Scanning the Week 8 Waiver Wire
Week 8. The second half of the fantasy season is officially here. While that prospect can be both exciting and frightening, hopefully, you’ve still got a lot on the line and a playoff berth is well within grasp. It also helps to have a remaining free agent spending budget to keep attacking those fantasy-relevant free agents still available on the waiver wire.
Miami’s Jay Ajayi led this column last week and reeled off a second straight 200-yard effort. We can’t expect to land that kind of performance again, but Week 8 will be the most important waiver period to occur so far in the 2016 season. A full six teams are on bye this week, meaning owner will be scrambling to fill out starting lineups much more than they have had to yet this season.
Taking all that into consideration, here are the key free agents you’ll want to target in free agency for Week 8.
Week 8 Byes: Baltimore, Miami, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Waiver Wire Pickups: Quarterbacks
Alex Smith – Smith had a solid showing in a home victory against the New Orleans Saints in Week 7, with 214 passing yards and a pair of scoring strikes. He should have a similar Week 8 showing against an Indianapolis pass defense that is giving up the exact same amount of fantasy points per game (22.6) to opposing quarterbacks. Smith is the top streaming option for the week, and worth a decent bid for Eli Manning owners.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Fitzpatrick’s benching didn’t last long, as new starter Geno Smith tore his ACL and is lost for the season, meaning Fitzpatrick and his league-low completion percentage and league-leading 11 interceptions is back in the Big Apple. Although this might ultimately help WR Brandon Marshall, Fitzpatrick is a volatile weekly play. He’s listed here because the Jets have a very appealing Week 8 tilt with the Cleveland Browns, making him a decent plug-n-play option.
Jay Cutler – With Brian Hoyer’s (arm) season likely over, Smokin’ Jay Cutler should return as Chicago’s starter. Cutler has more season-long value than Smith and Fitzpatrick, but won’t be a recommended Week 8 starter against Minnesota’s ferocious defense. Pick him up as depth, and hope he makes WR Alshon Jeffery relevant again.
-Ownership data based on ESPN public leagues
Waiver Wire Pickups: Running Backs
Ty Montgomery (RB/WR) – Now listed as both RB and WR eligible, Ty Montgomery is easily the week’s top waiver prize. Although recently-acquired Knile Davis should become a factor in Green Bay’s backfield once he becomes more familiar with the playbook, Montgomery has commanded a huge workload over the past two weeks, including 12 carries for 66 yards and consecutive 10-catch performances. The versatility certainly helps, but 20 catches in two games shows that Montgomery has earned Aaron Rodgers’ trust as an option in the short passing game. If Davis establishes himself as the starter, or when James Starks returns, Montgomery won’t enjoy as many touches, but strike with an aggressive bid while the iron’s still hot.
Jacquizz Rodgers – The Bucs have also had a lot of injuries in their backfield, and Quizz has been nothing short of fantastic as Tampa’s third runner. Pressed into high-volume roles the past two weeks, Rodgers has responded with 62 touches and consecutive games over 100 rushing yards. Even when Doug Martin returns, Rodgers has earned a role as the pass-catching change-of-pace back in Tampa. But as long as Martin remains sidelined, Jacquizz Rodgers is a must-own fantasy option with RB1 upside.
Chris Thompson – Fumbles are becoming a major issue for starter Matt Jones, who was outplayed by Thompson after a second fumble cost him playing time in Week 7. Thompson led Washington in carries and yards in that game and has earned a bigger role moving forward. He’s on the RB3/flex radar for Week 8 against Cincinnati.
Waiver Wire Pickups: Wide Receivers
Jamison Crowder – In Week 7, Crowder caught a season-high seven passes for 108 yards. He’s caught multiple balls in all seven Redskins’ games and had exceeded four or more receptions four different times. Besides the usage, another appealing aspect of Crowder’s game is his red zone role. Crowder’s 10 targets in that area are the fourth-most in the NFL. As long as TE Jordan Reed remains sidelined, Crowder should remain active and on the PPR flex radar.
Donte Moncrief – Now available in over half of ESPN public leagues, I’m a big fan of adding Moncrief for your fantasy playoff run. He’s not practicing quite yet, but Moncrief is expected to begin taking the field as early as this week. With Indianapolis hampered by injuries to TE Dwayne Allen and WR Phillip Dorsett, no doubt they’ll be eager to get their star wideout back into the lineup. Add Moncrief sooner rather than later, and you just might be getting a high-ceiling WR2 onto your squad.
Waiver Wire Pickups: Tight Ends
Cameron Brate – Week 7 was quiet for Brate, but he should bounce back nicely in Week 8 against Oakland. The Raiders are allowing 14.7 PPR points per game to opposing tight ends, which would put Brate right on the fringe of the TE1/2 line.
Jack Doyle – Fantasy owners that picked up Doyle last week were undoubtedly shouting “Doyle Rules!” as the fourth-year tight end racked up nine catches, 78 yards and a touchdown against the Titans. Week 8 brings a tougher matchup for Doyle, but as long as Dwayne Allen and Phillip Dorsett remain sidelined, he’s in-line for a healthy amount of targets.
Vernon Davis – Jordan Reed has been cleared to resume practicing, which means Davis would be relegated back to a reserve role if and when Reed is cleared to play. If Reed is declared out once again, I would target Davis as my No. 1 tight end waiver claim.
Deep Sleeper Adds
- Quarterbacks – Trevor Siemian, Sam Bradford, Josh McCown
- Running Backs – Adrian Peterson, Dwayne Washington, Kenneth Dixon
- Wide Receivers – Anquan Boldin, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyreek Hill
- Tight Ends – Jared Cook, Eric Ebron, Charles Clay