As fantasy football owners look ahead to Week 8, many owners will need to use the waiver wire to fill in gaps in their roster. Six teams are on bye: Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers. Fantasy owners should also be aware that six teams are on a bye in Week 9 as well. It never hurts to plan ahead. Here are some suggestions for waiver wire/free agent claims:
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (38 percent owned)
Smith is the definition of a game manager, but he still manages to put up fantasy points in good matchups. In Week 8, he faces the Colts, a team that over the past four weeks has allowed all opposing quarterbacks to throw for two touchdowns and more than 200 yards. Smith has thrown seven touchdowns this year, and has thrown for 200-plus yards in each of the past four games. He's a decent fill-in for fantasy owners needing a quarterback in Week 8.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (5 percent owned)
Now that Brian Hoyer is on injured reserve with a broken arm, it’s back to the Jay Cutler show. While Cutler has looked downright awful at times, he knows the Bears’ offense and can move the ball. The Bears have a brutal Monday night matchup against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8 before a bye in Week 9, so this isn't a recommended start, but he is someone that will be playing and is not widely owned. For those in deeper leagues or two-quarterback leagues, Cutler may be available and should be owned.
Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos (34 percent owned)
Booker was 27 percent owned last week, and he is only 34 percent owned this week. C.J. Anderson is 100 percent owned, and Booker should be owned by all Anderson owners at minimum. In Monday night’s win over Houston, the pair basically split the carries (Booker 17, Anderson 16) and combined for 190 rushing yards with each getting into the end zone. At this point, Booker may not just be a handcuff to Anderson, as Gary Kubiak loves to run the ball (35 rushes vs. 25 passes vs. Texans). How the carries will be distributed from here out remains to be seen, but Booker is quickly working himself into RB3 territory.
Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings (21 percent owned)
Asiata has exactly 55 rushing yards in each of the past two games, although he was more involved in the passing game in Week 7. He has two touchdowns on the year, and has acted as a complement to Jerick McKinnon. However, McKinnon injured his ankle in Week 7, and it isn't clear if the injury will cause him to miss any time. If McKinnon is out for Week 8, Asiata becomes a RB2 against Chicago. Even if McKinnon is active, Asiata still has RB3 value.
Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens (14 percent owned)
Fantasy owners, take note: the Ravens are on a bye in Week 8. Dixon was a popular pick up a few weeks ago, and he has yet to show anything. However, Terrance West has come back down to earth and the Ravens may just use the bye week to look at their roster and try to give the rookie a shot. He looked good in the preseason before injuring his knee, and he hasn't gotten a chance to really show his ability in the regular season yet. He has six carries over three games; it wouldn't be a surprise if he at least doubles that in Week 9.
Chris Thompson (13 percent owned) and Rob Kelley (1 percent owned), Washington Redskins
With Matt Jones turning the ball over again, the Redskins are looking to other running backs, including Thompson, the PPR machine, and Kelley, a rookie. In Week 7, Thompson had seven receptions for 40 yards in addition to 73 yards on the ground. He would be the first Redskins back to add as he is the one that took over when Jones' workload was reduced. Thompson may continue to see more work with Kelley as just a handcuff at this point. In deeper leagues, both backs should be owned as this backfield is up in the air.
Ka'Deem Carey, Chicago Bears (2 percent owned)
Carey isn't a recommended fantasy option for Week 8 against the Vikings, but he had more touches than Jordan Howard in Week 7, so he is worth looking at. Jeremy Langford is still out and will likely continue to be, but how the running backs are used after Chicago's Week 9 bye is anyone's guess. Carey has just 19 rushes for 98 yards in the past two games, but he appears to be over the hamstring injury which sidelined him earlier in the season. He's worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.
Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns (41 percent owned)
For fantasy owners that have an extra bench spot (perhaps those dropping Arian Foster?), look to pick up Coleman for future weeks. He likely won't play Sunday as he continues to recover from the broken hand he suffered prior to Week 3 Week 2. However, fantasy owners should remember his Week 2 performance: five receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. With Josh McCown nearing a return as well, Coleman may have high WR2 value once he gets back on the field - perfect for the late-season run for fantasy owners.
Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (37 percent owned)
With Jordan Reed out, Crowder has 10 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. While it is unclear if Reed will play this week, Crowder may still see some looks. He will be behind Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson on the depth chart, but Crowder did lead the team in targets in Week 7. Crowder isn't someone to reach for off the waiver wire, but he is certainly a viable bye-week fill-in.
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (19 percent owned)
After many fantasy owners dropped (or wanted to drop) Adams, he finished Week 7 as the top wide receiver (Athlon scoring). He saw a whopping 16 targets, which he converted into 13 receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns (on fantasy benches and waiver wires everywhere). He likely won't repeat those numbers again this season, but it's clear that he will be part of the Packers’ offense, especially when they don't have a running game. Adams is going to have big games and 3-26-0 games.
Cordarelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings (2 percent owned)
In the past three games, Patterson has had six, six and seven targets. In Week 7, he caught all seven for 67 yards and a touchdown. He also scored in Week 5 (the Vikings had a bye in Week 6). While fantasy owners don't want to rely on Patterson, he is worth a look in deeper leagues as a bye-week fill-in. The Vikings’ passing offense doesn't support multiple wide receivers in terms of fantasy value, and Stefon Diggs has dropped to a WR3, so Patterson is even lower than that.
J. J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals (0 percent owned)
With Jaron Brown out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, Michael Floyd banged up (hamstring injury) and ineffective, and John Brown dealing with a health issue of his own, the next man up is Nelson. He's speedy and more of a deep-threat receiver, but if he and Larry Fitzgerald are the only healthy options on the team, he has some value. In Week 7, he had three receptions for 84 yards. Both Floyd and John Brown are tentatively expected to play in Week 8, but if either is out or limited, Nelson has WR3 value.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (31 percent owned)
With Dwayne Allen out with an ankle sprain, Doyle stepped in and caught nine passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. While it is likely that Allen will be out again, the matchup is much tougher this week. Kansas City has yet to allow a tight end to finish with more than three receptions or 44 receiving yards, although some of that could be attributed to the quality of the ones they have faced thus far. Andrew Luck will look to Doyle, so he has TE2 value in PPR leagues, but is hard to trust as a solid starter for Week 8.
Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins (23 percent owned)
In the two games that Jordan Reed has missed, Davis has eight receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. While Reed has been cleared to practice on Wednesday, it doesn't mean he is cleared to play in a game. The Washington Redskins have to travel to London this week as well. If Reed is out, Davis is worth starting as a TE2.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Tennessee Titans (39 percent owned)
The Titans face the Jaguars in Week 8, and while Tennessee isn’t exactly a great defense, it is a good matchup. The teams play on Thursday night, which typically means it will be a lower-scoring game. The Titans actually have the second-most sacks in the league (20). They have six interceptions as well and the reason they aren't higher ranked from a fantasy standpoint is they have to score to a defensive or special teams touchdown. While that may not happen in Week 8, those streaming DSTs could do worse than Tennessee.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.