2021 NFL Fantasy Football Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups

NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football waiver wire, injury and bye week help is here! 

Teams ON BYE this week, week 8:
Baltimore Ravens
Las Vegas Raiders

RUNNING BACKS (RB): Kenneth Gainwell, Latavius Murray, Brandon Bolden, Khalil Herbert, Samaje Perine

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR): Russell Gage, Cole Beasley, AJ Green, Darius Slayton, Jerry Jeudy

TIGHT ENDS (TE): Zach Ertz, Hunter Henry, Evan Engram, Ricky Seals-Jones, CJ Uzomah, Dan Arnold

QUARTERBACKS (QB): Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, Trevor Lawrence, 

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS (D/ST): Cincinnati Bengals (at Jets), Philadelphia Eagles (at Lions), San Francisco 49ers (at Bears)


Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (currently owned in 26.3% of all ESPN leagues): 
Miles Sanders left last week’s game with an ankle injury and is currently considered week to week.  That means rookie Kenneth Gainwell is probably the next man up, but there’s a chance he splits work with Boston Scott as a part of a timeshare in the Eagles’ backfield.  He carried the ball just 5 times for 20 yards, but he brought in 4 of his 8 targets for 41 yards and a touchdown.  The rookie playmaker should stay involved in the short passing game with the Eagles’ shoddy offensive line play, lack of receiving options and the need to dump the ball off quick.  Gainwell is worth adding in all leagues and formats but clearly has more value in PPR leagues.  

Brandon Bolden, RB, Nee England Patriots (currently owned in 5.5% of all ESPN leagues): 
It looks like Bolden has taken on the pass catching role vacated by James White earlier this season.  Josh McDaniels does like to get his offensive backfield involved in the passing game especially to try to help his young quarterback Mac Jones.  Bolden had just 2 carries that went nowhere, but he brought in 6 of his 7 targets for 79 yards and a touchdown in a rout of the Jets last Sunday.  This could be a one time thing, but Bolden could stay involved given the Patriots’ history of throwing to their running backs and the lack of talent in their receiving corps.  Bolden will have the Chargers, Panthers, Browns, Falcons and Titans in the coming weeks.

Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears (currently owned in 61.7% of all ESPN leagues): 
It looks more and more like Herbert has toppled Williams for the backup spot at running back for the Chicago Bears.  He’s gotten 18 or more carries 3 weeks in a row now, he broke the century mark this week against a tough Buccaneers run defense, and he brought in all 5 of his targets for 33 yards last week.  Herbert’s burst and tough running style was probably the lone bright spot in a Bears offense that has struggled to get anything going.  He should be added in all leagues and formats at least until David Montgomery returns.  Even then, the Bears’ offensive backfield could turn into one of the better duos in the league.  

Samaje Perine, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (currently owned in 7.3% of all ESPN leagues): 
The Bengals backfield looks like it’s turned into a full on timeshare between Mixon and Perine with Chris Evans occasionally mixing in as the receiving back.  While Perine doesn’t get much usage in the passing game, he’s gotten 11 carries in 2 of his last 3 games.  Buyer beware: he did post a dud against Detroit.  Nevertheless, those in deeper leagues should be intrigued by his average of roughly 5 yards a clip.  He’s also scored touchdowns in 2 of his last 3.  This week presents another good matchup in which the Bengals could blow out the Jets which means Perine could get garbage time work in the interest of preserving Joe Mixon’s health.  He’ll have the Browns leading into a week 10 bye with the Raiders immediately following the bye.  

Latavius Murray, RB, Baltimore Ravens (currently owned in 35.6% of all ESPN leagues):
*****Latavius Murray and the Baltimore Ravens have a BYE WEEK this week and DO NOT PLAY*****
Murray has seen his ownership slowly dwindle the last few weeks.  He hasn’t gotten much run in the Ravens backfield, but he’s scored touchdowns in 4 of his first 6 weeks as a Raven.  He was held out against the Bengals last week due to an ankle injury.  He’ll get another week to rest this week, but those in deeper leagues should grab Murray when they have the chance.  He’s probably the best back in Baltimore’s backfield and he’ll face the Vikings, Dolphins and Bears after the bye, all of which have struggled against the run so far.  


