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There are no byes in Week 8 and no additional significant injuries to bat leadoff for this article. We will chat about some of the lesser injuries, but the focus will be on the full slate of games and how you can prepare your squad to deal with the upcoming rash of byes in Weeks 9 through 11. The next four weeks will go a long way to determine if you make the playoffs or if you are simply an ATM for the other league owners to use for withdrawal.

Remember to check in with the @Razzball NFL team of writers as we host our Sunday Morning Start/Sit podcast every week, starting two hours before kickoff all the way up to the official start of the early games. We have also created a new Tuesday evening show where we hit on waivers, trades, and trends for the upcoming week. Join @BobbyLaMarco, @SkyGuasco, The Lineup Builder @Derek_Favret, and me, Mitch Staniger @stiles08, at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST for the show as we will be answering all your questions to help you win your weekly matchups. Come for the analysis, and stay for the laughs!

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Add of the Week:  Josh Downs, WR, IND:  I have mentioned Downs in previous columns and Week 8 may be your final opportunity to roster him as he should be scooped up in all formats, especially PPR. Downs (36% rostered) is coming off his breakout performance of 2023 with five grabs for 125 yards and a TD. This 23-point Sunday was his fourth double-digit game and third in a row, thus firmly establishing him as a FLEX play, if not a solid WR2. I mentioned the Colts moving toward throwing more with Gardner Minshew under center, and they did just that in the shoot-out with the Browns in Week 7. Consider, if you need more info, the Browns secondary is widely considered the top group in the league, and the Colts just lit them up. I fully expect to see Downs’ roster percentage above 80% by the end of this week. He is going to be a great play during the most important weeks of your fantasy football season. 

WAIVERS:

QB: I was right about Matthew Stafford, LAR, but missed on Sam Howell, WSH, for Week 7. I am sticking with both heading into Week 8. Stafford (77% rostered) can still be obtained in a few leagues, and if he was used as a bye week replacement, he may be dropped overnight Wednesday, at which point you can acquire him for free. Dallas is not the same defense as it was to start the season, and the Rams have proven they can, and will, throw against all defenses. Howell (58% rostered) will almost certainly be released after his dud Week 7, so he is another option you can grab for free after waivers run. He gets a Philadelphia defense that can be thrown against in Week 8. 

 

Honorable Mention/Cheaper Options:

Gardner Minshew, IND: Akin to DFS, why not stack our Downs with his QB? Minshew (8% rostered) has the starting gig in Indianapolis with the season-ending shoulder surgery for Anthony Richardson. The former Washington State University Cougar will sling the ball to healthy and productive Michael Pittman Jr and Josh Downs and should see more throwing lanes open as Jonathan Taylor continues to round back into RB1 form.

Desmond Ridder, ATL I still do not know what Arthur Smith is doing on offense, and I know the entire fantasy world, or at least those rostering and starting Bijan Robinson is as confused as I am. Come find out, Robinson was not feeling well but was still suited and had one carry. Why not just sit the kid and call someone up from the practice squad? I do not get it. I digress. If not for the three lost fumbles, Ridder’s (14% rostered) line would have looked better. With a healthy Bijan back for Week 8 and the two-headed TE monster looking great, Ridder has a chance to get back to 300-yard passing efforts.

Tyrod Taylor, NYG: I hate to admit it, but if Giants fans are saying it, then so will I.  Taylor (3% rostered) appears to be better than Daniel Jones. He is getting the ball out on time and spreading it around. He has even found a guy named Darren Waller and found a way to make him fantasy relevant again.

 

The Rams backfield looked to be a mess in Week 7, and it kind of lived up to my prediction. I promoted Zach Evans early in the week and then faded him in conversations with my readers as the news of Darrell Henderson surfaced. Henderson (25% rostered) looked good to start the game, and then McVay leaned on Royce Freeman for a while. Freeman (28% rostered) ended up with five more total rushing yards (66) than Henderson (61), but Henderson found the end zone, thus rocketing him up the charts as the RB1 for the Rams. Zach Evans did not see the field putting up stats just below those of Bijan Robinson and the same as John Blutarski with a nice, round zero point zero (name that movie). I fully expect this to be a RBBC with Henderson and Freeman splitting time/carries, so use both with caution. 

 

Honorable Mention/Cheaper Options:

RB:  D’Onta Foreman, CHIDude lit up the Raiders on Sunday, and I am pleased to confirm I have him rostered all over the place. Now, temper your expectations for a few reasons as it pertains to Foreman (65% rostered). (1) He will not play the Raiders every week. (2) Roschon Johnson should be back in Week 8. (3) Khalil Herbert is a week closer to returning. (4) The Bears are not that good. If you need that filler due to injuries this week, then take a flier on

Emari Demercado, ARI:  Time to flip a coin for the Cardinals RB of the week. Ingram appeared to be the starter heading into the matchup against Seattle. That lasted about no time as Demercado had 19 total touches to Ingram’s zero. I do not like either RB moving forward, but Demercado may have earned the right to be the starter if you are desperate.

 

WR: Rashee Rice, KC:  Another double-digit performance, his highest of the season (17 PPR points), and my Rice (58% rostered) is borderline every week start. I told you last week that he was heating up (NBA Jam reference that nobody even mentioned is disappointing, but I will survive) and that the Chiefs would start to drop bigger point totals, and that is just what happened in Week 7 for Rice. Please be careful when starting Rice since the Chiefs still look to spread the ball around, as evidenced by the TD to MVS, which is an aberration.   

 

Honorable Mention/Cheaper Options:

Brandin Cooks/Michael Gallup, DAL: The Cowboys need to figure it out, and that starts with getting away from the plodding, boring Mike McCarthy offense by opening it up and throwing the ball. I do not love the QB, but let’s see what happens when Dallas stops force-feeding the TE position and gets the ball to the veteran WRs in Cooks (38% rostered) and Gallup (17% rostered). Both are available in many leagues coming off their bye. Both are solid stashes, considering they have passed their bye week.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, SEA:  FINALLY! Or, is ‘OMG, I just dropped this guy, and NOW he takes off?’  Either way, it took a DK Metcalf injury for JSN (59% rostered) to put up meaningful stats. To be honest, I am not all in on JSN yet, and I think Lockett and DK are still the top plays (duh) in Seattle. If you add JSN, one of his positive traits is he has passed his bye week, so he can be used each week going forward.

TE: Jonnu Smith, ATL: If nothing else, Smith (42% rostered) passes the eye test and is seeing targets in this dysfunctional offense. I like Smith and Dalton Schultz, who is coming off his bye week after a solid Week 6. Schultz (56% rostered) appears to have built a rapport with his young QB, so if you lost Freiermuth or have a need for TE in Week 8, he is a good fill-in. 

Follow me @stiles08 on Twitter/X and send questions and comments at the bottom of this article. Make sure you jump around the Razzball site for all your fantasy football needs.

-Mitch-