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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Keenum, MIN – If Keenum holds onto the starting job
for another week, he makes a fine plug-n-play in Week 8 against
the Browns, one of the best teams to pick on for fantasy production.
If you’re looking for a cheap correlation pay in DFS lineups next
week, Keenum/Rudolph/McKinnon makes sense as a starting point.
He’s not spectacular (188-1-1 in Week 7 facing the Ravens) but
he’s earned the trust of his receivers and flashes some upside
in positive matchups. He’s also owned in just 10-20 percent of
fantasy leagues and could be a sneaky Top 10 QB in Week 8.
UPDATE: Despite the Regenokine
treatments for his knee, Sam Bradford is still not ready to return,
and Teddy Bridgewater will not play in Week 8 on what has been
described as a “notoriously slippery” field in London.
And there’s no assurance that even after the Week 9 bye,
Bridgewater or Bradford will usurp Keenum as the starter.
Taylor, BUF – Don’t look now, but Taylor is playing
well and producing decent numbers. He had 268-1-0 and 53 rushing
yards Sunday and has favorable matchups over his next four weeks
(OAK, @NYJ, NOR, @LAC). Taylor has been known to disappoint in
big spots, but there’s not a lot of certainty with any of the
QB2s floating around these days, and Taylor (60-70 percent owned)
has extra value because he’s smart, mobile and gets ample rushing
Goff, LAR – the Rams are on a Week 8 bye, but Goff
remains a huge priority on the waiver wire in a week that owners
lost another fantasy viable QB in Carson Palmer. Goff returns
to face the Giants, Texans, Vikings and Saints in weeks 9-12 before
finishing up the fantasy season with three out of four decent
matchups (@ARI, PHI, @SEA, @TEN). Goff is owned in about 60-70
percent of leagues and seems to be developing added confidence
as he’s led the Rams to a 5-2 record.
Palmer, ARI – Palmer has a broken arm and will likely
miss the remainder of the season. It could also signify the end
of a successful career in the league. Palmer managed just 122-0-1
before he left with the injury. Drew Stanton (62-0-1 in relief
during Week 7) takes over from here and is a longshot for meaningful
fantasy production, as he’s thrown just 14 TDs to 20 INTs in his
UPDATE: Palmer’s injury is to his left (non-throwing) arm,
so he’s getting a second opinion and there’s some
newfound optimism among the staff that he could return in 4-6
weeks rather than the eight-week timetable initially offered by
doctors. He’s still not worth holding onto given his age
and relative effectiveness returning from such an injury, but
maybe the book isn’t fully written on the veteran QB just
McCown, NYJ – McCown had a nice day despite the loss
to Miami, finishing with 209-3-1 and adding a rushing TD. He’s
been a top 20 fantasy QB in 2017 and is worth owning in 12-team
formats, even if he’s a high-upside backup.
Hundley, GB – The Packers are going to need this Week
8 bye to get Hundley ready for Week 9, because he looked awful
against the Saints, completing just 12-of-25 passes for 87-0-1
and adding three carries for 44 yards and a TD. It’s likely that
the latter and his ability to take off and produce first downs
with his legs will help define his fantasy value in the coming
Latavius Murray has been out-played by
Jerick McKinnon recently but the tables were turned in Wk
Murray, MIN – It was assumed heading into Week 5 that
Murray (and not Jerick McKinnon) would take over most of the Minnesota
workload for the injured Dalvin Cook, but McKinnon has been the
better back since. Just when you think Murray (60-70 percent owned)
was a wasted waiver wire pick, he explodes for 113 rushing yards
and a TD against a tough Ravens run defense. He’ll be a viable
RB3/flex play in Week 8 against the Browns.
Booker, DEN – Booker has just six carries for 22 yards
on the season but has added 7-100-10 on 10 targets in his last
two games. The Broncos matchup with the Chiefs in Week 8 could
mean a bigger workload for Booker, as Denver seeks to find ways
to produce offensively. The Chiefs have been scoring quite a bit,
so it’s not a stretch to think Booker (15-30 percent owned) will
see a boatload of second-half snaps and be worth using in deeper
formats as a flex play.
