by Will Overton
It’s Week 8 and it’s our first “dreaded” six team bye week of the season. Coupled with mounting injuries this might be a week where you’re scraping the bottom of the waiver wire barrel. With that in mind, this week we are not only looking back at what waiver options emerged in Week 7, but also looking forward to Week 8 and which guys on the wire you want to use based on matchups. So let’s get to work finding you some plays off the wire:
O.J. Howard – TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The first round pick showed a bit of the promise this past week, going for six catches, 98 yards and a pair of TD. This may have been his coming out party, or just a sampling of what he will one day be. Howard clearly has the skills, and I have no doubt will one day be a force in fantasy football. The question is does he have the polish now and will he get consistent enough work with Cameron Brate in the picture? I think he’s a bit of a gamble add in standard leagues, with possible upside, but keeper and dynasty leagues he’s a must own.
Verdict: High Risk/High Reward add in standard leagues, but a must own in long term leagues
T.J. Yeldon – RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
It was Chris Ivory we were pumping up for Week 7, and Ivory did score a TD, but it was Yeldon who stole the show. Touching the ball for the first time all season Yeldon ran for 122 yards on nine carries, while catching two passes for another 15 yards. This has to leave fantasy owners asking, where has this version been the last two years?! It was a nice game and should draw the attention of some teams, but it should also be largely ignored by fantasy players. The Jaguars have a bye this week and chances are Leonard Fournette will be back when they return in Week 9. Yeldon hadn’t seen the field all year and he probably won’t see much of it going forward as long as Fournette is healthy.
Verdict: Ignore Him
Deonte Thompson – WR, Buffalo Bills
The Bills have been looking for some kind of a wide receiver threat all season and Deonte Thompson put his name on the list of contenders this last Sunday. Thompson caught four balls from Tyrod Taylor and turned it into 107 yards. This was Thompson’s first game with the team since being traded from Chicago, so we could see the rapport continue to grow with this success. The Bills have a nice matchup against the Raiders which could make for more value coming. The Bills don’t throw much, but if the largest share of the passes go to one guy he can still have value. Playing him is still a gamble, but you may need to take some in Week 8.
Verdict: Take a gamble on a potential new top team receiver
Kenny Stills – WR, Miami Dolphins
One thing we know about Stills is that he has a knack for finding the end zone. Stills caught two TD this last Sunday against the Jets, and he had a total of six catches for 85 yards (and he has three TD catches in the last two weeks). These last two games have been without DaVante Parker, and he could be back as soon as this week. On the other hand, if the Dolphins stick with Matt Moore at QB (after the injury to Jay Cutler) that could be a nice boost as Stills had a TD in each of the three regular season games started by Moore last season. Parker’s imminent return can hurt his value, but given the change at QB and Stills TD upside, he’s still someone you want to own.
Verdict: Own him in all formats
Demarcus Robinson – WR, Kansas City Chiefs
With Chris Conley’s season ending knee injury the Chiefs have been looking for a new number two option and Demarcus Robinson seems to have a foot up in the race. Albert Wilson got the attention with his long TD grab, but Robinson had five catches for 69 yards. Despite being the second receiver, Robinson is still the fourth option on offense which caps his value. He’ll have some nice games and will make a good play in PPR in certain weeks, but against the Broncos in I think I’d stay away unless I was desperate.
Verdict: Possible streaming option at times, but not this week
Wendell Smallwood – RB, Philadelphia Eagles
I am kind of breaking one of my rules by having Wendell Smallwood here, as he is owned in nearly 40% of leagues, but that is still too small of a number (especially with a prime Week 8 matchup). He has become the best part of a carry share and since he also has some receiving acumen that boosts his value even more. You probably won’t use him every week if you can avoid it, but I would love to have a chance to use him against the San Francisco 49ers in what could be a career best game.
Verdict: Add in all formats and a solid start this week
Marquise Goodwin – WR, San Francisco 49ers
It’s always interesting to see what direction a new QB will go with targets and it was Marquise Goodwin who was tied for the lead from C.J. Beathard this last Sunday. Beathard spread the ball around a lot, but clearly liked something about Goodwin enough to keep going back to him. Goodwin caught four of the eight targets and had 80 yards (this is now two 80+ yard games in the last three weeks). It’s hard to trust anyone in San Francisco’s offense, but Goodwin has some momentum and is headed into a matchup with an average, at best, secondary in Philadelphia, in a game where the 49ers are likely to be playing from behind.
Verdict: Flyer for rest of the year, but a nice streaming option for Week 8
A.J. Derby – TE, Denver Broncos
With Emmanuel Sanders out this past week, and for the coming weeks, we knew someone would step up for Denver and it ended up being Derby. The Broncos tight end caught a season high six passes on seven targets, totaling 66 yards. He also flashed some upside two weeks ago against the Raiders. I do like him as a kind of raw prospect, but I think the number two passing option will be interchangeable week to week and when they control the game script they won’t be passing as much as they did last week.
Verdict: Deep league add, but ignore for standard
Brandon LaFell – WR, Cincinnati Bengals
The inclusion of Brandon LaFell on this list isn’t as much about his catching his first TD of the season, but more about his upcoming matchup with the Colts. He hadn’t done much of anything so far this season before his TD grab, and I don’t like his upside for the rest of the season either. That said, he’s still the Bengals number two option and the Colts matchup is too hard not to exploit. LaFell is someone you can grab off the wire and insert right into your lineup this week, but you may just want to cut bait on him after.
Verdict: A nice Week 8 play, but upside rest of season is limited
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