Week 7 is wrapping up and chaos continues to roll on. Backfields continue to turn over and the new realities the NFL reveals constantly remind us not to cling to our conceived notions. It's a reminder that pain is always present in the joy that is fantasy football. Now we must look forward to options to assist in beefing up our fake teams to move forward, whether it be long-term replacements or a streamer just to get by.
It's just those sort of symptoms that the Deep Dive is prescribed to help alleviate. NFL Fantasy's editorial overlord Alex Gelhar dutifully attacks the waiver wire to give you the top adds for the coming week in hopes of bolstering your roster. However, in this arena, we'll look at options to help those of you looking to go a little bit further down the rabbit hole, whether you play in a deeper format or are at the mercy of your incredibly sharp league-mates who scour the waiver wire relentlessly. A player can only qualify for the deep dive if they're owned in less than 10 percent of NFL.com leagues. With that, here are 11 players you can consider adding before Week 8 either as deep FLEX plays or simply as bench stashes.
The Dolphins will be forced to start their best quarterback in Week 8, and potentially beyond, with Jay Cutler likely on the shelf due to cracked ribs. Matt Moore took over a previously stagnant Dolphins offense against the Jets on Sunday and immediately got them on the way to an eventual win. Moore averaged 8.95 yards per attempt and threw a pair of touchdowns. We've seen effective play out of the journeyman backup when assuming the top job in Miami before. In 2016, Moore posted a 9.2 touchdown rate and 105.6 passer rating, while averaging 224.7 yards in his three starts. He's a perfectly viable quarterback in a league bereft of even acceptable backups. It's not an ideal matchup against Baltimore on Thursday night, who hasn't allowed an opponent to clear 230 net passing yards this season. Yet, with six teams on bye, at the least 2QB and Superflex leaguers along with those in 14-plus player formats should be considering him. Moore was a productive player with essentially this exact same supporting cast in Adam Gase's offense last season.
In his first game back from a multi-game injury absence, Rex Burkhead handled seven touches. He was on the field for 13 plays, one more than Mike Gillislee. The latter looks like he's on the verge of being phased out of the offense, as both Burkhead and Dion Lewis showed to be superior runners Sunday night against the Falcons. Each offers passing game value, as well, to make the offense more versatile while Gilislee tips the defense that a run is coming. The Patriots welcome the Chargers to Foxboro in Week 8, who have allowed 4.99 yards per carry to running backs this season, second-highest in the NFL.
Over the last four weeks, Le'Veon Bell has touch totals of 39, 25, 35 and 38 (34.3 average), which is a simply massive workload for any player. The Steelers don't have much choice but to ride Bell as the featured player of the offense but we have to worry about injury risk with any running back handling that heavy of a workload burden. Bell's extensive injury history only creates further concern. As such, it makes some sense to roster rookie James Connor, whether you own Bell or not, just in case the worst happens. The problem with drafting pure handcuffs is that we know so little about these players we'll have to hold during the bye week gauntlet. That exists in Conner's case too. We have no idea if Connor would inherit the bulk of the work in the backfield or if he's even good enough to do anything with it. Despite the unknown, he's a fine speculative add, if you have space.
Odds are we never see anything resembling the stat line T.J. Yeldon offered us in Week 7. With Leonard Fournette out, the usually healthy scratch ripped off 122 rushing yards and a score along with snagging a pair of catches. Yeldon totaled 11 touches to 17 for Chris Ivory (all carries) and went out for 14 fewer plays. Ivory is likely on rosters in most leagues after Fournette missed so much practice last week but Yeldon at least showed us this is a committee backfield if the starter misses time, and he may well have some juice to get out of his career. The Jaguars have their bye this week to get Fournette healthy but with his history of lower body injuries, it's worth knowing who his backups are at all times.