Russel Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons (currently owned in 9.7% of all ESPN leagues): 
Gage reeled in 4 of his 6 targets for 67 yards and a touchdown in his first game since week 2.  The injury-plagued wide receiver’s services are needed on a team that lacks options aside from Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts.  The Falcons should be forced to air it out in shootouts especially with all of the injuries to their defensive backfield.  This means Gage should get plenty of looks in the coming weeks if he can stay healthy.  He has the Panthers, Saints, Cowboys and Patriots in the coming weeks.  

Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills (currently owned in 57.9% of all ESPN leagues): 
Beasley has seen his fantasy ownership drop in recent weeks with Dawson Knox taking away most of the short underneath targets.  However, he could get a lot of those targets back with Dawson now on the mend with a broken hand. The Bills’ chain mover and shifty possession receiver snagged 7 of his 9 targets for 88 yards and a touchdown before his bye week in a losing effort to the Titans.  He’s worth adding especially in PPR formats and he has the Dolphins, Jaguars and Jets on the docket that provide a very friendly schedule.  

AJ Green, WR, Arizona Cardinals (currently owned in 38% of all ESPN leagues): 
Green was targeted less than 6 times for just the 2nd time this season.  The addition of Zach Ertz adds to the growing list of weapons for a dangerous Cardinals team and could take away targets from Green.  There wasn’t much of a need to throw in this game as Arizona piled on 17 points in the second quarter and never looked back.  Kliff Kingsbury opted to run the ball and drain the clock.  It won’t always be like this though. This week’s matchup against the Packers will be a good litmus test of who the Cardinals are. Green could get involved in a shootout in the desert.  DeAndre Hopkins typically draws the best corner which leaves lesser defenders to match up against Green.  Both of these factors provided added upside for the veteran wideout.  He also has the 49ers, Panthers and Seahawks before heading into a week 12 bye.  

Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants (currently owned in 10.9% of all ESPN leagues): 
Slayton returned after a 3 game absence and was targeted 9 times as a result.  He pulled in just 5 of those targets for just 63 yards, but he proved he’s one of the more reliable high floor wideouts on a Giants team that doesn’t have much offensive output or that many weapons.  Kadarius Toney’s box score also suffered as a result as well.  Slayton can line up just about anywhere on the field and he’ll have a couple of good matchups against the Chiefs and Raiders before heading into a week 10 bye.  

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos (currently owned in 66.9% of all ESPN leagues): 
Yes, Jeudy is back and eligible to come off of injured reserve.  Head Coach Fangio indicated Jeudy was running routes at full speed last week, but took a more cautious approach with his return.  Jeudy is still one of the better route runners in the league, but how his high ankle sprain affected his route running is still to be determined.  He’s logged 6 catches for 72 yards in week 1 against the Giants before being sidelined for 6 games because of his injury.  He’ll have Washington, the Cowboys and Eagles before heading into a week 11 bye.  He could get plenty of work given Teddy B’s preference to check it down to negate a solid pass rush rather than heave it downfield to try to be a hero.  This makes him more valuable in PPR formats.

Zach Ertz, TE, Arizona Cardinals (currently owned in 64% of all ESPN leagues): 
Former disgruntled Philadelphia Eagle Zach Ertz made a splash in his Cardinals debut by snagging 3 of his 5 targets for 66 yards and a touchdown.  Kyler has been left to scramble in Kingsbury’s system Ertz gives the Cardinals a big, athletic safety valve who can attack over the middle of the field.  It’s tough for opposing defenses to know who to cover now with Hopkins, Ertz, Green, Kirk and even Rondale Moore in the mix.  However, Ertz will probably be covered by a linebacker or nickel corner which means he can work the mismatches.  Ertz is worth adding at a thin fantasy position.  

Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots (currently owned in 66.1% of all ESPN leagues):  
Henry caught just 2 of his 4 targets, but one of those targets resulted in a fantasy-saving touchdown.  He could get additional looks if Jonnu Smith is forced to miss time with a shoulder injury sustained in last week’s win over the Jets.  Big, athletic targets are a young quarterback’s best friend and Henry is no exception.  He’s scored touchdowns 4 games in a row now and he’s services will be called upon against a tough Chargers defense given the lack of quality receiving options in New England’s receiving room.  

Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants (currently owned in 23.3% of all ESPN leagues): 
Engram brought in 6 of his 8 targets for 44 yards in last week’s win against the Panthers.  He could keep getting a ton of looks if Shep, Slayton and Kadarius Toney can’t stay healthy.  Still, it’s worth it to roster him and stream him against weaker opponents or when the Giants’ wide receiving corps is decimated again.  Engram is worth stashing until he fills the box score consistently.  

