This week can be summed up in one movie quote from Star Wars – “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”
Injuries are playing a major part in this week’s article as “Bloody Sunday” took its toll on many fantasy teams. Let’s head to the waiver wire to find those players that can be potential starters to help your fantasy football team get through the season.
On bye: Cardinals, Ravens, Lions, Texans, Chiefs, Seahawks
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Coming off bye: Bills, Jaguars, Eagles, Redskins
All players focused on here are owned in less than 50% of all NFL.com leagues and could be available in your redraft leagues. Ownership % shown in parentheses.
Update: Removed Blaine Gabbert and added Johnny Manziel. Moved up Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd after Keenan Allen was placed on IR.
- Derek Carr (23.9%) – Wk 8 (23-36, 333 yds, 4 TDs, 0 Int)) – Carr has been on a tear over the last three games with two of those against stout defenses in the Broncos and Jets. He has developed a great chemistry with Cooper and Crabtree and the Raiders, as a whole, are playing well.
- Tyrod Taylor (35.2%) – Wk 8 (out – injured) – Taylor has been out since week 6 after recovering from a sprained MCL. The Bills have lost the last two with EJ Manuel at the helm and could really use Taylor’s play making ability as well as the return of Sammy Watkins. Taylor should be a go against a Dolphins defense that he found success against in week 3 but the injury report will need to be monitored.
- Blake Bortles (40.2%) – Wk 8 (bye) – While the Jaguars are not winning many games, Bortles is putting up some great fantasy numbers this season. Utilizing his weapons in the Allen brothers (Hurns & Robinson) and adding in a bit of T.J. Yeldon, the Jaguars have laid the foundation for the future. Next up is a Jets team that was picked apart by Derek Carr and one that is without anyone who resembles a quarterback.
- Jameis Winston (13.3%) – Wk 8 (16-29, 171 yds, 1 TDs, 0 Int) – While the numbers are not otherworldly, Winston managed to engineer a win against the Falcons with a depleted receiving corp. Getting back Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins would be a big boost as Mike Evans had coverage rolled to his side with no other playmakers available in the receiving game. Next up is a Giants defense that allowed Drew Brees to tie an NFL record for touchdowns in a game.
- Marcus Mariota (33.6%) – Wk 8 (out – injured) – The Titans could really use Mariota back running the offense as Zach Mettenberger has not been a capable fill-in leading the team to only 13 points in two games, both losses. With the addition of a fresh and healthy David Cobb, the Titans look to gain some momentum in an AFC South division that is up for grabs. On deck for Mariota is a Saints defense that allowed for Eli Manning to pass for 350 yards and six touchdowns.
- Johnny Manziel (1.8%) – Wk 8 (3-6, 12 yds) – Josh McCown (ribs) has been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Bengals. Manziel will be a flier though on a short week and playing against a team that played very well against Ben Roethlisberger.
- Bryce Petty (0.1%) – Wk 8 (did not play) – If Petty is an option for a fantasy team, it should be only out of desperation. He is not ready for this level of competition and if he starts, the Jets will be staring at loaded boxes to stop the run and force Petty to throw. Avoid if possible.
- Charcandrick West (44.2%) – Wk 8 ( 20 carries, 97 yds, 1 TDs, 4 rec, 25 yds) – West and the Chiefs are on a bye this week but his production keeps him on this list. Knile Davis is a very distant second and is no threat to the starting job as West has literally run away with the job. The Chiefs
- Jeremy Langford (0.4%) – Wk 8 (12 carries, 46 yds) – The fantasy universe suffered another loss in Matt Forte (knee) and Langford is next man up for the next few weeks. While he is no Matt Forte, the opportunity is there for Langford to produce with no real threat behind him. The next two weeks will be an audition for next year as Forte is a free agent after this season.
- Duke Johnson (45.9%) – Wk 8 (1 carries, 3 yds, 2 rec, 68 yds) – Johnson has been the better of the three running backs in Cleveland this season and the Browns should be looking to get him more involved. He is the back to own in Cleveland going forward.
