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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 8 - Latavius Murray, JaMycal Hasty, Darius Slayton, Marquise Goodwin

Darius Slayton - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Every week, I typically start off talking about byes or some injuries and how there are more pivot options than ever. But we as a fantasy football playing community have not been tested like we are coming after Week 7. There were so many injuries, it was hard to keep track. And they weren’t just injuries, there was a bunch to a ton of key fantasy football players. 

There are a number of big-name players that we already know are out this week. If you have Breece Hall or David Njoku, those players are already out so you do not need a surprise last-minute pivot option, but you certainly need someone to plug into your lineup. If you are in a deeper format or had a winning record, you may have missed out on the top waiver wire replacement options. The names in this list are options you can pick up and stream as you figure out a long-term option. 

Oh, and there are still two teams on bye in the Chiefs and the Chargers. While they are the only two teams, they are teams with a ton of fantasy-relevant players, meaning many of you still need to replace starters in your lineup. 

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


Quarterback Pivot Options for Fantasy Football 

If QBs Russell Wilson, Jameis Winston, and Ryan Tannehill don’t play, you can pivot to… 

Marcus Mariota has not been asked to do a whole lot in the passing game, but he has been productive with his legs. Mariota has run for over 30 rushing yards in three straight games. It may not sound like much, but it's equivalent to 75 passing yards in fantasy. He also has three rushing touchdowns this season. If you missed out on the top waiver wire options in Daniel Jones or Justin Fields, Mariota is another pivot option. 

P.J. Walker played surprisingly well last week and ended up upsetting the GOAT. Walker completed 16-of-22 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. That was against a tough Bucs defense. This week, he gets an easier assignment with the Atlanta Falcons. On the year, the Falcons have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to QBs at 21.5 per game. That includes giving up the most passing yards and third most passing TDs this season. Walker is certainly a deeper name, but he is a sleeper in a very favorable matchup this week.

Sam Ehlinger is an unknown mystery box. We have yet to see him attempt a pass in the NFL, but from his time in college, we know he likes to run the ball. He ran at least 113 times in all four of his college seasons for at least 377 yards in every season. He rushed for 31 touchdowns in his final three college seasons. There is always an upside in the unknown, especially when it is a rushing QB. He is best suited for Superflex or two QB formats, but if you need a deeper QB, he can is a streaming option. 

Running Back Pivot Options for Fantasy Football 

If RBs D'Andre Swift, James Conner, Ezekiel Elliott, and Mike Boone, don’t play, you can pivot to… 

D'Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard both had big days against the Bucs in Week 7 as the newest lead-backs for the Carolina Panthers. I was a doubter before that game and if we are talking long-term, I remain a doubter. But for this week, both are in play as pivot options this week. Last week, we saw Foreman play 54 percent of the snaps with 15 carries and two targets while going for 145 yards.

Chuba Hubbard had a nice game as well, going for 73 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and three targets. This week, they face the Falcons, who would love to make this game a run-fest. Atlanta has also allowed nearly 25 fantasy PPG to RBs, which ranks inside the top-10 in the NFL. Foreman is the preferred option, as he is healthy, can be used to grind out the clock, and has explosiveness, but both RBs are in play. If they have a big game, consider selling high. 

Latavius Murray remains a replacement option, especially with Mike Boone sidelined. Murray has played 39 and 47 percent of the snaps in his two games as a Bronco, but that was in part of a three-back committee. The absence of Boone, who had been seeing the fewest work of the three, does mean a couple more touches Murray’s way. He also was able to punch in a touchdown last week and if he continues to see snaps in the red zone, that only adds to his fantasy appeal. He is not a must-start option by any stretch, but the fact that he has a set role and guaranteed usage is enough to make him a pivot option that you want on your roster. 

Rachaad White played 43 percent of the snaps in Week 7, his highest on the season. He also saw six carries, which tied his career-high, and two targets. He had seen at least four targets in the previous three games. He has a league-winning upside should anything happen to Leonard Fournette, which is reason enough to roster him. But given the increase in snaps and carries, paired with the recent pass game usage, he is in play as a pivot option. 

JaMycal Hasty is a player I have been adding for cheap in a lot of leagues. He is now the direct backup in Jacksonville to Travis Etienne. He would see a lot more work if anything were to happen. He has also shown some explosiveness, rushing for a 61-yard touchdown two weeks ago against the Colts. He is a deeper name for sure, but with a path to more work since the James Robinson trade, he is a deep league pivot option. 

