The halfway point of the NFL season is approaching, meaning the fantasy football playoff picture has begun to take shape.
To avoid early elimination from your league’s playoff race, it’s important to plug in roster holes caused by injuries and bye weeks with smart pickups off the waiver wire.
Here’s a rundown of the best waiver wire pickups entering Week 8.
Quarterback: Ryan Fitzptrick, New York Jets
If you’re in a deep league, Fitzpatrick might not be available, but he’s definitely worth owning in leagues that start two quarterbacks or if you need a bye week replacement.
Fitzpatrick played well enough to give the Jets a chance against the New England Patriots on Sunday. He threw for 295 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The former Harvard QB also ran for 29 yards, bringing his season total to 112 yards on 25 carries.
Fitzpatrick has thrown four touchdowns with only one interception over the last two weeks. He’s not likely to pass for more than 300 yards in a given week, but he’s a safe bet to throw at least one touchdown and take care of the football. That’s what you want in a bye week quarterback.
Other quarterbacks to target: Ryan Tannehill
Running Back: Alfred Blue, Houston Texans
Blue might have been dropped a few weeks ago when Texans starting running back Arian Forster returned to Houston’s lineup in Week 4. If that’s the case, pick him up again, because Foster reportedly will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles.
In his last full game as a starter in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Blue ran for a season-high 139 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. Blue won’t be that productive each week, obviously, but it’s not easy to find starting RBs this late in the season, and he will benefit from playing in a horrible AFC South division down the stretch.
Other running backs to target: Charcandrick West, David Cobb, Orleans Darkwa
Wide Receiver: Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers
Johnson missed San Diego’s previous two games entering Week 7, but he returned Sunday and caught four passes for 50 yards on eight targets. He’s been targeted at least five times in all five games he’s played this season, in addition to tallying four or more receptions in four of those contests.
Johnson caught a touchdown pass in each of the first two weeks of the season, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he found the end zone more often as part of the NFL’s most prolific passing offense led by quarterback Philip Rivers, who leads the league with 2,405 pass yards.
Other wide receivers to target: Albert Wilson, Michael Floyd, Danny Amendola, Marvin Jones
Tight End: Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
Ebron also missed the last two weeks before returning for Week 7, and he was the most productive pass-catcher for the Lions in their 28-19 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The second-year tight end caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown on five targets.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ranks fifth in passing yards and sixth in attempts, which should give Ebron plenty of chances to be a fantasy relevant tight end. It also helps that Detroit has trailed in a lot of games this season and likely will be throwing often in the second half of games for the rest of the campaign.
Other tight ends to target: Jordan Reed, Charles Clay
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) scrambles against the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
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