The 49ers have now lost games to the P.J. Walker-led Browns, and Kirk Cousins' Vikings during primetime, just in case you thought anything about this NFL season was going to be predictable.

Actually, I take that back, there was one predictable thing about Monday's game: Christian McCaffrey dominated, even in a loss. McCaffrey entered the week questionable with an oblique injury, but if the 49ers were hoping to limit his exposure as a result of the injury, that's certainly not how they approached it, as Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason combined for one carry for a 1-yard loss. If you benched McCaffrey, I wouldn't have blamed you, but that doesn't make losing out on a 24.6-point showing from McCaffrey any easier to stomach. 

The other big news from Monday's game? The Jordan Addison breakout is complete. The Vikings rookie first-rounder put together his first truly massive performance in the NFL, catching seven passes for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the second was the true highlight -- he took a sure-fire interception out of Charvarius Ward's hands, broke free, and outran him for a 60-yard score. It's plays like that that will make a young receiver his quarterback's best friend.

That's how Week 7 ended, and it's how the first half of the Fantasy Football regular season comes to a close. Every time we get to this point in the year, it always takes me by surprise -- weren't we just drafting our teams, like, last week? And we're already in the stretch run? 

The Fantasy Football season is a sprint, and we're about to hit the home stretch. Tomorrow, we'll have some trade targets for you to consider to help you make the push for the playoffs, but first, we're looking at the waiver wire today. I've got Jamey Eisenberg's top targets in what looks like a very good week to spend some of that FAB budget, if you've got any left. Plus, my initial rankings for Week 8 are featured in today's newsletter too, along with my thoughts on some of your biggest questions at the mid-way point of the season. 

Let's get ready for Week 8: 

My Week 8 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE

➕Top Week 8 Waiver Wire Targets

Sep 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (21) runs the ball in for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Douglas DeFelice / USA TODAY Sports

The good news is, there isn't a ton of injury news you need to know about heading into Week 8. That's not to say there's no news, of course, but relative to last week, things were pretty quiet on Monday. 

The biggest news you need to know about is Jerome Ford's ankle injury, which was described as a "low-grade, high-ankle" sprain by Adam Schefter. That injury is expected to cost Ford a week or two, which definitely isn't the worst-case scenario. Kareem Hunt figures to be the lead back here, with Pierre Strong filling in as the No. 2, but the problem is, this Browns offense just doesn't look very good right now. Hunt is in the RB3 range for me in Week 8 against the Seahawks, but realistically, you're hoping for a touchdown from him to make him worth starting.

Otherwise, we've got Chris Godwin missing practice Monday with a neck injury as the Buccaneers prepare for Thursday's game against the Bills, which is less than ideal, though it was just an estimated injury report as the Buccaneers had a walkthrough rather than a full practice, so we won't panic yet. The same goes for Baker Mayfield, who is dealing with a neck injury but should be fine for Thursday's game. 

And the last note before we get to the top waiver-wire targets for Week 8, is that Saints wide receiver Chris Olave was arrested Monday night on suspicion of reckless operation of a motor vehicle. Olave has been accused of driving 70 mph in a 30 mph zone and was set to be released, so this shouldn't affect his availability for this week, though it's obviously too soon to know for sure. 

And now, here are Jamey Eisenberg's top waiver-wire targets for Week 8: 

