Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds

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Even in today’s NFL, quarterbacks get hit to the ground rather often -- and usually, they bounce right back up. Aaron Rodgers did not bounce right back up, and could now miss the rest of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone. The bright side of losing a QB is that streaming that position tends to be the easiest, but there’s no replacing an arm like Rodgers. The ripple effect also knocks down the entire offense, including the effectiveness of the ground game.

Jameis Winston is also dealing with a shoulder injury but was at least warming up on the sidelines late in the Bucs’ Week 6 comeback bid. Cheers to those of you who bought into Adrian Peterson -- I’d be looking to sell high off of a week with a gamescript that is unlikely to be duplicated moving forward for ARZ. Stick taps to those of you who had Denver in your survivor pools -- Any Given Sunday!

Below are my Week 7 waiver wire pickups, or free agents to consider adding to your fantasy football teams. I provide information on players that are owned in roughly 35% of Yahoo leagues or less, so that you can make an educated decision about who to add to your squad. Now let’s look around the league at many names who are worth mentioning as Week 6 approaches.

Editor's note: Purchase any NFL Lineup Optimizer pass (including daily DFS cheat sheets), and you also get access to NBA and NHL Optimizers and DFS cheat sheets.

 

Quarterbacks - Week 7 Waiver Wire

Blake Bortles (QB, JAC) - 14% owned (1% FAAB)

This is *not* an endorsement of Bortles as a reliable quarterback, but rather the simple result of a flowchart. Are the Colts playing? If yes, then I’m interested in the QB facing them. We have yet to see Indy face off with the Titans on Monday night to wrap up Week 6, but they have simply been torched all-around, ranking 28th in pass DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) to open 2017. The risk you run (outside of streaming Bortles) is that Jacksonville’s defense poaches some TDs and Leonard Fournette does the rest of the work, resulting in another 14-attempt game for Mr. Blake. However, with Aaron Rodgers out and DeShaun Watson and Matthew Stafford on a bye, some of you may be desperate.

Josh McCown (QB, NYJ) - 8% owned (1% FAAB)

There were plenty of rumblings that McCown would become the first QB to finish with under 300 yards against the Patriots this season, but he blasted past that with 354 in a somewhat-controversial loss to the Pats in Week 6. He threw for two touchdowns alongside two interceptions, with a third TD lost due to an iffy fumble rule when Austin Seferian-Jenkins juggled the ball as he crossed the pylon and went out of bounds. For the record, the rulebook seems to illustrate the call as correct, Robert Griffin III had a similar play a few years ago, but the spirit of the rule seems quite broken.

Anyway, the point is that McCown played well in a good spot at home and now takes a hungry 3-3 Jets team into a road date with the Dolphins. Miami entered Week 6 with the second-best run defense and 29th-worst pass defense per DVOA, which sets up well for McCown to air it out for needy fantasy owners.

Streamer-needy folks should note that Andy Dalton is available in over half of Yahoo leagues.

 

Running Backs - Week 7 Waiver Wire

Orleans Darkwa (RB, NYG) - 24% owned (10% FAAB)

After Denver’s defense hadn’t allowed a single rusher to hit 57 yards in a game this season, Darkwa more than doubled that mark with 117 yards on 21 carries. He showed strong burst through holes (yeah, Big Blue’s offensive line actually created some holes!) and looks to have separated himself from Wayne Gallman (11 touches, 32 yards in Week 6) for now. The Giants’ schedule was the biggest knock on adding Darkwa earlier, but conquering Denver has him trending in the right direction for another tough test in Week 7 against the Seahawks at home before a Week 8 bye. If he looks good again, then he could carve out consistent flex value throughout the second half as the Giants scrap for pride down the stretch.

Samaje Perine (RB, WAS) - 36% owned (5% FAAB)

Neither Perine nor Chris Thompson could get much going on the ground against San Francisco in Week 6, with Perine totaling 23 yards on nine totes compared to Thompson’s 16 carries for 33 yards. Of course, Thompson would add 105 receiving yards on just four catches, but Perine would also add some aerial value with three catches for 24 yards and a touchdown. With Rob Kelley out, Perine was able to mix in well even though Thompson got more touches and the hope is that the north-south rushing attack can step up once Trent Williams truly feels 100% again. At least Williams took a major step forward here by playing the entire game, but when he has both knees under him then the dude is a force. If you’re in a bind for a Week 7 RB then keep one eye on Perine and another on Kelley’s practice status.

