In case fantasy managers have been living under a rock all season, by now the message should be clear: handcuff your running back. With few starting running backs still healthy (or have not yet missed time), managers need to protect their team.
Running backs are dropping each week, and it's part of the game. The main waiver priority for fantasy managers at this point should be grabbing the backup to their running back. Derrick Henry is likely lost for the rest of the fantasy season and there is no running back that can do what he did, but at least you’ll have a starting running back on your roster.
Teams on bye: Detroit, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Washington
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (2 percent rostered)
Hill suffered a concussion in Week 5 and hasn’t played since. However, with Jameis Winston going down with a torn ACL on Sunday, the Saints need someone to play quarterback. Hill isn’t a traditional quarterback as he usually comes in for a specialized set of plays, but he’s going to have to take on a bigger role. Fantasy owners should also keep an eye on Trevor Siemian (rostered in 0 percent of leagues), who stepped up in Week 8. Siemian will likely be the starting quarterback in Week 9. It's going to be hard to trust him more than a QB2.
Mike White, New York Jets (2 percent rostered)
While many picked Cincinnati to have an easy win in Week 8 against the Jets, White had other ideas. He stepped in for the injured Zach Wilson and threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns. He did have two interceptions, but depending on league scoring, White finished in the top three quarterbacks for Week 8. He will likely have the starting job again in Week 9 and is a decent fill-in for those looking for a bye week replacement.
Adrian Peterson (5 percent rostered) and Jeremy McNichols (8 percent rostered), Tennessee Titans
With Derrick Henry out for the rest of the fantasy season, managers are likely scrambling to find someone to fill the void on their roster. While neither Peterson nor McNichols will likely put up the numbers that Henry put up on a weekly basis, both will be featured in the Titans' running game. McNichols is the one to grab in PPR leagues as he will likely pick up some more receptions. Peterson isn’t exactly speedy anymore, but he’ll be the goal-line back. Both should be owned to see how this offense shapes up.
Jordan Howard (2 percent rostered) and Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles (20 percent rostered)
Scratch everything said about Kenneth Gainwell. Once the Eagles grabbed Howard, he was going to be the back to keep an eye on. In Week 8, he had 57 yards and two touchdowns on waiver wires everywhere. Boston Scott was likely started in some leagues and he had 60 yards and two touchdowns as well. Scott and Howard both had 12 carries each. Howard had fewer snaps, but that’s not something to read into as he was just signed back to the team. Both backs will be used and should be rostered.
Tajae Sharpe, Atlanta Falcons (0 percent rostered)
Calvin Ridley announced he's stepping away from football to focus on his mental health. He did miss the London game as well this year. In both of those games, it has been Sharpe who has stepped up. In London, Sharpe had five targets. He caught four of them for 53 yards. In Week 8, Sharpe had six targets and he caught five of them for 58 yards. It seems that Sharpe is Ridley's replacement, and since there is no guarantee he returns any time soon, deeper leagues should grab Sharpe.
Jamal Agnew, Jacksonville Jaguars (2 percent rostered)
In Week 8, Agnew had the most targets on the team with 12. He caught six of them for 38 yards and a touchdown. Over the past three weeks, Agnew has been quietly becoming a wide receiver to take note of for the Jaguars. On draft day, it seemed that Laviska Shenault Jr. would be the target hog, but that hasn't panned out. Rather, Agnew has stepped up once DJ Chark Jr. got injured. He should be owned in deeper leagues as a WR4.
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (35 percent rostered)
When healthy, Parker has been an important part of the Dolphins' offense. He returned from his hamstring injury in Week 8 and proceeded to have 11 targets. He caught eight of them for 85 yards. He only has one touchdown this season, but he also has only played five games and he was banged up for a few of those. Now that he seems to be healthier, he should be added back onto rosters as a WR2/3.
Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings (25 percent rostered)
Conklin isn’t a splashy pickup, but he’s available in three-quarters of Yahoo! leagues. He is getting plenty of targets (seven in Week 8) and if he finds the end zone, he’s an automatic TE1. In the past two games, he does have more than 50 yards. While that's not going to be a guarantee each week, it is clear that Kirk Cousins is looking to him. The Vikings face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, which is also a great tight end matchup for those looking to grab someone for a bye week fill-in.
Dan Arnold, Jacksonville Jaguars (5 percent rostered)
Arnold had the second-most targets on the team in Week 8 with 10. He caught eight of those (the most receptions on the team) for 68 yards (the most receiving yards on the team). The Jaguars are trying to figure out how to make their offense work, and Arnold is going to be a part of that. He’s barely rostered in fantasy leagues, but he has put up TE1 numbers a couple of times this season, including Week 8.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Miami Dolphins (13 percent rostered)
The Dolphins face the Houston Texans in Week 9 and they should have a great matchup. While it’s often hard to predict how teams will fare (see: Cincinnati in Week 8), the Houston Texans give up the third-most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. The Texans scored 38 points in their surprise Week 1 victory, followed by three games with 20-plus points and four with fewer than 10. In every game since Week 3, Houston has allowed multiple sacks. The Dolphins DST should have a good day.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.