Another week of byes will affect most every team in your respective leagues. If you are feeling the pinch, here are a few emergency-start options that may still be lurking on your waiver wire/free-agency pool.
Matt Cassel, QB, KC
As I’ve mentioned previously, Cassel is in a good situation. He plays on a team that has several solid weapons (Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and uber rookie Jonathan Baldwin). He plays on a team that will likely struggle to hold back opposing offenses, meaning more catch-up situations and garbage time airing-it-out displays.
This week, he draws a Chargers team that is primed for a big offensive display, but hasn’t been super great against opposing passing attacks. Available in 63 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Cassel makes a nice plug-and-play for Week 8.
Alex Smith, QB, SF
Don’t look now, but Smith has started to show some of the upside that many in the past had hoped he’d flash for years. The Niners are clicking on both sides of the ball and Smith has been productive despite some questionable play from his available targets.
This week, Smith, who is available in 71 percent of Yahoo! leagues, faces a Cleveland team that can be exploited via the air.
Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
Chinstrapninjas.com regulars are not surprised to see Dalton here. He’s been touted numerous times on the site for his quietly impressive consistency from a fantasy standpoint—in drawing the Seahawks this week, Dalton should have a nice game.
Seattle has been surprisingly effective against the running game, leaving Dalton, A.J. Green and company to make some noise in the passing game. Dalton is available in 67 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Bernard Scott, RB, CIN
Yes, this is somewhat of a double standard after mentioning just a moment ago that the Seahawks are solid against the pass. The key here is that Scott is one of just a handful of backs you can still snatch out of your free-agent pool (owned in 38 percent of Yahoo! leagues) who is going into Week 8 as a bona fide starting option out of the backfield.
While I wouldn’t expect a huge game out of him, he will do enough to merit an emergency-start tag.
Maurice Morris, RB, DET
Owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo! leagues at the moment, Morris is in a better situation. The Lions will likely run up the score against the hapless Broncos, and Morris will be used to attempt to control the clock.
Yes, he does share some carries in the backfield, but he’ll still get plenty of carries and definitely enough to be effective in what should be a one-sided affair.
Roy Helu, RB, WAS
Starting a Redskins running back in fantasy is about as reliable as Lindsay Lohan is to making her rehab appointments. However, the season-ending injury to Tim Hightower does clear things up a little.
Instead of three-headed monster, Shanahan will likely be looking at two options in Helu and Torain. Neither did much last week, but Helu did lead the pair in snaps against the Panthers. He is available in 71 percent of Yahoo! leagues and has just as much of a chance to “break out” this week as anyone, as long as the Redskins are able to keep the Bills from running up too much of an early-game lead.
Jabar Gaffney, WR, WAS
If the Bills do run up an early lead, which is totally possible considering their overall firepower this year, then Gaffney makes an interesting play—especially in PPR settings. He seems to have enough of newly-minted starter John Beck’s attention, and should get plenty of targets in a game that could become a shootout at some point.
The loss of Santana Moss helps Gaffney keep a prominent role in the Redskins’ plans.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, PIT
Opportunity can reign supreme in fantasy situations, and Sanders has a great opportunity ahead. Owned in just 12 percent of Yahoo! leagues, he is readily available and could have a huge game this week.
That is because of several factors. Hines Ward has been ruled out for this game, propelling Sanders into a starting role right out of the gates Sunday. The Steelers also play the Patriots, who is horrendous against opposing passing games. Oddly enough, fellow Steelers receiver Antonio Brown is owned in more than double the leagues as Sanders, but expected to fall behind Emmanuel in terms of targets and overall opportunities Sunday. This could be a good shootout contest where Sanders really breaks out alongside Mike Wallace.
Torrey Smith, WR, BAL
I know I keep sounding like a broken record on Torrey, and some are listening as his ownership rates have increased across all major fantasy sites. However, most have soured on Torrey as he has yet to have a true breakout game since his Week 3 explosion against St. Louis.
This week, Smith will start once again as Lee Evans has been ruled out. He draws a Cardinals defense that was just exploited in numerous ways by the Steelers, and the Ravens will likely follow suit in attempting to burn the Cardinals early and often with the passing game.
Evan Moore, TE, CLE
Easily the most available player on this list, owned in just two percent of Yahoo! leagues, Moore is another example of opportunity.
For one, he should get an increased role for the Browns as Ben Watson is battling a concussion. Check stats on game day, but even if Watson does play, Moore should get a big uptick in attention from Colt McCoy, who loves to check down to the tight end.
The Browns will also likely be playing from behind against an upstart Niners squad, and with lead receiver Mohammed Massaquoi already ruled out, Moore should see plenty of action and a chance to post decent fantasy numbers this week.
Check out these buy-low, sell-high quarterback options.
For all our Week 8 fantasy advice, including our soon-to-be-posted positional projections, check out the fantasy football hub.
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