Fantasy Football 2014: Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups


Another wild week in the NFL sees the Jaguars get their first win of the season, a dominant victory against a streaking Browns team and the Seahawks lost back to back games for the first time in two years…almost makes up for completely whiffing on Justin Hunter, and Andre Holmes who had a combined 4 catches for 40 yards. Vikings RB, Jerick McKinnon (14% on NFL)(11.6% on ESPN) continues to look good though and with his 2nd 100+ yard performance in 4 weeks and the starting job firmly in his grasp, this may be you last chance to grab him (be warned though he does follow this week’s favorable match-up with Buccaneers with a tough matchup against the Redskins in week 9 and a week 10 bye.) I’ll also say that Jaguars WR, Allen Robinson (0.4% on NFL)(1.3% on ESPN) who I mentioned way back in week 4, should be owned in more leagues. He’s getting consistent looks, with no less than 4 catches in a game since week 2 and at least 50 yards in all but one of those games. Last week was his first touchdown, but the Jaguars offense is starting to show some signs of life and Robinson seems to have a hold on the starting job opposite Cecil Shorts.       

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  • If you’re new to the column the parentheticals to the right of players names represent their ownership percentage in and ESPN leagues respectively. Generally I like to limit my pick-up to players owned in fewer than 30% of leagues, but there are exceptions. The names aren’t in any particular order, but are grouped by position and my picks for streaming QB and Defense of the week are at the bottom of the article. Any questions, or criticism? There’s a comment box below the ads that follow the article. Now let’s get into some waiver wire pickups for week 8:

    Bryce Brown, RB, Bills: (0.2% on NFL)(1.3% on ESPN) With C.J. Spiller out for the year and Fred Jackson expected to miss about a month, Brown is set to go from inactive 4th running back to work horse. Anthony Dixon has done well with the carries he’s been given and there’s a good chance he splits the workload with Brown this week against the Jets, but he was active ahead of Brown for special teams reasons, not because the Bills want him as their lead back in this sort of emergency situation. I’m giving Brown extra priority because even once Jackson is healthy Brown could remain the featured back so long as he’s running well. Fred Jackson was splitting time with CJ Spiller and the Bills are likely anxious to get an extended look at Brown in their offense before the offseason.

    Tre Mason, RB, Rams: (1.5% on NFL)(2.3% on ESPN) Another running back going from essentially nothing to starter. The Rams have enough talent in the backfield to turn this into a 3 headed monster, but Mason looks like the best runner of the bunch and as long as he continues to look like he did last Sunday against the Seahawks he’ll dominant the Rams backfield touches. If he struggles we could see Zac Stacy reemerge as the backfield leader, but given his struggles this season and the Rams long shot to make the playoffs it makes sense to give Mason a longer leash.

    Denard Robinson, RB, Jaguars: (0.4% on NFL)(0.5% on ESPN) He’s been the Jaguars most effective runner all year, and the coaches finally gave him the start and a full workload. The result was a very promising 22 carries for 122 yards and 1 TD. Head Coach, Gus Bradley, seemed less than thrilled about Robinson remaining the starter going forward, but it’s hard to argue with his production. Of course, I’d expect Robinson to continue to lose some carries to Storm Johnson or Toby Gerhart near the goal line and in short yardage situations.

    Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks: (30.9% on NFL)(19.4% on ESPN) After catching 7 passes for 153 yards and a TD it seems clear Doug Baldwin won’t miss Percy Harvin. Baldwin takes over the top spot for the Seahawks and while he’s probably not putting up these types of numbers on a week to week basis he will see plenty of targets from Russell Wilson. Baldwin’s always had a special chemistry with Wilson and the Seahawks have shown a greater willingness to throw the ball this season, making Baldwin a solid add in all leagues.

