Week 8 Waiver-Wire Pickups: Available Sleepers in Most ESPN, Yahoo Leagues

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2015

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 25:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    Orleans Darkwa #26 of the New York Giants in action against the Dallas Cowboys on October 25, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Cowboys 27-20.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The free-agent pool for your fantasy football league is likely lacking many quality options, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few sleepers who can help you in Week 8 and beyond.

Stefon Diggs was likely one of the bigger pickups of the week, while Darren McFadden, James Starks and Alfred Blue should all be owned in most leagues. If those players are still available, they should be your first choices on the waiver wire. Assuming they are gone, however, you can look for a few lesser-known players who are likely still available in your league.

Here is a look at some top options available in at least 70 percent of leagues on ESPN.

Top Available Free Agent for Week 8
Pos.PlayerTeamPercent Owned*
QBTeddy BridgewaterMinnesota Vikings27.8
QBJay CutlerChicago Bears19.4
RBTheo RiddickDetroit Lions29.6
RBOrleans DarkwaNew York Giants6.4
RBKhiry RobinsonNew Orleans Saints13.2
RBChris PolkHouston Texans6.7
WREddie RoyalChicago Bears20.0
WRDanny AmendolaNew England Patriots21.6
WRNate WashingtonHouston Texans19.5
WRDexter McClusterTennessee Titans12.4
TEJacob TammeAtlanta Falcons4.5
TEClive WalfordOakland Raiders0.4
*ESPN leagues

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

Duane Burleson/Associated Press

There might be some mistakes and some turnovers, but Jay Cutler has played well this year when healthy. The quarterback had three games in a row of at least 17 fantasy points going into the bye last week and finally has legitimate targets to throw to on the field.

Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal had missed time this year but both should be back to full strength and ready to provide a lot of help to the veteran passer.

Meanwhile, quarterback coach Dowell Loggains thinks the receiver injuries were beneficial to Cutler's development, via John Mullin of CSN Chicago:

It probably was a blessing in disguise. It’s made Jay step up, be a bigger part, bigger voice. He’s run meetings, been very vocal on what he expects from each individual and I think guys have responded well to him. ...

You take having veterans out there—with Alshon and Eddie and those guys—and he has to tell those guys, be more vocal with what he expects, his expectations of where those guys are supposed to be.

The Minnesota Vikings defense has been solid this season but not unbeatable, allowing Cutler to be a reasonable fantasy starter in Week 8 and possibly beyond.

Orleans Darkwa, RB, New York Giants

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

You can't trust a four-man committee in a backfield, but Orleans Darkwa has a chance to potentially emerge from the mess and become a legitimate starter for the New York Giants.

The undrafted free agent rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 on a team-high eight carries. He also looked good doing it with some hard-nosed runs when he got the chance:

Art Stapleton of the Record noted that while you might not have heard of him, the running back has been around:

According to Pro Football Focus, Darkwa had 14 snaps in the win, which was more than Rashad Jennings (11) and Andre Williams (5) but trailed Shane Vereen (23). Vereen likely isn't going anywhere as the team's best receiver out of the backfield, but Darkwa can certainly jump the other two on the depth chart and become a bigger factor offensively.

If he can start getting 10-15 carries per game, he could be fantasy-relevant in a quality offense.

Khiry Robinson, RB, New Orleans Saints

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 25: Khiry Robinson #29 of the New Orleans Saints runs in for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It's true Khiry Robinson was nothing more than a vulture last game, scoring two touchdowns while averaging just two yards per carry. Mark Ingram fantasy owners likely put him as enemy No. 1 at this point.

However, Robinson matched Ingram with 14 carries in the win over the Indianapolis Colts, and that doesn't seem to be a fluke.

Robinson has already passed C.J. Spiller on the depth chart, earning more snaps than the veteran in four of six games where both were active. Pro Football Focus also rates him No. 5 out of 56 running backs this season in "elusive rating," thanks in part to 15 missed tackles forced in 67 touches.

Although he didn't have an efficient game Sunday, he has played well this season and earned himself more carries. With the New Orleans Saints lacking playmakers in the passing game, they might turn to the run to move the ball more effectively. As long as this continues, Robinson will have fantasy value.

Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 25:  Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots reacts after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Darren McCollester
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Brandon LaFell is back in the fold with the New England Patriots and Julian Edelman will always get targets. However, Danny Amendola has been a trustworthy receiver lately, and in this offense that is all that matters.

Amendola had eight catches for 86 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 after reaching 105 yards on seven catches the week before. He was targeted nine times in each game. More importantly, he separated himself from his teammates in one area, per Bleacher Report's Erik Frenz:

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can trust him, which is enough to lead to more opportunities going forward.

While the Patriots won't always throw the ball quite as much as they did against the New York Jets (54 times), there will also be easier matchups in the future than the physical secondary they played Sunday.

If you need a fill-in at receiver, Amendola has a chance to keep up his solid play with more big numbers, especially in points-per-reception leagues.

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