As we dive into week eight of the fantasy football season, many fantasy owners are just now beginning to feel the wrath of the injury bug, which has affected a number of big-name players in just the last week (Reggie Wayne, Arian Foster, Doug Martin – just to name a few).
Luckily for Foster, the Texans are on a bye this week, so he may have enough time to heal up to full health in preparation for next week. Unfortunately for Foster owners, among many others, week eight signals the bye-induced absences of a large number of big names. Throw in the injury bug aspect of things, and you may find that your team does not possess a worthwhile fill-in this week.
Some other notables who will not play in week eight: Torrey Smith (bye), Andre Johnson (bye), Andrew Luck (bye), Trent Richardson (bye), Philip Rivers (bye), Antonio Gates (bye), and Chris Johnson (bye). C.J. Spiller and James Jones are both listed as doubtful, as well.
If you’re like me (and I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone), you may have to resort to scraping from the bottom of the barrel to start the likes of Jacquizz Rodgers and Andre Ellington as your RB 1 and RB 2, respectively. Hopefully, this type of scenario doesn’t apply to you. For the rest of you, here’s a list of guys who may fill in as serviceable replacements for your regulars.
The Jets aren’t as bad as most of us thought they would be. Well, at least that’s what their record currently indicates. Smith is not Mark Sanchez, so that deserves at least a point or two in my book.
Heading into a week in which a tough matchup against Cincinnati presents itself would generally not be the time to start a rookie who has been inconsistent thus far, but – if you’re desperate – Smith is actually not a bad plug-and-play option. Especially in two-QB formats.
Cincy will be without top corner Leon Hall, and Smith has topped the 20 fantasy-point mark three times in his last five games. He has flashed the potential that once garnered his ranking in most people’s 2013 NFL mock drafts as a first-rounder, though he has also displayed the type of inconsistency that one would expect from a first-year starter.
This is purely an emergency option, but you could do worse. I like Smith’s fantasy potential moving forward.
After his three-touchdown performance last week, Helu deserves at least an own in all fantasy league formats. His upside as a flex play is strong this week against Denver.
The logic: Denver is likely to take an early lead, which would then prompt Washington to play catch-up for the remainder of the contest. This type of scenario would bode well for Helu, who shined as the lead back during the Redskins’ hurry-up offensive sets last week against Chicago.
It wouldn’t be wise to expect another three-TD game from the third-year ‘back out of Nebraska anytime soon, and I wouldn’t rush to judgement as to whether or not Helu is on the verge of pushing Alfred Morris out of the starting spot. A future timeshare could be in the works, though, and Mike Shanahan’s reputation with running backs certainly supports this notion.
Floyd, who once oozed All-Pro potential while catching passes for the Notre Dame Golden Domers, was a relative dud in his first season with the Cardinals. Despite playing in all 16 games, Floyd caught just 45 passes in 2012 for 562 yards while also collecting two TD’s. These sub-stellar numbers could be largely attributed to horrid quarterback play (just ask Larry Fitzgerald). Nonetheless, Floyd didn’t have quite the impact many expected from the 13th overall pick in last year’s draft.
This season, he’s emerged as a legitimate weapon for quarterback Carson Palmer, who has experienced more than his fair share of ups-and-downs during his first season in Arizona. Floyd has caught five passes in each of his last four games, and his current total of 51 targets puts him on pace to surpass last season’s 16-game total of 86 by nearly 30. Expect similar production in the weeks to come, though an increase in the number of touchdowns the second-year wideout hauls in should be expected.
At 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, Floyd serves as the ideal red-zone target: a large body with sure hands. If Fitz isn’t catching ’em in the endzone, Floyd should be.
Opening photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today