Week 8 Waiver Wire: Players Who Will Take Advantage of Key Injuries
Injuries are a commonplace in the NFL, and that often leads to major shakeups on the waiver wire. But it's been a long time since we saw as damaging of a weekend as we had in Week 7.
With many contenders losing players for the season, and with other squads losing valuable parts for extended periods of time, we're going to see a big shift in fantasy points across the board.
Let's take a look at some fantasy afterthoughts who will turn into big performers in the coming weeks due to the many injuries suffered by key players this past weekend.
Jarrett Boykin, WR, Green Bay Packers
In Week 6, the Packers' receiving corps took a serious turn for the worse when Randall Cobb and James Jones went down with potentially serious leg injuries. However, these injuries allowed wideouts like Jarrett Boykin to emerge.
As reported by Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, Jones looks to be on the fast track toward coming back, but, also according to Demovsky, Cobb was placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list and won't be able to return until at least Week 15.
With both wideouts out in Week 7, Boykin had a big day. He led the team with 10 targets, and he caught eight of them for 103 yards and a touchdown. The week before, he had 43 yards on just one catch in relief duty.
Now that tight end Jermichael Finley is also out for an unknown amount of time, Aaron Rodgers will be even more desperate to find receivers to throw to. Given Rodgers' past tendency to rely upon a deep pool of pass-catchers, it's expected that Boykin will continue to produce, even if Jones returns and Jordy Nelson emerges even more.
Rodgers is a master at turning unknown receivers into effective options, and he'll do so with Boykin over the next few weeks.
Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If the Bucs (0-6) keep falling behind early, no running back on their roster may turn into a relevant fantasy player. But if one does emerge, it will be Mike James.
James only had three carries on the year prior to Week 7, but he notched 14 carries for 47 yards in a losing effort on Sunday after Doug Martin left with an injury.
Now that it's clear that Martin will miss an indefinite amount of time with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, as reported by Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay will need to thrust James into the starting spot.
As of Wednesday morning, he is owned in 7.2 percent of ESPN leagues, which further paints the picture of how available he is. However, if he breaks out for a big fantasy day, that will change quickly.
James' yards per carry average in the Atlanta loss leaves a lot to be desired, but remember, he was thrown into a game where the Bucs trailed and got a lot of garbage carries.
It's unclear whether James will do enough with the extended looks to make a name for himself, but he's worth putting on your bench while he gets acclimated with being the top back in Tampa Bay.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Even in the wake of so many Week 7 injuries, it's hard to argue that anyone other than the Colts suffered the biggest setback after losing Reggie Wayne for the season due to a torn ACL.
But, as the great quarterbacks do, Andrew Luck will find someone to replace him with. Fortunately, he already has an established option in Darrius Heyward-Bey just waiting for the opportunity.
Heyward-Bey has been a non-factor in Indianapolis from a fantasy standpoint this season, but that's about to change without Luck's most trusted target in the fold. Add that to the added attention T.Y. Hilton is garnering for his stellar play, and the chances will be there for Heyward-Bey to make plays.
He proved that to be true on Sunday Night Football, scoring his first touchdown as a Colt and catching four balls for 44 yards—his second-highest total of the season.
Only owned in 6.6 percent of ESPN leagues as of Wednesday morning, Heyward-Bey is a steal in many leagues and should waste no time proving that to be true in Wayne's absence.
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