Waiver Wire: Week 8

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Bucs Get First Win, Lose James
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Nick Mensio recaps the Monday night game and checks in on Percy Harvin, Jay Cutler, Jake Locker and others …

Week 7 turned out to be a poster child for plug-n-play waiver wire options.

Jordan Reed had nine catches for 134 yards with a touchdown, Harry Douglas went off for 7/149/1, Jarrett Boykin stepped up with 8/103/1 and Joseph Randle piled up 93 total yards. It’s a refreshing reminder of how grinding the wire can get us the short-term production we need to get wins.

This week, we’ve seen a startling number of serious injuries to major players. That sets us up for another week of impactful adds.

On to the assets. Here is how I would rank the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at each position. Notes and recommendations on each player will follow below.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 8. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

Quarterbacks
1. Carson Palmer
2. Ryan Tannehill
3. Jake Locker
4. Mike Glennon
* Terrelle Pryor is owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 1 add at quarterback.

Running backs
1. Mike James
2. Chris Ivory
3. Roy Helu
4. Shane Vereen
5. Andre Brown
6. Jonathan Stewart
7. Peyton Hillis
* Ben Tate is owned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 1 add at running back.

Wide receivers
1. Jarrett Boykin
2. Darrius Heyward-Bey
3. Kendall Wright
4. LaVon Brazill
5. Mike Brown
6. Kris Durham
* Percy Harvin is owned in 61 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 1 add at wide receiver.

Tight Ends
1. Jordan Reed
2. Coby Fleener
3. Ben Watson
4. Tim Wright
5. Rob Housler

Defense/Special Teams
1. Panthers
2. Saints
3. Steelers
4. Eagles

Kickers   
1. Garrett Hartley
2. Alex Henery
3. Jay Feely
4. Kai Forbath


QUARTERBACKS
1. Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
Yes, I’m well aware that Carson Palmer has thrown 13 interceptions through seven games, ranks 29th in passer rating (69.5), has a rapidly declining arm and is operating behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines. That said, things are about to get better starting this week. Palmer faces the Falcons atrocious defense on Sunday, followed by a bye and then the following schedule: vs. HOU, at JAX, vs. IND, at PHL, vs. STL. It’s an excellent chance for Palmer to get his high-quality weapons going in this Bruce Arians passer-friendly scheme.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

2. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
We predicted a three-touchdown breakout for Ryan Tannehill in this space last week and it came to fruition. He’s now thrown for at least one score in each game this year and is averaging a healthy 262.8 yards per game. This week’s matchup at a Patriots team coming off a loss is not an ideal stream spot, but there aren’t many QB2s with a higher floor left on the wire.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

3. Jake Locker, Titans – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
When Jake Locker first went down with his hip injury, he was slapped with a 4-6 week timetable. He ended up getting back in just three weeks, and announced his return by going 25-of-41 for 326 yards with two touchdowns against the 49ers. He also rushed three times for 29 yards. Now Locker gets the Week 8 bye to heal up and will come out with arguably the most fantasy-friendly schedule in the NFL: at STL, vs. JAX, vs. IND, at OAK, at IND, at DEN, vs. ARZ and at JAX in Week 16. With a rapidly improving pocket presence, a big arm and underrated rushing ability, Locker is shaping up as a solid mid-range QB2.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 14-team leagues

4. Mike Glennon, Bucs – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Mike Glennon has now started three NFL games. He’s gone 76-of-130 (58.5 percent) for 722 yards (240.6/game) with five touchdowns and three interceptions. At the very least, he’s capable of chucking it up for Vincent Jackson and hoping for the best (he targeted V-Jax an astounding 22 times in week 7). With Doug Martin (shoulder) done for the year, the Bucs will have to lean on the pass even more. He’s not a good option against the Panthers in Week 8 or the Seahawks in Week 9, but owners in two-quarterback leagues can take a desperation look.
Recommendation: Should be owned in two-quarterback leagues

