Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 8 Targets to Pursue
As the injuries continue to leave fantasy football owners in untenable situations, finding hidden gems on the waiver wire becomes the difference between becoming league champion and playing for your league's version of the Sacko Bowl.
Luckily, it's those same frustrating injuries that oftentimes give opportunities for late-season stars to emerge.
Whether simply undervalued by the coaching staff to begin with or simply lucky players who walked into good circumstances, there are a few choice guys available on the wire this week that could prove invaluable down the stretch.
With that in mind, here are the top waiver wire pickups of Week 8.
Rashad Jennings (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars)
A preseason sleeper due to Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout, Jennings is back on the fantasy radar due to the Jaguars' starter hurting his foot against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Jones-Drew will miss "multiple games" with the injury, though it is not a season-ending Lisfranc injury as initially feared.
Either way, that should pave the way for Jennings to be Jacksonville's starter for the foreseeable future. The 27-year-old power back got 28 touches and gained 102 total yards with a touchdown in Jones-Drew's stead against Oakland.
Numbers like that would make Jennings a solid RB2 option, but owners should temper their expectations if they think he'll be a superstar. Until the Jaguars fix their massive holes on the offensive line and passing game, no running back can truly excel.
Nonetheless, Jennings will be a fine option this week against Green Bay and for as long as he's getting a bunk of the carries—especially for a MJD owner.
Montario Hardesty (RB, Cleveland Browns)
Like Jennings, Hardesty stands to be the massive beneficiary due to injury.
After picking up just eight yards on eight carries last Sunday and seemingly re-injuring his ribs, it's looking like Trent Richardson may miss extended time.
According to Rotoworld's Evan Silva, ESPN's Ed Werder is reporting that the Browns are considering shutting down their rookie running back until after their Week 10 bye.
ESPN's Ed Werder also reported #Browns are "discussing" holding Trent Richardson out through Wk 10 bye. Werder called rib injury "serious."— Evan Silva (@evansilva) October 23, 2012
Richardson's injury will almost certainly lead to Hardesty getting the first crack at the starting job. The former Tennessee star has run well in Richardson's place in each of the past two weeks, gaining 84 yards on 22 carries.
Owned in just 8.5 percent of ESPN leagues, the starting job alone makes Hardesty a must-own in all formats. Running back is a position where there is uncertainty on a weekly basis, so if the 25-year-old continues to get the bulk of the workload, he's (at worst) a flex play.
Titus Young (WR, Detroit Lions)
A beloved sleeper in the preseason, Young's bad performance has been nearly as disappointing as his team's before Week 7.
That all changed when starting wide receiver Nate Burleson went out of Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears with a season-ending broken leg (via NFL.com's Dan Hanzus).
Without Burleson, Young stepped into the starting flanker role opposite Calvin Johnson and flourished, leading the Lions with six catches for 81 yards in the 13-7 loss.
Circumstance should lead to Young continuing his ascent for the remainder of the season. The Lions continue to struggle running the ball, meaning Matthew Stafford will have to continue throwing the ball an inordinate amount of times per game.
With teams focusing on stopping Johnson, Young should see the same single coverage that made Burleson a sneaky flex play.
A matchup against the Seattle Seahawks secondary this week is not idea, but considering there are three top-level offenses on bye this week, Young could be a Top 25-type receiver in Week 8.
Josh Gordon (WR, Cleveland Browns)
I may have to go lie down and evaluate my life choices after advising to pick up two members of the Browns offense, but Gordon's unbelievable explosiveness cannot be denied.
The rookie speedster now has four touchdowns over the past three weeks after nabbing two balls for 59 yards and a touchdown last week against the Colts.
Regardless, what were most impressive were his 10 targets. Brandon Weeden obviously enjoys throwing to Gordon, so there is no logical reason to think their relationship will sour anytime soon.
One slight problem with the Gordon hype: He's touchdown dependent. Without getting into the end zone, he's unlikely to find much value and could even put up the dreaded goose egg in some weeks.
However, until he actually fails, pick the former Baylor star up on the wire and ride his hot hand(s).
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