Greetings, fantasy football aficionados! We find ourselves at the crossroads of the NFL season, with Week 8 looming large on the horizon. In this ever-shifting landscape, the waiver wire emerges as a battleground of opportunity. Each week brings new heroes and unforeseen challenges, making astute management crucial. Join me as we embark on a deep dive into the Week 8 waiver wire, uncovering hidden treasures and strategic pickups that could shape your fantasy destiny.
The Waiver Wire: Where Champions Are Sculpted
The waiver wire isn’t merely a fallback plan; it’s a realm of potential champions. Here, clever managers spot trends, read between the stats, and transform overlooked players into fantasy titans. Week 8’s wire pulses with potential additions, each player a puzzle piece waiting to complete your fantasy masterpiece.
Quarterbacks: Commanding the Gridiron
Quarterbacks are the backbone of fantasy teams, capable of turning the tide single-handedly. Let’s explore two quarterbacks who could redefine your roster.
Mac Jones (New England Patriots)
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Mac Jones?! REALLY?” Bear with me for a minute and I’ll explain why. First, the obvious. Jones and the Patriots offense has obviously been bad, as in, really bad. Jones is currently ranked as the 23rd best QB in all of fantasy, which is barely a QB2 in most 12-team formats. It is also true that the past few weeks have been…..putrid. HOWEVER…..in the team’s Week 7 game, Jones nearly cracked 20 fantasy points, and looked GREAT in doing so. With only 12 seconds on the clock, Jones threw a game-winning touchdown to tight end Mike Gesicki, so the talent is still there for the young signal caller to make an impact. There is the possibility this was a one-week fluke…..BUT…..in the next three weeks Jones and the Patriots face a trio of shaky (at best) pass defenses. While he’s still probably not going to light the world on fire, believe it or not one could do worse than picking up Jones and considering him a QB2 with upside.
Bryce Young (Carolina Panthers)
Currently ranked as the QB30 in all of fantasy, Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young has actually been worse than the aforementioned Mac Jones when it comes to fantasy production (surprising, I know). The 1st overall pick from this year’s NFL draft has had a rough go of it to start his NFL career, but he has shown growth as the season has gone along.
Additionally, Young is set to go up against bottom-10 defenses in his next three games. The stage is set for him to continue to show real maturity at the QB position, and he could easily have a gigantic second-half to finish off his rookie year. Quarterbacks that have actually been worse statistically include: Daniel Jones, Ryan Tannehill and Deshaun Watson. Fantasy managers in a bind should consider picking him up off the wire should he be available in their respective leagues.
Running Backs: Ground Game Dynamos
Running backs are the lifeblood of fantasy football, delivering crucial points week after week. Let’s delve into two running backs who are ready to make a splash.
Darrell Henderson (L.A. Rams) (Editor's Note: Henderson got moved to the practice squad, but this is expected to be only a temporary procedural roster management move. We believe Henderson is the guy in Week 8.)
After signing with the Rams prior to the Week 7 game and being elevated from the practice squad just this past weekend, L.A. Rams running back Darrell Henderson was back in his familiar role against the Steelers. Between Henderson and Royce Freeman, no one else was involved in any way in the rushing game, and this trend should continue for the next three weeks while starter Kyren Williams is on the IR.
Fantasy managers should seriously consider picking up one (or possibly both) of these backs, as the Rams will most likely continue to utilize them heavily, with Henderson being the starter. Should that occur, astute fantasy managers who are able to acquire Henderson off their league’s wire could easily have a top-20 RB through the middle of November, as the Rams have a history of producing fantasy relevant players at the running back position.
Latavius Murray (Buffalo Bills)
Buffalo Bills running back Latavius Murray chewed up yards down the stretch of the team’s Week 7 loss to the Patriots. While James Cook is still clearly the starter, Murray should still have some fantasy relevancy. While Cook has started, lately both him and the Bills offense as a whole have looked flat.
