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2021 Fantasy Football: Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 8

waiver wire pickups, Trey Lance, Kenneth Gainwell, Michael Gallup, Taylor Heinicke

Getting close to the halfway point of the NFL season means that your fantasy football squad has an identity – whether it is a good or a bad identity can still be rectified, as long as your waiver wire pickups are made to help improve your roster(s). Heading into Week 8, you made it through the byeaggedon that last week produced, so the best is still ahead.

We saw some key injuries to Josh Jacobs and Miles Sanders that could change the running back landscape, which opens up some key options to chase on your league’s waive wire.

As always, all players included on the waiver wire pickups list are rostered at 50 percent or less ESPN fantasy football rosters, meaning that the likelihood of these options being on your waiver wire is highly likely.

Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups

10. Cole Kmet – TE
15.3% Rostered
Chicago Bears

With Jimmy Graham having been relegated to the COVID list on Sunday, Cole Kmet took over the top tight end role for the Chicago Bears, acting as one of the better targets for Justin Fields in an absolutely awful showing. Five receptions for 43 yards was his second-highest yardage output for the season, and tied for the most receptions this year as well, marking two consecutive games of at least four catches.

Kmet has entered into the bottom part of the TE1 fantasy football streaming category this season, as his floor is one of the safer options for the TE group that is super top-heavy. As Chicago tries to regain its offensive identity, you could do much worse than Kmet at this point, especially if you are forced into streaming a TE for the rest of the season due to inconsistencies or injuries.

9. Michael Gallup – WR
50.8% Rostered
Dallas Cowboys

A bit of a forgotten option in the Dallas offense is Michael Gallup, who has been out since Week 1 with a calf strain and is looking to make his return within the next few weeks. As the third option in a potent Cowboys’ offense, Gallup likely is sitting out on the waiver wire, with rosters likely unable to keep him on while he was injured.

Having been designated to return off of injured reserve, the team looks to be confident in his return sooner rather than later, and he has shown flashes in the past catching passes from Dak Prescott – keep an eye on his return date, but get out ahead of your league mates now and add him to your Week 8 waiver wire pickups.

8. Kalif Raymond – WR
5.3% Rostered
Detroit Lions

As bad as the entire Detroit Lions team is, their offense has shown some promise over the past few weeks, even as injuries have decimated their wide receiver ranks. With Kalif Raymond stepping into that WR1 role, he and Jared Goff have established a decent rapport, which likely will continue to exist as long as other options are injured.

Three games this year Raymond has secured six receptions, with Sunday’s affair against the Rams his biggest yardage output with 115 yards on the day. Having caught at least two balls in every game, Raymond can offer a bit of a short-term fix for your fantasy football rosters, reliant on DET losing to increase his touches.

7. Ricky Seals-Jones – TE
47.2% Rostered
Washington Football Team

With Logan Thomas still nursing an injury, it has been Ricky Seals-Jones who has produced at higher fantasy football levels than most people figured he would stepping into that role. Having produced three consecutive games of four-plus receptions, Seals-Jones has been a solid option for Taylor Heinicke in the passing game.

With Washington likely playing from behind in most games, it opens up a solid opportunity for Seals-Jones to earn a good portion of the team’s target share, a role he will fill until Thomas is healthy enough to return.

6. Taylor Heinicke – QB
24.5% Rostered
Washington Football Team

Thrust into the starting job after Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injury, Heinicke has helped keep Washington afloat, putting up a 10:7 TD to interception line, alongside just under 1,700 passing yards. His legs have also been solid, creating a decent floor and a solid ceiling for his fantasy football outlook.

While certainly not a flash option when considering QB additions for your waiver wire pickups, Heinicke is consistent and gets the job done, making him best suited to start in two-QB league formats.

5. Christian Kirk – WR
30.8% Rostered
Arizona Cardinals

The on-again, off-again unhealthy relationship Christian Kirk has with fantasy football relevancy has brought him back onto this list, making the 24-year-old hard to predict. But having maintained a three-reception minimum in all but one game this year paints a fairly consistent picture for his fantasy football value.

As the Arizona Cardinals continue to run all over their opponents, Kirk will maintain value alongside DeAndre Hopkins and company, although some of his targets will likely go to newly-acquired Zach Ertz instead. Facing the Green Bay Packers and their depleted secondary can help keep Kirk relevant this week, adding another reason why he should be included on your waiver wire pickups for this week.

4. Brandon Bolden – RB
5.5% Rostered
New England Patriots

As James White has been lost for the season, the team’s backfield has been looking for its next pass-catching option, a role that Brandon Bolden looks to be filling as of late.

Especially in PPR formats, Bolden holds a lot of solid value in an offense predicated on a shallow passing attack with a rookie QB at the helm. Truly never holding any fantasy relevance until now, Bolden has 20 receptions on the year (on 21 targets) for 162 yards through seven games.

Reliant on negative game script, Bolden certainly can provide RB3 value in a pinch if needed, even if his work comes only through the air.

3. Trey Lance – QB
14.3% Rostered
San Francisco 49ers

The Jimmy Garoppolo experiment may likely be on its final leg in San Francisco, as Kyle Shanahan provided a less-than-glowing review of his performance on Sunday against the Colts. With Trey Lance being the lone first-round QB to have received extensive starting work so far, it remains to be seen what kind of fantasy football value he can provide.

If Lance is able to recover from the injury that kept him out in Week 7, then he should top your QB targets on your waiver wire pickups for this week. In a Week 8 battle between two rookie QBs of Fields and Lance, look for Lance to minimally get more work, even though he should be earning another start. With the Niners having invested a lot in Lance, it makes no sense for them to keep him on the bench – so look for Lance to earn back what is rightfully his.

2. Rashod Bateman
19.0% Rostered
Baltimore Ravens

The passing attack for the Baltimore Ravens has been picking up steam as this season has progressed, and ever since rookie Rashod Bateman returned from the IR, he has looked the part and then some.

For Bateman, he pairs well with Hollywood Brown, and Lamar Jackson looks to be searching him out when throwing the ball, an important first step for Bateman to take with his new QB.

Since his collegiate days at Minnesota, Bateman has thrived with the ball in his hands, constantly making plays. Even if BAL utilized Bateman in different ways in the offense, they still can get him the ball, which will only help him maximize his skills.

As the Ravens open up their playbook, look for Bateman to continue to ascend in terms of fantasy football relevancy, even if he does play for a team that prefers to run the ball.

1. Kenneth Gainwell – RB
26.4% Rostered
Philadelphia Eagles

With Miles Sanders suffering an ankle injury that will likely sideline him for at least Week 8, Kenneth Gainwell split work with journeyman veteran Boston Scott in their loss to the Raiders on the road.

For Gainwell, he was able to get into the end zone, but having almost a 50/50 split with Scott certainly can be a cause for concern – chalking that direct split up to being in the middle of the game and not how the depth chart is, Gainwell looks to be the best fantasy football RB option available this week, and he should headline any of your waiver wire pickups.

As difficult as the Eagles may be to forecast on offense, Gainwell has carved out a role for himself since Day 1, meaning his value in this offense is safer than what Scott may provide. As more clarity comes out about Sanders’ injury, look for Gainwell to earn more touches in the offense, even when Sanders does return. The Memphis rookie has produced at a solid level so far for PHI, and Gainwell has only scratched the surface of what he is capable of.