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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 8

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Tue, 24 Oct 2023 . 2:57 PM EDT

Waiver Wire Targets 

 

Shallow Leagues

Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Blind-bid recommendation: 10-25%

Neither the Niners nor Christian McCaffrey cared about that oblique injury. It was nearly all CMC in the loss to the Vikings.

The only RB carry that didn’t go to McCaffrey? That belonged to Mitchell. And he played 4 snaps to Jordan Mason's 0.

That wouldn’t be enough to definitively put Mitchell back ahead of Mason on its own. But San Francisco ran Mitchell as the next guy up last year. And HC Kyle Shanahan spoke after last week’s game as though Mitchell remained that No. 2 guy.

Let the brief McCaffrey injury scare remind you that it’s possible he actually goes down. And then stash his likely backup.

 

12-Team Leagues

Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Rostered: 25%
Blind-bid recommendation: 10-30%

Henderson edged Royce Freeman as the Rams’ backfield leader on Sunday vs. the Steelers. He played 10 more snaps, ran five more routes, and logged six more carries, despite joining the team earlier that week.

The veteran totaled 20 touches with a 58% snap share, tallying 66 total yards and a rushing TD. It’s also worth noting that Henderson logged 100% participation in Los Angeles’ 2-minute offense.

We’ll see whether anything changes in the second game after Kyren Williams went down. But Henderson is the top bet after Sunday.

Devin Singletary, RB, Houston Texans

Rostered: 14%
Blind-bid recommendation: 10-15%

In case you forgot due to their bye week, there was a potentially interesting shift in the Texans’ backfield in Week 6.

Singletary played on more snaps than teammate Dameon Pierce (34 to 21), ran more routes (18 to 7), and saw a near-50/50 split of the RB carries (12 to 13) vs. the Saints. On top of that, the former Bills back was considerably more productive with 7.2 PPR points in the contest.

Week 8’s matchup vs. a lowly Panthers run defense increases the upside for the whole Houston backfield.

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Rostered: 34%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Are we chasing the TD he happened to score Sunday night against Miami? No. Gainwell clearly sits behind D’Andre Swift in Philly’s backfield.

But look at the RB options on waivers most weeks. It’s primarily a list of guys suddenly facing opportunity because a starter went down.

Well, Gainwell sits available in 66% of Yahoo leagues and 68% of Sleeper leagues. If Swift were to get hurt this Sunday at Washington, then this guy would become the hot pickup of Week 9.

Get ahead of that potential outcome now, if you’re not fishing for a RB you need to start immediately.

Emari Demercado, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Rostered: 15%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Demercado was a one-man show in Week 7 vs. the Seahawks.

The undrafted rookie seized a whopping 94.4% of Cardinals RB touches on Sunday and logged 11.5 PPR points. Damien Williams took the only other RB carry for a mere two yards.

The next two matchups (Ravens, Browns) will be tough. And we can’t be sure Arizona’s RB usage will stay the same. Keaontay Ingram led the Week 6 group in carries, opportunities, and touches before playing 0 snaps against the Seahawks.

Your biggest takeaway here should be that no Cardinals RB – besides James Conner – is a sure bet for touches. Demercado simply looks like the top bet heading into Week 8.

Latavius Murray, RB, Buffalo Bills

Rostered: 22%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Murray disappointed in Week 7, only logging 6 touches for 28 yards vs. the Patriots.

Still, the veteran stood alone as the Bills’ No. 2 RB behind James Cook with a 42% snap share and 86% participation rate in Buffalo’s 2-minute offense. It’s also worth noting that he saw 3 red-zone touches to Cook’s 4 in the contest.

As long as Damien Harris (neck) is on IR, Murray should see high involvement in one of the NFL’s top offenses, giving him a shot at finding the end zone any week.

Jalin Hyatt, WR, New York Giants

Rostered: 5%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

The third-round pick ranked second among Giants WRs in snaps (48) Sunday against the Commanders, leading in target share (19%), air yards share (55%), and receiving yards (75).

That’s not enough to put Hyatt in fantasy-starter consideration. He has just nine receptions through seven games, including just one game with more than 2.

