% target share and 2.50 yards per route run (per PFF). Downs should be able to keep the monument going over the next three games. New Orleans has allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to opposing slot wide receivers, while the Patriots have given up the sixth-highest PPR points per target (per Fantasy Points Data). Downs will compete weekly for the team lead in targets with Michael Pittman as a WR3/4 that can produce WR2 spike weeks.

Tank Dell (HOU): 48% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CAR, TB, @CIN
  • True value: $4
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: It’s unbelievable that a player of Dell’s caliber has dropped below the 50% rostership threshold, but the bye week crunch is real. Dell missed Week 6 with a concussion and was on bye for Week 7. Fantasy managers are a fickle bunch. If Dell is available in your league, these bid recommendations are the starting point, but I have no issues punching the aggression button for bids for Dell. He is the WR29 in fantasy points per game, tied to one of the best young quarterbacks in the game. More spike weeks are coming for Dell. Among 91 qualifying wide receivers, Dell ranks 22nd in receiving grade and 15th in yards per route run (per PFF).

Kendrick Bourne (NE): 26% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @MIA, WAS, IND
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $6
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: New England has FINALLY figured it out. Their offense is better with Bourne playing a full-time role. Bourne played 57 of 60 possible snaps in Week 7 with a 23.3% target share. After this outing, Bourne has four games this season in which he has played at least 87% of the snaps. In that sample, he has at least 60 receiving yards in three games with three scores. He has three amazing matchups incoming. Miami and Washington rank 12th and second in fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers, and Indy has a porous secondary that no one should fear.

Josh Reynolds (DET): 42% rostered

  • Next Opponents: LV, BYE, @LAC
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Reynolds has three top-30 fantasy WR weeks this season. He has an 11.3% target share while being an efficiency monster. Among 91 qualifying wide receivers, he ranks 15th in receiving grade and 26th in yards per route run (per PFF). He should have productive outings in his next two games against the Raiders and Chargers, whose secondaries have allowed the 10th-highest and seventh-highest PPR points per target to perimeter wide receivers (per Fantasy Points Data).

Michael Gallup (DAL): 17% rostered

  • Next Opponents: LAR, @PHI, NYG
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Gallup has two WR3 finishes this season (WR27, WR34), and he could add a third in the next two games. Gallup has been Dallas’s second option against zone coverage behind CeeDee Lamb. The Rams and Eagles utilize zone coverage on 66.)% to 76.9% of their snaps (per Fantasy Points Data). Against zone, Gallup has an 18.1% target share and 28.8% air-yard share. Gallup is on the flex radar for the next two weeks.

Rashid Shaheed (NO): 37% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @IND, CHI, @MIN
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Shaheed has had numerous spike weeks this season against zone coverage-centric teams. The next three weeks should be kind to him, as Indy, Chicago and Minnesota all utilize zone coverage on at least 70% of their coverage snaps (per Fantasy Points Data). Those three secondaries also rank 11th, 13th and fourth in receiving yards allowed to wide receivers. Shaheed is a strong flex option who can pop off with WR2/3 production against any zone-heavy team.

Odell Beckham Jr. (BAL): 27% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ARI, SEA, CLE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Beckham’s Week 7 box score won’t blow you out of your chair, but there’s reason for optimism here, and the upcoming matchups are noice. Beckham played on 59% of the snaps last week, but he had 77.7% route participation, so don’t fret. I don’t care if he is on the field to run-block. We care about Beckham being on the field when Lamar Jackson drops back to pass, and he checked that box. He also handled a 25.9% target share last week. Over the next two weeks, he has games against two pass defenses that have allowed the eighth- and third-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

Jayden Reed (GB): 16% rostered

  • Next Opponents: MIN, LAR, @PIT
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: If his current ranking for the week holds after Monday night (WR31), Reed now has three WR3 or higher finishes for the season. Entering Week 7, among 91 qualifying wide receivers, he ranked 52nd in receiving grade and 36th in yards per route run while gobbling up high-leverage usage in the Green Bay offense. Reed is top-20 among wideouts in deep and red zone targets this season. With injuries to Christian Watson and Luke Musgrave crushing the Green Bay offense in Week 7, Reed could emerge as the primary beneficiary of this unlucky turn of events starting against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season.

Stash Candidates:

Jalin Hyatt played 70% of the snaps in Week 7 while drawing five targets and producing big plays. He had receptions for 42 and 33 yards. While we have plenty of questions about the quarterback play in the Giants’ offense and its scoring potential, Hyatt is a stash who could pay big dividends down the stretch if the Giants can get their act together.

