Hopefully, Week 8 will be better for Fantasy players than Week 7 was, given what a huge role injuries and bye weeks played in this week's action. However, we got a bit of bad news on that front Sunday afternoon when Miles Sanders was forced out of his game with an ankle injury, while Josh Jacobs went off with a chest injury -- and neither was able to return.
Jacobs was already going to miss Week 8 with the Raiders on a bye, and given the extra time off, it probably won't make Kenyan Drake a must-add Fantasy option -- though he would likely be worth starting in most leagues if Jacobs did end up having to miss time. So, it's the Eagles side of this that is going to be most interesting for the Week 7 waiver wire, though it's fair to wonder whether the Eagles have an in-house replacement ready to slide into your Fantasy lineups.
In theory, you would expect Kenneth Gainwell to step up as the replacement for Sanders, given that he's been the primary backup for Sanders so far this season. However, Gainwell split work with Boston Scott after Sanders injury, especially in the fourth quarter, when Scott stayed in for a scoring drive and got multiple chances to punch in a touchdown, ultimately scoring on his third try near the goal line. Scott ended up with seven carries for 24 yards and a touchdown while Gainwell had just 20 yards on five carries, however Gainwell was a bigger factor in the passing game (4 for 41 and a TD on eight targets) while Scott had just two targets.
The concern here, then, is that this might still end up being a frustrating split that we won't quite know how to take advantage of. I do think Gainwell would be the lead option and better Fantasy player, though he and Scott's skill sets kind of overlap as smaller backs who excel in the passing game but may not be well suited for every-down work. How the Eagles choose to divvy up work will be interesting, though this hasn't exactly been a great situation for running backs in Fantasy -- Gainwell, Scott, and Sanders combined for just 17 carries in the game.
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Still, Gainwell will be well worth targeting on waivers this week, and may actually end up being the No. 1 target depending on how the rest of the week shakes out. Scott would also be a target, especially with a cake matchup on the way against the Lions in Week 8.
Here's who else we might be looking for this week:
BAL Baltimore • #12
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Through the first two games of his career, Bateman has seven catches for 109 yards on 12 targets, a pretty solid start for a guy who missed much of training camp, the preseason, and the first five games of the season. Bateman has benefited from Sammy Watkins's (thigh) absence over the past two games, and it's fair to wonder if there is enough room in this passing game for Bateman and Watkins to be relevant alongside Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. Of course, Bateman was the Ravens first-round pick this season, and given how he's hit the ground running pretty well so far, you've gotta assume they'll make room for him. The only issue with adding Bateman right now is that the Ravens are on a bye in Week 8, so you'll have to hold him through that. But if you're looking for long-term upside, Bateman is your target.
Russell Gage WR
ATL Atlanta • #14
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Gage returned from his ankle injury and made his impact felt against the Dolphins Sunday, scoring on a 49-yard catch from Matt Ryan on the team's first drive of the second half. Gage hasn't exactly been a big-play machine in his NFL career, so you can't exactly rely on that kind of production from Gage, but he was still third on the team in targets in his first game back, and that's where he should remain in the hierarchy moving forward. Gage probably won't be much more than a low-end PPR starter, but as we learned in Week 7, having viable starters you can rely on in a pinch is a must.
NE New England • #25
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
In Week 7, it looked like Rhamondre Stevenson might be carving out a role as the Patriots pass-catching back, but he was a surprise inactive for Sunday's game against the Jets, which put Brandon Bolden back in that role. And Bolden thrived, leading the team in receiving yards with 79 on six catches (seven targets) plus a touchdown. He didn't add any rushing production, but Bolden is going to have relevance as a pass-catcher if he's going to have any at all, and he now has at least four targets in four of the last five games. The Patriots could find themselves in position to throw a lot in Week 8 against the Chargers as well, so it could be another solid game for Bolden.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #86
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The Giants have had more injuries to their wide receiver group than any team in the NFL, and Slayton only just made his return in this game for the first time since Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. And Slayton took advantage of his opportunity to serve as the team's top target, catching five of nine passes thrown his way for 63 yards. It wasn't a huge game, obviously, but if the likes of Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, and Kenny Golladay continue to miss time with their injuries, Slayton could be a top-36 wide receiver for Week 8 against the Chiefs.
LV Las Vegas • #87
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
With the Raiders on a bye in Week 8, Moreau may just be one-and-done as far as Fantasy relevance goes, because Darren Waller was a game-time decision for this one and very well could be in line to return when the Raiders are back in Week 9 against the Giants. Which is very good news for Waller and we'll be thrilled to see him back, but it's a little disappointing for Moreau, who has flashed potential basically every time he's had the opportunity. He's a good athlete who has been a red zone weapon for the Raiders in the past, and if Waller does have to miss any time, Moreau could be a must-start option at tight end.
WAS Washington • #4
Age: 28 • Experience: 4 yrs.
We'll see if Washington opts to stick with Taylor Heinicke as Ryan Fitzpatrick works his way back from his hip injury now that they are riding a three-game losing streak. Week 8 might be Heinicke's last chance to prove himself, but he continues to show some really solid skills as a Fantasy player. Sunday's game was a nice bounce back for him that probably helped his chances of remaining the starter. His rushing ability gives Heinicke a chance to be a worthwhile starter most weeks, though obviously that isn't a guarantee -- he had just 21.2 points in Weeks 5 and 6 despite topping 40 yards on the ground in each. Still, if you need a Lamar Jackson or Derek Carr replacement, consider Heinicke.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 7 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that has out-performed experts big-time.