Last week, we saw a few players go down to injuries, some of which, are done for the year (RIP Will Fuller). I'll be covering guys who got banged up last week, or have recently been deemed "out" (won't talk about a guy like Fournette of Dalvin Cook since their injuries have been sustained in the past and we've seen how their offenses operate without them) and how their injury effects other around them. What else? Good question. I'll also provide you with some waiver wire replacements (available in over 60% of leagues) and deep stashes at the WR, RB, and TE positions (available in over 70%). Let's take a look.
DEREK ANDERSON - BUFFALO BILLS
Let's be honest, were you starting anyone in this spot with Anderson at QB anyway? Now, it looks like Peterman will be going up against the Chicago defense, which means.........avoid the Bills at all costs. The only player I have any confidence in is McCoy, but even then, he's facing an elite run defense who have yet to allow a rushing score. Please, just please, look away.
C.J. BEATHARD - SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Beathard hasn't been officially rules out, but it doesn't look good for him this Thursday. If he does play, I'd still be confident in Matt Breida, George Kittle, and Marquise Goodwin as starters this week against a putrid Raiders defense. If he sits, though, they'll be stuck with Nick Mullens, who threw 46 picks in 44 games in college playing for the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. I have no faith in Mullens, as I've never heard of him (but I did some research, and he played with Jalen Richard and Ito Smith in college, so I guess that's cool), which also hurts Goodwin's stock. As for Breida, he'll still get his 12+ touches, and may even benefit from dumpoffs if Mullens can't get anything going. The same can be said for Kittle, who will likely be peppered by the young QB. All in all, I'd stay away unless I'm a Breida/Kittle owner or are desperate for a FLEX this week, which is a situation where Goodwin could be serviceable.
There are no injury concerns for other QBs this week. Guys like Rodgers and Newton will likely be limited just to maintain health. Deshaun Watson is practicing in full, so there's nothing to worry about there. Blake Bortles is dealing with a left-shoulder injury and should be fine, but are you really starting him this week?
The only good QB with any type of concern is Ben Roethlisberger, but his fractured finger is on his non-throwing hand, so it should be no issue this Sunday.
WAIVER WIRE REPLACEMENTS
DEREK CARR - OAKLAND RAIDERS
MATCHUP: @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Derek Carr came back from his bye with a vengeance, tossing 3 tuddies and 244 yards against the Colts. Once again, he gets a gravy matchup this Thursday with the 9ers, who have given up 2 passing touchdowns in 4/8, 3 passing TDs in 3/8, and have only held the Cardinals to one passing touchdown. Carr has been extremely inconsistent this year, but I'd expect him to take advantage of SF's poor secondary. He should be a near QB1 this week with a ton of others on bye.
BROCK OSWEILER - MIAMI DOLPHINS
MATCHUP: NEW YORK JETS
When Osweiler is on this list, you know the position is shallow that week. Joking aside, he hasn't been completely awful, averaging almost 290 yards and 2 scores a game over his last 3 starts. The Jets have allowed 2+ passing touchdowns each of the past 5 weeks, including Case Keenum and Blake Bortles. He's depleted of weapons, but DeVante Parker showed promise, Amendola is a viable safety blanket, and Kenyan Drake and Jakeem Grant have the ability to make a big play off a dump off pass. He's not quite a QB1, but with 6 teams on bye, there are certainly worse options.
JOE FLACCO - BALTIMORE RAVENS
Flacco hasn't been consistent this year, but in good spots, he's produced. The only teams he hasn't put up 2 or more TDs against were the Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, and Carolina Panthers. This week, he's at home, facing a team he dropped 363 yards and 2 TDs on earlier this year on the road. Flacco should be a decent bye week fill in and a back end QB1 heading into week 9.
MATCHUP: PITTSBURGH STEELERS
BAKER MAYFIELD - CLEVELAND BROWNS
MATCHUP: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs have actually been good against the pass recently, who, outside of last week, hadn't given up more than one TD since week 3. Antonio Callaway finally caught a pass last week, and with David Njoku and Jarvis Landry, they have ample weapons to bring fantasy value for Baker. The main concern here is the huge coaching change, as both Hue Jackson and Todd Haley got tossed. This team will be a wildcard this week, which could work to their advantage by catching the Chiefs off guard, or fuck them over by being coached by Greg Williams. If I were to bet, I'd say the Browns will be getting smoked and Mayfield will need to throw, making him a back end QB1.
