Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 8

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve just that.

The following offers suggestions for players to pick up now (who are currently under 50% rostered) so that that you won’t need to use a high waiver claim or spend a significant amount of free agent acquisition budget (FAB) on them next week.

Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills

ESPN Roster Percentage: 37.0%

Rookie running back Zack Moss has yet to total double-digit carries in a game this season and missed Weeks 3-5 with a toe injury. However, his snaps have risen from 14 (26%) in Week 6 to 35 (47%) in Week 7, while starter Devin Singletary played 41 snaps (75%) in Week 6 but just 40 (54%) in Week 7.

Assuming both backs remain healthy, this looks like a committee situation for the remainder of the year. However, Moss arguably has the more valuable role of the two, as he has the same number of carries inside the five-yard line and just four less red zone carries than Singletary, despite playing in three fewer games. Singletary has assumed the pass-catching role in the backfield, as his 164 routes run easily paces the team, but Moss has drawn three-plus targets in both games he played at least 30 offensive snaps.

The Buffalo Bills will face the New England Patriots this week before playing the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9. New England is allowing the 12th-most half-PPR fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, and while Seattle is allowing the 12th-fewest, that game could be when Moss breaks out. Seattle and Buffalo rank first and second, respectively, in neutral situation pass rate (per, and each rank top-10 in numberFire’s Adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. In a game that figures to feature lots of scoring, Moss is a viable option to scoop now in case a plug-and-play running back is needed in Week 9.

Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers

ESPN Roster Percentage: 24.3%

The San Francisco 49ers are among the most-injured teams, especially its running back room. Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Jeff Wilson have all suffered injuries this season and are not expected to play in Week 8, while Jerick McKinnon hasn’t been a featured back due to his own injury concerns.

That leaves JaMycal Hasty in line to likely lead the Niners backfield this week -- that said, the undrafted rookie has just 20 career rush attempts and isn’t a lock to dominate, despite Kyle Shanahan’s running back-friendly scheme.

Coleman figures to be the first San Francisco running back to return from injury, and once he does, the backfield could be his. Despite being far less efficient than Mostert and other Niners running backs since he was signed in 2019, Coleman has started the most games under Shanahan, and is clearly a coach’s favorite.

If Coleman does come back in Week 9 and gets the starting nod, he’ll be set up for a potentially monster return against the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay is allowing the most total touchdowns and half-PPR points per game to opposing running backs this season. In last season’s NFC Championship game, Niners running backs combined for 36 carries, 243 rushing yards, and 4 touchdowns -- Mostert did the vast majority of damage in that game, but Coleman would still be a must-add if he returns in time for Week 9 and the Niners backfield depth remains suspect.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins

ESPN Roster Percentage: 23.6%

The quarterback market could be a bit dry on waivers next week, as Joe Burrow, Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, and Carson Wentz all have Week 9 byes. New Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could be a sharp grab this week before he faces the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8 and then the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 9.

The Rams are allowing just the sixth-fewest half-PPR points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, and they boast the ninth-most efficient defense. Tagovailoa would be a bold start this week, but if he flashes against the Rams in Week 8, that could be enough to start him confidently against the Chargers in Week 9. Los Angeles has allowed the third-most half-PPR points per game to the position.

Tagovailoa is the definition of an upside-stash play, as the former Heisman candidate holds the NCAA record for career yards per play (9.8). The NFL is obviously a different animal than collegiate football, but Tua simply offers upside that is unmatched by any other quarterback currently available on a majority of waivers and should be immediately added by any fantasy managers with struggling quarterback depth.

Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears

ESPN Roster Percentage: 1.8%

Darnell Mooney has officially overtaken Anthony Miller as the Chicago Bears' secondary wide receiver behind Allen Robinson, as he has out-snapped and out-targeted Miller comfortably in the past month.

Mooney has averaged 6.5 targets per game in that time span but has accumulated just 143 total receiving yards and 0 touchdowns. His production could catch up to his usage in the next two weeks, however, as Chicago will face the Tennessee Titans in Week 8 before playing the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9.

The Titans and Vikings rank 29th and 30th, respectively, in half-PPR points per game allowed to wide receivers on the year. Tennessee has allowed the eighth-lowest rate of explosive pass plays (per Sharp Football Stats), but Minnesota is allowing the second-highest such rate in the league, which could spell trouble against Mooney, who has seen 31% of his targets on routes 20-plus yards downfield. Mooney is not a sexy option, but he is undoubtedly cheap, and he could offer a higher floor and ceiling than other receivers available.