Week 7 is almost in the books. The San Francisco 49ers travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings on Monday Night Football to close out the week, and once that’s over we will be nearly halfway through the NFL fantasy football season.
It should be pretty clear to you by now whether your team is good enough to compete. But whether you’re 1-6 or 6-1, you can always rely on the waiver wire for some movement and potential opportunity. Things have shaken themselves out to the point where the Week 8 waiver wire pickups are not the most exciting crops of players, but there are some hidden gems still out there.
The Monday night matchup holds the answer to the biggest fantasy football question of the week – and perhaps the year. How healthy is Christian McCaffrey? The 49ers backfield, and offense in general, will look entirely different depending on whether McCaffrey plays and makes it through the game. They are already missing Deebo Samuel, and people have been rushing to pick up Jordan Mason and Elijah Mitchell, but it will all be moot if Run CMC is healthy.
In other news, a shout out to the backup quarterbacks. The New York Giants’ Tyrod Taylor, the Chicago Bears’ Tyson Bagent and the Cleveland Browns’ PJ Walker all pulled up wins on Sunday. Bijan Robinson basically missed Sunday’s game despite not featuring on the injury report. Falcons head coach Arthur Smith says Robinson wasn’t feeling great, but it opened the door for Tyler Allgeier’s fantasy relevancy and an improving Atlanta offense.
There are no bye weeks in Week 8, so it’s full speed ahead as you plan for the week.
Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups
Darrell Henderson Jr.
- Rostered in 25% on Yahoo
Sean McVay promised some “different things” that the Rams were working through after Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers were both injured in Week 6. It was Darrell Henderson Jr. who saw the bulk of the carries on Sunday versus the Steelers with the two top options out. He carried the ball 18 times for 61 yards and a score while Royce Freeman had 12 carries for 66 yards.
The Steelers are giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs and the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers but the Rams still struggled to generate much offense outside of Puka Nacua’s eight catches for 154 yards. It doesn’t get much easier with the Dallas Cowboys next up for the Rams. The Cowboys are giving up just 12.9 points per game to opposing running backs. That’s the third-fewest in the league, but Henderson is going to get touches.
Henderson is rostered in just 25% of leagues, so he’s likely available. Freeman is rostered in 28% of leagues, so there’s a very good chance one of them is available in your league.
D’Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears
- Rostered in 65% and 49% on Yahoo
Can a six-year veteran who has played on four different teams have a breakout game? Whatever this was from D’Onta Foreman puts him into the discussion as a must-add next week against the Los Angeles Chargers, who are giving up the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs. Khalil Herbert is out for at least another three weeks.
The game script suited Foreman in this one as the Bears lead the whole way through and were up 21-3 going in to the fourth quarter against a weak Raiders run defense. Foreman might be taken in your league, but it also gives us a chance to mention Roschon Johnson, who is rostered in 49% of leagues, and should be back from the concussion he suffered in Week 5 against the Washington Commanders.
Tyson Bagent topped our well-thrown percentage in Week 6 with a 92.9 mark. That’s from an admittedly tiny sample size but he looked after the ball again on Sunday completing 21 of 26 attempts. Ten of those passes were aimed at running backs so Johnson should walk back into a big role provided he suits up.
Emari Demercado, Arizona Cardinals
- Rostered in 15% on Yahoo
Maybe we jumped the gun by discarding Demercado after last week’s running back-by-committee backfield deployed by the Cardinals. They lost again this week, but the rookie Demercado led the team in rushes and also hauled in four catches for 17 yards. He finished the week as a RB2 in PPR leagues.
Kyler Murray should be back from his torn ACL soon after the Cardinals opened up the window for him to return, and that might mean opposing defenses will have to alter their approach. Demercado is a stashable sleeper at the bottom of your roster who could come up big in a spot, but don’t readjust your entire roster to make space for the rookie.
The Ravens are next up for the Cardinals, and while they torched the Lions, Jahmyr Gibbs finished with nine catches for 58 yards along with a 6.2 average yards per carry on 11 carries on Sunday. If Demercado can even do half as much in Week 8, he’s worthy of a flex play.
Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
- Rostered in 64% on Yahoo
Hunt’s 15.1 fantasy points (standard or PPR since he didn’t have a catch) was enough to see him finish as RB13 (with the Monday Night Football game still outstanding). Jerome Ford is clearly the starting running back, but he exited the game in the fourth quarter and left the locker room after the game in a walking boot. That potentially means more work for Hunt and Pierre Strong in Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Hunt carried the ball three times in the red zone and punched two of those carries in for touchdowns. Similar to the D’Onta Foreman situation with Roschon Johnson as a workaround, Strong is only rostered in 1% of leagues and might be an interesting pickup in deeper leagues, if Ford is to miss time.
Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts
- Rostered in 36% on Yahoo
The Colts won’t be coming up against a rush defense as suffocating as the Cleveland Browns’ again any time soon. Gardner Minshew will be checking under his bed for Myles Garrett before he goes to sleep for the next month. Garrett had two sacks and stripped the ball from Minshew’s hands for both of them.
Minshew still had two touchdowns and over 300 yards passing despite only completing 15 passes. Josh Downs and Minshew connected on a free play early in the game for a touchdown when Garrett jumped offside. Downs ended up with five catches for 125 yards and the score.
That’s a touchdown in consecutive weeks for the rookie, and he has not had fewer that five receptions in any of his last three games. His rostered percentage is only going in one direction and might be the hottest commodity on the waiver wire going in to Week 8.
Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots
- Rostered in 26% on Yahoo
Kendrick Bourne has excelled in the absence of JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has missed two weeks now with a concussion. He will presumably be back for the game against the Miami Dolphins, but the Patriots have looked competent for two weeks in a row now with Kendrick Bourne as the fulcrum of the passing offense.
Bourne saw two red-zone targets and caught one for a touchdown. He now has two consecutive weeks inside the top 15 in PPR leagues, and that’s enough to pique our interest. This might be one of the biggest boom-bust players in the league, but when he has a good week Bourne is at least a high-end WR2.
The Patriots have the Dolphins, Commanders and the Colts in their next three games, and they are all leaking big scores to wide receivers. Mac Jones has been searching for his muse and Bourne might be it.
Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers
- Rostered in 16.8% on Yahoo
The Jordan Love Era may have started well, but it hasn’t persisted. The Packers are 2-4 and just lost in a low-scoring game to the Denver Broncos. Christian Watson is rostered in 92% of leagues on Yahoo, but Reed is only rostered in 16% despite clearly being Love’s second-favorite target in the red zone. Romeo Doubs has 10 such targets this season to Reed’s eight.
Reed is regularly getting between five and seven targets a game and has three touchdowns so far. Since Watson returned in Week 4, Romeo Doubs has the most targets (22) with Watson just behind him with 16 and third is Reed with 11.
He has now seen 10 red-zone targets and caught six of them for three touchdowns. He’s not a reliable start when all three wideouts are healthy, but this is the NFL. Injuries happen, and Reed has shown his value when he’s on the field.
Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills
- Rostered in 42% on Yahoo
The Buffalo Bills continue to confound this season with a loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday that sees them fall to 4-3. It was a career day for rookie Dalton Kincaid though. Another week and another rookie tight end breakout candidate — and this on National Tight End’s Day was very welcome.
Kincaid saw a season-high eight targets and caught all of them for 75 yards against the Patriots. Kincaid was running 22.6% of his routes out wide going into Week 7 and 54% from the slot. The Bills offense is stuttering, but Kincaid is more like a wide receiver than a tight end and Josh Allen needs all the help he can get. Gabe Davis has been disappointing this season and barely featured again on Sunday but Kincaid very much did.
Kincaid has missed time this season and last played a full game in Week 4. The Bills will try to rebound from the loss to the Patriots on Thursday night when they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Kincaid looks to catch his first touchdown.
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
- Rostered in 7.3% on Yahoo
Hill has finished the last two weeks inside the top six for tight ends. He might be an enigma, but Dennis Allen has obviously figured out how to use him in this Saints offense. It’s hard to analyze Hill’s game in terms of pure targets, receptions and touchdowns because he carries the ball, throws it and catches it.
Against the Jaguars on Thursday night, Hill caught four of his five targets for 50 yards and carried the ball five times for 18 yards and a touchdown. As wild cards go at a position that has disappointed so far this season, Hill is at least worth a roster spot for those of us without a Kelce or Andrews to slot in.