Fantasy Football Week 8: Waiver-Wire Pickups, Rankings and Stat Projections

David McCracken@crackemcFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2016

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 23: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons runs with a catch against Steve Williams #41 and Kyle Emanuel #51 of the San Diego Chargers at the Georgia Dome on October 23, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

It was around halftime of the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals game when most fantasy owners decided to turn their attention towards Week 8. After all, no one who plays fantasy likes watching a game that ends in a tie. 

Especially one that had zero touchdowns.

Each week, fantasy owners try to dominate their competition and look for that missing link on the waiver wire so the possibility of a tie can never, ever happen. Here, we'll take a look at the top 10 players at each position heading into Week 8.

Hopefully your fantasy matchup will never end in a tie.

Week 8 NFL Schedule
DateTeamsTime (ET)National TV
Thursday, Oct. 27Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans8:25 p.m.NFL Network
Sunday, Oct. 30Washington Redskins vs. Cincinnati Bengals9:30 a.m.FOX
Sunday, Oct. 30Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts1:00 p.m.CBS
Sunday, Oct. 30Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers1:00 p.m.FOX
Sunday, Oct. 30Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:00 p.m.CBS
Sunday, Oct. 30Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints1:00 p.m.FOX
Sunday, Oct. 30Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans1:00 p.m.FOX
Sunday, Oct. 30New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills1:00 p.m.CBS
Sunday, Oct. 30New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns1:00 p.m.CBS
Sunday, Oct. 30San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos4:05 p.m.CBS
Sunday, Oct. 30Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons4:25 p.m.FOX
Sunday, Oct. 30Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Oct. 31Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears8:30 p.m.ESPN
NFL.com

Quarterbacks

Week 8 Quarterbacks
RankPlayerProjected Points
1Russell Wilson23.46
2Matt Ryan22.74
3Jameis Winston21.51
4Aaron Rodgers20.26
5Derek Carr19.85
6Tom Brady19.80
7Alex Smith19.63
8Carson Palmer19.39
9Drew Brees19.32
10Cam Newton19.04
Yahoo Sports

Boom: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

In three games, Tom Brady has thrown for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns with zero interceptions. Whatever rust he claimed to have after his first game back from suspension is clearly gone.

It doesn't matter that the Patriots have a tough matchup next week against division rival Buffalo Bills as long as Brady, Rob Gronkoswki and Julian Edelman are available. The Patriots are, without a doubt, the best team in the NFL entering Week 8.

Brady is a must-play against the Bills, because he comes off an 18.18-point performance in a game he could've racked up a lot more points if New England didn't have so much success running the ball during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected to score 19.80 points in Yahoo leagues in Week 8, start Brady and don't think twice.

Bust: Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer hasn't scored above 14.48 points in Yahoo leagues since Week 2, and the snooze fest that was the highly anticipated divisional game against the Seattle Seahawks didn't offer much hope for Palmer fantasy owners.

His 14.48 output in Week 7 had zero touchdowns, which doesn't come as much of a surprise since Palmer has only scored two touchdowns in his last four games.

He's not worth starting at this point and with just seven touchdowns to five interceptions on the season. Palmer isn't even worth being on your bench at this point. Drop him and scour the waiver wire for someone more consistent. 

Sleeper: Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

With a sneakily efficient performance against the New Orleans Saints this past weekend, Alex Smith might be the signal-caller your team desperately needs at the halfway point of the season, and the best part is that he's only owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues

Throwing for 214 yards with two touchdowns, Smith scored 17.26 fantasy points in Yahoo leagues in Week 7 and will face off against a vulnerable secondary next as the Chiefs take on the Indianapolis Colts.

Smith's matchup against the Colts could be a gold mine, especially if Jamaal Charles can find his way back onto the field. The combination of a healthy Charles and Spencer Ware could be a scary thought for opposing defenses, and Smith could reap the benefits.

Wide Receivers

Week 8 Wide Receivers
RankPlayerProjected Points
1Julio Jones17.33
2T.Y Hilton14.82
3Mike Evans14.24
4Larry Fitzgerald14.21
5A.J. Green12.35
6Alshon Jeffrey12.34
7Amari Cooper11.59
8Terrelle Pryor Sr.11.19
9Jordy Nelson11.03
10Allen Robinson10.96
Yahoo Sports

Boom: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

There are few certainties in fantasy football. Julio Jones is one of them.

Arguably the most dominant wideout in the NFL today, Jones proved to the league why he's head and shoulders above the rest of the league when it comes to making plays and stretching the field.

There's not much else to say about a player who has racked up 642 yards in his last four games, an average of 160.5 per game. Projected to score 17.33 points next weekend against the Green Bay Packers in Yahoo leagues, don't even think of moving Jones out of your lineup.

Bust: Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

To say Allen Robinson's season has been a disappointment would be an understatement. 

