Week 8 Waiver Wire: Top Pickups and Drops

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 05:   Denard Robinson #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field on October 5, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Week 7 in the NFL may be remembered as a transition week for fantasy owners. Jobs were won, jobs were lost, talented players were lost for the season and we even had a trade. Whatever you thought you knew coming into the week was surely shaken a bit this week.

But transition is great for fantasy owners, because it means a new crop of waiver gems are available and could provide your team with the boost it needs. Below, we'll take a look at the top waiver adds this week and a few players you can drop, too.

Players to Add

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 19:   Jerick McKinnon #31 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 19, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Everybody wave goodbye to Matt Asiata's fantasy value. It was fun while it lasted, buddy!

In the past two weeks, McKinnon has rushed 30 times for 143 yards and added eight receptions for 40 yards. This is his job now, folks, and he's a far more talented player than Asiata ever was. There is the concern that Asiata will steal the goal-line work, sure, but one of my tenets of fantasy is always to trust usage over touchdowns anyway. 

Essentially, always trust the player getting a lot of touches over the player who perhaps gets very few touches but happens to score touchdowns now and again. Touchdown production is unpredictable. General usage is not. It's safe to consider McKinnon a low-end RB2 or flex option for the rest of the season, and if he's available on waivers, he should absolutely be your top priority.

Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 19:  Running back Ronnie Hillman #23 of the Denver Broncos rushes against cornerback Tramaine Brock #26 of the San Francisco 49ers during a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo b
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

A funny little thing has happened while Montee Ball has been sidelined to injury—Ronnie Hillman has started to prove that he's actually the better fit for Denver's offense.

Ball hasn't run for 70 or more yards once this year. Hillman has done it two weeks in a row. Ball had one touchdown on the season, in Week 1. Hillman had two against San Francisco. Ball is a bigger back who has good vision and is surprisingly elusive for his size, but Hillman's shiftiness and quickness seem better suited to the spread-style runs Denver likes to employ. 

Here's what I'm getting at, folks—with Ball sidelined, Hillman has to be considered an RB2 going forward. But even when Ball returns, Hillman has proved that he deserves a bigger role than he had earlier in the season.

Am I saying Ball is losing his job? No. Am I saying that you could see a 60-40 split between the two players and Hillman outshining Ball despite getting fewer touches, a la Ahmad Bradshaw upstaging Trent Richardson in Indianapolis?

Yes, I'm absolutely saying that. He's a must-own player, folks.

Bryce Brown, RB, Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 28:  Bryce Brown #35 of the Buffalo Bills is brought down from behind by Devin Taylor #92 of the Detroit Lions at Wilson Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

One of the mysteries in fantasy football at the moment is why Bryce Brown has been inactive for the entire season. He hasn't been hurt and the Bills traded for him in the offseason, but have yet to even suit him up. So why?

The first theory is that he indeed was only been the fourth-best running back during camp and in practice. If you subscribe to that theory, then Anthony Dixon should be the player you add in the wake of injuries to C.J. Spiller (out for the year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (per Marc Sessler)) and Fred Jackson (out for at least a few weeks). 

But there's a second theory in my opinion, and it's simply that the Bills felt Spiller, Jackson and Dixon each fulfilled a specific need for the team and therefore didn't need to use a weekly roster spot on Brown. If that's the case, the team would likely continue to use Dixon in the role they had designated for him while likely giving Brown the majority of the carries. 

Brown is pretty talented, folks. In two years with the Philadelphia Eagles, he averaged 4.6 yards per carry and accumulated 878 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns as LeSean McCoy's deputy. And his teammates have certainly had nothing but good things to say about him, per the Bills' official Twitter account:

Buffalo Bills @buffalobills

.@Fred22Jackson on @BryceBrown_34: "He's an every-down back. He can do it all. We won't miss a beat"

Buffalo Bills @buffalobills

While media interviews @BryceBrown_34, FB Frank Summers has some advice: "Ya'll better get his autograph now"

Those aren't the words of players who expect Brown to remain a backup, so I'd expect him to be the starter this week. If he can avoid fumbling, an issue in his past, Brown has legitimate RB2 upside while Jackson is sidelined. If you want a short-term lineup solution (Jackson seems likely to be out a month at the most), you can't beat Brown. 