DAK PRESCOTT - DALLAS COWBOYS
Before his bye, Dak was starting to look better and produce in fantasy football. Now, with Amari Cooper entering, he has another weapon to (attempt to) throw to. All I'm saying is, this passing game can't get much worse. They'll still be a run heavy team that relies on Zeke and their defense, but in the upcoming weeks, he faces Philly twice, Atlanta, New Orleans, Indy and Tampa, 6 games where Dak could certainly be a viable fantasy starter. He faces New Orleans, Philly, @ Indy, and and Tampa in week 13-16, so if he continues to improve, he could sneakily provide huge value during the fantasy playoffs.
CASE KEENUM - DENVER BRONCOS
Similar to Dak, this is mainly because of his late season schedule. After his bye in week 10, he faces, the Chargers, Pittsburgh, the Bengals, San Fran, the Browns, and Oakland. If Sutton can step up into the WR2 role in Denver, Keenum may provide some fantasy value later in the year. He could also provide fantasy value for Mahomes/Goff owners, as he faces Pittburgh during their bye. If you have the space to stash him, there's no reason you shouldn't pick him up for the hope he returns to his 2017 form. If you're in a league with a 6-8 man bench, though, it's not worth the pickup.
LEONARD FOURNETTE (doesn't look likely), DALVIN COOK (doesn't look likely), BILAL POWELL
RONALD JONES - TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
This is the only guy I'm covering since it's a new injury, but if we're being honest, there isn't much of an impact. He hasn't done anything with his touches thus far, and it's not like he was taking away from Peyton Barber's work recently. Barber actually looked decent last week, and that trend should continue against the Carolina run defense. He's not a top 15 option, but his volume alone should make him a RB2 in a week with six teams on bye. Jones' injury doesn't necessarily affect the passing game, as he wasn't getting much work in that aspect of the game, so guys like Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard are viable starters.
SONY MICHEL - NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Unsurprisingly, Michel sat out last week after suffering what looked to be a torn ligament in his knee. Despite how bad it looked, it was reported that it wasn't all that serious and there was no structural damage. Do I think he'll play this week? Yes, and here's why. Firstly, there was no structural damage, so even though it definitely caused pain, it (likely) won't be an injury that lingers. I'm not just pulling this out of my ass, either. He was participating in the Patriots' practice last Saturday and wasn't officially rules out until Sunday. Now, with another week to rest up, I'd bet he suits up in a huge game against the Packers. He logged a limited practice Wednesday, which may be for health maintenance. If he suits up, I'd expect him to get a little less volume than he's seen prior to his injury, and that's most because of gamescript. Brady's not going to want to give up ground to ARod, so they'll likely air it out against this woeful pass defense that just lose Haha Clinton-Dix. If he does sit, James White becomes a locked in top 10 RB, and there's no other runningback I'd be comfortable playing. Barner got little run last week, and Cordarelle Patterson looked lost playing RB, so I wouldn't expect them to get enough volume to produce. As for the receiving game, Edelman is a solid WR2, as is Josh Gordon, and Gronk is a middling TE1.
MELVIN GORDON - LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Another guy I expect to play this week. He suffered a hamstring injury a few weeks back, prior to the Chargers' matchup with the Titans in London. At the time, it didn't sound too serious, but they held Gordon out in attempt to maintain his health. Because he sat, he didn't have to put any stress on his hammy, and even had a bye week following that week. By the time Sunday rolls around, he would have over 2 weeks of resting, which should be beneficial for his tweaked hamstring. We saw just how serious these injuries could be for runningbacks, as Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette have sat more than they've played, but the difference is MG didn't have to play through this injury. If he suits up, he's a locked in top 5 RB, even on the road in Seattle. Because of how much the Chargers have been targeting RBs in the redzone, Keenan is no more than a WR2 and Mike/Tyrell Williams are boom/bust WR4s. As for Ekeler, if Gordon plays, he's a back-end RB2 in PPR leagues, and if Gordon sits, should be a fringe top 10 option.
MATT BREIDA - SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
No matter how many times he gets hurt, he just keeps on playing. He's dealing with an ankle injury, but do we really think there's any chance he sits? Even on a short week, I feel confident in Breida's health, and with his matchup, should be a solid RB2 this week. C.J. Beathard looks truly questionable to suit up tomorrow, but even if he doesn't play, Breida will get enough work on the ground and through the air for him to produce.
