Week eight of the National Football League is in the books. And with that, football fans are looking towards the fantasy football waiver wire to see if their team can be improved in any way. And at this point, it’s probably time to cut bait with some of the names near and dear to your heart, because the fantasy football playoffs are quickly approaching.
Before we get to this week’s potential waiver wire pickups, it’s important to note that I WOULD spend my first waiver priority on a few players from the list below. Also, players listed below are in no particular order, so be sure to read them all.
Week 9 Byes: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee
Charles Sims | Buccaneers
Bucs’ rookie Charles Sims is expected to return from the injured-reserved designated-to-return list as soon as next week, which could make Doug Martin expendable at the trade deadline. Whether Tampa chooses to send Martin packing tomorrow or not, Sims will likely be given the opportunity to contribute out of backfield immediately and often. In four collegiate seasons between Houston and West Virginia, Sims carried the ball with an average of 5.9 yards/carry and scored 40 touchdowns. He also caught more than 200 passes with a 10.4 yards/reception average and added 11 touchdowns through the air. The competition at this level will be stiffer, no doubt, but Sims has the ability to be an all-purpose back with a higher ceiling in points-per-reception fantasy football formats. Bobby Rainey should already be owned in your league as well, but if by chance he’s available, give him a whirl as well.
Jonas Gray | Patriots
Gray carried the rock 17 times for 86 yards on Sunday against the Bears. The former Notre Dame bruiser ran well in the second preseason game as well — earning 12 carries for 98 yards, good enough for an 8.2 yards/carry average — but not many will take those numbers too seriously. Gray seems like the best bet to continue getting the north-south type of work in New England, while Shane Vereen will be catching passes from Tom Brady out of the backfield. The Patriots get the Broncos in week nine, a beneficial matchup for fantasy running backs, but game flow will likely determine if New England can stick with the ground game or abandon that in order to keep up with Denver in the event of a shootout.
Okay, this is more of a “please triple check your waiver wire” than anything else. Both Ingram and Robinson are owned in less than 70% of Yahoo! leagues at the time of this writing, which is borderline criminal heading into the bigger bye weeks.
Martavis Bryant | Steelers
Featured in this column for the second consecutive week, Martavis Bryant deserves to be added in just about all formats going forward. Bryant reeled in five-of-seven targets for 83 yards and two touchdowns in week eight’s effort at home against the Colts. The rookie earned two red zone targets — equaling Antonio Brown’s two — and managed to connect with Ben Roethlisberger on both for scores.
Tom Brady looked for LaFell 12 times on Sunday and they connected on 11 of those targets for 124 yards and a touchdown. LaFell has been consistently seeing between four and eight targets per week, eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice and now owns four touchdowns on the season. He should be added, but proceed with caution as we never know how Bill Belichick will use his personnel.
Sure, Brown’s fantasy production in week eight relied heavily on the 75-yard touchdown grab late in the fourth quarter that propelled Arizona to a victory over Philadelphia. Sure, that may not happen again going forward, but the point is, it could. Brown is a burner. And in each of the four weeks since the Cardinals’ bye in week four, Brown has been targeted the same or more than Michael Floyd. In the four games since said bye, the Cards have targeted Brown 28 times to Floyd’s 21. I’m not going as far as saying John Brown is better than Michael Floyd, or, to drop Michael Floyd for John Brown because I still believe Floyd is the better pass catcher. But, based on usage we are lead to believe that Arizona likes Brown and/or his recent matchups a lot. Much of the same could continue with defenses paying lots of attention to Larry Fitzgerald and Floyd.
Cincinnati, Minnesota, Kansas City or Cleveland’s D/ST
Six teams are on a bye in week nine, so it’s time to cut them loose and find the best of the available squads on the wire. I’ve listed them in the order in which I’d add them based on matchup and potential. Cincy draws Jacksonville, need I say more?
Consider in leagues: All
Waiver Priority Worthy: 8 and lower
Spend this much FAAB to acquire: 0-5%
Players I’d drop for him: your defense on a bye
Donte Moncrief hauled in seven passes on 10 targets for 113 yards and a score in week eight’s shootout with the Steelers. Both the reception and target totals for Moncrief were season highs for the rookie out of Mississippi, but there is clearly a direct correlation to the spike in usage and the absence of Reggie Wayne. While I’d be adding Moncrief in deeper leagues, temper your expectations. After a goose egg in week seven, Markus Wheaton jumped back on the board for the Steelers in week eight with five catches on five targets for 56 yards and a touchdown. Of the two secondary receivers in PIttsburgh, I’d rather own shares of Bryant simply based on size. Both deserved to be owned, though. Mychal Rivera should be considered if your tight ends are on a bye this week. The Raiders’ tight end connected with his quarterback seven times (8 targets) for 83 yards. Three of the seven completions to Rivera went for 10 or more yards, two went for 20 or more. Speaking of Raiders, Andre Holmes is still available in more than 50 percent of Y! leagues. He’s earned 32 targets in their last four games, they’ll continue to throw with Carr, be sure to add him.