People you know who barely have one eyelash inside your regular circle can really get the wrong idea about your interest in fantasy. If you simply say, "I'm into fantasy", most would probably know precisely what you mean, but a few others might think you are a Tolkein groupie. I wouldn't take the mistaken reference personal. However, if you get a post on Facebook from someone saying, "thought this might interest you"; a link with a picture of Gandalf under a lightning bolt, well okay, it's time to set the record straight.
We like to think of ourselves as a special kind of gamer - the statistician, the analyst, the director of player personnel, the coach, the manager, the scout, etc. We are not Pokemonies, Bronies or any other kind of cartoon "onies." I don't think it's that kind of club, because it involves sports, revolves around sports and is actually an extension of the interest of sports.
There are "fantasy junkies" who just can't get enough of it perhaps, but that's just the range of interest. After this past weekend, I felt like getting away from fantasy football as much as possible, so I'm not one of those. I think one of the most interesting things to discover from fantasy football is the pure causality experience. A mass experiment with the universe every week.
Week 8 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Grabs
Bye Week: Ravens, Rams, Dolphins, Giants, Steelers, 49ers
Yes, it's time to experiment again. That big waiver player remains elusive - a blank silhouette with a question mark inside. Don't worry, that mid-season guy will emerge. They always do. I'll try to figure out who that is and pass along the candidates in this column.
Picking up a player requires ditching someone else, so that's why Alex Hamrick has a weekly column about that.
Bracketed percentages are the Yahoo ownership; with selected players no higher than around 35% or so. I try to avoid the obvious and although my big pickup may be common with other sites, well, I like to have a say on the player too.
Man, did I goof last week. I suggested Keenum as a good spot grab, but, that was not good. Not at all. Can we just forget that and go on to week 8? Thanks.
Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings (17%)
After a comedic show, caused in large part by two very aggressive defenses, the Vikings look to rebound versus the Bears on Monday night. Since the Bears allow the fourth most fantasy points to wide receivers, it must mean at least some chance for a quarterback to get in on some of it.
The Bears will probably resort to how Philadelphia's defense handled the situation and go for sacks. Can the Bears get to Bradford six times like the Eagles? Not likely, but you can be certain the Bears throw out blitz packages and everything else in trying. The Vikings should be able to handle it better than the Eagles; allowing Bradford more time.
Aaron Rodgers torched the Bears everywhere on the field last week, so I feel the Vikings are just as capable of pass protecting, making Bradford a playable stream quarterback this week.
Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins (12%)
Fumbling is a sure job killer for any running back, especially when they do it near the goal line. Matt Jones virtually erased himself from the job for the rest of the game after it happened. Many Redskins miscues contributed in the loss to Detroit, but the fumble really cost the team. Gruden will likely doghouse Jones for a game, but an opportunity clearly shifts now to Chris Thompson. Robert Kelley (1%) comes into this situation as a strong speculative grab too.
Matt Jones from the start of the season always seemed on the bubble as the feature back, but his production soared against Philadelphia in Week 6 and things appeared on track. In Detroit, that growing fantasy confidence met with destruction in one play. The best case for Jones now is a committee with Thompson and Kelley, but I'd certainly prefer Thompson for the next game in Cincinnati if forced to choose.
Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings (21%)
There is a problem with the Minnesota offense. I sensed this last week before the game with Philadelphia. Coming out of a bye week against the Eagles, there seemed no way for a remedy to come quickly. As sharp as the Vikings defense is, there is not enough of a running game to support the ball-control offense a good defense needs.
McKinnon lost the touch ratio to Asiata for the first time in 2016 against the Eagles. Despite this, it's an undesirable backfield for fantasy. Matchup-wise, the Bears rank better than Philadelphia against the run. However, the Bears with Matt Barkley behind center may provide short field and deep red zone opportunities for Asiata.
One of the benefits Minnesota still retain is that big play defense. I think you could do worse than Asiata during this six team bye week, so slot him in and for subsequent weeks, keep or drop him as your roster requires.
Knile Davis, Green Bay Packers (36%)
The news about Eddie Lacy came just hours after I published last week's grabs. I was hoping for a few more carries from Davis in the Packers patch-work offense last Thursday night. I hadn't seen him in a while and I wanted to give the eye test. The offense, as advertised, featured Montgomery as the de facto running back. Don Jackson (11%), the call up from the practice squad, had little involvement even before his second quarter injury.
The arrangement looked rough at the start, but Rodgers went to work in the 2nd half - quieting his unrelenting critics. Montgomery certainly remains the focal point until at least Starks returns, but stashing Knile Davis is still a good move. Normally, we'd greet a guy like Davis with a yawn, but considering the zero running back depth on the Packers - he looks great.
What about Don Jackson? The severity of his injury appears minor, but so does his future involvement in the offense. The one thing Packers immediately tested was his blocking ability. Coaches understand these things better from the sidelines, so I'll have to wait for that report card. Beyond that, I'm not all in for Don Jackson at this time. Deeper leagues might want to take a flier, but for now he'd otherwise just be on my watch list.
Ka'Deem Carey, Chicago Bears (2%)
Considering that the Bears have a another tough game against the angry Vikings AND the have the Week 9 bye, this is a very minor grab. Minor at least in the short term. Carey is out-muscling his young rival Jordan Howard for touches out of the backfield.
However, this Bears offense finds itself in a sorry mess. Cutler returns for Monday night, so the fortunes of the team might revive, but that's all the plus you are going to get. Not much, in other words. Worse, the fix looks to be a John Fox style RBBC in the foreseeable future. So Carey is a minor grab in this multi-team bye-week. I can think of better spot starts than a running back in a committee against the Vikings, but if needs must, Carey is a desperation plug and play.
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (19%)
You think you know someone, and then they go and do this. The stat sheet filled up for Adams at the expense of Jordy Nelson on Thursday night. The ridiculous numbers of 13-132-2 cannot be ignored, but at the same time I don't expect a repeat. Rodgers had no real backfield, so he was throwing every which way but loose, but why 16 targets to Adams?
Adams is worth a spot for the Atlanta game, but beyond that, use at your own risk. I expect Nelson to get back into the thick of things probably sooner rather than later. We saw a similar Julio disappearing act against the soft Saints a few weeks back, so the pattern may follow for Nelson too.
Even if Adams gets just half the targets in Atlanta, he's still worth owning in PPR.
Russell Shepard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0%)
Yeah, I know. I never heard of him either. The strange thing is that Cecil Shorts was supposedly the guy replacing the recently IR'd Vincent Jackson, but this guy is the number two to Mike Evans.
The staline of 5-77-1 pretty much proves it. Anyone spot starting Shorts got zero points. I think I'll consider Shepard the grab of the week for your bye fill because the Bucs are hosting Oakland and everything lets fly in Raiders games this season.
Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati Bengals (13%)
LaFell and the Bengals play in the last London game of the season against the Redskins. In 2015, LaFell was the receiver with the most yardage without a touchdown. As of now, his streak stands at four in his last three games. Not only that, LaFell is in the top 20 of standard fantasy points to receivers. The only problem for grabbing LaFell now is that this three game burst ends here and the ship has left the dock. However, considering the choices in the heavy bye week, he's definitely worth a roster fill nonetheless.
Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys (9%)
If you need a spot play this week, why not give Williams a try? With Dez Bryant set to return and the coverage split, Prescott will give looks to the secondary receivers. The Eagles gave the Vikings fits up front, but the Dallas line affords plenty of protection for Prescott and their running game. Williams, for his part, is making use of his opportunities and surpassed 70 yards the past couple of games. Add in four or five receptions and that's a tidy bye cover.
Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins (23%)
My tight end grab of the week depends on the availability of Jordan Reed. If Reed doesn't fly with the team, Davis makes a smart bye fill for those needy at the position. Davis is getting heavy involvement in Redskins offense and Cousins cannot help but trust a receiver who hauled in all of his six targets in the losing effort against the Lions. I would say Davis is the best plug 'n play of all the spot tight ends this week.
For the Watch List
Marquise Goodwin, WR, Buffalo Bills (5%)
Here's the last, and the top of the leasts. The Bills after winning three of four are about to have a revenge game against the Patriots. The Bills shut out New England at Gillette if you recall and that doesn't sit very well with Belichick. No love lost between Bill and Rex. Avoid Goodwin for a spot play unless absolutely necessary.
Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (2%)
The Jags are just looking for anyone to get open these days. Lee benefits from Bortles' inability to find his main receivers - most notably the suffering Allen Robinson. A sharp departure in fortune for all Jags pass catchers, but keep Lee watchlisted anyway, but leave your bench open for someone else for now.
Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens (14%)
Along with Derrick Henry (46%), Dixon is one the most intriguing running back stashes of 2016. Even against the run stuffing Jets, West's awful 10-8-0 statline is very bad. The Ravens may decide to give Dixon more carries when they emerge out of the bye week.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots (27%)
Might be a good time to go out and stash Lewis, but watchlist him at the very least. There's probably no rush for the Pats to fill their roster up with running backs as they look pretty stacked at the moment.