ADD/DROPS

Week 8 working the waiver wire: Still waters run deep

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Alright, let's see which free agents are still available. Keep in mind the owner % mentioned is for 10-team standard ESPN leagues. Some of these players below are good for the short-term, while others have more long-term value. You have to make the call on what your team needs. Immediate help to start this week, or a player to stash on your bench and hope he breaks out. Let's get started.

QB

Matthew Stafford: He's coming off a huge game against the Vikings where he threw for over 300 yards and had 4 TDs. This week he gets the Giants, so he should have another big game. He's rostered in less than half of ESPN standard 10-team leagues.

Kirk Cousins: The Vikings are throwing the ball more, and he has back-to-back games with over 300 yards and 4TDs. He has a great matchup against the Redskins this week, so use him. He's rostered in less than 40% of standard leagues.

Jacoby Brissett: If you're digging a little deeper, Brissett is out there in 50% of leagues, and he plays the Broncos at home this week. He's coming off a 4TD game against Houston, so he could help you out this week if you need him.

Derek Carr: If you're playing in a deep league, Carr could perform for you in a pinch. He's widely available and has a good matchup against the Texans who are dealing with multiple injuries to their secondary.

RB

Jamaal Williams: The matchup couldn't be any better with him playing the Chiefs this week. He's still available in 45% of standard leagues.

Chase Edmonds: What a game for Edmonds. With David Johnson still trying to get healthy, you could do worse than Edmonds. His matchup against the Saints isn't ideal, but if you need a RB, he might come through again. He's still available in almost 70% of 10-team ESPN leagues. You might have to just start him and hope for the best. David Johnson's health is still a bit of a mystery.

Darrell Henderson: He's not a guy you can start with any confidence, but he could be a league winner later in the year if Gurley goes down. He's rostered in 25% of leagues.

Kareem Hunt: You won't be able to use him until week 10, but he's good insurance for Nick Chubb, and he might end up with a lot of work in the passing game.

WR

Kenny Stills: It looks like Will Fuller won't be back anytime soon, so Stills should be Watson's main deep threat for a while. He has a good matchup against Oakland this week, and he's widely available.

Corey Davis: Now that Ryan Tannehill is playing QB for the Titans, Davis might become a relevant fantasy option. He's only rostered in 44% of leagues.

Phillip Dorsett: He came back from injury and scored on Monday night, so he could be a nice flex option with Josh Gordon's injury issues. He's rostered in 33% of leagues, so pick him up.

Allen Lazard: He's a decent flex option until Devante Adams returns if you're desperate.

TE

Jared Cook: He missed Sunday's game against the Bears, so he might have been dropped. TE is ugly. That is all.

Chris Herndon: He's been hurt after finally coming off suspension. Pick him up if you need him, and hope he gets healthy soon. He's available in 80% of leagues.

Defense

If the Steelers are on your waiver wire, add them this week. They play the Dolphins.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.

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We could see some changes to the Astros rotation. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Happy New Year! Baseball New Year that is with Astros’ pitchers and catchers having gone through their first spring training workout Thursday, six weeks to the day ahead of the March 30 regular season opener. One non-critical question to be answered, how will Dusty Baker line up his starting rotation to begin the season. Barring injury or some other fly in the ointment arising, presumably the Opening Night start goes to Framber Valdez. New 64 million dollar man Cristian Javier should get the ball for game two. Then Lance McCullers, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy.

As Major League Baseball further explained the new rules for this season Garcia in particular does have a notable adjustment to make. His heretofore protracted multi-step windup will no longer be tolerated. Pitchers get one step backward and one step forward as part of their motion and that’s that. Anything more is an automatic ball. As a creature of habit it will be an adjustment for Garcia, but really shouldn’t be a big deal.

There is no urgency to get a contract extension done with Valdez since he is under Astros’ control for this season and two more. Still, with Javier now locked in for the next half-decade and new General Manager Dana Brown clearly having brought from Atlanta the “lock up young core guys” philosophy one wonders what numbers it would take to lock in Framber beyond 2025 (Javier also would have been eligible for free agency after 2025). Forgetting money and going purely by what they will do on the mound, if you could only have one for the next five years: Javier or Valdez? Plenty no doubt would go Javier, but note that had the Astros not done the extension his salary would have ranged from three to 3.5 million dollars this season. Valdez is inked at 6.8 million, so with that as the baseline for negotiations it presumably would take more than 64 million if a five year deal is to be struck.

Mr. October

There are Yankee fans who find it heretical that the great Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is affiliated with the Astros. “Mr. October” has been a Special Advisor to Jim Crane the past couple of years. Reggie is in town this weekend as the Astros Foundation hosts the inaugural Cactus Jack HBCU Classic at Minute Maid Park. If unfamiliar, Cactus Jack is the name of rapper Travis Scott’s record label and own foundation. Anyway, among the sidebars to the event, Jackson is relaunching the “REGGIE!” bar. Back in the day it was billed as “Chocolaty covered caramel and peanuts.” ChocolatY? Whatever. As a kid I thought it was tasty. It was distinctively shaped more like a large praline than, say, a “Baby Ruth” or “Snickers” bar.

Reggie Jackson had a famously/notoriously huge ego. The man walked the walk an awful lot. In his superstar days with the Oakland A’s Jackson once said that if he played in New York they’d name a candy bar after him. After the 1976 season Jackson signed with the Yankees as part of the first offseason of free agency in Major League Baseball. Reggie signed for an outrageous three million dollars over five years. Three million total, not per year. Yes it was 46 years ago but three mil in 1977 inflation-adjusted is still only about 15 million in 2023 dollars. Jackson had an outstanding first season with the Yanks, capping it with the crowning game of his career when he hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches off of three different pitchers as the Yankees closed out the Dodgers in game six of the 1977 World Series. And sure enough just a few months later the candy bar named after him happened.

Jackson showed more flair for the dramatic by homering in the Yankees’ home opener in 1978, at which the fan giveaway was a “REGGIE!” bar. After Jackson connected in the bottom of the first, the field was showered with “REGGIE!” bars.

One of my favorite sports books of all-time is former Yankee relief pitcher Sparky Lyle’s “The Bronx Zoo,” which is an excellent and funny read as basically a long form diary of the 1978 Yankees’ season. In the book Lyle quotes the late Hall of Fame pitcher “Catfish” Hunter as saying about the “REGGIE!” bar, “Don’t ever put a “REGGIE!” bar in your pocket or you’ll get mustard all over your pants,” and “When you unwrap a “REGGIE!” bar it tells you how good it is.” Classic stuff.

Need more Astros content in your life?

Stone Cold ‘Stros is the weekly Astro-centric podcast I am part of alongside Brandon Strange and Josh Jordan. On our regular schedule it airs live at 3PM Monday on the SportsMapHouston YouTube channel, is available there for playback at any point, and also becomes available in podcast form at outlets galore. Such as:

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