Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire players who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Our favorite players are broken down in Top Targets and the best secondary options are in our Going Deeper sections. We’ll also list any players at the top of each position who are above the 50% threshold — or are household names — and are still widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
Be sure to check out our weekly Waiver Wire podcast for more analysis. We’ll also have Streaming articles every Tuesday that focuses on the top quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses for the upcoming week(s).
Note: The initial Waiver Wire article writeup will be posted every Monday evening, followed by in-depth updates Tuesday, and continued additions/updates Wednesday.
Teams on Bye in Week 8
Las Vegas Raiders
Hansen’s Top-15 Options
Note: For these rankings, John Hansen leans on players who are available in at least 40% of Yahoo leagues and who also saw a favorable development for their fantasy values last week. Some players are better long-term picks up, and some are better for just this week or the short term.
- Kenneth Gainwell (Phi, 21%) — Easily the best choice while Sanders is in and also when he’s out, which he will be in Week 8.
- Russell Gage (Atl, 6%) — Offense is clicking now, and he often gets the best matchups here.
- Rashod Bateman (Bal, 32%) — Seemingly already entrenched as the third option in the passing game, and they are throwing more this year. BYE in Week 8.
- Boston Scott (Phi, 2%) — Certainly has a chance for early-down work while Sanders is out, but Jordan Howard could be a TD vulture.
- Michael Gallup (Dal, 41%) — He should play Week 10.
- Trevor Lawrence (Jax, 42%) — Dropped for his bye week last week but immediate future looks encouraging.
- Tua Tagovailoa (Mia, 49%) — Bad matchup this week vs. Buf, but looking very helpful otherwise if their WRs can get healthy.
- Carson Wentz (Ind, 12%) — Hanging in there and playing well and delivering solid fantasy digits.
- Devonta Freeman (Bal, 43%) — He’s still the best option for now, but that could change quickly.
- Mo Alie-Cox (Ind, 8%) — Has 4 TDs in his last four games.
- Randall Cobb (GB, 9%) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB, 6%) — Cobb looking safer for Week 8 unless MVS is activated and set to play. Davante Adams and Allen Lazard are out.
- Khalif Raymond (Det, 3%) — He may be the WR here who is actually reliable.
- Daniel Jones (NYG, 28%) — Big upside if he can get his weapons back, maybe starting Week 8.
- Trey Lance (SF, 34%) — He’s going to be the starter soon, so get him now.
- Cole Kmet (Chi, 19%) — Horrible situation, so no upside, but he is quietly approaching PPR viability.
Trevor Lawrence (Jax, 42%) — The first overall pick from last spring’s draft was a popular player to drop during Jacksonville’s bye last week, but he’s a player to scoop up this week if you’re hurting at the position. Our Greg Cosell has been raving about the rookie’s recent play, and it’s reflected in his YPA rising from 5.7 yards in his first three games to 8.1 in his last three contests. It hasn’t quite translated into smashing fantasy success just yet — he was the QB19 with 19.1 FPG in Weeks 4-6 — but it could be just a matter of time before he’s in the low-end QB1 conversation in the upcoming weeks (@Sea, Buf, @Ind, SF).
Carson Wentz (Ind, 12%) — Wentz is playing his best football in quite some time as he’s thrown two TD passes in each of his four games with a 9.8 YPA Weeks 4-6. His YPA was only 5.77 in a monsoon in Week 7, but Wentz still was still a serviceable 17/26 for 150/2 passing, and he added 4/23/1 rushing to finish as a QB1 for the week (top-12). The 23 yards rushing was nine yards more than he posted in Weeks 3-6 combined, so his ankle must be feeling better. Wentz was also without T.Y. Hilton (quad) and Parris Campbell (foot), with Hilton at least in play for Week 8. He’s also getting a lot out of Michael Pittman, who Wentz has wisely leaned on, and he’s thrown 4 TD passes to TE Mo Alie-Cox the last four weeks. Wentz is on the QB1 radar and is a viable starter in 12-team leagues or larger with a mostly-friendly upcoming schedule (Ten, NYJ, Jax). Turns out, he’s still pretty good, at least for fantasy, and he did, in fact, need to get away from Doug Pederson.
