Waiver Wire Pickups Week 8
What a weird week it was last week. D’Onta Foreman outscored Bijan Robinson by 30 points, Mac Jones and the Patriots outdueled Josh Allen and the Bills, Tyson Bagent led the Bears to a blowout victory over the Raiders in his first career start, and so on. Need I go on? As we navigate the murky waters of injuries, mysteriously low snap counts without warning, upsets and new faces finding immediate success, let’s take a look at the new crop of waiver wire candidates ahead of Week 8.
Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts (4% ESPN, 8% Yahoo)
Like most, I wasn’t exactly excited about Gardner Minshew taking over as the starting quarterback in Indianapolis following the injury to Anthony Richardson. However, like most, I’m starting to come around to it. Since taking over as the starter in Week 6, he’s the QB4 in fantasy football behind just Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts. Sure, it’s a small sample size and he likely won’t continue at this rate, but it’s worth noting how dominant he’s been as the full-time starter. Not only is he getting done as a passer with the fourth most passing yards over the last two weeks, but he’s also added 33 yards and two touchdowns on the ground during that stretch. I don’t think he’s a locked-in starter moving forward just yet, but he’s way too good to not be rostered in 90% of leagues.
- Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (46% ESPN, 64% Yahoo)
He was included last week, but he deserves to be highlighted once again. Last week, he found the endzone twice on a pair of short-yardage runs with one of them serving as the go-ahead touchdown for the Browns in an overtime victory. Even with his strong efforts as the goal-line back, he was again out-snapped and out-touched by Jerome Ford and even saw Pierre Strong come close to matching him in attempts. However, Ford suffered an ankle sprain in the victory and is expected to miss some time. And let’s face it, in a season riddled with running back injuries, who couldn’t use a couple of weeks of Kareem Hunt being the clear RB1 behind a really good offensive line? Pierre Strong will likely get more involved as well, but Hunt will be the unquestioned starter in Cleveland as long as Ford is out. Kareem Hunt is one of my favorite adds this week and I think he should be a high priority in leagues in which he isn’t already rostered.
Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams (26% ESPN, 12% Yahoo)
Speaking of running backs with more opportunities, Darrell Henderson Jr. is fantasy-relevant once again. Following the injury to Kyren Williams, it was chaotic trying to figure out who was going to take over as RB1 for the Rams leading up to last week’s game. Like many, I too was caught up in the Zach Evans and Royce Freeman hype. However, it was Henderson Jr. who had more snaps, touches and yards out of the backfield for Los Angeles. The 26-year-old veteran gained 61 yards and a team-high 18 carries while punching in a touchdown in the third quarter. Freeman was able to turn in a solid line of 66 yards on 12 carries, but Henderson Jr. was the go-to guy for Sean McVay and the Rams. As long as Kyren Williams is out, Darrell Henderson Jr. is a must-roster player in all formats.
Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens, (51% ESPN, 65% Yahoo)
Do I expect Gus Edwards to gain 81 yards off of one single catch every week? Absolutely not. Am I going to be an idiot and tell you not to add him if he’s available in your league? No way. Edwards has been the RB1 in Baltimore for most of the season in the absence of JK Dobbins and he’s done enough to stay put as the starter. Last week, he all but solidified his spot as the starter for the rest of the season. Aside from the 81-yard catch and run, he had a modest outing. He carried the ball 14 times for 64 yards and a touchdown for the Ravens in a blowout victory over the Lions and saw an even split in snaps with Justice Hill. He did, however, out-touch Hill 15 to 5. You’ll never feel amazing about starting a Baltimore Ravens running back simply because of the volatility, but if you ever needed to do so, Gus Edwards is your guy. He should see plenty of touches for the rest of the season and is the only Ravens running back worth starting for the time being.
D’Onta Foreman, Chicago Bears (49% ESPN, 65% Yahoo)
What do we do with the Chicago Bears backfield? Better yet, what do we do with the Chicago Bears offense? Once Khalil Herbert went down, I was extremely excited to plug in Roschon Johnson. Then he suffered a concussion and hasn’t had the opportunity to take over as the undisputed RB1 in Chicago. While Herbert and Johnson have been out, D’Onta Foreman has taken on most of the workload in the backfield and has done more than enough to stake his claim as the Bears running back worth rostering in fantasy football moving forward. Over the last two weeks as the full-time starter, Foreman has carried the ball 31 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also caught four of his six targets for 33 yards and a score. I don’t think the coaching staff in Chicago can look at that type of production and go back to making him a healthy scratch again. Even with the eventual return of Herbert and Johnson, Foreman has done enough to earn snaps and touches in the offense. And if they remain out, he should be a locked-in starter in fantasy lineups in all formats.
