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Fantasy football waiver wire: Best wide receivers available in Week 8

Injuries and bye weeks continue to define the fantasy season as we hit the halfway mark. All positions: Top 5 | QB | RB | WR | TE

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NFL season has hit the halfway point and things are just starting to heat up in the fantasy football world. Unfortunately, the injuries are also piling up once again.

Emmanuel Sanders sat out Week 7 with a knee injury, and his absence was felt as the Denver Broncos offense cratered in a shutout loss. Stefon Diggs missed his second straight game, and Golden Tate’s shoulder could keep him out for a while even after the Detroit Lions’ bye week. On top of that, Mike Wallace was knocked out with a bad hit in the Baltimore Ravens’ loss.

In addition to the injuries, we’ve got a whopping six teams on bye this week — the Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, and Tennessee Titans. That’s a lot of players fantasy owners will have to account for not having in their lineups.

Between the injuries and bye weeks, it’s an incredibly thin waiver wire pool in Week 8. Let’s go over the best (or at least most palatable) wide receiver options available in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues.

Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons (38 percent)

The Falcons offense is inexplicably bad right now, and the finger-pointing has already begun, with much of the blame going to offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Matt Ryan hasn’t been too hot, either, and this situation could get ugly if things don’t improve. There’s one sliver of good news, which is Sanu returning from a hamstring injury to post six catches for 65 yards. He’s back on the WR4 map, but his fantasy ceiling is capped by the dysfunction around him. The Falcons get the New York Jets next.

Jordan Matthews, Buffalo Bills (30 percent)

It’s possible that Matthews came back from his thumb surgery too soon. He was originally expected to miss a month after going down in Week 4, but only missed one game (plus the bye week) before coming back in Week 7. Matthews was fairly invisible with just two catches for 10 yards, and the Bills’ passing game has little to no volume, but he’s still the Bills’ best receiver, for whatever that’s worth. Matthews is a risky dart throw the rest of the way.

Robby Anderson, New York Jets (19 percent)

With Jermaine Kearse seizing the No. 1 receiver job, Anderson has mostly toiled along in obscurity, with the occasional blowup game when Josh McCown feels like spreading around the ball. Anderson came away from Sunday’s loss with his second touchdown of the year, but was otherwise quiet with 35 yards on three catches. Still, he’s mildly useful in bye-week crunches and the Jets have a good matchup with the Falcons, who are in the middle of an identity crisis.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (14 percent)

If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now — Smith-Schuster has replaced Martavis Bryant, who went on an Instagram tirade about his role in the offense. It makes for juicy gossip, especially with the trade deadline approaching, but when it comes to fantasy football, Smith-Schuster is something of a boom-or-bust play. He has three touchdowns in seven games but reached the 50-yard mark just once all season. Smith-Schuster is making some nice plays, but he’s not quite consistent enough to be a WR3 yet. He’ll have upside against the Detroit Lions this week.

Top fantasy football waiver wire targets