Fantasy Football Week 8: Hot Names to Grab in Face of Byes and Injuries
Week 7 around the NFL served as quite an unfriendly reminder that football is, indeed, a contact sport, and the human body can sometimes be quite fragile. Key injuries to many starting players marred what was, overall, a very good week of football in the league.
Among the notables to be lost for the 2013 season, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne and St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford have both been diagnosed with torn anterior cruciate ligaments.
As if Houston's season wasn't already headed in the wrong direction, linebacker Brian Cushing both broke his leg and tore ligaments in his knee, leaving him done for the season. And running back Arian Foster tweaked his hamstring, the same injury giving Foster fits in the preseason.
With all of these injuries comes a major fantasy impact. Many fans would have had Bradford, Wayne, or Foster as No. 1 starters on their teams. Whether out because of injury or your favorite player's team has a bye this weekend—we'll dive in and take a look at a few of the players who may just be able to help fill the figurative shoes left in your lineup.
It has been an odd year, so far this season, for running backs throughout the league. And injuries have left a lot of big names shelved or just not running like their prior selves. Here are a few backfield guys who might be available in your league and could help immediately.
Ben Tate, Houston Texans
The current situation with Arian Foster is unfortunately one that has been seen before. Though injured himself, Tate is currently listed as probable on this weekend's injury report, while Foster is questionable. Whether Foster plays or not, these are the only two running backs currently on Houston's roster.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers
Hunter, if available, should be grabbed immediately for your team, even if only for this weekend. The 49ers will face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the statistically worst team in the NFL against the rush. The Jags are allowing 153.3 yards per game on the ground, so this pickup should be a no-brainer.
Peyton Hillis, New York Giants
Brandon Jacobs did not practice Thursday, leaving Hillis to carry the workload, as he did Monday night vs. the Minnesota Vikings. Look for Hillis to, again, get the majority of the carries against a Philadelphia 101.1 yards per game on the ground.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Indianapolis Colts
Given the aforementioned Reggie Wayne injury, it remains to be seen who will be expected to contribute in Wayne's absence for Indianapolis. At the current moment, it looks as if it will be Heyward-Bey's job to lose.
The seasoned veteran has had some streaky catching numbers, including many drops this season. But Heyward-Bey has a speed that, combined with fellow receiver T.Y. Hilton's, can be a lethal combination. If available, Heyward-Bey would be a good pickup for future reference, though the Colts are on a bye this weekend.
Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay just cannot catch a break. Following the offseason departure of Greg Jennings, the Packers have lost wide receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb and tight end Jermichael Finley to injuries in recent weeks, thus leaving quite a void at the pass-catching positions for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Boykin has already proven his worth in the past two weeks, reeling in nine catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. If available, Boykin would be a solid pickup for anyone looking for a good second or even flex receiver.
Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Not the biggest name, this rookie out of Baylor has provided quite a spark for this Dallas Cowboys offense, including a go-ahead touchdown in Week 7's win over the Philadelphia.
Williams has hauled in three touchdowns in his last three games, in addition to the 249 yards gained.
The young receiver has quickly, and quite recently, become one of quarterback Tony Romo's favorite targets on the field. He is sure to be available in most fantasy leagues. Williams, like Boykin, would be a great addition for a team with injury/bye issues and looking for a good second/flex receiver.
The quarterbacking position is always one of great pride for a fantasy football owner. And if you're anything like me, odds are, you got stuck with one great/good quarterback, and your backup just sucks. Here are a few guys who are primed to start seeing more time, if even only for Week 8.
Kellen Clemens, St. Louis Rams
Following the aforementioned injury to Sam Bradford, it appears that Clemens will be handed the reins for the remainder of the season. Clemens is one of those guys who has always been a solid No. 2 on the depth chart but never a great starter. If in need of a quarterback with a looming bye for your starter, Clemens should be worth a good look.
Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Thursday night's loss to Carolina was ugly for Tampa Bay, but the lone bright spot was the young quarterback out of NC State. Glennon completed 30 of his insanely high 51 passing attempts, adding 275 yards and a touchdown into the mix. While not astronomical numbers, Glennon would be a fantastic No. 2 QB on a team that has a starter headed into a bye.
Can you imagine how good Glennon could be if he actually had a real head coach?
Jason Campbell, Cleveland Browns
This is an option if you're desperate. And I mean "two quarterbacks on a bye in a 20-team league with very few available free agents remaining" desperate.
The Cleveland Browns are a wreck—a revolving door for quarterbacks. Everyone knows the old adage "if you've got two quarterbacks you don't have one." Well, Cleveland has too many.
If this is your last resort, Campbell getting the start on Sunday isn't the worst thing that could happen. But that Kansas City defense makes it a little harder to push Campbell into that starting slot.
Andrew Quarless, Green Bay Packers
With the current injury situation with tight end Jermichael Finley, it appears that Quarless will get the majority of the reps until (if) Finley returns. Quarless doesn't have much experience on the year, only having four catches for 28 yards. However, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one who likes to throw to the big guys and let them tough it out. Expect Quarless to provide solid numbers.
Joseph Fauria, Detroit Lions
If anything, pick this man up out of free agency just for his touchdown dances. The man is a legend.
But in all seriousness, Fauria has been one of the bright spots for the young Detroit Lions this year, hauling in five touchdowns thus far. If remaining, Fauria should be a no-brainer in adding him to your team.