Week 8 fantasy football moves to make now:
Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay): Winston has been dropped in some leagues going into his Week 6 bye week and after averaging just 1.4 touchdown passes in his first five games. However, Winston has some sleeper appeal. He’s coming off a career-best 297 yards last week and Winston has gone two straight games without an interception. Winston also has a particularly attractive schedule coming up – over his next eight games, Winston will face only passing defenses outside the top 10, and five of those eight games are against defenses ranked 25th or worse in pass defense.
David Cobb (Tennessee): I mentioned Cobb last week and we’ll keep Cobb high on the free agent list as he is now just one week away from being eligible to return from the Physically Unable to Perform list and make his NFL debut. Given how dreadful the Titans’ running backs have been Cobb has a strong chance to instantly seize the starter’s role and he has upside. Cobb set the University of Minnesota single-season record with 1,626 rushing yards last year and he is built to withstand a heavy workload.
Orleans Darkwa (N.Y. Giants): Seemingly every season, a completely unknown player will surprise and Darkwa could be one of those players this year. The Giants could give Darkwa an extended look (especially as they are ranked 25th in the NFL at 95.6 rushing yards per game). It was a small sample size, but Darkwa looked great right out of the gate last week with runs of 7, 9, 10 and 15 yards.
Zac Stacy (N.Y. Jets): Right now, Stacy doesn’t have any real fantasy value but it wouldn’t take much for him to be a hot waiver wire pick-up. Bilal Powell has a bum ankle and Chris Ivory has been battling a quad injury, albeit minor. Still one injury to Ivory and Stacy is instantly a starting running back on a run-oriented offense.
Alfred Blue and Chris Polk (Houston): It’s sad to see Arian Foster go down, and you have to wonder if he’ll ever play in the NFL again (Foster turns 30 in August). However, next man up will mean either Blue or Polk will be the team’s starter at running back. Neither are all that attractive but if you are desperate for a running back someone will get the work (although expect a timeshare). Houston looks dysfunctional, and that could certainly get worse as the year progresses.
Branden Oliver (San Diego): Oliver doesn’t offer high upside with Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead ahead of him, but he could continue to see more work. Oliver was second on the team last week among running backs in snaps played with 33, compared with 41 for Woodhead and 15 for Gordon, and Oliver finished with six receptions. Forced into action last year because of injuries, Oliver led the Chargers with 582 rushing yards in 2014.
Nate Washington (Houston): It’s easy to dismiss Washington, 32, but he could have some fantasy value down the stretch. Washington likely won’t cost much in waiver-wire bidding despite leading all receivers in fantasy points in Week 7. Washington has missed three games with a hamstring injury, but in the four games he’s played he’s been more productive than you may think, averaging 5.5 receptions and 84 yards per game. Washington could be a particularly sneaky play again this week going up against his former team, the Tennessee Titans.
Danny Amendola (New England): At this point of his career, Amendola isn’t going to be an elite receiver but he’s hot right now and you almost can’t have enough exposure to the Patriots offense. After just 10 receptions and 98 yards combined in the first four games, Amendola has collected 15 receptions and 191 yards the past two weeks.
Chris Conley (Kansas City): After failing to register a reception in the first two weeks of the season, Conley had a solid game last week with six receptions on a team-high seven targets and a career-best 63 yards and his first NFL touchdown. Conley has elite physical skills – at this year’s NFL scouting combine he blazed to a 4.35-second 40 and tied all-time records in the broad jump and the vertical jump.
Donteea Dye (Tampa Bay): Dye is nowhere near being a prospect who can significantly help fantasy lineups, but he should get opportunities to play for the Buccaneers with Louis Murphy out for the season with a torn ACL. Dye went undrafted this year out of Division III Heidelberg College but notched his first NFL reception and touchdown this past week.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Tampa Bay): Check to make sure Seferian-Jenkins isn’t on your waiver wire. Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) is close to returning to action, perhaps this week. With the injuries to the Tampa Bay wide receivers, Seferian-Jenkins should be a key cog in the passing game.
Clive Walford (Oakland): I’ve mentioned Walford a few times because he has a lot of athleticism and upside. He just needs the opportunity. Walford had two receptions last week and scored his first NFL touchdown, and on limited receptions Walford averages 16 yards per catch.
Other news and notes
▪ The Sunday night game matches two of the all-time greats in Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, the only two quarterbacks in NFL history to average more than two touchdown passes per game. It also matches two undefeated teams as the Broncos and Packers both look to go to 7-0. Let’s see if a bye week can help Manning return to anywhere near his former self. It’s almost unbelievable how poorly Manning has done. Among all QBs, Manning is ranked 32nd in completion percentage, 40th in yards per attempt and 42nd in quarterback rating.
▪ From the all-time active leading passer to the all-time active leading rusher we go, as Frank Gore and the Colts will make a trip to Charlotte to take on the 6-0 Panthers on “Monday Night Football.” The Colts come in with a streak of 47 games since they last had a 100-yard rusher. With the way the Panthers defense is playing that seems likely to go to 48 games, a full three seasons worth of games for the Colts.
▪ Coaching changes continue as this week the Detroit Lions fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and promoted quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter to run the offense. With a new coordinator who has no track record, it’s hard to forecast how this will impact the offensive game plan. But with the Lions traveling to London it’s hard to imagine too much change can happen in just a few days. Detroit has the league’s worst running game (averaging 68 yards per game) and the Lions took seven sacks last week. Look for Kansas City Chiefs defense to be a high-end sleeper in my rankings this week.
Alan Satterlee is a co-owner and senior writer for DynastyFootballWarehouse.com, a comprehensive fantasy football strategy site.