Jameson Williams‘ playing time is increasing. After running only nine routes in Week 7, he played 44% of the snaps in Week 8 with 26 routes run and six targets. Stash Williams now. He has matchups coming up against burnable secondaries (LV, LAC, CHI). As soon as he blows up with a massive game, it’ll be too late.

QUARTERBACKS

Written by Bo McBrayer

Kyler Murray (ARI): 42% rostered

  • Next Opponents: BAL, @CLE, ATL
  • True value: $15
  • Desperate need: $24
  • Budget-minded: $8

Analysis: The practice window for Kyler Murray is open to return from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. It couldn’t have come at a better time for the putrid Cardinals, who have seen gritty Joshua Dobbs turn back into a pumpkin. Yes, you should pick up Murray off waivers. He is a matchup-proof fantasy superstar. I am also excited to see him work in an actual NFL offensive scheme, instead of a gimmicky high school joke as with former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The next three games for Arizona are against very tough defenses, but I’m not worried.

Derek Carr  (NO): 35% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @IND, CHI, @MIN
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate need: $12
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: While it’s always an outlier for Derek Carr to produce elite fantasy numbers, he is a wonderful streaming option for the next three games. Pinch your nose at the horrendous efficiency in the red zone and accept his 18 to 19 fantasy points as a lock. Everything has been there for the Saints except for Carr’s best, so we might see it click very soon.

Desmond Ridder (ATL): 14% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @TEN, MIN, @ARI
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Ridder lost three fumbles in Atlanta’s improbable Week 7 victory over Tampa Bay. It wasn’t all bad. Despite top weapon Bijan Robinson‘s inexplicable absence, Ridder passed for 250 yards and rushed for a touchdown to salvage a decent outing. A date with the pass-funnel Titans is an appetizer for two juicy games with the Vikings and Cardinals. Ridder is a cheap streamer with rushing upside. Let’s just hope Arthur Smith doesn’t betray us again by backing away from his bullheaded support for his young QB.

Bryce Young (CAR): 10% rostered

  • Next Opponents: HOU, IND, @CHI
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Bryce Young is on the precipice of a gigantic back half of his rookie season. His next three games are up against bottom-10 defenses. Young has shown growth in every game this season despite his naysayers overemphasizing his shortcomings. I doubt many managers will bid on the top pick as part of Week 8 waivers, so you might get a real steal of a deal.

Mac Jones (NE): 8% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @MIA, WAS, IND
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: I haven’t the foggiest idea where Mac Jones‘ Week 7 performance came from. Not only did Jones nearly crack 20 fantasy points against a very tough defense, but he looked razor sharp in doing so. Mac drove his otherwise paltry offensive attack down the field for a game-winning touchdown to Mike Gesicki with only 12 seconds on the clock. Better yet, the Patriots face a trio of shaky pass defenses over their next three games, making Jones an intriguing streamer who’s flying under the radar.

Stash Candidates: N/A

  • Stream, don’t stash! The purpose of adding QBs on waivers is to immediately plug them into the starting lineup as a spot starter in a favorable matchup. Bench spots are a limited commodity and should be reserved for skill players only.

TIGHT ENDS

Written by Derek Brown

Michael Mayer (LV): 28% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @DET, NYG, NYJ
  • True value: $8
  • Desperate need: $10
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: Don’t let the box score fool you. Mayer was a full-time player again this week. He played 92% of the snaps before the Raiders dropped in backups, as they were getting blown out. Hoyer locked on Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers this week, and Mayer was left out in the cold with a 12.5% target share. While that is a concern moving forward, the upcoming matchups for the Raiders could push the target share back in Mayer’s favor. The Lions and Jets are sixth and third, respectively, in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Mayer’s usage still gives him TE1 upside over the rest of the season.

Dalton Kincaid (BUF): 42% rostered

  • Next Opponents: TB, @CIN, DEN
  • True value: $8
  • Desperate need: $10
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: I know it has been frustrating if you drafted Dalton Kincaid this season in the later rounds instead of similarly priced rookie TE flier Sam LaPorta. That isn’t Kincaid’s fault, though. He is an incredibly talented rookie who has been splitting time with Dawson Knox, and while that didn’t change this week from a snap and route perspective, Kincaid did finally get a featured role in the passing game when on the field. He finished second on the team with eight targets (19.5% target share), as he led the team in receiving yards. I’m not rushing to plug Kincaid into lineups this week against Tampa Bay, but Cincinnati and Denver are smash spots in Weeks 9-10. The Bengals and Broncos are eighth and first in fantasy points per game allowed to tight ends. Kincaid could be a stretch-run difference-maker if the Bills commit to making him the No. 2 in this offense behind Stefon Diggs.

