Fantasy News & Analysis

Early waiver wire targets and biggest risers/fallers in fantasy football following NFL Week 8

Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) scrambles against New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Only Monday Night Football remains on the 2021 NFL Week 8 slate, so most fantasy football managers will now be turning their gaze to Week 9 to try to gain an advantage in their fantasy leagues.

It’s important not to overreact to individual stat lines. For example, some players scored two touchdowns this week yet probably won’t do that again this season, while other players saw the field for most of their team's snaps but couldn't quite make it to the end zone.

Remember: chase the usage, not the box score.

Here are some early waiver wire targets, as well as the biggest risers and fallers from NFL Week 8. For a more detailed 32-team view of the week, including snap counts, check out the Complete Week 8 Fantasy Football Recap.

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Waiver Wire Targets

QB Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints: Jameis Winston suffered a knee injury that took him out of Sunday's game, and initial indications point to a serious injury. Trevor Siemian took over as the starter initially, but Taysom Hill would likely retain the starting job once he returns to 100%.

Hill is currently missing games due to a concussion but is expected to be back next week. He was a consistent fantasy starter as the Saints' QB1 last year due to his rushing production, and he put up a top-11 weekly finish in all four of his starts. His ability to run would make him a borderline starter again.

RB Carlos Hyde, Jacksonville Jaguars: James Robinson left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury after just eight snaps and didn’t return. Hyde took the vast majority of snaps during the absence, which didn’t lead to much fantasy value, but the game script wasn’t doing him any favors. If Robinson misses any time, Hyde will be the biggest waiver wire target of the week. If he’s out for the year and you’re a team in need of a running back, he could be someone to spend a significant amount of FAB on.

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WR Brandon AIyuk, San Francisco 49ers: The second-year receiver has been one of the biggest disappointments of the fantasy football season, but he’s trending in the right direction. His playing time has slowly been on the rise, and this is the second time this season that his role was similar to the one he held last season. He recorded season highs in targets (7) and receiving yards (45) and is available in over half of ESPN leagues. He has more upside than other players who could be on your bench.

San Francisco 49ers Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Brandon Aiyuk 50 27 7 0
Deebo Samuel 47 24 9 0
Mohamed Sanu 25 16 4 0
Trent Sherfield 7 1 0 0
Jauan Jennings 7 4 1 0
Total 57 28 26 26

TE Dan Arnold, Jacksonville Jaguars: Arnold has been a waiver wire target ever since he arrived in Jacksonville. He’s been the clear receiving tight end option for a team that needs to throw a lot and likes throwing to its tight end. The former Panther led the team in receiving yards at 68 after catching a team-high eight targets. He can be a top-10 fantasy tight end over the rest of the season if the Jaguars can make it to the red zone more often.

Biggest Risers

RB Michael Carter, New York Jets: The rookie running back took over as the Jets' main early-down running back in Week 2 and became the main guy on third downs yesterday. Carter put together the best game of his career with the increased role.

The rookie gained 77 yards on the ground, 95 in the air, and he scored a touchdown. It wouldn’t be surprising if he ranks among the top-10 running backs in snaps over the second half of the season. The Jets offense might not be as efficient as it was on Sunday going forward, but the volume alone is enough to put him in starting lineups.

It is worth noting that Mike White likes to throw to his running backs, which was also true last week. Once Zach Wilson returns to the lineup, Carter will see fewer targets.

New York Jets Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Michael Carter 59 32 13 15
Ty Johnson 24 14 6 4
La'Mical Perine 6 2 0 1
Total 84 51 47 27

RB Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers: Mitchell remains the 49ers' clear early-down back. The rookie back gained 137 yards on 18 carries and scored a touchdown. He played 36-of-39 snaps on first or second downs outside of two-minute drills. He was constantly running the ball when on the field and took advantage of a favorable matchup. He was only in starting lineups in half of ESPN leagues, but he will likely be in more starting lineups going forward.

WR Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns: Landry returned to the Browns in Week 7 in a limited capacity after missing the previous four weeks of action. He was back to his old self this week, playing the vast majority of snaps and seeing over 30% of the targets. He dropped two passes, which is unlikely to be a consistent problem. He has a high enough floor that he should be in fantasy lineups each week.

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Biggest Fallers

RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles didn’t have Miles Sanders, but instead of Gainwell moving up the depth chart, he moved down.

Boston Scott and Jordan Howard split the majority of the workload. Gainwell only played six of a possible 51 snaps with the starters, and he played all 14 snaps when the Eagles put in backups in the fourth quarter. He should continue to see a few snaps each week, but it seems unlikely he has a large role this season.

RB David Johnson, Houston Texans: Houston traded Mark Ingram II to the Saints earlier in the week, which seemed like it could lead to some clarity at the position in Houston.

Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson saw a slight increase in snaps on early downs, but Scottie Phillips also got involved. And the playing time Phillips gained on early downs, he lost on third downs. Rex Burkhead took more snaps on third downs and two-minute drills, leaving this as a four-man rotation where no one can be trusted. In the fourth quarter, Houston stuck with Burkhead and Phillips, which is why the snap counts are skewed in their favor.

Houston Texans Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Rex Burkhead 30 19 3 4
Scottie Phillips 15 7 3 5
David Johnson 11 6 1 2
Phillip Lindsay 8 3 0 3
Total 61 44 35 14

TE Noah Fant, Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy was the big name in Denver to return to the Broncos this week, but Albert Okwuegbunam also was brought back to the lineup. Fant had been seeing 90% or more of offensive snaps with Okwuegbunam out, but this week was his season-low in terms of percentage of offensive snaps. The backup tight end had more receiving production, which could lead to more of a split role in the future. If this continues, Fant would be only a borderline starting fantasy tight end.


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