A swarm of injury bugs swept through the NFL in Week 7, but never fear! The Week 8 Waiver Wire is here to help you pluck out the stingers.
Brady Quinn, KC – Quinn will start for the Chiefs in place of Matt Cassel this week. Have they considered just direct-snapping to Jamaal Charles on every play?
Chad Henne, JAC – After Blaine Gabbert left in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss against the Raiders, Henne took the field and did Chad Henne things, completing 9-of-20 for 71 measly yards en route to blowing a 14-point lead. I imagine the Jags will do everything they can to get Gabbert ready for Week 8, but if he sits and you’re a desperate owner in a 2-QB league, Henne may be your only option.
Colin Kaepernick, SF – Alex Smith was ineffective yet again in Week 7, albeit on a short week against a very good Seahawks defense. If Smith doesn’t recapture the magic of his 2011 season soon, the Niners will have to start thinking about making the switch to Kaepernick. It may not happen at all this season, but those of you in keeper leagues might want to stash Kaepernick now on the chance that he becomes the starter next season.
Rashad Jennings, JAC – Jennings will be the consensus #1 waiver claim this week after Maurice Jones-Drew injured his foot on Sunday. Only the managers with top waiver priority or full FAAB wallets will score Jennings, so I won’t spend a whole lot of time discussing Jennings. Did I draft Jennings on approximately 90% of my teams in the preseason? Next question. Did I drop Jennings after he got hurt in Week 1 and MJD reclaimed the starting role? Next question. Am I bitter that I now have to watch Jennings land on a bunch of other teams with higher waiver claims in my leagues? Next question. Am I really Drew Rosenhausing this blurb right now? Next question.
Jonathan Dwyer, PIT – Did I tout Dwyer in the preseason just as much as I touted Rashad Jennings? Next questi—Okay, you get it. Thankfully, I was able to pick up Dwyer for a few of my teams in the middle of last week. If he’s still available in your leagues, he’ll be a nice consolation prize if you miss out on Jennings.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, ARI – Stephens-Howling moved the castle that was supposed to be a stout Minnesota run defense, rushing for 104 yards and TD on Sunday, while Williams Powell took a trip to Ken Whisenhunt’s doghouse after fumbling early in the game. Unless he fumbles the starting job back to Powell, LSH has the starting job in Arizona. Still, manage your expectations for both Cardinal running backs in Week 8. The 49ers run defense won’t no-show ala the Vikings in such an important divisional game.
Andre Brown, NYG – Brown returned to the Giants’ active roster in Week 7 with 17 rushing yards, 17 receiving yards, and a score while backing up Ahmad Bradshaw. As Brown gets healthier, he will eat into Bradshaw’s playing time even more, especially around the goal line.
Montario Hardesty, CLE – In a post-game interview Sunday, Trent Richardson said “I’m not myself out there right now.” Until he figures out how to be himself, Adrian Peterson, or at the very least Michael Turner, Richardson is a shaky play and Hardesty is worth owning.
Alex Green, GB – Green struggled against the Rams, rushing 20 times for only 35 yards. This blurb is a preemptive strike against owners who would panic and drop Green for James Starks. Breaking news: Starks isn’t good. He wouldn’t have fared any better than Green in Sunday’s game. Hold onto Green one more week and see how he does against the Jags.
Jamie Harper, TEN – Harper vultured two more touchdowns on Sunday. Not every match-up will be as favorable as that one against the Bills, but dedicated goal-line backs are valuable touchdown lottery tickets in deeper leagues.
Josh Gordon, CLE – All Josh Gordon does is catch bombs for touchdowns. Sunday’s 33-yard TD was actually somewhat disappointing after Gordon’s 62-yarder and 71-yarder in Weeks 5 and 6, respectively. Unfortunately, every party has to end sometime, but it will be to cram in as many shots as possible before the regression police knock on Gordon’s door.
Brandon LaFell, CAR – After a strong start followed by a couple of quiet weeks, LaFell came out of his bye and delivered 54 yards and a TD to his fantasy owners in Week 7. Cam Newton’s reluctance to target Steve Smith in near the goal line bodes well for LaFell.
Leonard Hankerson & Santana Moss, WAS – With Pierre Garcon still hobbled and Fred Davis now out for the season, look for Hankerson and Moss to pick up the receiving slack for Washington. Moss caught two touchdowns on Sunday, but Hankerson had twice as many targets (8 to 4), making him the better pickup going forward.
Jeremy Kerley, NYJ – Speaking of targets, Kerley caught 7 of his 11 for 120 yards. The return of Dustin Keller will help Kerley see more open looks in the weeks to come.
Chris Givens, STL – With Brandon Gibson doing his best impression of Danny Amendola, Chris Givens has taken to impersonating Brandon Gibson. It’s hard to tell if this evolutionary impersonation ladder scales to Brian Quick & Steve Smith impersonating Givens, or if Quick & Smith just aren’t very good.
Vincent Brown, SD – Brown was activated from the IR before the Chargers’ bye and should be good to go in Week 8. It remains to be seen how quickly Philip Rivers can integrate Brown into the offense, but considering the alternatives to Brown are Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal, I’m guessing it will take about 1 or 2 seconds.
***UPDATE: It turns out Vincent Brown isn’t actually eligible to return from the IR until Week 9. He’s still a nice speculative add, but he won’t be able to help you this week.
Kevin Walter, HOU – Walter found the end zone again on Sunday. He’s been inconsistent and has a bye in Week 8, but his Week 9 matchup is against the Buffalo “Our Defense Makes Even the Titans Offense Look Good” Bills. If you like to plan way ahead, Walter might be your guy.
Dustin Keller, TE – Keller leads all tight ends in receiving yards and trails only Rob Gronkowski in fantasy points for Week 7 (Chicago and Detroit have yet to play as of this writing), but don’t go cuckoo for Keller-puffs with your waiver claim. The Patriots are one of the worst teams in the league against fantasy tight ends and now that he’s proven he’s healthy, Keller should garner extra attention from opposing defenses.
Brandon Myers (OAK) & David Thomas (NO) – I recommended these two guys last week. Thomas caught a touchdown in Jimmy Graham’s absence. Myers only had 44 yards receiving, but he hauled in a PPR-friendly 7 passes on 10 targets.
Dallas Clark, TB – Clark caught 5 passes for 51 yards and a TD, all season-highs, on Sunday. Keep in mind that he put up those numbers in a shootout against the Swiss cheese Saints defense before you buy.
Logan Paulsen & Chris Cooley, WAS – Paulsen took over for Fred Davis when he left Sunday’s game and there are rumors that Washington will re-sign Chris Cooley sometime this week, but I wouldn’t add either unless my league rules mandated I could only use players on teams with xenophobic names.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE
Titus Young & Ryan Broyles, WR, DET – Nate Burleson bur-oke his leg on Monday Night, leaving the door open for Titus Young to finally live up to his preseason hype. He had 81 yards on 6 catches against the Bears, while Broyles had 51 yards and the Lions’ only TD on 3 catches. Young slots in between Kerley and Givens in my rankings above. Broyles slots in after Givens.
Kevin Smith, RB, DET – Do the Lions have running backs or fumbling backs? Mikel LeShoure & Joique Bell each coughed one up inside the red zone last night. I expect that LeShoure’s job is safe for now — aside from the fumble, he played well against a tough Bears team — but Smith is worth a stash in deeper leagues on the chance that Detroit activates him in the coming weeks. Smith slots in just ahead of Jamie Harper above.