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Fantasy Overview: Week 8

Get yourself caught up on what's going on in the league as we enter Week 8 of the NFL season. Here's my take on the fantasy landscape around the league and how you can benefit. 

This week's topic is geared more towards those in deeper leagues with 12+ teams and 20+ roster spots. Some comments and thoughts will still apply to others who don't specifically fit that criteria, but for the most part this is for those who have limited choices on the waiver wire. 

The Week 6 Fantasy Overview included my thoughts on players to target for the fantasy playoffs (Week 14, 15, 16). Feel free to revisit that article, because a lot of those thoughts and opinions still apply. This week I want to focus on some proactive waiver wire claims that could propel your team forward if one or more of these pickups hit. Keep in mind, a proactive waiver claim isn't intended to be a quick solution, but more of a shark move that has the potential to give your lineup a boost. Examples of proactive waiver pickups this year include Jacquizz Rodgers, Jordan Howard, Cameron Meredith, Ty Montgomery among others. Last year, Thomas Rawls fit this criteria and was a league winner for many teams. These waiver pickups weren't expected to amount to much when picked up, but the potential for success was there. Making good on such moves can fix or strengthen your team and/or your season. Here's a look at some players to target at each position. 

Proactive & Reactive Waiver Pickups

Quarterback

Reactive & Proactive

Jay Cutler, CHI - Brian Hoyer's four-game streak of 300+ yards passing ended last week against Green Bay due to a broken arm. The injury is scheduled to keep him out at least six weeks, which would put Hoyer back in play around Week 14. Luckily for the Bears, they have Jay Cutler waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces to the offense. I'm not sold on him being a better fantasy play than Hoyer, but he can help your team if you're in a two quarterback or Superflex league. Cutler's ability will be tested this week right out of the gate with a tough matchup against Minnesota. His schedule opens up after the Week 9 bye, but the time to add him (if you're in need) is now. I'm not calling Cutler a season saver, but he's an available quarterback who could help if you need it. 

Reactive

Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ - How quickly things change. Fitzpatrick was benched for Geno Smith in Week 7 only to replace Smith due to a season-ending knee injury. Fitzpatrick didn't light the world on fire, but he was serviceable and led the Jets to their first win since Week 2. This week the Jets play at Cleveland, which is a streamers dream matchup. Pick him up this week, and if you use blind bidding, consider spending a tad bit more, because others will be targeting him too. The scheudle is much more favorable to Fitzpatrick and the Jets' passing game moving forward. I expect that we will see more of "good Fitzpatrick" and less of the bad in the coming weeks. This is also good news for Brandon Marshall, who should see an uptick in target shares. 

Proactive

Josh McCown, CLE - It's possible that Josh McCown (fractured collarbone on non-throwing side) will be back under center for the Browns this week, especially if Cody Kessler (concussion) is not cleared to return. McCown's return would give a spike to nearly all receiving options as a major updgrade over third stringer Kevin Hogan who seems more geared to run than pass. Terrelle Pryor may be a better option at quarterback if McCown can't go. Even if McCown doesn't play this week, he's still a decent waiver claim for when he does return. If you need a quarterback, McCown isn't a bad option. 

Running Back

Proactive

Kenneth Dixon, BAL - Terrance West is a nice story, but I would not be surprised at all to see Baltimore lean more to Kenneth Dixon after the bye week. He's a cheap buy right now and you always want to be targeting potential starting running backs, because you never know when an injury will strike. Some owner who held onto Dixon up until now may be dropping him due to the Week 8 bye. The success of Terrance West may also be a reason why someone might consider dumping Dixon. If he's available, get him and stash him on your roster until he's needed. I'll be shocked if there's not at least one week this year when Dixon is thrust into action. He has the talent and pedigree to make an impact when his number is called. 

Reactive

Devontae Booker, DEN - The Denver running game is a hot commodity and now there's news that C.J. Anderson could miss some time with a knee injury. Booker is a reactive pickup right now and one that merits immediate attention. His time as a lead back could only be a few weeks, but there's definitely some potential for him to be a big fantasy play if Anderson misses time. 

Proactive

Rob Kelley, WAS - Matt Jones has been decent, but not spectacular for Washington this season. He has ball security issues, especially recently, that could result in more snaps for Kelley. Chris Thompson is also a player to target, but chances are he's already rostered. Kelley is averaging a stout 6.1 yards per carry in 17 carries this season. All but one came on first and second down. Consider him as a proactive waiver pickup who could go off any given week. 

Proactive

Paul Perkins, NYG - The time to get Perkins is now. The Giants have a bye this week and not many people are considering him an option. The truth of the matter is, the Giants ground game has been a disappointment. I would not be surprised to see New York give Perkins an increase in snaps in the second half of the season, especially if he has success when his number is called. He's a talented back who can play a much-need role for the Giants and their struggling ground game. 

Proactive

Knile Davis, GB - The Packers are mess at running back. Eddie Lacy is out for the year, James Starks is recovering from surgery and they are using receivers like Ty Montgomery (although he played running back in college) and Randall Cobb at the running back position. Knile Davis was recently acquired via trade, which leads me to believe the Packers have an interest in him playing some type of role. Green Bay doesn't want to throw him out there if he's not ready, hence the limited touches in last week's game against Chicago. I have a feeling we'll see more from Davis in the coming weeks. He's a decent proactive waiver claim if you have the space. 

