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The Waiver Wizard Week 8
Although it drives my wife insane, I’m a big fan of the NFL’s “Red Zone” channel with Scott Hanson, since it allows me to stay on top of everything and not miss a moment of action, regardless of what game is on or any sort of silly blackout restrictions I might deal with. The “Octo-box”, “Seven hours of commercial free football”, and “witching hour” are terms that I’ve come to enjoy. If you have not had the opportunity to watch it for the past several seasons, as a Fantasy manager you’re really missing out.
At the conclusion of the 4:00 EST contests, the channel always wraps things up with a compilation clip of all the touchdowns scored that day, and provides a total tally with some commentary. This week, Hanson made several remarks that scoring continued to be down across the board in the league, and it was something that the NFL will have to investigate. That same sentiment has been echoed by numerous DFS analysts in the industry, who constantly hammer the “under” total while betting, since it is a rare circumstance in 2023 that games will live up to the promised firepower and back-and-forth battles.
So, what gives exactly? We have seen defenses constantly suffer from egregious roughing the passer and pass interference calls each week that should theoretically lead to more scoring, yet that hasn’t come into fruition. Something to consider, for sure. I was hopeful two weeks ago that teams would break out of their collective malaise and begin moving the ball up and down the field, but no dice. Fingers crossed for an improvement in the second half of the Fantasy season.
Even though Week 7 fell on “National Tight Ends Day”, several players stepped up at different positions that could make an impact on your roster moving forward. Lets examine a few.
Gardner Minshew (4 percent rostered) – Let me preface this recommendation with the caveat – if you add Minshew, be sure to not watch him play, and just enjoy the result. His reckless nature leads to plenty of turnovers, but it also allows him to pepper Michael Pittman and Josh Downs with targets, resulting in Indianapolis moving the ball much easier. Minshew now has consecutive 300-plus passing yard contests, and he faces a New Orleans defense that was just picked apart by Trevor Lawrence at home. The Colts have begun to integrate Jonathan Taylor more into the offensive script of late, which should ease up pressure on Minshew to move the ball by himself. The Colts upcoming schedule isn’t terribly difficult, and he should be a priority add for any teams struggling with bye week issues.
FAAB: Minshew is worth a $3-5 investment for teams that have not had their quarterback already go on bye – Weeks 9 and 10 are particularly brutal for sit candidates.
Kenny Pickett (18 percent rostered) – Pickett appeared to be the next big breakout candidate at the position following a stellar preseason, before offensive coordinator Matt Canada reverted to an ultra-conservative and vanilla set of plays that became stagnant and predictable. Thankfully, it appears that Pittsburgh addressed some issues during the team’s Week 6 bye, and the lifeless corpse that was the offense received an AED shock paddle to the heart. The return of Diontae Johnson places less pressure on George Pickens to be the sole downfield threat, and the Steelers dominant defense constantly provides plus field position for Pickett to work with. Don’t be too obsessed with his prior numbers, but focus on the near future. I have confidence that Pickett will be a fringe QB1 several times this year, especially if he can continue to post a completion rate of nearly 70 percent like last week.
FAAB: Pickett is worth a minimum bid in deeper formats for fantasy managers looking for a breakout candidate at the position in the back half of the year.
D’Onta Foreman (45 percent rostered) – Everyone predicted that Foreman would be the top scoring option this past week, right? No? Beuhler? Foreman was dominant against Las Vegas, rushing for 89 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and chipping in three receptions for 31 yards and another score for good measure. His punishing running style proved to be too much for the Las Vegas Raiders to deal with, and Foreman appeared to get stronger as the game went along. Should rookie Roschon Johnson miss another week while dealing with concussion symptoms and be unable to clear the league’s protocol, Foreman will be a back-end RB1 on a run-first team that is coming off consecutive victories. If Johnson passes all tests in time, Foreman’s upside is greatly hampered, though I do still envision him being worthy of a FLEX start in deeper formats. Chicago would do well to keep Foreman as the short-yardage and goal-line back and use Johnson as the pass-catching threat instead, in the absence of Khalil Herbert for the next t
wo weeks on IR.