But the speedy rookie is stashable if you have a spot and could settle in as a key piece in an offense that needs answers.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Baltimore Ravens

Rostered: 27%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-5%

The veteran saw a team-high 7 targets on Sunday vs. the Lions and ranked first among Ravens’ pass-catchers in target per route (33%) and air yards share (31%).

Beckham remained behind rookie Zay Flowers in production but pulled away from Rashod Bateman in route participation (21 to 14).

Baltimore’s next two matchups feature the Cardinals (31st in pass-defense DVOA) and Seahawks (19th). We’ll see whether Beckham can capitalize on the available upside.

Trey McBride, TE, Arizona Cardinals

Rostered: 2%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

McBride's usage had already increased over the past two games. After running a route on just 28.4% of dropbacks through the first five games, he climbed to 48% and 51.2% the past two weeks.

That should climb further after Zach Ertz landed on IR with a quad strain this week. The Cardinals sport the fifth-most TE receptions and fourth-most TE targets for the year.

QB Kyler Murray's approaching return could boost the scoring. Arizona TEs rank just 11th in PPR points. And McBride presents more per-catch upside than Ertz. He's averaging 11.3 yards per reception this season to Ertz's 6.9 -- despite an average target depth 1.4 yards shorter.

Among all TEs with at least 20 targets this season, McBride's 1.87 yards per route ties Jonnu Smith for second -- trailing only Travis Kelce.

Michael Mayer, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

Rostered: 28%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-1%

Don’t let Mayer’s Week 7 fantasy flop discourage you.

The rookie played on 70.7% of the Raiders’ offensive snaps. His route rate (54.3%) declined vs. Week 6 but still marked his second-highest of the year. And a few more blocking assignments aren't surprising when your backup QB starts.

Mayer also likely would have played even more, but the Raiders pulled starters with 10 minutes to go in a lopsided loss, according to PFF. It's noteworthy Mayer left with that group.

Jimmy Garoppolo's potential return and a positive matchup with Detroit could even make Mayer a deep starting option for some fantasy teams in Week 8.

 

Deep Leagues

Gardner Minshew, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Rostered: 8%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-5%

Minshew delivered the goods on Sunday, despite facing the league’s top defense in Cleveland.

Sure, his 38 fantasy-point day was boosted by two rushing scores. But he still tallied a 65.2% completion rate, 305 passing yards, and two passing TDs.

Indy’s schedule looks tough in the short term:

  • vs. Saints
  • at Panthers
  • at Patriots

But if Minshew can conquer the Browns – and continue using his legs – there’s potential spot-start value here moving forward.

Tyson Bagent, QB, Chicago Bears (superflex)

Rostered: 4%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-5%

Bagent should draw another starter or two while Justin Fields rehabs a thumb injury.

He wasn’t anything special in a blowout win over Vegas, tallying just 14.5 fantasy points. He completed 72.4% of his passes, though – hardly a surprise given his 2.5-yard aDOT.

We’ll see if the Bears open up the passing attack vs. the Chargers. But L.A. provides a nice matchup either way, both in terms of fantasy points allowed and projected game script.

As of Tuesday, Chicago stands as 8.5-point underdogs. The Chargers have allowed the most fantasy points to enemy QBs.

Royce Freeman, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Rostered: 28%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

Elevated from the practice squad about one week ago, Freeman jumped right into a prominent role.

He saw 12 of 30 backfield carries yet led the team with 66 yards. Darrell Henderson accounted for the rest, including both goal-line rushing chances.

It’s a small sample, but Freeman’s underlying numbers proved encouraging:

  • third in Pro Football Focus rushing grade
  • seventh in yards after contact per attempt
  • fourth in elusive rating

Perhaps we’ll hear something on a role for Myles Gaskin. But for now, Freeman looks poised for about 8-12 touches in Week 8.

Pierre Strong Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns

Rostered: 1%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-5%

Jerome Ford appears likely to miss a game or two with an ankle sprain. That’ll wipe him out for Week 8 at Seattle, and perhaps the following week vs. Arizona.

On Sunday, Strong essentially split carries with Kareem Hunt. The former Patriot handled 8 carries to 10 for Hunt, with both guys hitting 3.1 yards per carry.

