Few fantasy football owners escaped a devastating Week 8 unscathed, as stars such as Steve Smith Sr., Matt Forte, Le’Veon Bell, Keenan Allen, Brandon Marshall, and more were injured. However, with injury comes opportunity; a bevy of backups will now be thrust into the spotlight, making for some intriguing waiver wire additions. Let's turn our attention to some key takeaways from the Week 8 action :
Bye bye, Bell
Undoubtedly the worst injury to come out of Sunday’s bloodbath, Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell suffered a season-ending torn MCL against the Cincinnati Bengals. Further evaluation at the hospital confirmed the severity of the injury, which fortunately did not damage his ACL. Bell has been dominant since his Week 3 return, amassing 692 total yards and three touchdowns. Back up running back DeAngelo Williams is slated to assume the starting job and is the top waiver wire add after filling in admirably for Bell earlier in the season.
Duel in the dome
In a game that saw 13 offensive touchdowns, the New Orleans Saints edged the New York Giants 52-49, thanks to a 50-yard field goal in the final seconds. Brees, who lost his spot in the circle of fantasy elite this year, threw for a career-high 511 yards and a record-tying seven touchdowns. Eli Manning tossed for six touchdowns in the loss, three of which went to the superb wideout Odell Beckham Jr.. With a soft schedule remaining, Brees should be able to repay his fantasy football owners for his lacklustre past performances.
Following two highly underwhelming seasons, St. Louis Rams wideout Tavon Austin is finally making a name for himself in both the NFL and fantasy football. The West Virginia product went off for 119 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ win over the 49ers. Austin has now had two multi-touchdown performances this year and has reached a career-high six scores. Proving to be a dual-threat player in the pass and run game, Austin is a viable fantasy starter going forward; however, the Ram’s volatile offence will make consistency difficult to achieve.
Most fantasy football owners lost confidence in Saints running back Mark Ingram after three consecutive sub-1000 yard seasons, writing him off as a perennial bust. The Heisman Trophy winner then began to show signs of life last year, accumulating 1109 total yards and nine touchdowns. With half of the 2015 season now in the books, Ingram has rushed for 530 yards and five touchdowns and become a focal point in the passing game. A season ending injury for goal-line vulture and change-of-pace back Khiry Robinson will only lift Ingram’s fantasy ceiling further. He is a top-10 play at running back every week.
Carr-ying the team on his back
Torching the New York Jets for 333 yards and four touchdowns, Raiders signal-caller Derek Carr continues to impress in what has been a breakout season for the sophomore quarterback. Carr has five multi-touchdown games on the year and has led the Raiders to a 4-3 record. The Fresno State product has demonstrated confidence in the pocket and a nice touch on his passes. Finally it appears as though the oft-struggling Oakland Raiders have found their long-term answer at quarterback. Carr is a worthwhile fantasy starter in a plus matchup against the Steelers in Week 9.