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The Bills went into this season with one of the deepest backfields in the NFL. That depth will now be tested for at least the next three games, and possibly longer.
C.J. Spiller (broken collarbone) is out for the season, and Fred Jackson (groin) could miss at least a month. That opens the door for Bryce Brown to see his first action of the year, and Anthony Dixon will also take on a larger role.
Brown should be the No. 1 running back to target this week in all leagues off waivers. Tre Mason of the Rams is a close second – call him running back 1A – but Brown has a higher ceiling. Even when Jackson comes back, Brown could still remain the featured option for the Bills.
Mason also has the chance to remain the starter for the Rams, and he was excellent against Seattle in Week 7. But Jeff Fisher might continue to rotate running backs, which could make this backfield a continued headache.
We'll get more into the running backs below, but as for the other positions you should look at Ryan Tannehill as the No. 1 quarterback (he's been great of late and gets Jacksonville this week) and Doug Baldwin as the No. 1 receiver (you might have heard Percy Harvin was traded). Owen Daniels is the No. 1 tight end with his matchup at Cincinnati, and Chandler Catanzaro and the Dolphins DST are the top streaming options.
The 49ers and Giants are on a bye, leaving Fantasy owners without some potential stars, and we again suffered injuries with the Bills running backs, Pierre Thomas (shoulder), Reggie Wayne (elbow) and several more. It should make for another important week on the waiver wire.
Injuries: Jake Locker (hand), Robert Griffin III (ankle), Josh McCown
Key players on bye: Colin Kaepernick and Eli Manning
Priority list (add them in this order): Ryan Tannehill (43 percent ownership), Robert Griffin III (36 percent), Johnny Manziel (13 percent), Kyle Orton (12 percent), Alex Smith (59 percent), Geno Smith (12 percent), Mike Glennon (14 percent), Ryan Fitzpatrick (18 percent), Teddy Bridgewater (28 percent)
Potential drop candidates: Matt Ryan (99 percent), Kirk Cousins (67 percent) and Brian Hoyer (26 percent)
Why Tannehill is the best: Tannehill has scored at least 21 Fantasy points in three games in a row, and he's running well in the read option with 35 rushing yards in each game over that span. He faces the Jaguars this week, who just lost standout linebacker Paul Posluszny (pectoral), and four quarterbacks have scored multiple touchdowns against Jacksonville this season. Tannehill is worth starting this week over Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Nick Foles, among others.
Of note: Griffin and Manziel could be starting for their respective teams soon. Griffin will regain his starting job when healthy, and the Browns could be turning to Manziel if Brian Hoyer continues to struggle like he did against the Jaguars in Week 7. These are obviously just stash candidates for owners with an open roster spot and struggling with their quarterback situation. ... Orton is a good one-week streaming option against the Jets. He has at least 19 Fantasy points in his past two games, and the Jets have allowed multiple touchdowns to every opposing quarterback this year. ... Alex Smith takes on a Rams defense that has allowed two touchdowns to every opposing quarterback this year, but he has just two games with at least 20 Fantasy points, so use caution if starting him in anything other than two-quarterback leagues. ... Geno Smith should benefit with the addition of Harvin, and he could be an option in two-quarterback leagues this week against the Bills. ... Glennon (vs. MIN), Fitzpatrick (at TEN) and Bridgewater (at TB) all have good matchups this week, but they are all risky starting options, even in two-quarterback formats.
