Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 8: Kenneth Gainwell Is a Top-Priority Add
Fantasy football managers hoping to withstand the attrition of the long season should become acquainted with the latest injury reports and depth charts.
With so many fantasy contributors going down with various ailments—and more sure to join them in the coming weeks—it is critical to know who has been hurt, how long they will be out and who is replacing them.
Picking up backups is one of the best ways to add depth, as these handcuffs often make up a good chunk of a lost player’s production.
That is certainly the case leading into Week 8 since some of the most valuable waiver-wire targets were backups before injury elevated them to a more prominent role.
With that in mind, read on for the top free agents you should target to bolster your roster. All suggestions are rostered in 50 percent or less of Yahoo leagues.
QB Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts (37 Percent Rostered)
Carson Wentz has quietly become one of the steadiest fantasy quarterbacks in the league over the last month. He just capped off his fourth consecutive multi-touchdown outing while helping Indianapolis get its third win in its last four games.
The signal-caller even added his first rushing TD of the season as part of his 23 yards on four carries in Week 7. He threw his only pick of the season in Week 2 and has just three lost fumbles on the year.
Wentz now ranks as the position's No. 10 scorer since Week 3. ESPN Stats & Info noted the 28-year-old has tied Peyton Manning for the most consecutive multiple-touchdown, zero-interception games in Colts history.
While Wentz hasn't been piling up a massive amount of yards—he had a season-low 150 through the air on Sunday—he's scoring enough to be considered worthy of high-end streaming status in most formats.
Another big game could be on the way in Week 8, when Indy matches up with a beatable Titans defense. Tennessee is allowing nearly 275 passing yards per game and has given up 12 passing touchdowns in seven contests.
If you have been relying on Lamar Jackson or Derek Carr, the two starting quarterbacks on bye in Week 8, fire up Wentz with confidence to get you through until they return.
RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles (22 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: $5,000
Kenneth Gainwell was a strong sleeper pick coming into the season and has been a decent PPR flex play for much of it, but the first-year back now has an opportunity to become a fantasy star.
The door opened for Gainwell after Miles Sanders was carted off in Week 7 with an ankle injury. While head coach Nick Sirianni revealed the starting RB did not suffer any fractures, Sanders could miss some time while he recovers.
Gainwell has been utilized mostly as a third-down and pass-catching back in Philadelphia's offense to start his career. He has a relatively pedestrian 26 rushes for 120 yards and two scores in seven games but has been more valuable in PPR formats. The Memphis product has caught 19 of his 31 targets for 164 yards and an additional score.
He saw eight targets on Sunday, caught a 13-yard touchdown to open the scoring and finished the matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders with four receptions for 41 yards.
Establish the Run's Adam Levitan highlighted the receiving usage of Philadelphia's backfield following Sanders' exit. Gainwell ran 24 routes on his 35 snaps, while Boston Scott picked up 12 routes on 23 snaps.
While Gainwell did split time with Scott, who had eight touches for 29 yards and a score on Sunday, the rookie could take on a larger share of the workload with more time to prepare.
For RB-needy fantasy managers, this development is well worth betting on. Make Gainwell your priority waiver pickup for Week 8 if you need help in the backfield.
RB Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (6 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: $4,500
Bolden has become the team's top pass-catching back, a role that has traditionally held much value in fantasy formats. Guys like Kevin Faulk, Shane Vereen and James White have all been high-floor, week-winning assets during their time fulfilling those duties.
White was off to a strong start this year, catching 12 of his 13 targets for 94 yards in the two full games he was healthy for before the veteran landed on IR with a hip injury on October 1.
Bolden has stepped up in White's stead, catching 20 of his 22 targets for 162 yards and a score in the five contests since the injury.
The ninth-year veteran has made a living mostly as a special teams contributor during his time in New England but is now serving as a reliable safety valve for rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Bolden had his best game of the season on Sunday, recording six receptions for 79 yards and a TD in a blowout win over the rival New York Jets.