CHRIS THOMPSON - WASHINGTON REDSKINS
CT is apparently dealing with rib injuries...again. It doesn't look promising he plays this week, and even if that's the case, nobody really gets a boost. The Redskins can't get anything going through the air, as they're relying on their defense and revamped running game with Adrian Peterson. Now, If CT does suit up, he could be a sneaky play this week against the Falcons. As we all probably know by know, the Falcons can't stop pass catchers out of the backfield, a mold which Thompson certainly fits. If he plays, AP is still a high end RB2/back end RB1 in all formats and Thompson will be a middling RB2. If he sits, nobody's value really changes, except maybe AP, who will have a higher floor, as he will dominate the backfield touches.
ROYCE FREEMAN - DENVER BRONCOS
Royce missed last week due to a high ankle sprain, and in his absence, we say Devontae Booker and Phillip Lindsay step up. Both topped 100 total yards from scrimmage as the backfield was split 50/50, but as we've seen this year, whenever a RB is active in this backfield, he'll get touches. If Freeman suits up, Booker's value gets destroyed, becoming nothing more than a RB4, and Lindsay goes from a RB1 to a middling RB2. What also doesn't help is that the Texans have a strong run defense, which will further diminish their production. Outside of Lindsay, I'm not playing anyone in this backfield. If Freeman does sit, however, Lindsay should be a high end RB2 while Booker can be a viable FLEX option. As for others in the offense, Sutton and Sanders are certainly strong starts against a fairly weak secondary and should get plenty of volume with the departure of Demaryius Thomas.
WAIVER WIRE REPLACEMENTS
(*THE FIRST 3 ARE AVAILABLE IN OVER 40% OF LEAGUES, NOT 60% BECAUSE THERE AREN'T MANY STREAMABLE RBS WIDELY AVAILABLE)
DOUG MARTIN/JALEN RICHARD - OAKLAND RAIDERS
MATCHUP: @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Surprisingly, Doug Martin wasn't terrible last week. He was unable to score on either of his goal line carries, but the silver lining here is that he GOT goal line carries. If this trend continues, he'll eventually punch one in, which could help to bring value to a position you're just using as a bye week replacement. He put up 72 yards on 13 carries, good for 5.5 YPC. He did fumble, which is disappointing, but he's only fumbled 11 times in his 7 year career, so it's not like he has a huge issue with it. Against the 9ers, he has back end RB2 appeal.
As for Richard, the guy just gets a huge target share. He's currently on pace to see 102.4 targets in 2018 and has seen 8 in his last two games. In PPR leagues, he has an extremely high floor, that of a RB2, so even though he's available in a lot of leagues, he's a legitimate starter. As I said before with Martin, the 49ers are a bad run defense and have given up the 7th most receptions to the RB position (50). Richard is a safe RB2 play this week.
FRANK GORE - MIAMI DOLPHINS
MATCHUP: NEW YORK JETS
I know, I know. Frank Gore is a million years old, but guess what, he's somehow producing. Over the last 5 weeks, he's averaging 13 touches a game (12 rushes, one receptions) and 66 yards from scrimmage. Obviously these numbers don't jump out at you, but he's guaranteed touches in a plus matchup. He's by no means an RB2, or even a RB3, but if you're desperate at the FLEX position with so many teams on bye, he isn't completely awful.
TRENTON CANNON - NEW YORK JETS
MATCHUP: @ MIAMI DOLPHINS
Cannon didn't do much last week, but he did see 4 targets. He's a small, explosive player who certainly has the ability to take one to the house from just about anywhere on the field. With the lack of weapons on the Jets, he should see around 5 targets per game, as long as Elijah McGuire doesn't return. Last week, his 3 receptions only turned into 12 yards, but the week before, he turned 4 into 69 (nice) yards. He also added 6 carries last week, but did next to nothing with them. If he can get 10-12 touches against a Miami Defense that just got exposed, he could put up 10 PPR points easily. Once again, if you're struggling with bye weeks and injuries, Cannon could be a viable FLEX play this week.
RAHEEM MOSTERT - SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
I don't like picking up direct handcuffs, but with Breida's constant injury scares, it isn't unreasonable to think he may end up dealing with something that keeps him out for a prolonged period. In games where Breida had to come out early or was limited, Mostert looked good and certainly could be a back end RB2 in PPR if Breida were to miss time.