Watch List: Chad Henne, Josh McCown, Geno Smith, Case Keenum, Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Kellen Clemens – Henne would have been higher on the list if he didn’t face the 49ers and then have a bye. He’s gone over 300 yards in two straight games. … With Jay Cutler (groin) out at least four weeks, the Bears belong to McCown. He played great against the Redskins “defense,” but tougher times are ahead after the bye. … Smith continues to be one game on, one game off. Hard to trust. … Perhaps the Texans will stick with Keenum even if Matt Schaub is healthy after their bye? Keenum certainly looked impressive at Arrowhead. … Either Weeden is going to play better, or the Browns are going to turn to Campbell. … Sam Bradford’s season-ending knee injury leaves Clemens as the Rams starter. Yikes.

Editor’s Note: For more waiver thoughts and news from around the league, follow Adam Levitan, Rotoworld Football and our dominant News Page. RUNNING BACKS
1. Mike James, Bucs – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
Doug Martin reportedly sustained a torn labrum during Sunday’s loss to the Falcons. Although the Bucs aren’t providing any details, there’s a chance he’s done for the season. That means the feature back job belongs to Mike James, a sixth-round rookie who was a committee back during his time at The U. For a profile on James as a prospect, I recommend this read from Dumonjic Allen. He goes 5’10/223, ran a 4.58 at the Combine and is known as an asset in the passing game (67 catches at Miami). After Martin went down on Sunday, James played 38 snaps and got 17 touches. Fullback/pass-pro specialist Brian Leonard played 22 snaps and got three touches. We can’t have especially high hopes for James because of the Bucs’ upcoming schedule (vs. CAR, at SEA, vs. MIA) and due to the fact that Martin was only averaging 3.59 YPC with one touchdown on the season, but there’s always upside in volume. James is a candidate for 12-15 carries and 3-5 receptions right away. He’s also a good bet to get bet any goal-line work thanks to his size.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Chris Ivory, Jets – Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
I had Chris Ivory as my No. 3 add at running back last week on the heels of Mike Goodson’s season-ending injury, but I did not expect to see what transpired against the Patriots. Ivory played on 53-of-93 snaps, rushing a staggering career-high 34 times for 104 yards. Bilal Powell, who had impressed all season long, played just 22 snaps and got a grand total of three touches. After the game, coach Rex Ryan confirmed this had nothing to do with a minor neck injury Powell had been nursing. Ivory got the hot hand and the gameplan was to pound the Pats depleted front seven up the gut. Most weeks, I’d expect a more even timeshare between these two backs, but we’ve long been high on Ivory’s talent. He has the ability to turn a 12-14 carry role into significant production.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. Roy Helu, Redskins – Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
Here’s another guy that we’ve discussed in this space all season long, but is now gaining national headlines because he busted out with three touchdowns in Week 7. Chasing those scores is a bad idea, but the usage is here to stay. Helu is part of the Redskins’ “turbo” package, their no-huddle set that they’re using more and more of. So although Alfred Morris is the clear starter and goal-line back, Helu never leaves the field in turbo – even if it’s first down or the team is inside the 5-yard line. Over the last three weeks, Helu is averaging 12.3 touches per game because he’s earned it with impressive one-cut, size/speed running. And with the Redskins likely to be trailing in Denver this week, we can expect at least another 10-12 touches.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Shane Vereen, Patriots – Owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
We got a little news on Shane Vereen last week as he was spotted without a hard cast on his fractured wrist. At least we know the bone has stabilized and now he just has to build up strength. Vereen is eligible to come off short-term IR in Week 11 and will quickly slide back in as the passing back. That may not sound like much, but note that vastly inferior talent Brandon Bolden led the Patriots in snaps with 49 in Week 7 and is averaging 8.4 touches per game on the year. Vereen is a good bet for more like 11-13 touches once he gets going.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues with an IL spot or reasonably deep bench

