Things are getting real now. We are past the halfway point of the fantasy regular season, and for those of you with three wins or less, it’s must-win time … but it’s also bye week crunch time. In the para words of Ray Stantz, I put in a little overtime on this waiver wire. This one is more like my expanded waiver wire that I do over at Rotobahn each week. I’ll be adding some players later in the day for sure, but I wanted to go deeper here as well, due to the bye week crunch.
Week 8 byes:
One thing that is important to remember this week is there could be more opportunity later in the week depending on how some of these injury situations shake out, so keep your head in the game on Wednesday through Friday and you may be able to make some good free pickups.
I will be posting a quick podcast on Rotobahn, as usual, and it will make for good listening on your commute home, so check that out as it provides extra content and some updated information. Things change quickly in the NFL these days. Just a bit of an understatement there.
The ownership rates listed for each player were obtained at Yahoo!
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers, 70 percent
He’s still getting dropped in some leagues, and this is an opportunity for some of you. Winston, as shaky as he has been at times, is a potential stud down the stretch. Granted, his team can’t afford many more injuries, but Winston is a feel player and he’s just getting settled right now. The schedule really opens up for this team and Winston should be a top-six quarterback the rest of the way, by my math. Get involved if you can.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys, 59 percent
I am not sure why he’s been dropped apart from him being on his bye week. The Cowboys are getting Dez Bryant back soon and they play a very favorable schedule. Add Prescott in all leagues.
Sam Bradford, Vikings, 17 percent
The time to add him is now. The Vikings have fought through the toughest part of their schedule and Bradford should be a solid source of points the rest of the way. The only week he’s not viable would be Week 11 against the Cardinals.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets, 19 percent
He’s got Cleveland this week and he has a true No. 1 receiver to work with, so Fitzpatrick can help some people this week and perhaps going forward when the matchup is sweet. Just remember that Eric Decker is gone for the year, so a return to the 2015 “magic” is unlikely.
Alex Smith, Chiefs, 38 percent
No, he’s not fun and you always have to worry about the Kansas City running game posting the bulk of the stats on any given week. Still, Smith is locked in as the starter and he is past his bye week. He also has tasty matchups the next two weeks. He’s at Indianapolis this week and will host the Jaguars in Week 9.
Brock Osweiler, Texans, 14 percent
The bidding for Osweiler is going to be intense. Just kidding. He’s at 14 percent ownership right now and that number is likely to drop after the last few horrendous performances, and let’s not sugarcoat it — it really was that bad. The thing is, Osweiler’s schedule actually gets better now, and he’s going to be playable at times the rest of the way. He can be your QB2 in deeper leagues and he will have value in 2QB formats. No, really.
Trevor Siemian, Broncos, 11 percent
I like this kid. He’s a cool customer and he has battled through some tough efforts that largely were due to his offensive line’s mediocre play. The thing is, Denver has tended to clean things up as the season wears on, and there are signs of this in 2016. The remaining schedule is pretty friendly, and the Broncos are now healthy at the skill positions. Siemian will have value in deeper formats and 2QB leagues
Jared Goff, Rams, 1 percent
Hear me out. Yes, the Rams are a total snooze-fest, and yes, tapping into Jeff Fisher’s offense seems daft, to be kind. The thing is, Case Keenum is a backup and the Rams know this, because you don’t take a QB at No. 1 overall unless you are dissatisfied with your situation. The Rams are saying all the right things about Keenum, but you have to figure that they will take the bye week as an opportunity to make the switch. In deeper leagues and 2QB formats, it’s a decent time to make a preemptive move and go after Goff, who could be a significant step up from Keenum.
Devontae Booker, Broncos, 36 percent
There are two angles on Booker. The first is that he’s a talented back playing in Gary Kubiak’s scheme. So you want him based solely on that, which is why Booker’s been an add in this column most of the year. The thing is, as much as Booker’s value is on the rise, there’s no reason that C.J. Anderson should lose his job. In fact, Anderson has looked very good the last two weeks. So go add Booker, because he has some flex appeal in large leagues, but do not expect a changing of the guard anytime soon.
James White, Patriots, 68 percent
This is his last week in this space, but there’s still a chance you can nab him in some leagues. The Patriots have a lot of strong run defenses on their remaining schedule. White’s going to be involved a lot unless Dion Lewis makes a return. Add him now and ride the wave while it lasts.
Chris Thompson, Washington, 14 percent
If you play in a PPR league, you want to add Thompson, who is quite a talent when he’s healthy. While I do not expect a long window of high-end production, I do see a nice short-term option. Thompson is not durable, but he can really get it done in stretches, and after Matt Jones’ latest fumble, Thompson may be the back to play in Washington for a few weeks.
Matt Asiata, Vikings, 21 percent
If you plan on starting Jerick McKinnon this week, you should consider adding Asiata just to protect your posterior. It’s obvious that the Vikings coaches have a lot of trust in him, and he’ll get tons of volume if McKinnon sits with a sore ankle.
