Week 8 Waiver Wire: Ranking Most Ideal Pickups
We've hit Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season, which means that for fantasy football owners the regular season's second half has begun and teams are either jockeying for playoff position or trying to keep their fading postseason dreams alive.
That isn't any easier to do when injuries keep piling up—just this past week Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis went down with a season-ending Achilles injury and star running back Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars suffered a foot injury that could keep him out of action for some time.
Those injuries and more have sent fantasy owners hurrying to the waiver wire in search of backup plans; here's a look at some of the best plan B's available this week.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
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As if the season wasn't already going bad enough for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team will now be without their best offensive player indefinitely.
Ryan O' Halloran of The Florida Times Union reports that head coach Mike Mularkey didn't offer a timetable for the return of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, other than to rule him out for this week's tilt with the Packers.
That means that for the foreseeable future, fourth-year pro Rashad Jennings will be the lead back for the Jaguars. After racking up 102 total yards with a touchdown in the loss to the Raiders, Jennings is easily this week's top waiver-wire pickup.
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns
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The Cleveland Browns may well be one of the worst teams in the National Football League, but their revamped offense filled with rookies is starting to pick up the pace and garner the attention of fantasy football owners.
One of those rookies, wide receiver Josh Gordon, has emerged as the Browns' deep threat; and while Gordon hasn't caught more than three passes over the past three games, he's scored a touchdown in each of those contests.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Arizona Cardinals
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Not a lot has gone right for the Arizona Cardinals during their recent three-game losing streak, but for the first time this season the Cardinals had a running back top 100 yards on the ground, in their loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
LaRod Stephens-Howling gained 104 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown against the Vikings, and after adding another 45 yards on four catches, the diminutive fourth-year pro certainly has the attention of RB-needy fantasy squads.
Yes, the Cardinals' Week 8 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers is far from favorable, and rookie William Powell is a threat to steal touches, but at this point in the season the simple fact is that any running back with a pulse has some fantasy football value.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns
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Yes, you're reading this right: There are not one, but two Cleveland Browns players in this week's waiver report; and yes, that's yet another sign of the Mayan apocalypse.
After a very rocky start to the season, 29-year-old rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden has settled down considerably, averaging over 260 yards a game over his past three starts while throwing six touchdown passes against three interceptions.
The Browns are apt to be playing from behind more often than not, and that, combined with Weeden's solid play of late, is enough to make him a viable bye-week fill-in or fantasy reserve.
Santana Moss, WR, Washington Redskins
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The Washington Redskins receiving corps was already hurting with top wideout Pierre Garcon out indefinitely with a foot injury, and now things have gone from bad to worse.
Now the Redskins will be without their top tight end for the remainder of the season as well, as Fred Davis has been placed on injured reserve after tearing his Achilles tendon in the team's loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.
That could mean an increase in targets for veteran wide receiver Santana Moss, and if Week 7 was any indication it could also mean a huge jump in the 12th-year pro's fantasy value, as Moss reeled in three passes for 67 yards and a pair of scores against the G-Men.
Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets
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Finally, we get to go from a bunch of players getting hurt to one returning from injury.
New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller played in only his third game of the 2012 season in Sunday's loss to the New England Patriots, but it was by far his best statistical showing of the season.
The fifth-year pro hauled in seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots, and with Keller now apparently healthy he should be targeted consistently as the Jets' top underneath target.
That should translate to relatively steady fantasy production, making Keller well worth a look from fantasy owners with a hole at the tight end position.