While this may not matter much, moving forward Buffalo should have better days ahead. Additionally, even though Cook will most likely continue to start, it’s clear from the most recent game usage that Murray will get on the field and receive playing time. Should this trend continue, Murray will thrive from positive game flow. Murray currently has more fantasy points than Aaron Jones and Miles Sanders, and that’s while being the 2nd option in the Bills offense. Fantasy managers looking for an RB2/3 or flex should consider him.
Wide Receivers: Catching Stardom
Wide receivers are the playmakers, capable of turning short passes into game-changing moments. Let’s explore two wide-outs who are ready to light up your fantasy scoreboard.
Josh Downs (Indianapolis Colts)
Back in Week 6, we suggested fantasy managers add Indianapolis Colts rookie wide-out Josh Downs, and this week he did not disappoint. Over the last three weeks, Downs has been a stud, with a 19.7% target share and 2.50 yards per route run. Additionally, in Week 7 he had more targets than teammate Michael Pittman, with his role only projected to grow as the season continues to move along.
With the Colts set to go up against New Orleans (a team who’s given up the ninth-most receiving yards to slow receivers) and a Patriots defense that has allowed the sixth-highest PPR points per target, the opportunity is there for Downs to continue to dominate. If he does, astute fantasy managers who pick him up have a WR2 with league-winning upside.
Tank Dell (Houston Texans)
There is no way Houston Texans rookie Tank Dell should be available on your league’s waiver wire. But if he is, go grab him immediately. Dell missed Week 6 with a concussion and the Texans were on a Week 7 bye, but before that Dell was BALLING. He is currently the WR29 in fantasy points per game, tied to one of the best rookie quarterbacks in recent history, and in Weeks 4 & 5 had over 100 receiving yards in both games.
Also, consider this: among 91 qualifying receivers, Tank ranks 22nd in receiving grade and 15th in yards per route run. He also currently has more fantasy points than the following players: Amari Cooper, Tyler Lockett, Chris Godwin, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas. If for some insane reason he’s on your league’s waiver wire, go get him immediately.
Tight Ends: End Zone Guardians
Tight ends might not always hog the spotlight, but their red-zone presence is invaluable. Let’s analyze two tight ends who could provide a significant boost to your fantasy squad.
Michael Mayer (Las Vegas Raiders)
Las Vegas rookie tight end Michael Mayer had another solid game in Week 7, even if the box score didn’t quite show it. He played 92% of the snaps before the Raiders dropped in backups, as they were blown out. Even though backup QB Brian Hoyer locked into wideouts Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers, Mayer was third on the team with a 12.7% target share.
While the target share percentage is somewhat concerning, the upcoming games could push that back into Mayer’s favor. The Lions & Jets are sixth and third in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Additionally, even though his target share decreased, the fact that Mayer is still on the field is an encouraging sign that Week 7 was more a one-time fluke than a trend. Fantasy managers in the market for a tight end in Week 8 should consider him.
Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys)
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jake Ferguson was trending up before heading into the team’s Week 7 bye. He handled an 84.2% route run rate in Week 6, which is incredible. Among 38 qualifying tight ends, Ferguson is currently 15th in target share and yards per route run while being 11th in target per route run rate.
While wide-out CeeDee Lamb is the clear alpha in the Dallas passing game, Ferguson has the potential for solid production over the next few weeks. The Rams and Eagles are not good against fantasy tight ends, ranking 29th and 20th in fantasy points allowed to the position. While Ferguson may already be on a roster, if he isn’t now is the time to capitalize on a young tight end who could make an impact.
Conclusion: Conquer the Fantasy Realm
As Week 8 beckons, the waiver wire stands as your gateway to fantasy glory. Armed with insights, statistics, and a keen eye for emerging talent, you have the tools to reshape your roster and conquer your league. The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint, and strategic pickups at this juncture can define your fantasy destiny.
So, fellow managers, scour the waiver wire with purpose. Consider the matchups, analyze the trends, and trust your instincts. In this thrilling adventure of fantasy football, every decision you make propels you closer to the coveted championship title. Embrace the challenge, relish the victories, and may your journey through Week 8 be filled with strategic triumphs and unexpected heroics. Happy managing!