Mike Gillislee, Bills, 51 percent
LeSean McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury in last week’s loss to the Dolphins, and Gillislee clearly is the back to own in the event of McCoy missing time. The Bills have a tough matchup with the Patriots this week, so that’s a concern, but it will be a tough week to find backs who will start, so he’s a guy to own — especially if you depend on McCoy as your starter.
Rob Kelley, Washington, 1 percent
He’s a guy to add in deeper leagues just in case Washington decides to give him a chance as the early down back due to Matt Jones’ fumbling issues. Kelley is not special, but he’s got some game and could post solid numbers in a lead role. At the bare minimum, Jones owners should add him just in case there’s a change at the top.
Wendell Smallwood, Eagles, 5 percent
He’s a pet stash option for me, so I feel like I have to put him out there. I’m a guy who often makes moves on nothing more than intuition, and Smallwood is one of those guys for me right now. Do I expect him to take over this week? No, but it could happen fast at some point. Why? because he is the new regime’s guy, and because he’s the kind of multi-back who has always excelled in the scheme used by Andy Reid and now by Doug Pederson. My gut says that Smallwood will be the back to own in Philadelphia by the time the fantasy playoffs roll around. Do with that what you will.
Paul Perkins, Giants, 1 percent
He’s the Smallwood of the Giants backfield. If there is a back on the Giants’ roster who can take the whole job, it’s the rookie. And rookies have the advantage, with everybody in the front office rooting for them. Perkins can play on all downs and he’s slowly getting comfortable in the offense. Stash him now and you could reap some serious rewards in a few weeks. The Giants are on the bye this week.
Ka’Deem Carey, Bears, 2 percent
He has a shot to earn more playing time, and Carey is a good back, as I have said many times before. The thing is, I like Jordan Howard a little better. Still, Carey offers some protection if the Bears decide to make a change, and he is a smart handcuff for Howard in large leagues. For those who do not own Howard, Carey offers some stand-alone appeal and some value due to the Week 8 bye crunch. The Bears have their bye in week 9.
Dwayne Washington, Lions, 9 percent
In deeper leagues he needs to be added because the Lions have shown a desire to get him going. I’m not a huge believer in Washington as an immediate producer because there are holes in his game, but Detroit seems to want to try him out, and his upside is very real. Stash him in 12-team leagues and you may even get some payoff this week.
Dion Lewis, Patriots, 27 percent
He’s a stash in PPR leagues, but the payoff could still be several weeks away, so he’s a guy to own in 12-team leagues more so than in smaller formats. If you hear good reports coming out of practice, then go after him in smaller PPR formats.
Kenneth Dixon, Ravens, 14 percent
They want to use him more, according to coach John Harbaugh, and with Terrance West potentially battling an ankle injury, the time to add Dixon could be now. He’s been coming back slowly from an MCL tear suffered in August, and his time to shine could come after this week’s bye.
Zach Zenner, Lions, 8 percent
He has looked good when he is given chances, so Zenner is a back to follow this week, and, depending on the injury situation in Detroit, he could get another start this week, and maybe find the end zone again as he did in Week 7. It’s all about the health of Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington, so Zenner’s more of a late-week move than a Tuesday night move.
Knile Davis, Packers, 36 percent
He could be ignored after barely playing in his first game as a Packer, but be fair here. Davis has less than 72 hours to learn the playbook when he was brought in on a short week after the injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Now Davis is coming off of a long week and is in a solid matchup at Atlanta. He should be owned in all leagues just for the upside he could have as the Packers’ lead runner, and he has a chance to earn that role.
Damien Williams, Dolphins, 0 percent
As much as the Ajayi breakout has legit legs, the retirement of Arian Foster is big in the Dolphins backfield. It opens up a permanent spot behind Ajayi, and I think Williams fills that role for the rest of the season. Don’t forget that Ajayi has significant knee issues, and with continued heavy volume expect those issues to pop up at any time. Rostering Williams as a handcuff or as a stash in really deep leagues is a good idea.
Peyton Barber, Buccaneers, 1 percent
In deeper formats he is a back to own. Why? Three reasons. First, he’s a really good running back who can play on all three downs. Second, Doug Martin’s health is a major concern right now. Lastly, as well as Jacquizz Rodgers has played, he will not hold up if they continue to use him in such a high-volume role. Add Barber in deep leagues if you are a Martin and or Rodgers owner. Barber could save your bacon at some point.
Corey Coleman, Browns, 41 percent
Make him a priority now, because once he is back, he has multiple touchdown upside in good matchups. Coleman has star talent and he plays on a team that will need to throw it late in games. He has big upside and is the best stash option out there right now. My guess is that he returns for Week 9, but there are no guarantees. If you get a little lucky, he might even return this week.
Michael Thomas, Saints, 73 percent
He doesn’t belong in the articles anymore. Thomas was in every waiver wire this year and he’s slowly climbed to 73 percent ownership. He’ll be higher than that Wednesday. He’s looking more and more like Drew Brees’ No. 1 receiver.
