Fantasy football Waiver Wire: James stepping up for Martin-less Bucs
We've been hot. Recently, this column has recommended Harry Douglas, Keenan Allen, Zac Stacy, Jarrett Boykin and Justin Blackmon before they became household names in fantasy circles. These guys are winning games for fantasy owners, which shows owners can't be afraid to pull the trigger on a high-upside free agent. Questions? Connect with me via Twitter @briansflood.
• Mike James, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (three percent of CBSSports.com leagues, 11 percent of Yahoo! leagues, zero percent of ESPN leagues) -- James jumps in as the Bucs' starting running back this week with Doug Martin banged up. He could come close to 20 touches in Week 8 and is a very capable receiver out of the backfield, so he's worthy of being owned in all leagues. The Bucs host Carolina on Thursday Night, and James can be started if usual starters are unavailable due to byes or injuries.
The Bucs have a brutal schedule remaining, so temper your long-term expectations. They head to Seattle in Week 9, then host the 49ers during fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14, 15 and 16). Another minor, but interesting, red flag is that James shared a backfield with Dolphins RB Lamar Miller in college. Miller was easily the superior player at that level, averaging 5.7 yards per carry to James' 4.4 with the same offensive line and system. Duke Johnson started ahead of James once Miller left school. Miller has struggled for the Dolphins, so it should surprise fans of the "U" if James turns into a fantasy star.
• Chris Ivory, New York Jets (36 percent, 30 percent, 74 percent) -- Ivory racked up 34 carries (yes, 34) for 104 yards against the Patriots in Week 7. Rex Ryan claims he was playing the hot hand, but Ivory has clearly surpassed Powell on the depth chart. Ivory has a tough matchup against the Bengals in Week 8, but he should be picked up in all leagues. The starting running back on a run-heavy team is obviously a fantasy commodity.
• Roy Helu, Washington Redskins (45 percent, 23 percent, 38 percent) -- Helu won't score three touchdowns again anytime soon, but he appears to be a large enough part of the offense to consider for fantasy purposes. Alfred Morris will continue to receive the bulk of action, but if Helu touches the ball 10-15 times a game, he'll be a serviceable flex option for banged up fantasy teams... especially if he receives the goal-line work.
• Darrius Heyward-Bey, Indianapolis Colts (17 percent, 22 percent, four percent, zero percent) -- Al Davis would be so proud. Five seasons after being selected by Oakland in the first round of the draft based solely on speed, Heyward-Bey might finally become a reliable fantasy option. He's always been blazing fast, and has apparently been working on his hands whenever possible. He becomes the default No. 1 receiver for Andrew Luck now that Reggie Wayne is out for the year. DHB was targeted seven times in Week 7, but expect that number to grow. T.Y. Hilton might be the more exciting player but DHB should be more reliable. Hilton isn't the type of player who will dominate targets. Wayne averaged 8.3 targets per game through seven weeks, and at least half of those should go to Heyward-Bey.
• Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (seven percent, three percent, zero percent) -- DeSean Jackson and Keenan Allen are both Cal products who are making an impact in the fantasy world. The next Cal receiver you'll learn about is Jones, who has scored touchdowns in back-to-back games. He's not a sure thing to help your fantasy team, but, on the other hand, he could gain about 50 yards with a score on any given week. He's someone to keep an eye on.
• Drew Davis, Atlanta Falcons (one percent, one percent, zero percent) -- Davis finds himself starting opposite Harry Douglas until Roddy White returns from injury. He didn't do much in Week 7, but it's understandable as Darrelle Revis blanketed him all afternoon. Matt Ryan is accurate and will air it out, so watch for Davis to have his coming-out party Week 8 at Arizona. If he can do half of what Julio Jones was doing, or if Davis pops off Harry Douglas-style, you'll be happy to own him.
• Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12 percent, five percent, two percent) -- Glennon isn't a sexy start, but he's serviceable if you're desperate for a bye-week replacement quarterback. The Bucs take on Carolina Thursday night in Week 8, and Glennon has back-to-back games with 250-plus yards and two touchdown passes. Vincent Jackson appears to have great chemistry with the young signal caller, and I expect another decent fantasy performance in Week 8. Glennon's basically a one-week fix, however -- you will not want to start him during the remainder of their tough season.
• Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks (13 percent, 11 percent, eight percent) -- Miller was targeted seven times for five catches and 40 yards with a touchdown against Arizona. Seattle faces St. Louis and Tampa Bay the next two weeks, and Miller could emerge as a nice option in the red zone for Russell Wilson. In fact, Wilson is starting to look like the type of quarterback who makes everyone around him better -- similar to Drew Brees. Anyone on the Seahawks targeted a handful of times per week with an occasional touchdown is worth owning in deeper leagues. He's also a safe option for desperate owners looking to replace Jermichael Finley or dealing with a star tight end on his bye.
MORE WEEK 8 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:
BELLER: Player Stat Projections -- RGIII finally looking like himself
SI STAFF: Player Rankings -- Gronkowski rewards his owners
EDHOLM, MIGLIO: Bold Strategies -- Have some faith in Vick
BELLER, FLOOD: Roundtable -- Which injury situation will hurt the most?
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- James stepping up for Martin-less Buccaneers
McQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Wilson gifted strong matchups in coming weeks
BELLER: Early Week 8 advice -- Boykin surprises for the Packers