NFL Fantasy Football: Emergency Pick Up and Start Candidates for Week 8

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2010

Available in 85 percent of all Yahoo leagues, Mike Hart will take advantage of an opportunity to start Monday night against a very generous Houston defense.
Available in 85 percent of all Yahoo leagues, Mike Hart will take advantage of an opportunity to start Monday night against a very generous Houston defense.Win McNamee/Getty Images

Halfway through the fantasy football regular season, and many of us find ourselves struggling with a slew of byes in Week 8 that seems to be affecting everyone.

That’s because six teams are off this week, and all six are loaded with solid fantasy players that we are forced to bench this week. That’s right. No Falcons, Eagles, Giants, Ravens, Bears or Browns this week.

But never fear. There are a slew of guys you can snag for a last-minute plug-and-play.

Running backs

LeGarrette Blount, TB

The fact that he’s owned in just 23 percent of Yahoo leagues right now is just downright shocking. He usurped the primary RB role from Carnell Williams last week and didn’t look back en route to an 11-for-72 performance. Carnell will continue to play passing down snaps, but Blount will be on first and second downs and playing against a horrible Arizona defense.

Mike Hart, IND

Joseph Addai is definitely not playing. Donald Brown has yet to do much of anything to show he’s ready to play. Looks like Hart will be the primary ball carrier on a team that forces teams to cover the pass and leave large running lanes wide open. That could be gravy against the porous Houston defense. And, Hart is still available in 85 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Marshawn Lynch, SEA

Not as available as the previous two on this list, Lynch has taken over the starting RB gig in Seahawks-land and has a juicy matchup with the Oakland Raiders and their fourth-highest points allowed to running backs.

Fred Jackson, BUF

Available in nearly half of all Yahoo leagues, Jackson has been quiet this season overall but plays a surprisingly generous Kansas City defense  (17.83 points allowed to RBs per game).


Jon Kitna, DAL

I’ve mentioned this plenty of times in the past. Opportunity dwarfs talent in the NFL, and Kitna was just handed a boatload of opportunity with Tony Romo’s Week 7 injury, which could potentially be season-ending. Kitna was thrown another bone in his first opponent, a Jacksonville squad that allows 24 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. He has plenty of weapons and a great matchup and is rostered in just 26 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Matt Cassel, KC

Owned in less than half of all Yahoo leagues, Cassel has benefited from a string of easy matchups the past couple weeks and gets yet another this time around … a Bills squad that allows the third-highest fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs among all NFL teams.

Matthew Stafford, DET

Owned in just 43 percent of all Yahoo leagues, Stafford returns this week from injury and gets a matchup against Washington, a squad very generous to opposing QBs. Considering how effective Shaun Hill was for Detroit in Stafford’s absence, the sky is the limit for Stafford.

Wide Receivers

Blair White/Pierre Garcon, IND

Houston allows a ton of fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and Indy receivers have the best QB in the game delivering the pigskin. With Austin Collie out indefinitely, there is room for another new name to emerge from the Colts receiving corps. Garcon is long overdue to break out this season.

White has the same skill set as Collie. Anthony Gonzalez, who is back allegedly this week, could get some love, too, but it is hard to expect too much out of him considering how long he’s been away from game action.

Mike Thomas, JAX

Quietly effective in PPR leagues, Thomas’ big detractor so far is a lack of TDs. However, he plays against a Dallas squad that has been generous to opposing receivers and is the favorite target this season for David Garrard, who is back in the saddle for the Jags.

Brandon Tate, NE

Thought to be a primary beneficiary of the Randy Moss deal out of town, Tate has played second fiddle to Deion Branch and others so far. However, Branch is questionable heading into this week’s game. And the Vikings’ secondary has been suspect.

Tight Ends

Jacob Tamme, IND

Again, opportunity rules supreme for some players, and Tamme’s opportunity game in the form of a Dallas Clark wrist injury. The Texans are extremely forgiving against opposing tight ends and Tamme is very similar in skill set and size to Clark, so he could be a huge addition at this point in the season…and is available in 89 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment.

John Carlson, SEA

After a disappointing roller coaster of a season, Carlson has yet to string together enough solid statistical games to be starter-worthy in most leagues. But a matchup this week against Oakland may be just what the doctor ordered. You could do worse than starting Carlson this week, and he’s owned in just 40 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Check out our positional rankings for Week 8:  QB | RB | WR | TE 

And our very valuable fantasy points against compilations:  QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF

For all your Week 8 fantasy football needs, advice, etc., go here.