Daniel Jones (NYG, 28%) — Jones was rolling to open his third season with 22+ FP in three of his first four starts, but his progress was halted by a nasty collision at the goal line against the Cowboys in Week 5. He’s fallen below 18 FP in three straight games, and he’s been crushed by injuries to Kadarius Toney (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), and Sterling Shepard (hamstring). He completed 23/33 passes for 203 yards and one TD while adding 8/28 rushing and 1/16 receiving in a victory over the Panthers in Week 7. Jones is still a volatile low-end QB2 with some beatable matchups looming over the next four weeks (@KC, LV, bye, @TB), but expectations need to be lowered if his best playmakers continue to miss time. On the flipside, if Jones could get everyone back, including LT Andrew Thomas, he’s clearly shown that he can take advantage of his weapons, and it’s an impressive group when actually on the field.
Teddy Bridgewater (Den, 21%) — Denver’s once-promising season has veered in the wrong direction after a 3-0 start, and Teddy couldn’t come up with fantasy production in Week 7 without garbage time. He completed 23/33 passes for just 187 yards (5.7 YPA), two TDs, and one INT in an ugly loss to the injury-riddled Browns. Denver’s defense has become extremely vulnerable the last four weeks, which could force Teddy to throw it a little more with competitive matchups (Was, @Dal, Phi, bye) coming up over the next month. He should also get his boy Jerry Jeudy (high ankle, IR) back starting this week against Washington. The problem is that yet another franchise is learning that Teddy isn’t the solution at quarterback, and the Broncos could give Drew Lock one last look if they lose any more ground in the AFC West. But if Teddy remains the guy the next three weeks, their opponents (Was, Dal, Phi) are giving up 29.6, 21.9, and 20.5 FPG.
Taylor Heinicke (Was, 14%) — After posting 21+ FP in his first three starts for Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip, IR), Heinicke came crashing back to earth in Weeks 5-6 with a combined 22.2 FP. He bounced back with 22.2 FP in Week 7 thanks to 10/95 rushing, and he added 268/1 passing with one INT in a two-score loss to the Packers. Heinicke picked the wrong time to hit a wall with Fitz possibly returning soon, but per reports over the weekend, Fitz is still on crutches and won’t return until at least after their Week 9 bye (@Den, bye, TB, @Car). The Football Team seems fairly committed to Heinicke for now, but that could change quickly starting after Week 10, whenever Fitz is ready. Until then, Heinicke’s a viable week-to-week streamer, thanks in large part to his rushing potential.
Tyrod Taylor (Hou, 4%) — HC David Culley has said that Tyrod is the team’s starting quarterback as soon as he’s healthy enough to return to action, and Taylor is back at practice this week leading up to Week 8. Rookie Davis Mills has been horrendous outside of his 300-yard performance against the Patriots, so the Texans will go back to Tyrod when he’s completely healthy and ready, which looks like this week (Week 8). Taylor played well before his injury, totaling 40.1 FP in just six quarters of action, and he should be stashed in Superflex/two-QB formats just in case he returns to action soon (LAR, @Mia) before their Week 10 bye. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Baker Mayfield (Cle, 42%) and Case Keenum (Cle, 4%) — Backup Keenum acquitted himself fairly well in his first major action since he last started in Washington during the 2019 season. He completed 21/33 passes for 199 yards (6.0 YPA) and one touchdown in Cleveland’s victory over the Broncos in Week 7. He could be looking at more starts this season after FOX’s Jay Glazer reported that Mayfield is also dealing with a fracture in his non-throwing shoulder in addition to his torn labrum. However, Mayfield practiced to open the week leading up to Week 8, so he may be toughing it out in a contract year. That may not work out, and Odell Beckham is an injury nightmare, but it looks like Baker will play this week. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 7%) — The 49ers weren’t planning on starting Trey Lance early in the season, and Lance did little to change their minds in their loss to the Cardinals in Week 5. But when asked if Jimmy G will be the starter after their Week 7 loss to the Colts, HC Kyle Shanahan said "I would guess so," which wasn’t a ringing endorsement. Garoppolo, who is still dealing with a sore calf, was 16/27 for 181/1 passing and he also lost a fumble and had 2 INTs Sunday night, so it was an ugly showing. In his defense, it was a monsoon. His upcoming schedule isn’t great, either, @Chi, Ari, and vs. LAR, so he’s a low-end guy all the way for now. But he’s still their starter and Lance’s knee may need more time to heal up.
Mac Jones (NE, 17%) — Jones has acquitted himself fairly well to the NFL, and it finally translated into some fantasy success in Week 7 with Bill Belichick taking some frustrations out on the lowly Jets in 54-13 victory. Mac topped 300+ passing yards and 18+ FP for the first time in his career, as he completed 24/36 passes for 307 yards (8.5 YAP) and two touchdowns. Jones doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of rushing production, but his schedule isn’t overly difficult (@LAC, @Car, Cle, @Atl) and he’s thrown for two TDs in three of his last four games. He’s still a low-end QB2 but he’s starting to move in the right direction.