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team (currently owned in 51.3% of all ESPN leagues): 
Speaking of young quarterbacks and big athletic targets, RSJ has carved out a role for himself with guys like Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Cam Sims and Logan Thomas all on the mend.  He’s been targeted 22 times over his last 3 games and he has 15 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown during that time to show for it.  It’s anyone’s guess what his role will be when some of these guys start getting healthy, but he certainly has chemistry with Heinicke at the moment so he’s worth rostering especially in PPR and deeper super flex formats.  He’ll head to Denver this week before the bye, and then he’ll take on the Bucs and Panthers after that.  

CJ Uzomah, TE, Cincinnati Bengals (currently owned in 10.1% of all ESPN leagues): 
Here’s the thing.  Uzomah is in the middle of a breakout year.  He’s scored 5 touchdowns in his last 4 games even with Tee Higgins and Ja’marr Chase healthy.  However, he’s been targeted 3 times or less in 3 of those 4 games.  Sure, Uzomah seems to have a nose for the endzone.  However, he’s the true definition of a touchdown-dependent boom or bust player much like Hunter Henry.  Chances are pretty good that he finds the endzone though given his production these last 4 weeks.  He’s widely available, but prospective owners shouldn’t be shocked if Uzomah posts a dud.  

Dan Arnold, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (currently owned in 2.8% of all ESPN leagues): 
Arnold is available in over 97% of all ESPN leagues which means there’s more than a pretty decent chance he’s available. He’s been targeted by Trevor 15 times since he was sent to Jacksonville and he’s pulled in 10 of those targets for 120 yards.  He still hasn’t found the endzone but it’s only a matter of time.  DJ Chark is still sidelined and Jamal Agnew is average at best.  That leaves Marvin Jones Jr and Laviska Shenault to catch passes so they’ll need all the help they can get.  Target Arnold in deep leagues and PPR and dynasty formats.  


Carson Wentz, QB, Indianapolis Colts (currently owned in 21.9% of all ESPN leagues): 
Wentz did work on Sunday night in front of a national  audience.  He couldn’t move the ball with his arm much on a soggy, miserable night at Levi Stadium.  He moved the ball with his feet instead and posted 23 yards and a touchdown on 4 carries.  While Wentz has been injury-plagued these last few seasons, coach Reich seems to know how to get the best out of his signal caller even with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell out.  Big Quinten Nelson has helped shore up pass blocking and play in general up front for Wentz.  He has a nice schedule coming up with the Titans, Jets and Jags all on deck.  

Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings (currently owned in 40.3% of all ESPN leagues): 
The downside about game managers like Kirk Cousins is they don’t have a don’t take a ton of chances so they don’t have a ton of big plays.  The upside is they take care of the ball and don’t commit a ton of turnovers.  Cousins threw for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Panthers before the bye with Thielen back in the lineup.  He’s a solid high-floor, low-ceiling guy who can be counted on for consistent production as long as he has all of his playmakers.  The Vikings’ defense is pretty porous so they’ll need to sling it to have any chance of winning.  Cousins should definitely be rostered especially in 2QB leagues.  


Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (currently owned in 35.1% of all ESPN leagues): 
Trevor has a pretty good chance of having a good fantasy day against a Seahawks pass defense that’s 6th worst in the league.  He can throw it or move it with his feet, he’s developing chemistry with his receiving options and his stats have been trending up.  He’s a decent dart throw as a streaming option this week.  


Cincinnati Bengals (currently owned in 23.1% of all ESPN leagues):
This underrated Bengals defensive unit could have a great day against a Jets offense that’s struggled all season.  The Jets have a backup quarterback that looks like a dear in the headlights.  The Bengals front 4 can also generate pressure without blitzing against a struggling Jets offensive line.  Start the Bengals defense with confidence this week.  

Philadelphia Eagles (currently owned in 3.5% of all ESPN leagues): 
The Lions offensive line is banged up, game manager Jared Goff doesn’t take shots, and the Lions don’t have many offensive weapons.  Fletcher Cox and co should be able to stack the box and have a field day in Detroit.  

San Francisco 49ers (currently owned in 57.1% of all ESPN leagues): 
The Bears have struggled to move the ball all season thanks to injuries along the offensive line and questionable play calling.  The 49ers are in a prime position to wear down a struggling Bears defense by running the ball and controlling time of possession.  

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