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Cole Beasley: Wide receiver, rapper (go ahead and look it up), frequent sufferer of sunburns, and soon-to-be member of your reeling fantasy team(?) (Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Week 8 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups

Working the waiver wire each week is crucial if you’re going to make it in your fantasy football league. Guys rise up depth charts because of injuries or benchings, some have mid-season breakouts, and others are still available just because they’re flying under the radar. Whatever the case, there are always valuable contributors waiting for you to claim them. I’m giving you guys who are owned in under 50% of ESPN leagues as of writing. So, check your waiver wire right after reading this and pick up a difference-maker for your fantasy squad for Week 8.

Derek Carr (34.8% owned)

Way back in the preseason, I told you that it wouldn’t be the worst idea to punt on a QB2 in your fantasy draft and instead take Derek Carr with a late-round pick/waiver claim. I’m going to stick by that take.

It’s probably safe to say there won’t be any breakout quarterback available on the waiver wire from this point on in the season. If you’re in a pinch and need another passer for your superflex league, you’re going to have to settle for a safe, boring option. Carr’s just that guy. He’s been in the top 15 in three of six weeks and top 20 in four weeks. He has just one top-10 week, so the ceiling isn’t too high, but he’s unlikely to put up any duds, either. Unlike other QBs who are unowned in a majority of leagues, such as Teddy Bridgewater and Gardner Minshew, the Raiders’ signal-caller hasn’t had any single-digit performances this season.

You should want stability and reliability from a guy whom you’re only planning on starting during bye weeks and favorable matchups. Some of you have a guy like Daniel Jones or Ben Roethlisberger as your QB2 because you’re holding out hope that they’re going to get hot and put up some top-10 weeks on the back nine of the season. Stop it. You’re being a dumbass and you know it. Do yourself a favor and get Carr on your roster instead.

JaMycal Hasty (6.6% owned)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but one of the 49ers’ running backs got hurt. This time, it was Jeff Wilson. On his third score of a career game, the third-year back went down with what his Head Coach Kyle Shanahan fears is a high-ankle sprain. That means Wilson will join Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert on the injury report. We all know this 49ers offense wants to let the running game lead to show, so it needs to be next man up for them. Will it be that bum Jerick McKinnon? Nope, it’s undrafted rookie JaMycal Hasty, of course.

Watch. This UDFA rookie fourth-string running back is going to tear it up these next few weeks. And when it happens, I’d like to hear your argument for why teams should ever use a draft pick on a running back. (Adam Hunger/AP Photo)

Shanahan planned on letting McKinnon rest a bit this week, so that might have played into the decision to give Hasty the reigns once Wilson went down. Or maybe, Shanahan is finally recognizing that Mckinnon isn’t good at the game of football. Hasty, meanwhile, has carried the ball 18 times over the past two weeks for 94 yards. He looks like he deserves a shot at the starting role. Worst case, he’s splitting backfield duties with McKinnon.

San Fran has Seahawks, Packers, and Saints coming up on the schedule, and that isn’t the most running back-friendly slate. But the opportunities will be plentiful enough for Hasty to earn serious flex consideration while Mostert, Coleman, and Wilson are out. Even if it’s just one week, Hasty’s a fine short-term rental.

Cole Beasley (39.3% owned)

Have yourself a week, Cole Beasley. The Bills couldn’t find a way to reach the end zone against the Jets (yikes), but the nine-year slot receiver had himself a career day, hauling in a career-high 11 catches on 12 targets and tying his single-game best with 112 receiving yards. This was Beasley’s first top-15 performance among wide receivers in PPR, but he hasn’t been a slouch this season either. He’s had at least six targets and four catches in six of seven games this season. Before Week 7, he was averaging a respectable 60 yards a game and ranked as WR 27 in both standard and PPR.

Playing the Jets and John Brown sitting out certainly played a big part in Beasley’s big week. On the other hand, I think it’s significant that Stefon Diggs saw 11 targets and didn’t come close to matching Beasley’s production. Josh Allen has a rapport with Beasley, and he’s going to stay involved in this offense, even if he doesn’t consistently score or put up 100-yard games. As for Beasley’s fantasy prospects going forward, Diggs had to leave this past game early with an undisclosed injury. If it causes him to sit out of any games, Beasley’s potential goes way up, especially if Brown continues to miss time, too.

This is a guy who needs to be on a roster in any PPR league. Beasley’s your must-add of the Week 8 waiver wire.

Brandon Aiyuk (27.0% owned)

Jeff Wilson wasn’t the only 49er to suffer an injury on Sunday. Second-year wideout Deebo Samuel tweaked his hamstring in the second half of San Francisco’s win against New England. On Monday, the team confirmed that Samuel will miss multiple weeks. That means Brandon Aiyuk, who set a couple of career highs with his six catches for 115 yards on Sunday, is now their WR1.

The first-round rookie was pretty quiet in Weeks 4 through 6, but he’s averaging 58.2 yards from scrimmage through his first six career games and has three touchdowns. In standard, he’s WR 33. The 49ers probably want to lean more heavily on George Kittle in the passing game to compensate for Samuel’s absence, but Aiyuk will be a bigger part of the equation, too. That includes taking over Samuel’s role in the running game.

Shanahan loves to get his playmakers easy touches, and last season, Samuel took 14 carries, which he turned into 159 yards and three touchdowns. Well, Aiyuk’s already showing why Samuel was one of his most frequent pre-draft comps. The Arizona State grad’s taken four carries this season for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He may only end up getting one or two rushing attempts a game, but he’ll turn those into chunk yards and scores at a high rate. With the 49ers taking on the Seahawks in Week 8, pick up Aiyuk from the waiver wire and start him at the flex in non-PPR formats.

Logan Thomas (11.4% owned)

Can you really become a meaningful contributor in the NFL after six years of bouncing around the league as a nobody? Answer: apparently.

Seven games into the season, Logan Thomas has already set career highs in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Is he playing particularly well? Not at all. But hey, Terry McLaurin can’t get every target, and Kyle Allen seems to like throwing to Thomas near the goal line. And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

Logan Thomas is almost as bad at tight end as he was at quarterback in college. But Washington won’t let that stop them from feeding him the ball in the red zone. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Thomas hasn’t seen many passes since Allen took over at quarterback, with the Virginia Tech alum currently on a four-game streak of four targets. Unlike Dwayne Haskins though, Allen knows how to put the ball in a place where Thomas can actually catch it. On those eight targets over the past two games, the tight end hauled in seven of them for 102 yards and two scores, leading to back-to-back top-10 weeks among tight ends. That scoring streak may very well last a while longer, too. Thomas has seen four targets this season when the Washington “We’ll come up something one of these years” are inside their opponents’ 10-yard line. The rest of the team combined has two such targets.

After their Week 8 bye, Washington’s next four games are against the Giants, Lions, Bengals, and Cowboys. Even the no-names’ pathetic offense can do some damage against those teams. Thomas will be a solid option at tight end in 12- and 14-team standard leagues over that month-long stretch. Not a bad TE option on the waiver wire for Week 8.