Week 7 was a difficult one for fantasy football owners as many star players suffered serious injuries.
Some of those players, including Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, were lost for the season, leaving people with important decisions to make regarding who replaces these important players in their starting lineup for Week 8 and beyond.
Let’s take a look at the best replacements for the top fantasy stars battling injuries.
Reggie Wayne: Out for season, Torn ACL
Wayne’s injury is difficult for fantasy owners because he’s a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver and a reliable option every week. His season-ending injury makes two receivers on the Colts more valuable in all types of leagues, and they are T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Hilton ranks second on the Colts in receptions (27), receiving yards (412) and touchdowns (two), and will likely serve as the No. 1 receiver for quarterback Andrew Luck for the rest of the season. He’s now a WR2 in all fantasy leagues. As for Heyward-Bey, he gave his best performance of the season on Sunday night with four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. His great speed makes him a deep threat, and Luck should continue to target him between 6-10 times for the rest of the year.
Non-Colts receivers to target on the waiver wire to replace Wayne are Green Bay’s Jarrett Boykin, Seattle’s Percy Harvin and Tennessee’s Kendall Wright.
Doug Martin: Out for season, torn labrum
Martin’s injury makes an already weak running back class even less likable. The lack of consistent running backs this season has caused problems for people who used their first and/or second-round pick on players at this position, but fortunately there are some players worth adding from the waiver wire.
One of those players is Washington’s Roy Helu, who scored three touchdowns on Sunday and is a goal-line back. He played on a lot of snaps for the Redskins last week and is worth a start in Week 8 as a flex option.
In deeper leagues, Buccaneers running back Mike James is worth an add, He will replace Martin as Tampa Bay’s starter, but if the team was lackluster in the running game when Martin was healthy (ranked 20th in rush yards per game), there’s little reason to believe James will improve it.
One player who must be added, but is probably owned in your league already is Houston’s Ben Tate. Arian Foster picked up another injury on Sunday, and the Texans will give Tate the majority of the workload if Foster isn’t ready for it. Tate has shown numerous times in his career that he has the talent of a starting running back.
Jay Cutler: Will miss multiple weeks with a torn groin
Cutler’s injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time for fantasy owners because the Bears quarterback was playing really well over the last few weeks.
To replace him in your lineup, consider adding Houston’s Case Keenum from the waiver wire. The Texans rookie tallied 271 passing yards and a touchdown on Sunday, and if he starts in Week 9 after the team’s bye, he’s a quality option in two-quarterback leagues.
If Tennessee’s Jake Locker was dropped to the waiver wire when he suffered an injury a few weeks ago, pick him up now because he was impressive on Sunday with 326 yards passing and two touchdowns against a talented San Francisco 49ers defense. He has a few talented receivers and a good pass-catching running back Chris Johnson to target in the passing game, which makes Locker a threat to throw for 300-plus yards on a weekly basis.
Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor is another good Cutler replacement. The Raiders are having another disappointing season at 2-4, but Pryor has impressed with a 64.7 percent completion rate and five touchdown passes. He’s also capable of making plays with his legs, and has rushed for 30-plus yards in five of the team’s six games this season.
Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon and Arizona’s Carson Palmer are two other waiver wire options at quarterback for Week 8.