Ben Roethlisberger (Pit, 23%) — Big Ben has yet to reach 18+ FP in each of his first five games, and he’s at a sad 13.4 FPG (QB29) Weeks 4-6. He had his best performance of the season in their victory over the Broncos in Week 5, but he went back to looking shaky in Week 6 against the Seahawks. It took him 40 attempts to get to 229/1 passing (5.7 YPA), and he lost a fumble in their overtime victory. Big Ben will be a desperation play only in Superflex/two-QB leagues moving forward (@Cle, Chi, Det, @Jax).
Jared Goff (Det, 11%) — Goff now owns an 0-14 record without Sean McVay as his head coach, and he’s failed to reach 20+ FP in five straight games after doing it twice to open the season. He completed 22/36 passes for 268 yards (7.4 YPA), one TD, and two INTs in his #RevengeGame against the Rams in Week 7. Goff doesn’t make the players around him better and he’s currently working with the worst wide receivers in the league, so it’s not surprising he’s come crashing back to earth since the start of the season. He can only be considered as a desperation option in Superflex/two-QB formats in the upcoming weeks (Phi, bye, @Pit, @Cle).
Trey Lance (SF, 34%) — It’s pretty clear the 49ers have had enough of Jimmy Garoppolo, so if Lance was dropped, he’s a good pickup for later in the season. Lance did struggle in his first and only start against the Cardinals in Week 5, as he completed 15/29 passes for 192 yards and one INT. He did add 16/89 rushing, so his 15.6 FP wasn’t too bad. We still think Lance should be viewed as a potential top-12 option when he starts because of his rushing upside, and he should be able to show improvement in the passing game as he plays. If you’re not secure with your QB1, Lance is a guy stash for the stretch run.
Justin Fields (Chi, 26%) — The Bears are sticking with Fields as their starter, but he’s been miserable for fantasy through his first five starts, notching just one double-digit FP performance (14.3 FP in Week 6). He completed 22/32 passes for 184 yards (5.8 YPA) and three INTs and he added 8/38 rushing and two lost fumbles in a miserable performance against the Buccaneers in Week 7. Fields is a limited passer at this stage of his career, and he’s not going to cut it for fantasy if he doesn’t keep running in the future. Fields is more of a bench stash than a usable fantasy option at this stage, especially with a tough upcoming schedule (SF, @Pit, bye, Bal).
Kenyan Drake (LV, 63%), Michael Carter (NYJ, 62%), J.D. McKissic (Was, 63%), Khalil Herbert (Chi, 59%), Alex Collins (Sea, 62%), Alexander Mattison (Min, 55%), Latavius Murray (Bal, 48%), Nyheim Hines (Ind, 62%)
Kenneth Gainwell (Phi, 21%) — Gainwell vanished in Weeks 5-6 after a promising start to the season, but he was thrust into a more prominent role after Miles Sanders suffered an ankle injury late in the first quarter of Week 1. Gainwell actually scored the first touchdown of the game before Sanders even left the game, and he finished with 4/41/1 receiving on eight targets and 5/20 rushing on 50% of the snaps against the Raiders. Boston Scott is likely to lead this backfield in carries for as long as Sanders is out of the lineup, but Gainwell is the priority add since he’s going to get a healthy dose of carries next to Scott while also being the top receiver in this backfield.
Boston Scott (Phi, 2%) — Scott played just four offensive snaps with no carries through the first six weeks of the season, but he stepped in and posted 7/24/1 rushing and 1/5 receiving on two targets on 34% of the snaps with Miles Sanders knocked out of the game with an ankle injury. Gainwell is the priority add in this backfield, since he’s going to get a healthy dose of carries next to Scott while being the top receiver in this backfield, but Scott is likely to lead this backfield in carries for as long as Sanders is out of the lineup. They do still have Jordan Howard on the practice squad, but we can’t be threatened by Howard until proven otherwise.
Devonta Freeman (Bal, 43%) — It’s not saying much but Freeman has looked the best out of Baltimore’s decrepit stable of running backs over Latavius Murray and Le’Veon Bell. He led the backfield in production for two straight weeks heading into their bye after posting 4/14/1 rushing and 3/25 receiving on 40% of the snaps with Murray (ankle) out of the lineup in Week 7. Bell (30% of the snaps) has played miserably this season and he needs to be phased out of the backfield over the bye, but the Ravens seem committed to using a three-man rotation no matter what. Ty’Son Williams played 29% of the snaps and had two carries and two targets (2/24 receiving), so he’s also lurking. Freeman at least has a good chance to be the 1A option moving forward so he’s worth a pickup.