JOSH ADAMS - PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Adams looked great last week, putting up 61 yards on 9 carries last week. It doesn't look like Corey Clement is anything special in the backfield and Wendell Smallwood hasn't done anything to impress. Could Adams win this job coming out of the bye? Yes, but that doesn't all of a sudden make him a great play. This team will continue to use a RBBC approach, which limits all of their values, but if he manages to see upwards of 12-15 touches a game, he could certainly have potential to crack your lineup.
KAPRI BIBBS - WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Again, I don't necessarily love handcuffs, but Chris Thompson doesn't look to be near 100%. If he were to miss time, Bibbs would be the team's pass catching back, but in reality, I'm not sure how much work he'd get. I'd only pick him up if you have a really deep bench and are playing in PPR leagues. He'll never be more than a RB3, but with byes in full effect and the playoffs right around the corner, he could provide value if you're in a tough spot. Also, AP is 33 years old, so it isn't unreasonable to think he may slow down some time soon (then again, he is Adrian Peterson and simply doesn't age).
WILL FULLER - HOUSTON TEXANS
Last Thursday, Will Fuller suffered a torn ACL late in the game. With him going down, Keke Coutee looked as if he would step into the #2 receiver role in Houston. Just under a week later, though, the Texans scooped DT, who won't provide the same deep threat ability as Fuller, but certainly boosts Deshaun Watson's value from what it would be if he was only left with DHop and Coutee. With DT entering, Watson will have another big-bodied athletic receiver to run opposite of DHop. This trade won't downgrade Hopkins, as he's the clear #1, and it should actually benefit him following Fuller's injury. If they hadn't acquired Thomas, defenses would be able to fully focus on Hopkins. Now, they'll have to be a little more honest and respect DT, allowing easier matchups for Hopkins and more weapons for Watson.
KENNY STILLS - MIAMI DOLPHINS
It looks like Stills will sit again, but does this really affect anybody else? The Dolphins have relatively few options in the passing game, so if he does sit, Parker and Amendola should see most of the targets. Amendola is a sneaky play, as the Jets suck against slot WRs, and Parker could be a WR3 this week against the Jets. Overall, not much changes whether Stills sits or not.
JAMISON CROWDER - WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Again, does this matter? Crowder has done next to nothing this year, and even when he has missed games, nobody's really taken over his spot and produced. I'm avoiding every receiver in this passing game, even Jordan Reed, simply because Alex Smith hasn't been able to do anything through the air this year. If Thompson suits up, he'll be an RB2 and Peterson is a back end RB1. Outside of that, despite playing an awful Falcons defense, I'm not interested in anyone on the Skins.
STEFON DIGGS - MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Diggs missed practice Wednesday with a rib injury and is looking like he's a game time decision. If he does sit, I think it downgrades almost everybody in the passing game. Kirk will only have Thielen and Rudolph as receiving options (don't tell me Treadwell will step up), and with Diggs sidelined, Thielen will likely be focused on heavily by opposing team's defenses. Thielen has been benefitting from running routes out of the slot as Diggs is covered by the opposing team's number one corner, but if DIggs sits, Thielen will likely play on the outside more, drawing tougher matchups. Does this downgrade him to a WR2? No, he's still elite, but I wouldn't expect as big of production if Darius Slay is shadowing him. Whether or not Diggs plays, though, Thielen is a WR1 and he's got to be in your lineup. As far as the running game, the Lions stink against the run and the Vikings may give Murray a little more volume to make up for Diggs' missing touches. Again, whether or not Diggs plays, Murray is a high end RB2.
COOPER KUPP - LOS ANGELES RAMS
I won't go into this much since we've seen what the offense looks like without Kupp. What I will say, though, is if he plays, Goff becomes one of the best QB plays this week. This should be an extremely high scoring game, and if he has Cooks, Woods, and Kupp all active, he should be able to put up enough points to land him somewhere near the top 5 this week. The other reason I think this is possible is because the Saints are one of, if not, the best team against the run. Now, I don't think they'll completely stonewall Gurley, but they should provide enough resistance to get Goff throwing more than he has recently.
ALLEN ROBINSON - CHICAGO BEARS
Again, not much to say, as we saw what happened last week with ARob sidelined. Without Robinson, they relied on Kevin White and Joshua Bellamy on the outside, but they didn't get much work. In this matchup, I'm not sure I'd be confident in any of their receivers, as the Bills have been pretty strong against the pass. Also, the Bears won't need to score, as their defense should have no problem shutting down Peterman.