Denard Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

OK, so to start the season we thought Toby Gerhart was going to be the man for Jacksonville. He was something for them, but he wasn't exactly the man. Then we thought that maybe Storm Johnson might be a viable replacement, but, no, that didn't exactly work out beyond two short touchdowns and little else.

So along comes Denard Robinson and, would you look at that, he rushes 22 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. Has a viable running back emerged from Jacksonville?


It's hard to imagine the Jags are going to so quickly give up on Gerhart and, perhaps more importantly, it's hard to imagine most players having much success behind that offensive line. In deeper leagues, Robinson is a must-add player, but for the moment he's a player you should hesitate to start unless you're desperate or the Jags fully commit to him as the starter. 

Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 19: Tre Mason #27 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates a first-quarter touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome on October 19,  2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

There's no doubt that Zac Stacy wasn't 100 percent coming into Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks, but the fact that he didn't get a touch—and the fact that Tre Mason turned his 18 rushes into 85 yards and a score—suggests a changing of the guard in this backfield has taken place.

Still, this has "three-headed committee" written all over it, with Mason earning the starter's gig while Benny Cunningham handles the passing-game duties and Stacy is brought on for goal-line work. For now, the player you want in this backfield is probably Mason, but until we see how the roles are divided he's a speculative RB3.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 19:  Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants carries the ball after the catch against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 19, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With Victor Cruz out for the season, ODB undoubtedly has a big role to play in this offense and the talent to produce big numbers. There's good news and bad news about Beckham, of course. 

The good news is that he has three touchdowns in his first three games. The bad news is that he has just 10 catches for 106 yards in that time, not exactly high-end usage. Still, the Giants passing game has been improved this season and there's no doubt ODB has a major role to play in it.

He should be rostered in all formats.

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

Maybe it's a coincidence that the game after Percy Harvin was traded, Baldwin had seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown, all season highs. Maybe. But with Harvin gone, Baldwin is clearly Russell Wilson's top target in the passing game. 

Let some other owner believe Baldwin's big performance was a coincidence. If you're in a deeper league and need receiver help, Baldwin is a player worth owning. 

Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 19: Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers makes the catch and runs in for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field on October 19, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Davante Adams has a touchdown reception in two of his last three games, and in the contest he didn't reach pay dirt he managed six receptions for 77 yards. Aaron Rodgers is red-hot right now and this offense has always supported fantasy relevance for three receivers, so Adams is a nice addition for owners in deeper leagues looking for some bye-week help.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 19:  Allen Robinson #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs for a touchdown during the game against the Cleveland Browns at EverBank Field on October 19, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Allen Robinson is a pretty deep cut for fantasy owners, yes, but he also has six or more fantasy points in four of the last six games and looks to be emerging as Blake Bortles' preferred target. You need not worry about him in 10- or 12-team leagues, but in deeper formats he's worth a gander.

Players to Drop

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 19: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins waits for play during the first quarter of their game against the Tennessee Titans at FedEx Field on October 19, 2014 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

We'll start with this from Washington's official Twitter account:

Washington Redskins @Redskins

Gruden said Colt McCoy will get the starter's reps at quarterback this week.

It was nice knowing you, Kirk Cousins' fantasy value. I don't think we'll be seeing you again, not after you were demoted for Colt McCoy. Yes, Colt McCoy. Feel free to drop Cousins.

In deeper leagues you might need to hold on to Asiata, if only because McKinnon could always come down with a chronic fumbling problem or get injured, but in shallow leagues there's little need to roster him at this point. You'll have better handcuffs available to you. 

If you still have Allen Hurns on your roster, he's droppable. Getting him the ball hasn't been a priority for the Jags in recent weeks. Ditto for Hakeem Nicks in Indianapolis, who just isn't on Andrew Luck's radar all that often at this point, and Riley Cooper in Philadelphia, who really just isn't that good.

I don't think you should drop Stacy just yet, but he's definitely on the dropping radar. Other players getting dangerously close to dropping status: Keenan Allen, Brandin Cooks, Percy Harvin (though he deserves a week or two with his new team, the New York Jets, before you pull the plug) and Chris Johnson (Chris Ivory is clearly the better player, though Johnson keeps getting touches).

Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy questions and make some corny jokes, too. It's more fun than trying to keep a straight face while offering Percy Harvin for Julius Thomas in a trade.

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