Week 8 Waiver Wire: Fantasy Football's Top Pickups and Breakout Candidates

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2021

Week 8 Waiver Wire: Fantasy Football's Top Pickups and Breakout Candidates

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Fantasy managers loaded up on Week 7 streamers with six teams idle. Now, they can swap out those players for some of Sunday's breakout performers. "Bye-mageddon" is over.

    Going into Week 8, keep an eye on the Philadelphia Eagles' injury report. They may rely on a rookie ball-carrier to handle the majority load in a favorable matchup for the ground attack. Managers in point-per-reception leagues will have an alternative running back option who carved out a role for himself Sunday. 

    Over the past few weeks, a tight end has made the most of his expanded role, and somehow, he's widely available. The veteran pass-catcher will have another week to post solid fantasy numbers. 

    After five weeks on injured reserve, a rookie wide receiver has already built a rapport with his star quarterback. Despite an upcoming bye week, he's a top waiver-wire option.

    Let's take a look at potential breakout players and top pickups for Week 8. All of the selections are rostered in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Top Breakout Candidates and Pickups for Week 8

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Jameis Winston, QB, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (51 percent rostered)

    Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (48 percent rostered)

    Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions (21 percent rostered)

    Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers (6 percent rostered)

    Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks (54 percent rostered)

    Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens, bye week (32 percent rostered)

    Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos (55 percent rostered)

    Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs (31 percent rostered)

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    Though the Philadelphia Eagles have made little commitment to ground game in recent weeks, their lead running back still has fantasy value.

    Miles Sanders suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of Sunday's game with the Las Vegas Raiders and didn't return to the field. Kenneth Gainwell logged five carries for 20 yards in addition to four receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown.

    Trailing for most of the game, the Eagles had to push the ball through the air, which took Gainwell out of the game as a ball-carrier. However, if Sanders misses time with an injury, the rookie running back could see more carries in a matchup against the Detroit Lions, who fielded the 19th-ranked run defense going into Week 7.

    Furthermore, the Lions allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs going into Sunday's games. With Sanders' status unclear, Gainwell is a priority pickup.

Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots

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    Greg M. Cooper/Associated Press

    The New England Patriots scored 54 points on the New York Jets defense Sunday. While they won't sustain this scoring volume, running back Brandon Bolden may have solidified the primary pass-catching role out of the backfield in the absence of James White, who's out for the season with a hip injury.

    Though Bolden only logged two carries, he led the Patriots in receptions (six), receiving yards (79) and tied wideout Jakobi Meyers for a team-leading seven targets. He also scored a touchdown in the second quarter.

    Meanwhile, fellow running back J.J. Taylor contributed mostly on the ground, recording nine rush attempts for 21 yards with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Patriots listed rookie fourth-round tailback Rhamondre Stevenson as inactive.

    Damien Harris doesn't play a big role in the Patriots' short passing attack with 10 catches for 60 yards this season. Managers in PPR leagues should pick up Bolden as a potential flex option for the remainder of the term. He has 20 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Baltimore Ravens will have a bye in Week 8, but Rashod Bateman belongs on rosters right now.

    During the offseason, Bateman underwent core-muscle surgery, which sidelined him for the first five weeks of the season. He's been targeted six times in both of his appearances. In Sunday's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, the rookie wideout tied Marquise Brown for a team-leading 80 receiving yards.

    Brown caught the Ravens' only touchdown pass, but Bateman should reach paydirt in the near future with his target share. Keep in mind the Ravens used a first-round pick on the latter in this year's draft. 

    If wideout Sammy Watkins (hamstring) returns from his two-game absence in Week 9, Bateman should still have a role in the Ravens' passing attack because of his budding rapport with quarterback Lamar Jackson. He has WR2 upside—add him this week.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team

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    Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

    With tight end Logan Thomas on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury, Ricky Seals-Jones has served as a viable pass-catcher in the Washington Football Team's offense.

    As Washington's starting tight end over the last three outings, Seals-Jones has caught 15 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown on 22 targets. On Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, he finished second on the team in targets (seven), catches (six) and receiving yards (51). 

    According to ESPN's John Keim, Thomas will miss four weeks, which means he would return to action in Week 10 after Washington's bye. Seals-Jones has one more game (against the Denver Broncos) to maintain a prominent role in the offense. 

    Though he's a short-term option, Seals-Jones can produce TE1 numbers with his target share. He's a top pickup at a position with few options on the waiver wire.

    Fantasy points allowed statistics via FantasyPros.

    Maurice Moton is an NFL and Fantasy Football columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.