As we cartoon coyotes of the fantasy football world slither out from under the anvils that crushed us in Week 7, we are reminded more now than in any previous week how important depth is in our game. Doug Martin, Reggie Wayne, Sam Bradford, and likely Jermichael Finley are lost for the season. Bradford and Finley are somewhat replaceable as fantasy commodities, but the losses of Martin and Wayne will cripple teams without a solid bench to fall back on. Let this rash of injuries serve as a reminder to always stay active on the waiver wire. Each week’s waiver period offers opportunities to improve your team. Your gains may be incremental, but piling up as many of those small advantages as you can is the best way to combat fake football’s endless onslaught of variance. Whether you lost a crucial player to injury or not on Sunday, give your bench a boost with the players featured here in the Week 8 Waiver Wire.
*Note: I’m trying something new with the “Better late than never” (BLTN) players from previous Waiver Wires. Based on how I would rank them for the rest of the season, I’m slotting them amidst other players at their respective positions. I hope this method is helpful.
So much for the injured Jake Locker. The Titans’ starter surprisingly returned to action in a relatively tough match-up against San Francisco and delivered a top-10 QB performance. Locker should get fully healthy in his Week 8 bye and his schedule beyond that is very appealing (@STL, JAC, IND, @OAK, @IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC, HOU). This is likely your last chance to land Locker on the cheap.
Better late than never: Mike Glennon
While it’s not season-ending like the injuries mentioned above, Jay Cutler’s groin issue will reportedly cost him at least 4 weeks. That leaves Josh McCown to captain the Chicago offense after their Week 8 bye. The Bears face the Packers and the Lions first — a pair of reasonable match-ups for fantasy quarterbacks — but try not to rest your fake football hopes on a guy with a career 38:44 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Like both other QBs I’ve blurbed so far, Case Keenum has a bye in Week 8. The Houston Cougars legend played admirably in his first NFL start, but the Chiefs beat him up pretty badly (5 sacks, 2 fumbles, 1 fumble lost). Not every defense the Texans face will be as fearsome as the Chiefs, though, and if Keenum earns another start in Week 9 against Indy, he’ll be an intriguing option in 2-QB leagues.
Kellen Clemens will take over under center for the aforementioned Sam Bradford and he should probably be ranked ahead of Keenum based on assumed job security. I’ve seen Kellen Clemens play quarterback though, so no.
The Buccaneers’ new starting running back is a guy named Mike James. No, the shoot-first backup point guard from the Chicago Bulls didn’t trump LeBron’s quest to play in the NFL. This is a different Mike James. He rushed for 45 yards on 14 carries and caught all three of his targets for 8 yards on Sunday. Those numbers don’t equate to good per-touch averages, but James will have value going forward, regardless. Meanwhile, the Bucs signed Bobby Rainey to play behind James. I missed pretty badly when I tabbed Rainey as the Cleveland back to own after T-Rich was traded, but I’m tempted to double-down on Rainey. It’s not like I could be more wrong this time around, right? Don’t answer that…
With Arian Foster‘s hamstring injury and Ben Tate‘s rib injury be on the lookout for who will start for the Texans in week 9.
BLTN: Chris Ivory
After a quiet start to the season, Roy Helu is averaging 14.3 fantasy points per game in his last three contests. Helu won’t score three touchdowns every week, but his role in the Washington offense has expanded and fantasy owners should adjust accordingly.
Joseph Randle merits BLTN consideration after he totaled 93 yards on 22 touches Sunday. Meanwhile, Lance Dunbar is still rehabbing his hamstring injury and Phillip Tanner vultured the only Cowboys rushing TD against the Eagles. DeMarco Murray will return to the feature role eventually, so you might want to let the Dallas backfield be someone else’s headache in your league.
As I type, there are about 12 minutes left in the Monday Night Football game. Michael Cox (11 carries) and Peyton Hillis (12 carries) have combined for 52 yards (2.26 YPC). Andre Brown is starting to practice with the Giants and could be back for their Week 10 showdown against the Raiders.
BLTN: Mike Tolbert
BLTN: Terrance Williams, Harry Douglas, Rueben Randle, Keenan Allen
No Randall Cobb? No James Jones? No problem. Jarrett Boykin led all Packers receivers in targets, receptions, and yardage on Sunday. Boykin’s performance was the final piece of data needed to definitively prove that Aaron Rodgers is really good at football. Congratulations, fellow football scientists. We did it!
I thought Stephen Hill was the Jets wideout to own, but Jeremy Kerley’s recent resume has me fiending for Forget-Me-Nows. Over the last four weeks, Kerley is averaging 8.5 fantasy points per game. That sort of production isn’t particularly memorable, but it’s not worth erasing from your memory either.
Darrius Heyward-Bey will benefit the most from Reggie Wayne’s absence, but keep in mind he’s the same player we were clamoring for the Colts to use less in favor of T.Y. Hilton as recently as Week 5. The opportunity is there for Heyward-Bey to succeed, but the skills might not be. If you want to dive deeper into the Colts’ receiving corps, LaVon Brazil is also worth considering.
BLTN: Aaron Dobson
The reports on Percy Harvin’s recovery from a hip injury have been extremely promising lately, but I’m less optimistic. Being able to practice doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ready for game action. I’d look to add Harvin if I had a very deep bench as wasn’t cutting anyone useful, but he’ll be added by one of my opponents in most of my leagues and I’m okay with that. There are so many other players who can impact my team right now that I’m willing to be wrong about Harvin and his down-the-road prospects.
Riley Cooper followed up his best game of the season in Week 6 with a less impressive, but still respectable Week 7 performance against the Cowboys. DeSean Jackson was in and out of the game with some minor injuries and Cooper caught 6 of his 7 targets for 88 yards. It was Jason Avant, however, who led the Eagles in targets with 12. If Jackson misses any time or continues to be bothered by his dings and dents, Cooper and Avant’s values will rise.
BLTN: Jordan Reed
Coby Fleener should also see increasing usage with Reggie Wayne sidelined. He found the end zone at the conclusion of the first half in Sunday night’s game on an 8-yard pass from Andrew Luck. The Colts don’t have a legitimate possession receiver with Wayne out, so Luck might lean more on Fleener going forward.
The quest for the most boring fantasy tight end season of all time marches on for Delanie Walker. Week 7 marked his best game of 2013 and a bounce-back from his worst game of the year in Week 6. Before that, he steadily alternated between 4 and 7 fantasy points each week. His 5.57-fantasy-ppg average isn’t exciting, but that sort of production may be a necessary evil considering all the teams on bye in the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, in sunny Arizona, Rob Housler is finally starting to show signs of life. He caught all 7 of his targets against the Seahawks for 53 yards on Sunday. That was easily his best showing of the season and a solid PPR day, in general. If you’re desperate at TE, consider taking it to the Housler.
I don’t understand why fantasy players torture themselves with leagues where it’s necessary to go deeper than Tyler Eifert and Ben Watson at tight end, but I know those players exist. That special breed of fake football degenerate might want to consider Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz. The Eagles are already starting to use him more and like Riley Cooper and Jason Avant, Ertz would see more targets if DeSean Jackson’s injury proves to be more serious than we currently believe it to be.