WAIVER WIRE REPLACEMENTS
DJ MOORE - CAROLINA PANTHERS
MATCHUP: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
This is obviously a great matchup for a rookie receiver who broke out just a week ago. The Bucs can't stop anybody, and in a game where they'll likely need to score, he should see enough volume to produce. He's a middling WR3 this week and has the boom potential to finish inside the top 20 at week's end.
COLE BEASLEY - DALLAS COWBOYS
MATCHUP: TENNESSEE TITANS
This isn't as great of a play as Moore, but Beasley could be a sneaky FLEX option this week. Over his last two games, Beasley has racked up 16 catches for 157 yards and two scores, and even after acquiring Amari Cooper, Beasley will be Dak's safety blanket underneath. The Titan's haven't been good against receivers, but have been solid against the run, which could make Dallas throw more than usual. He's not the best waiver wire replacement, but he should be serviceable with 6 teams on bye.
TRE'QUAN SMITH - NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Smith had a tough matchup last week, so his poor performance was expected. On a positive note, he looks to be the team's clear-cut WR2 opposite Michael Thomas. The Saints haven't passed nearly as much in recent weeks since Ingram's return, but this week, that could be different, playing a Rams team who can make anybody chase points. If Brees is forced to throw, Tre'Quan will be in line for enough looks to bring fantasy relevance. If he's still on your wire, snatch him before he breaks out.
CHRISTIAN KIRK - ARIZONA CARDINALS
Christian Kirk is quietly putting together a strong rookie year. Since week 3, when he made his first start, he's on pace for 104 targets and a 69/1,011/5 receiving line. These are legit back-end WR2 numbers, and with this offense only being able to go up after getting rid of Mike McCoy, he's a must pickup. He's on bye this week, so get him before others realize he's still available.
MARQUEZ VALDES-SCANTLING - GREEN BAY PACKERS
MVS looked incredible with Allison and Cobb out, and that production continued even upon their return. He saw the 3rd most snaps and routes run by all Packers' receivers, trailing Geronimo by only one. He tied Cobb for targets with 5, which was 4 more than Allison saw. He looks to have gained the trust of ARod, which will inevitably bring fantasy value, and even looks to be the Packers' #2. Also, with the Packers' defense not being able to stop anyone, they'll continue to throw, giving MVS adequate volume to produce as a back end WR3.
There weren't any serious injuries sustained by the tight end position last week that'll keep anybody of fantasy relevance for Week 9.
ROB GRONKOWSKI - NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Once again, Gronk is being held out of practice, but should be able to play this week. Despite this, he hasn't been able to do much of anything this year, finishing as a TE1 three times in seven games. If he plays, he's a middling TE1 while Edelman and Gordon will be WR2s and White will be a RB1, regardless of Michel's status. If he does miss time, though, the receiving core and White will inevitably be a little more involved, as Gronk's 6 targets per game have to go somewhere. Against as poor Green Bay secondary, all pass catchers are viable in this spot, whether or not #87 plays.
GEOFF SWAIM - DALLAS COWBOYS
This one doesn't matter much. Swaim is a game-time decision, but there won't be much difference in the passing game if he starts or sits. The Cowboys don't pass enough for anybody to produce at a high level, despite trading for Amari Cooper. Don't get me wrong, Beasley and Cooper could be decent FLEX plays this week, but Geoff Swaim has no influence on that.
DAVID NJOKU - CLEVELAND BROWNS
Njoku is looking like he'll suit up, as he's going throught the same practice schedule as he did last week. He wasn't targeted at all against the Steelers in Week 8, but this is obviously bound to change. Playing the Chiefs, the Browns will need to keep up, thus, making Njoku a fringe top 5 tight end this week.
WAIVER WIRE REPLACEMENTS
JEFF HEUERMAN - DENVER BRONCOS
MATCHUP: HOUSTON TEXANS
This is how shallow the tight end position is. With guys like Zach Ertz, Eric Ebron, and Jack Doyle on bye, there aren't many options this week. Honestly, this Heuerman play is solely for TD upside. He has seen 12 red zone targets and 5 endzone targets. He's also been heavily involved, playing in 82% or more of offensive snaps since week 4 and has seen 4.4 targets/game over that span. With DT now gone, Keenum will need to throw to someone, and Heuerman may be their 3rd option now. He's not a TE1, or really a strong TE2, but in a week with scarce options, there are certainly worse plays than 'Ol Jeffy Boy in this spot.
There aren't any, really. The position is extremely thin, so anybody with any type of value is most certainly owned.