Jake Ferguson (DAL): 46% rostered

  • Next Opponents: LAR, @PHI, NYG
  • True value: $8
  • Desperate need: $10
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: Ferguson’s usage has been trending up. Before heading into the bye, he handled an 84.2% route run rate in Week 6 (per Fantasy Points Data), which is amazing. Among 38 qualifying tight ends, he ranks 15th in target share and yards per route run while sitting 11th in target per route run rate (per Fantasy Points Data). Ferguson will battle weekly for the No. 2 spot in the Cowboys’ passing attack, but don’t be surprised if he gives CeeDee Lamb a run for his money over the next two weeks. The Rams and Eagles have been bleeding out production to tight ends, ranking fourth and 13th in fantasy points per game allowed to the position.

Logan Thomas (WAS): 44% rostered

  • Next Opponents: PHI, @NE, @SEA
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Thomas has an interesting floor and ceiling combination at the TE position. In six games, he’s had three contests in which he has seen at least six targets while also logging four weeks with at least 40 receiving yards. That might not sound like much, but if you add a touchdown to any 40-yard outing, you’re probably looking at a TE1 for the week. Entering Week 7, Thomas had seen four red zone targets over his last four games, so the touchdown equity exists for Thomas. With a plus matchup against the Eagles in Week 8, Thomas could post top-12 TE numbers.

Jonnu Smith (ATL): 42% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @TEN, MIN, @ARI
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Smith entered Week 7 as the TE10 in fantasy, ranking 13th in target share and fifth in target per route run rate. The issue is that he is 27th in route participation. His route share will lead to volatile weeks, especially when we consider that Arthur Smith is the overseer of his playing time. Jonnu’s matchups over the next three weeks are not kind. Tennessee and Arizona, specifically, have held tight ends to the 10th-fewest and second-fewest fantasy points per game.

Taysom Hill (NO): 9% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @IND, CHI, @MIN
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: As long as Juwan Johnson remains sidelined, Hill will flirt with TE1 production. Over the last two weeks with Johnson on the shelf, Hill has averaged 59% of the snaps, 5.5 targets, and 49.5 receiving yards. Add any Hill rushing production, and we have a tight end who could easily finish as a top-five option in any week without Johnson. The Colts and Bears have given up the 10th-most and ninth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Trey McBride (ARI): 14% rostered

  • Next Opponents: BAL, @CLE, ATL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Cardinals initiated a changing of the guard at TE in Week 6, when McBride played more snaps than 32-year-old veteran Zach Ertz for the first time this season. McBride and Ertz both played 35 snaps on Sunday, but McBride out-targeted the veteran 6-3. Now, Ertz has landed on IR with a quad injury, leaving McBride a clear runway to win the starting TE job for good. That role could carry fantasy value when Kyler Murray comes off injured reserve in a week or two. Just make sure to keep McBride on the bench this week against a Baltimore defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to TEs this year.

Stash Candidates: None.

DEFENSES

Written by Pat Fitzmaurice

Los Angeles Chargers: 7% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CHI, @NYJ, DET
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $3
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: There’s no need to spend much on any team defense this week, since there are a lot of solid options to choose from. The Chargers get appealing matchups the next two weeks against the Bears and Jets. Rookie QB Tyson Bagent, an undrafted free agent, acquitted himself well for the Bears in his first NFL start, committing no turnovers, taking only one sack and posting a passer rating of 97.2 in a win over the Raiders. Still, targeting an undrafted rookie free agent with a team defense is still a good percentage play. So is targeting Jets QB Zach Wilson – the Jets’ likely starter in Week 9. The Chargers ranked 20th in defensive fantasy scoring entering Week 7, but they do have a respectable pass rush, having accrued 22 sacks in their first six games.

Indianapolis Colts: 11% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NO, @CAR, @NE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Colts are nothing special defensively, having ranked 17th in defensive DVOA and 19th in defensive fantasy scoring going into Week 7. But Indy has a nice stretch of schedule coming up, with games against New Orleans and Carolina and New England before a Week 11 bye. Those are all playable matchups.