5. Andre Brown, Giants – Owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
Peyton Hillis runs like an elephant, Brandon Jacobs has a hamstring injury/runs with a piano on his back and David Wilson (neck) is out indefinitely. The Giants are desperate to get Andre Brown (leg, PUP) back in the fold when he's first eligible in Week 10. He's resumed practicing, putting him on track to step right in and start for a team that's suddenly creating some holes in the running game. Remember that Brown had eight touchdowns in 10 games last year.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

6. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Stop the presses. Jonathan Stewart is expected to finally return to practice this week despite still feeling some discomfort in his ankle. Perhaps he’ll be back to a limited role in Week 9 behind DeAngelo Williams and then the Panthers will take it from there. If he looks good, we get an even timeshare. If he doesn’t he’s a strict backup. Only owners desperate at the running back spot should make a stash.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

7. Peyton Hillis, Giants – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Around this time last week, Peyton Hillis was on his ranch in Tennessee. He thought his NFL career was over and he was not even working out. It showed on Monday night. Although Hillis produced 81 yards and a touchdown on 23 touches against the Vikings, he was awful. He admitted to having “jello legs,” which was obvious as he ran like an elephant, plowing into defenders with no burst. Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) has a chance to return in Week 8, the Giants have a bye in Week 9 and Andre Brown (leg)  has a chance to return Week 10. Hillis is a desperation add for owners in a Week 8 pinch only.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Donald Brown, Brandon Bolden, Shonn Greene, Mark Ingram, Tashard Choice, Daniel Thomas, Ray Graham – With Trent Richardson struggling so badly (and fumbling), Brown’s role is increasing toward an even committee. … Bolden is the passing back until Shane Vereen gets back (see above). … Greene only played two snaps in his return, but his role will grow and the schedule is very soft. … Perhaps Ingram gets traded at the Oct. 29 deadline? … Choice will be in line for work if C.J. Spiller (ankle) sits out as he should. … The Dolphins coaches have made it very clear that Thomas will be sharing the load with Lamar Miller. He’s still averaging just 7.6 touches per game on the year. .. Arian Foster (hamstring) and Ben Tate (ribs) are both in doubt for when the Texans come out of their bye. Cierre Wood was cut for smoking pot on Monday, leaving practice squadder Graham as the only healthy back currently in the organization.   WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Jarrett Boykin, Packers – Owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
We talked extensively last week about the opportunity Boykin had while playing in all 2- and 3-wide sets with Aaron Rodgers. In a situation like that, talent almost doesn’t even matter. Boykin proved that theory true, and also flashed some real ability while posting a 8/103/1 line against the Browns. Even if James Jones (knee) makes an unexpected Week 8 return, Boykin will continue to have a major role as the Packers will use three receivers as their base. Jermichael Finley (neck) is out indefinitely and his backup, Andrew Quarless, is strictly a blocker. Boykin is a WR3 weekly until the situation changes.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

2. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Colts – Owned in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues
So far this season, Darrius Heyward-Bey has played on 75.2 percent of the snaps and seen 4.8 targets per game. Both of those numbers are about to take a major jump due to Reggie Wayne’s ACL tear. Barring a trade before the Oct. 29 deadline, Heyward-Bey will now be an every-down, No. 1A receiver (along with T.Y. Hilton) with an emerging superstar quarterback in Andrew Luck. I wouldn’t go overboard and incinerate a ton of FAAB money in DHB because he’s not capable of the same precision, route-running and consistency Wayne provided. But WR3 value based on 7-9 targets per game is realistic.  
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Kendall Wright, Titans – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Titans’ best receiver continues to fly under the radar. Kendall Wright has at least five catches and 54 yards in six straight games, averaging 6.3 grabs for 70.3 yards with one touchdown during that span. And when the Titans come out of their Week 8 bye, they’ll have a 100 percent Jake Locker and a cake schedule.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team PPR leagues

