Week 8 fantasy football waiver-wire targets

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I guess, in a way it's fitting that Week 7 was one of the strangest we're likely to see this season. After all, "Stranger Things" returns this Friday for its second season, so it's only fitting that the fantasy world flipped right into the "upside down" before the bye-week apocalypse hits. Six teams are on their bye next week (listed below), and with injuries mounting the waiver-wire is becoming razor thin. In honor of "Eleven" from Netflix's hit show, below I list 11 players with plug-and-play upside for what is sure to be a frightening week for fantasy managers trying to plug the myriad holes in their rosters. Stash-worthy players like Alfred Morris/Darren McFadden didn't make the cut this week as a result. If these players are unavailable in your league, be sure to read the Deep Dive and Streaming articles written by Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich when they come out on Monday. Both will be linked at the top of this piece sometime Monday afternoon.

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1

Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings


Jerick McKinnon's ascent was forcing Latavius Murray to the waiver-wire in plenty of leagues, but the veteran showed he's not going away without a fight. He still split playing time (30 plays to 34) and carries (18 to 14) with McKinnon, but out-gained McKinnon 117-43 on the ground and found the end zone. Murray might be the better play in favorable game scripts for the Vikings, where they'll turn to him to salt away a lead. That could be what the team faces next week when their top-flight defense squares off with the lowly Cleveland Browns, who are struggling to find an answer under center. Regardless, Murray should be added in more leagues, especially since Teddy Bridgewater could be returning for the stretch run. (Percent owned: 53.1, FAAB suggestion: 20 percent)

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2

Jalen Richard, RB, Raiders


With Marshawn Lynch set to miss the Raiders' next game against the Bills while serving a one-game suspension, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington should inherit an expanded workload. Both saw season-high touch totals last week once Lynch was ejected (13 for Richard, 10 for Washington), and could eclipse those benchmarks in Week 8. Washington might be the favored back on the early downs and near the goal line (he got the carry inside the 10 last week), but Richard's pass-catching upside and ability in space will make him flex-worthy as well. Both should be added this week and stashed for the future in the event they earn even more playing time with standout performances against the Bills. (Percent owned: 2.8/0.8, FAAB suggestion: 10-15 percent)

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3

Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots


The Patriots will still do Patriot things and mix in the versatile Rex Burkhead and James White, but Dion Lewis has been staking a claim on the leading role in this backfield for a few weeks now, and might start receiving the requisite touches. Over the last three games he's taken his 31 carries for 181 yards (5.8 average), with one touchdown. He's shifty running between the tackles and doesn't tip the offense's hand like when Mike Gillislee comes in (who, for the record, managed 3.9 yards per carry today). If Lewis gets an uptick in passing game work (just three targets over the last three weeks) he'll be closer to an every-week flex play. He led the Patriots backs in playing time this week (34 percent) and that trend could continue in the future. (Percent owned: 10.0, FAAB suggestion: 10-15 percent)

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4

Marlon Mack, RB, Colts


This was probably a product of the Colts falling behind immediately against the Jaguars, but Marlon Mack actually led the backfield in offensive plays and opportunities (11 - five carries, six targets). The Colts offense is badly in need of a spark (and some healthy offensive lineman), but with Robert Turbin out for the year, Mack's role could expand even more. Plenty of people passed on Mack last week, but he could be worth a look in the flex or as a low-end RB2 given all of the byes next week. The Colts travel to face a Bengals defense that was just shredded for 192 total yards by Le'Veon Bell. (Percent owned: 9.2, FAAB suggestion: 10-15 percent)

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5

Ted Ginn, WR, Saints


Ted Ginn caught all of his targets for the third week in a row, this time going 7-for-7 for 141 yards against the Packers. Ginn was out-snapped by Brandon Coleman, but tied Alvin Kamara for second on the team in targets. Fantasy managers would be wise to consider players being targeted frequently by Drew Brees, and with 11 looks coming his way the last two weeks Ginn ranks second on the team behind only Michael Thomas. We know from his career that Ginn has the ability to ghost us at any time and put up a goose egg in the box score, but in a week where the options are thin I'm down with riding the hot hands of Ginn. (Percent owned: 28.1, FAAB suggestion: 5-10)

