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Week 8 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Targets

Dave Major lists all the players fantasy football owners should claim from their waiver wire for week 8 matchups.

Derek Carr

Two big stories dominated the landscape of week seven in the NFL. Peyton Manning surpassed Brett Favre‘s all-time record of 508 touchdowns, and Percy Harvin was traded to the New York Jets. Last season, the receiver played 20 total snaps, and made just one reception for 17 yards. For 2013, he earned $4.9 million per catch, $245,000 per snap, and $288,235.29 per yard. The former Viking has been able to stay on the field this year, starting four games for the Seahawks and playing in all five.

Harvin was with Seattle for one year, seven months and five days. In total, he was paid $795,652.17 per catch, $122,000 per yard, and $87,142.86 per snap. The Seahawks will be paying an additional $2.4 million this year and $7.2 million next year in bonus money for Harvin to play in New York. New York inherits no guaranteed money, and will owe only his annual base salaries. The deal essentially becomes a year-by-year team option as a result. In base salaries, Harvin is due to make $10.5 million in 2015, followed by seasons of $9.9 million, $9.95 million, and $11.15 million in 2018. New York can cut Harvin at any time with no dead money due. The pressure is on the 26-year-old former first-round draft pick to perform. So far this year, Harvin is averaging 4.4 catches for 26.6 yards. In the regular season, he has not scored since wearing purple in 2012.

Here are some thoughts on the top waiver wire pickups to add to your fantasy football lineup.

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr (owned in 2.6 percent of ESPN leagues)

The Raiders faced Arizona’s fourth-ranked defense last Sunday, and were held to 220 yards of total offense. Oakland only had the ball for 23 minutes and 3 seconds in the 24-13 loss. Derek Carr was held to 16 of 28 passes for 173 yards, without a touchdown or interception. In week six, Carr threw four touchdowns and one interception against San Diego’s third-ranked pass defense. Cleveland’s 17th-ranked pass defense and 32nd-ranked run defense will host Oakland and their rookie quarterback in week eight.

Joe Flacco (owned in 55.6 percent of ESPN leagues)

Since week four, Joe Flacco has thrown 10 touchdowns, ranking fourth among all passers. Baltimore’s quarterback also ranks 11th in passing yards (264.9 yards per game) and eighth in passers’ rating. For fantasy purposes, Flacco is ninth in points scored (17.5 points per game). The Ravens travel to face Cincinnati’s 26th-ranked pass defense in week eight.

Kyle Orton (owned in 0.4 percent of ESPN leagues)

Since taking over as starting quarterback in week five, Kyle Orton ranks ninth in the NFL with five passing touchdowns. Buffalo’s passer is also fourth during that span, with 890 passing yards (296.7 yards per game). Among all NFL quarterbacks, Orton is third best with a 68.5 completion percentage. The Jets own the 28th best defense in the NFL, and 26th in scoring, and will host the Bills in week eight.

Mike Glennon (owned in 0.3 percent of ESPN leagues)

Mike Glennon has started three games for Tampa Bay this year, in weeks five, six, and seven. Over that span, the second-year passer ranks 10th in the NFL with six touchdowns. Through those games, he has thrown 288.3 yards per game, with two touchdowns and one interception in each contest. Opening day starter Josh McCown returned to practice this week, for the first time since leaving week three with a thumb injury. Head coach Lovie Smith has yet to announce his plans at the position.

Past targets include: Carson Palmer, Kirk Cousins, and Brian Hoyer (week 7), Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Orton (week 5).

Running Backs

Denard Robinson (owned in 0.5 percent of ESPN leagues)

Jacksonville beat the Browns 24-6 in week seven, while giving second-year runner Denard Robinson 22 carries for 127 yards and a score. The former Michigan quarterback was the sixth-highest scoring rusher this week, with 18.7 fantasy points. Jordan Todman got one reception for 26 yards, and Storm Johnson had six carries for 16 yards and a touchdown. Robinson’s score came from eight yards out, while Johnson’s was from the three-yard line. Opening day starter Toby Gerhart (foot) is still not healthy enough to return. Regardless, when head coach Gus Bradley was asked whether Robinson will remain the starter, he said, “Yeah, I think so. We’ll look at the film. He did a good job and we hope to get Toby back.”

Bryce Brown (owned in 1.3 percent of ESPN leagues)

Sunday’s 17-16 win over Minnesota was a costly one for the Bills. Running back Fred Jackson injured his groin at the end of the first quarter, and may miss about a month. Just nine minutes and 47 seconds later, C.J. Spiller broke his collarbone on a 53-yard run. He underwent surgery Monday and is expected to be out for the season. Jackson said that Bryce Brown is “an every down back. He can do it all. We won’t miss a beat.” Buffalo sent the Eagles a conditional fourth-round draft pick last May in exchange for the third-year runner. Brown has yet to touch the ball this season. Last year with Philadelphia, he ran 75 times for 314 yards (4.2 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns.

