While fantasy owners can breathe a sigh of relief that no major injuries occurred in Week 7 (other than perhaps Carson Palmer), Week 8 poses challenges of its own. This begins the two-week span of the big bye weeks — six teams are on a bye in Week 8 and again in Week 9. Fantasy owners need to look at their team and figure out where they will need to fill in the gaps.
No player this week is a must-add; rather, these are players that can help owners through the bye weeks. In Week 7, the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams are on a bye.
Josh McCown, QB, New York Jets
After throwing for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots (but everyone does that, right?), McCown looked good, but it was the result of the matchup. That was until he faced the Miami Dolphins, a tough pass defense that had only allowed Drew Brees to throw for more than one touchdown so far this season. McCown not only had three TD passes, but he ran one in as well. Somehow the Jets’ offense, which no one wanted any part of in the preseason, is now capable of putting up fantasy points. McCown is a solid bye-week fill-in.
Matt Moore, QB, Miami Dolphins
After Jay Cutler left the game with a rib injury, Moore (above, right) took over and led the team to a comeback win. He threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns in less than a half. Moore has played games here and there over the past nine years, but has never been a solid quarterback option. He's filled in just fine, which is exactly what he'll do here. The Thursday night matchup against the Ravens isn't an easy one, but some fantasy owners are going to be quarterback-needy with six teams on bye in Week 7.
Alfred Morris (47 percent owned) and Darren McFadden, RBs, Dallas Cowboys (44 percent owned)
No one knows for sure what will happen with Ezekiel Elliott and his potential suspension. In addition, no one knows which running back, Morris or McFadden, will be the one to own if Elliott is forced to miss time. However, fantasy owners should plan on owning at least one of them in case Elliott is out for Week 8 (unlikely) or Week 9 or whenever.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts (40 percent owned)
As Frank Gore's snaps and carries decrease, Mack's increase. Gore, at 34, simply doesn't have it any more. As the Colts struggle to find any offense, they would be wise to see what Mack can do. While he has struggled at times, he also has shown a quickness and ability to create big plays. Fantasy owners should pick Mack up as he may be someone that will have a larger role as the season continues.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots (29 percent owned)
Trusting a Patriots running back is impossible. However, in Week 7, Lewis had the most carries (13) and the most rushing yards (76). Lewis also had the most carries and rushing yards in Week 6. James White still sees more looks in the passing game, but Lewis did have a target last week as well. Lewis isn't going to save anyone's fantasy season, but he's worth adding as a running back that will get owners 5-10 points each week with the potential for more.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams (42 percent owned)
A preseason fantasy darling, Kupp was more than 50 percent owned, but has since dropped below that threshold. In Week 7, he took on a larger role. He had 10 targets, the most of the season, and he caught four of them for 51 yards and a touchdown. He has three touchdowns on the year, and even though he only has more than four receptions once this season, he is getting more looks. For a bye week, he's a solid fill-in. He is off in Week 8, so he may be available to pick up before Week 9.
Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins (22 percent owned)
Typically it's not a good idea to grab a player just because he had a big week. In Week 7, he had six receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns. However, both of those touchdowns came from Matt Moore in the fourth quarter. Given that Jay Cutler is going to be out and Moore will be at the helm, Stills is an interesting fantasy option. Clearly he has a rapport with Moore, and if DeVante Parker is out again, Stills is a WR3 with upside.
Bennie Fowler, WR, Denver Broncos (14 percent owned)
With Emmanuel Sanders out, Fowler had five targets and he caught all of them. He had 45 yards, but it was a tough week for the Denver offense overall. The Broncos face the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night, which could either be a great game or another prime-time disaster (a la Week 6). For fantasy owners desperately searching for a wide receiver to fill in this week, Fowler is likely available.
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (0 percent owned)
Some fantasy players are in deep leagues where they only wish Cooper Kupp was available. For those that are looking for a dart throw that may pay off, grab Robinson. He had virtually no role on the team before Week 7, where he had five receptions for 69 yards on eight targets. He actually had five targets in Week 6 as well. When players have a rise in targets, they are worth keeping an eye on. This is only a pick-up for deep leagues, but someone likely available in almost all formats.
Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (44 percent owned)
It's sad to say that that Doyle was the leading receiver for the Colts in Week 7 when he had 44 yards, but he was. He had seven targets and he caught six of them, but on a day when the Colts just couldn't get any offense going, no one did well for the team. He's had at least five receptions in the past three weeks and he's been a safety net for Jacoby Brissett. Doyle is a solid bye week fill-in or an every-week TE2.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
New Orleans Saints (44 percent owned)
The Saints return home to host the Chicago Bears in Week 8. After their crazy three-touchdown performance in Week 6, they went into Green Bay and were just average. However, in Week 8, they face Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears, who haven't generated much offense so far this season. While it is likely that Trubisky completes more than four passes, the Saints DST should fare well in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals (23 percent owned)
The Bengals, after being beaten by the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7, face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 8. The Colts failed to score a point in Week 7 and have only scored more than 30 once this season. They have two games with more than 20 points and four games with less than that many. All of that bodes well for opposing DSTs. The Colts have allowed the second-most points to opposing DSTs. The Bengals are a nice streaming option for Week 8.
— 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.