Proactive

Reggie Bush, BUF - Reports out of Buffalo claim Bush looks great in practice, but he hasn't been given many opportunities due to LeSean McCoy's success. Now that McCoy is banged up with a hamstring injury, Bush is starting to get some looks. He even scored a one yard touchdown in garbage time last week on his only carry of the game. McCoy's hamstring injury doesn't sound serious, which shouldn't keep him out long, if at all. I do think there's a window this week against New England for a back to rise to the occasion. Mike Gillislee and Bush are the ones that have my interest. Gillislee was last week's waiver darling and he didn't amount to much. Bush on the other hand, could see more time and he's likely available. He's a short term potential option, but he's an option. In a time where running backs are scarce, he's a possibility. 

Proactive

Dion Lewis, NE - Lewis was placed on the PUP list to begin the season and as of Week 7 he's eligible to return. I'm not as high on Lewis as I am other proactive backs, because we don't know when or if Lewis will be back this season. Plus even if he comes back he'll be trading snaps with James White. He was a highly productive back for the Patriots last season before the knee injury put an abrupt end to his success. If he's healthy and he shows it, he could be a gem in waiting. Consider the stash of Lewis, but don't be surprised if he's a wash this year. 

Proactive

Jeremy Langford, CHI - Langford suffered a fairly severe high ankle sprain in Week 3 that has kept him out of action. In his absence the Bears have found success with Jordan Howard, but there's also KaDeem Carey lurking as well. Langford may not be ready to return until after the Week 9 bye, but he's not a bad pickup as a back who could make an impact if the ball bounces his way. 

Proactive

Ameer Abdullah, DET - If all other options are not available or not appealing, you could potentially target Ameer Abdullah, who has been placed on IR with designation to return if rehab goes well with his foot injury. This is a longshot, but one that could potentially pay off. We may know more in Week 10 when the Lions have their bye week. Keep him on your radar and be on the lookout for any news on Abdullah around Week 10. 

wide receiver

Reactive

Corey Coleman, CLE - The Browns are hoping that Coleman (hand) will return to practice this week and be able to play soon. His presense is needed, especially with Terrelle Pryor dealing with a hamstring injury that could keep him less than 100% for another week or two. It's possible that Coleman is out there on the waiver wire. If he is, grab him quick, because other people are likely targeting him as well. Don't forget, Coleman had 7 receptions for 173 yards and 2 scores in his first two games as a rookie. He's a weekly starter if the quarterback situation resolves itself and his strong play continues. 

Reactive

Donte Moncrief, IND - The Colts have indicated that Moncrief (fractured scpula) will be back to practice this week, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll play in Week 8. He's on the last week of his 4-6 week injury and should be back soon. As long as he is healthy, he should be a big part of the offense moving forward. It's possible that he's out there on the waiver wire. If he is, grab him. 

Reactive

Davante Adams, GB - Davante Adams is coming off a huge game that saw him collect 13 receptions for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns, giving him 5 scores in six games. It's possible that Adams is still on the waiver wire. If so, he's worth the pick up. 

Reactive

J.J. Nelson, ARI - The recent ACL tear to Jaron Brown has elevated J.J. Nelson into a starting receiver role for the Cardinals. He's coming off a game where he had more snaps than Michael Floyd, and this week the Cardinals have a favorable matchup against a reeling Panthers secondary that has had difficulties keeping receivers in check. Nelson should be a popular waiver pickup this week. If he's available, go get him. 

Proactive

Steve Smith, BAL - Steve Smith is dealing with a high ankle sprain that he suffered in Week 5. The Ravens have a bye this week and the expectation is that Smith will be back to action in Week 9. Smith has games with 5, 3, 8, 8, 3 receptions with the last one being cut short due to the injury. There's a place for Smith in the Ravens offense. If he's available on the waiver wire, he's a decent claim. 

Proactive & Reactive

Justin Hunter, BUF - The Bills are dealing with injury after injury at the wide receiver position. Sammy Watkins is out for an unknown time, Robert Woods is dealing with a foot injury and may not be back this week and Marquise Goodwin suffered a concussion and may not be available this week. That leaves Justin Hunter as the potential WR1 for the Bills in a home game against the Patriots, which could have plenty of pass attempts, especially with questions at the running back position as well. 

Proactive

Sammy Watkins, BUF

There's no guarantee that Sammy Watkins will be back this season, but there's a small possibility that he could be back for Week 15 or 16. He did not have surgery on his injured foot and will instead use rest and rehab to get back on track. If you've scouted the Bills playoff schedule, you know they have three home games against PIT, CLE and MIA for weeks 14, 15 and 16. Getting Watkins back may be a huge boost to your playoff lineup that could pay big dividends. 

Tight End

Proactive

Tyler Eifert, CIN - Tyler Eifert was active last week for the first time this season. He played a total of 15 snaps and was limited as expected. Look for him to be ready for action after the Bengals Week 9 bye. It's possible that he could see an increase in snaps this week, but I'm not trusting him until he sees fulltime action. If he's available on your waiver wire, grab him, because he is expected to be a weekly fantasy start in the second half of the year. 

Proactive

Ladarius Green, PIT - Ladarius Green is eligible to return off the PUP list (headaches) and the Steelers could use his talent and ability at the tight end position. There's two key factors to consider if targeting Green. Are his headaches a thing of the past and can he return to play without any setbacks? Green is more attractive with Ben Roethlisberger under center, and both could be returning at the same time. There's still some questions on Green's return chances, but he's someone to stash if you need a tight end and have the space on your roster. 

Good luck this week and go make those moves that will get you the trophy! 

 

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to haseley@footballguys.com