Houston Texans: 4% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CAR, TB, @CIN
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Fresh off a Week 7 bye, the Texans return to action with a good matchup against the Panthers, who are giving up 8.5 fantasy points per game to team defenses. The Texans entered Week 7 ranked 16th in defensive fantasy scoring, with double-digit point totals in three of their last four games. You might be able to hold the Texans for two weeks, since they have another playable matchup against the Buccaneers in Week 9.

Miami Dolphins: 48% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NE, @KC, BYE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: We’re targeting Mac Jones here. Going into Week 7, Jones had thrown seven interceptions in his first six games. He managed to avoid being picked off in the Patriots’ win over the Bills’ on Sunday, but it’s still a good idea to pick on a New England offense that had given up an average of 13.8 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses going into Week 6 – second-most in the league. The Miami defense has not distinguished itself to this point, however. Entering their Week 7 game against the Eagles, the Dolphins ranked 24th in defensive fantasy scoring and 27th in defensive DVOA.

Atlanta Falcons: 13% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @TEN, MIN, @ARI
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Falcons go on the road this week to face the Titans, who are expected to be without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill (high-ankle sprain). It’s not clear whether Tennessee will start second-year man Malik Willis or rookie Will Levis at quarterback, but either one should present scoring opportunities for the Atlanta defense. Willis has attempted only 66 passes since entering the NFL but has thrown three interceptions and taken 14 sacks. The book on Levis as a QB prospect was that he’s toolsy but unrefined. Either way, the Falcons will get to face an inexperienced young QB, which should equate to defensive fantasy points. Atlanta ranked 30th in defensive fantasy scoring going into Week 6, but the Falcons haven’t given up more than 24 points to an opponent all season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 26% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @PIT, BYE, SF
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Tied for ninth in defensive fantasy scoring going into Week 6, the Jaguars made Saints QB Derek Carr look bad for most of their Week 7 game against New Orleans. The Jags are only a one-week play since they go on bye in Week 9, but they have a playable Week 8 matchup against mistake-prone QB Kenny Pickett and the Steelers.

New York Giants: 3% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NYJ, @LV, @DAL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: There’s no need to feign enthusiasm about a Giants defense that entered Week 7 ranked 28th in defensive DVOA and dead last in defensive fantasy scoring. This is all about matchups, and the Giants have good ones the next two weeks, getting the Jets at home and then going on the road to face the Raiders.

Stash Candidates: None.

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KICKERS

Written by Pat Fitzmaurice

Brandon Aubrey (DAL): 24% rostered

  • Next Opponents: LAR, @PHI, NYG
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Aubrey is averaging 10.8 fantasy points per game, putting him among the leaders in that category. He’s a perfect 16-of-16 on field goals this year and 12-of-13 on extra points. Aubrey gets a Week 8 date with the Rams, who entered Week 7 having allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing kickers.

Ka’imi Fairbairn (HOU): 5% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CAR, TB, @CIN
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: A model of consistency, Fairbairn is averaging 10.8 fantasy points per game and has scored no fewer than 8 points in any game this season. Fairbairn has made 17-of-18 FG attempts and 12-of-12 extra points. He draws a favorable Week 8 matchup against the Panthers, who rank 30th in defensive DVOA.

Dustin Hopkins (CLE): 17% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @SEA, ARI, @BAL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Hopkins entered Week 7 ranked third in fantasy points per game among kickers, then drilled four FGs and three PATs in the Browns’ win over the Colts’ on Sunday. Three of his four field goals on Sunday were from beyond 50 yards – two 54-yarders and a 58-yarder. Hopkins, who’s scored at least 9 fantasy points in five of his six games this season, gets decent matchups against the Seahawks and Cardinals the next two weeks.

Cameron Dicker (LAC): 22% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CHI, @NYJ, DET
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Dicker seems like a good kicker option for Week 8. He plays for the high-scoring Chargers, who face the defensively unimposing Chicago Bears this Sunday. And Dicker has been extremely accurate through the first 17 games of his career, having made 29-of-31 field goals and 16-of-16 extra points. The only problem with Dicker is that his head coach, Brandon Staley often eschews FG opportunities to go for it on fourth down – which is why Dicker is not inside the top 20 in fantasy points per game among kickers.

Brandon McManus (JAX): 40% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @PIT, BYE, SF
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: McManus is averaging 9.7 fantasy points per game. He’s playing for a Jacksonville squad that seems to have found its offensive footing in rattling off four straight wins, averaging 29.0 points per game over that stretch. Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field has a reputation of being a difficult place to kick, but McManus is still a solid kicker option for Week 8.

