The Raiders and Ravens have a Bye in Week 8. The top players needing replacements are quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Josh Jacobs, wide receiver Marquise Brown, tight end Mark Andrews, and tight end Darren Waller. Here’s a look at some waiver pickups for Week 8.
QB James Winston, New Orleans Saints
After five starts for the Saints, Winston has been productive in touchdowns (13) while cleaning up his interceptions (3). His low total in passing yards (892 – 178 per game) comes from the fewest passing attempts (23.2) in the league. Over his last two starts, he threw for 505 combined yards with four scores. His receivers gained 9.5 yards per pass attempt over this stretch. The timetable for Michael Thomas to return remains unknown. New Orleans will be a much heavier passing offense when he returns.
Next week, Winston faces the Buccaneers at home. Tampa Bay entered Week 7 as the 30th defense against quarterbacks (1,941 combined yards with 18 touchdowns). I view Winston as a bye and hold with four other favorable matchups at home (ATL, DAL, MIA, and CAR). In many leagues, he might be the best quarterback option in the free-agent pool.
RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
Miles Sanders left this week’s game in the first quarter with an ankle. His injury creates an intriguing opportunity for Gainwell. Over the first seven games, the Eagles rookie gained 223 combined yards with three touchdowns and 15 catches. Gainwell scored 20.90 fantasy points In Week 4 and had success against the Raiders (61 combined yards with a touchdown and four catches). He should be added in all formats. Boston Scott will possibly be an add in deeper formats if the Sanders injury is severe.
RB Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens never established the run against the Bengals, which led to Freeman gaining 29 yards on 11 carries with one score. The veteran rusher drew the start with Latavius Murray injured but Baltimore is off next week, giving Murray more time to recover from his ankle issue. At a minimum, Freeman should be considered the top handcuff for the Ravens.
WR Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With Antonio Brown missing Week 7 with an ankle issue, Johnson should have been more active in the passing game against the Bears. Tom Brady had no problem beating Chicago with his top two receivers (Mike Evans – 6/76/3 and Chris Godwin – 8/111/1), leading to a minimal day by Johnson (2/16). Tampa has a bye in Week 9, so they may choose to sit Brown for another game. Johnson only makes sense in deep leagues for a team struggling to find a replacement type receiver.
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WR Dante Pettis, New York Giants
New York played this week’s game without their top three starting options at wide receiver. Pettis saw his playing time rise to 61 percent in Week 6, followed up with starting job against the Panthers. He caught all five of his targets for 39 yards and a score vs. Carolina while also completing a 16-yard pass. With so many receivers in flux for the Giants, Pettis looks more of a late-week add than a target when waivers run midweek.
WR Darius Slayton, New York Giants
After missing three games with a hamstring issue, Slayton moved into the starting lineup for New York in Week 7. He should offer almost a handcuff role for Kenny Golladay but with a lower ceiling. On Sunday, Slayton led the Giants in targets (9), leading to five catches for 63 yards. However, his game tends to have a boom or bust feel. Over his 33 career games, he gained 15.4 yards per catch with four impact games (10/121/2, 5/154/2, 6/102/2, and 8/129) while making 25 starts.
WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers
For the first time all season, Lazard finished with a fantasy-relevant day. Against Washington, he caught five of his six targets for 60 yards and a score. Lazard owns an edge in size and he does have a touchdown in back-to-back games. Only a bye-week cover or injury replacement type player for now.
TE Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
Tonyan had 11 catches for 92 yards and one touchdown on 20 targets over the first six games while ranking 35th in tight end scoring (4.37 FPPG). Even with his best game (4/63/1) on Sunday, Tonyan is a challenging start for any fantasy team. The Packers' next four games (@ARI, @KC, SEA, and @MIN) should be high scoring, so he still works as a possible TE2 for a team that has a bye over the next month.
TE Foster Moreau, Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas has next week off, so Moreau doesn’t look like a viable pickup unless the Darren Waller injury news gets worse. I’ve said this many times before; the best player to replace an injured player is the player filling in for him. Unfortunately, a late scratch by Waller after 1:00 PM led to fantasy owners scrambling to find a live body to fill in. The winning ticket was Moreau, who caught six passes for 60 yards and touchdown on six targets.