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Rent-a-Player: Week 8 Pickups

Fantasy owners looking for a bye week pick-me-up after a rash of running back injuries can look to Cleveland Browns RB Montario Hardesty.

After last week’s bye bonanza, Week 8′s slate of players taking a break seems like mere child’s play.

I’ll take it.

With Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Houston all keeping quiet this Sunday, no truly elite fantasy quarterbacks are needing replacement. In fact, only five legitimate starters need to be accounted for, which makes this a week that you can sit on your waiver priority and stash it for when you are really in need.

Owners who are suffering a rash of running back injuries, though, may need to take this opportunity to fill in the gaps left by the loss of Maurice Jones-Drew, DeMarco Murray, and (likely) Trent Richardson. With fewer bye week players needing to be subbed, that should mean your league mates will be working the wires a little more lightly than usual. Take advantage.

On Bye: RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Rent-a-Player: RB Montario Hardesty, Cleveland Browns (vs. San Diego Chargers) – 10% owned Trent Richardson is battling a rib injury that he claims is more serious than people realize. Regardless of how he characterizes it, he ran scared last week against Indy and was benched in favor of Hardesty. While Montario (who I like to think of as a mix between Montel Williams and Super Mario – you’re welcome for the visual) didn’t impress against the Colts, volume is the key in this add. With talk of shelving Richardson until after the team’s Week 10 bye currently circulating, Hardesty would vault to the top of the depth chart in an offense that is finding its rhythm more and more each week.

On Bye: RB Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Rent-a-Player: Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars (@ Green Bay Packers) – 30% owned Maurice Jones-Drew is out at least for Week 8 – and possibly the rest of the season – but few owners were patient enough to hold on to Jennings for this long. If you can, snatch him up. He is a three-down back who proved his worth while MJD held out earlier this season, and his next few games (at Green Bay, vs. Detroit, vs. Indianapolis) don’t pose much of a threat for him being shutout. Besides, with the quarterback play in Jacksonville ranging from mediocre to repulsive depending on if Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne suit up this week, the offense is going through Jennings.

On Bye: RB Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills

Rent-a-Player: RB Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (@ Arizona Cardinals) – 26% owned Frank Gore’s understudy is ready for the spotlight. I have spilled some characters on Hunter here before, but after Gore absolutely brutalized Seattle last week, Hunter had to finish the game for the ailing veteran back. If San Francisco wants to make a deep playoff run again this season, they are going to need to keep Gore fresh, and that starts with increasing the dosage of Hunter against Arizona. In what is always a knock out-drag out NFC West battle, Hunter is going to be a valuable cog in the 49ers’s ground-and-pound machine.

On Bye: WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Rent-a-Player: Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets (vs. Miami Dolphins) – 45% owned As much as a I hate recommending anyone pick up a New York Jet, simply due to the inconsistency of the circus they call an offense, Kerley has 435 yards receiving and two touchdowns on the season. With the amount of looks he sees – his 40 targets lead the team – it makes him an intriguing prospect against a Miami defense that will bottle up the run, leading the Mark Sanchez (gulp) taking to the skies.

On Bye: WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

Rent-a-Player: Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (@ Pittsburgh Steelers) – 46% owned Despite a costly fumble during Washington’s last-minute comeback attempt against the Giants last week, Moss is quickly becoming Robert Griffin III’s favorite receiver. With four touchdowns and just under 300 yards receiving – and, more importantly, Pierre Garcon seemingly to return at half past never and Fred Davis done for the season – Moss becomes the unequaled number one in a high-powered offense. A Steelers defense that is struggling to stay healthy poses a generous matchup.

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