Current Week 8 projections have Strong for about 10 touches.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Rostered: 1%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-1%

Gaskin was a healthy scratch in Week 7. No surprise considering he signed with the Rams about one week ago.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday, though, that Gaskin is “expected” to play against Dallas this week … “as he continues to pick up the offense.”

Our guess: Gaskin, for now, slides in as the RB3 behind Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman (and ahead of Zach Evans). But this is a fluid backfield for the next several weeks while Kyren Williams remains out. So it isn’t out of the question that Gaskin enters a committee ahead of Williams’ return.

Jauan Jennings, WR, San Francisco 49ers 

Rostered: 2%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-3%

Consider Jennings a one-week rental, as the 49ers enter a Week 9 bye. Deebo Samuel (shoulder) should return for Week 10. 

On Monday night, Jennings ranked a clear second among 49ers WRs in snaps (39) and routes (26). He even out-targeted Brandon Aiyuk (9 to 6) en route to a 5-catch, 54-yard day.

This week turns up a Bengals defense that’s been among the friendiest to opposing WRs.

Taysom Hill, “TE,” New Orleans Saints 

Rostered: 9%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-1%

Hill has racked up 11 catches over the past two weeks. That's 19% of his career total.

He's benefited from the absence of Juwan Johnson. As of Tuesday, Johnson’s expected to return this week from his calf injury.

So Hill is more of a stash rather than a Week 8 option. Still, he has shown enough to find a home on the bench of TE-needy squads.

 

Streaming Options

Derek Carr, QB, New Orleans Saints

Let’s hope you don’t need a streamer this week, with no teams on bye. But if you do, Carr hits a nice two-week stretch.

He comes off two straight 300-yard outings to face the Colts and Bears, the sixth- and seventh-best QB scoring matchups by our adjusted fantasy points allowed.

Just don’t talk yourself into Carr over a better option. He might have finished last Thursday night with 301 yards, but he took an ugly path to get there. Carr’s 6.3 yards per pass attempt for the season is his lowest rate since his rookie year (2014). And his 2.4% TD rate is a career-low.

Donald Parham Jr., TE, Los Angeles Chargers

TE Gerald Everett came away from Sunday’s loss with a hip injury. We don’t know how much longer that might affect him at the moment. But Everett’s potential absence makes Parham a short-term option.

Parham already sits tied for the league lead in end-zone targets among TEs. He’d likely gain further playing time – and target upside – if Everett’s out.

It’s worth noting, though, that second-year TE Stone Smartt actually played more snaps than Parham (11-6) after Everett left, according to PFF, and led Chargers TEs in routes for the game.

We’re still easily taking Parham ahead. But don’t overrate his role certainty.

Atlanta Falcons DST

Atlanta visits a Titans team that has actually been a slightly negative matchup for DST scoring this season. But Ryan Tannehill’s dealing with a high-ankle sprain. That likely means either Malik Willis or Will Levis.

One took 4 sacks among just 15 dropbacks in Week 6 relief duty. The other has yet to take an NFL snap.

It doesn’t hurt that the Falcons are coming off consecutive positive fantasy outings vs. Washington and at Tampa Bay.

New York Giants DST

The past two weeks have seen the Giants limit the Bills to 14 points – in Buffalo – and then suffocate the Commanders. Even at Miami the week before that, they snagged three turnovers.

Now comes Zach Wilson.

 

Drop Candidates

Baker Mayfield, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mayfield’s no must-drop. He finished a decent 11th among fantasy QBs in a positive matchup with Atlanta last week. But you shouldn’t need to reach this low for a streamer in a week with no teams on bye. And Mayfield gets a much worse matchup against the Bills.

Joshua Dobbs, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Dobbs seems to have been spending the past three weeks proving that Kyler Murray will be welcomed back to the lineup as soon as he’s ready.

Dobbs completed just 51.9% of his passes over that span, at 5.16 yards per attempt. He maintained a helpful level of rushing, but only helped himself to a No. 24 ranking in fantasy points per game over that span.

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pickett’s 1-yard TD plunge in the win over the Rams was one of just two total scores he participated in over the past three games. It was surprising that he finished Week 7 still rostered in more than 20% of Yahoo leagues.