With 296 receiving yards in six games this season, Robinson has been subpar to say the least. In comparison with the aforementioned Julio Jones, Jones had more receiving yards in one game back in Week 4 than Robinson has accumulated all season. 

Even Robinson is disappointed with his output, via Hays Carlyon of Jacksonville.com:

I’m pretty shocked. It’s frustrating. I can’t focus on those plays last year. I’ve got to make the plays this year. I can’t try to make a super play every time. I’ve just got to make the play in front of me.

Until Robinson figures it out, place him on your bench in Week 8. 

Sleeper: Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

I've been calling Crowder's number for the last couple of weeks, but he's still owned in just 37 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Sunday night. 

What are you waiting for? Go place a waiver on him before it's too late!

Crowder scored 10.80 points against the Detroit Lions this past weekend, but he's no one-hit wonder. He scored 10.30 points in Yahoo leagues in Week 6, 9.50 points in Week 5, 13.80 points in Week 3 and 9.90 points in Week 2. 

He's consistent, he puts up points and he might be available in your league. It's almost too good to be true.

Running Backs

Week 8 Running Backs
RankPlayerProjected Points
1David Johnson15.99
2DeMarco Murray15.29
3Lamar Miller13.27
4Christine Michael12.23
5Matt Forte12.03
6Jacquizz Rodgers12.02
7Jamaal Charles11.67
8Ezekiel Elliott11.64
9Jerick McKinnon11.45
10Melvin Gordon11.39
Yahoo Sports

Boom: Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

The 2016 edition of Melvin Gordon is what fantasy owners who drafted Gordon in his rookie year have been waiting to see.

Scoring three touchdowns against the Falcons on Sunday, Gordon is the clear, No. 1 option the Chargers have coming out of the backfield.

Scoring 30.10 points in Yahoo leagues, Gordon single-handedly carried the Chargers past Atlanta and surely was the reason why a lot of his fantasy owners won their matchups in Week 7. Projected to score 11.39 points against the Denver Broncos in Week 8, ride the hot hand while it's still warm. 

Bust: Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings

The fantasy that McKinnon would pick up Adrian Peterson's production is just that: A fantasy.  

It's a split backfield for Minnesota with Matt Asiata, and it's clear Asiata is the goal-line tailback that vultures points off McKinnon. 

Scoring 4.80 points in Yahoo leagues this past weekend just isn't enough to justify a start after this many games. Don't drop McKinnon, but it wouldn't hurt to test his value in trades or in the flex position in your lineup. 

Sleeper: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Chicago Bears

Call it a stretch, but Ka'Deem Carey carried the ball (no pun intended) more than Jordan Howard did this past week against the Packers10 carries to sevenand while it may not mean much heading into a tough game against the Vikings in Week 8, it is worth monitoring. 

Indeed, he has hurt the value of Howard. But since he's available in two percent of Yahoo leagues, he's worth handcuffing to Howard until further notice.

Tight Ends

Week 8 Tight Ends
RankPlayerProjected Points
1Jimmy Graham9.91
2Rob Gronkowski9.47
3Travis Kelce9.29
4Cameron Brate7.93
5Greg Olsen7.93
6Jack Doyle7.71
7Vernon Davis6.83
8Delanie Walker6.67
9Coby Fleener6.43
10Gary Barnidge6.11
Yahoo Sports

Boom: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

Remember when I said how Julio Jones was a sure thing in fantasy? So is watching Rob Gronkowski score touchdowns.

It's almost a bad week for Gronkowski when he doesn't catch a touchdown and record 100 receiving yards. With 48.4 points in Yahoo leagues since Brady's return three weeks ago, Gronkowski is back to being the most dominant tight end in the NFL.

Play him every week, no matter what. 

Bust: Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles came out on top against the Vikings, handing Minnesota its first loss of the season. But for tight end Zach Ertz, it was just another bad game.

The Eagles could've easily forgotten Ertz was on the field, and who could blame them? He's been hard to find in the box score after each game this season as it is.

With one catch in his last two games and 11 receptions for 131 yards in his last four games with zero touchdowns, Ertz is no longer a viable option. Get rid of him and try to pick up the next guy on this list. 

Sleeper: Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts

It's hard not to root for Jack Doyle. He was my ultimate fantasy sleeper after Week 1's two-touchdown performance, and he hasn't disappointed.

With Dwayne Allen out injured, Doyle stepped up in a big way for the Colts, hauling in nine receptions on 10 targets for 78 yards and a score. The touchdown marked Doyle's fourth of the season in what has been a breakout year for the 26-year old tight end out Western Kentucky University.

Available in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues, you won't regret picking him up and plugging him into the starting lineup.

Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Defense/Special Teams
RankPlayerProjected Points
1Minnesota9.95
2Arizona9.63
3Tennessee9.30
4New England8.90
5Kansas City8.58
6Carolina8.56
7Seattle8.29
8Washington8.28
9Denver8.00
10Tampa Bay7.53
Yahoo Sports

All points, stats and projections are courtesy of Yahoo Sports