Washington, OAK – Marshawn Lynch was suspended for
one game following his contact with the referee Thursday night,
and DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard should see a corresponding
bump in opportunities. I like Washington (5-10 percent owned)
as the better fantasy back against the Bills in Week 8, as he’s
more versatile. Washington had nine carries for 33 yards and a
TD and added 3-7-90 in the win over the Chiefs this week.
Smallwood, PHI –UPDATE:
Smallwood handles the passing down work and some change-of-pace
carries for the Eagles, who don’t seem to be doing much straight-forward
running unless they are near the goal line – which is in LeGarrette
Blount’s wheelhouse. But Smallwood (50-75 percent owned in competitive
leagues) sees about the same amount of overall work and should
be work an RB3/flex start next week facing the 49ers.
Riddick, DET –UPDATE:
This is a reminder that Riddick is available in 25-50 percent
of fantasy leagues and is just one big game away from being a
hot commodity on the wire again. It’s always nice to be
ahead of the curve, and I wouldn’t include Riddick here
if Lions OC Jim Bob Cooter wasn’t such a noted fan of his
skillset. Riddick has just one TD this year, a 7-yard pass from
Matthew Stafford in Week 1, but with Golden Tate injured there’s
no reason not to include him on more snaps against the Steelers
in Week 8. In 12-team PPR leagues, he’s still a great pickup.
Ivory, JAC – Ivory finished with 47 rushing yards and
a TD, despite splitting the workload with Yeldon, who eclipsed
his production with 122 rushing yards and a TD as well as 2-15-0
receiving. With Leonard Fournette (ankle) set to return after
the Week 8 bye, we’ve likely seen the zenith of Ivory and Yeldon’s
UPDATE: I’m dropping Ivory for more certain commodities
in my leagues, and it’s safe for you to do the same. There’s
just not going to be many opportunities following the Jags’
Lewis, NE – Lewis carried 13 times for 76 yards and
added 1-6-0 receiving. With the return of Rex Burkhead and the
continued involvement of James White and Mike Gillislee, The New
England backfield is a full-fledged committee that offers little
upside to one particular back.
Foreman, HOU – On a bye Week 7, Foreman could see an
increased workload as the season progresses. He’s worth owning
as a bench stash in 12+ team leagues.
UPDATE: Foreman remains a high-upside handcuff and excellent
dynasty league hold moving forward. If Lamar Miller were to get
injured, Foreman could break out.
Morris and Darren
McFadden, DAL – It’s still Zeke, for now, but both
McFadden and Morris could be relevant following the Oct. 30 hearing
that decides Elliott’s fate.
UPDATE: Elliott will play in Week 8, but it’s anybody’s
guess what happens come Week 9 and beyond. There’s been
some talk of a settlement, but I can’t imagine that would
reduce the suspension under two games, making both Morris and
McFadden must-own RBs in 12-team leagues until a clearer picture
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Howard, TB – Howard is a boom-or-bust rookie TE who’s
going to be a formidable player in the NFL for many years barring
injury or some other crisis. He’s a big target (6-6, 251 pounds)
and is owned in just 20-30 percent of fantasy leagues heading
into Week 8, when he’ll face the Panthers. He’ll have some struggles,
but should be rostered in 12-team leagues.
Sanu, ATL – Sanu (hamstring) returned to action Sunday
night for the Falcons and was peppered with targets (10) the entire
game, finishing with 6-65-0. The Falcons passing game looks sluggish
right now, but should improve against the Jets in Week 8. Sanu
is owned in about 40-66 percent of leagues and makes for a fine
WR3/4 or flex player in the right matchup, as he’s seen a healthy
34 targets in just five games this season.
