Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
I never advocate for giving up or “tanking” a fantasy team, but it’s Week 8 and it’s officially time to start thinking about next year’s team. If you have two or less wins so far, you should seriously consider spending your FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget) on players that will pay off in the long term. This article focuses more on these types of Waiver Wire Targets, but also includes some players that can save your playoff hopes this season if you’re struggling with a two or three win team.
I’ve been an advocate for Goff since the preseason, so I’m surprised to see he’s only owned in 28.6% of fantasy leagues, according to ESPN. Goff is performing as the QB12 right now, ahead of: Stafford, Carr, Mariota, Winston, Taylor, and Ryan. Goff’s stats are weighed down by a tough early season schedule. He averaged just 9.5 points against Washington, Jacksonville, and Seattle. If you take those games out, however, he’s averaging 19.2 points per game. He has 4 games with over 250 yards and has a 9 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. Goff is a great long-term fantasy option, but also can make an impact this season, if you play him based on match-up.
Brisett has shown he’s a legitimate NFL starting quarterback. He’s currently QB20, and he didn’t take over the starting job until Week 2. He’s averaging 14.8 fantasy points per game since Week 2 and has as many passing touchdowns as he does rushing (3). What’s very encouraging to me is that the Colts trust the second year man to throw the ball 33 times a game. With the Andrew Luck setback it appears likely that Brisett will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. I’m not suggesting Brisett will take Luck’s job in 2018, but I think he’s done well enough to get the attention of teams across the league. For now, he’s a solid BYE week option but look for him to be leading a team like Arizona or the Jets next year. Brisett is available in 84.5% of leagues and is well worth a stash.
It’s officially time to stop questioning Aaron Jones. Green Bay made it clear that they’re favoring Jones (17 carries for 131 yards) over Ty Montgomery (4 carries for 6 yards). In his last four games, Jones has gotten at least 13 carries each game, has rushed for 125 or more yards twice, and scored 3 touchdowns. He’s scored at least 10 fantasy points in three of those games and has shown he’s a clear RB2 option moving forward. With Hundley at the helm, it’s likely that Jones’ workload keeps increasing. It’s shocking he’s still available in 34% of leagues. If he’s a free agent in your league, don’t be afraid to use a lot of FAAB on him; he’s worth it.
I’ve held off on the Marlon Mack hype. I just don’t see him making an impact in Indianapolis’ uninspiring offense this year. What I have seen, however, is that he’s slowly being integrated more into the offense each week. Since returning from injury, he has 16 carries for 135 yards; an impressive 8.4 yards a carry. The Colts showed that Mack is going to fill the void in the passing game left by Turbin; in Week 7 Mack pulled in 4 receptions for 40 yards. He’s building up nicely to take over for the aging Frank Gore for the 2018 season. Spend FAAB on Mack now, and reap the benefits when he’s the feature back in the Andrew Luck lead offense next season. Mack is available in 73.5% of leagues.
Juju has taken over as WR2 in Pittsburgh. Smith-Schuster has just 1 less reception than Martavis Bryant, even though he’s been targeted 10 less times. JuJu’s has pulled down 65% of his targets, which is actually 3% higher than Antonio Brown. JuJu also has the same amount of touchdowns as Brown (3). He’s been quietly asserting himself as a legitimate flex option in PPR formats. The best part? He’s only 20; if you win a claim on him this week you can lock him up for a long time. He’s available in 92.3% of leagues; get him while you can.
The 24 year old out of Temple is leading a surprisingly strong Jets passing attack. Anderson’s 46 targets and 331 receiving yards are both team highs. His 2 touchdowns are second just to Kearse’s 4. His role has progressed throughout the season, with 7 targets the last 4 weeks. Anderson has just 6.5 yards/reception, which normally would be alarming. I see it as a benefit, however, because it shows he fits McCown’s passing style. More importantly, his short, possession style could benefit whichever quarterback the Jets draft and throw out on the field next season. He’s a decent flex option if you have a few players on BYE, but his real value comes down the road. He’s owned in just 13.5% of leagues.
We’ve finally seen what Howard can do when he’s featured in the Tampa Bay offense; he pulled in all 6 of his receptions for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 7. In games where Howard is targeted at least 4 times he averages 17 fantasy points per game, however, that’s only happened twice. I don’t think that Howard is a starting option just yet, but make a claim and keep on eye on him throughout the season. At some point they’re going to have to feature their first round pick. He’s available in 90.2% of leagues.
Minnesota Vikings D/ST
Remember rule #1 of streaming defenses? Always put a claim on the defense playing Cleveland. This goes double when it comes to the Vikings. I’m willing to bet this D/ST gets more points than your flex this week.
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST
The Eagles have been a consistent defense all season, scoring between 3-8 points every week since Week 1 (when they put up 22). In Week 8 they face off against a 49ers offense that could only put up 10 points against a horrid Cowboys defense. I think Beathard can be the real deal, but he’s a rookie and he’s bound to make mistakes (aka turnovers) throughout the game. There’s not a lot of great streaming options this week, but I like the Eagles as a potential sleeper.