FAAB: Foreman is worth a $10-15 investment as a short-term plug in RB2 option. His value in the immediate future is highly dependent on the return of Johnson, coupled with how quickly Herbert comes off of IR.
Darrell Henderson Jr. (12 percent rostered) – Rather than pivoting to the logical option in Zach Evans, Sean McVay instead used Henderson as the team’s primary back due to his familiarity with the system and his strong pass-blocking traits. Henderson finished Week 7 with 19 touches for 66 total yards and a touchdown, and appears to be piece to own in the Los Angeles backfield until the return of Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers. I made the note that if Henderson continues his strong play, he might have lasting value even after Williams returns, since the Rams would behoove themselves to lessen his workload. We have seen Henderson reach upside RB2 territory over the last several years for as long as he remains healthy (he said that he was feeling strong after the conclusion of the game). He is without question the top waiver wire target on the week, considering the value that he will provide over the next three weeks.
FAAB: Henderson is worth a $20-25 investment as a short-term upside RB2 option. I expect him to receive an even larger workload over Royce Freeman and Zach Evans. He is the top addition on the week.
Jake Bobo (1 percent rostered) – Social media is a funny thing – though it normally drives me crazy and is a necessary evil for work purposes, I will say this – now I understand just how much Seattle fans LOVE Bobo. Wow. D.K. Metcalf missing the first game of his entire career with hip and rib pain allowed Bobo to see a significant rise in snaps (along with fellow rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba), and the undrafted rookie made the most of his opportunity, securing 4-of-5 targets for 61 yards and an amazing toe-tapping touchdown in the corner of the end zone on a perfectly thrown pass by Geno Smith. Similar to so many other recommendations this week, how aggressive one needs to be on acquiring Bobo really comes down to how long Metcalf is sidelined for. Judging from the fact that he didn’t practice all week and failed to even suit up prior to the game, it stands to reason that Metcalf has an uphill battle for Week 8, but we shall keep a close eye on the Seattle practice reports.
FAAB: Bobo is worth a $3-5 investment as a FLEX option in deeper leagues, but his relevance is completely dictated by the health status of Metcalf.
Demario Douglas (1 percent rostered) – The New England Patriots pulled off a surprise upset victory over the Buffalo Bills this past weekend, with Douglas being an integral part of the win. He finished second on the team with 6 targets, catching 4 passes for 54 yards, adding in a 20-yard rush as well. The team’s sixth-round selection out of Liberty is perhaps the fastest player on the roster, and his explosive ability to stretch the field is something that they should utilize more often. Some will argue that Douglas will take a backseat once JuJu Smith-Schuster is active, but I feel that Douglas provides something that DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Jalen Reagor don’t – the ability to stretch the field and score on any given play. The Patriots square off against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, and the team faces an uphill battle to keep up with the Greatest Show on Turf 2.0.
FAAB: Douglas is worth a $3-5 speculative addition as someone who could make a difference down the stretch on a New England roster bereft of true game-breaking options.
Dalton Kincaid (31 percent rostered) – Kincaid was a darling of many Fantasy managers during draft season, based upon the understanding that he would operate as essentially an oversized receiver on an explosive Buffalo offense. The early returns Kincaid provided were modest at best – prior to last week, he had four receptions or less in four of the first six weeks, and unlike fellow rookie Sam LaPorta, Kincaid didn’t appear to be a true focal point of the Bills gameplan. That appeared to change in Week 7, as he led the entire offense in receptions (8) and receiving yards (75) in a furious comeback attempt. At this point, I’d rather roster him than Dawson Knox, and I think that the divide in snaps and targets between the two players will become more pronounced as the season progresses. In deeper leagues I anticipate that managers retained Kincaid based upon his upside, but in shallower formats (or those with fewer bench slots) he might have been dropped. Add him!
FAAB: Kincaid is worth a $7-10 investment as a back-end TE1 option with tremendous upside on a Buffalo team struggling to find its identity on offense.