Fantasy football free-agent forecast: Week 8

Fantasy football free-agent forecast: Week 8

Fantasy football roster management tips, strategy and advice

Fantasy football free-agent forecast: Week 8

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Free-agent recommendations refer to 12-team leagues, unless specifically stated otherwise. FAAB $ amounts are based on a $100 budget.

Bye weeks: Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Football Team

Fantasy football waiver wire targets

Quarterbacks

1-week plug & play

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Short and sweet, because he’s owned in about two-thirds of leagues polled, but if Garoppolo is on the wire in your league, consider him a fine play vs. the league’s worst defense of quarterbacks. Even if the rushing touchdowns by QBs are removed from the stats against Seattle, we’re looking at a top-five opponent.

Availability: 33%
FAAB: $3-4

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions

The Lions have permitted quarterbacks an average of 23.9 fantasy points per game, including four of six quarterbacks with four or more passing scores — a fifth one scored twice if rushing TDs are included, but that’s hardly Rivers’ game. Indy returns from its bye week, so there’s a good chance Rivers is available after his three-TD performance in Week 6. The coaching staff had extra time to prepare, and the Colts’ balanced offensive abilities should keep Detroit on its heels. Rivers has potential for at least 275 yards and two scores — more than acceptable if you’re without Kyler Murray, Gardner Minshew or Deshaun Watson this week.

Availability: 41%
FAAB: $2-3

Running backs

Priority Free Agent

Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks

Update: Hyde is dealing with hamstring tightness and could be iffy for Week 8. Consider rookie DeeJay Dallas and even Travis Homer if Hyde is unable to go.

Chris Carson suffered what is being called a mid-foot sprain, which could have season-long ramifications. Pending MRI results, the dreaded Lisfranc injury can be devastating, and even a more mild foot injury is sure to keep him out a few games. Hyde looked refreshed and healthy in Week 7 coming off of the bench, finishing with 76 offensive yards and a score on 18 touches. The Seahawks have a mixed bag of a schedule ahead, facing San Fran, at Buffalo, at the LA Rams and then back home for Arizona again in a month. Should Carson be lost for the season, Hyde is a strong RB2 candidate the rest of the way.

Availability: 48%
FAAB:
$15-20

1-week plug & play/grab & stash

JaMycal Hasty, San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Seattle isn’t terrible vs. the position like it is against receivers, but some of the positive stats in favor of its defense of running backs is due to being worked by wideouts. Hasty was a mildly intriguing acquisition last week but still remains available in more than half of leagues polled. He played a reserve role behind Jeff Wilson Jr. in a rout vs. the New England Patriots. In Week 8, however, with Raheem Mostert on IR, and Wilson certain to miss extended action with a high-ankle sprain of his own, the explosive Hasty should get more action. He will share touches with Jerick McKinnon. Be aware Hasty’s role will be short-lived with Tevin Coleman (knee) close to returning (likely Week 9) and Mostert being eligible to return after two more games.

Availability: 53%
FAAB:
$4-5

grab & stash

Wayne Gallman, New York Giants

The G-men lost Devonta Freeman (ankle) in their last contest, and it’s unclear what his status will be heading into a Monday Night Football contest vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the event Freeman — who has been brittle in the second half of his career — misses extended time, Gallman belongs on rosters. He ran for only 34 yards on 10 carries in Week 7 but scored once, and Gallman chipped in five receptions for 20 yards. That said, this week’s matchup is horrendous, and he’s a backup in all settings.

Availability: 94%
FAAB:
$0-2

Wide receivers

Priority Free Agent

Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns

Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) is done for the year with a torn ACL, and the Higgins bandwagon still has a few open seats. He and Baker Mayfield demonstrated a connection in Mayfield’s 2018 rookie season, but the addition of OBJ squashed any chance of fantasy relevance for Higgins since. In Week 7, Higgins caught all six of his targets for 110 yards. Ahead, the Raiders offer a brilliant matchup before a Week 9 bye. After the vacation, Cleveland returns to face Houston, Philly, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Baltimore, and both New York teams. That’s an easily exploitable schedule, and he belongs in lineups most of those weeks.

Availability: 36%
FAAB:
$4-5

Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders

It’s clear at this point Agholor is the preferred weapon for Derek Carr among an underwhelming cast of wide receivers. It hadn’t been so apparent, since prior to entering Week 7, the former Eagle had no more than four targets in any game, despite scoring in three of his first five contests as a Raider. Sure, Tampa ended up beating the brakes off of Vegas, but Agholor was productive before the game became totally out of hand. He primarily was utilized as a slot receiver in Philly, and while injuries didn’t help his cause, it has been a move to the outside that has helped Jon Gruden take advantage of Agholor’s downfield skills — a staple role in a Gruden offense. It’s easy to forget Agholor was a first-round pick in 2015, and while there’s a great argument that says he shouldn’t have been, we’re not talking about a guy who came out of nowhere. His upcoming two matchups are quality before getting a little dicey in Week 10 (DEN) and Week 11 (KC). He will be closing out the fantasy regular season in style against Atlanta and the New York Jets.

Availability: 63%
FAAB:
$4-5

grab & stash

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants

Check your wire for Shepard. He was a late-week addition to the active roster after being on IR with a toe injury, and the fifth-year pro returned to give New York’s otherwise dismal offense a hint of energy. He finished with eight targets, going for a line of 6-59-1. The schedule ahead is favorable after the Week 11 bye week. Prior to taking a weekend off, a rocky two-game stretch is ahead of a rematch with Philly in Week 10. That’s not to say finding room vs. Tampa (Week 8) and Washington (Week 9) is impossible, but they’ve been among the ninth-best defenses at limiting WRs in PPR this year. It’s understandable if you leave Shepard out of lineups in the next two outings, but he warrants a universal roster spot.

