Fantasy Football Week 8 Early Waivers: Can Brandon Aiyuk and Sterling Shepard help replace Odell Beckham?

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Odell Beckham Jr. left Sunday’s game between the Browns and Bengals early in the second half with a knee injury, and unfortunately, it sounds like the injury might keep him out for a while. According to reports Sunday, the Browns fear Beckham has suffered a serious injury, and he is set for an MRI Monday to confirm. Maybe they’ll get good news and Beckham won’t have to miss much time, but right now, you need to move forward as if you won’t have Beckham for at least the immediate future, if not the rest of the season. Beckham hasn’t been a superstar this season, but you surely invested a lot in him and have been relying on him as a starter — he was started in 85% of CBS Fantasy leagues in Week 7. 

The good news is, replacing a wide receiver is a lot easier than some other positions. There are always viable options available on the waiver wire, and Week 8 is no different. In this early look at the Week 8 wire, we’ll focus on wide receivers first, but there are plenty of other options at other positions to consider, too. 

Here are some of the top wide receivers to consider as your Beckham replacements:

  • Brandon Aiyuk (44%) — We’ve seen real flashes from Aiyuk, but Sunday was probably his most promising game yet, as he torched the Patriots for 115 yards on six catches and seven targets — matching George Kittle‘s team leading the latter category and leading in the first two. Deebo Samuel‘s return has meant no rush attempts in the last three games, but it was good to see them lean on Aiyuk Sunday in the passing game. He’s a dynamic playmaker and might be the team’s best wide receiver already — oh, and the 49ers get the Seahawks in Week 8. 
  • Sterling Shepard (27%) — Shepard had a solid game in his return from IR Thursday night, catching six passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. He was second on the team in targets with eight, but he was clearly the top option in the intermediate range, while Evan Engram did nearly all of his work in the short area. Shepard is the Giants most well-rounded receiver, and should continue to see a healthy role now that he’s healthy.
  • Denzel Mims (6%) — In his first NFL game, Mims was one of Sam Darnold‘s favorite targets, earning seven passes his way on Darnold’s 23 pass. He caught four of them for 42 yards, which isn’t terribly exciting, but it’s not bad for a guy who missed most of his rookie training camp and the first six weeks of the season with hamstring issues. Mims was the 59th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft following a senior season that saw him haul in 66 passes for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns for Baylor. Jamison Crowder should return from his groin injury as the Jets No. 1 option, but Mims’ potential makes him worth a look as the Jets try to find some silver linings to this season. 
  • Rashard Higgins (1%) — Higgins had seen his role increase recent weeks, as he hauled in a touchdown in both Week 5 and 6 for the Browns, but Beckham’s injury forced him into an even bigger role, and he acquitted himself well. He caught all six targets Baker Mayfield threw his way for 101 yards, nearly double anyone else on the team. Higgins has long had potential, but he only has three career games with five or more receptions. There’s big-play potential here, but you’ll want to see him back it up next week before you buy in. The opportunity and big-play skills make him worth the flier, though. 
  • Marquez Callaway (1%) — Here’s another flier. Callaway is an undrafted free agent who never topped 37 catches in his time at Tennessee, but he’s got some solid physical tools and, most importantly, an opportunity in New Orleans. Michael Thomas‘ hamstring could keep him out another week, and we don’t have any kind of timetable for Emmanuel Sanders‘ return from the COVID-19/Restricted list. Callaway had four catches on six targets in Week 5 and followed that up with eight catches for 75 yards on 10 targets in Week 7, all of which led the team. 

And here are some other players we’ll be looking for on the wire for Week 8, starting with a trio of running backs who saw some promising usage in their respective time share situations: 

Week 8

Early Waiver Targets

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