Week 8 waiver wire targets for standard scoring fantasy football leagues.
Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown (owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Josh McCown came in for an injured Jay Cutler Sunday against the Redskins. In relief, he passed 14 of 20 (70 percent complete) for 204 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Cutler tore his groin and will miss a minimum of four weeks, though it may take longer. McCown looked good and nearly led the Bears to a tough victory over Washington. McCown is a 34-year-old veteran of twelve years, with 33 starts in his NFL career. His career average completion percentage is 58.2, with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 38-to-44. McCown looked good in Marc Trestman’s offense, but take with a grain of salt that it was against the porous, 24th-ranked Redskins defense.
Buffalo quarterback Thad Lewis (owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Thad Lewis has put two exciting performances on tape this year, albeit for just one in the win column. In his first start for Buffalo in week six, the former Blue Devil threw for 216 yards and two scores, while running for another 17 yards and a touchdown. Lewis led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to send the Bills to overtime, though they eventually lost to the Bengals and their ninth-ranked defense. On Sunday, Lewis led his team to a win against Miami, while completing 65.6 percent of his passes for 202 yards and an interception. Once again, the young quarterback led two fourth-quarter scoring drives. This time, the outcome was different as Buffalo defeated Miami 23 – 21. E.J. Manuel may not return until after the team’s Week 12 bye, giving Lewis plenty of time to develop his raw but impressive skills.
Seattle wide receiver Percy Harvin (owned in 61 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Multiple sources have reported that the Seahawks may activate Percy Harvin for a Week 8 return. The receiver has returned to practice and is eligible to return for the upcoming game in St. Louis. Harvin has missed games in four of his five NFL seasons, averaging fewer than 13 starts per year. The former Florida wideout has never broken 1,000 yards or caught more than 6 receiving touchdowns in a season. Harvin was on a great pace last year in Minnesota, though, catching an average of 6.9 passes for 75.2 yards and 0.33 scores per game. A high ankle sprain ended what would have projected to his best statistical season, with 110 receptions for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns. This past July, Harvin tore his hip labrum and underwent surgery to repair it. When he returns, he’ll be joining the tenth-ranked offense, which is fifth in scoring as well. The Seahawks also rank second in total defense and rushing offense. Harvin could begin contributing immediately to a successful and well-balanced team.
Washington running back Roy Helu, Jr. (owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Last week, Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan commented that he’d “like to get Helu out there more,” and added, “I’d like to get him more opportunities.” That didn’t take long. On Sunday against Chicago, Helu rushed 11 times for 41 yards and three touchdowns. Helu’s scores came from 14, three, and three yards out, while starter Alfred Morris ran for 95 yards on 19 carries. Helu replaced Morris on the team’s “turbo” package, which uses speed personnel in an uptempo offense. For that reason, Helu remained on the field during some goal line packages. The team is in no way moving away from Morris, who has had incredible success in this league. Last year, Morris ran for 1,613 yards as a rookie, and is on pace for 1,259 this season. Washington may be looking for more of a committee-style approach, and Helu’s role on passing downs brings incredible value.
New England running back Brandon Bolden (owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Brandon Bolden was trusted with the team’s first five carries, while being on the field for the all of the Patriots’ first two drives. The second year back rushed for a first quarter touchdown from the one-yard-line, and nearly scored on a 25-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Bolden has been given more responsibility this year amidst all the offensive uncertainty in New England. Through six games, Bolden has 27 carries for 147 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown, with 15 receptions for another 100 yards. His involvement in the passing game is definitely worth noting for your fantasy team, as Tom Brady will continue to lean on whatever reliable targets he can find.
Atlanta running back Jacquizz Rodgers (owned in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues)
The devastating injuries to the Falcons offense have sent shockwaves throughout the fantasy world. Certainly the values of Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Matt Ryan have been debated following the recent season-ending diagnosis for Julio Jones. Atlanta’s offense may start to look a lot like New England’s. Like Brady, Ryan will need every receiver he can get. Rodgers is heavily involved in the Falcons passing game, having racked up over four catches per game through six weeks. On Sunday against Tampa Bay, he caught eight passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. It’s unknown when Steven Jackson will return, but in any event, Rodgers may remain heavily involved moving forward.
Tampa Bay running back Mike James (owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Buccaneers starting rusher Doug Martin may miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum. In his absence, backup Mike James will step up for lead back duties. After Martin’s departure Sunday, the rookie ran 14 times for 45 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and caught three passes for another eight yards. Even Martin had trouble gaining yards on this offense, recently led by rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. Martin was averaging 76 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry in his six starts. James should see plenty of carries, and his ceiling of ability remains unknown.
Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert (owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Tyler Eifert is a 6-foot-6 rookie tight end from Notre Dame. Through seven games this season, the top Bengals receivers outside of A.J. Green have been Eifert and Jermaine Gresham. Gresham has 28 receptions for 274 yards, while Eifert has 22 catches for 270 yards and a touchdown. The score came Sunday for the rookie on a 32 yard play from Andy Dalton. The tight ends both appear to have good chemistry with the quarterback, which is more impressive for the man with less than half an NFL season to his credit. Eifert should remain a borderline fantasy starter with a lot of upside moving forward.
Green Bay wide receiver Jarrett Boykin (owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues)
During one game in week six, the Packers lost James Jones and Randle Cobb to injuries. Jones is now hopeful of a return within 2-3 weeks, while Cobb cannot return until Week 15 at the earliest. While the team moves ahead with Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy, second-year wideout Jarrett Boykin will now see increased playing time with immense opportunity for success. On Sunday against Cleveland, Boykin reeled in eight of ten targets for 103 yards and a touchdown. Not bad for his first NFL start. Boykin should continue to see plenty of targets from Aaron Rodgers for the next several weeks.
Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com.