Each week, the waiver wire is a fresh minefield. We're here to help prioritize the top fantasy pickups. Everyone listed below is available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and all are approved for immediate use. If you have needs, we have options...
Wide Receivers worth your attention
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (29% rostered)
Shepard returned from IR on Thursday night and he quickly reclaimed his place in the Giants' receiving hierarchy, leading the team in receptions (6) and yardage (59). He saw eight targets and caught a fourth-quarter TD to give New York a late two-score lead (which, of course, they vomited away). Shepard appears to be healthy enough...
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 23, 2020
It's completely understandable that he was mass-dropped while injured, but he needs to be reacquired this week. Shepard's upcoming matchup against Tampa Bay is problematic, but his schedule gets plenty friendly thereafter: at Washington, Philly, bye, at Cincinnati, at Seattle. Three of those five defenses rank bottom-third against the pass.
Recommended offer, assuming $100 budget: $21
Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (41%)
We're nearly halfway through the season and Beasley remains on pace to finish with well over 1,000 receiving yards. He was excellent on Sunday, hauling in 11 of his 12 targets for 112 yards. He's now averaging 7.0 targets per game, essentially delivering exactly the season you might have expected from Julian Edelman or T.Y. Hilton. At this point, Beasley needs to be rostered in any sort of PPR league involving 10 or more teams. He's a high-floor player tied to an occasionally productive offense.
Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns (2%)
The Browns and Bengals delivered an all-you-can-eat fantasy buffet on Sunday, combining for 866 total yards and 71 points. Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow were both dealing, producing eight passing scores and 703 yards. However, the news coming out of Cleveland was not entirely positive following the team's comeback win. Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury. After OBJ exited, Higgins stepped up in a big way, leading the team in receiving (110 yards) while catching all six of his targets. His highlights were of the highest quality.
Higgins should emerge as an every-snap receiver in the weeks ahead, with Beckham out of the mix. Next Sunday, the Browns face a Raiders defense that ranks No. 28 against the pass, allowing 283.8 yards per game and 7.8 per attempt. Higgins can be considered a viable flex/WR3 in Week 8.
Additional WR/TE options: Brandon Aiyuk (he's just barely eligible for this feature, rostered in nearly half of all leagues, but we should recognize his 115-yard performance), Tim Patrick (it's not always a QB clinic with Drew Lock, but Patrick remains his top receiving option; he's also among the NFL air-yards leaders), Nelson Agholor (he converted nine targets into 107 yards and another score against Tampa), Corey Davis (returned to a substantial workload on Sunday, drawing 10 targets), Marcus Johnson (deep-league special, coming off a 108-yard performance prior to Indy's bye), Trey Burton (appears to be the alpha tight end for the Colts after spiking twice in Week 6), Logan Thomas (Football Team is headed into its bye, so he can't help you in the week ahead), Eric Ebron (coming off a season-high eight targets).
Running backs to add
Zach Moss, Buffalo Bills (46%)
Those of us who hyped Moss in the preseason had to wait seven long, discouraging weeks for the third-round rookie to finally assert himself. But, hey, better late than never. Moss out-rushed Devin Singletary on Sunday, 47 to 29, and he out-gained him through the air as well, 25 to 18. Each back handled ten touches against the Jets (and, naturally, Josh Allen led the Bills in rushing).
Over Buffalo's last four games, Singletary has averaged only 3.0 YPC and he hasn't topped 56 rushing yards in any week. Moss shouldn't lack opportunities moving forward. He remains a strong candidate for any goal-to-go carries not handled by Allen, plus he's a capable receiving option. Moss caught 66 balls for 685 yards in his collegiate career at Utah.
Next week, the Bills will face a Patriots defense that was mauled on the ground by San Francisco in Week 7.
Jamycal Hasty, San Francisco 49ers (21%)
After many of us spent several days debating the merits of Jerick McKinnon and Hasty as potential fantasy flexes, the correct answer — at least for a week — turned out to be Jeff Wilson Jr. Of course. It was the Shanahaniest possible outcome. The Niners' run game simply overwhelmed New England on Sunday, with Wilson inflicting most of the damage. He ultimately finished with 17 carries for 112 yards and three scores. Wilson entered the week averaging 3.7 YPC for his career and exited averaging 4.1.
Unfortunately, while Wilson was being dragged down in the end zone on his third touchdown of the afternoon, he suffered a high-ankle sprain, likely a multi-week injury. The Niners leaned on Hasty after Wilson left the game, and the Baylor rookie passed the eye test for a second straight week. He delivered 73 scrimmage yards on 10 touches, with a 16-yard reception included. We can assume he'll serve as a featured runner while Raheem Mostert and Wilson are sidelined. But he's also not exempt from being Shanahan'd, as with every other back on this depth chart. Tevin Coleman should return soon from IR, further complicating this mess.
Carlos Hyde, Seattle Seahawks (11%)
We've had this drill before, so everyone should know how to proceed. Chris Carson handled just six touches on Sunday night before leaving the game with a mid-foot sprain. In his absence, Hyde ran for 68 yards on 15 carries and snagged three passes for an additional eight yards. The highlight of his evening was a 24-yard touchdown run, made possible by Duane Brown's fine work...
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 26, 2020
Carson was able to return to the sideline and remained in uniform following his injury, for whatever that's worth. We'll obviously learn more about the severity of his foot issue as the week unfolds. Hyde himself is reportedly dealing with hamstring tightness, so he’s not quite 100 percent. It’s not an absolute lock he’ll be good to go next week, when Seattle faces San Francisco's capable run defense.
Various other RBs of interest: Damien Harris (carried 10 times for 58 yards on Sunday and he's rostered in juuuusst under 50% of Yahoo leagues), Wayne Gallman Jr. (his upcoming matchup with the Bucs is brutal, but could see a substantial workload if Devonta Freeman's ankle remains an issue), La'Mical Perine (he made a house call against Buffalo on Sunday and played a whopping 70% of the offensive snaps), Gus Edwards (he remains part of a messy three-headed committee, but Mark Ingram tweaked his ankle in Week 6), DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer (just in case both Carson and Hyde are sidelined), Tevin Coleman (as mentioned above, he’s returning soon from IR to a team that's running out of backfield depth).
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers (44 percent)
If you need further proof that Bridgewater can, in fact, take deep shots, here you go...
Connected like the WiFi‼️ pic.twitter.com/F6qma6s3L9
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 25, 2020
That was the first of Bridgewater's two touchdown passes to D.J. Moore on Sunday. He's now delivered at least 250 passing yards and two scores in three of his last four games, which is basically all you're looking for when streaming the position. Bridgewater is a decent bet to crush those totals in Week 8 when he faces Atlanta, a defense that ranks next-to-last against the pass. The Falcons have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing QBs and haven't yet held a team below 300 passing yards. Bridgewater himself already torched them once, passing for 313 yards and two TDs in Week 5.
Other QBs to consider: Derek Carr (he's thrown multiple TD passes in five straight and facing Cleveland's generous pass defense next Sunday), Jimmy Garoppolo (not an easy player to trust, clearly, but he's about to visit Seattle's miserable pass D), Baker Mayfield (we've likely just seen the best game of his season, but he's tossed multiple TD passes in five of his last six).
Defense for the desperate
Seattle Seahawks (34%)
It's a rough week on the wire for anyone who streams defenses, because all the best matchups belong to the heavily-rostered squads. Seattle just gave up 37 points to the Cardinals, the third time this season the unit has allowed 30-plus. We're not talking about a dominant group here. Still, the Seahawks are at home in Week 8, facing an immobile quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) who's been picked off four times in his last three games.