Donte Moncrief, Colts, 60 percent
He’s been dropped enough to take notice. He could be back soon and he has weekly WR1 upside playing with Andrew Luck. Add him in any league you can.
Davante Adams, Packers, 19 percent
Now you know why I’ve had him in the wire almost every week this year. Adams is past his bye week and he’s now scored five times in six games. This may be your last chance to nab him. He has a nice matchup with the Falcons this week.
Tyrell Williams, Chargers, 64 percent
He is legit and the Chargers have a favorable schedule for the pass once they get past the Broncos this week. Williams is not a player to add this week, but he is a player to go grab if he gets cut due to his matchup. Williams projects to be a WR3 the rest of the way — even in 10-team leagues.
Quincy Enunwa, Jets, 33 percent
His touchdown last week was a thing of beauty. Enunwa will be the Jets’ second option in the passing game the rest of the way, and that makes him viable in all PPR leagues. He’s still growing, and we haven’t seen his true ceiling yet. He is one of the few bright spots for the Jets this year, and he can help your fantasy team if you play in leagues with 12 or more teams.
Ty Montgomery, Packers, 63 percent
ESPN has given him multi-position eligibility, though I honestly don’t understand why. Lots of players do both. There’s talk that this may happen on other platforms, so keep tabs on it if you own Montgomery or have needs at multiple positions. His role should continue for a few more weeks with James Starks expected to be out another 2-3 weeks.
Kenny Britt, Rams, 54 percent
He did not have a productive Week 7, but his role as the lead dog is not in jeopardy. Britt led the Rams receivers in snaps — playing a season-high 70 — but the Rams had issues getting things going over in London. Britt can’t help you this week, with the Rams on their bye, but he should remain their lead receiver going forward.
Jamison Crowder, Washington, 37 percent
He is under-owned as he has become a consistent part of the offense, but there is a concern that he slips a bit when Jordan Reed returns. Still, he is playable in all leagues this week, with so many teams on the bye.
Brandon LaFell, Bengals, 13 percent
He’s hot, with four scores over the last three games. He should be used while it lasts, but I’m not bullish on LaFell the rest of the way as I expect Tyler Eifert to steal a lot of targets and red zone looks.
Marquise Goodwin, Bills, 5 percent
He’s always been a player we like in terms of talent, but injuries have slowed him. I don’t know if he can stay healthy, but he’s definitely earned a role as a big play option for Tyrod Taylor and he can help you in bigger leagues right now. He’ll be a flex play this week against the Patriots and his immediate schedule is mediocre, but the Bills do have some very nice matchups down the stretch if you want to bolster your bench.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings, 2 percent
He’s been building up to relevance over the last three games, and now he may be there. It’s all about his role. If Patterson continues to play big snaps and expand his role, we could have a story on our hands, because the Vikings’ schedule gets a lot better going forward. There definitely are some exploitable matchups. Patterson’s snaps have been rising for the last three weeks and he peaked with 51 in Week 7. That’s a number that really gives him a chance. It’s a far cry from the four snaps he averaged over the first four games. It’s always been about opportunity with Patterson, so add him now before the word gets out. He has some breakout potential if the current trends continue.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals, 69 percent
He should now be owned in 100 percent of leagues. Check his status in your league just in case. He could be a monster the rest of the way if he stays healthy.
Jack Doyle, Colts, 31 percent
He really paid off in DraftKings tournaments last week, and if Dwayne Allen misses another start, Doyle is a must-start fantasy option in seasonal leagues for Week 8.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers, 31 percent
He’s still simmering, but the breakout is coming. I’m not saying he’ll be a stud, but Brate should remain in the TE1 discussion going forward. There are targets available in this offense. The Bucs have lost so many players that they need guys like Brate to step up, and I think he will. Add him in 12-team leagues.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans, 8 percent
The Texans have their bye on Week 9, so Fiedorowicz can help you this week in a home matchup against Detroit. Additionally, he might be a good option the rest of the way in leagues with 12 more teams. He’s clearly taken over the gig as Houston’s primary tight end.
Eric Ebron, Lions, 38 percent
He could miss another game or two, but he also could return this week. We don’t know the exact severity with Ebron’s ankle, but he should be a TE1 once he gets back, and that makes him a strong stash option if you have the bench space.
Vernon Davis, Washington, 23 percent
It’s all about Jordan Reed’s concussion situation. Davis has dominated the tight end snaps with Reed out, and with his concussion history there’s no telling exactly when he returns. My guess is that Washington uses its Week 9 bye to give Reed extended time. That makes Davis a strong play this week, so add him if you need tight end help, and Reed owners can use him as a bridge.
Lance Kendricks, Rams, 1 percent
His role has been locked in all year in terms of playing time, but his usage in the offense has been rising steadily, with seven or more targets in three of the last four games. Kendricks can help you going forward in deeper leagues, but he has a Week 8 bye, so be careful if your needs are of the immediate variety.