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We made it, everyone. The worst bye-week in memory is behind us. There's a decent chance a few useful names hit the wire in your leagues while six teams were sidelined last week, so be sure to do a thorough sweep before placing any claims.
Below, you'll find a collection of potential pickups who are currently available in over 50 percent of leagues. All players mentioned below are approved for immediate use.
Quarterbacks to prioritize
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (28% rostered)
All Daniel Jones managed to do on Sunday, while leading his team to a win, was pass for 203 yards and one score, rush for 28 yards and make one of the best catches we saw from anyone all week...
Danny Dimes = WR1 😧😧pic.twitter.com/y09P7DQWbD
— Yahoo Sportsbook (@YahooSportsbook) October 24, 2021
So that's a pretty full afternoon. It wasn't the splashiest fantasy week, necessarily, but it was plenty impressive considering the circumstances. New York was without Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard on Sunday, which helps explain why Jones had to do a little bit of everything against the Panthers.
Next week, the Giants travel to Kansas City for a Monday night matchup with one of the league's worst defenses. The Chiefs entered Sunday ranked dead-last in the NFL in yards per play allowed (6.7) and they were subsequently mauled by the Titans. If Jones actually gets a weapon or two back in the mix, he has a shot at producing the best stat line of his season.
Recommended waiver offer (assuming $100 budget): $7
Teddy Bridgewater, Denver Broncos (20%)
We don't want to oversell Teddy Bridgewater here, because it's rare that he delivers a week-winning performance. He's not a serious rushing threat and he only has three career games with three or more TD passes. Not ideal. He was also compromised by a foot injury last Thursday and we don't yet know how it might affect him moving forward.
Still, Bridgewater gets a date with the Washington Football Team next Sunday, and matchups don't get much better. The F.T. has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, including massive weeks to Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston and the aforementioned Jones. Three different quarterbacks have thrown four TD passes against Washington this year and Aaron Rodgers had an easy three on Sunday.
It's also worth mentioning that Denver is expected to have Jerry Jeudy back in the mix this week, enhancing an already talented receiving room. Bridgewater is definitely in the starting conversation.
Other QBs of interest: Deshaun Watson (there are a thousand variables attached to Watson, none of which can be adequately discussed in a fantasy blurb; he apparently remains in play as an option to actually play for someone this season, so we have to list him here), Tyrod Taylor (he's returning soon from the multi-week hamstring injury and his services are clearly needed), Trey Lance (Garoppolo received something less than a ringing endorsement from his head coach following Sunday night's sloppy loss).
Running backs deserving attention
Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (7%)
Cincinnati's offense has been productive enough this season to keep several players relevant to fantasy managers, including the team's No. 2 running back. Samaje Perine handled as many touches as Joe Mixon on Sunday, gaining 75 total yards on 11 carries and one reception. He gained most of his yardage on this late 46-yard dagger TD...
Samaje Perine says stop the fight 😤pic.twitter.com/zpxh2iD1be
— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) October 24, 2021
The playing time broke 60/40 in favor of Mixon, who averaged 4.9 YPC and found the end zone himself a few minutes ahead of Perine. It seems clear that Perine is going to be a nuisance for all the Mixon managers moving forward. He's not a flashy runner, but, as you can see above, he's a 240-pound problem when he gets up to speed.
Both Mixon and Perine belong in our fantasy plans this week against a Jets defense that was absolutely humiliated by the Patriots on Sunday. New England backs ran for 127 yards and four TDs against New York and they caught nine balls for 91 yards and a fifth spike.
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles. (21%)
Just when it seemed as if the Eagles were actually committed to the idea of establishing Miles Sanders, he turned his ankle and was carted to the locker room, ending his day after handling just seven touches against the Raiders. So that's terrible. Sanders also didn't get the touchdown at the end of a game-opening drive he'd dominated. Instead, Kenneth Gainwell found the end zone on this 13-yard catch, weaving through various Vegas defensive players en route...
