I know why you're all here. You want me to find the next D’Onta Foreman and reveal him to you days before he takes the lead role on his team following the trade of the elite Pro Bowler ahead of him. (Yes, this a humble brag on the Week 7 edition of this column where I did exactly that.) Well ... the Saints do have a few hours left to possibly find a suitor for Alvin Kamara. But a) I don't expect that to happen; and b) the only guy I could confidently point to as a beneficiary in that offense might be Taysom Hill.
All this to say, I don't think we're getting another Foreman before the trade deadline ... and probably not again this year. Guys capable of putting up 30+ fantasy points don't grow on trees. But I know you have expectations and I have (some) answers. Especially with a terrifying six teams on bye in Week 9 (including several stud running backs). And there is some league-winning upside to be found in this week's list. So, without further ado ...
To the wire!
(And if you want more guys, more explanations, or more answers, hit me up on Twitter @MattOkada!)
Rostered percentages are from NFL.com's fantasy football player trends. Players are roughly ordered by priority within position.
Pick Up If Available: D’Onta Foreman (65% rostered -- spend everything you've got if he's available)
It feels like an age and a half since I included Herbert in the Week 1 waiver column. If you recall, the reasoning back then was that Herbert was rumored to be a better fit for the Bears offense than incumbent starter David Montgomery. Eight games into the season ... that could not be more apparent. Herbert has 91 carries, Montgomery has 92. That’s a one-carry disparity. Herbert has 563 yards and four touchdowns on the ground ... Montgomery has 361 yards and two TDs. That’s a 202-yard (and two-TD) disparity. You following the math here? Here, I’ll simplify it. Herbert: 6.2 yards per carry (third-best among RBs). Montgomery: 3.9 yards per carry (bad). Now, I think it’s unlikely Herbert seizes the job entirely (which limits his upside a bit), but he’s proving to be startable regardless. And if he DOES get the job (whether by performance or injury), Herbert is a league-winner waiting to happen. He should be rostered in nearly every league.
Lest Pacheco be forgotten over his Week 8 bye, here I am to remind you about the rise of the rookie runner. While it hasn’t been particularly lucrative for fantasy, Pacheco has been gaining steam in the Chiefs running back room, culminating in a start and a team-high eight carries and 43 rush yards in Week 7 (to Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s six for 32). Much like with Herbert above, it is unlikely Pacheco takes full control of the lead job without injury to CEH, so I would not recommend blowing a No. 1 claim or all your FAAB on the kid. But if he leads this offense in touches with any consistency moving forward, he will be fantasy-relevant more often than not. And, as with Herbert, the upside is there.
I know, I know. The last few waiver wire columns have been a yo-yo of Ravens running backs. A roller coaster? A seesaw? It’s been a back and forth is what I’m trying to say. Kenyan Drake, Gus Edwards, Kenyan Drake ... which is it, Okada?! Honestly, the answer appears to be “whichever is healthiest.” And heading into Week 8, following Edwards’ hamstring injury on TNF, that guy is likely to be Drake (again). The real key here is that whoever gets the nod for Baltimore should get the nod in your fantasy lineup. Either Drake (Weeks 6 and 8) or Edwards (Week 7) has had 16+ fantasy points in each of the last three games. At least until J.K. Dobbins returns, it’s probably best to roster both and have all the bases covered (or at least roster whichever is cheaper to acquire).
Guys to 'Stache: Tell me if you've seen these names before: Latavius Murray and Tyler Allgeier. Unless this is your first visit to this column, you certainly have. After a week during which both guys scored (and neither guy's backfield competition looked convincing), here they are again. Oh, and if you insist on 'staching someone behind Alvin Kamara, I think Dwayne Washington is probably your guy (we're talking your 16-team-league, all-other-RBs-injured guy).
All the Toney trade hype went down after last week’s column published, so this is my first chance to edumacate y’all on the second-year former Giant. You may have seen some wild conjecture about Toney being “the next Tyreek Hill,” and plenty of adamant denial of said conjecture. Here’s the thing. Odds are, no one will be the next Tyreek Hill. Maybe ever. But ... Toney might be the best bet in the entire league to beat those odds. Yeah, I said it. There’s a pretty short reel of NFL tape on Toney thanks to injuries (and disappointing usage in New York) but spend a few minutes watching it and you’ll know what I mean. He’s lightning in human form. Add in the lack of a true No. 1 in Kansas City, the arm of Patrick Mahomes and the brain of Andy Reid ... and the ceiling is somewhere near the International Space Station. To be clear, the floor is also somewhere in the Mariana Trench (Google it), so adjust your expectations accordingly.
After missing the first three weeks and having only three catches in his Week 4 return, Moore has averaged 12.9 fantasy points over the last four games with a seven-catch, 92-yard performance in Week 8 (including a 38-yard TD late in the game). With the loss of Marquise Brown and the return of DeAndre Hopkins, Moore might have found an ideal role as a highly-targetable, often-in-space WR2 for Arizona. He’s had 8+ targets and 6+ catches in three of the last four weeks, and the Cardinals continue to churn out high-scoring, pass-happy contests (Kyler Murray threw 44 times for 326 yards on Sunday). Moore could easily slide into weekly FLEX territory over the remainder of the fantasy season, making him a must-add in anything beyond eight-team leagues.
