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Fantasy Football Week 8 Rankings: Targets for This Week's Injured Stars

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2018

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 07: Wide receiver Christian Kirk #13 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes up field against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. The Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers 28-18. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Every year, injuries affect the fantasy football landscape, and 2018 has been no different. Houston Texans wideout Will Fuller suffered a torn ACL on Thursday night, and he's just the latest addition to an IR list that includes Jimmy Garoppolo, Marshawn Lynch, Delanie Walker and Jay Ajayi.

Wideouts Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills missed the Week 8 opener because of injuries, and viable fantasy starters like Marlon Mack, Sony Michel, LeSean McCoy and Matt Breida are all dealing with health issues heading into Week 8.

When you add in the fact that the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans are on bye, there's a good chance you are still scrambling fill out your roster.

We're going to take a look at the top targets among players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and examine our top waiver-wire fill-ins of the week.

                    

Quarterbacks

1. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (43 percent owned)

2. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (26 percent owned)

3. Case Keenum, Denver Broncos (24 percent owned)

               

Running Backs

1. Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (32 percent owned)

2. Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers (47 percent owned)

3. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (48 percent owned)

                 

Wide Receivers

1. Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (29 percent owned)

2. Willie Snead, Baltimore Ravens (34 percent owned)

3. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos (10 percent owned)

                 

Tight Ends

1. Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers (48 percent owned)

2. Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (48 percent owned)

3. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (6 percent owned)

                   

QB Baker Mayfield

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 21:  Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns passes during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 21, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield hasn't been perfect in his four starts this season, but he's averaging 272.5 yards per game and is coming off a strong performance (215 yards passing, 43 yards rushing, two touchdowns) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In Week 8. Mayfield has a favorable matchup against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers in Week 6—Pittsburgh's last game before the bye.

The Steelers are likely to pressure Mayfield in his first start against them, but Browns offensive coordinator—and former Steelers coordinator—Todd Haley should have a plan to counter.

"He has to be ready," Haley said, per Herbie Teope of NFL.com.

Expect Mayfield to have a solid fantasy outing, even if the Browns don't do enough as a team to get the victory.

                    

RB Nyheim Hines

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack was a fantasy superstar in Week 7, rushing for 126 yards and a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. However, Mack is dealing with an ankle injury and is listed as questionable to face the Oakland Raiders in Week 8.

Zak Keefer @zkeefer

5 Colts questionable ahead of Sunday’s game in Oakland: Jabaal Sheard, Clayton Geathers, Zach Pascal, Marlon Mack and Adam Vinatieri. Jack Doyle isn’t even listed as questionable. After missing five weeks, all he needs is three practices and he’s back.

Even if Mack plays, he will likely be at less than 100 percent. This raises the value of rookie back Nyheim Hines, who is already a borderline starter in points-per-reception (PPR) formats.

Hines is averaging more than four receptions per game and is coming off a 47-yard performance on the ground. He will have a favorable matchup against the listless Raiders.

Oakland is ranked 27th in run defense (131.8 yards per game allowed) and 26th in total defense (398.5). Expect Hines to be a solid starter in PPR, even if Mack is healthy enough to get the start.

                 

WR Christian Kirk

The Arizona Cardinals are a bit of a mess, but there have been some glimpses of promise between rookie quarterback Josh Rosen and rookie wideout Christian Kirk. The two are establishing chemistry, and Kirk is looking like a strong start against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8.

Kirk leads all rookie receivers with 28 receptions this season. He's averaging four catches and 52.5 yards per game.

The 49ers rank just 23rd in passing yards allowed (266.7 per game) and 31st in points allowed (31.1). They have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

The Cardinals will be rolling with a new offensive coordinator in Byron Leftwich in Week 8. A change in play-calling could provide a spark to the offense, but that shouldn't increase the learning curve for Kirk.

"Byron said it [Monday] morning, 'We're not going to try to reinvent the wheel,'" Kirk said, per Darren Urban of the team's official website.

Expect Kirk to be Arizona's top pass-catcher in Week 8.

                     

TE Vance McDonald

Steelers tight end Vance McDonald has had a breakout campaign in the Steelers offense under new coordinator Randy Fichtner. In five games, he's amassed 274 yards and a touchdown, and he's coming off a seven-catch, 68-yard performance.

Expect McDonald to have similar numbers against the Browns. Cleveland isn't especially vulnerable to tight ends—it's allowing the 15th-most fantasy points to the position—but McDonald's role in the offense makes him a viable starter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard produced five receptions and 67 yards against the Browns in Week 7.

Don't hesitate to start McDonald in Week 8, especially in PPR formats.

                   

All fantasy stats and rankings via FantasyPros.

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