This week's Deep Dive is going to look a little different.
The Week 8 Waiver Wire column covers all of the pertinent adds this week while we have four more teams out on bye (Atlanta, Dallas, L.A. Chargers, and Tennessee). We're just past the midway point of the fantasy season, and luckily, the last two weeks have been light on the injury front. Waiver wires should be very thin in most leagues.
The only two deep adds worth a shot this week are Dolphins receivers. Albert Wilson (hip) is out long-term while Kenny Stills (groin) is banged up, catapulting Jakeem Grant, DeVante Parker, and Danny Amendola (slot) into full-time roles in Week 8 against Houston (on Thursday Night Football). In Week 7, Grant set season highs in snap rate and routes run while Amendola has 11 and 7 targets playing with Brock Osweiler over the last two weeks. "Brocktober" will continue this week as Ryan Tannehill's mysterious shoulder injury lingers. Amendola is worth a PPR dart while Grant is an if-you're-feeling-lucky WR5 bet.
Players to drop:
Since throwing 53 passes in Week 2 in a bizarre battle against the Niners, Stafford's pass attempts have plummeted over the last month (36, 30, 26, 22). Granted, the Lions have won 3-of-4 games in this span and Stafford has thrown multiple passing scores in five-straight, but it just hasn't resulted in top-end production for the Lions signal-caller. Fantasy managers need to look for more ceiling weeks beyond Stafford. He's been fantastic for two-QB or Superflex formats, but QB14, QB13, QB18, and QB13 weekly fantasy finishes aren't enough to justify trotting Stafford as your starter each week. What's more, over the next three weeks, Stafford faces Seattle (home), Minnesota (road), and Chicago (road). The Seahawks haven't allowed a top-12 (QB1) fantasy performance all year, Minnesota has held Stafford under 250 yards eight times in their last 10 meetings, and Chicago has the most talented defense they've fielded in years.
The dream is over. Derrick Henry's 2018 fantasy season is kaput. After seeing 36 carries in Weeks 2-3 combined, Henry has just 38 carries over his last four games. The struggling bruising back has eclipsed 3.2 YPC in a single game just once all year and he's been out-snapped by the far more diverse Dion Lewis in 6-of-7 contests. In fact, Lewis leads Henry in rushing yards gained after a defender closes within a yard (Next Gen Stats) and missed tackles forced per carry (PFF) this season. The Titans schedule does ease after their Week 8 bye, but fantasy managers should no longer feel beholden to Henry.
Philip Lindsay's emergence in the Broncos offense has rendered much-hyped Broncos' rookie back Royce Freeman a touchdown-dependent play at best. Over the last month, Freeman has been out-snapped by Lindsay in each game while the shiftier Lindsay has nine red-zone touches to Freeman's five in this span. The only tangible value Freeman possesses in fantasy is attached to touchdowns and his red-zone equity has fallen off of the face of the earth. What's worse, Freeman has run just 38 pass routes over the last week compared to Lindsay's 55 (per PFF). Without red-zone and receiving juice, Freeman is only a RB3/4 stash at this point.
Outside of one game this season (Week 6 against Atlanta), the Bucs' backfield has been a black hole of fantasy production. Ronald Jones scored a layup, two-yard TD -- but he was still a part of dreadful running back by committee in Week 7 against the Browns. Peyton Barber (37 percent snap rate) led the way, followed by Jacquizz Rodgers (32 percent) and Jones (31 percent). No Tampa back is worth stashing in 10-team leagues.
After ripping the Titans (4/106/2) in Week 1 and gashing the Raiders in Week 3 (3/61/1), Stills has averaged just 4.0 targets per game over the last month. Now injured and out for Week 8 (groin), Stills can be safely dropped in 10- and 12-team fantasy leagues. Brock Osweiler isn't throwing deep, severely dampening Stills' value when he is healthy, too. In place of Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) over the last two weeks, just 10 percent of Osweiler's attempts have traveled over 20 yards in the air (per Next Gen Stats). That's below Tannehill's 14 percent clip in Weeks 1-3 when Tannehill was healthy and Stills was balling.
I'm taking a major "L" here, as Chris Hogan was one of my favorite re-draft targets in fantasy this year. Hogan randomly popped for 4/78 and 6/63 receiving over the last two weeks, perhaps breathing life in what has been a lost season. Still, with Josh Gordon's usage on the rise and Julian Edelman back in the fold, Hogan has been held under 65 percent of Patriots snaps in back-to-back games. Hogan's snap rate was well above 90 percent in his five prior games. In Weeks 6-7, both Edelman (77) and Gordon (76) have run more pass routes than Hogan (64), per PFF. He'll have a few ceiling weeks in the Patriots attack moving forward, but Hogan is now fifth on the target totem pole behind Gronkowski, Edelman, Gordon, and James White.
In Weeks 3-7, Jones has 32 carries (188 yards) to Jamaal Williams (28 carries, 118 yards). Ty Montgomery has siphoned off another 17 fairly ineffective 61 yards. Look, we can all sit and wait for Jones' breakout, but it's not happening under the current status quo. Perhaps the Packers learn their ways in Week 8 after their off date, but they have given no inkling of promoting Jones clearly above the pack. Over the last four weeks, Jones has ripped off a run of 10 or more yards on 22 percent of his carries. That's the second-best rate in the NFL among qualified backs. On the flip side, Williams has gained 10-plus yards just 11 percent of the time. Per PFF, Jones has forced a missed tackle on 30 percent of his touches (Williams: 4.4 percent).
Mike McCarthy can keep giving lip service over how they need to get Jones "more involved," but the proof is clearly in a month's worth of usage. Jamaal Williams is droppable in all league formats while Jones isn't start-able until his touch count rises (7, 10, 12, 9 in Weeks 3-6).
All Jags Receivers
Hilariously, a single Jags receiver hasn't led the team in targets in back-to-back weeks all year. Jacksonville's target share is concentrated but evenly distributed between four players (Donte Moncrief - 50, Keelan Cole - 46, T.J. Yeldon - 44, Dede Westbrook - 42). Moncrief leads the entire group in air yards as well, but his target count has spiked all over the place this season (5, 9, 3, 5, 15, 3, 10). Good luck predicting this pass-catching group, especially now that Blake Bortles is (finally) on the hot seat.
After Jermaine Kearse's debacle in Week 7 (0/0 on two targets), I'm done predicting the Jets' receiver corps for the year. Robby Anderson saw 10 targets against Minnesota ... and turned it into 3/44 receiving. Anderson has yet to catch more than three balls in a single game this season. Meanwhile, TE Chris Herndon has 6/98/2 over the last two weeks but has done so playing on 35 percent of team snaps. Andre Roberts randomly saw six targets in Week 7, despite playing less than half of the team's snaps for crying out loud. Now, Terrelle Pryor (groin) is out, and Rishard Matthews is in off the free agency streets. New York desperately needs to re-vamp their receiver corps this offseason.
Other notable players to drop:
Pierre Garcon, WR, San Francisco 49ers: His target count (12, 6, 1) has nose-dived over the last three weeks as Marquise Goodwin is finally healthy and George Kittle continues to ball out. C.J. Beathard can't maintain multiple fantasy pass-catching options. Garcon should not be on 63 percent of NFL.com fantasy rosters.