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6

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins


Despite DeVante Parker's absence, Kenny Stills hadn't seen an uptick in targets. That changed once Matt Moore came in to replace Jay Cutler, as he targeted Stills seven times, though a few of those plays were nullified by penalties. Both of Stills' touchdown receptions came with Moore under center as well, which sets him up nicely when the Dolphins travel to face the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night football. The Baltimore defense is still stout, but on a short week Moore could look to Stills frequently. If Jay Cutler (ribs/chest) does end up starting against the Ravens, then I'd feel less inclined to take a shot at Stills. (Percent owned: 5.5, FAAB suggestion: 5-10 percent)

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7

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Falcons


Mohamed Sanu returned to the field for the Falcons on Sunday night and showed no ill-effects from his hamstring injury. The Falcons offense is a far cry from the unit that blitzkrieged the NFL last year, but Matt Ryan and co. will have a chance to put up some points next week when they travel to face the Jets. The Jets are coming off a last-second loss to the Dolphins where they allowed the combination of Matt Moore and Jay Cutler to throw for 326 yards, four touchdowns and two picks. Again, this is a week where six teams are on byes, so beggars can't be choosers when looking for starting-caliber fantasy players. Sanu has had six-plus targets in four of his five games this year, so the volume can be there. (Percent owned: 17.9, FAAB suggestion: 5-10 percent)

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8

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks


The Seahawks offense is heating up just in time for what could be a shootout with the Houston Texans coming off their bye. Deshaun Watson's offense went into their bye averaging 39.3 points per game, and if that keeps up on the road in Seattle, Russell Wilson and co. will need to take to the air to keep pace. Lockett's had target totals of five, four and seven in his last three games, and had a big touchdown called back on offensive pass interference against the Giants on Sunday. Paul Richardson had the splashy touchdown, but has seen target totals of three, five and two in that same span. Both are fine dart throws, but I'd lean toward the one with more volume if possible. (Percent owned: 11.6, FAAB suggestion: 5-10 percent)

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9

Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions


After starting his NFL career with a bang (four catches, 69 yards, two touchdowns), Kenny Golladay has managed just three catches for 33 yards, missing the last three games with a hamstring injury. Golladay has missed practice this week, but that could have been precautionary. If he's good-to-go this weekend, it's possible he sees a heavy target load as Golden Tate's status is in question with a shoulder injury (he was seen in a sling this past week). If Golladay is unable to go against the Steelers, T.J. Jones could be in the mix as well, but it'd be better to target a player with Golladay's size, athleticism and playmaking ability. (Percent owned: 6.6, FAAB suggestion: 5-10 percent)

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10

Tyler Kroft, TE, Bengals


It's scary out there on the tight end fantasy streets these days, with Anthony Fasano and Logan Thomas posting top-12 finishes in Week 7, but perhaps a hero waits in the shadows. That hero could be Tyler Kroft, who has four-plus targets in three straight games and three touchdowns in that span as well. Next up for Kroft is a home matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, who are allowing around nine fantasy points per game to the position and just gave up a touchdown to Marcedes Lewis. Again, all we're really banking on from our fantasy tight ends these days is a touchdown, and Kroft has a decent chance at one next week based on his volume and recent track record. (Percent owned: 2.1, FAAB suggestion: 0-5 percent)

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11

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals


Andy Dalton predictably disappointed on the road against the underrated Steelers defense, but he gets a prime bounce-back spot next week at home against the Colts. If you're scrambling from the recent quarterback injuries or the bye weeks, Dalton can provide one week's worth of relief (he plays Jacksonville in Week 9). The Colts are allowing nearly 311 passing yards per game and were just shredded by Blake Bortles (yes, Blake Bortles) for 330 yards, one touchdown and no picks. Plus, the Colts are an " uncommon opponent" per analyst Joe Goodberry's findings, which Dalton historically performs better against. (Percent owned: 23.3, FAAB suggestion: 0-5 percent)

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