League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 8

The 2018 NFL season has been wild. And the fantasy football implications have been nothing short of dramatic.

Perhaps the best example is to look at the quarterback position. With the Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants still ongoing to close out Week 7, there are 13 current starting quarterbacks averaging at least 20 fantasy points per game (using the 4/-1 scoring system). The list grows to 14 overall if you include Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Jameis Winston is averaging 21.8 in his place.

Why is this stat relevant?

Because in all of last season, only four quarterbacks averaged better than 20 fantasy points per game (a list that included Deshaun Watson, who only played seven games, and Carson Wentz, who suffered a season-ending injury in Week 14).

Speaking of Wentz, he is just 0.15 fantasy points per game off from making it 14 current starting quarterbacks averaging better than 20 fantasy points per game this season.

While this seems like a strange introduction into waiver wire pickups ahead of Week 8, it actually is as fitting as a wine list presented with a dinner menu. The fantasy landscape is remarkably different this season than it has been in the past. Fantasy scoring, thanks to such prolific numbers from quarterbacks, is way up for offensive players across the board.

But now to the real point: In a year in which nearly five times the normal number of quarterbacks are in the “elite” territory of fantasy scoring for the position, we need to throw out all preconceived notions for this season.

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That has never been more necessary than it is heading into Week 8.

Before delving into the list of waiver wire adds and droppable players, a few players deserve special attention.

The following players are must-adds if available in your leagues, and some are surprisingly widely available (these are in no particular order):

  • WR John Brown (ownership: 72% on ESPN, 81% on Yahoo)
  • WR Tyler Boyd (ownership: 90% on ESPN, 92% on Yahoo)
  • WR Calvin Ridley (ownership: 85% on ESPN, 87% on Yahoo)
  • RB James White (ownership: 92% on ESPN, 94% on Yahoo)
  • RB Tarik Cohen (ownership: 87% on ESPN, 89% on Yahoo)
  • RB Marlon Mack (ownership: 54% on ESPN, 55% on Yahoo)
  • RB Nick Chubb (ownership: 79% on ESPN, 82% on Yahoo)
  • RB Jalen Richard (ownership: 17% on ESPN, 20% on Yahoo)
  • TE David Njoku (ownership: 85% on ESPN, 89% on Yahoo)

The list has grown since its last posting, so here’s what has changed and why:

  1. Nick Chubb became the starting running back for the Cleveland Browns, who traded Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yes, the same Jaguars who have Leonard Fournette recovering from hamstring issues and T.J. Yeldon performing as a high-end RB2 in the former’s absence. While the Fournette/Hyde/Yeldon situation will be a mess come fantasy playoff time, Chubb became the hottest waiver add of the season on Friday afternoon. Luckily, he’s still available in roughly 20 percent of leagues.
  2. Marlon Mack played well in Week 6 in his return from a hamstring injury but saw just 35 percent of the offensive snaps while going for 89 yards on 12 carries. In Week 7 he showed that the Colts can run the ball effectively (one of those preconceived notions from the preseason we need to forget) and tallied 31.9 PPR points to finish as the RB1, pending Monday Night Football. He’s owned in just more than 50 percent of leagues. A healthy Mack forces Nyheim Hines to be a bench stash whose role will be dependent on negative game scripts, which there should be some.
  3. Jalen Richard, the Oakland Raiders passing down back who is the king of garbage time, is a must-add for the Fantasy Sports Chef. The Raiders placed starting running back Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve, ending his season. This leaves plenty of rushing attempts up for grabs, of which Richard should be able to take some. The Raiders also traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys. This leaves a chunk of targets available, of which Richard could receive some. Before these transactions, Richard was second on the team in targets, second in receptions and fourth in receiving yards (now third with Cooper gone). The Raiders aren’t the New England Patriots, so Richard’s efficiency won’t be the same as James White’s, but Richard has the look of an RB2 in PPR leagues the rest of the way, especially with a favorable schedule ahead of him. He’s also available in a ton of leagues with his ownership hanging around 20 percent on the two major sites.
  4. David Njoku has shown a great rapport with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, and the Cleveland Browns have an extremely favorable fantasy schedule the rest of the season. Njoku is a top-five option going forward and needs to be owned in all leagues.
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Now that we have all of that covered, on to some streaming targets and other odds and ends that can found on the waiver wire.

Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston

(ownership: 72% on ESPN, 73% on Yahoo)

  • As mentioned earlier, Winston is averaging better than 20 fantasy points per game (a stat that also factors in his second-half relief appearance against the Chicago Bears in Week 4). He’s a QB1 the rest of the way with solid weapons to throw to and a defense that surrenders plenty of points. He takes on the Cincinnati Bengals this week.

Others To Place Claims On: Andy Dalton (70% ESPN, 80% Yahoo)

Droppables: Dak Prescott (30% ESPN, 35% Yahoo), Alex Smith (52% ESPN, 45% Yahoo)

Running Backs

Nick ChubbMarlon MackJalen Richard

  • Listing these again for emphasis. These three are the top priorities for the position this week (other than those I’ve listed as must-adds for the past several weeks).

Others To Place Claims On: Doug Martin (17% ESPN, 24% Yahoo), Raheem Mostert (4% ESPN, 13% Yahoo)

Droppables: Duke Johnson (58% ESPN, 54% Yahoo) — the usage remains too low to trust despite solid playing time; should be dropped for one of those featured above

Wide Receivers

Jordy Nelson

(ownership: 69% on ESPN, 64% on Yahoo)

  • Those who have been following these posts throughout the season are probably mad after reading this name. But Jordy Nelson’s circumstances have changed since I advised dropping him earlier in the season. Without Amari Cooper on the field for the Raiders anymore, Nelson becomes the No. 1 receiver for the Silver and Black. It doesn’t boost him into the WR2 range, but it makes him rosterable and startable in favorable matchups.
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Others To Place Claims On: Packers WRs Randall Cobb/Geronimo Allison (67/37% ESPN, 48/37% Yahoo)

Droppables: Keke Coutee (30% ESPN, 31% Yahoo) — despite a great fantasy playoff matchup against the slot-friendly Colts, Coutee suffered his second hamstring injury of the season — Chris Hogan (47% ESPN, 50% Yahoo)

Tight Ends

Ricky Seals-Jones

(ownership: 22% on ESPN, 32% on Yahoo)

  • The Arizona Cardinals have been awful this year. But with a new offensive coordinator now calling the shots, things could be looking up for the offensive pieces in the desert. A more comfortable Josh Rosen will help Ricky Seals-Jones and other pass-catchers. And with a defense that hasn’t played well, Seals-Jones could start to cash in on the five-plus targets he sees per game.

Others To Place Claims On: C.J. Uzomah (40% ESPN, 52% Yahoo)

Droppables: Charles Clay (20% ESPN, 16% Yahoo)

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Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at Sports Talk Line
Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a fantasy writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
Joshua Cook