Week 8 starts a busy stretch of byes. Six teams will be sidelined, which means fantasy football owners likely have several voids to fill in order to build a winning lineup.
The waiver wire will become a key asset until the byes are finished.
Aside from the occasional breakout star, most of the players available are only short-term options. That said, making the right additions can be the difference between winning or losing any given week, as the playoff race begins to heat up.
With that in mind, let's check out some useful players to target for Week 8 and potentially beyond. The list is followed by a closer look at some of the top free-agent options.
Week 8 Waiver Targets
|Waiver-Wire Targets for Week 8|
|QB||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati Bengals|
|RB||Zac Stacy||St. Louis Rams|
|WR||Riley Cooper||Philadelphia Eagles|
|TE||Jordan Reed||Washington Redskins|
|K||Garrett Hartley||New Orleans Saints|
|Fantasy Week 8|
Breakdown of Top Options
Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals)
Dalton fell off the fantasy radar after a mundane start to the season. In standard leagues, he failed to score more than 16 points in the first five weeks and had two scores below 10. That simply isn't good enough to crack a starting lineup.
Things have started to change over the past two weeks, however. The Bengals quarterback has topped the 20-point mark in back-to-back weeks with a combined score of 50, which brings him back into consideration with Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck on a bye.
Cincinnati has put a greater onus on Dalton to lead the offense with the ground game struggling to gain any traction. He's responded well and the team has won two straight games, so the increased opportunities should continue. Even against a solid New York Jets defense, he's a good fill-in option.
Riley Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles)
An afterthought in the Philadelphia passing game during the early portion of the season, Cooper has made a much larger impact over the past few weeks. He's reeled in 10 passes for over 200 yards and a touchdown, and is finally delivering on some of the preseason sleeper buzz.
The good news for his value moving forward is that teams are making a concerted effort to take away the big plays from the Eagles top playmakers, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. As a result, they are willing to give up the underneath routes, and Cooper has capitalized.
Regardless of who's under center for the Eagles in Week 8, Cooper has carved out a big enough role in the offense to offer No. 3 wideout value. Philadelphia should be able to move the ball through the air against the New York Giants' 20th-ranked pass defense.
Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins)
Reed had shown signs of becoming a key piece in Washington's passing game throughout the season, but never did enough to fully attract the attention of fantasy owners. In Week 7, he finally had his breakout performance to the tune of 134 yards and a touchdown.
After that type of game, there's no doubt Reed will be one of the top targets on the waiver wire this week. That's especially true since tight end is such a weak position overall. Therefore, if you want him, make sure he's atop the priority list for this week's claims.
Pierre Garcon is the top receiver for the Redskins, but nobody else has stepped up. Reed has an excellent opportunity to fill that No. 2 role in a top-10 passing offense, which carries a lot of value. Expect another strong showing in a potential shootout with the Denver Broncos in Week 8.