4. LaVon Brazill, Colts – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Colts are saying that Reggie Wayne’s production will be filled by a committee and coach Chuck Pagano called out LaVon Brazill by name. It’s a big opportunity for a guy who was suspended for the first four games of the year and has played a total of 10 snaps since. Brazill was a buzz name at the 2012 draft thanks to a 4.47 forty and the ability to play both outside and inside. He’ll start out as the No. 3 receiver, but there are chances to siphon targets with Heyward-Bey far from a lock to reliably produce.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

5. Mike Brown, Jaguars – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
The No. 3 receiver on a team that’s a lock to be trailing for the majority of games weekly? Intriguing. Mike Brown was sidelined by a back injury from Weeks 2 through 5, but has posted nine catches for 169 yards on 14 targets over the last two games. The 2012 undrafted man out of Liberty is capable of playing both inside and outside, giving him some immediate value. The real return will come if Cecil Shorts (sprained SC joint) or Justin Blackmon (hamstring) miss time.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 14-team leagues

6. Kris Durham, Lions – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Matthew Stafford’s old teammate at Georgia has stepped into the role we originally expected Ryan Broyles to have. Over the last three weeks, Kris Durham aka White Chocolate has turned 29 targets into 16 catches for 154 yards with one touchdown. He’ll sustain WR4 value as virtual every-down player until Nate Burleson returns – possibly after the Week 9 bye in a best-case scenario.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 14-team leagues

Watch List: Jeremy Kerley, Eddie Royal, Cole Beasley, Kenny Britt, Drew Davis – As noted with Geno Smith, the Jets are on one week and off the next. Kerley doesn’t have much appeal, especially with Santonio Holmes (hamstring) coming back at some point. … Hopefully owners have learned their lesson about chasing Royal stats. … Beasley is the Welker-esque slot receiver for Dallas, but his role will diminish once Miles Austin’s hamstrings get right. … Britt is a stash in case he’s traded. .. Davis is interesting because he’s playing every down until Roddy White (hamstring, ankle) gets back. TIGHT ENDS
1. Jordan Reed, Redskins – Owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
Readers of Rotoworld and Waiver Wired should have had their mitts on Jordan Reed a long time ago. The third-round rookie has been playing ahead of Fred Davis for a month now and has been flashing the kind of “move” skills that remind of Aaron Hernandez and Jimmy Graham. It all came together for a breakout 9/134/1 line in Week 7, highlighted by a goal-line fade for the score. Now everyone on the NFL planet knows who Reed is – a wildly talented athlete that’s the No. 2 option in an explosive passing game.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Coby Fleener, Colts – Owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Reggie Wayne (ACL) out for the season, everyone gets a bump in Indy’s passing attack. That includes Fleener, who has struggled with drops and inconsistency, but remains a huge part of the offense. Over the last three weeks, he’s played on 148-of-190 snaps (77.8 percent) and caught 10 passes for 69 yards with one score. Now that Wayne and his 8.2 targets per game are gone, there’s room for much more.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Ben Watson, Saints – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jimmy Graham’s foot injury doesn’t sound serious, but his Week 8 status is very uncertain. If he can’t go, Watson would step in as the every-down tight end. Of course, he won’t be used like Graham is used because he’s not capable of splitting wide, catching slants or getting jump balls at the goal-line. But Watson can run down the seam and anyone playing every snap with Drew Brees is worth a look. Remember that in 2010, Watson caught 68 passes for 763 yards with three touchdowns for the Browns.
Recommendation: Should be owned as a potential plug-n-play

4. Tim Wright, Bucs – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Don’t completely bail on Wright because he managed just two catches for 16 yards on three targets against the Falcons. He still played on 45 snaps, with 84.4 percent of those snaps coming on pass plays. That’s a recipe for success for the former college wideout. He remains a TE2 as the Bucs are going to be trailing a ton the rest of the way. Tom Crabtree is the blocking tight end, Wright is the “move” option.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

