Odell Beckham Jr. tore an ACL during the Browns' 37-34 victory Sunday over the Bengals and will be out for the season. Beckham hasn't been a superstar this season, but you surely invested a lot in him and have been relying on him as a starter -- he was started in 85% of CBS Fantasy leagues in Week 7.
The good news is that replacing a wide receiver is a lot easier than other positions. There are always viable options available on the waiver wire, and Week 8 is no different. In this early look at the Week 8 wire, we'll focus on wide receivers first, but there are plenty of other options at other positions to consider, too.
Here are some of the top wide receivers to consider as your Beckham replacements:
- Brandon Aiyuk (44%) -- We've seen real flashes from Aiyuk, but Sunday was probably his most promising game yet, as he torched the Patriots for 115 yards on six catches and seven targets -- matching George Kittle's team leading the latter category and leading in the first two. Deebo Samuel's return has meant no rush attempts in the last three games, but it was good to see them lean on Aiyuk Sunday in the passing game. He's a dynamic playmaker and might be the team's best wide receiver already -- oh, and the 49ers get the Seahawks in Week 8. And, it's worth noting that Samuel Samuel is expected to miss at least the next game, if not the one after as well, with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday, which means Aiyuk could be in for a huge role over the next few weeks. He looks like a must-add player, and far and away the best choice if you need to replace Beckham.
- Sterling Shepard (27%) -- Shepard had a solid game in his return from IR Thursday night, catching six passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. He was second on the team in targets with eight, but he was clearly the top option in the intermediate range, while Evan Engram did nearly all of his work in the short area. Shepard is the Giants most well-rounded receiver, and should continue to see a healthy role now that he's healthy.
- Denzel Mims (6%) -- In his first NFL game, Mims was one of Sam Darnold's favorite targets, earning seven passes his way on Darnold's 23 pass. He caught four of them for 42 yards, which isn't terribly exciting, but it's not bad for a guy who missed most of his rookie training camp and the first six weeks of the season with hamstring issues. Mims was the 59th overall pick in this year's NFL draft following a senior season that saw him haul in 66 passes for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns for Baylor. Jamison Crowder should return from his groin injury as the Jets No. 1 option, but Mims' potential makes him worth a look as the Jets try to find some silver linings to this season.
- Rashard Higgins (1%) -- Higgins had seen his role increase recent weeks, as he hauled in a touchdown in both Week 5 and 6 for the Browns, but Beckham's injury forced him into an even bigger role, and he acquitted himself well. He caught all six targets Baker Mayfield threw his way for 101 yards, nearly double anyone else on the team. Higgins has long had potential, but he only has three career games with five or more receptions. There's big-play potential here, but you'll want to see him back it up next week before you buy in. The opportunity and big-play skills make him worth the flier, though.
- Marquez Callaway (1%) -- Here's another flier. Callaway is an undrafted free agent who never topped 37 catches in his time at Tennessee, but he's got some solid physical tools and, most importantly, an opportunity in New Orleans. Michael Thomas' hamstring could keep him out another week, and we don't have any kind of timetable for Emmanuel Sanders' return from the COVID-19/Restricted list. Callaway had four catches on six targets in Week 5 and followed that up with eight catches for 75 yards on 10 targets in Week 7, all of which led the team.
We also saw two key injuries in Sunday night's game between the Seahawks and Cardinals, with Chris Carson leaving with a mid-foot sprain and Kenyan Drake getting carted to the locker room with an ankle injury. If Chase Edmonds is on your waiver wire -- he's out there in 24% of CBS Fantasy leagues -- he's a must add, though the Cardinals are on a bye in Week 8, giving Drake an extra week to heal. If he's healthy, I still expect him to be the Cardinals lead back, despite the protestations of the Fantasy football community. But, if Drake is out, Edmonds is a must-start Fantasy option.