Anthony Dixon (owned in 0.2 percent of ESPN leagues)

When Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller left Sunday’s game with injuries, it was Anthony Dixon who stepped in to lead Buffalo’s backfield. For the season, Jackson leads the running backs with 256 snaps, compared to 158 for Spiller, 66 for Dixon, and none for Bryce Brown. Playing in relief last week, Dixon got 16 touches for 66 yards. In four years of play at Mississippi State, the fifth-year veteran ran for 3,994 yards and 42 scores. In his NFL career, Dixon has run 175 times for 595 yards (3.4 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns. After the game, he said, “This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for, to get back in that workhorse role and show people what I can do. I want to show people what I could do in college and high school.” Dixon continued, “I feel like I really didn’t get labeled right coming out of college. People tried to do something else with me, make me somebody that I really wasn’t. … Put me in short-yardage, say I couldn’t run routes or I ain’t got hands. I don’t see what they’re seeing. I’m ready for the opportunity.” Whether Dixon or Brown leads the backfield remains a question, but the opportunity is here for the next month. Buffalo will face the eighth (Jets), 18th (Chiefs) and 10th-ranked (Dolphins) run defenses during Jackson’s recovery.

Jonathan Stewart (owned in 25.2 percent of ESPN leagues)

Since joining the Panthers in 2008, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have played together in 66 of 105 possible games. During Stewart’s 15 games without Williams, he has averaged 17.3 touches for 89.3 yards and 0.3 touchdowns. Last week, Carolina beat writer Joe Person reported that Williams is expected to miss a couple more games. Owning either of these backs in fantasy is a hail mary for weeks like these. Give Stewart the nod this week, if you ever will. In week eight, the Panthers face Seattle’s sixth-ranked run defense who is surprisingly 19th in scoring.

Tre Mason (owned in 2.3 percent of ESPN leagues)

Rams running back Zac Stacy was active for Sunday’s win over Seattle. The former starter played one snap in the game, without registering a single touch or passing target. Last year at Auburn, Tre Mason broke Bo Jackson‘s school rushing record (1,786 yards) when he ran for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns. The rookie led the Rams backfield on Sunday, rushing 18 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. Mason’s 5.4 yards per attempt are fourth best among all NFL running backs with at least 20 carries. The sample size is small, but Mason has the opportunity to harness the feature back job on a team where Stacy ran 250 times a year ago. Stacy didn’t take over the starting job until week five, when he began to average 21.2 touches per game. Beginning week five, his 249 carries were second most in the NFL, behind only Eddie Lacy (269 carries).

Past targets include: Ronnie Hillman, Branden Oliver, Juwan Thompson, and Chris Ivory (week 7), Antone Smith , Joseph Randle (week 6), Jerick McKinnon, Khiry Robinson (week 5), Lorenzo Taliaferro, Alfred Blue (week 4), and Knile Davis (week 3).

Wide Receivers

Doug Baldwin (owned in 19.4 percent of ESPN leagues)

Trading Percy Harvin to the Jets last Friday was a move that opened new opportunities for the Seahawks receiving corps. Doug Baldwin has led the team with 35 targets, 23 receptions, and 310 yards. In week seven against the Rams’ 14th-ranked pass defense, Baldwin caught seven of 11 targets for 123 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Harvin each have four red zone targets. Harvin caught all four of his for 12 yards and no score, while Kearse caught one for a 15 yard touchdown, and Baldwin caught two for 21 yards and a score. Harvin is the only Seahawks receiver with a target within the opponent’s five-yard line, catching that lone target for one yard.

Jermaine Kearse (owned in 4.6 percent of ESPN leagues)

Jermaine Kearse has been the third-most productive receiver for Seattle this year. The former Washington wideout has caught 14 of 26 targets for 218 yards and a touchdown in his third NFL season. Kearse has yet to register a 100 yard game in his short career, but has 14 targets over the last two games. Percy Harvin was the leading kick returner for the team, with 12 returns for 283 yards (23.6 yards per return). Kearse has yet to make a return this year, but led the team last year with 13 returns for 283 yards (21.8 yards per return).

Past targets include: Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon LaFell, Cecil Shorts, and Andre Holmes (week 7), Terrance Williams, Andrew Hawkins (week 5), Jordan Matthews, John Brown, and Brian Quick (week 4), Allen Hurns and Steve Smith, Sr. (week 2).

Tight Ends

Jared Cook (owned in 13.5 percent of ESPN leagues)

Of all tight ends this year, Jared Cook ranks sixth with 45 targets. He’s transformed those into 26 receptions for 320 yards. Cook’s 320 yards are 10th best among tight ends this year. St. Louis dropped Austin Pettis Monday, opening more targets for players like Cook, Kenny Britt, Lance Kendricks, and Brian Quick. The Rams have not rostered this few Austins (Austin Davis and Tavon Austin) since 2012.

Past targets include: Larry Donnell, Tim Wright, Dwayne Allen, and Jace Amaro (week 7), Travis Kelce (week 5), Owen Daniels (week 4), and Niles Paul (week 3).

Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, spotrac.com, footballguys.com, and profootballfocus.com.

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