With six teams on bye in Week 8 (Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee) and another six in Week 9 (Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England, Pittsburgh), there are a lot of potential holes that Fantasy owners will need to fill over the next two weeks.
And what better way to fill them than with a waiver wire chock full of plus matchups. These players, owned in less than one-third of Fantasy leagues, are viable plug and plays over the next few weeks.
Lewis Quietly Leading Pats Backfield Committee
Dion Lewis led New England in rushing each of the last three games, pitting him as the back to own in the Patriots backfield.
After playing third fiddle to both Mike Gillislee and James White, Lewis got his first start of the season against the Falcons in Week 7 and took advantage, racking up 76 yards on 13 carries to go along with a backfield-leading 16 snaps. He also passed the eye test in prime time, looking like a lead back on early downs.
Now, facing a Chargers defense that gives up the second-most rush yards per game (140.6) to opposing backs, Lewis’s new early-down role along with his red zone touches should only add to his starting status this Sunday. He’s the favorite for touches this weekend, making him a top waiver pickup as well as a low-end RB2 in Week 8 against San Diego.
Riddick Ready for PPR Breakout
If Lewis isn’t an option, then Theo Riddick should be. He’s essentially a wide receiver listed as a running back, making him a great bye-week filler in PPR leagues.
With Golden Tate on the shelf for a few weeks, it can and will be Riddick that picks up that third-down slack. Riddick already has nine catches on 12 targets over the last two games, and on Sunday he will face a Steelers defense that has given up the 10th most Fantasy points to running backs this season, including eight catches for 109 yards combined in weeks six and seven.
On top of that, the Lions face a Packers defense that gives up the fifth-most Fantasy points to the running back position in Week 9. This all makes Riddick a PPR option in both Week 8 and Week 9, but adding him sooner rather than later is recommended.
Jets Top WR Remains On Waivers
Through seven weeks, Robby Anderson is unsurprisingly, the Jets leading receiver.
His seven receptions on 17 targets for a combined 111 yards and a TD over the past two weeks should put him on the WR3/4 radar, and with matchups against the Falcons, Bills, and Bucs over the next three, I’m clicking add with all the top-end receiver talent on bye during those weeks. Garbage time could also be your Fantasy team’s best friend, as the Jets should be forced to throw a lot to Anderson during those matchups. Expect at least six targets per game and a touchdown in one of the next two weeks, making the Jets’ de facto No. 1 WR a streaming option for receiver-needy teams.
Bank on Beathard as Bye-Week Filler
Want a waiver wire QB? How about the 49ers C.J. Beathard?
Yes, the same QB who has thrown just one touchdown through two games under center for San Francisco. He’s also attempted 36-plus passes in each of those contests while averaging 240 yards a game. Against Dallas in Week 7, the Iowa product added five carries for 30 yards and a TD.
With his next three games coming against defenses that rank in the Top 10 when it comes to giving up points to opposing Fantasy quarterbacks, Beathard is well worth a dart throw if your starting QB is on a bye in the coming weeks.
Raven About Watson
Benjamin Watson has five-plus receptions in four of the last six games, and faces a Miami defense Thursday night that has given up the 10th most Fantasy points to tight ends this season. Watson also led the Ravens in receiving last week against the Vikings, making him a viable PPR play as long as Joe Flacco keeps doing his best Checkdown Charlie imitation.
Having only topped 50 yards receiving once this year, look at Watson as a PPR-dependent streaming option both this week and next, with the likelihood to snap out of his four-game touchdown-less streak before the Ravens Week 10 bye.