Rhamondre Stevenson (NE, 15%), Brandon Bolden (NE, 6%), and J.J. Taylor (NE, 0%) — Good luck navigating this backfield behind Damien Harris right now. The rookie Stevenson found himself back in Belichick’s doghouse as a healthy scratch in Week 7 despite posting 62/2 scrimmage on eight touches the previous week. Taylor (26% snap share) found himself back in the lineup against the Jets, posting 10/26/2 scrimmage, while Bolden (28% share) finished with 6/79/1 receiving. Stevenson is still the best stash option behind Harris, but he doesn’t have the full trust of Belichick so he can’t go near a lineup right now. Bolden and Taylor have pulses in the deepest formats but you won’t know if you can use any of these backs until inactives come out 90 minutes before the start of New England games. At the very least, the Pats have announced Stevenson as inactive in two of their last four games, but when he’s active, he plays. So you could hold Stevenson and Bolden and use Bolden if Stevenson is inactive.
JaMycal Hasty (SF, 2%) — Hasty suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 and he’s been on the IR since, but he did return for Week 7 and he wound up playing 34% of the snaps with only 3/1 rushing but with six targets (but only 3/15 receiving). Hasty is right back into the mix behind Elijah Mitchell and ahead of Trey Sermon, who did not play in Week 7. The 49ers are still targeting a late November return for Jeff Wilson (meniscus, PUP) and HC Kyle Shanahan said nothing has changed in terms of his timeline. Shanahan’s depth charts are constantly evolving and they can change quickly so it’s not a bad idea to stash Hasty just in case he vaults to the top at some point in the near future.
Samaje Perine (Cin, 7%) — Perine is the primary handcuff for Joe Mixon, who already had an injury scare this season when he went down with an ankle injury. But he might have some standalone value even if Mixon is playing, as we saw in Week 7 when Perine played 48% of the snaps and had 12 touches. Chris Evans impressed with 7/67/1 scrimmage in Week 6 with Perine on the COVID list, and he’d be a factor behind Perine if Mixon missed time, but Perine may have carved out a larger role alongside Mixon.
Ty Johnson (NYJ, 4%) — The Jets made Tevin Coleman a healthy scratch in Week 7 coming off their bye, leaving the backfield work to Michael Carter (73% snap share) and Johnson (30% share). He finished with just 5/6 rushing in a lopsided loss to the Patriots but he added 6/65 receiving on seven targets. Johnson is worth an add if the Jets are going to roll with just a two-man backfield moving forward, and it appears that these RBs are going to be more involved in the passing game while Mike White or Joe Flacco is the starting quarterback. It will be White this week, for what it’s worth. Coleman was out of practice early in the week, which is a good sign for Johnson. UPDATED: 10/27/21
David Johnson (Hou, 22%) — The Texans’ backfield is a fantasy wasteland with Johnson, Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, and Rex Burkhead competing for snaps and limited fantasy production in the league’s worst offense. Ingram has been the most active but it hasn’t translated to much fantasy success, including in Week 7 when he totaled 9/27 scrimmage on 38% of the snaps. He’s also banged up this week, so Johnson may be looking better this week. He’s also a guy to stash just in case he’s traded to a much better situation before the NFL trade deadline on Nov. 2. He’s also the best player and he’s starting to get more chances recently, including in Week 7 when he posted 7/25 rushing and 5/27 receiving on six targets on 54% of the snaps. Johnson should also have a little more fantasy juice with Tyrod Taylor (hamstring, IR) likely back in the lineup this week. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Salvon Ahmed (Mia, 3%) — The Dolphins placed RB Malcolm Brown on IR, so Ahmed looks like the #2 RB for the next three weeks. He played 30% of the snaps in Week 7 with 7 carries and 2 targets, of which he caught both for 26 yards. HC Brian Flores is changing up his backfield plan and usage on a weekly basis, so Ahmed is on the radar for those desperate.
Marlon Mack (Ind, 30%) — Mack and the Colts continue to be on the verge of parting ways after they mutually agreed to seek a trade, so with RBs dropping like flies around the league, Mack is still worth a speculative add just in case he would land on an RB-needy team. The Colts have showcased him some over the last three weeks, and he has 20/81 rushing (4.1 YPC) as Jonathan Taylor’s backup on early downs. Mack isn’t guaranteed to be traded since he hasn’t been moved yet, but he’s worth a bench stash in deeper leagues just in case he’s moved before the Nov. 2 trade deadline. The Dolphins, Ravens, Chiefs, and more could certainly use having Mack around.