- Matt Jones (15.2%) – Wk 8 (bye) – Coach Gruden came out and said the snaps will continue to be split between Jones and Alfred Morris going forward. Chris Thompson is possibly coming back this week, thus limiting Jones use in the passing game but he is running better than Alf at this point.
- Theo Riddick (3.9%) – Wk 8 (5 carries, 17 yds, 6 rec, 30 yds) – Riddick played ahead of Abdullah and used garbage time to pad his stats in the blowout loss to the Chiefs. With the Lions offense playing from behind quite often, Riddick should continue his PPR dominance out of the backfield.
- James Starks (23.4%) – Wk 8 (5 carries, 9 yds, 2 rec, 9 yds) – Starks remains a clear handcuff to Eddie Lacy but the workload was split fairly evenly against a great Broncos defense. Up next is another great defense in the Panthers and a similar stat line should be expected.
- David Cobb (2.9%) – Wk 8 (IR) – Cobb reported overweight and has not been activated yet. With Whisenhunt fired this morning and Mike Mularkey named interim head coach, Cobb remains a stash ,if/when he gets on the field, to lead the Titans backfield.
- Pierre Thomas (0.1%) – Wk 8 (Free Agent) – Recently signed by the 49ers today, Thomas and Draughn should provide a veteran presence in a backfield decimated by injuries although, it will be a fantasy wasteland. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
- Kendall Gaskins (0%) – Wk 8 (5 carries, 6 yds, 2 rec, 17 yds) – Gaskins was the last man standing in the injury plagued running corp for the 49ers. Gaskins would be a major desperation play after the recent signings of Thomas and Draughn.
- Shaun Draughn (0%) – Wk 8 (Free Agent) – Recently signed by the 49ers on Monday to replace Reggie Bush (MCL tear) and Mike Davis (hand), Draughn will back up Carlos Hyde in one of the NFL’s worse offenses. With Hyde also nursing an injury of his own, foot stress fracture, and Blaine Gabbert at the helm now, there will be little running room to be found on Sunday. There are better options out there…there have to be.
- Steve Johnson (10.3%) – Wk 8 (4 targets, 2 rec, 28 yds) – Keenan Allen was placed on season ending IR(kidney), Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green are both nicked up and this leaves Philip Rivers looking for receivers to throw to. Both Floyd and Johnson are worth picking up to fill in the void of Allen’s absence.
- Malcom Floyd (9.3%) – Wk 8 (6 targets, 4 rec, 92 yds, 2 TDs) – see Steve Johnson above
- Willie Snead (14.7%) – Wk 8 (8 targets, 7 rec, 76 yds, 2 TDs) – In a gun slinging game, Snead joined in on the fun as the Saints passing offense exploded for 7 touchdowns. He remains a favorite of Drew Brees and should do well against the Titans and Redskins before heading into the bye.
- Rishard Matthews (43.4%) – Wk 8 (12 targets, 7 rec, 62 yds) – Matthews continues to be a target magnet for Ryan Tannehill and has taken the WR2 position for the Dolphins. Parker, Jennings and Stills are not pushing Matthews and he will continue to produce at a decent level.
- Michael Floyd (24.4%) – Wk 8 (8 targets, 4 rec, 106 yds, 1 TDs) – John Brown did not play in this game allowing Floyd to shine opposite of Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals are on bye this week but he is worth a stash. After the bye, the Cardinals travel to Seattle and gets the Legion of Boom.
- Kamar Aiken (2.0%) – Wk 8 (6 targets, 6 rec, 62 yds) – Steve Smith Sr. is out for the year with a torn Achilles thus making Aiken the defacto WR1 for the Ravens. The team is on bye this week but Aiken is worth a stash as one of the first target reads for Joe Flacco.
- Tavon Austin (22.2%) – Wk 8 (7 targets, 4 rec, 98 yds, 3 carries, 21 yds, 2 TDs) – With Gurley taking the run game by storm, Austin has become the main target in the passing game. While 66 yards out of his yardage total came on one screen play, his speed was on full display. His play this year has brought him back to fantasy relevance with no other option for Nick Foles.