As for Carson's replacement, we saw the return of Carlos Hyde Sunday from his shoulder injury, and he ran the ball 15 times for 68 yards and a touchdown, and was even targeted four times in the passing game, hauling in three of them for 8 yards. He'll be one of the top targets for Week 8 waivers, and is worth adding in all leagues given Seattle's insistence on establishing the run.
And here are some other players we'll be looking for on the wire for Week 8, starting with a trio of running backs who saw some promising usage in their respective time share situations:
Early Waiver Targets
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #22
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Yes, it's still the Jets offense, so the ceiling is low, but Perine played Frank Gore to a draw in the running game, as both saw 11 carries, while Perine got the team's lone touchdown from 5 yards out in the first quarter. Perine also added a pair of catches on three targets, the only passes that went to the running backs. Perine led the backfield in snaps for the second straight game, and I would expect more of the touches to funnel his way as the season moves on. Even the Jets have to know giving Gore touches instead of seeing what the young guy has doesn't make sense.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #27
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Justin Jackson led the Chargers with 20 touches in Week 5, but it was Kelley who was the primary option in Week 7 after the buy. That didn't mean a ton of production, but this was a kind of weird game for the Chargers, where seven different players got a carry. Kelley led the team with 12 of them for 29 yards and added 24 yards on five receptions; Jackson had just five carries, though he added five catches of his own. It's not huge production, but after it looked like Jackson had the role locked up, Kelley getting this kind of work was certainly notable. Maybe it switches back next week, but Kelley isn't being buried, and that makes him worth adding again.
DEN Denver • #5
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Bridgewater had another solid outing Sunday, passing for multiple touchdowns for the fourth time in five games in a close loss to the Saints. Now he gets a chance to repeat his best game of the season, as the Falcons are on the schedule Thursday night in Week 8. He had 313 yards and two touchdowns in his last matchup against the Falcons, who remain one of the worst pass defenses in the league. If you need a QB — Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson are on bye next week — Bridgewater is going to be the guy to add.
CLE Cleveland • #88
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
With Austin Hooper sidelined following an emergency appendectomy, Bryant saw a bigger role against the Bengals and took full advantage. David Njoku also found the end zone, but he had just three targets to Bryant's five, so if Hooper has to miss another game — and it sounds like he might — Bryant would be a solid Fantasy option to consider. Of course, if Hooper (53% rostered) is well enough to play, he would also be worth adding for the matchup against the Raiders with Beckham out.
Logan Thomas TE
WAS Washington • #82
Age: 30 • Experience: 6 yrs.
I remain a believer in Thomas, who has benefitted from a bit of stability at the QB position for Washington. He has seven catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns win 10 targets over the last two games. He has been among the league leaders in routes run at the position all season, and now he's getting more consistent looks. Unfortunately, he doesn't play until Week 9 with Washington on a bye in Week 8, so consider Richard Rodgers, who gets the same Cowboys Thomas just scored on next, if you need an immediate option.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #23
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
The 49ers just cannot catch a break. Jeff Wilson was dominant Sunday, running for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries against the Patriots, but suffered an injury on the last score and needed to be carted off the field. According to reports, the concern is he suffered a high-ankle sprain, the same injury that landed Raheem Mostert on IR. Jamycal Hasty got nine carries Sunday, while Jerick McKinnon was a total nonfactor, with just three carries for -1 yard. If Tevin Coleman is cleared to play in time for Week 8 against the Seahawks after recovering from his knee injury, he could be the lead back in this offense. We know that's a hugely valuable role, and got another reminder Sunday.
SF San Francisco • #23
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
Of course, if Coleman isn't ready, it'll be Hasty in that Mostert/Wilson role. He's run well in his limited opportunities, and the 49ers have been big fans of his going back to training camp, and they'd probably be willing to give him 15 carries — especially if Jerick McKinnon continues to play a small role. Hopefully we'll have some sense of Coleman's status before waivers run Tuesday.