Week 8 Fantasy Sleepers: Waiver-Wire Targets Who Are a Must-Start

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IOctober 24, 2013

Oct 13, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria (80) does a celebration dance after catching his third touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Lions beat the Browns 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

This will end up being a rough week for fantasy owners everywhere as the byes are hitting hard in Week 8.

A grand total of six teams will get the week off and that will leave fantasy teams depleted, resulting in a mad rush to the waiver wire to find those gems that will help owners through their respective matchups.

There won't be much out there, but making the right decision that will have an impact is still possible and could be the difference between a win and a loss this week.

Let's take a look at some under-the-radar fantasy options that owners must start in Week 8.


Peyton Hillis, RB, New York Giants

/Getty Images

With the status of Brandon Jacobs uncertain for this Sunday, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, Hillis is in line to get the bulk of the workload this week against the Philadelphia Eagles:

Tom Coughlin said he has no idea whether Brandon Jacobs will be able to return next week or not. #NYG

— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) October 22, 2013

Last week, Hillis found his way into the end zone in his first game of the season and carried the ball 18 times for 36 yards while catching five passes for 45 yards. It was quite clear that when Eli Manning was under pressure against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7, he chose to dump the ball off to Hillis, which worked out well and should continue in Week 8.

As he continues to shake off the rust of not having played since last season, Hillis figures to get better and should see increased production as a result over fellow back and rookie Michael Cox, who failed to make an impression last week with 23 yards on 11 carries.

The Eagles are a solid No. 12 against the run this season, but they are also the second-worst pass defense in football, so that should force Philly to cheat against the pass in order to make up for their struggles. That approach should help open things up on the ground for Hillis, and he has already proved he's a viable target in the passing game as well.


Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions

Sep 22, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria (80) dances on the field after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There was much excitement about Fauria after scoring three touchdowns Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, but that has subsided a bit after the rookie notched only one catch for 15 yards last week.

This week the buzz is back as Fauria will certainly see a bigger role with the team now that the Lions have released fellow tight end Tony Scheffler. Even before the release of Scheffler, Fauria had seen his snaps go up from nine against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5 to 31 last week against the Bengals.

Even though his career high for receiving yards in a game is 34, Fauria does have five touchdown catches in total and has proved to be a favorite target in the red zone for quarterback Matthew Stafford with his big frame.

The Lions' Week 8 opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, are one of the worst teams in fantasy against opposing tight ends, as they are allowing the fourth-most points per week against the position.


Brandon Gibson, WR, Miami Dolphins

/Getty Images

Gibson has quietly made a name for himself the past few weeks as a reliable option through the air for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. In his last three games, Gibson has scored seven points or more (ESPN standard league) in each of his last three games, with a season-high 16 coming last week.

Gibson got into the end zone twice and had five catches for 40 yards in a loss to the Buffalo Bills. As far as Dolphins receivers go, Gibson is third in total fantasy points and is just two behind Mike Wallace for second on the team. 

In Week 8, the Dolphins will take on the New England Patriots, and while they do rank No. 9 against receivers in fantasy, the Pats defense as a whole won't be 100 percent with Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo out for the season.

Also, top corner Aqib Talib has been dealing with injuries, and even if he plays on Sunday, he will be more focused on stopping Wallace and Brian Hartline rather than Gibson.

That will leave Gibson with a favorable matchup and yet another chance to make an impact this week.