Dontrell Hilliard is an option for those in deeper leagues. Last week, he recorded just two targets and one carry but he had seen at least four targets in the two prior games. This is a swing-for-the-fences type of play in a great matchup. The Texans have allowed the most fantasy PPG to running backs, including allowing a top-two fantasy RB in four of their six games. Yes, you can run all over them. If you are diving deep, he is an upside play worth taking a shot on. 


Wide Receiver Pivot Options for Fantasy Football 

If WRs Mike Evans, DK Metcalf, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Allen Lazard, Nico Collins, Corey Davis, Russell Gage, Julio Jones, and Kadarius Toney don’t play, you can pivot to…

Wan'Dale Robinson and Darius Slayton are both in play as streamers this week. Robinson was a big waiver wire target and if you missed him, you could pivot to Slayton. Robinson scored a touchdown on four targets two weeks ago and then saw eight targets, catching six for 50 yards. That is double-digit PPR points in two straight games. He is quickly becoming the top target for Daniel Jones, especially as the Giants continue to lose pass catchers. Slayton is more the home run hitter as the field stretcher. He finished last week with three catches for 58 yards and a score on six targets. They have a more favorable matchup against Seattle this week as well. If you need a pivot, the Giants can help you at receiver. 

Josh Reynolds disappointed last week, but in his prior three games, he had 28 combined targets with at least eight in each game. He topped 80 yards in all three of those games. He is always a bit boom or bust, but he has a much better matchup this week against the Dolphins rather than the Cowboys. If you need a receiver and Reynolds is out there, he is one of the top pivot options this week. 

Parris Campbell has seen 23 targets in his past two weeks, but that was with Matt Ryan. With Sam Ehlinger starting, the work is a total guessing game. That is why both he and Alec Pierce, who had also recently been ascending, are both in play. I cannot with any confidence tell you which Ehlinger may like more. Campbell has the recent involvement, while Pierce is better out wide and downfield. I like Pierce more out of the two, just because of his role, but both are pivot options for receiver-needy teams. 

Marquise Goodwin scored not one, but two touchdowns last week. He has a tough matchup this week against the Giants, but if DK Metcalf sits, Goodwin would become a pivot option. At that point, you figure much of the defensive attention would go toward Tyler Lockett. Goodwin would have a chance to exploit that and his breakaway speed always give him a chance to haul in a long one. If you are diving deeper and Metcalf sits, Goodwin is in play. 

DeVante Parker has seen at least five targets in two straight games, topping 60 yards in both. He is the Patriots' best deep threat and basically, they let him run downfield and throw up a 50-50 ball, hoping he can win the contested catch battle. And honestly, he is very good at doing so. His usage does not provide much of a safe floor, but there is an upside there. He is certainly in play as a replacement option this week. 


Tight End Pivot Options for Fantasy Football 

If TEs Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, and Cameron Brate don’t play, you can pivot to…

Juwan Johnson caught all five of his targets last week for 32 yards and two touchdowns. In all, he scored over 20 fantasy points. It wasn’t just a flash in the pan as the week prior he saw six targets and finished with just over eight fantasy points. He has played around 75 percent of the snaps in each of those two games. Plus, the Saints receivers remain very banged up. And this is a fantastic matchup for Johnson. The Raiders have allowed the fourth-most fantasy PPG to tight ends (16.6), which includes six touchdowns. That is tied for the most in the league with the team that Johnson just got twice last week, the Cardinals.

Irv Smith Jr. has topped eight fantasy points in two straight games and three of his last five. He has been consistently seeing around four to six targets. This play is all about the matchup against the Cardinals. On the year, Arizona has allowed the second-most fantasy PPG (20.5), most catches (51), second-most yards (539), and tied for most touchdowns (six) to tight ends this season. People thought Juwan Johnson was a crazy recommendation last week and look how that worked out. Smith is certainly in play as a streaming option this week. 

Cade Otton has seen 12 targets in the two games that Cameron Brate has missed. He also scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in each of those games as well. We know that Tom Brady always relies on his tight end, and with it being a short week, time is working against Brate returning. If Otton starts for the Bucs, he is a streaming fantasy option. 

Greg Dulcich has been getting consistent usage since he returned from injury. He saw three targets and caught a touchdown in his first game back. Then last week, he saw nine targets, catching six of them for 51 yards. He has also played at least 60 percent of the snaps in the past two weeks. It's a deeper name, but when it comes to tight end, anyone with a pulse who sees the field is in play. 

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.

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