Waiver Wire Pickups Week 8
Waiver Wire Pickups Week 8
Every week it’s difficult to know just who we should prioritize off the waiver wire. There are very few sure things in fantasy football, and that becomes even more true when dealing with players coming off of injury, being thrust into a new role, or who seem to be heading toward a breakout. Week 7 was a bit of a wild ride with teams losing you’d expect to win, players that you thought were going to serve as backups taking over the lead role, and those who weren’t on anyone’s radar bursting onto the seen in a big way, while other early season fantasy stars seemed destined for obscurity. All we can ever do as we put in our waiver wire claims is hope our assessment of the player and situation is correct and that we are adding someone to our team that will help us win. With that being the goal here are 10 players I would consider picking up in week 8.
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Kyler Murray - Arizona Cardinals (48% rostered)
Last week, Kyler Murray began practicing, opening his window to return as soon as this coming Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. While reports are stating he is most likely looking at a return closer to week 10, Murray could be exactly what this offense needs to take flight. Incidentally, if Murray were to return in week 10, that would be the exact same week that James Conner is able to return from injured reserve. Adding someone that you will have to wait a few weeks on before you can even begin to play him could be a lot to ask, especially if you play in the minority of leagues with no IR spots. If you do have IR spots, however, adding Murray is a low-risk, high-reward move. There is no other quarterback available for pickup with as much potential as Murray has to deliver a top-12 performance every week once healthy. There could be some rust in his first game or two, but I don’t anticipate it taking long for him to acclimate himself, meaning he could develop into a weekly starter for any manager struggling at the position. Working the waiver wire is not always about going after players who have begun to break out. It’s also about beating other managers to players before they begin to produce. Murray should be the #1 quarterback priority for anyone needing help at that position and is worth 20-25% of your FAAB.
Gardner Minshew - Indianapolis Colts (13% rostered)
This recommendation is not as enthusiastic as my recommendation of Murray, but after this upcoming week, the byes will once again start to hit us, and that fact, combined with the injuries plaguing the league makes Minshew relevant to fantasy. With Anthony Richardson undergoing season-ending surgery, Minshew will be the starter for the Colts moving forward. In his first opportunity to take over for the talented rookie, Minshew struggled against a Jacksonville secondary that has been friendly to opposing quarterbacks, throwing for 329 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions, and only mustering 11.56 fantasy points. He looked better in his second start against a much more difficult Browns defense throwing for 305 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also added 29 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. This was good enough for 31.1 points and a QB3 finish. He does get another hard opponent in the Saints this week, but I’m also not recommending picking him up and putting him straight into your lineup. Stash him, see how he does against the Saints, and if he has another solid performance, it might be time to talk about him being a weekly starter. He’s my second favorite quarterback target, but don’t go crazy with your FAAB to get him. 5-10% at most.
Darrell Henderson - Los Angeles Rams (37% rostered)
Going into week 7, rookie Zack Evans was the most popular waiver wire target at the running back position. Kyren Williams was placed on injured reserve and in the game that saw him get injured, Evans was the next man up. So common sense told us he would be the starting running back in week 7. Then the Rams started making moves by signing Darrell Henderson and Myles Gaskin, along with having veteran Royce Freeman. What once looked like a clear-cut lead-back scenario was starting to look like a mess. Then week 7 came, and it wasn’t Evans, Freeman, or even Gaskin that led the Rams backfield. It was 26-year-old Darrell Henderson. On top of that, he looked pretty good, rushing 18 times for 61 yards and a score. Looking back at it, it makes sense. Henderson is the running back most familiar with this offense, and clearly the player Sean McVay trusts the most. There is no reason to think they won’t lean on Henderson in week 8 against Dallas. Dallas provides a much stiffer test, but with running backs falling every week due to injury, getting the lead back for a Sean McVay team has value. Henderson is my preferred running back target in this offense and can be viewed as a low-end RB2. He is worth up to 15% of your FAAB.
Emari Demercado - Arizona Cardinals (20% rostered)
Leading into week six, after starter James Conner went down with a knee injury, Demercado was a popular waiver wire pickup. Then after only seeing three opportunities he became a popular drop. Well, week 7 has, once again, changed the way people are viewing Demercado. After playing 43% of the snaps in week 6, Demercado was on the field for 80% of the snaps in week 7. He also saw his touches climb from three to 17, finishing with 58 yards on the ground and 17 through the air. That stat line won’t win anyone their week, but it is encouraging to see the Cardinals leaning on their young running back. When Demercado touches the ball, he looks like the best option not named Conner. Demercado will likely only have a few weeks of relevance with Conner able to return in week 10, but until that point, he could be a good bye-week or injury fill-in. Because the shelf-life to fantasy relevance is limited I wouldn’t go after him too aggressively, but I would be willing to drop 3-5% of my FAAB for him. If you’re in desperate need of a running back, then 7-10% is justifiable.
Tyjae Spears - Tennessee Titans (50% rostered)
It’s possible that you want to just stay away from all Titans players until further notice, and I would understand that, but Spears may be someone worth considering. This is purely speculative and a suggestion for teams that don’t need immediate help at running back, but if you feel good about your running back room and have the bench space, Spears is a great stash. Right now, this backfield still belongs to Derrick Henry, with Spears seeing very limited action, but in that limited action, he has shown a rare explosiveness and ability to break tackles that justifies his day two draft price. He’s just good at football, and as such has seen his snap share live north of 50% in five of his six games. He has also caught 15 passes on 20 targets and has averaged a robust 6.1 yards per touch. There are also rumblings that the Titans are looking to trade Henry. If that happens, Spears could develop into the type of fantasy commodity that wins managers their leagues. Even if Henry stays put, though, Spears is worthy of flex consideration and my favorite target for any team not in need of help right now. I’d spend up to 10% FAAB on him, but 8% would most likely get it done.