Peyton Barber (LV, 2%) — Barber is likely the top runner in Las Vegas if Josh Jacobs misses more time this season, and there’s a chance it could be coming after Jacobs left Week 7 early with a chest injury. The Raiders are on bye next week so there’s also a chance Jacobs doesn’t miss any more time. Kenyan Drake handled the bulk of the carries (14/69/1 rushing) last week against the Eagles since Barber was a healthy scratch, but he’d likely concede the early-down work to Barber if Jacobs misses more time. Barber went off for 142/2 scrimmage back in Week 3 against the Dolphins when Jacobs sat out with foot/ankle injuries. This is a different regime running the show in Las Vegas now, and they don’t hate the Drake like Jon Gruden did, so Barber shouldn’t be expected to average 19.5 touches per game as he did in Weeks 2-3 with Jacobs out. Also, Jacobs is expected to be okay after their bye. UPDATED: 10/26/21
Rashad Penny (Sea, 7%) — Penny was active in Week 7, and he did get 36% of the snaps. But he rushed for only 6/9 with 0 targets, so it’s hard to get excited. Starter Chris Carson will be on until at least Week 10, and he’s no lock to play that week. But Alex Collins remained the lead back in Week 7 with only 39% of the snaps but with 17 opportunities, and they do still have the solid DeeJay Dallas (2% of the snaps after being at 34% in Week 6) and Travis Homer, who played 21% of the snaps in Week 7. Penny’s really just a stash-and-hope guy, and you’re hoping for a lot of things, like health for him, Carson staying on IR, and Collins to get injured. UPDATED: 10/26/21
Best Handcuff Stashes
Sony Michel (LAR, 43%) — Darrell Henderson is being used as a workhorse back most weeks, leaving Michel as a bench stash. He has RB1 upside with the potential for 20+ touches in any game that Henderson would miss in the future.
Jaret Patterson (Was, 2%) — Antonio Gibson is playing through a stress fracture in his shin, which has limited his practice time and it’s now limiting his playing time. Patterson, a UDFA out of Buffalo, would take over as the team’s lead runner if Gibson is forced to miss time with J.D. McKissic working in passing situations while getting more opportunities as a runner. Patterson should be stashed (especially if you have Gibson) just in case the injury becomes too much for Gibson to play through or if the team decides to shut him down at some point with their season heading south.
Wayne Gallman (Atl, 0%) — The Falcons are currently wasting weekly touches on Mike Davis, who is averaging a horrific 3.2 YPC through six games. There’s been no indication a change is coming soon, but HC Arthur Smith could give Gallman a chance to be the lead runner at some point in the near future if Davis doesn’t start performing better. Davis also limped off in Week 7, so he may have an injury he’s dealing with.
Carlos Hyde (Jax, 6%) — Hyde is the distant second to James Robinson in Jacksonville’s backfield after Travis Etienne’s season-ending foot injury in August. Hyde isn’t a usable fantasy piece but he could creep into the low-end RB2 picture if anything happens to Robinson.
Darrynton Evans (Ten, 3%) — He’s back now, and while it’s not a lock that he handles the majority of the snaps over Jeremy McNichols if Derrick Henry is out, Evans has been considered the RB2 behind Henry.
Anthony McFarland (Pit, 0%) — It would likely be a committee in Pittsburgh if Najee Harris missed time with Benny Snell, Kalen Ballage, and McFarland. Ballage may have the most upside, but McFarland was actually drafted by the Steelers last year, and they were planning on him having a role. He’s got great speed and some receiving chops. He has been activated off IR this week and looks to return Week 8. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Kadarius Toney (NYG, 49%), Christian Kirk (Ari, 57%), AJ Green (Ari, 57%), Kenny Golladay (NYG, 59%), Sterling Shepard (NYG, 56%), T.Y. Hilton (Ind, 45%), Laviska Shenault (Jax, 57%), Hunter Renfrow (LV, 50%), Darnell Mooney (Chi, 50%), Robby Anderson (Car, 62%), Mecole Hardman (KC, 54%), Brandon Aiyuk (SF, 62%), Cole Beasley (Buf, 58%)
None of note.
Russell Gage (Atl, 6%) — Gage returned to the lineup in Week 7 a month layoff for an ankle injury, and he immediately stepped back into the #3 receiver role in Atlanta’s offense behind Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. He made his six targets (15%) count against the Dolphins, finishing with 4/67/1 receiving in the Week 7 victory with 64% of the snaps, second on the team to Calvin Ridley. Matt Ryan has attempted 35+ passes in every game and he’s averaging 40.7 attempts per contest, and he’s thrown for 300, 243, 283, 342, and 336 yards his last five games. Gage should have some solid PPR value as the third option in a pass-heavy Falcons’ attack, and Ridley has been off all season long so he could be more active than expected.
