If we thought Week 7 was bad with fantasy owners losing Arian Foster, Week 8 was a nightmare. The NFL lost one of its most dynamic running backs in Le’Veon Bell for the season, and Bears stable back Matt Forte got dinged up as well. Forte will likely be ok, but may miss a game or two.
Reggie Bush, who wasn’t contributing to anyone this season, also will miss the season after colliding with a wall. Steve Smith Sr. tore his Achilles, which may mean he has played his last game since he said he was retiring after this season. And on Monday, San Diego announced that wide receiver Keenan Allen is out indefinitely because of a kidney injury. That’s not only a blow for Allen owners, but also those who have Philip Rivers as their quarterback.
Finally, Andrew Luck is reportedly playing with cracked ribs. Something certainly seemed to be “off” with him in the first half of the Monday night game in Carolina. He rebounded strongly in the second half, but the fact remains Luck owners are probably still on edge and thinking strongly about their backup options, especially if they don’t already have one in place.
Unlike last week, a few more new names will climb the wire and hopefully quench your desires to spend some of your imaginary FAAB as well as fill some holes in your rosters. Or, at worst snag a player from your opponents!
As always, good luck this week everyone. If you are having issues with who to drop, or hold from your fantasy teams, be sure to check out my latest series called Patience or Panic where I analyze players who are under-performing and whether you need to cut bait or hold.
I will be here to guide you each and every week with some players who are owned less than 40 percent in ESPN.com leagues and could have an impact on your squad for this particular week or the rest of the season.
1. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (27.2 percent owned in ESPN.com leagues)
Williams did a more than serviceable job those first few weeks Le’Veon Bell was serving his suspension. Once Bell came back Williams became disposable and was likely kicked to the curb once again in fantasy leagues.
Well, guess what? He is back in the No. 1 role and racked up 71 yards on nine carries after Bell was hurt last Sunday.
Williams will be the top target this week, so if you want him you will need to spend Charcandrick West-type money. What Williams has shown this season when he plays is he should be worth it.
2. Vernon Davis, TE, Denver Broncos (15.2 percent owned)
This trade came mid-afternoon Monday and made some noise for sure. Davis who has shown he can be unstoppable in games has been all but non-existent this season. The 49ers trading him to the Broncos should definitely increase his value, and hopefully rekindle that desire to dominate defenses like he used to. If you have some wishy-washy tight ends each week, Davis becomes an intriguing target to say the least on a new team with real talent.
3. Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears (2.8 percent owned)
Langford will step into more work in Week 9, if not the entire workload depending on Forte’s injury status. At this point it looks like he will be the guy and he faces a relatively soft Chargers rushing defense so he has immediate appeal for fantasy owners as well as a flex play, or worst case RB2.
4. Malcom Floyd, WR San Diego Chargers (27.6 percent owned)
Floyd will be a top-targeted receiver with the terrible news about Keenan Allen being out indefinitely. Floyd had been relatively useless all season, but now he should be forced into being a weapon and targeted far more often, starting this week. Floyd had a big Week 8, so if that gets repeated he will be worth the add.
DST Streamer(s) of the Week
I am a part of the streaming DST movement. I don’t typically waste a draft pick, unless I need to, in my drafts and instead cut someone and add a DST. Clearly the top defenses will be owned and not available, but streaming is always an option when it comes to DSTs. So each week I will be providing a DST that is owned in less than 30 percent of ESPN.com leagues and can be useful.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Jets (5.8 owned in ESPN.com leagues)
This defense is coming off of a bye, but had 24 points in Week 7. I am not expecting that sort of performance again. However, if Ryan Fitzpatrick is out again Geno Smith will get the nod and I will take any DST facing him no matter what!
— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.