The Fantasy Football Week 8 waiver wire may be one of the most fruitful for those seeking immediate impact all year. After a week that saw numerous starters go down, fantasy players have an opportunity to swoop in and grab some rare starters this late in the season on the wire.
Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings – Would I suddenly start Ponder over the usual suspects this week in my lineup? No, but the kid showed some serious promise in his first career start. He didn’t light it up against the Packers but he did put up two TDs and more than 200 yards on the Super Bowl champs. He had a better week than Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, and Matt Hasselbeck. He has the same Carolina Panthers this week that just got beat up by John Beck. It is certainly an intriguing matchup for those of you who need help on a bye week.
[adinserter block=”2″]John Beck, Washington Redskins – I had Beck in my draft last week but he never made the final cut. I don’t like to recommend someone just because he is a starter. However, I think he deserves mentioning after last Sunday’s performance. He put up 279 yards a TD and a rushing TD on stingy Carolina defense. He will be facing a Buffalo Bills team that has been diced by QBs this season. If you are in need of a bye week starter this weekend, his matchup is certainly enticing.
Shaun Hill, Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford got hurt Sunday and his status is up in the air for Sunday. He is expected to play, but will he hold up? Hill came in last year for Stafford and was tremendous in 11 games with 16 TDs and 244.2 yards per game. If he gets in, you all of the suddenly have a starting QB on your hands throwing to Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew. Granted, he may never take a snap but with Stafford hurting, he is worth a spot if you have room on your roster.
Jabar Gaffney, Washington Redskins – I had Gaffney in an earlier waiver wire this season but the situation is much different. Santana Moss is out 5-7 weeks with a broken hand. You have a rare situation where you can get a #1 wide receiver on the waiver wire for more than a week in Gaffney. Beck is a wild card and he will have his ups and downs, but Gaffney will get his yards. Gaffney hasn’t had less than 50 yards in any game this season. There is some serious sleeper potential here with the former BYU gunslinger throwing the ball in Washington. Let your league all fight over Burress, while you grab some consistency with Gaffney.
Michael Jenkins, Minnesota Vikings – New QB Christian Ponder looked to Jenkins quite a bit Sunday and with Percy Harvin in and out of the lineup, he could be Ponder’s go-to guy. He hooked up with Ponder for a beautiful 72-yard TD early. With Adrian Peterson in the lineup, those opportunities will continue to be there in the air. He torched the Packers for 111 yards and a touchdown and he gets them again in three weeks. If you have the room on your bench, take him now because if he goes off again next week, he may not be around in Week 10 for the Packers rematch. Quite honestly I am more intrigued with him than anyone else in this week’s wire.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers – Brown’s value here depends upon what the status of Hines Ward is this Sunday. Brown is a real good player who has had to contend with four other targets in the offense. With Ward out, Big Ben was looking his way with a team-high nine targets this past Sunday. If Ward is out this weekend and you need a WR, Brown is your man. The Steelers play the Patriots this Sunday who just happen to have the worst passing defense in the NFL.
Plaxico Burress, New York Jets – Hopefully the former Plax owners in your league followed ESPN “expert” Matthew Berry’s advice on the Sunday morning Fantasy Now show and dumped Burress. Burress went off Sunday for three touchdowns against the Chargers. Burress is going into a bye week but he has a fantasy wide receiver’s dream schedule coming out of the break with the Bills, Patriots, Broncos, Bills again, Redskins, Chiefs, Eagles, Giants, and Dolphins. So yeah, the chances are pretty good that he will have some repeat games in the near future.
Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets – I hate recommending two receivers from the same team in the same blog but Kerley deserves mentioning. I wouldn’t take him in a 10 team league, but if you have room in a deeper league, I’d certainly give him a look. He only had 4 catches for 29 yards Sunday but it was obvious that the Jets were trying hard to get him more involved. Now that Plaxico has emerged, defenses will start keying in on Burress and Santonio Holmes, leaving Kerley with some big opportunities. I would be shocked if Kerley doesn’t have a couple of breakout weeks before the end of the season with the Jets’ remaining schedule of fantasy friendly defenses .
Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders – The good news here is that you have a running back out there that can immediately give your lineup a big punch. The bad news is that most Darren McFadden owners are smart enough to handcuff Run DMC and have Bush on their bench. The Raiders are on a bye week which will likely give McFadden enough time to heal. However, with his injury history, it is hard to leave Bush on the waiver wire if you have room on your bench.
Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos – Here we go again. Starting running back Willis McGahee left Sunday’s game with a broken hand. His status is in doubt as of this writing. If he can’t go, Moreno will draw the start on a run-heavy team. Moreno has been nothing but a huge fantasy football disappointment since day one, but who knows. Maybe the new QB will give him some opportunities in the passing game with screen passes. On the other hand, he only got 28 yards on 7 carries Sunday so proceed with caution. Detroit has been shredded by running backs the last few weeks so this week’s matchup is hard to ignore if you are desperate for a bye week filler.
[adinserter block=”1″]Alfonso Smith/LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals – Another season, another Beanie Wells injury. The early word on Beanie’s injury is 1-2 weeks. In his absence, Stephens-Holwing and Smith split time. For PPR players, I’d roll with Stephens-Howling as he appeared to be the back on passing downs and in Arizona, there are a lot of those. In standard leagues, I’d take a look at Smith. Personally, if I had to take one or the other it would be Stephens-Holwing. The Cards won’t be in many games with big leads to protect with a heavy run game. This is a terrible team that will be passing to come from behind, which makes Stephens-Holwing the preferred pick in my opinion.
Kregg Lumpkin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Earnest Graham is done and LaGarrette Blount is still in doubt for a Week 9 return. The Bucs have nobody else to turn to but Lumpkin if Blount can’t go in Week 9. The Buccaneers will be facing a New Orleans Saints team looking for revenge that week. The Saints did give up big numbers to the running backs in the team’s first matchup, so the game is intriguing from that standpoint. The Bucs are on a bye week and if Blount is back when they return, Lumpkin is useless. If he doesn’t, you could have yourself a nice bye week sub in Week 9.