Another week of exciting football is here and many more of the top players are going to be on a bye or nursing an injury.
This is the case for many teams who have had success with Falcons players. Sorry guys, Falcons need a week to rest and get healthy, especially after the battle they’ve been going through on defense. That also means players like Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Austin Hooper, Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith (waiver wire favorite) will be on bye.
The Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers will have the week off to enjoy a little bit of London before they head back home and prepare for their week 9 opponents. That leaves us preparing to find a replacement for Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon (missed last game with an injury), Philip Rivers, Austin Ekeler and the pair of Williams receivers for the Chargers.
For the Titans, they look to continue getting healthy and figure out their top options. Is it Derrick Henry or Dion Lewis? Is Corey Davis really the No. 1 receiver on the team? You’ll have to wait to see about that one after the bye, but hopefully they can turn their offense around.
The biggest news is the Dallas Cowboys, who traded for Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper. If you planned your roster around bye weeks and have other receivers on bye, don’t worry, Cooper gets a double bye, but that’s probably best for the Cowboys who will try to get him to fit with QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott. Read Joel’s article to see how a Cowboys fan feels about it.
But let’s focus on this week and who we have to work with to continue improving our lineups and win our leagues.
- Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears, 48.9 percent availability
- Alex Smith, Washington Redskins, 48.3 percent availability
- Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns, 59.4 percent availability
- Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens, 66.9 percent availability
- C.J. Beathard, San Francisco 49ers, 93.5 percent availability
Trubisky and the Chicago Bears came one yard from having a chance to tie the game and force overtime against the New England Patriots. That in itself is enough of a reason to add Trubisky to your team. But let’s take a look at his next opponent, the New York Jets.
The Jets are still a young team trying to find their way with a rookie QB, which means the Bears defense could find themselves feasting a lot, helping Trubisky and the offense continue their hot start. It’s a favorable matchup for Trubisky, and we should watch for Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel to continue being a huge piece to Trubisky’s success this week.
Smith and the Washington Redskins should take notes of how each team has beaten the New York Giants so far this season. Alex Smith may not be the same QB he was in Kansas City, but he still has the ability to torch a defense. That is if his receivers are healthy for him. Both Paul Richardson and Jamieson Crowder were inactive for Washington. If they are able to go Sunday, we expect Smith and the Redskins to pick apart Giants CB Eli Apple.
Mayfield and the Browns have continuously increased their offensive performances. Trading RB Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville has freed up more room for both Mayfield and RB Nick Chubb to grow and improve their game. They will be facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are coming out of their bye and look to remain hot. Mayfield didn’t play in their first meeting against the Steelers, in which they tied, but he will get his chance to shine against a Steelers defense who has given up several big games to opposing QBs, so get Mayfield in that lineup.
Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens lost on a rare missed PAT by kicker Jason Tucker to the New Orleans Saints, but Flacco finally found his connection with John Brown again and we hope this can continue next week, as the Ravens face the Carolina Panthers. Flacco has averaged 250 yards and a touchdown in each game thus far and will look to have a huge game against the Panthers.
How about Beathard? Are you surprised he’s on this list? Well, you shouldn’t be, because he has played some good football. Don’t look at what he did against the Rams, because that’s not even fair. Although Beathard did pass for 245 yards and two touchdowns each of the three games he started not against the Rams. His next opponent is the Arizona Cardinals, who’s defense is nothing compared to that of the Rams. If you’re in need for a QB this week, Beathard could be an option.
- Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts, 46.1 percent availability
- Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders, 82.9 percent availability
- Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles, 56.4 percent availability
- Chris Ivory, Buffalo Bills, 57 percent availability
- Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings, 53.3 percent availability
Firstly, I would like to apologize for those of you who went with my picks last week and realized that Nick Chubb will be the starting RB for the Cleveland Browns. He is still available in 21 percent of the leagues and you should grab him immediately. But if he’s gone, you still have other options like Marlon Mack.
Mack is quickly becoming the primary RB on the Indianapolis Colts since he returned from injury. He is also becoming one of QB Andrew Luck’s favorite targets. That should continue as long as Mack can stay on the field long enough and with their matchup against the Oakland Raiders and their poor run defense. I can see Mack having another good week before they go into their bye week in week 9.
Richard’s value has risen and should continue too! With Marshawn Lynch on IR and Amari Cooper now a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Richard’s pass-catching ability makes him a solid year-round replacement. Before the bye, we were able to see him get more snaps, as Lynch left early due to the injury. Richard has been very much involved since the first week of the season, and we expect him to have a longer role and huge numbers weekly, so don’t miss your chance to add him and Doug Martin to your roster.