With White out indefinitely with a hip subluxation, Bolden should continue producing as a high-floor option in PPR formats for the foreseeable future.
The 31-year-old is a bit more of a dice roll in standard leagues, but there aren't many backs in line for Bolden's volume of touches who are still available on waivers going into Week 8.
WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (10 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: $4,200
After a slow start to his 2021 campaign, Russell Gage just burst back on to the scene in a big way.
The Falcons wideout returned from an ankle injury that kept him sidelined for three games to face the Miami Dolphins in Week 7. He immediately made an impact, catching four of his six targets for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Gage wasn't a big factor in the two games before the injury, catching only five of nine targets for 28 yards, but the fourth-year wideout is finally trending upwards. He's likely to become QB Matt Ryan's No. 3 option behind fellow wideout Calvin Ridley and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, a status that could result in quality fantasy numbers.
The 25-year-old has shown the ability to produce reliably in the past. He was targeted a career-high 109 times last year, catching 72 of those passes for 786 yards and four scores.
Gage should be in line for a high volume of looks due to Atlanta's poor defensive efforts. The Falcons have given up an average of 29.3 points per game, the third-most in the league. With the defense struggling to stop the opposition, Atlanta could get involved in plenty of shootouts over the back half of the campaign.
Next week, the Falcons take on the Carolina Panthers, an opponent that has lost four in a row while giving up 29 points per game over that stretch. Gage will benefit from this soft matchup and has great potential to put up another strong fantasy week.
WR Darius Slayton, New York Giants (15 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: $4,800
Darius Slayton is one of the more intriguing fantasy pickups of Week 8 given his status one of the only healthy receivers remaining on the Giants roster.
After missing the last three games while recovering from a hamstring injury, the 24-year-old came back and earned his first start of 2021. He saw a season-high nine targets against the Panthers, reeling in five for 63 yards.
While Slayton failed to find the end zone in the 25-3 victory, his usage was quite promising. It should result in steady production for as long as he remains one of the only proven pass-catchers on the field.
Big Blue was missing each of its top three receivers this past Sunday. Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and rookie first-rounder Kadarius Toney were all sidelined with various injuries, as was top running back Saquon Barkley. Their absences left Slayton and tight end Evan Engram as the only reliable weapons for QB Daniel Jones to target.
While all three injured receivers have thus far avoided landing on IR and have a chance at returning to face the sieve-like Kansas City Chiefs secondary next week, an absence from any one of them makes Slayton a great plug-and-play pickup.
Kansas City is allowing over 275 passing yards per game and has given up 13 receiving touchdowns on the year, making it a dream matchup for New York's wideouts.
If Slayton or any of the other top Big Blue receivers are available in your league, be sure to snatch them up (if healthy) and start them with confidence in Week 8.
TE Foster Moreau, Las Vegas Raiders (3 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: N/A
The Raiders were forced to go without their best skill position player in Week 7 after tight end Darren Waller was declared inactive against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The team managed a win without its top pass-catcher in the lineup thanks to Foster Moreau stepping up. The backup tight end had the best performance of his fledgling career, snagging six receptions for 60 yards and a score.
Moreau was a popular preseason sleeper pick at the position, but he struggled to step out of Waller's shadow over the first third of the campaign. Prior to Sunday, the third-year pro hadn't caught more than two passes or gained over 34 yards in a game this season.
While Moreau isn't likely to be as fantasy-relevant in weeks when Waller is active, he's worth a flier in leagues with large benches or keeper formats due to both his potential to build on this showing and the dearth of talent at the position.
Waller was a late addition to Vegas' injury report after tripping over a teammate and suffering an ankle injuy during Friday's practice. He'll have another week to recover with the Raiders on a bye in Week 8, which likely ends Moreau's run as the team's top tight end.
Still, it has become readily apparent that Moreau will put up big numbers in any game in which Waller is absent. The 24-year-old is firmly on the radar as high-end handcuff who could see more snaps after his breakout performance in Week 7.
For fantasy managers in deeper leagues desperate for any sort of production at the tight end position, Moreau is worth a stash on your bench.