Fantasy Football waiver-wire candidates after Week 7.

Week 7 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 8.

Week 7 Recap:

There were a number of players mentioned in my Week 7 waiver-wire column that made a big impact on fantasy teams this week. Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Josh Downs had a breakout performance in Week 7, recording five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice continued to make an impact on an explosive offense, recording six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. And New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne played a big role in an upset win over the Buffalo Bills, recording six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

In a week where six teams had their Bye, any of these three players would have been great starts for the majority of fantasy owners. Let’s keep the ball rolling with some more impact players heading into Week 8.

5. Emari Demercado, RB, Arizona Cardinals

  • Week 7: 11.5 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 11.5 %
  • Week 8 opponent: Baltimore Ravens

Demercado was expected to have a big role on the Cardinals’ offense after the team placed starter James Conner on injured reserve in Week 6. It took until Week 7, but Demarcado appears to finally be settling into the new starting role nicely.

He finished their Week 7 game against the Seattle Seahawks with 58 rushing yards on 13 carries, along with four receptions for 17 yards through the air. Seeing the majority of the touches in the backfield for Arizona is a great sign for Demercado. Fellow running back Damien Williams was the only other player to receive a touch in the Cardinals backfield, getting only one rushing attempt in the game.

A matchup against the Baltimore Ravens is obviously a difficult one for Demercado, but he could actually benefit from likely trailing in the game, opening up the possibility of added targets through the air. If you are in a bind at the running back position in your fantasy league, Demercado is a player worth considering in Week 8.

4. Josh Downs, WR, Indianapolis Colts

  • Week 7: 23.5 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 34.5 %
  • Week 8 opponent: New Orleans Saints

Downs is a player who has appeared numerous times in these weekly waiver-wire columns, and it’s largely because this Colts offense came into the season with a need for a wide receiver to step up behind Michael Pittman Jr. Downs has done that in a big way recently, recording three straight double-digits fantasy performances.

His performance in Week 7 was the best of the bunch, scoring on a 59-yard touchdown pass early in the game.

The only reason Downs isn’t higher on this list is because this Colts offense could struggle as the season goes on with Gardner Minshew at the helm instead of Anthony Richardson.

Despite all the turnover at quarterback this season for Indianapolis, Downs has maintained steady production, currently ranking as the No. 25 wide receiver in fantasy thus far on the season.

He’s clearly the No. 2 pass-catching option on this Colts offense, and should certainly only continue to thrive in that role for the remainder of the year.

3. Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams

  • Week 7: 13.6 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 12.1 %
  • Week 8 opponent: Dallas Cowboys

Henderson was just signed by the Rams four days ahead of their Week 7 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which led many to assume that it may take a while for him to get up to NFL speed again. That wasn’t the case, as the Rams actually called upon Henderson to be their primary running back on Sunday.

The Rams focused heavily on the running game in Week 7. The Rams backfield combined for 30 rushing attempts against the Steelers, and Henderson received 18 of those attempts, which led to his 61 rushing yards to go along with a rushing touchdown.

Henderson is very well-versed in Sean McVay’s offense, playing for the Rams from 2019-2022 before the team parted ways with him this offseason.

The Rams will be without starting running back Kyren Williams for at least the next three games after the team placed him in injured reserve Saturday.

That opens up a ton of opportunities for the rest of the Rams backfield. And considering Henderson’s experience in this offense, he should get every chance to be the team’s starter until Williams is back.

2. Kendrick Bourne, WR, New England Patriots

  • Week 7: 16.3 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 24.1 %
  • Week 8 opponent: Miami Dolphins

Bourne’s role in the Patriots offense has been growing over the past few weeks, and he turned in another impressive performance in Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills. He recorded six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown that played a huge part in their upset win over Buffalo.

There are still obvious questions about the Patriots offense as a whole. But Bourne is starting to separate himself as the true No. 1 target for Mac Jones, which can be extremely valuable from a fantasy perspective.

Bourne’s Week 7 performance is his third this year that he has put up double-digit fantasy points. This kind of upside is hard to find in fantasy, and a matchup against a questionable Miami Dolphins pass defense in Week 8 certainly makes him a consideration for fantasy owners heading into Week 8.

1. Rashee Rice, WR, Kansas City Chiefs 

  • Week 7: 17.0 fantasy points (PPR)
  • Rostered: 48.6 %
  • Week 8 opponent: Denver Broncos

Rice has been another consistent player on past waiver-wire columns, and he yet again showed why he’s a player to target in fantasy. He had a great performance in Week 7, hauling in five receptions for 60 yards along with a six-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs passing offense was dominant in the game, and Rice played a big part in that. Rice is a player who could likely thrive in most offenses, but playing with a player like Mahomes makes him even more dangerous.

Star tight end Travis Kelce is obviously the undisputed No. 1 pass catcher for Mahomes. But this offense is so dynamic that there are plenty of passes to go around to other players. Rice is simply too talented and in too good of a situation to be a free agent in over 50 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues, which makes him my No. 1 player to add heading into Week 8.

Honorable mentions:

  • Jake Bobo (WR, Seattle Seahawks)
  • Royce Freeman (RB, Los Angeles Rams)
  • Elijah Moore (WR, Cleveland Browns)
  • Logan Thomas (TE, Washington Commanders)
  • Taysom Hill (TE, New Orleans Saints)

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.