Rashod Bateman (Bal, 32%) — Bateman, a first-round pick in the spring, saw his first NFL action in Week 6, and he’s immediately jumped into the #2 WR role with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) out of the lineup. He posted 3/80 receiving on six targets against the Bengals in Week 7 (63% of the snaps, second on the team at WR), which gives him six targets in each of his first two games. Bateman will slot into the #3 receiver role behind established ballers Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown, but the Ravens are morphing into more of a passing team than we’ve ever seen with Lamar at quarterback. The Ravens are on bye this week so he can’t help you this week, but Bateman should have a chance to get you 10+ PR points every week going forward, and there is upside for sure.
Michael Gallup (Dal, 41%) — Gallup has been designated to return off IR and has resumed practicing this week. He may need another week before he’s ready for fantasy lineups, so he’s not a Week 8 consideration. Gallup is a WR4 once he returns to the lineup with Dalton Schultz getting more involved while Gallup was out of the lineup and with a lack of passing volume in most of their games since Week 1. He does have WR3 potential if the volume ticks up a bit playing in Dallas’ potent passing attack, so scoop him up if he’s been dropped. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Randall Cobb (GB, 9%) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB, 6%) — MVS is eligible to return from the injured reserve this week, and there’s an outside chance he can play in Week 8. That’s huge because Allen Lazard has joined Davante Adams on the Covid-19 list, so he’s likely out. Cobb looks like the safer bet for this week, since MVS is obviously no lock to play. But if MVS is active Thursday night, he’s the better fantasy play over Cobb. Both are very viable, especially since they both could start if active with MVS outside and Cobb in the slot. We won’t know the deal until the inactives are submitted 90 minutes before the kickoff. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Kendrick Bourne (NE, 6%) — Bourne has scored double-digit FP in four of his last five games, so it’s time to recognize him. He could be ticketed for a bigger role after Jonnu Smith left early in Week 7 with a shoulder injury, and Bourne caught all four of his targets from Mac Jones for 68 yards against the Jets. He also added a 25-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor on a trick play. Bourne still finished behind Agholor in snap share (58% to 54%) in Week 7, but he’s been the friendlier target for the rookie quarterback, especially over the last five weeks with 55+ receiving yards in four contests. Depending on the severity of Jonnu’s injury, the Patriots could feature more three-WR sets in the upcoming weeks so Bourne could get more opportunities to make plays for Jones.
Marquez Callaway (NO, 34%) — Callaway exploded for 4/85/2 receiving on a season-high eight targets (27%) against Washington in Week 5, thanks in large part to his 49-yard touchdown on a Hail Mary pass before halftime. He did come up small in Week 7 with only 3/32 receiving, but he played 92% of the snaps and had several opportunities to do something impactful with his 7 targets. Michael Thomas (ankle, PUP) is unlikely to join the starting lineup Week 8 against the Buccaneers, so Callaway looks like a good play this week. Callaway may struggle for consistent targets once Thomas is back, but but then again, he may benefit at times from Thomas being on the field, since he’s been miscast as a #1. UPDATED: 10/26/21
DeVante Parker (Mia, 36%) and Will Fuller (Mia, 29%) — Parker and Fuller have been complete buzzkills this season. Parker has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury while Fuller has barely played so far this season. Both Parker (hamstring) and Fuller (hand, IR) are nearing returns and they have chances to emerge as fantasy-relevant options since the Dolphins are averaging more than 41.7 pass attempts per game over the last six weeks. Parker was limited to open the week, which is a good sign for Week 9. Fuller, though, is not expected to play in Week 8. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Allen Lazard (GB, 5%) — Lazard is finally starting to make some noise with MVS out of the lineup with 11+ FP in consecutive games thanks to touchdowns in consecutive games. He finished with 5/60/1 receiving on six targets (17% share) against Washington in Week 7, playing a healthy 91% of the snaps, and he’ll be a desperation option if MVS is out of the lineup again this week. MVS is eligible to play in Week 8 on Thursday night, which is important because Lazard and Davante Adams are on the Covid-19 list and are out. So Lazard for now is just a stash in deeper leagues who can’t be counted on for Week 8, barring a surprise. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Darius Slayton (NYG, 15%) and Dante Pettis (NYG, 1%) — Slayton and Pettis will be viable options this week if the likes of Kenny Golladay (knee), Kadarius Toney (ankle), and/or Sterling Shepard (hamstring) miss more action. Slayton (61% of the snaps) operated as Daniel Jones’ top option in a Week 7 victory over the Panthers, posting 5/63 receiving on a team-high nine targets (26% share). Pettis (49% of the snaps) has strung together 10/87/1 receiving on 16 targets over the last two weeks. The Giants have a juicy matchup against the Chiefs if Slayton and Pettis are forced to play big roles for a second straight week. We’ll know a lot more after Thursday and Friday’s practices. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Khalif Raymond (Det, 3%) — I guess we’re going here. Just when it looked like Amon-Ra St. Brown was reliable after he got 8, 8, and 6 targets Weeks 4-6, ARB got zero targets in Week 7 despite playing 62% of the snaps in the former USC receiver’s return to Southern California. Raymond now has 12+ FP in three of his last five games, and he stepped up with 6/115 receiving on eight targets against the Rams. Quintez Cephus (collarbone, IR) is done for the season and Tyrell Williams (concussion, IR) isn’t close to returning from his brain injury suffered in Week 1. St. Brown could lead them in targets this week, but it’s time to look at Raymond as possibly their best option at WR.