Injuries: Fred Jackson (groin), C.J. Spiller (collarbone), Pierre Thomas
(shoulder), James Starks (ankle), Trent Richardson (hamstring), Montee Ball
(groin), Donald Brown (concussion), Reggie Bush (ankle), Rashad Jennings
(knee), DeAngelo Williams (ankle), Ryan Mathews (knee), Mike Tolbert
(leg), Fozzy Whitaker (quad), Theo Riddick (hamstring), Toby Gerhart
(foot), Darren Sproles (knee), Shonn Greene (hamstring), Bilal Powell
Key players on bye: Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, Jennings, Andre Williams
Priority list (add them in this order): Bryce Brown (4 percent ownership), Tre Mason (17 percent), Denard Robinson (5 percent), Travaris Cadet (4 percent), Jonathan Stewart (47 percent), Joseph Randle (19 percent), Stepfan Taylor (7 percent), Anthony Dixon (0 percent), Benny Cunningham (34 percent), Storm Johnson (44 percent), Jonas Gray (2 percent), Charles Sims (2 percent)
Potential drop candidates: Fred Jackson (98 percent), Zac Stacy (95 percent), Steven Jackson (88 percent), Khiry Robinson (64 percent) and Matt Asiata (63 percent)
Why Brown is the best: Brown is a risky addition over Mason because he has yet to play this year, and the Bills will also give Dixon work, especially at the goal line. But his upside could be amazing given that Jackson and Spiller were averaging a combined 28 touches a game through the first six games. There have been seven times in his career where he's had at least nine touches, and he's scored double digits in Fantasy points three times. His matchup against the Jets this week could be great since the past three opposing running backs – Branden Oliver, Ronnie Hillman and Shane Vereen – all reached double digits in Fantasy points. I'd use him as a flex option this week, and I like him for the rest of the year with Spiller out and Jackson hobbled.
Of note: If any of these running backs are available -- Darren McFadden (76 percent), Jerick McKinnon (74 percent), Isaiah Crowell (68 percent) and Bernard Pierce (65 percent) – they should be added also. I'd rank them, including the guys already listed, as McKinnon, McFadden, Brown, Mason, Crowell, Pierce, Robinson and so on. ... Mason has the chance to be great also, especially after his performance against the Seahawks with 18 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. But here's my concern with Mason. Fisher has said Stacy could get back in the mix this week, and he might not have been healthy with his recent calf and ankle injuries, as well as Cunningham. Also, how many times will the Rams be playing with a lead, especially with upcoming matchups at KC, at SF, at ARI, vs. DEN and at SD. And the Seahawks were without standout middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (foot), which could have been a significant factor in how bad their run defense was in Week 7. That said, it's a good chance for Mason to keep rolling like he has the past two weeks, and I would add him second after Brown. ... Robinson was also a stud in Week 7 against the Browns with 22 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown. He had the best game for a Jaguars running back this year, and he should get the majority of work going forward ahead of Johnson or Gerhart when healthy. But like Mason, how often will the Jaguars be playing with a lead where he can help kill the clock. And where was this all season? I like the idea of speculating on Robinson, but I wouldn't have a lot of faith to start him any time soon. ... Cadet should be great in PPR leagues with Thomas out at least two games. Cadet has six catches in two of his past three games, and he should be heavily involved in Week 8 against the Packers. ... Taylor, Dixon and Gray are all going to be touchdown dependent to help your Fantasy team. Dixon has the most upside of that group with the injuries in Buffalo, but Taylor plays in a better offense that likely will give him more potential to score. And don't rule out Gray this week if the Patriots have an opportunity to sit on a lead against the Bears at home. ... It's not a bad idea to speculate on Sims, who could be close to a return from his ankle injury. He could easily overtake Doug Martin or Bobby Rainey in Tampa Bay. ... I'll keep saying it each week: Add Randle where available because he'll be great if DeMarco Murray gets hurt.
Injuries: Reggie Wayne (elbow), Calvin Johnson (ankle), A.J. Green
(toe), Rod Streater (foot), Marvin Jones (foot), Donnie Avery
(groin), Harry Douglas (foot)
Key players on bye: Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham, Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Steve Johnson
Priority list (add them in this order): Doug Baldwin (33 percent ownership), Odell Beckham (68 percent), Davante Adams (21 percent), Allen Robinson (34 percent), Brandon LaFell (56 percent), Dwayne Bowe (58 percent), Kenny Stills (18 percent), Jermaine Kearse (8 percent), Martavis Bryant (1 percent), Louis Murphy (7 percent), Andrew Hawkins (38 percent), Greg Jennings (37 percent), Chris Hogan (0 percent), Danny Amendola (16 percent)
Potential drop candidates: Keenan Allen (100 percent), Reggie Wayne (97 percent), Brian Quick (83 percent), Cordarrelle Patterson (81 percent) and Markus Wheaton (35 percent)
Why Baldwin is the best: Baldwin benefits the most with Harvin traded. He was second on the team in targets behind Harvin prior to the move, and he stepped up in a big way against the Rams in Week 7 with season highs in catches (seven), yards (123), targets (11) and his first touchdown. He should be considered a No. 3 receiver in all formats down the stretch, and we're excited for his outlook as Seattle's new No. 1 receiver.