Goodwin, SF – Goodwin earns another mention in this
column after hauling in 4-80-0 on eight targets Sunday versus
the Cowboys. He’s now seen 24 targets over his last three games
and offers big-play upside with his world-class speed. He should
be owned in all 12-team leagues and will be facing a similar situation
in Week 8, likely playing from behind against a strong NFC East
opponent – the Eagles.
Stills, MIA – Stills broke out for 6-85-2 in Week 7
and could be in line for some similarly productive lines with
Matt Moore at the helm for the Dolphins. Stills now has 20-248-4
on the season and is only 25-40 percent owned in competitive leagues.
UPDATE: DeVante Parker (ankle) is probably going to be inactive
on a short week, so Stills might be worth a play against the Ravens,
who are tough against the pass but haven’t had a lot of
time to prepare for this matchup.
Woods, LAR – Woods has always been a steady if unexciting
fantasy contributor. While the Rams are on a Week 8 bye, he makes
for a decent pickup if your roster isn’t at full capacity and
pressed with other concerns. He’s seen 6-8 targets for five straight
weeks and the Rams face the Giants in Week 9.
Thompson, BUF – Thompson caught all four of his targets
for 4-107-0 in the Bills’ 30-27 win over the Bucs on Sunday. He
was recently acquired after the Bears released him on Oct. 11,
and emerged as an efficient target for an offense looking for
production from its wideouts. Jordan Matthews returned to action
in Week 7, but it was Thompson who was the third most-targeted
Bill behind rookie Zay Jones and LeSean McCoy. He’s worth a look
in deeper formats, as it appears he has decent rapport with Taylor
right off the bat.
Smith-Schuster, PIT – JuJu’s production is likely the
reason that Martavis Bryant wants out of Pittsburgh, and the rookie
WR just keeps clicking along with fantasy-relevant production
this season. He’s a borderline WR4/flex play but could have some
more spots for production in the coming weeks (@DET, bye, @IND,
TEN, GB), and he’s available in about 65-75 percent of leagues.
UPDATE: Martavis Bryant told ESPN's Josina Anderson that he has
no interest in staying with the Steelers if they don’t include
him more, and reportedly skipped mandatory meetings Monday because
he was at the doctor. After Bryant trashed JuJu on Instagram,
I expect the increasingly valuable rookie to get even more work
against the Lions, and for Martavis to be granted a trade.
Jones, DET – The Lions were on a Week 7 bye, but you
can expect Jones to be a big part of the offensive game plan in
Week 8 vs. Pittsburgh.
UPDATE: Tate hasn’t been officially ruled out for Sunday,
but it’s likely he will be by the weekend, and Jones gets
8-10 targets as the top receiving option.
Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ – ASJ scored for the third straight
week, posting 3-21-1 in the loss to Miami. Owners may have been
expecting more out of the fourth-year TE, but the Jets offense
sputtered in the second half and let the Dolphins back in the
game. He’s a solid TE1 next week facing Atlanta.
Agholor, PHI –UPDATE: Agholor caught 4-45-1 on five
targets in the Eagles' Week 7 win over the Redskins, and he’s
gaining ground as a must-own WR3 in all formats. I’m still
not convinced he’s a ready to roll out as an every-week
starter, but he’s shown considerable improvement in his
route-running and ability to catch what’s thrown to him,
and his shiftiness and speed has never been in question.
Kearse, NYJ – Kearse caught a 29-yard TD on the Jets’
opening drive but disappeared afterwards, with the other TDs going
to Robby Anderson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Engram, NYG – Engram hauled in 6-60-1 on 12 targets
Sunday against the Seahawks and looks like a Top 8 fantasy TE
the rest of the way.
Kroft, CIN – Kroft did his job Sunday and hauled in
4-23-1, catching all four of his targets in the loss to Pittsburgh.
He’s a high-upside TE2 moving forward.
UPDATE: Kroft is taking advantage of his opportunities and now
has three TDs in the last three games, with at least one red-zone
target in each of those weeks. It’s going to be tough to
sit him unless you have a bona fide TE1.