Matt Gay (IND): 18% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NO, @CAR, @NE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $1
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Colts have scored at least 20 points in all seven of their games this season, so they’re giving Gay a lot of scoring opportunities. He’s booted 12-of-14 field goals and 18-of-18 extra points. Gay is a reasonable option this week against the Saints, who had allowed 10.2 fantasy points per game to opposing kickers going into Week 7.

Stash Candidates: None.

FOOL’S GOLD

Julio Jones is a respected brand name, but he hasn’t been an impactful fantasy performer since 2020. At age 34, the magic is pretty much gone. It’s nice to see Julio make one last run with the Eagles, but not even an injury to one of Philadelphia’s starting receivers would make Julio fantasy-relevant.

DROP RECOMMENDATIONS

Droppable:

Zach Ertz was outsnapped by second-year Cardinals TE Trey McBride in Week 6 and played the same amount of snaps (35) as McBride in Week 7. Even if Kyler Murray takes the QB reins from Joshua Dobbs, Ertz isn’t going to be fantasy viable in a TE timeshare. Over his last two games, Ertz has 4-32-1 receiving on nine targets.

One of the hottest waiver pickups of Week 7, Zach Evans proved to be an FAAB-waster, playing behind Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman. A sixth-round rookie from Ole Miss, Evans didn’t play a single offensive snap against the Steelers on Sunday. He can go right back to the waiver wire.

On the verge of returning from a hamstring injury, Pat Freiermuth aggravated the injury in practice last week and is headed back to injured reserve. A decent tight end but not a prolific scorer, Freiermuth can be dropped.

With Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua taking up so my oxygen in the Rams’ passing game, there aren’t enough targets left to keep Tyler Higbee rosterable. He’s drawn only three targets in each of his last three games, putting up stat lines of 2-20-0, 2-18-0, and 1-7-0.

Sam Howell has now been sacked 40 times this season. Yes, 40 sacks in seven games. Howell has had flashes of brilliance as a passer, but you can’t take that many sacks if you want to remain an NFL starter. Not only was Howell sacked six times by the Giants on Sunday, but he had a ragged day as a passer, completing 22-of-42 throws for 248 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. He has a tough matchup coming up against the Eagles this week, so you can dump him in 1QB leagues.

After leading Arizona’s RBs in touches a week ago, Keaontay Ingram didn’t play a single offensive snap in Week 7. Woof.

Au revoir, Anthony Richardson. Take good care of that wounded shoulder. We’ll see you in 2024.

Droppable with a chance of regret:

Jahan Dotson flashed big-time talent last year, but he and Commanders QB Sam Howell don-t seem to have much chemistry – at least not yet. Dotson has a modest 16.1% target share, and his 43-yard game in Week 7 was actually a season high. A first-round pick in 2022, Dotson can’t be written off yet, but it’s no longer worth holding him and waiting for something good to happen.

Antonio Gibson has been frozen out of the Commanders’ running game. He’s averaging 2.6 carries a game, and only once this season has Gibson had more than three rushing attempts. Rookie Chris Rodriguez has outcarried Gibson 11-5 over the last two weeks. That would be OK if Gibson were getting heavy usage in the passing game, but he’s averaging 2.7 targets a game. With Rodriguez around, we can’t even be sure that Gibson is the handcuff for starter Brian Robinson.

Rookie Quentin Johnston has not been able to establish himself as a reliable contributor to the Chargers’ passing game despite the season-ending injury to WR Mike Williams. In the three game since Williams went down, Johnston has 2-38-0 on seven targets. Johnston’s impressive college career at TCU made him a first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, but it doesn’t seem as if Johnston is going to become a useful fantasy contributor in Year 1.

Don’t drop yet:

We know Gabe Davis has a feast-or-famine profile. You feasted in Weeks 2-5, when Davis scored a touchdown in four consecutive games. Your stomach is rumbling now that he’s had only 4-27-0 over his last four games. Fear not. There are more tasty dishes on the way.

The Bears kept Cole Kmet in to block for rookie QB Tyson Bagent quite a bit in Week 7, as Kmet ran routes on just 26 of his 63 snaps. Maybe it will continue to happen with Bagent at quarterback, but not necessarily. And Justin Fields will be back at QB for the Bears eventually.

Calvin Ridley‘s roller-coaster season has had more downs than ups so far. But c’mon, you know he’s too good to drop. Never drop a player out of spite. If you want to keep Ridley on your bench until he turns in a couple of prove-it games, fine. Don’t drop him.

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