This Sunday won't be the same. I can pretend the NFL's Week 8 has as much luster and anticipation as Week 7, or any other week of the season. But it doesn't. I'm not alone. Texans fans everywhere are sulking. It's almost (but not quite) as bad as a loss. Why are we so sad? Yes, the Texans have a bye. Sigh…
I should be accustomed to this. It's certainly not a surprise. And I'm probably better prepared than most. After all, I have multiple fantasy teams to keep my interest and my spirits alive. Distractions are good at a time like this. But without the Texans, Sunday Fun Day is just not the same.
It's not just the game itself, but the other stuff. Imagine sports bars with fewer Battle Red jerseys and more Tony Romo jerseys. And if you stay at home, that's an entire Sunday of Peyton Manning commercials. I can't get 2 million free pizzas out of my head. Week 8 already stinks.
But perhaps I should pause and consider the positive. Maybe, just maybe, we needed a little break so I can give my fake teams the real attention they deserve. While I prefer to root for Matt Schaub and Arian Foster, rather than the stats of Drew Brees or LeSean McCoy, I will bite my lip and make the best of it. It's OK to have fun this Sunday. I think that's what Arian would have wanted.
As you prepare for Week 8, here are a few waiver finds. They'll help ease the pain.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – OK, I had to get the obvious one out of the way. Maurice Jones-Drew was forced to leave Sunday's game with a foot injury. In four quarters of action, Jennings tallied 102 yards on 28 carries with one touchdown. While Jennings has shown in his spotty starts that he's not exactly Ben Tate, he's certainly serviceable. And with bye weeks forcing you to reach – with the likes of Foster, Ray Rice and Fred Jackson on the bench – Jennings is a welcome addition. Faces a Green Bay defense that is mediocre against the run. Available in 76 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Arizona Cardinals – Is Ken Whisenhunt the new Mike Shanahan? It feels like he pulled the ole bait-and-switch with William Powell only getting four carries, while giving the lion's share to Stephens-Howling. (Can I call you LaRod? These hyphenated names are a pain.) LaRod finished the game with 20 carries for 104 yards, plus four receptions for 45 yards. And this was against the Vikings, a team that was fourth best in fantasy against running backs. With the 49ers up next, lessen your expectations. Available in 84 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Joel Dreessen, TE, Denver Broncos – The Broncos tight end appears to have surpassed Jacob Tamme as the favorite TE for Peyton Manning. With six catches for 57 yards in Week 6, Dreessen was held scoreless, but still has three touchdowns on the season. With some of the top tight ends on byes this week, Dreessen is a nice plug-n-play. Available in 88 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots – Stevan Ridley owners were hoping for an increased workload with Brandon Bolden out. Nope. Enter Shane Vereen, proof that anyone can run the ball in a Pats uniform. Even at fourth string, Vereen had eight carries for 49 yards. Ridley was still the favorite, finishing the day with 65 yards on 17 totes. Danny Woodhead contributed with 17 yards. See a lot of names in this paragraph? Exactly my point. Bill Belichick will run anyone. Need someone for Week 8? Deep leagues should give Vereen a shot. Available in 96 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Jeremy Kerley, RB New York Jets – I'm going against my "No Jets" policy here because this guy is clearly their No. 1 guy, and a viable start, with Santonio Holmes lost for the season. On Sunday, he reeled in eight catches for 118 yards against the Patriots, and he's emerged into a solid WR2. Count on him this week against a Miami defense that surrenders the 10th most fantasy points to receivers. Available in 57 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns – With RGIII and Andrew Luck getting most of the rookie fanfare, it's easy to overlook Weeden, who put up nearly 18 fantasy points on Sunday with 264 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts. In his last three weeks, he has nearly 800 yards and six touchdowns, with only three interceptions. This week he faces the Chargers who give up the eighth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Available in 84 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
*Erin Skelley joins Texans Radio every week on SportsRadio 610. Follow her on Twitter @erinskelley. She'll babble fantasy to anyone who will listen. *