Is it Smallwood or Clement? The Eagles haven’t decided which of the two RBs is the top guy, and that’s why Smallwood is on the list this week. I think you should try to add both of them, at least until after the NFL trade deadline and see if they make a move again this year or if they will run with Clement and Smallwood. Both guys could ultimately get points. The next opponents for the Eagles is Jacksonville, who really needs a win right now. They could make it rough for QB Carson Wentz, so expect to see the backs get a heavy workload.
For Ivory, it is still a risky play because the Buffalo Bills are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. The Bills play the division rival New England Patriots, and it may be a tough start for Ivory on Monday night. I would still keep an eye on the status of LeSean McCoy before making the decision here, but good thing you have until Monday night for this one.
Dalvin Cook’s rough season is giving more opportunity to Murray. Whether it’s the struggling or the injuries, Murray has taken control over the run game and looks to continue last week’s performance. The challenge may not be as easy though, as the Minnesota Vikings take on the New Orleans Saints. Will Murray have another great week? I hope so, especially with all the RBs injured or on bye this week.
- Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers, 42.3 percent availability
- Robby Anderson, New York Jets, 52.8 percent availability
- Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins, 75.6 percent availability
- Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals, 81.2 percent availability
- Donte Moncrief, Jacksonville Jaguars, 81.2 percent availability
Allison has missed the last two games for the Green Bay Packers due to an injury, but they had a bye week in week 7, so hopefully he’s ready to return to action. He and teammate Randall Cobb are both looking forward to returning to the field with QB Aaron Rodgers. Allison has benefited from the departure of Jordy Nelson this past season, and now he needs to continue to prove himself worthy of a spot, which I expect him to do against the Rams.
With Enunwa out and Pryor cut, Robby Anderson is now the top option again and he showed us a glimpse of what we saw opening night. Hopefully his production will continue with the running game struggling a bit. Let’s also keep an eye on Jermaine Kearse as the second option for rookie QB Sam Darnold.
Amendola seems to have found himself again, and the injuries to Albert Wilson and DeVante Parker only helps Amendola get more targets. QB Brock Osweiler looks to have gotten this team going again on offense, and hopes they can continue to do so in a short week on Thursday Night Football against the Houston Texans.
Kirk is slowly becoming the second option behind Fitzgerald, and even first in some games. Last Thursday we saw Fitzgerald get his first TD of the season, but Kirk is the future with rookie QB Josh Rosen. It’s always good to see a young QB-WR pair get the chemistry going early in their career. With the season reaching its halfway mark, Kirk is hoping for a bigger second half. A game against the San Francisco 49ers could give him that game, so let’s add him in all leagues and watch him be the next best receiver in Arizona.
Moncrief is a questionable add like all Jaguars receivers at this point. With Bortles struggles continuing, Jacksonville went from comfortable in first place in the division, to hoping to get a playoff spot, but it’s still early and they are looking to turn it around. The veteran leadership like Moncrief could be what they need to get back to their winning ways. Moncrief may be able to find a few holes in the Eagles’ defense on Sunday, but still end up falling short. Take the risk you want or just add a player with a bye week and stash him.
- C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals, 59.8 percent availability
- Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints, 65.7 percent availability
- Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers, 59 percent availability
- Chris Herndon, New York Jets, 99.4 percent availability
- Ed Dickson, Seattle Seahawks, 99.8 percent availability
Uzomah has taken over the primary role due to the Tyler Eifert season-ending injury. He was also the only player who was able to find the end zone against a questionable Kansas City Chiefs defense. This week, it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not only will Uzomah perform well, but all the offensive players for the Bengals should.
Watson and the Saints probably talked about getting him more targets, and with WR Ted Ginn Jr. out for the year, we should see his production increase heavily despite the two RBs and Michael Thomas. Watson and Brees have had success before in past seasons, and that’s why he was brought back to New Orleans. Also playing a Vikings defense who gives up a lot of points to opposing TEs helps.
McDonald and the Steelers are coming off the bye, still without Le’Veon Bell, but that only means James Connor and the TEs will be used much more like we have already seen this season. The Steelers play the surprisingly tough Cleveland Browns defense, who forced a tie in the season opener, but McDonald will have something else to say about that has he finds himself having another average week.
Herndon has also stepped up big for the New York Jets in the past few weeks, scoring a TD in each of them. He has taken some of the targets away from the RBs and WRs who are struggling, and will continue to do so as the Jets’ offense continues to put up the numbers that they’ve surprised us all with. Let’s not forget they are also 3-4 with a rookie QB.
Dickson is a risky add because he’s coming off an injury that caused him to miss the first six games of the season. I would only add him this week to plan for future byes of the top TEs in the league who haven’t had a bye yet. Guys like Ertz, Gronk and Kelce, who you wouldn’t necessarily need a back up for unless they are injured. I picked up Dickson as a backup for Ertz during the Eagles bye week 9, so hopefully he’ll pan out for me and all of you who add him on a risky pickup.
Good luck to all the fantasy football players this week. Hope you can put together the best lineup to win your matchup in Week 8!