Zach Evans, RB, Los Angeles Rams

This one comes with levels …

If you spent a bunch on Evans in last week’s waiver run, then it’s OK to hang on for one more week to see if he gains any role. But that’s only true if keeping the rookie doesn’t stop you from grabbing someone with far more upside or who you need to help your Week 8 roster.

If you have Evans on your roster and didn’t pay much to get him, then dropping him should be even easier. Despite being the only Rams RB who had been on the roster all season, Evans played zero offensive snaps against the Steelers.

Looks like he might need another 2-3 backfield injuries to give him a shot at relevance.

Keaontay Ingram, RB, Arizona Cardinals

We said last week that you could drop all three Cardinals fill-in RBs. You still don’t need to roster any of them. But Ingram was kind enough to clarify the situation a bit against Seattle. He played no snaps in the game. There’s no reason to cling to him through that.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

If you’re desperate in a given week and just need an RB with a shot to fall into the end zone, then McKinnon can be that guy. But you don’t need to cling to him otherwise.

Here are his weekly touch counts this season: 4, 3, 3, 3, 5, 4, 1.

If everything else were the same but he played for any team besides the Chiefs, you probably wouldn’t even realize he was still in the NFL.

Samaje Perine, RB, Denver Broncos

Javonte Williams looks stronger than he did early in the season. And Jaleel McLaughlin looks like the Denver RB to play whenever Williams is out. That doesn’t mean you need to dump Perine right now. But you sure can if you want to go after someone else.

Craig Reynolds, RB, Detroit Lions

David Montgomery has missed two full games this season. Reynolds finished those contests with 4 and 3 carries. If we can’t get anything from him when Montgomery’s out, then what exactly are we holding him for?

Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

You might well have already dropped this guy. Week 7 gave us another benchmark, though, with Odell Beckham Jr. pulling ahead in routes (21-14). Bateman’s giving us no reason to bother with him outside of dynasty (and isn’t even attractive there at this point).

Michael Wilson, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Wilson’s 7-76-2 line in Week 4 that put him on every league’s waiver radar remains the only time this season he has caught more than three passes or found the end zone.

You can hang on to Wilson and see what happens with the pass offense when Murray returns if you have a roster spot to play with. But you can also comfortably drop him if you’re eyeing a better available option.

Quentin Johnston, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Johnston isn’t that option. Plenty of long-term upside remains, but he’s running well behind WR Josh Palmer in routes and targets right now. And Palmer’s career-best yardage in the loss at Kansas City sure isn’t going to help the rookie.

Chig Okonkwo, TE, Tennessee Titans

Okonkwo negatively rebounded from his season-high 9 targets and 5 receptions at Indy in Week 5 to post a 2-18 receiving line last time out. He’s averaging just 2.8 receptions and 20.3 yards per game. And now Ryan Tannehill has a high-ankle sprain.

Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Chargers

This will require watching Everett’s injury status through the week. (Don’t worry, we’ll have you covered in Shark Bites.) We include Everett here to point out that you shouldn’t feel like you need to cling to him through any time lost to the hip injury.

His 3.2 receptions per game are down from last year, and his 24.8 yards per game mark his lowest average since 2018.

  

Grab This Guy

Chris Rodriguez, RB, Commanders

Here's a surprise storyline from Week 7 ...

Rodriguez, a Round 6 rookie, actually led the Commanders in rushing. He gained only 31 yards in an ugly team effort vs. the Giants. But Rodriguez nearly matched Brian Robinson in carries (7 to 8), although the latter saw Washington’s lone goal-line carry.

There’s nothing flashy in Rodriguez's college background. He racked up 3,644 career rushing yards, but staying on campus for five seasons helped.

Rodriguez is not a speedster, but he brings intriguing size at 224 pounds.

What about Antonio Gibson? Well, the Commanders clearly prefer him in a pass-catching role. Gibson saw only 2 carries on Sunday, giving him 2.5 per game on the year.

You’re not rushing out to grab Rodriguez for Week 8. But you can stash him in a deep roster spot and see if anything develops.

Washington's offense is clearly still searching for answers.

  

More on Week 8 Waiver Wire Picks

Trying to sort through the Week 8 waiver wire options at RB? Jared and Matt are here to help ... 

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