5. Rob Housler, Cardinals – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Despite Bruce Arians’ history with tight ends, he appears committed to getting Rob Housler going. Over the last five weeks, he’s playing on 68.6 percent of the snaps and has finally gotten some looks from Carson Palmer. In Housler’s first three games this season, he had two catches on five targets. Over the last two weeks, he has 11 catches on 12 targets. With the aforementioned upcoming Cardinals schedule, there’s some upside here. The 6’5/250 Housler has unique talent as a pass-catcher.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Garrett Graham, Brandon Pettigrew, Dallas Clark, Zach Ertz, Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Anthony Fasano, Ladarius Green – Graham saw eight targets from Case Keenum on Sunday. He can’t be ignored. … We know what Pettigrew is, he just doesn’t have any upside. … Clark needs tons of volume to have good games. … Ertz’s snap count was actually down in Week 7. … Quarless is a blocker that will start in place of Jermichael Finley (neck). He caught zero passes when Finley missed Week 5. Bostick is the raw pass-catcher to keep an eye on, especially in Dynasty. … Fasano came back from injury and immediately took over every-down duties from Sean McGrath. … Green is a specimen and his snap count is rising. He’ll be a stud if Antonio Gates ever goes down.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
1. Panthers – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
People continue to sleep on the Panthers truly elite defense. They’re giving up just 13.8 points per game (No. 2 in the NFL) and have forced 14 turnovers in six games. In Week 8, they get to face a reeling Bucs team with Mike Glennon at quarterback and Mike James at running back. It’s a Thursday night game, which has historically meant low-scoring affairs.

2. Saints – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
Yes, the Bills are one of two teams that have scored at least 20 points in every game this year (the other is the Broncos, obviously). But they’re in a back-to-back road spot and the Saints are coming out of a bye. C.J. Spiller is a shell of himself. And perhaps most importantly, Thad Lewis hasn’t seen an environment like he’ll see Sunday in the Superdome.

3. Steelers – Owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
It’s not an ideal spot as the Steelers have to go all the way across the country to face a Raiders team coming out of their bye. Still, Oakland’s offensive line yields tons of pressure – something that often leads to big plays defensively (forced fumbles, interceptions, etc.). The Steelers should get impact rookie Jarvis Jones (concussion) back for this one.

4. Eagles – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
This is not a play on the Eagles defense as much as it is a play against the Giants offense. On the season, Eli Manning is completing a brutal 54.5 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns against 15 interceptions in seven games. Their running game is a mess, as detailed in the Peyton Hillis notes. The Eagles should be hungry as they come off an ugly loss and are playing at home.

KICKERS  
1. Garrett Hartley, Saints – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Garrett Hartley was rightfully dropped in a lot of leagues because the Saints were on a bye in Week 7. Scoop him back up immediately. Coming out of a bye, Drew Brees won’t have any trouble shredding the Bills on Sunday and Hartley will reap the rewards. He’s already 14-of-16 on field goals through six games this season.

2. Alex Henery, Eagles – Owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
We got burned by streaming Alex Henery in against the Cowboys, but it wasn’t his fault. He missed a 60-yard attempt and only got one other chance. With Michael Vick (hamstring) likely back and the Eagles facing the Giants, Henery should get far more opportunities this week. 

3. Jay Feely, Cardinals – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
We like using kickers that are at home and playing against defenses that yield a lot of yardage. Jay Feely fits into both those categories this week as the Cardinals are hosting the Falcons. Coming off a long week in this dream matchup, perhaps Carson Palmer finally gets on track in Bruce Arians’ offense.

4. Kai Forbath, Redskins – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
With the zone read back in action, a dynamic tight end in Jordan Reed and a two-headed monster at running back, the Redskins’ offense is in high gear. Kai Forbath will get to kick in the thin air at Mile High this week, and the Broncos are 29th in the league in defense.

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