Morris or McFadden if Elliott misses time? That's the question circling through all layers of fantasy football leagues these days. Here's your reminder that "none of the above" could be an option, or better yet, "both apply" as the dreaded outcome. Another player who could factor in is Rod Smith. The third-year undrafted free agent gets a game day jersey over McFadden because he plays special teams. Smith put in some relief work toward the end of the Cowboys blowout win over the 49ers. He took his eight carries for 61 yards and logged a five-yard reception on two targets. At a minimum, deep league players should know his name.
The 49ers have allowed 526 receiving yards to running backs, the most of any NFL defense. Their nine total touchdowns allowed is also tied for the league-lead. Wendell Smallwood earned six targets in the Eagles Week 4 win, the last game we saw him play (pre-Monday Night Football Week 7), following Darren Sproles' season-ending injury. He appears to be the team's primary pass-catching back, while also factoring in as a rushing change of pace option. Smallwood merits owning regardless, but he also has a solid matchup in Week 8.
Not one peep of positivity is coming from Martavis Bryant about the prospects of him staying in Pittsburgh. Should the talented wideout get traded mid-season, it would be a show of faith by the Steelers in their rookie receiver out of USC. Smith-Schuster would see a new path to targets if Bryant, a player he's out-snapped in multiple games, was completely removed from the depth chart. Volume has been an issue the past two weeks, as the rookie saw just three targets in each of the Steelers' previous two games.
The second-year wideout is making some noise in the Chiefs offense. He appears to have locked-in a top outside receiver role with Chris Conley out for the year. Robinson played over 90 percent of the snaps in each of the last two games, including 98.4 percent in Week 7 despite Albert Wilson's return to the lineup. He tied for the team-lead with eight targets against the Raiders. According to Next Gen Stats, Robinson averages 3.8 yards of separation when Alex Smith releases the ball this season, tied with his teammate Tyreek Hill for the most in the NFL among wideouts this year. We know the Chiefs offense primarily flows through Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt exclusively but deep league players should at least be aware of Robinson in case he begins to command a steady target share with more impressive weeks.
[Roger Lewis](/player/rogerlewis/2556592/profile) has just two catches in each of the last two games following the decimation of the [Giants](/teams/newyorkgiants/profile?team=NYG)' wide receiver corps in Week 5. However, he's been on the field for 88.9 and 84.7 percent of the snaps. We just haven't got a chance to see if he or the other reserve wideouts can do much while facing matchups against the [Broncos](/teams/denverbroncos/profile?team=DEN) and [Seahawks](/teams/seattleseahawks/profile?team=SEA) secondary. The [Giants](/teams/newyorkgiants/profile?team=NYG) get their bye in Week 8 but return to face the [Rams](/teams/losangelesrams/profile?team=LA), [49ers](/teams/sanfrancisco49ers/profile?team=SF), [Chiefs](/teams/kansascitychiefs/profile?team=KC), [Redskins](/teams/washingtonredskins/profile?team=WAS), and [Raiders](/teams/oaklandraiders/profile?team=OAK). All of those teams sport secondaries you can pick on and/or have offenses that will force the [Giants](/teams/newyorkgiants/profile?team=NYG) to chase them. Lewis should be third in the passing game pecking order, behind [Evan Engram](/player/evanengram/2557858/profile) and a healthy [Sterling Shepard](/player/sterlingshepard/2555295/profile), as the top outside receiver. </content:power-ranking>
The Broncos receiving tight end, A.J. Derby had not eclipsed 30 snaps in any game in the season's first four weeks but has now done so twice in each of the team's last two games. He has 11 targets in that span and hauled in six catches for 66 yards last week. Denver travels to Kansas City this week to face a team that's struggling to defend tight ends without Eric Berry. The Chiefs have allowed an NFL-high 498 yards to the position.
Converted quarterback Logan Thomas hauled in the touchdown but Nick O'Leary was the top tight end for Tyrod Taylor and company with Charles Clay out. He caught both of his targets and went out for 79.4 percent of the Bills' snaps. O'Leary draws a matchup with the Raiders this week, who annually struggle to cover tight ends and are once again top-10 in yards and catches allowed to the position.