The roster percentages for this column are updated every Friday morning, and any players from Thursday’s Falcons-Panthers game have been taken out.
Each week of the NFL season, we will identify fantasy football waiver-wire pickups specifically for those of you looking for streaming options in deeper formats (including IDP leagues). These are players available in a majority of ESPN Fantasy leagues who have enticing matchups in the week ahead that make them worthy of consideration for your lineup.
While you might notice some overlap with Field Yates’ pickup column that publishes on Mondays, an important distinction is that the options mentioned in this column are focused solely on this week’s matchup and not the players’ values for the remainder of the season.
Do you need replacement options for injured players? Or are you merely dealing with depth issues? A roundtable of fantasy analysts and NFL Nation reporters will join me to identify some choice names to consider each week.
Here are some of our favorites for Week 8:
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (26.0% rostered; at Seahawks)
Speaking of historically generous pass defenses facing efficient offenses, this setup for Garoppolo should see him bounce back nicely from last week’s poor fantasy showing. Seattle is sitting 29th in pressure rate, so Jimmy G should have time to throw. Even with a depleted crew of receivers and a thin backfield, there are enough playmakers still in the mix to support Garoppolo in this soft matchup. -J.M.
Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks (44.9% rostered; vs. 49ers)
I know Hyde isn’t an exciting young back with breakout potential, but luckily there are no “style points” in fantasy. And he should definitely get the volume as long as Chris Carson is out of the lineup. Hyde had 15 carries for 68 yards and a TD in Week 7 — not to mention 1,070 yards in Houston last season. ESPN Seahawks reporter Brady Henderson said they have a couple of other pass-catching backs they might use in a rotational role, but they specifically liked Hyde in free agency because he has “the size and physicality to approximate what Carson gives Seattle on early downs.” -Mike Triplett, NFL Nation Saints reporter
Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills (36.5% rostered; vs. Patriots)
Far more efficient last week than peer Devin Singletary and with nearly equal touch and snap rates in the win over the Jets, Moss is seemingly rising in the Buffalo backfield. Earning an endorsement for a second straight week in this space, there are some key positives to consider with the rookie. Moss was the primary goal-line back earlier in the season, while the team has rarely deployed Singletary in such scenarios since the start of last season. Another angle in his favor is New England has struggled against the rush, allowing a generous 4.6 yards per carry to backs and more than 24 fantasy points per game to backfields, leaving room for both Buffalo backs to flirt with flex value this weekend. -J.M.
Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers (57.0% rostered; at Seahawks)
The talented rookie wideout has everything going for him this week. He is coming off a career-best performance against a tough New England Patriots defense, Deebo Samuel will miss Week 8 with an injury, and the 49ers face the hapless Seahawks secondary, which has allowed the most fantasy points to wideouts (by a mile) this season. -Tom Carpenter, ESPN Fantasy editor
A first-round draft pick who just tapped into his potential in Week 7 is enticing enough. But throw in the fact that the 49ers’ leading receiver, Deebo Samuel, is expected to miss this week’s game with a hamstring injury. Then consider that San Francisco is about to face a vulnerable Seahawks pass defense that has allowed by far the most fantasy points to WRs this season. Finally, ESPN 49ers reporter Nick Wagoner said Aiyuk has been growing more comfortable and taking on a bigger role in the offense in recent weeks. This feels like a no-brainer as a Week 8 pickup with the chance to be a savvy long-term addition as well.-Triplett
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns (1.6% rostered; vs. Raiders)
If you play in a 12-to-14-team league with non-PPR scoring, I would give Peoples-Jones a look as a WR3/4. The rookie out of Michigan caught all three of his targets for 56 yards and a game-winning score in Week 7 against the Bengals. And with Odell Beckham Jr. down for the season with a knee injury, Peoples-Jones will get snaps in Cleveland’s three-WR sets. He has the skills to create explosive plays, and there will be opportunities here versus the Raiders’ zone-heavy defensive scheme. -Matt Bowen, NFL writer and analyst
Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins (33.2% rostered; vs. Rams)
If you’re scanning the wire, you want upside and what better way to find it than with a super-sized receiver in a new-look offense? Williams has scored in three of his past four games and logic would suggest that the Rams will do everything they can do to take away Tua Tagovailoa‘s primary read in DeVante Parker. With Los Angeles on short rest and Miami off its bye, look for a creative game plan to get this 6-foot-5 athlete in favorable spots for his rookie signal-caller. -Kyle Soppe, ESPN Fantasy researcher
Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts (8.9% rostered; at Lions)
The Colts’ bye this past week sort of hid Burton’s breakout Week 6 performance from the fantasy market. Since coming back from injury, Burton has been a key target for Philip Rivers and creative usage even saw him score on the ground in that epic comeback against the Bengals a few weeks back. Next up is a meeting with a Lions back seven that has been solid in coverage against tight ends, but Burton’s healthy target share should support another solid showing.-J.M.
Richard Rodgers, Philadelphia Eagles (21.5% rostered; vs. Cowboys)
The Eagles lean on their tight ends to move the chains more than any other team in the league. Even when down to third string on the depth chart due to injuries, Philly allocated eight targets to Rodgers this past week. Next up is a Dallas defense allowing 14.8 fantasy points to tight ends. In a uniquely good week for streamers at this position, Rodgers is among the most bankable given his place in such a friendly scheme.-J.M.
Defense/Special Teams (D/ST)
Denver Broncos (30.2% rostered; vs. Chargers)
Denver’s defense has tallied 14 sacks in its past three outings and prior to facing the Chiefs had been solid this season in terms of points allowed. While rookie slinger Justin Herbert has been fairly awesome thus far, it’s worth noting the Chargers have yielded the third-highest pressure rate to opposing defenses in the league, setting up some big-play potential for this group.-J.M.
New Orleans Saints (52.9% rostered; at Bears)
The Saints have struggled to produce big defensive plays since the opener against the Bucs, but they are facing a Chicago offense struggling to move the ball this season, as the Bears’ offense ranks in the bottom five in both yards and points per game.-J.M.
Individual Defensive Players (IDP)
Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles (13.8% rostered; vs. Cowboys)
With two big games in a row and Graham really heating up off the edge, this matchup against a patchwork Dallas offensive line offers potential for a big line from the proven vet. -J.M.
Dre Greenlaw, San Francisco 49ers (4.5% rostered; at Seahawks)
The 49ers have faced injuries in the front seven throughout the season, vaulting players such as Greenlaw into bigger roles. He has tallied at least six tackles in three straight games and given he’s on the field often, there’s a good chance he extends this streak to four games.-J.M.
Ryan Neal, Seattle Seahawks (8.4% rostered; vs. 49ers)
Seventeen total tackles the past two weeks signals Neal is both heavily targeted in the passing game and is helping stop runners that leak past the front seven. With a uniquely steady target and tackle rate, Neal is in a nice spot this week against the rival 49ers.-J.M.