Van Jefferson (LAR, 9%) — Jefferson is running ahead of DeSean Jackson in three-WR sets and he’s been an all-or-nothing option, scoring 14+ FP three times while falling below five FP three times. He saw a season-high seven targets (17% share) against the Lions, which he turned into 4/43/1 receiving and 14.3 FP. Jefferson is going to be a volatile secondary option in this passing attack with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods hogging targets, but he has the chance to go off at any point playing in this potent offense.
Zach Pascal (Ind, 11%) — Pascal is back in business with Parris Campbell set to miss significant time with a serious foot injury, and TY Hilton missed Week 7 with a quad injury. Pascal had 8+ FP in four of five games before Week 6, and he did get a decent six targets in the rain in Week 7, which led the team, and he was second at WR 81% of the snaps. He’s unreliable, but he gets manufactured touches and looks in the red zone out of the slot.
Nico Collins (Hou, 1%) — Collins, a third-round pick in the spring, returned from the injured reserve in Week 6 off a shoulder injury he suffered back in Week 2. He posted a combined 6/72 receiving on 11 targets in Weeks 6-7 playing with the awful Davis Mills. In Week 7, he was second on the team in snaps with 62%). Collins has a chance to come into his own in the near future since the Texans have every incentive to funnel him targets and to give him playing experience down the stretch. He could also get a quarterback upgrade soon when Tyrod Taylor (hamstring, IR) is activated from the injured reserve.
K.J. Osborn (Min, 7%) — Osborn had just 8/66 receiving in Weeks 3-5 after opening the season with a blistering 12/167/1 receiving in Weeks 1-2. He came back to life in a game in which Kirk Cousins attempted 48 passes, posting 6/78/1 receiving on seven targets and he scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Panthers. Most weeks, Osborn is competing for 4-6 targets with Tyler Conklin so he’s only a desperation option in games that could produce more passing volume.
None of note.
Pat Freiermuth (Pit, 6%) — The rookie is a future star, and while veteran Eric Ebron remains around (45% of the snaps, two targets in Week 6), Freiermuth had his breakout game against Seattle. He caught all seven of his targets for 58 yards with a season-high 60% of the snaps, and he topped Ebron in routes (22 to 19) for just the second time this season. He’s unlikely to become a TE1 option as long as Ebron is hanging around, but Freiermuth has a chance to emerge as a viable PPR option with slot WR JuJu Smith-Schuster done for the year.
Mo Alie-Cox (Ind, 8%) — Alie-Cox continues to be reliable on TDs, but the thing is, he’s getting them. He’s scored in three of his last four games with 4 TDs total in that span. Despite a lower snap share usually in the 50-60% range and usually only 3-5 targets, he will continue to have a chance to log 10+ FP due to his scoring.
C.J.Uzomah (Cin, 18%) — Uzomah is on a heater with five touchdowns in the last four weeks after finding the end zone twice in Week 7. He caught all three of his targets for 91 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the Ravens, as he worked top CB Marlon Humphrey for one of his touchdowns from 55 yards away. The Bengals are playing at a deliberate pace and there’s not a ton of targets to go around behind Cincinnati’s big three WRs — Uzomah has seen more than three targets in a game just once — but he’s worth a flier while he’s running hot. There’s also a chance HC Zac Taylor makes him more of an every-week staple moving forward since he’s been making plays most week.
