Whole Nine Sports

Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups – Week 8

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AJ Audet
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Can you believe that this week marks the halfway point of the NFL regular season? I know that I sure can’t believe it, or at least am in denial to the fact. Week 8 is the largest bye week to this point in the season, so if you have any of your primary starters rostered by Washington, Arizona, Jacksonville or Houston, you’ll need to peruse this article for some spot starts rolling into the heart of the season.

Tua Tagovailoa: BYE- Long Term Hold
Boston Scott: 18.2
Alexander Mattison DROP: 0.0 (BYE)
Tim Patrick: 5.9
T.Y. Hilton DROP: 0.0 (BYE)
Darren Fells: 0.0
Philadelphia Eagles Defense: 11.0

Somewhat of an underwhelming week for our selections as a handful of them were on Bye. Tua Tagovailoa, Alexander Mattison, and T.Y. Hilton all were on bye this week, therefore did not see the field. Tua is still the clear-cut QB1 option in Miami, and I am assuming will remain that way the remainder of the year. Mattison will once again be relegated to backup responsibilities as Cook looks to return to action in Week 8 against the Packers. T.Y. Hilton will also be back on the gridiron this week, but will more than likely act as second fiddle to the hot hands of Zach Pascal.

Boston Scott

Of our selections that did play over the weekend, Boston Scott lead the way with 18.2 points, but with Sanders looking to return to a juicy matchup against Dallas, Scott may be obsolete once again. BUT if Sanders is not able to suit up, look to Scott to once again handle the RB1 responsibilities. Tim Patrick held his own, but dealing with a hamstring injury, and playing against he Chiefs, wasn’t the best of outcomes for his upside. Fells gave us a stinker over the weekend, but as I said in the Week 7 write-up, he is a touchdown option, and without the touchdown, gave us a goose egg in the stat column. Finally, the Eagles Defense held their own scoring us 11.0 points on the week with 3 sacks, two fumbles and one interception.

RULES: These picks will be for players that are UNDER 40% rostered (ESPN Rankings) in standard leagues. These selections will not only be starting caliber players, but will also provide bench depth for the comings weeks. Reminder, these players will not always be for the respective week, we plan to look ahead a bit to beat the mass pickup as the player gains notoriety or favorable matchup. Any future projections will be noted in the body of the analysis.

Teddy Bridgewater fantasy

QB: Teddy Bridgewater- CAR (30.6% Rostered)

I know we spoke about Teddy Bridgewater a few weeks back, but in all honesty, Bridgewater is quietly having a VERY good season. With the loss of Christian McCaffrey, analysts around the league projected the Panthers to struggle until his return. Thankful for Teddy Bridgewater, and the resurgence of Mike Davis, Carolina has pushed their way to a respectable 3-4 record without their biggest, and arguably the NFL’s biggest offensive weapon, CMC. In Week 7 vs. New Orleans, Bridgewater went 23/28 for 254 passing yards and two touchdowns in a close 4th quarter loss. Bridgewater showed the league that he has a cannon last week with a 74 yard bomb to DJ Moore, but don’t let that fool you, he is still above average in the speed department and has a scramble ability that poses a threat to the opposition if the play breaks down.

One specific reason to LOVE Bridgewater this week, he is going up against a Falcons defense that has been a human turnstile to opposing quarterbacks. Over the last 4 games, Atlanta has given up a total of 207 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (31.7 average) and in Week 5, Bridgewater put up 29.8 points vs. the Atlanta defense. Over the last few weeks, DJ Moore has started to look like the old DJ we all know, and Curtis Samuel has also begun to blossom. Robby Anderson has been solid this entire season, so adding these two additional receiving threats to the Carolina offense sounds like a plan to me. Rumors have been swirling about the possibility of a CMC return this week, and regardless of that, Atlanta still has a bad defense and should lead to a solid weekend from Teddy Two Gloves.

