Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season is officially behind us, and those near the bottom of their league in fantasy football may be looking to make some significant changes to their respective fantasy teams.
For those who are looking to turn around their fantasy football fortunes, here are the top five pickup candidates that are available in over 50% of leagues on the ESPN Fantasy Football platform going into Week 9.
Week 8 Recap:
Several players named in my Week 8 waiver-wire column had big games for fantasy owners this week. Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Josh Downs continued his impressive string of performances with seven receptions for 72 yards. New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne recorded three receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown before unfortunately suffering a torn ACL in the game. And Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson continued receiving the majority of touches in the backfield for Los Angeles, receiving 12 carries for 31 yards, along with three receptions for 54 yards.
Let’s keep the ball rolling with some more impact players heading into Week 9.
5. Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
- Week 8: 13.6 fantasy points (PPR)
- Rostered: 46.5 %
- Week 9 opponent: Buffalo Bills
The Bengals’ offense has been very disappointing for much of the season. But it seems like their Bye Week in Week 7 did them a ton of good, which makes sense mostly because of the calf injury that Joe Burrow has been suffering from all season.
Burrow seems to be close to full health, and the Bengals offense, including Boyd, benefitted from this in a big way. Boyd finished Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers with three catches for 40 yards and a touchdown.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 29, 2023
This Bengals offense has shown in past years that there is plenty of room for multiple pass catchers to thrive in fantasy football. And now that their offense is rounding into form again, Boyd should be on the radar for fantasy owners ahead of Week 9.
4. Taysom Hill, TE, New Orleans Saints
- Week 8: 22.46 fantasy points (PPR)
- Rostered: 14.7 %
- Week 9 opponent: Chicago Bears
Hill has been perhaps the most versatile player in the NFL for quite some time now. And the Saints are utilizing his skills to full capacity recently. On Sunday, he received nine carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts, while also hauling in his lone reception for 14 yards.
Taysom Hill runs 20 yards for the @Saints TD!
— NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2023
Hill has recorded at least 50 scrimmage yards in each of the last three games. His ability to both rush and catch effectively is a rarity at any position. And in fantasy, being listed as a tight end makes him even more valuable considering the tight end position is rather thin compared to wide receivers or running backs.
The dual-threat star is very clearly a big part of the Saints offense, even if it isn’t a traditional role that we see from most players. And that makes him a very enticing option on fantasy teams moving forward.
3. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
- Week 8: N/A
- Rostered: 31.8 %
- Week 9 Opponent: Cleveland Browns
Murray returned to practice this week, which was far earlier than some expected. He didn’t play in Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens, and Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon has already stated that he will not start in Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns.
Cardinals’ HC Jonathan Gannon told reporters that QB Josh Dobbs will start next Sunday at Cleveland. Kyler Murray’s return will wait at least another week.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 30, 2023
Even though fantasy owners will need to wait on Murray to use him in their lineups, it still may be worth adding him because he is very clearly an impact player when on the field in fantasy football. When healthy, his rushing ability is something not too many quarterbacks can match.
Kyler Murray with a crazy play to run for a bunch of yards and get out of bounds before time expired, setting Matt Prater up for a game-tying 53-yard field goal. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Y5OUTg7oUD
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) December 14, 2021
It obviously remains to be seen whether he looks like the same player once he returns to the field. But the upside with Murray is too hard to ignore, and adding him in Week 9 before other owners could end up paying off in a big way down the stretch of your fantasy season.
2. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers
- Week 8: 7.4 fantasy points (PPR)
- Rostered: 42.9 percent
- Week 9 Opponent: Indianapolis Colts
Hubbard was listed in my Week 6 fantasy waiver-wire column where I said that fantasy owners should add him to their teams because he could potentially take the starting running back job from Miles Sanders after the Panthers’ Week 7 Bye Week.
Well, that’s exactly what we saw in Week 8, as Hubbard was the primary running back for the Panthers on Sunday against the Houston Texans. He recorded a season-high 17 touches in the game. Unfortunately, the Panthers weren’t able to get anything going on the ground as a team, as he rushed for only 28 yards.
It’s still encouraging to see Hubbard getting so many opportunities in favor of Sanders. If he continues to get the majority of chances in the Panthers backfield, we have seen that he can produce in more advantageous matchups.
Chuba Hubbard gives the @Panthers an early lead
— NFL (@NFL) October 15, 2023
Week 9 presents a matchup where Hubbard has a far better chance of performing well. The Indianapolis Colts have allowed at least 150 rushing yards in each of their last two games. This makes Hubbard a player that should be added in the majority of fantasy leagues.
1. Trey McBride, TE, Arizona Cardinals
- Week 8: 25.5 fantasy points (PPR)
- Rostered: 7.8 %
- Week 9 opponent: Cleveland Browns
McBride started his first game in Week 8 after the Cardinals placed Zach Ertz on injured reserve. And he did not disappoint, recording ten receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens.
Trey McBride with a ridiculous TD… with A LOT of help from his teammates!pic.twitter.com/CVmxYvYT2N
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 29, 2023
McBride clearly seems to be quickly becoming the favorite target of Joshua Dobbs. And as I stated above, Dobbs will likely be starting in Week 9 against the Browns as long as he isn’t traded before the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday.
He will also be starting for at least the next three games while Ertz remains on injured reserve, which makes McBride an enticing option for weeks to come for fantasy owners in need of help at the tight end position.
- Demario Douglas (WR, New England Patriots)
- Sam Howell (QB, Washington Commanders)
- Will Levis (QB, Tennessee Titans)
- Jake Ferguson (TE, Dallas Cowboys)
- Romeo Doubs (WR, Green Bay Packers)