Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Targets for Week 8: Buy Marlon Mack, Ito Smith, More
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Marlon Mack, Ito Smith
- Ryan Collinsworth breaks down his best fantasy football waiver wire targets for Week 8, from handcuffs to top streaming quarterbacks and more.
- Marlon Mack had a breakout performance against the Bills and is still available in nearly 50% of ESPN leagues as of Monday night.
- Meanwhile, Ito Smith has emerged as the Falcons running back to roster with more red zone opportunities than Tevin Coleman has seen.
We have four teams on byes in Week 8: The Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans. Expect heated competition on waivers as many look to stream replacements for bye-week players.
But not to worry. Each week I break down top waiver-wire targets to help your fantasy team navigate byes, injuries, suspensions, running-back committees and probably some relationship problems along the way.
I highlight players who are owned in fewer than 50% of ESPN fantasy leagues. I also recommend an auction price (in parentheses) for each player for leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget system (which I highly recommend, by the way). All recommendations are made based on a $100 FAAB budget.
Return of the Mack
Before we dive in, I do want to briefly highlight Marlon Mack.
The Colts running back posted a 19-126-1 rushing line and added two receptions for 33 yards and a receiving touchdown against the Bills. If he’s available on your waiver wire this week, strongly consider paying up to acquire him — $30 to $40 is completely realistic considering the scarcity of viable fantasy running backs.
Mack is available in 46.1% of ESPN leagues as of writing.
Fantasy Football Injuries to Monitor for Week 8
For updates throughout the week, check out our NFL Injury Report.
It’s Cuffing Season
In life there are few absolute certainties: Death, taxes and fantasy football injuries. In this section, I highlight players to target on waivers when top players inevitably get hurt or suspended.
Jakeem Grant, WR, Miami Dolphins ($15)
Grant’s target volume and statistical production have not been fantastic this season, but the Dolphins have demonstrated a commitment to get him the ball each game.
Grant has been Adam Gase’s primary weapon as a gadget player, special teams savant and utility offensive jack knife. But he could see extended snaps and a drastically improved target volume this week because of injuries to Dolphins receivers: Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson and Mike Gesicki are all on the Dolphins’ Monday injury report.
With that many players potentially out for Miami’s Thursday night matchup in Houston, Grant’s role should be greatly expanded. He is a viable flex option this week.
Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland Raiders ($15)
Marshawn Lynch has been placed on Injured Reserve due to a groin injury, which should elevate Doug Martin and Richard into larger roles. However, I prefer Richard’s PPR potential significantly more than Martin’s.
Before Lynch’s injury, Richard had already established himself as the Raiders’ receiving back, and his fantasy production warranted borderline consideration each week. Now with Lynch out, Richard’s target share should increase marginally, but his rushing market share could increase substantially.
Richard is the Raiders back to own, especially in PPR formats.
Chris Ivory, RB, Buffalo Bills ($14)
LeSean McCoy exited the Bills’ Week 7 game with a head injury and is currently in the concussion protocol. In his stead, Ivory filled in admirably, rushing 16 times for 81 yards and catching three passes for 25 yards.
Ivory is viable only as an injury replacement for McCoy and will not provide meaningful fantasy production when Shady is healthy. Monitor McCoy’s health this week, and if he’s trending toward missing Buffalo’s Week 8 matchup with New England, stream Ivory with confidence as a flex play this week.
Top Streaming Quarterback Options
Each week, I highlight top quarterback streaming options for Late Round QB-truthers. These quarterbacks are week-to-week options and are not necessarily viable long term.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears ($4)
Trubisky continues to produce gaudy fantasy numbers despite his tenuous command of the Bears offense. He went 26-of-50 passing against the Patriots (not great) for 333 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. But he also added six rushes for 81 yards and a touchdown, which elevated him to top-five fantasy quarterback once again.
Trubisky has now thrown for more than 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in three straight games, and he’s averaged 60.3 rushing yards per game over that stretch.
Trubisky is rolling right now, and he should be your top-priority streaming quarterback this week.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns ($2)
Mayfield posted a 215-2-0 passing line against the Buccaneers and added 43 rushing yards. Think of him as a poor man’s Trubisky: Matchup-dependent with rushing upside.
Mayfield draws another advantageous matchup against the Steelers this week and should serve as a quality fallback option if you’re unable to acquire Trubisky on waivers.
Buy and Hold
The following players with season-long upside deserve immediate roster consideration.
Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons ($24)
Devonta Freeman’s numerous injuries this season have opened the door for Smith to see extended playing time in the Falcons’ backfield. Now that Freeman is on Injured Reserve, the Falcons have deployed the rookie in something close to a 50/50 split with Tevin Coleman.
Smith rushed 11 times for 22 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers in Week 6 while Coleman rushed 10 times for 35 yards. Similarly, Smith rushed seven times to Coleman’s 11 against the Giants on Monday night, and both caught two passes out of the backfield.
Running back committees have become the norm in the NFL, but the Falcons’ committee offers meaningful fantasy upside for both backs. Smith, however, might have an edge on Coleman due to his red zone opportunities, having scored three rushing touchdowns over the past four weeks.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers ($16)
Williams has blown up over the past two weeks. He caught three passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns in Week 6, then posted an eerily similar receiving line in Week 7, hauling in four passes for 118 yards and a touchdown.
Williams is developing into the boom-or-bust deep threat we all hoped Mike Williams would become for the Chargers.
Tyrell Williams’ target market share is of some concern with Keenan Allen hogging air targets. Despite Williams’ excellent fantasy production the past two weeks, he’s garnered only four targets in each game. Still, his big play ability should not be ignored, and he is absolutely worth a dart throw as a flex option in all formats.
Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints ($15)
With Ted Ginn Jr. on IR, the path is clear for Smith to see starter’s snaps for the rest of the season. His only potential competition is Cameron Meredith. But against the Ravens this past week, Smith out-snapped Meredith 53 to 18.
This is Smith’s job to lose.
The talented rookie tore up the preseason with 15 receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown, leading the Saints in all three statistical categories. Starting for Ginn in Week 5, Smith posted a 3-111-2 receiving line. He again hauled in three passes for 44 yards on six targets in Week 7.
Even though this past week’s stat line was more modest, Smith’s snap count confirms his status as the Saints’ No. 2 wide receiver.
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The Watch List
Every week, I highlight players who should be on your watch list — players to monitor who aren’t necessarily worth an add this week but who could develop into viable season-long options. Current ESPN ownership percentage for each player is in parentheses.
- Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (46.0%)
- Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots (46.9%)
- Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals (18.4%)
- Danny Amendola, WR, Miami Dolphins (24.4%)
- Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers (37.3%)
- Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (40.9%)
- Kenjon Barner, RB, New England Patriots (0.1%)
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers (4.4%)
- Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (3.9%)
- Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets (46.6%)
- Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (41.0%)
- Wendell Smallwood, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (43.6%)