    Kenny Stills, WR, Saints: (4.6% on NFL)(3.6% on ESPN) Yes, the big game (5 catches for 103 yards and a TD) was primarily a product of a good run defense and an ineffective Jimmy Graham, but Stills caught everything thrown his way and continues to show a chemistry with Drew Brees that screams for more playing time and targets, so Stills makes the list on the hope that Sean Payton sees what I see in the sophomore WR from Oklahoma.

    Robert Woods, WR, Bills: (1.6% on NFL)(0.8% on ESPN) The Bills play the Jets this week and then they’re on bye, so this may be more of a one week deal, but Woods is a talented player stuck on a struggling offense feeding it’s rookie playmaker. That said the Jets secondary continues to give up a ton of yards and shutting down Sammy Watkins should be their primary goal, it’s possisble they forget about Woods and he ends up with a big day.

    Jermaine Kearse, WR, Seahawks:()() I like Baldwin better, but Kearse will be the starter on the other side and has 7 targets and at least 50 yards receiving in each of the past two games with the Panthers and Raiders up next on the schedule and after two tough losses I could see the Seahawks looking to put up a ton of points to remind the league that they are still the defending Super Bowl Champions.

    Owen Daniels, TE, Ravens: (27.6% on NFL)(22.1% on ESPN) He’s been inconsistent since taking over as Baltimore’s top TE, but it’s a good matchup this week against a Cincinnati that is vulnerable over the middle. He’s a nice option for anyone with Vernon Davis on a bye or just not satisfied with their current TE.

    One to Watch:

    Gavin Escobar, TE, Cowboys: (0.3% on NFL)(0.3% on ESPN) With the Cowboys committed to the ground game and Jason Witten healthy it’s tough to count on Gavin Escobar, but his 4 catches for 65 yards and 2 TDs isn’t a fluke. He’s talented young player who’s learning the position from the games best and could experience a Ladarius Green like late season surge. If you’re desperate in a deeper league it’s a really favorable schedule with Washington, Arizona and Jacksonville all struggling to stop the pass, but you’re essentially just hoping for a TD until he gains a more defined role in the offense.

    Roy Helu, RB, Redskins: (2.9% on NFL)(35.3% on ESPN) Expanding the ‘one to watch’ section into two this week as things are getting weird in Washington. Helu has been effective with the ball in his hands this year, and with Colt McCoy set to start at QB this week we have proof that Head Coach Jay Gruden isn’t afraid to make a change from a struggling player and there’s just no way around the fact that Alfred Morris has struggled. It’s not all his fault, but the fact remains that Helu looks like the better runner in Gruden’s offense and he warrants more than just passing down work.

    Streaming QB of the Week:

    Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals: (15.2% on NFL)(9.6% on ESPN) Back to back games of 250 yards and 2 TDs and Eagles team that’s given up a ton of fantasy points to opposing QB’s make Palmer the best matchup play of the week. I have some reservations about his shoulder, but unless he suffers a setback he looks good to go. If Palmer is owned in your league, or you want higher risk reward play, I like Jets QB Geno Smith(3.2% on NFL)(4.4% on ESPN) this week. The Bills are better against the run than the pass and I’m betting the Jets are itching to deploy their new weapon Percy Harvin. A week of practice should be more than enough time to work him into the game plan on a few screens and slants. And any added attention on Harvin opens up the field for Eric Decker and Jace Amaro.

    Streaming Defense of the Week:

     Miami Dolphins D/ST: (5.8% on NFL)(12.6% on ESPN) I hate to keep picking on the Jaguars, but outside of games against Green Bay and Buffalo the Dolphins defense has put up solid fantasy numbers and they’re out there in the vast majority of leagues. Even if Blake Bortles can cut down on the turnovers I think the Dolphins will get pressure and rack up sacks. If you can’t get the Dolphins I like the Colts, I think Chuck Pagano’s influence is finally taking hold and they’re becoming a tough matchup for opposing offenses. And it’s also not a bad week to roll with the Vikings who have a combined 10 sacks in the past 2 games and take on a Buccaneers team that, can be beat along the offensive line.