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.
The most notable tight end injury was Delanie Walker, who went down with an ankle sprain in overtime. He does have a bye week to rest up, but sprained ankles can linger for up to a month, so Walker’s Week 9 status can’t be taken for granted. His fantasy owners need to start making backup plans.
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.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (44 percent)
The 2-5 Colts are probably one or two more losses away from packing it in and playing the kids (and firing Chuck Pagano whenever they feel like it). Opposing defenses seem to have figured out Jacoby Brissett, who was dismal in last week’s shutout loss to the Jaguars. On the bright side, Doyle is still one of Brissett’s top targets and is a low-end TE1 most weeks. He gets the Cincinnati Bengals next.
Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders (40 percent)
After teasing for weeks, Cook finally had his first explosive game in a Raiders uniform, pulling down six catches for 107 yards and playing a big role in the Raiders’ frantic comeback win. Of course, this is Jared Cook we’re talking about, so he’ll probably have one catch for 10 yards next week. That’s the story of his career so far. Still, for the time being he’s solidly in the TE2 mix.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Bucaneers (13 percent)
Let’s not read too much into Howard’s game yet. He’s probably not scoring two touchdowns or getting that comically open again. He’s still a primary blocker with Cameron Brate getting all the targets across the middle of the field. Rookie tight ends still don’t have a great track record in fantasy football.
However, it was a genuinely great game, and at some point the Bucs should think, “Oh yeah, we drafted this athletic freak in the first round for a reason, let’s throw him the ball some more.” That probably won’t happen this week, but talent doesn't get held down for long. Howard’s day is coming.