This week is shaping up to be a light one on the waiver wire after last week’s bonanza that included Week 7 star Marlon Mack. Our early focus is again on the running back position, where four players should be drawing your attention as you start to get your waiver claims in order. As always, all players listed here have ownership rates of 40% or less on at least two of Yahoo, ESPN and CBS.
Doug Martin and Jalen Richard, RBs, Raiders
The Raiders did not play in Week 7, but two of their running backs lead our early look at the Week 8 waiver wire. Marshawn Lynch will miss at least a month with a groin injury, opening the door to larger roles for both Martin and Richard. Martin hasn’t played much this year, running the ball 27 times for 99 yards in six games, but the bet here is that he will get the first crack at securing early-down work with Lynch out. Richard is a valuable pass-catcher, and while he, too, should get more carries while Lynch is on the shelf, it’s likely that he will remain a receiver first. Richard already had value as a depth back in full PPR leagues after catching 31 passes for 253 yards through six weeks. Entering Week 7, he was seventh among backs in targets, averaging just more than six per game. If Richard can maintain that presence in the passing game—and there’s a chance that, too, will grow if he’s on the field more with Lynch out—while getting six-plus carries per game, he’ll become an intriguing player in standard leagues. Should the Raiders prefer Martin as their early-down back, he’ll be a better fantasy option than Richard, but both should be added in all competitive leagues.
Chris Ivory, RB, Bills
LeSean McCoy left the Bills’ 37-5 loss to the Colts in Week 7 and was placed in concussion protocol. Should he miss time, Ivory would step in as the starter. He delivered a healthy line in McCoy’s stead, running for 81 yards on 16 carries, and catching three of six targets for 25 yards. The Bills barely moved the ball in the second half, so it’s not as though Ivory was racking up a bunch of empty numbers during garbage time, either. Ivory started one game earlier this season, totaling 56 yards on 20 carries and three catches for 70 yards in the Bills’ Week 3 win over the Vikings. If Ivory does start next week, he could face a negative game script with the Bills hosting the Patriots on Monday Night Football, and that would preclude the opportunity for 20 carries. Still, he’ll have enough value to be worth an add in most leagues.
Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers
Jones played sparingly in Week 7, getting six carries and one target. He turned that minimal opportunity into 28 yards from scrimmage and his first career touchdown in the Buccaneers’ 26-23 overtime win over the Browns. Peyton Barber dominated work out of the backfield but struggled again, running for 30 yards on 11 carries. Jones didn’t do much in this game to suggest that he’ll be a significant weapon in Tampa Bay’s offense in the near future, but Barber’s continued struggles could force the coaching staff in a new direction. What’s more, Barber brings nothing to the table as a receiver, and the Buccaneers’ offense is a whole lot more dangerous throwing the ball than it is running it. The mere chance that Jones will finally get an extended look in place of Barber makes him worth a speculative add in most leagues.