Jamey Eisenberg's top targets

  1. Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams (32%) – In his first NFL action in more than 11 months, Henderson was the lead back for the Rams, just days after signing to the practice squad as a street free agent. He split work with Royce Freeman, sure, but if anyone's role is likely to grow from this point, it seems safe to bet on the younger guy who already got more carries despite not being on the roster before this week. Will Henderson dominate work moving forward like Kyren Williams was? Probably not, and it's always possible, that Myles Gaskin gets up to speed quickly and is involved this week, making this a three-way split to be avoided. But I'm ranking Henderson as a top-24 RB for Week 8 as of now, and those kinds of plug-and-play options just aren't available all that often on the wire. 
  2. Dalton Kincaid, TE, Bills (50%) – Kincaid was the only tight end drafted in the first round of this year's NFL Draft, and he was nearly universally rostered to open the season. However, he was splitting time with Dawson Knox early on and then missed Week 6 with an injury, which is why his roster rate is as low as it is now. However, Kincaid had his best game in Week 7, catching eight passes for 75 yards, and then we learned Monday that Knox will need wrist surgery, putting him out for an as-yet-unknown amount of time. The runway is fully clear for Kincaid to emerge as the No. 2 option the Bills desperately need. Sam LaPorta may have company among the ranks of the must-start rookie TEs. 
  3. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seahawks (56%) – Smith-Njigba is starting to trend in the right direction. Sure, his Week 7 role was buoyed by DK Metcalf's absence, but he did what we wanted to see, catching four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in the best performance of his young career. But Smith-Njigba already saw his route participation rate jump to 81% in Week 6, so this wasn't just because of Metcalf's absence. He's an incredibly talented young receiver who might have just needed a month to get up to speed at the NFL level – and don't forget, he had surgery just before the season started, and Week 6 was the first time he played without a protective cover on his wrist. You might end up looking back on Smith-Njigba's slow start as a blessing if he breaks out from here. 
  4. Josh Downs, WR, Colts (44%) – Of course, then we have Downs, who is already having the breakout Smith-Njigba is hoping for. He has three straight games with at least 13 PPR points, and it may not be a coincidence that Gardner Minshew has played most of those three games, because 21% of Minshew's passes have gone Downs' way so far this season. That kind of role is going to make him a solid starter moving forward if it sustains, even if Smith-Njigba's ultimate ceiling might be higher. 
  5. Emari Demercado, RB, Cardinals (38%) – It's kind of funny we're back here with Demercado, who was the top waiver-wire target two weeks ago, only to find his way back to the wire in plenty of leagues after having just three touches in Week 6. However, the Cardinals made Keaontary Ingram an afterthought in Week 7, and Demercado played 80% of the snaps, rushing 13 times for 58 yards and adding four catches for 17 yards. He has the passing downs locked up – that was true even in Week 6 – but with the focus in Week 7, Demercado looks like the guy to have here until James Conner is healthy. That should be for at least two more weeks, which makes Demercado a viable Fantasy option even against a tough Ravens defense in Week 8. 

My Week 8 Rankings

Yesterday afternoon, I took to Twitter to ask our audience for their biggest questions for each position heading into Week 8. Here are my thoughts on some of those big questions, plus your first look at my rankings for this week: 

Week 8 QB Rankings

"Time to give up on Deshaun Watson

I think it was reasonable to take a flier on Deshaun Watson in drafts this preseason, in the hopes that he could rediscover some of his pre-holdout/suspension form. But we're 10 games into his stint with the Browns and he has four games with more than 20 points in six-point-per-pass-TD leagues; he's just 20th in Fantasy scoring among QBs since he made his return last December, just behind Desmond Ridder and just ahead of Sam Howell, who has played just eight games in that span.

There were some flashes early in the season, but Watson genuinely looked like he didn't belong on the field Sunday, and he was barely able to get anything on his throws before being chased from the game. The Browns have $230 million guaranteed reasons to keep running him out there when he's healthy enough to play, but you have no reason to give him that kind of benefit of the doubt. He hasn't earned it, and we're now three years removed from the last time Watson looked like a viable Fantasy option. You can cut him without a second thought."

  1. Jalen Hurts @WAS
  2. Patrick Mahomes @DEN
  3. Josh Allen vs. TB
  4. Lamar Jackson @ARI
  5. Justin Herbert vs. CHI
  6. Tua Tagovailoa vs. NE
  7. Trevor Lawrence @PIT
  8. Kirk Cousins @GB
  9. Joe Burrow @SF
  10. Jared Goff vs. LV
  11. C.J. Stroud @CAR
  12. Gardner Minshew vs. NO

Week 8 RB Rankings

"Does the scorched earth of RBs this year lend more towards Zero RB strategy or is it that much more important to get that alpha RB?

This is a big-picture question more than a Week 8 one, but I think it's worth talking about because the RB position is in rough shape right now. There are actually four running backs averaging 20-plus PPR points right now, and 13 at 15-plus, which is better than last season, but that's kind of a misleading stat for a few reasons. First of all, De'Von Achane (RB1 in points per game) and Kyren Williams (RB6) are among that group and are on IR right now, while David Montgomery (RB10) seems likely to miss at least Week 8, and he's also in that group. That also includes Zack Moss (RB7), who seems unlikely to get anywhere near that level moving forward, as well as D'Onta Foreman (RB13), who had 12.1 combined points prior to his Week 7 explosion -- he's only played three games total. Oh, and, of course, Saquon Barkley missed three games with an injury, while Alvin Kamara (RB3) missed three games due to a suspension.

That being said, there are plenty of underperforming backs I do expect to clear that 15-PPG mark moving forward, and I've got a few questions in the rest of this piece about some of them. And I always want to caution against overlearning the lessons of the most recent game/week/season, and there's some risk there. The RB position has been a bit old at the top tier in recent years, so we might be seeing a scenario where, over the next year or two, the likes of Austin Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, and the rest of the stalwarts at the position start to fall off, and if the next group isn't ready to step up, we could be on the verge of some lean times at the position; think back to 2015, when Devonta Freeman was the only RB to crack 300 points and Danny Woodhead managed a top-three PPR finish with fewer than 1,100 total yards and single-digit touchdowns."

