By Rahul Lal
We were lucky enough this weekend to avoid any major injuries in the NFL – the first time we’ve seen that in what feels like all season. That’s great news for your fantasy team but also leaves the waiver wire pool pretty dried up. As we’re more than halfway through the fantasy season, people who are on the bubble for a potential playoff spot are left in a tough position because it’s do-or-die for this latter half of the season. Some guys will be usable for bye weeks, others are seeing an increase of snaps each game – we take a look at the guys to target with week 8 just around the corner.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee
Below are a few of our favorite waiver wire pickups for Week 8, and they are separated by the three categories of Add Now, Worth A Look, and finally Deep League Add.
Dion Lewis (RB, New England Patriots)
Confidence Level: Add Now
I know, I know. The adage has always been never to trust a Patriots’ running back, and given Mike Gillislee’s presence as well as pass-catching extraordinaire James White’s consistent role, it’s hard to but Lewis is on the rise. Last week, Lewis outsnapped Gillislee for the second straight week and picked up 76 yards on only 7 carries. Furthermore, Lewis has picked up 181 yards on 31 carries over the past three weeks (good for 5.84 yards per carry) and has been the guy closing out games. Considering the Pats often find themselves chewing clock at the end of games, it’s easy to see why Lewis could be a solid flex play. He isn’t far removed from a successful 2015 campaign that had him as an RB2 with RB1 upside. If you’re okay with Gillislee stealing a couple touchdowns through the season, Lewis makes for a pretty solid pickup at this point in the season.
Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington (RB, Oakland Raiders)
Confidence Level: Worth a Look
Marshawn Lynch was suspended by the NFL for making contact with an official this past weekend – that being said, one of these two will get the start. The reason why both are listed is the same reason why neither of them are must-adds: they’ll both split the workload. Jalen Richard is the better runner of the two, and he’s been the backup this entire season. DeAndre Washington holds the big-play potential and is more likely to see work on passing downs. The Raiders are a pass-first offense, and Lynch hasn’t been counted on to perform this entire season so the Oakland running game probably won’t play a major factor. Add in the fact that Cordarrelle Patterson gets a couple carries a game, and neither of the two will top 10 carries against a surprisingly effective Buffalo defense. Richard is the more interesting back of the two as he can potentially steal carries from Lynch in weeks to come.
Marlon Mack (RB, Indianapolis Colts)
Confidence Level: Worth a Look
I put Mack in this column last week and it’s easy to see why he should be in it again this week. All Mack did this weekend was turn nine touches into 66 yards – in Week 5, Mack put up 10 touches for 93 yards and a touchdown. At this point in his career, Frank Gore is the second-most talented back in Indianapolis. Mack is more explosive, is better in the passing game, and fits their gameplan better as they play from behind more often than not. As long as he’s healthy, Gore will always have a role, but it’s definitely shrinking week-after-week. With Mack splitting carries at an even 50/50 rate this past weekend, Mack is worth a look for all fantasy owners and a must-add for anybody who owns Frank Gore.
Tyler Kroft (TE, Cincinnati Bengals)
Confidence Level: Deep League Add
With Tyler Eifert officially on the IR, Kroft is the starting tight end in Cincinnati. O.J. Howard had a big week, but still has Cameron Brate ahead of him. Jonnu Smith will be another interesting guy since we don’t know the extent of Delanie Walker’s injury, but Kroft is the safest guy of the group to take a waiver flier on. In the four weeks that Kroft has been starting, he’s averaged 4 receptions, 40 yards and has scored 3 touchdowns. The numbers don’t pop off the screen, but the 17-to-20 catch to target ratio is encouraging. Kroft is a trusted redzone target for Andy Dalton and, as long as the team keeps relying on the pass, should be a decent bet for borderline TE2 numbers – something that could come in handy with a number of teams going on bye over the next few weeks.