Of note: Beckham looks like the biggest beneficiary with Victor Cruz (knee) out. He had four catches for 34 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys in Week 7 on seven targets. Rueben Randle still led the team in targets with nine, but it's clear Beckham's arrow is pointing up. ... Adams is still waiting for a big game, but he has at least seven Fantasy points in each of his past three games, with two touchdowns over that span. He's the No. 3 receiver for Aaron Rodgers behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, and he's a great stash candidate for the rest of the year. ... Robinson finally scored his first NFL touchdown in Week 7 against Cleveland, but he's been great for PPR owners with at least 10 points in five of his past six games. If the touchdowns start to come he would become a must-start option in all formats. ... LaFell continues to show his inconsistency with two games of at least 17 Fantasy points in his past four outings and two games with five points or less. He plays a lot for the Patriots because of his skills as a blocker, but he can obviously produce when the moment arises. The problem is you might not start him when he has those moments, so only add him in deeper leagues. ... Stills is very much like LaFell that you never know when he'll play well. He just scored his first touchdown in Week 7 at Detroit with five catches for 103 yards. He's worth monitoring in case this is the sign of things to come. ... Bowe (vs. STL) and Jennings (at TB) aren't exciting, but in deeper leagues they could be wild cards in Week 8 because of their respective matchups. ... If you miss on Baldwin, then consider Kearse the No. 2 option in Seattle. Against the Rams, he was tied with tight end Cooper Helfet for second in targets with six, and he finished with three catches for 50 yards. ... Bryant scored his first NFL touchdown in Week 7 against Houston, and he could start to get increased playing time for the Steelers. He's worth monitoring, and hopefully he'll become a viable option in Pittsburgh.
Injuries: Eric Ebron
(hamstring), Joseph Fauria (ankle), Tyler Eifert (elbow) and Kyle Rudolph
Key players on bye: Vernon Davis and Larry Donnell
Priority list (add them in this order): Owen Daniels (59 percent ownership), Coby Fleener (44 percent), Charles Clay (34 percent), Jared Cook (47 percent), Kyle Rudolph (32 percent), Clay Harbor (19 percent), Jermaine Gresham (8 percent), Gavin Escobar (0 percent), Cooper Helfet (0 percent), Daniel Fells (0 percent), Jeff Cumberland (1 percent)
Potential drop candidates: Jason Witten (100 percent), Travis Kelce (86 percent), Larry Donnell (84 percent), Heath Miller (77 percent)
Why Daniels is the best: Daniels is coming off his best game since taking over for the injured Dennis Pitta (hip) with six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown on a season-high nine targets against Atlanta. It works out well that he gets to face the Bengals this week. Four tight ends have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Cincinnati, and in Week 1 against Baltimore, Pitta had 10 catches for 83 yards. Daniels is a good streaming option as a Top 10 tight end this week.
Of note: You can look at Fleener and hope Wayne's injury opens up more action for the tight ends. Dwayne Allen is already a standout Fantasy option, and Fleener could improve if he becomes less-touchdown dependent. His best game this year was Week 7 against the Bengals with four catches for 64 yards, and hopefully we get more of that – with a touchdown – moving forward. ... None of the other tight ends are particularly inspiring, but Cook and Clay have favorable matchups for owners in deeper leagues. Clay is coming off his best game of the season in Week 7 at Chicago with four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. ... In PPR leagues, Gresham and Harbor just had solid games in Week 7. Gresham had 10 catches for 48 yards at the Colts, and Harbor had six catches for 34 yards against the Browns. Harbor has a favorable matchup this week against the Dolphins, who have allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year. ... It might be a good idea to stash Rudolph since he could be a difference maker down the stretch if he can get back to 100 percent for the Vikings.
Colts: 59 percent
Cowboys: 43 percent
Dolphins: 36 percent