Dan Arnold (Jax, 5%) — Arnold has been fairly active in his first three weeks with the Jags, but he disappointed with 2/27 receiving on five targets (12% share, 62% of the snaps). Arnold, a former college WR and hurdler, can line up all over the formation and he can produce at all levels of the field. His role should grow a bit in this receiver-needy offense after D.J. Chark went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 4. He could develop into a high-end TE2 option if you’re looking for help at an ever-thinning fantasy position.
Evan Engram (NYG, 31%) — Engram has looked extremely sluggish this season, but Daniel Jones needs him with his top three WRs out of the lineup in recent weeks. He still managed just 6/44 receiving on eight targets in a Week 7 victory over the Panthers, which was his first double-digit FP performance of the season. Engram theoretically has the skill set to turn it around moving forward, but it’s fair to wonder if all of the injuries at the start of his career have started to slow him down. He’ll be an uninspiring, low-end TE2 moving forward until we see some of his old explosiveness come back (if it does at all). The one thing working in his favor is that New York’s skill players are dropping like flies, but he’s yet to show us much of a fantasy ceiling. He’s also reportedly been the subject of trade rumors, and it’s possible a change of scenery works for him this year and he actually produces. UPDATED: 10/27/21
Tyler Conklin (Min, 10%) — Conklin has a faint fantasy pulse at a weak position since he gets weekly targets while seeing a large snap share. He came back to life in a game in which Kirk Cousins attempted 48 passes, posting 3/71 receiving on five targets. Most weeks, Conklin is competing for 4-6 targets with K.J. Osborn so he’s only a desperation option in games that could produce more passing volume.
Cole Kmet (Chi, 19%) — The Bears’ passing game is damn near hopeless, but Kmet is at least showing signs of life in recent weeks. He’s yet to hit double-digit FP this season, but he does have 9/92 receiving on 11 targets in the last two weeks. The second-year TE has a pulse again but he has no ceiling and a rock-bottom floor playing with Justin Fields at quarterback.
Greg Zuerlein (Dal, 53%) - Zuerlein is coming off his bye week. Not only is he well rested, he also has three field goals per game in consecutive outings. In fact, he has three field goals in half of his six games this year and in two of those three outings he has done it on the road. Zuerlein could easily get two or three field goal opportunities as the offense is also well rested from the bye.
Chase McLaughlin (Cle, 26%) - When the Browns and Steelers get together, it is usually a drag down, knock out contest. This one should be no different. The Browns offense could struggle a little bit against the Steelers defense and that makes McLaughlin a little more valuable this week. He could be in line for two or three field goal opportunities. He has attempted two or more field goal attempts in four of his last five games.
Jake Elliott (Phi, 5%) - Over the past two games, Elliott has attempted just one field goal and did not convert it. In five of his seven games this year, Elliott has converted on one or zero field goals. Why is he listed here then, especially with the Eagles playing on the road? Their opponent is the Detroit Lions and he should get a few field goal opportunities in this one.
Steelers (Pit, 51%) — Thanks to their Week Seven bye, Pittsburgh’s D was dropped in many leagues. They were likely an easy drop, because after being an elite defense last season, Pittsburgh has been only above average this season. They rank 12th in yards allowed and points allowed. Some of that is tied to the Steelers’ poor offensive play, while some of that can be chalked up to playing juggernaut offenses like Buffalo and Green Bay. Their next set of opponents probably don’t hear “juggernaut” when people talk about their offenses: @Cle, Chi, Det. Oh, and their offense has shown signs of life lately, thanks to Najee Harris.
Cowboys (Dal, 39%) — I feel like teams should stop throwing it to the Dallas CBs. Led by Trevon Diggs (7 INTs), the Dallas D has 11 interceptions on the season and has finished in the top-10 almost every week. They’re built to be a big play defense that takes advantage of teams trying to keep up with one of the most dangerous and complete offenses in the league. That has led to this D hitting double-digit FP in three of their last four games. Dallas should be favored in their next three matchups: @Min, Det, Atl.
Chargers (LAC, 16%) — The Chargers haven’t been exactly lighting the defensive world on fire. They’re below average in points allowed and yards allowed, but they’ve also faced Dallas, KC, and Bal in three of their first six games. Fresh off their bye, Joey Bosa and Co. will have easier sledding ahead for their next two games: NE, @Phi. Speaking of Bosa, the team has 8 sacks in their last three games, and their secondary isn’t shabby either. The Chargers have 6 INTs so far and face two inexperienced QBs in a row.