With Week 8 in the NFL ending, the fantasy football season is really going to heat up as the race for the playoffs nears.
Depending on when your league begins postseason play, you may have just three to four weeks left to make one final push for a spot during the second half of the NFL season. That means every move you make from here on out will only have more and more impact on your team’s ultimate destination as the weeks roll on.
Here is a look at the waiver wire moves you need to make this week.
Just like his fantasy owners, the Saints are finally fed up with Mark Ingram for his inconsistencies and fumble issues. He’s now lost two fumbles in the last two games, and that led to him effectively being benched in Week 8 in favor of journeyman Tim Hightower.
Hightower responded with a season-high 102 rushing yards on 26 carries. His biggest runs came on a 28-yard gain, which led to a Saints touchdown, and a 12-yard run on the team's final possession, which led to a 41-yard field goal at the two-minute warning, to help New Orleans upset Seattle 25-20.
Expect Hightower to get a similar workload going forward, making him one of the top running backs to snag off waivers this week.
With the Cardinals’ offensive struggles, primarily due to the lack of production at wide receiver, that has allowed J.J. Nelson to rise up and take on a bigger role. With Michael Floyd a ghost and John Brown battling injuries, it was Nelson who led all Arizona receivers with 79 yards and two scores at Carolina on eight grabs.
That came after Nelson snagged three passes for 84 yards in Week 7. He’s catching fire in this offense, and he sure looks better than anything we’ve seen from Floyd this year. That makes the former worth picking up this week.
Coming into the season, Derrick Henry was owned in close to 100 percent of fantasy leagues, but that was when everyone thought the Alabama rookie would challenge DeMarco Murray for the starting gig in Tennessee.
However, Murray has been a superstar over the first seven weeks, but a toe injury in Week 7 allowed Henry to finally show what he’s made of. Against the Jaguars, Henry finished with 60 rushing yards and one score on 16 carries with four catches for 37 yards.
It was his highest total yardage in a game this season, and it may continue with Murray’s lingering toe issue. It doesn’t look serious, but it may be enough to make Henry a fantasy star for a few weeks, or maybe longer.
Washington may have found something in Robert Kelly, an undrafted free agent out of Tulane who suddenly is getting a bigger workload with Matt Jones sidelined. Against the Bengals, Kelly rushed for 87 yards and one score on 21 carries (4.1 avg.).
That came one week after he caught a one-yard score at Detroit. Kelly is now up to 190 yards on 38 carries (5.0 avg.) this season, making him a real threat to become a weapon in the Washington offense.
But with Jones set to return and Washington on their bye week, Kelly is only someone to look at in deep leagues, or if you have room on your bench.
The Jaguars are hot garbage, especially when it comes to the rushing offense, or lack thereof. That was certainly the case vs Tennessee, as Jacksonville finished with just 48 yards rushing. 20 of them came from Yeldon on just three carries as Jacksonville played from behind the entire game.
Yeldon now has just 65 rushing yards on 15 carries over the last three games with six grabs for 45 yards. He has scored just once this season, and that was in Week 1. Yeldon is a promising back, but he’s a lost cause in Jacksonville and dead weight on your fantasy team.
In contrast to Jacksonville, New Orleans’ offense is so stacked that it makes it hard for guys to stand out on a week-to-week basis. The sudden rise of Michael Thomas in this offense to go with Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks producing on a weekly basis has made it hard for the tight ends to make a dent, especially Coby Fleener.
In Week 8, Fleener could muster up just four catches for 36 yards, marking the fifth time in seven games this season in which he’s failed to top 44 yards. He also has just two scores this season, and that’s not enough to warrant him being on your roster any longer.