How’d you make out during bye-mageddon? If you’re still stressed from dealing with a fantasy week that featured six teams on a bye (including several top-tier fantasy performers), the good news is that only two teams are off in Week 8. The bad news? For those fantasy managers rolling with Lamar Jackson, you’re gonna need a Plan B. And in a thin season for tight ends, two of the best have the week off.
Week 8 byes: Ravens, Raiders
What you’re missing
Ravens: The 2019 MVP winner and 2021 MVP candidate will be sorely missed. Lamar Jackson entered Week 7 ranked sixth in fantasy points per game among QBs. If your fantasy squad has been leaning on Jackson, here’s hoping your backup QB has a favorable matchup this week. Jackson’s favorite target, Mark Andrews, trails only Travis Kelce in fantasy points for tight ends, so he’ll definitely be missed. Baltimore doesn’t have any must-start running backs or receivers, though rookie WR Rashod Bateman has been a popular flex option the last two weeks. As for kickers, Justin Tucker is the most reliable player at his position, so that’s an area of need for those who have him.
Raiders: Early on this season, you would have thought the Raiders’ bye week would be bad news for those with Derek Carr on their roster. But Carr has been idling of late, so it’s not that big of a deal. The best fantasy player for Las Vegas is TE Darren Waller. And even though Waller has been banged up and hasn’t played to his potential in 2021, fantasy managers who have him are compelled to start him when he’s healthy--which means they’ll need another option this week. Josh Jacobs has averaged 13.2 fantasy points and scored a TD in each of his last three games, so he’ll be missed. The Vegas receivers are nothing more than flex options, but they will not be an option in Week 8.
Week 8 waiver options
Some fantasy squads might be deep enough to have a satisfactory fill-in on their bench when it comes to bye-week replacements. If not, you’ll need a short-term waiver add -- and it’s not about fighting for the hottest waiver-wire candidates. You just want a stand-in who happens to have a favorable matchup in your week of need.
Here are some Week 8 options:
The three teams that allow the most fantasy points to quarterbacks happen to be facing QBs that will be available in most leagues. Denver QB Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t scored more than 20 fantasy points in a game since Week 2, but he faces a Washington defense that allows more than 27 FPPG. Bridgewater is currently available in 90% of NFL.com leagues. … Giants QB Daniel Jones has been mediocre of late, partially due to so many of his skill players being injured. But he faces a shaky Chiefs defense on Monday night--and the Giants will most likely be chasing points all night. … Tennessee allows the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, so consider rolling the dice with the Titans’ Week 8 opponent, Carson Wentz.
Miles Sanders has only scored more than 10 fantasy points twice this season. He’s rostered in most leagues but worth a shot if he’s available in Week 8, as the Eagles take on a Lions defense that has been friendly to opposing runners. … No defense has allowed more fantasy points to running backs than the Jets, who face Cincinnati in Week 8. That’s good news for Joe Mixon, but it’s worth taking a flier on Mixon’s backup, Samaje Perine, who had a TD Sunday. … The Dolphins defense continues to struggle against the run, so there’s every reason to believe Buffalo’s Devin Singletary is in for a big game Sunday vs. Miami. Singletary is surprisingly available in nearly half of NFL.com’s leagues.
If the Broncos do have a big passing day against the Washington Football Team, then WR Tim Patrick could be a smart pickup. Patrick has only had one TD in the last five weeks, but he continues to average close to six targets per game. … The Steelers, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers, face Cleveland this week. Browns WR Rashard Higgins has seen his fair share of targets in recent weeks. He had 93 yards in three contests vs. Pittsburgh last season. … Two weeks ago, we recommended the Bills’ Cole Beasley as a solid bye week option, and Beasley produced. He should do so again in Week 8 against a shaky Miami pass defense.
Hunter Henry has scored a TD in four straight games for the Patriots. The Chargers allow the most fantasy points to tight ends, so maybe this is the week New England shows some love to its other off-season TE acquisition, Jonnu Smith. … Kyle Rudolph almost had his first touchdown as a Giant last week. He’ll have a good opportunity Monday night in Kansas City against the porous Chiefs defense. … Seattle tight ends have a favorable matchup against Jacksonville. If you’re desperate, take your pick between Will Dissly or Gerald Everett.
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