It's not too late to win a Week 8 fantasy matchup with a sneaky-good waiver wire get.
The waiver wire is especially good for short-term production, just look at last week—Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas stepped in for injured stars and caught seven balls for 149 yards and a score. Washington's tight end Jordan Reed caught nine for 134 and a score. Green Bay's Jarrett Boykin went for eight, 103 and one.
We could go on, but the main point is simple—they were all readily available in most leagues.
While not always a guarantee for long-term production, here are a few guys sure to post major numbers next week.
Note: Ownership percentages based on CBSSports.com leagues from the previous week.
Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets (27 percent)
New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has not exactly been a statistical monster this season, but he has shown positive improvement each week and has led the Jets to four comeback victories.
Geno Smith is the first @nyjets QB EVER to record a 4th-quarter/OT game-winning drive in each of his first four wins as a starting QB.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLONFOX) October 20, 2013
On the year, Smith has thrown for over 1,700 yards, eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions, but is coming off a quality outing against New England in which he threw for 233 yards and scored two total touchdowns.
The long term is bright, but so is next week against a suddenly favorable matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that will be without top corner Leon Hall, who was lost for the season with a torn Achilles, per Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports.
Smith is now a solid option on most rosters given all of the factors.
Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1 percent)
Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin has cost fantasy owners in a big way this year after a stellar rookie campaign, but things got even worse last week as he tore his labrum and will miss Thursday's contest with Carolina, per NFL Network's Adam Schefter:
The #Bucs officially declare RB Doug Martin as OUT for tomorrow's game given his torn labrum. Still unclear on his status this season tho— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 23, 2013
With Martin's status in doubt for the rest of the year, rookie Mike James is a safe pickup in all leagues. Head coach Greg Schiano recently sang James' praises via Mike Brown of the Lakeland Ledger:
I think Mike has really improved as a running back from the beginning stages of training camp and has made improvements steadily. When he has had his opportunity he's done good things. ... He understands our running game. He sees what the vision is and he tries to execute the play and I think his natural abilities take over.
Through six games, James has 57 yards on 17 carries, but with no other viable option to turn to, the hapless Buccaneers will give James plenty of opportunities despite going against the NFL's No. 4 rush defense.
James is here to stay for the long haul.
Jarrett Boykin, WR, Green Bay Packers (37 percent)
Hey look, it's the guy from the intro.
Jarrett Boykin, who spent last week in Randall Cobb's old role, went off for the aforementioned eight receptions, 103 yards and a touchdown.
Boykin saw more opportunities than anyone anticipated with James Jones out and tight end Jermichael Finley suffering a serious neck injury.
Boykin's value continues to improve from a fantasy perspective, as Jones has yet to practice this week, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
#Packers getting healthier: Starks, B. Jones, Bush back. J.Jones, Finley, Matthews, Perry, R. Taylor not practicing. No Worthy or Rich. yet— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) October 23, 2013
This means Boykin will once again be a major fantasy player with defenses focused on stopping Jordy Nelson and a newly-found running game with rookie back Eddie Lacy. Finley will unfortunately not be a factor either, as ESPN's Ed Werder reports the star tight end may not play again this season:
Even though Jermichael Finley should be able to play NFL again, it would not be surprising if Packers consider IR sometime this week— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 22, 2013
The Packers need Boykin more than ever, and fantasy owners who realize it will reap the benefits.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals (42 percent)
Rookie tight end Tyler Eifert broke onto the scene last week with his three receptions for 45 yards and his first-career touchdown.
Eifert has slowly worked his way into more playing time, and with fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham consistently costing Cincinnati penalty yardage, the Notre Dame product is in line for even more opportunities moving forward.
This is especially the case in Week 8 against the New York Jets. With star cornerback Antonio Cromartie locked onto quarterback Andy Dalton's favorite target in A.J. Green, things will be open underneath and Dalton will have no choice but to consistently target Eifert.
Ride the hot hand in Eifert, because he may just be getting started.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling