Well folks, we made it. Welcome to Week 8, the midway point of the fantasy football season. By now you’ve got a really good idea of what your team is all about, whether it is good, like top of the league good or bad, like I wish I just let autodraft take its course bad. While time is running out, the midway point in the season is the perfect time to make some critical adjustments to your team if need be. If you’ve got something good going on, don’t do too much tinkering; just fill in the gaps, make pickups for byes and injuries and get yourself to the playoffs. For those of you with underachieving or mediocre squads, now is the time to act. You’ve got some crucial weeks ahead of you and every win from here on out is a must win. Lucky for you, some big things went down in Week 7 and I got some of the best waiver wire pickups to plug the holes in your lineup.
Bryce Brown, RB Buffalo Bills: Despite getting the win, it was a rough day in Buffalo as the Bills watched their running tandem of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller both get injured in the same game. Jackson is out for a month with a groin injury and Spiller will likely miss the rest of the season with a broken collarbone. While Anthony Dixon came in and picked up the slack with 13 rushes for 51 yards, he is surprisingly not the go to pickup for the Bills. Entering his third year in the league, former Philadelphia Eagle Bryce Brown should be the new starter for the Bills, despite being inactive for the last seven weeks. While Dixon did play well on Sunday and will likely see some time in a more situational role, the Bills took a big loss on special teams when Spiller went down and will need Dixon to fill that void there as well. While he’s only had 190 rushes in his career, Brown has averaged a 4.6 yards per carry. The Only bad part about his run game was the four fumbles he had his rookie season. However, what does bode well for Brown is his ability to catch the ball, which will allow him to fit in well with Kyle Orton as the QB. Brown is available in about 95 percent of fantasy leagues.
Tre Mason, RB Saint Louis Rams: For all of those who drafted Zac Stacy early, this has got to suck, but for all you waiver wire vultures out there, this is another beautiful day of fantasy football. Rookie running back Tre Mason has gone from the bottom of the Rams’ depth chart to the top and wound up starting in Week 7. In their wild win over the Seahawks, Mason had 18 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Mason got much more work than his fellow RB’s as Benny Cunningham played on 19 snaps and had two carries and Stacy played on one snap and didn’t touch the ball. Mason’s fantasy value is skyrocketing right now as he went from a sleeper pick to a starter before the midway point of the season. Mason is available in about 80 percent of leagues, but he’s going fast so act now or watch him slip away.
Denard Robinson, WR/RB Jacksonville Jaguars: With Toby Gerhart sidelined with a foot injury, Denard Robinson got his first NFL start and it felt a lot like a Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Mich. On 22 carries, “Shoelace” rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown, monster numbers that helped propel the Jaguars to their first win of the season. The former quarterback looked a lot like an NFL running back on Sunday, which came to the surprise of many seeing as only 0.3 percent of fantasy players started Robinson. With Gerhart recovering, Robinson is the clear favorite in Jacksonville, seeing as his 22 carries were much more than Storm Johnson’s six or Jordan Todman’s single carry. If that doesn’t get you excited, his status as a WR/RB makes him even more of a steal because of the added lineup flexibility. So long as Gerhart is out, Robinson should remain the starter, but don’t place your hopes too high this week as the Jags host a tough Dolphins run defense in Week 8. Regardless, Robinson is worth a pickup and is available in about 90 percent of fantasy leagues, but don’t expect him to stay that way for long.
Doug Baldwin, WR Seattle Seahawks: The only thing more surprising than the Seahawks’ loss to the Rams on Sunday was the unexpected trade of Percy Harvin to the Jets. If anyone has immediately benefitted from that trade, it’s wide receiver Doug Baldwin. On Sunday, Baldwin had seven receptions for 123 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Clearly the favorite target of Russell Wilson, Baldwin was targeted a game-high 11 times. Previous to the game, Baldwin hadn’t eclipsed more that four receptions or 60 yards this season, but with a depleted receiving corps in Seattle, Baldwin has immediately jumped up in value. He wont be your No. 1 or No. 2 receiver, but he’s worth a FLEX look and will make a solid addition to any lineup, especially in deeper leagues. Baldwin is available in about 75 percent of all fantasy leagues.
Robert Griffin III, QB Washington Redskins: Is he back?! Well, not quite, but he will be soon… maybe. Recovering from a nasty ankle injury, RGIII could be back at the helm of the Redskins sooner rather than later. There are reports circulating that he’s looked good in practice and with the quarterback duties given to Colt McCoy after Kirk Cousins has thrown nine interceptions in the past five weeks, the Redskins need their man back in the worst possible way. Traveling to Dallas in Week 8, the Skins will be playing in the Monday Night game, which would give RGIII an extra day of rest, but then again, nothing has been confirmed as of yet. If Griffin III is looking as healthy as reported, he could make a surprise return and with his dual threat capability, scooping him up could make for a fantasy steal, especially if you have quarterback issues. The Redskins do have a bye in Week 10 and return in Week 11 to host Tampa Bay, so if they’re being overly cautious, that would be a more likely return for RGIII, but the Redskins need Superman (socks) in the worst kind of way. Robert Griffin III is available in about 70 percent of fantasy leagues.