I usually don't talk about my own teams, but I want to give fantasy football owners who are having a down year a little bit of... I don't know. Satisfaction? Something to laugh at when they're feeling down about their own misfortune? It's just that, with Halloween on the horizon and spooky season in full effect, there may not be more of a fantasy football horror story than a team of mine in a league I care deeply about.
Our draft took place in the afternoon on Saturday, August 28. I had the top pick. I had done mock draft after mock draft after mock draft in preparation for grabbing Christian McCaffrey to kick off our 12-team, half-PPR draft. And as pick No. 24 approached, Darren Waller came off the board, foiling my plans. I then went with J.K. Dobbins — who tore his ACL about 25 minutes later and was ruled out for the season — and it was all downhill from there. My sixth-round pick, Raheem Mostert, lasted all of a few touches before getting injured for the season. I lost Logan Thomas to IR shortly after. I traded away Adam Thielen and Tim Patrick for Saquon Barkley and Brandon Aiyuk, which seemed like a good deal at first, until Barkley got injured immediately after the acquisition and Aiyuk... well, he just has done nothing this year.
Needless to say, things are not going well. I can barely put together a starting lineup week in and week out, but the one thing that can give me some sort of hope is the waiver wire. Last week, my desperation pickups were Brandon Bolden and C.J. Uzomah, who ended up scoring 16.9 and 22.6 points, respectively, to lead my team. Because of course Brandon Bolden and C.J. Uzomah were my leading scorers in Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season. *Sigh*.
But it just goes to show you that the waivers never fail to be a treasure trove of points each week, even if it comes from players who will draw practically zero attention — like the two mentioned above — and become available as free agents. For the most part, though, the guys you'll really want to get are the ones that we'll mention on these lists, and you might have to outbid your league mates in order to get your hands on them. It's admittedly slim pickings this time around, but there's still value to be found.
Players must be owned in fewer than 50 percent of leagues to qualify. All stats and figures retrieved from Fantasy Pros. As usual, players who appeared in last week's column will not be in this column... but that doesn't mean they aren't good targets!
Kenneth Gainwell | Philadelphia Eagles, RB
Yahoo: 21% owned | ESPN: 26% owned
It finally looked like this was the week that things were looking up for Miles Sanders — thus why I had predicted him to be my Week 7 stealthy start — and the game started out looking good. He ran for three yards, then five, then nine, then seven on a touchdown drive. Unfortunately, he was carted off the field with an ankle injury in the subsequent drive and is expected to miss some time.
It was Kenneth Gainwell who finished off that first drive with a touchdown, showing he was already involved prior to the injury, and he should have some nice volume while Sanders is out, especially in Week 8 against an abysmal Lions team. Boston Scott could be worth a look as well, though he's not as exciting as Gainwell for fantasy prospects. Gainwell was a recommendation of mine back in Week 2, and he's returned for more here ahead of Week 8.
Marlon Mack | Indianapolis Colts, RB
Yahoo: 17% owned | ESPN: 6% owned
There should be an asterisk next to Indianapolis Colts up there, because this waiver wire pick is contingent on the potential that Mack is not a Colt by the time the trade deadline has come and gone on November 2. The two sides have reportedly already mutually agreed to search for a deal — which makes sense, seeing as Jonathan Taylor has emerged as a top back in the league and Mack could be much more useful elsewhere — and there are some landing spots that seem logical.
The Ravens have dealt with running back injury woes. The Chiefs need some sort of spark plug for their offense. Perhaps the 49ers would like some more insurance behind Elijah Mitchell and Trey Sermon. Whatever the case, Mack is a recent 1,000-yard RB and it's a smart preemptive move to pick him up if you have some room on your bench.
Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling | Green Bay Packers, WRs
Lazard | Yahoo: 4% owned | ESPN: 5% owned
MVS | Yahoo: 5% owned | ESPN: 2% owned
Davante Adams landed on the COVID-19 list and may not be back in time for the Packers' quick turnaround on Thursday Night football against the Arizona Cardinals. With shootout potential, this becomes a great opportunity for Lazard and MVS. The former just had a great week, going for 60 yards and a touchdown, while the latter could make his return off IR in time for the date with Arizona.
If MVS can't go, Lazard becomes a must-add commodity. Also look for Robert Tonyan, who has been dropped in many a fantasy league after he has failed to live up to lofty expectations.
Michael Gallup | Dallas Cowboys, WR
Yahoo: 40% owned | ESPN: 51% owned
You'll have to get a little bit lucky if you want Gallup, as he's owned in a relatively large portion of leagues at this point. One of Dak Prescott's favorite targets the past two seasons, Gallup was targeted well over 200 times in that span and should pick up where he left off as soon as he's plugged back into the offense. He played a big role before going down to injury in Week 1, earning seven targets from Prescott in less than a full game of action.
Keep an eye on him as the week goes on. Though he's expected to return to practice, there's no guarantee that he'll suit up for the game in Week 8.
Mo Alie-Cox | Indianapolis Colts, TE
Yahoo: 17% owned | ESPN: 13% owned
Alie-Cox may be better as just a "streaming" option, but looking at his recent production and his schedule going forward makes you wonder whether or not he's worth a fuller look. He's the TE6 over the past four weeks, which is partially due to the fact that he's scored four touchdowns and partially due to the scarcity of tight end production across the league.
In Week 8, the Colts have a date with the putrid Tennessee Titans defense — though it didn't look so putrid in Week 8 against the faltering Chiefs. In Weeks 9 and 10, Indy takes on the Jets and Jaguars at home. Those are some dreamy matchups for a tight end who could become more of a fixture in lineups over the next few weeks as opposed to a pure streaming option.