- Emari Demercado, Arizona Cardinals
- Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers
- Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots
Wide RecieverJosh Downs, Indianapolis Colts (35% ESPN, 36% Yahoo)
My goodness, did Josh Downs impress in Week 7 or what? I had him as an honorable mention last week but clearly, that wasn’t enough of an endorsement. Despite seeing just six targets, he gained 125 yards off five catches, including a 59-yard touchdown in the first quarter of the overtime loss to the Browns. It was the second week in a row that he found the endzone and the third week this season in which he caught at least five passes for 57 yards or more. He paced the Colts in targets, receptions, and yards, showing his growing connection with new starting quarterback Gardner Minshew. Josh Downs is one of my favorite adds this week.
Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers (58% ESPN, 59% Yahoo)
In fantasy football, volume is king. This is especially true when talking about a pass catcher who sees a lot of targets on one of the most pass-happy offenses in the NFL with an elite quarterback. He’s no Keenan Allen when it comes to targets, but Josh Palmer has seen 14 targets over the last two weeks and has turned them into nine catches for 193 yards. This is the type of volume that can’t be overlooked and should be worth rostering, especially considering it should stick throughout the rest of the season. Mike Williams is out for the year and rookie Quentin Johnston has yet to show any signs of a breakout. Josh Palmer is the real deal and should be a serviceable WR3/FLEX in PPR leagues for the rest of the year.
Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs (49% ESPN, 58% Yahoo)
Alright, this is officially your last chance to get in on Rashee Rice. I’ve been advocating this pickup for weeks now, and I think this is the final time I’m going to be able to tell you this. Last week, he caught five of his six targets for 60 yards and a touchdown while seeing a season-high snap percentage. This was the third game this season in which he has caught at least four passes for 50 or more yards. He also scored his third touchdown of the year and second in the last three weeks. He has now gone from simmering to boiling and is just getting started. No one is going to match Travis Kelce as the top pass catcher in Kansas City, but Rice will be the clear second option in one of the most high-octane offenses in the league. He’s starting to do enough to get the attention of the masses and will not be available in 50% of fantasy leagues much longer. This is your last chance to add Patrick Mahomes’ WR1.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle Seahawks (56% ESPN, 59% Yahoo)
While we’re on the subject of budding rookie receivers, let’s talk about the pass-catcher in Seattle who’s getting more opportunities. Like Rashee Rice, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is part of a high-powered offense with plenty of weapons. However, unlike Rice, Smith-Njigba was a top 20 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and was expected to be heavily involved in the offense from Week 1. Unfortunately for the highly touted rookie, he was limited in the first few weeks with an injury and saw veterans DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett produce at high levels like usual. But, Smith-Njigba might finally have a window to ascend in the offense and become the fantasy sleeper many thought he could be during draft season. With Metcalf missing last week with an injury, the rookie pass-catcher caught four of his season-high seven targets for 63 yards while scoring his first career touchdown. It remains to be seen whether or not Metcalf will miss more time, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba should see more targets regardless considering his supreme talent and upward trajectory. He should play his way into more opportunities and could be a viable FLEX play moving forward.
- Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots
- Michael Wilson, Arizona Cardinals
- Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants
Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills (31% ESPN, 42% Yahoo)
Not often does a tight end warrant being the waiver wire pick-up of the week, but Dalton Kincaid could very well be the exception this week. The 2023 first-round pick joined the list of rookie pass catchers to break out in Week 7 and there should be more where that came from for Kincaid. Fellow tight end Dawson Knox is set to have wrist surgery and will be out indefinitely, opening up a lot more opportunities for Kincaid to flourish as not only the lead tight end in Buffalo but also the second pass-catching option for Josh Allen and the Bills. No, I’m not saying he’s going to step in and immediately overtake Gabe Davis as the Robin to Stefon Diggs’ Batman, but it’s possible as the season progresses. Kincaid caught all eight of his targets last week for 75 yards while Davis caught just one of his five targets for six yards. In a season filled with question marks at the tight end position in fantasy football, adding a potential TE1 for the rest of the season could very well be worth top priority in waivers this week. Add him if you can.
- Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
- Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders
Will Holtz is a fantasy football analyst and contributes to GridironExperts.com. His goal: Help you win your fantasy football championship.