  1. Christian McCaffrey vs. CIN
  2. Alvin Kamara @IND
  3. Saquon Barkley vs. NYJ
  4. Tony Pollard vs. LAR
  5. Austin Ekeler vs. CHI
  6. Bijan Robinson @TEN
  7. Jahmyr Gibbs vs. LV
  8. Travis Etienne @PIT
  9. Josh Jacobs @DET
  10. Kenneth Walker vs. CLE
  11. Breece Hall @NYG
  12. Derrick Henry vs. ATL
  13. Jonathan Taylor vs. NO
  14. Raheem Mostert vs. NE
  15. Joe Mixon @SF
  16. D'Andre Swift @WAS
  17. Aaron Jones vs. MIN
  18. Alexander Mattison @GB
  19. James Cook vs. TB
  20. Isiah Pacheco @DEN
  21. Rachaad White @BUF
  22. D'Onta Foreman @LAC
  23. Darrell Henderson @DAL
  24. Kareem Hunt @SEA

Week 8 WR Rankings

"What the heck do I do with Adam Thielen? Ride it out or sell high?

It's funny, I was looking back at something I wrote in the preseason, and I found where I mentioned that Thielen's robust role in the preseason could make him a Fantasy sleeper this season. But, I don't want it to seem like I'm patting myself on the back here, because my generally positive writeup featured this exact phrase: "I don't think Thielen has a ton of upside ..."

I point that out to note that, even as someone who was higher than most on Thielen, I didn't think anything like what he's done so far was possible. I mean, how could I have? Thielen is a 33-year-old in his 10th NFL season, and he has 47 catches over his past five games, tied for the third-best five-game stretch of his career. That he had two catches for 12 yards in the opener only adds to the legitimate shock of what he's doing.

To a certain extent, I think Thielen's usage is a reflection of the Panthers' overall offensive issues. They've struggled to protect Bryce Young, and Young has struggled to push the ball down the field, leaving him to rely on the kind of short routes Thielen is specializing in as the team's slot receiver. If Young were playing better, or he had more reliable options who could win on the outside, Thielen probably wouldn't be seeing such a tremendous volume of targets."

  1. Tyreek Hill vs. NE
  2. Cooper Kupp @DAL
  3. Ja'Marr Chase @SF
  4. Stefon Diggs vs. TB
  5. Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. LV
  6. A.J. Brown @WAS
  7. Keenan Allen vs. CHI
  8. Puka Nacua @DAL
  9. Davante Adams @DET
  10. CeeDee Lamb vs. LAR
  11. Adam Thielen vs. HOU
  12. Brandon Aiyuk vs. CIN
  13. Tee Higgins @SF
  14. Chris Olave @IND
  15. Michael Pittman vs. NO
  16. Jaylen Waddle vs. NE
  17. Zay Flowers @ARI
  18. Marquise Brown vs. BAL
  19. Jakobi Meyers @DET
  20. Mike Evans @BUF
  21. Garrett Wilson @NYG
  22. Chris Godwin @BUF
  23. Devonta Smith @WAS
  24. Christian Kirk @PIT

Week 8 TE Rankings

"Should Taysom Hill be considered a viable starter now?

I was stubbornly against ranking Taysom Hill as a top-12 tight end last season, even during that stretch from Weeks 4 through 7 when he had six touchdowns in four games and made me look kind of silly for it. He would go on to score just four touchdowns over the final 10 games to vindicate that stance, and you might think I'd be similarly stubborn about not taking him seriously as a Fantasy option this time around.

But the circumstances are really quite different this time around. Last season, Hill caught just nine passes all season, relying almost entirely on his usage as a defacto Wildcat quarterback for his scoring. However, he has 11 catches in the past two games alone and is being used more or less like a traditional tight end. He ran routes on 70% of dropbacks in Week 7 after jumping up to 60% in Week 6, a sign that this usage is for real. Add in that he still has that running game role and the touchdown potential that comes with it (five carries and a score last week) and it's pretty easy to see how he could remain a must-start Fantasy tight end moving forward."

  1. Travis Kelce @DEN
  2. Mark Andrews @ARI
  3. T.J. Hockenson @GB
  4. Dallas Goedert @WAS
  5. Sam LaPorta vs. LV
  6. Darren Waller vs. NYJ
  7. Evan Engram @PIT
  8. George Kittle vs. CIN
  9. Kyle Pitts @TEN
  10. Taysom Hill @IND
  11. Jonnu Smith @TEN
  12. Dalton Kincaid vs. TB