We're about to get a one-week break from the byes, so your roster should be close to full strength in the matchup ahead. Of course this doesn't mean that your squad can't still be enhanced via the wire. Each week around here, we identify a collection of widely available fantasy options approved for immediate use. These are your priority adds for Week 8 ...
Wide receivers and tight ends
Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts (36% rostered)
We're running out of new ways to hype Downs, a guy we keep recommending and the people continue to not add. Here's a look at Sunday's long TD reception:
Josh Downs' fantasy production in his last 3 games:
13.5 (in the first 5 minutes of the game)
He's available in 65% of Yahoo leagues 👀pic.twitter.com/azlQKewQ2l
— Yahoo Fantasy Sports (@YahooFantasy) October 22, 2023
That was one of five catches for Downs, a gifted rookie who lives in the slot for the Colts. He finished with 125 yards and one score against the Browns, which gives him touchdowns in back-to-back games. He was a hugely productive collegiate player, catching 195 passes and breaking the plane 19 times over his final two years at UNC. Downs has played over 70% of the snaps in every game this season, so playing time certainly hasn't been a concern. He'll cook against the Saints next week, then he gets the Panthers the following Sunday.
Recommended FAB, assuming $100 budget: $17
Yup, it's that time again. We have arrived at the might-as-well-start-Taysom stage of the fantasy season. It took us a bit longer than last year, but we got here. Tight end is such a brutal position that Hill's weekly upside is worth considering.
Actually, over the past two weeks, Hill's usage has increased to the point that he's almost like a real member of the receiving corps, instead of simply being a wildcat specialist masquerading as a tight end. He's drawn 13 targets in his last two games, catching 11 for 99 yards — and, as ever, he's seen just enough rushing work to remain relevant. On Thursday night against Jacksonville, one of his five carries resulted in a walk-in 1-yard TD.
If the tight end position has exhausted you and you're ready to embrace the occasional highs (and many lows) of the Taysom Hill experience, he's there for you, unrostered in over 90% of Yahoo leagues.
Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills (42%)
In honor of National Tight End Day, let's toss another in the pickups conversation. It took a little while, but breakout week finally arrived for Kincaid. The Utah rookie caught all eight of his targets in Sunday's loss, finishing with 75 yards and out-producing Dawson Knox (1-10-0) by a healthy margin. Both Buffalo tight ends saw plenty of playing time (45 and 43 snaps), so no worries on that front. Kincaid was a reliable chain-mover Sunday and we can expect him to have bigger, better weeks ahead. This might just be an arrow-up, rocket emoji situation.
Other priority WRs and TEs
Tank Dell should be available to return against Carolina in Week 8, coming out of his bye and presumably concussion-free. He's tied to an excellent young QB and he's made multiple big plays for the Texans in the early weeks, so he deserves a spot on someone's roster in any 12-team league.
Jalin Hyatt saw a season-high five targets against the Commanders on Sunday, so, naturally, he delivered 75 yards with a field-flipping highlight grab. The 2022 Biletnikoff winner shouldn't have a difficult time earning additional opportunities, given the general state of the Giants' receiving corps.
Kendrick Bourne has hauled in 16 receptions on 18 targets over his last two games and appears to be well-established as New England's top receiving option, if that's of interest to you.
Tyler Boyd is coming out of his bye and he's seen at least seven targets in each of his previous five games, so volume hasn't been a worry.
Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams (25%)
Over the years, Henderson has regained and relost the Rams featured rushing role more times than any of us can be expected to remember. Just eleven months ago, the team waived him. He was briefly a member of the Jaguars before being waived again in December. He then messed around with the XFL over the summer, drawing no significant interest from the NFL.
And now here we are. Henderson was reacquired by the Rams last week after Kyren Williams landed on IR, and he found himself with the lead role against the Steelers on Sunday. He carried 18 times for 61 yards and a walk-in touchdown, adding one catch for 5 yards. Henderson isn't obviously better than Royce Freeman (12-66-0 on Sunday), but he appears to be the lead back for LA at the moment and will presumably hold the role — despite what is expected to be a temporary procedural move back to the practice squad on Monday — until Williams returns. Do whatever you must with this info.
Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans (42%)
If you're not interested in seeking out new ways to invest in Tennessee's offense at this time ... well, OK, that's understandable. This team ranks No. 26 in the league in both yardage and scoring, so we're not talking about a fruitful fantasy environment. We'll simply note that Spears, a day-two rookie from Tulane, has transitioned flawlessly from the collegiate level to the NFL, displaying his rare explosiveness and tackle-shedding ability pretty much every week.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) October 15, 2023
Spears is simply a very good player and his snap-share has been north of 50% in five of his six games this season, so playing time alongside Derrick Henry hasn't been much of an issue. He's caught 15 balls on 20 targets this season and averaged an impressive 6.1 yards per touch. Spears has established himself as a flex-worthy fantasy option and, without question, he has significant contingent value as the next man up behind Henry.
Additional RBs on the wire
Emari Demercado actually out-snapped all other Cardinals backs in Week 6 (despite barely seeing the ball), so perhaps we should have seen Sunday's workload coming. Alas, we did not. The undrafted rookie led the way at Seattle, handling 17 touches and gaining 75 total yards. Keaontay Ingram played only on special teams against Seattle after carrying 10 times the week before.
Royce Freeman carried a dozen times for 66 yards against the Steelers, which is as much as anyone could have reasonably expected from this particular well-traveled vet.
Pierre Strong Jr. got plenty of run after Jerome Ford exited with an ankle injury Sunday. It looks like Ford will miss additional time, so Strong is likely to have a role behind Kareem Hunt, though we can also expect the team to enhance its backfield with a vet.
Devin Singletary is coming off a season-high 12 carries for 58 yards and he's headed into a friendly matchup with Carolina following his bye.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (42%)
C'mon, people. Let's get on this. We urged you to add Murray last week, before he was designated to return from IR, back when he was available in three-quarters of Yahoo leagues and demand for his fantasy services was modest. This week, you're going to need to burn a greater percentage of the budget in order to acquire him — but still, it's probably worth it.
Murray is now 10 months removed from his ACL injury and it seems entirely reasonable that Arizona's new coaching staff would want to see him at the controls of the offense in the season's second-half, regardless of the team's record. The Cards are reportedly eying Week 9 or 10 for his return. We shouldn't expect him to return as the 2020 version of himself as soon as he takes the field, but clearly his fantasy ceiling is as high as anyone's. His receiving corps is full of talent, too, so it's not as if the supporting cast is insufficient. Even in shallow 1-QB fantasy formats, Murray should be stashed on someone's bench.
Additional approved QBs
Gardner Minshew somewhat shockingly delivered 305 passing yards and four combined TDs against Cleveland's upper-tier defense. He's headed into another challenging matchup on Sunday (NO), but he's at home and working with an excellent receiving corps.
Derek Carr has cleared 300 passing yards in each of his last two games, though it hasn't been entirely pretty. He has a series of favorable matchups ahead (at Ind, Chi, at Min) before the Saints go into their bye week.
Miami Dolphins (48%)
We generally just like to chase pass attempts when streaming defenses, because the things that drive fantasy scoring at this spot are sacks, turnovers and TDs. We're obviously more likely to find all those things when an offense becomes one-dimensional and needs to put the ball in the air 40-plus times. And when a sketchy QB is forced into a high-volume passing situation, it can become a perfect storm for D/ST scoring.
Which brings us to the Dolphins hosting the Patriots in Week 8. Miami's defense hasn't been any sort of elite unit to this point in the season, but that shouldn't really matter if Mac Jones is dropping back and chucking throughout the afternoon. We can start the Dolphins D with confidence, then discard 'em ahead of the following week's matchup at KC.