— NFL México (@nflmx) October 24, 2021
The rookie finished with 61 total yards on nine touches, splitting work with Boston Scott after Sanders left the scene. Gainwell has been excellent as a receiving threat all season, filling the role most of us had assumed would belong to Scott, at least initially. Gainwell would have been a viable flex option against Detroit in Week 8 even with a healthy Sanders, considering the matchup. WIth Sanders sidelined, Gainwell and Scott both receive rankings bumps.
Various other under-rostered RBs: Boston Scott (obviously stepping into a workload that makes him playable in our game; he had a 1-yard rushing score on Sunday and handled seven carries), Devonta Freeman (headed into his bye so he can't help next week, but his snap share continues to climb), Marlon Mack (still healthy, still a trade chip for Indy), Brandon Bolden (he caught six balls on Sunday and, like every other Patriots back, he managed to find the end zone), J.J. Taylor (crossed the goal-line twice in garbage-time against the Jets).
Wide receivers and tight ends to prioritize
Any active Green Bay Packers receiver on Thursday night
First, Davante Adams landed on the COVID list. Then Allen Lazard hit the list as well. Here's hoping both players are feeling fine and recover soon. The news is obviously brutal for Green Bay with a Thursday game ahead against Arizona. Randall Cobb, Equanimeous St. Brown and Robert Tonyan should all see an increase in usage, assuming they remain healthy. What a mess. It's possible Marquez Valdes-Scantling might make it back, which of course would be well-timed.
Aaron Rodgers isn't likely to get shut out on Thursday, no matter who he's working with. If you're desperate at WR, you have the green light to take a flier with this group. Cobb, in particular, deserves attention.
Kalif Raymond, Detroit Lions (3%)
Kalif Raymond is a well-traveled 27-year-old, now on his sixth team and surprisingly thriving. He's been targeted 15 times over the past two weeks, catching a dozen passes for 152 yards. We knew entering the season that Detroit's receiving hierarchy was unsettled (and dreadful), which, inevitably, was going to lead to a few out-of-nowhere performances. Raymond had a 2-TD effort against the Bears a few weeks ago....
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 3, 2021
...and he's obviously tied to an offense that will find itself trailing and chasing points all season. If you're PPRing, he can help.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (40%)
Michael Gallup has been sidelined by a calf injury since the opener, but he's expected to be at least a limited participant in practices this week ahead of a matchup with the Vikings. While he's not a lock to return in Week 8, it's nice to hear that he's close. Let's just remember that he delivered 1,950 receiving yards and 11 scores over 30 games in 2019-2020 and his highlights are of the highest quality...
There should be a spot for him somewhere in most 12-team leagues. He's too gifted as a playmaker to simply ignore and his team's offense is as good as it gets. Gallup is one of those high-variance receivers we should all appreciate, but many of you avoid. He should be plenty helpful in the season's second-half.
Additional WRs to consider: Kadarius Toney (he's by far the most exciting name on this list, but he's dipped below 50 percent rostered while injured), T.Y. Hilton (likely to return next week against Tennessee and he's available in nearly two-thirds of Yahoo leagues), K.J. Osborn (he's seen six or more targets in four of six games and his team is headed into a shootout with Dallas), Darius Slayton (returned from injury and drew nine targets on Sunday, but various other Giants receivers should be back in the mix soon), Rashod Bateman (Baltimore is off this week, but you can expect some Bateman hype in the Week 9 pickups column; he saw another six targets against Cincinnati, finishing with 80 receiving yards).
Available TEs deserving attention: C.J. Uzomah (all he does is catch long TDs, but keep in mind he's averaging just 2.7 targets per game), Mo Alie-Cox (he's basically Uzomah without the yardage), Tyler Conklin (we're past his bye and he's seeing 5-6 targets per game), Tommy Sweeney (because Dawson Knox is dealing with a hand injury).
Defense to target
Cincinnati Bengals (17%)
This is the clear priority defense for Week 8, because A) it's an unexpectedly good unit in reality, and B) the Jets are on deck, coming off a week in which they were reduced to smoldering ruins. Cincinnati just produced a 5-sack performance against Baltimore, giving the team a league-high 24 for the year. Trey Hendrickson has been a monster, a legit difference-maker. This group is more than a simple one-week streaming option.