Josh Downs - Indianapolis Colts (52% rostered)
Downs is currently rostered in just above 50% of leagues, I’m guessing that will change come Wednesday morning when waivers clear. Downs has been having a solid rookie campaign the last three weeks, but didn’t really break out until this past Sunday against a very good Browns defense. In that game, Downs caught five balls for 125 yards and a touchdown. He now has a touchdown in each of his last two games. Minshew taking over at quarterback has been very good for Downs. In college, Downs was extremely productive catching 195 passes and scoring 19 times in his last two years at UNC. So far in his NFL career, Downs has played over 70% of snaps in every single game, so anyone worrying about playing time and opportunity, shouldn’t. The Saints are another solid defense, but Downs has shown such an ability to get open and beat great defenses already that he should continue to find success in week 8. You will be competing with a lot of managers to get Downs. He is my No.1 waiver wire priority regardless of position, and is worth up to 20% of your FAAB.
Kendrick Bourne - New England Patriots (39% rostered)
Anyone coming into week 7 wondering who held the No. 1 wide receiver position for the Patriots, can stop wondering, it’s Kendrick Bourne. He has seen 7 or more targets and scored double-digit fantasy points in each of his last two games. As bad as quarterback Mac Jones has looked at times, he is successful when targeting Bourne, earning a 123.5 quarterback rating over that same two-game span. He is by far the most productive wide receiver on this team with over 100 more receiving yards than any other receiver. While hitching your wagon to a Mac Jones-led offense does sound risky (because it is), Bourne is starting to look like more and more of a sure thing. He is now facing a Miami defense that is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, making him a viable low-end WR2 or high-end flex option in week 8, and beyond. He’s a solid pickup, whether as a plug-and-play or a bench stash for anyone looking for help and depth at the wide receiver position, and is worth 5-8% of your FAAB.
Tank Dell - Houston Texans (59% rostered)
Dell hasn’t played since week five, missing week 6 due to a concussion and then going on bye in week 7. During this time managers had to make difficult decisions. Most leagues only have one or two IR spots, and if you are like most managers who have an abundance of injured players you had to decide who to drop in order to field a full roster. Dell was one of these casualties for many managers. He is still rostered in nearly 60% of leagues, but after Downs and Bourne, I would be checking to see if Dell got dropped in your league. Since breaking out in weeks 2 and 3, Dell was starting to come back down to earth a bit. It looks like Nico Collins is still the WR1 for this team, but when given the opportunity, Dell has looked explosive, extremely fast, and difficult to guard. With a rookie wide receiver you can expect some ups and downs, but Dell provides a massive upside that is perfect for a bench stash or a weekly flex. I would prioritize Downs and if you want a safer floor then Bourne should probably also be ahead of Dell, but after that, if he’s available, snatch Dell up. He is worth 5-8% of your FAAB.
Dalton Kincaid - Buffalo Bills (41% rostered)
Kincaid has been a frustrating player to roster in 2023, which should’ve been expected since most rookie tight ends are frustrating in their first season. Through his first five games of the season, Kincaid saw more than four targets just twice and failed to score more than seven fantasy points in any game. Then he got hurt, and upon returning in week 7, Kincaid caught all eight of his targets for 75 yards, and 11.5 fantasy points, easily his best game of the season. What’s even more impressive is that this stat line led the Bills in receptions and receiving yards. Fellow tight end Dawson Knox also left the game with a wrist injury that will require surgery, keeping him out indefinitely. The issue with Kincaid has never been talent. He was a top prospect out of college and a favorite sleeper pick by many experts. The issue was opportunity. Now that may not be a problem. The opportunity could be there for Kincaid to become a top target on this Bills offense. Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, and James Cook will still all be involved in the passing game, but now nearly all the tight end targets should go to Kincaid, and he could develop into the No. 2 option behind Diggs. At a position where consistency is difficult to come by Kincaid could be worth an investment of 8-12% of your FAAB.
Trey McBride - Arizona Cardinals (8% rostered)
Another young tight end who now finds himself with a golden opportunity due to an injured veteran in front of him, McBride could be in line for a breakout in the coming weeks. The news just broke that 32-year-old Zach Ertz is being placed on injured reserve after suffering a quadriceps injury. Through the first four weeks (when McBride was non-existent) Ertz saw double-digit targets in three of those games, even finishing as a top-10 tight end in week 2. As McBride got more integrated into the offense over the last three weeks, Ertz’s share of the targets began to decline, with McBride seeing a season-high six targets in week 7. Now that Ertz is on injured reserve there is no one to compete with McBride for those tight end targets. They will still be targets from Joshua Dobbs, but if McBride starts to see 10+ targets a game, as the more explosive, athletic player, he should find even greater success than Ertz, and if Ertz isn’t able to make it back and Kyler Murray takes over at quarterback, McBride could take off. Many managers are frustrated with their tight-end production, so why not take a chance on a young player who finds himself with the opportunity to produce? Don’t overspend, but 3-5% of your FAAB seems reasonable.
A die hard Bears fan and fantasy sports fantastic, T.J. Besler earned his journalism (and theatre) degree from The University of Iowa. When he isn’t busy writing parodies for his YouTube channel Parodies for Charities he can be found either on stage performing or doing all things fantasy football related. Besler has traveled to nearly all 50 states either for work or leisure, and is grateful to everyone who has helped him along the way, especially his lovely wife Elsa, without whom much of this would not be possible. BEAR DOWN!