Availability: 50%
FAAB:
$3-4

1-Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Braxton Berrios, New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs

PPR-only here, and only if you’re desperate. The Chiefs aren’t even a good statistical matchup, so this one is about game flow dictating a bunch of passing to the underneath area of the route tree. Berrios plays almost exclusively from the slot and has a substantial role with Jamison Crowder (groin) once again on the shelf. New York has the Patriots after this one and then a bye week, so it’s not outlandish to view Berrios as a two-week rental. The Chiefs should destroy this defense, forcing Sam Darnold to pass more than desired. Furthermore, KC has been strong enough vs. RBs to keep the Jets’ backfield in check, which bodes well for the passing game to work as an extension of the running attack.

Availability: 86%
FAAB:
$1-2

1-Week Plug & Play

NEW — Scott Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants

While Miller normally doesn’t have much of a reliable role in fantasy, he should be highly involved in Week 8 with Chris Godwin (finger) out. We’ve see a mixed bag from Miller in the few games Godwin has missed already, but he had posted 11.3 PPR points or more in three of the first four games this year prior to being banged up himself. Now healthy, he is coming off of a 6-109-1 line on nine targets. The Giants are one of five teams that have given up more than 100 catches exclusively to receivers in 2020, and since we’re still a week away from seeing Antonio Brown in a Bucs uni, gamers can be confident Miller is a sound PPR flex in Week 8.

Tight ends

1-Week Plug & Play

Richard Rodgers, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys

Rodgers reprises his role in this spot from last week after a six-catch, 85-yard day vs. the Giants — a defense that had been sound at stopping the position. This week, Dallas brings the 11th-worst defense of the position to town, and Rodgers should be prominently featured once again. The Eagles are expected to get Dallas Goedert (ankle) back after the Week 9 bye, making Rodgers’ return to obscurity almost a lock.

Availability: 83%
FAAB: $2-3

Harrison Bryant, Cleveland Browns vs. Las Vegas Raiders

The rookie snagged a pair of touchdown grabs in Week 7 with Austin Hooper (appendicitis) out of commission. Cleveland goes on bye in Week 9, and Hooper should be available afterward, making Bryant a short-term option. David Njoku also is a factor, but Baker Mayfield slightly favored Bryant, targeting him five times in the last contest to Njoku’s three. The Raiders aren’t particularly favorable as a matchup, yet there’s upside here after the loss of Odell Beckham. In the past two games, Las Vegas has allowed scores to tight ends, albeit to Gronk and Travis Kelce. Jared Cook scored earlier in the year. Two touchdowns from a rookie tight end easily can be a fluke, but there’s greater opportunity, and he has his quarterback’s eye.

Availability: 89%
FAAB: $1-2

Kickers

Priority Free Agent

Matt Prater, Detroit Lions

It’s kind of shocking to see Prater isn’t owned in more leagues than the 44 percent polled, but he belongs on all rosters. The Lions have a granted him at least three field goal attempts in four contests, including four kicks apiece in three of those games. There have been two games with only six combined points, but we’re still talking about 11 or more points in three-fourths of his games. Take that all day long and twice on Sundays.

Availability: 56%
FAAB:
$1

1-Week Plug & Play

Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

The 2020 version of Mike Zimmer’s defense is an injury-ravaged, talent-depleted shell of its former self. Crosby is owned in more than half of the leagues we polled, but he should be in all lineups this week. The last time these teams met, back in Week 1, he was good for 11 fantasy points and scored no fewer than 10 in the first three weeks. In the past three games, however, the veteran has only 15 total fantasy points to his credit. There’s a good chance someone in your league dumped him to the wire.

Availability: 44%
FAAB:
$0-1

Mike Badgley, Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos

Despite missing three kicks in as many games of late, Badgley has fantasy appeal vs. the Broncos. Los Angeles returned from its bye week to afford him three extra point and two field goal kicks, resulting in nine fantasy points scored. He has seven or more in four of six games, and Denver has offered kickers nearly three field goal tries per appearance, and only three teams have given up more, on average.

Availability: 77%
FAAB:
$0-1

Defense/specials teams

1-week plug & play

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys

Even if Andy Dalton (concussion) starts, this is a fine time to deploy the Eagles at home. The Dallas offensive line is beyond decimated at this point, and there’s a good chance we see rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci make his NFL starting debut. In the past three weeks, the Cowboys have given up eight sacks, five fumbles, four interceptions and allowed a defensive touchdown. Only the Patriots have been an easier mark on a per-game basis, and they played twice in that time. The Eagles generated three takeaway and a trio of sacks in Week 7 vs. the Giants, and this defense has three or more sacks in four of the last five games.

Availability: 50%
FAAB:
$1-2

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

The first meeting netted only six fantasy points for the Packers defense after allowing 34 points to the Vikes. The Minnesota offense turned it over only once and gave up a pair of sacks. Since posting a dozen fantasy points in Week 2 vs. the Lions, Green Bay has struggled to do much of anything on defense, recording 13 total points in four games. The Vikings are returning from their bye week and should get Dalvin Cook back on the field, but we’re more interested in the poor play of Kirk Cousins here. It’s fair to expect Green Bay will put the Vikings into a pass-happy script at some point, and the more times Cousins puts it up, the better the Packers’ odds increase for a takeaway.

Availability: 71%
FAAB:
$0-1

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