I’m going to call Week 8 the week of the running backs because either you loved what you got out of the position—Tarik Cohen anyone?—or your running backs single-handedly dragged your team to a loss. And for most people, it was probably the latter.
Hell, Sunday started with Melvin Gordon screwing over every lineup he was in with a last second “will not play” decision and for many, it only got worse from there. Sony Michel had a possible season ending injury, Ezekiel Elliott posted on 33 yards against the team from Washington and Carlos Hyde sat on the bench watching the Jaguars get run over by Lamar Freaking Miller of all people. Can we just start five wide receivers next week?
Hopefully the running back position will start to even out and we can all remember that it’s fun to play fantasy football. It’s going to take a healthy Dalvin Cook to remind me of that. With all that happy talk, here are the players you should be instantly adding to your fantasy team (percent owned in Yahoo leagues).
RB Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts (55% owned)
Yes, normally I keep my owned percentages under 50 for this article because there’s no use telling you “you should go add James White now that Sony Michel’s injured” when he’s owned in 94% of leagues. That’s just dumb. But Mack is still just above 55% owned and has now put together two solid performances since returning from injury, Sunday’s display being much more than “solid”. If he’s available in your league, he’s your number one priority.
RB Doug Martin/Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders (24%/21% owned)
Marshawn Lynch is set to miss the next month with a groin injury and in all likelihood it could keep him out longer. This leaves the Raiders’ backfield wide open for one of Martin and Richard to make their own. Martin will likely be the incumbent starter so I included him on this list but do you have any real faith in him? Really the guy to get here is Richard who brings pass catching ability, making him a much better target especially in PPR leagues.
RB Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers (13% owned)
I’m honestly amazed that Mostert has any ownership at all. Well done you 13%! For his second game in a row, Mostert saw at least 10 touches and went over 60 total yards. With Matt Breida proving week in and week out that he can’t stay healthy through a 60 minute football game and Alfred Morris looking wildly unproductive on his team leading nine carries Sunday, Mostert is set to have a steadily increasing role in SF.
RB Chris Ivory, Buffalo Bills (8% owned)
Oh, yea, LeSean McCoy got injured this weekend too! Awesome. (I didn’t include him up top because, come on, what has McCoy really done this year for your fantasy team?) Ivory came in for McCoy and rattled off 81 yards on 16 carries along with 25 yards on three catches. With the Bills having literally nothing at quarterback now—Derek Anderson has zero touchdowns and three picks while Nathan Peterman has one touchdown and four picks—I would expect them to lean heavily on their running game. Lost of touches are coming Ivory’s way.
RB Kenjon Barner, New England Patriots (1% owned)
This is the world we live in now; a world where Kenjon Barner has fantasy value. Yikes. With Michel possibly out for the year, the Patriots will likely look to bring another back in (don’t be surprised if it’s Mike Gillislee) but for now, it’s Barner and White in this backfield and White’s owned in every league, so Barner it is.
WR Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (15% owned)
I wish I was writing about the other Williams on the Chargers as I have a beer bet involving him and Keenan Allen and so far Allen has been holding up his side of the deal. But alas, here I am writing about how TYRELL Williams is the Williams receiver you need to be adding in LA. Williams has posted identical yardage in back to back weeks (118) on identical targets (4) and has scored three times in that span. He’s starting to establish himself as a reliable deep threat for the Chargers’ offense.
WR Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (17% owned)
Smith got everyone excited two weeks ago with his massive Monday night performance against the Washington team but was underwhelming Sunday posting 44 yards on three catches. Never fear dear readers as Sunday’s showing was against a Ravens’ defense that’s top in the league in just about every statistical category. Smith definitely has a role in this high flying offense as apparent by his six targets Sunday.
WR Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins (10% owned)
Welcome officially to Brocktober everyone and no one is more excited about it than Danny Amendola. After receiving only 20 targets with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback through the first five games of the season, Danny has seen 18 targets in just the past two weeks with Brock Osweiler at the helm. With Albert Wilson out now with an injury, I would expect Amendola to become a go-to weapon for Osweiler and be a legit WR2 in PPR leagues going forward.
WR Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans (0% owned)
Maybe you play in a 14 person league, filled with fantasy geniuses who attack the waiver wire with a shrewd intuition that you just can’t match. If you do play in such a league, may I suggest to you Tajae Sharpe (and also to get out of that league because that sounds awful). Everyone knows the Titans’ offense has been unwatchable but they managed to look competent Sunday morning in London and Sharpe was a big reason why. He caught seven of his nine targets for 101 yards and has now led Tennessee in receiving in consecutive weeks. With the Titans on a bye this week, Sharpe is someone most people might overlook and someone you can stash.
TE Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers (40% owned)
Another guy who’s heading into a bye which might get people to overlook him, McDonald has been a solid tight end option this entire season, despite missing Week 1. He’s 13th in the NFL in targets, 12th in receptions and is currently TE13 in both standard and PPR leagues. We know how thin the tight end position is so getting a top 15 guy off waivers is a clear and easy move.