Best Fantasy Week 8 Waiver Pickups: Eagles backup Kenneth Gainwell replaces Miles Sanders, Russell Gage breaks out


Considering six teams were on bye, it’s not a surprise there weren’t many breakout performances or major injuries on Sunday. However, there were a few, as Miles Sanders (ankle) exited early and opened the door for popular preseason sleeper Kenneth Gainwell to take over at RB. A few pass-catchers also stepped up, with Russell Gage scoring in his first game back, Rashod Bateman continuing the impressive start to his rookie season, and C.J. Uzomah throwing his hat in the ring as breakout TE of the year. All will be among our top Week 8 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds in a week that lacks a lot of high-quality options.

However, what we lack in quality, we make up for in quantity. Our full free agent list features several more interesting WRs (Allen Lazard, Darius Slayton, Kalif Raymond), some worthwhile handcuffs (Brandon Bolden, Devonta Freeman), and a couple key players returning from injury (Rashaad Penny, Michael GallupTre’Quan Smith). And even though there are just two Week 8 byes (Raiders, Ravens), we also have also have a ton of Week 8 streamer suggestions at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list

MORE WEEK 8: Full waiver list

Gainwell is going to command a top waiver claim unless we get optimistic news on Sanders before Tuesday night (which we probably won’t). Depending on how Penny performs on Monday night, he could also require a high claim. Other than those two, chances are you won’t use a waiver claim unless you really need help at a certain position or want one of the returning IR guys. (Also, check to see if yours is one of the 26 percent of Yahoo leagues where Jerry Jeudy is available.)

Overall, this a poor waivers week but a strong free agent week. There are a bunch of widely available and decent players, especially at QB, TE, and D/ST, with favorable matchups this week. Don’t settle for a borderline player with a poor to mediocre matchup just because they’re already on your roster. Always be looking to upgrade. As long as you’re not dropping a legitimately good player with long-term upside, check the matchups and consider some of these streamers. 

Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 8

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Eagles. Gainwell caught a 13-yard TD on Philadelphia’s first drive, then he led the backfield after Miles Sanders’ ankle injury. He finished the day with 71 total yards and a TD on 10 touches, though it’s worth noting he actually had one fewer carry than Boston Scott, who also scored. Gainwell figures to operate as the lead back in Week 8 in a favorable matchup against Detroit if Sanders can’t go, giving him RB2 value, especially in PPR leagues. Gainwell saw eight targets (many in garbage time), dwarfing Scott’s two targets.

Russell Gage, WR, Falcons. Gage was a popular preseason sleeper, but a slow start and an ankle injury derailed him in a hurry. He got back in the field in Week 7 and immediately made his presence felt, catching four-of-six targets for 67 yards and a score. He figures to be the Falcons’ No. 3 target, but given how often Atlanta throws, there’s still plenty of potential value there. Gage has flex upside against a struggling Carolina defense in Week 8.

MORE WEEK 8: Full waiver list

Rashod Bateman, WR, Ravens. Bateman had a decent showing in his season debut in Week 6, and he followed that up by catching three-of-six targets for 80 yards in Week 7. At the very least, the talented rookie has big-play potential every week, and it appears he’s just scratching the surface. He’s been helped by the absence of Sammy Watkins (hamstring) — and he’s clearly no higher than third in the receiving pecking order behind Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews — but Bateman is worth stashing for the second half. 

C.J. Uzomah, TE, Bengals. Uzomah continued his breakout season in Week 7, catching all three of his targets for 91 yards and two scores. He’s been mostly all-or-nothing, but that’s true of most waiver wire TEs. With five TDs in his past four games, there’s still a lot to like here. A favorable matchup against the Jets in Week 8 puts him squarely in the streamer conversation.

Darius Slayton, WR, Giants. Slayton might be nothing more than a one-week flash, as Kadarius Toney (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), and Sterling Shepard (hamstring) were all out in Week 7, but we know Slayton is talented and capable of big plays. He led the Giants in targets (9) and receiving yards (63) against the Panthers, and if any of the three players mentioned above are out next week against Kansas City, Slayton will be in play as a boom-or-bust flex. 

For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including more streaming options at every position, check out our full Week 8 list.

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