- Robert Woods (4.3%) – Wk 8 (bye) – Sammy Watkins is not a lock to come back this week (ankle) and Percy Harvin out indefinitely (hip), Woods has become the team’s primary option in the receiving game. If Watkins sits again, Woods will continue in the same role for either Tyrod Taylor or E.J. Manuel.
- Jeremy Kerley (0.1%) – Wk 8 (5 targets, 4 rec, 63 yds) – Brandon Marshall hurt his toe this week and is questionable to suit up next week against the Jaguars. If he sits, Kerley would pair with Decker as the top two options for the Jets. The bad thing is no one knows who will be throwing the ball in that game for New York.
- Kenbrell Thompkins (0%) – Wk 8 (7 targets, 6 rec, 41 yds) – see Jeremy Kerley above with Thompkins as the possible third option.
- Paul Richardson (0.2%) – Wk 8 (PUP) – Richardson is stash worthy for later on in the season as Ricardo Lockette is now out for the season (neck). The Seahawks are on bye this week and Richardson is still has not been activated off the PUP but the 21 day window has now started as he has started practicing.
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- Jordan Reed (21.8%) – Wk 8 (bye) – With the Redskins coming off bye, Reed’s ownership percentage dipped and could be out on the waiver wire for pickup. Reed has dominated since he has come back from injury and is one of the best options in the receiving game. With the tight end position in flux this year, Reed is a difference maker.
- Vernon Davis (33.7%) – Wk 8 (8 targets, 6 rec, 24 yds) – News alert – Davis has a new quarterback throwing him the ball after a trade to Denver. With the Broncos needing a pass catching option at the tight end position, Davis may fill that void. His prospects are definitely better now than they were with Kaepernick throwing the ball.
- Zach Ertz (21.4%) – Wk 8 (bye) – Ertz and the Eagles were on bye last week so he may have been dropped and available. Ertz has settled in as a good option for Sam Bradford averaging 5 catches over the last three weeks. With Jordan Matthews having problems holding on to the ball, Ertz could continue to lead the Eagles in receiving.
- Crockett Gillmore (4%) – Wk 8 (4 targets, 2 rec, 8 yds, 1 TDs) – The Ravens are on bye this week and should be using this time to scheme to get one of their only playmakers the ball with the loss of Steve Smith Sr. Paired with Kamar Aiken, Gillmore should provide good numbers as Flacco is lacking weapons in the passing game.
- Heath Miller (21.6%) – Wk 8 (13 targets, 10 rec, 105 yds) – Miller really missed Big Ben and his numbers truly showed it. It’s no secret that there is great chemistry between the two and with the loss of Le’Veon Bell in the run game, Miller should get more looks as the safety valve.
- Ladarius Green (41.9%) – Wk 8 (1 targets, 1 rec, 10 yds) – Green hurt his ankle during the game thus the low stat line. With the loss of Keenan Allen, Green should get more looks depending if he can get on the field. Monitor the injury and practice reports this week to see if he can make it back.
- Benjamin Watson (13.2%) – Wk 8 (10 targets, 9 rec, 147 yds) – Will Watson continue this production? Probably not but the usage cannot be ignored as the Saints cannot play defense and this leads to Drew Brees to play catch up.
- Richard Rodgers (19.2%) – Wk 8 (4 targets, 2 rec, 16 yds) – Aaron Rodgers is in dire need of options to pass to and the Broncos shut down the Packers offense. Next week is not any easier with the Panthers up next.
- Jacob Tamme (0.7%) – Wk 8 (12 targets, 10 rec, 103 yds) – Hankerson sat out and Tamme served in the safety valve role for Matt Ryan. The consistency may not be there when the Falcons visit the 49ers next week as the game may be out of hand fairly quickly leading to a ground attack.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins (6.5%) – Wk 8 (out – injured) – The lack of weapons for Jameis Winston is appalling. With Vincent Jackson status still unknown for next week’s game against the Giants, ASJ is desperately needed.
All stats are from ESPN.com