Carlos Hyde

RB: Carlos Hyde- SEA (5.0% Rostered)

Another player we have spoken about in previous weeks, but once again, Chris Carson is likely to miss some time. Although we are unsure of how much time Carson will miss, as reports from Seattles are saying “some time” (thanks for the clarification), it is likely that Hyde will see the majority of snaps at the RB1 position in Week 8. With Carson going down with a sprained foot, although it is minor, it is a difficult injury to return quickly from as bearing weight on it, could cause re-injury. It isn’t the best of matchups fir Seattle, as they take on the 49ers who have a stout run defense, but they are still averaging 11.57 points per game to the running back position, which will predominantly be a Carlos Hyde show.

After Carson left the field mid Week 7, Hyde stepped up and had 15 touches for 68 yards and a touchdown, as well as 3 catches to grow the stats. Although this should be a quick turn around for Carson, he has been injured multiple times throughout this season (and we are only 7 full weeks in) and I cant help but wonder if it will happen again in the near future. Although we got duped a few weeks back when Carson decided to play through injury, Hyde still is no slouch, coming off a 1,000-yard season with Houston in 2019. As always, watch twitter @WholeNineSports and @AJAudet80 for updates and potential pivots on the situation if Carson decides to play through again. At this point in time, Hyde looks like the primary back.

Joshua Kelley

RB DROP: Joshua Kelley- LAC (66.5% Rostered)

Many predicted the hamstring injury to Austin Ekeler would give Kelley, the rookie out of UCLA, the opportunity to grow in a high powered offense, but excusing the pun, he hasn’t been able to get his feet underneath him to this point in the season. Through 6 games, with 3 of those being the incumbent RB1/2, Kelley has only averaged 8.5 fantasy points per game, in an offense that has been clicking on ALL cylinders. With Ekeler expected to return from IR within the next 1-2 weeks, it is almost time for him to regain the predominant carries in the Chargers offense, rendering Josh Kelley and Justin Jackson to backup rules once again.

During Ekeler’s injury, Kelley only saw an average of 46% of offensive snaps, and while he has shown proficiency in the pass catching game, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have been the predominant targets through the air. Although the offense has been clicking with Herbert under center, Joshua Kelley hasn’t been seeing enough snaps or targets to become relevant, so while he still has a long and fruitful career ahead of him, it is time to give him some time to grow, away from your roster.

Rashard Higgins

WR: Rashard Higgins- CLE (0.2% Rostered)

Rashard Higgins is my top waiver priority of the week, and I expect him to be a key component of the Browns passing attack throughout the remainder of the 2020 season. With Odell Beckham Jr. going down in Week 7 with a torn ACL, Mayfield will look to Higgins to fill the void. OBJ left the game early in Week 7, and filling in, Higgins saw 85% snap count and had 110 yards receiving, leading the team in total reception yards. More recently, Higgins has seen an uptick in his offensive snap count, averaging 66.6% over his last 3 games.  With OBJ being out for the remainder of the season, and Jarvis Landry having an uneven week-to-week stat output, the irregularity in the Browns offense will give Higgins the time he needs to prove himself. Over the first 4 years of Higgins NFL Career, he has been able to see the field sporadically, and has posted 1,016 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns on 63% catch percentage.

Although he has been used predominantly as a role player throughout his career thus far, Higgins will have the opportunity to slide into the Browns offense as a primary target for Mayfield. Baker Mayfield has had an up and down season to date, but with the loss of his top passing weapon, he will need to focus his attention elsewhere, and Higgins has a 91.6% catch rate throughout the 2020 season, lending him as the hot hand moving into Week 8. The reason that Rashard Higgins is my top waiver priority going into Week 8 is the ease of the upcoming schedule. In the coming weeks, the Browns will face Las Vegas (25.3pts/game), BYE, Houston (26.8pts/game), Philadelphia (25.2pts/game), and Jacksonville (24pts/game), all of which have had below average secondaries and have lead to higher point totals to the Wide Receiver throughout the first 7 weeks of the season. With Higgins size and speed, and the need for a pass catching option in the Browns offense, I anticipate Baker to frequently look his way in the coming weeks.

