Fantasy football — Jalen Richard, Doug Martin among top fantasy football free-agent finds for Week 8

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Every Tuesday starts the same for me: I input waiver-wire claims for the upcoming week and then await to see if fortune favors my selections when waivers run overnight into Wednesday.

Sometimes you get the player(s) you are seeking, other times said player(s) land on someone else’s roster.

But that’s far from the end of the process. As a matter of fact, the tail end of Week 7 exemplified exactly that. A flurry of Friday running back news changed waiver activity in a hurry. Carlos Hyde got traded to Jacksonville, thrusting Nick Chubb into the Cleveland limelight. News of Marshawn Lynch reportedly missing time sparked a flurry of Jalen Richard and Doug Martin-themed questions. Dalvin Cook was ruled out for Week 7, causing many to rush back to the waiver wire to scoop up Latavius Murray (who, as of Friday afternoon of Week 7, was still available in about 45 percent of ESPN leagues).

The takeaway? Treat your waiver wire as a week-long exercise, not merely a Tuesday-into-Wednesday endeavor. That’s the starting point. Monitor drops/adds daily, keep your radar up for fantasy-relevant news throughout the week and always consider the roster churn. The ideal roster requires attention to build.

With the idea in mind that this is just step one of the process, here’s our look at the best available in the Week 8 ESPN Fantasy waiver-wire adds. Keep searching all week!

Reminder: players must be available in more than 50 percent of leagues on ESPN.com to be eligible for this column. Teams on a bye this week: Chargers, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans

Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland Raiders (17.1 percent): With Marshawn Lynch placed on injured reserve, the Raiders have some replacing to do in their backfield. Doug Martin (also in this column) feels like the top bet to get early-down work and rushing attempts, but he’s been a below-average runner this season. Richard, who has four games with at least six catches this season, should see a playing-time spike, more rushing usage and continued passing-game involvement.

Doug Martin, RB, Oakland Raiders (17.0 percent): If Martin absorbs the Marshawn Lynch role (which is not a guarantee) or a close facsimile to it, he should be in line for close to 15 touches per game (Lynch has had 17.5 per game this season). Martin is not a standout player and I wouldn’t be surprised to see others involved, too, but from a volume standpoint he is on the radar as a potential flex play.

Kenjon Barner, RB, New England Patriots (0.1 percent): While we don’t yet know the severity of Sony Michel’s injury for the Patriots, this much we do know: the team has just two other running backs on the roster, including Barner. While it would seem likely that the team will add another back this week, keep an eye on Barner as a deeper-league add. It’s a high-octane offense.

Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (8.4 percent): The Chargers head on a bye, which hopefully won’t cool off the red-hot Williams. While he has yet to have more than five targets in a game this season, he’s catching a high percentage of his targets with plenty of upside. He has seven catches for 236 yards (33.7 average!) and two touchdowns during the past two weeks. His value is akin to that of DeSean Jackson.

Chris Ivory, RB, Buffalo Bills (8.4 percent): After LeSean McCoy left his team’s game against the Colts early because of a head injury, Ivory took on a featured role in the backfield. He rushed 16 times for 81 yards and added three catches for 25 yards. If McCoy is unable to play next Monday night against the Patriots, Ivory is on the flex radar.

Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (3.9 percent): Mostert has seen a steady role over the past two weeks, providing a spark to a 49ers running game that has dealt with myriad injuries this season. With Matt Breida already playing through pain and getting more banged up in Week 7, Mostert saw 11 total touches for 11.8 fantasy points. He’s a deeper-league add whose value could rise fast if Breida’s injuries linger and cost him any playing time.

Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints (8.7 percent): This is an add for a player whose value I like much more than the Week 7 box score suggests, as he had just 44 yards on three catches. But he saw six targets and the Saints faced the best defense they’ll likely play all season. Smith played on a significant portion of the snaps and is the vertical threat in one of the best passing offenses in the league. An upside add.

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (43.4 percent): It’s a decided time-share in the Philly backfield, which could be spread out even more if Darren Sproles returns this week (which seems likely), but Smallwood for the second straight week led the Eagles backs in snaps and touches. In a deeper league, he needs to be rostered given his current usage in an offense that can be excellent.

Danny Amendola, WR, Miami Dolphins (24.4 percent): Amendola is coming off of his best game as a Dolphin, hauling in six catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins are expected to be without Albert Wilson in Week 8, possibly Kenny Stills, too, and DeVante Parker was inactive in Week 7. Amendola looks locked into a top-wideout role for Miami this week and can be considered a PPR flex play in 12-team-or-larger leagues.

Kapri Bibbs, RB, Washington Redskins (0.5 percent): While Adrian Peterson continues to run so hard for the Redskins, Bibbs had a chance to fill in for Chris Thompson again in Week 7. He made good on the opportunity as a pass catcher, hauling in four of his five targets for 43 yards and a score. In a deeper league, he’d be on the radar again in Week 8 should Thompson once again sit.

Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons (45.0 percent): The rookie fourth-round pick is set to take on a prominent role until Devonta Freeman returns (which isn’t a sure thing this season) for the Falcons. In splitting Week 7 duties with Tevin Coleman, Smith handled seven carries and added two catches. The workload won’t likely be dominant with Coleman in the picture, but he’s going to see enough touches to justify the roster spot and carry flex value in deeper leagues. He’s scored in three of his past four games.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Oakland Raiders (2.2 percent): Following the trade of Amari Cooper to Dallas, the Raiders are in need of complementary pieces to play prominent roles. Bryant and Seth Roberts are the two next receivers up, as they’ve played 150 and 157 snaps, respectively, this season. We’ll lean toward Bryant because of his tantalizing talent that we’ve seen in the past with Pittsburgh. He’s an add in a larger league.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (40.5 percent): Mayfield began the first of a four-game stretch against teams that all rank in the bottom five in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks in Week 7, picking up 20.9 points against the Buccaneers. It wasn’t a dominant performance by any stretch, but he threw the ball 34 times, hooked up for two touchdowns and rushed for 43 yards. Next up, a matchup with the Steelers, in which I expect him to have to throw it a ton again.

C.J. Uzomah, TE, Cincinnati Bengals (36.0 percent): The pickings are slim at tight end this year, with Uzomah as one of the best add-and-use options for Week 8. He found the end zone in Week 7 and has played a ton of snaps for Cincy since recent injuries to Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft. Next up, he faces the Buccaneers, a team that has struggled to defend the pass all season long.

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (46.1 percent): Godwin plays in one of the pass-happiest offenses in the NFL, already piling up four games with a touchdown this season and four games with at least five catches (including his Week 7 effort). When you get into deeper leagues and start searching for flex considerations, a player like Godwin needs to be on your radar. He’s a talent.

Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (25.9 percent): It isn’t easy to roster two tight ends and we don’t yet know when Doyle will return, but he feels like too good of a stash to pass up. In the two games that he’s played this season, he’s totaled 15 targets and is an established part of the Colts high-volume passing offense. Given how thin the position is, Doyle should be rostered in close to all leagues.

Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints (31.8 percent): The tight end position can be difficult to find players and accurately gauge their outlook. So, while Watson isn’t necessarily a massive-upside tight end, he plays in a terrific offense and has four games with at least four catches this season. He’ll be ranked within our top 15 tight ends weekly.



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