You trust Austin Ekeler in fantasy, right? Well, Ekeler is picking up teammate Joshua Palmer ... so we should, too. And if you’re looking for more concrete reasoning, I’ve got you. Coming off L.A.’s Week 8 bye, Keenan Allen might -- MIGHT -- be fully healed from his nagging hamstring injury. I’m not confident. Meanwhile, Mike Williams is likely to miss multiple weeks with an ankle injury. That means Justin Herbert will have Palmer and DeAndre Carter to turn to on the outside. Palmer has had 13+ fantasy points in three games this season, Carter did it once (back in Week 1). And our inside man prefers Palmer. All the pieces are falling into place.
Guys to 'Stache: Every time Devin Duvernay touches the ball for Baltimore, he's a threat to break a big play. The only problem is, he has only one game with more than five targets, which makes him highly boom-bust. Still, you could do worse for a bye-week fill-in. Speaking of boom-bust, Damiere Byrd has recorded 26.2 fantasy points on his pair of touchdown catches over the last two weeks ... and 4 fantasy points the entire rest of the 2022 season. Yes, those are real numbers. Titans rookie Treylon Burks should return from a toe injury soon and Robert Woods has been anything but impressive as the lead guy in Tennessee. Burks could be a late-year breakout.
No, you’re not re-reading the Week 8 article where Engram topped the list of tight ends to add. He’s just back for more because he’s still available in over half of NFL.com leagues and had 15.5 fantasy points in London on Sunday. That’s four straight games with 9+ fantasy points, which is literally as much as we can ask from a fantasy tight end not named Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews. At a position in which streaming is scarier than any of the Halloween parties or haunted houses you visited this year, I’ll take the high-floor and low-ceiling of this Jag (by which I totally mean Jaguar, and not Just A Guy ... totally).
Dulcich has scored 11+ fantasy points in every single game of his career. As much as we praise Kelce and Andrews, even they can’t claim that! OK fine, it’s only been three games. But in all seriousness, Dulcich is (very) quickly cementing himself as one of the more exciting options at this (very) bare position. He’s increased his yardage in each game this season and might have sneakily become the No. 2 target on the Denver offense. Not only is the rookie a must-add in all leagues ... he might be a must-start. Just be aware, he’s on bye next week. So go add Evan Engram, too.
Guys to 'Stache: Isaiah Likely had a glorious breakout on Thursday Night Football -- six catches, 77 yards and a TD for 19.7 fantasy points -- in a game in which Andrews missed all but 10 snaps due to a shoulder injury. Andrews is not expected to miss much time, so this is more of a "tight end handcuff" than anything. But at the same time, Likely is about as likely as anyone to have a startable week (yes, that was forced).
See if this tickles your fancy: 17 fantasy points in Week 5 ... 18 in Week 6 ... 23 in Week 7 ... 26 in Week 8. That, my friends, is what we call a trend. Insert emoji of the red stocks line climbing upwards here (why on earth isn’t that line green?). Fields has had 40+ rushing yards in six straight games, scored on the ground in two straight and thrown five TDs in the last four games after throwing only two TDs in the first four. He also has an extremely juicy stretch of matchups on the horizon: his next three opponents are all bottom-four in the league against fantasy quarterbacks. Fields is a QB1 for the next month ... and possibly for the rest of the season.
I am once again asking you to add Marcus Mariota in fantasy. Is he inconsistent? Yes. Is he a great NFL quarterback? Not really, no. Is he highly streamable anyway? Yes, yes he is. Like Fields, Mariota is riding a streak of 40-yard rushing games (four straight) and he exploded for a season-high 253 yards and three scores through the air on Sunday. You can’t rely on him as your every-week starter, but if you’re willing to carry two QBs, Mariota should absolutely be one of them.
Guys to 'Stache: In very good matchups, Andy Dalton is now a viable streamer ... and his next two games against the Ravens and Steelers both fit that bill (despite the name value attached to those defenses). Here's a sneaky one: if you've got Lamar Jackson or Joe Burrow, add Sam Ehlinger this week. Why? Because he draws the Division III Raiders defense in Week 10 when Jackson and Burrow are on bye. You're welcome.
The Vikings D/ST has logged double-digit fantasy points in consecutive games and gets the Commanders in Week 9 ... who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to D/STs this season. Match made in heaven. I kind of like the Chiefs D/ST coming off a bye against the quarterback-challenged Titans. They will not allow Derrick Henry to rush for 219 yards like the Texans did. After looking half-decent against the Bills despite several missing pieces on Sunday, the Packers D/ST gets the turnover-happy Lions in Week 9. In a divisional game. That they need to win. Or be embarrassed. Give me the over on 10.5 fantasy points.