Brandon Aiyuk Fantasy

WR: Brandon Aiyuk- SF (27.0% Rostered)

I feel like every time I write another weeks worth of Fantasy Analysis for WholeNineSports, I seem to be adding another San Francisco 49ers player to this list. At this point in time, I’ve lost count as to how many injuries they have had to this point in the season, but regardless, Deebo Samuel went down with a hamstring injury, and is slated to miss multiple weeks. In an offense that is already struggling with pass catching weapons, the loss of Samuel is costly, but Aiyuk, the rookie pass catcher out of Arizona State looks to be the primary option to fill the void that Deebo leaves.

In Week 7, Aiyuk went 6/7 for 115 yards in the big win over New England. Since the start of his rookie season, Aiyuk has been solid in the passing game, totaling 280 yards and 1 TD through 6 weeks. Although the sample size is small, if you look at the prolific two-year career Aiyuk had at Arizona State, 98 receptions for 1,666 yards and 11 touchdowns, Aiyuk is no stranger to high offensive production. The 49ers have a juicy matchup vs. Seattle, where the Sewhawks defense is struggling to string any form of production, thus resulting in giving up major points to the Wide Receiver.

Through the first 7 weeks of the season, Seattle has given up an average of 38.00 points per game to the opposing Wide Receiver position, and you have seen players like Christian Kirk (18pts.), Adam Thielen (25pts.), Cedrick Wilson (29pts) and Calvin Ridley (29pts.) have productive outings vs. the secondary. With no timetable as of yet on Deebo Samuel’s return to play, Aiyuk should be an offensive weapon for the 49ers moving forward.

Richard Rodgers

TE: Richard Rodgers- PHI (4.0% Rostered)

If we went back 7 weeks, and I told you Richard Rodgers would be the TE1 in Philadelphia, would you believe me? Well believe it. With injuries to Ertz (ankle) and Goedert (ankle) the Tight End room in Philadelphia has been bleak, but Richard Rodgers has taken the opportunity, and slid into the TE1 role almost seamlessly. During Week 7, Rodgers lead the Eagles in receiving with 6 receptions for 85 yards, totaling 85% offensive snap count. I am VERY high on Rodgers this week as he gets to enter a juicy matchup vs. a Cowboys defense that is struggling to say the least. So Far this season, Dallas has given up 66 points to the Tight End position, and you have seen players like Logan Thomas (16pts.), Austin Hooper (14pts.) and Greg Olsen (11 pts.) have high scoring weeks vs. their struggling defense. While based on pure matchup alone is enough to start Rodgers, the fact that his team has an obvious pass catching need will also force him into relevancy and should be a mid to high target guy throughout Week 8. For pass catching options, the Eagles only has Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward currently available and healthy, and while they have been decent throughout the early portion of the season, they are still UDFA Receivers trying to earn long term playing time. Week 8 will be good to Richard Rodgers and with his red zone ability, as well as his prevalence in the passing game (and check-downs especially), I expect a decent week as a high waiver priority.  

Titans fantasy

Streaming DEF of the Week: TEN (16.2% Rostered) vs. CIN

Similar to last week, in full disclosure I will still name a team to stream, but if you still have Philadelphia on your roster, START THEM. The Eagles are playing a Cowboys team that doesn’t seem to understand how to play football anymore. With a desolate O-Line, and the potential for a rookie 7th round pick out of James Madison to be starting under center, this could be an absolute field day for the Eagles D coming off a solid week. Onto the regularly scheduled program, I am going to begrudgingly pick the Tennessee Titans as the streaming defense of the week. In full transparency, I am not a huge fan of the Titans Defense vs. Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense. With the potential for Joe Mixon to be sidelined and one of the lower ranked Offensive Lines in the NFL, there is a potential for Tennessee’s pass rush to get to the quarterback. While Burrow has been playing out of his mind, and has the potential to brake some rookie QB records, he still is a rookie, and while he has been performing optimally, he still tends to make some mistakes, due to normal growing pains. During Week 7 the Titans had 2 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions vs. a seasoned Ben Roethlisberger, so expect the Titans to attack the rookie and force him to make poor passes under pressure.

Let me know your thoughts! Reach out on twitter at @AJAudet80 for discussion on the fantasy selections above. Any questions on your fantasy lineups, trades, or additional waivers pickups, hit me on twitter for advice! I look forward to hearing from you and working to build a strong fantasy community.