Dion Lewis (RB, NE) - 10% owned (2% FAAB)

It was Lewis who slammed home a one-yard touchdown against the Jets in Week 6 after Mike Gillislee fumbled, giving Dion two TDs alongside 123 yards on 22 carries in his last three games. Gillislee did return to the game after atoning for his letting go of the pigskin and isn’t likely to face long-term punishment for the one fumble, but it was still encouraging to see Lewis knife through slender gaps and still be able to push the pile. Rex Burkhead’s likely return in Week 7 will only muddy the waters, but at this point, Lewis looks to be the stash for anyone hedging against Gillislee’s stock.

C.J. Prosise (RB, SEA) - 10% owned (2% FAAB in PPR)

Even though many deep-leaguers fell in love with J.D. McKissic, the not-so-durable C.J. Prosise should slide back into his pass-catching role for Seattle now that he’s recovered from an ankle injury. While that role alone isn’t like to help him toward any real value outside of deep PPR formats, this is a backfield that no one has staked a claim too. We’ve seen Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls both struggle to make an impact, so perhaps some good runs out of Prosise would be all it takes for him to become a featured piece. Pete Carroll may opt to protect Prosise’s health and use him sparingly but has to be seeking a spark out of one of his RBs.

Chris Ivory (RB, JAC) 4% owned (1% FAAB)

We know who Ivory is at this point -- an unspectacular RB wh can eat up some volume and provide a fantasy-viable game here and there. The thing is, we haven't really seen him operate with a line like Jacksonville's lately and it's quite clear that he's the handcuff to Leonard Fournette. Fournette didn't miss much time in Week 6, but it's enough to make you think, and Ivory's 74 receiving yards and a touchdown on nine catches (10 targets!) is quite the splash. He only rushed it twice for three yards, though. It's good to note in very deep formats or for Fournette owners with deep benches heading into a dream date with the Colts in Week 7.

 

Wide Receivers - Week 7 Waiver Wire

Corey Davis (WR, TEN) ­- 20% owned (7% FAAB)

While Davis won’t be suiting up for Tennessee’s Week 6 matchup with the porous Colts defense, he’s getting close to returning and may be able to help you out in Week 7 when the Titans face the Browns. This is a guy who saw 10 targets from Marcus Mariota in Week 1 and could certainly become a WR3 in PPR formats after the team’s Week 8 bye regardless of whether he plays in Week 7 or not. Tennessee won’t be shy about mixing in the fifth overall pick in the 2017 Draft, especially after showing him so much trust right out of the gates. Buy now before the hype really starts to rebound, as an explosion from a healthy Marcus Mariota against the Colts on Monday night could fuel lots of speculation. If you need to throw a couple of extra bucks for him to feel comfortable in making the snag, I'd do it.

Bennie Fowler (WR, DEN) - 1% owned (3% FAAB)

It seems whatever WR-targeting injury demon hit the Giants in Week 5 was spread to the Broncos in Week 6, as both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders were forced from the game. While Thomas would return and look okay, Sanders’ outlook is worse as he was taken to the locker room on a cart and was spotted on crutches with a wrap on his ankle after taking a low hit from Landon Collins. It was Fowler who stepped up to lead all Denver WRs in snaps, though he would only catch three of his eight targets for 21 yards. If he ends up starting opposite Thomas in Week 7 against the Chargers then another 8-10 targets become reasonable, with volume and opportunity ruling the day.

Kenny Stills (WR, MIA) - 18% owned (1% FAAB)

Stills caught all four of his Week 6 targets against the Falcons for 49 yards and a touchdown -- his second TD of 2017. The Dolphins have been disappointing thus far, yet are still 3-2 and need more than Jay Ajayi to get things done on offense. With a divisional home date against the Jets next week and DeVante Parker no sure thing to play (or at least play without any limits), Stills could be a sneaky start in both standard and PPR formats.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT) - 14% owned (1% FAAB)

I realize that Smith-Schuster has been popping up on more radars now and isn’t all that surprising of a name anymore, but his potential would take on a new level of relevancy if the Martavis Bryant trade rumors were to materialize into a real deal. Not that JSS would suddenly become the unquestioned No. 2 receiver behind Antonio Brown, but he’s got some rapport with the shadow of Big Ben right now and would take a serious step forward if Bryant’s targets were vacated.

Aldrick Robinson (WR, SF) - 0% owned (1% FAAB)

Robinson has been one of those monster raw talents that simply hasn’t popped yet for a while, but he may be able to earn some more playing time in the coming weeks with C.J. Beathard under center after flashing his skills in Week 6. Beathard and Robinson connected for a late 45-yard score (thanks to horrific “coverage” on Washington’s part) and it looked as though Marquise Goodwin had slipped behind Aldrick in the pecking order. Reading into small sample sizes can get you burned, but this should be a low-cost, decent-upside move if Robinson’s connection with the rookie QB offers him more snaps.

 

Tight Ends - Week 7 Waiver Wire

Tyler Kroft (TE, CIN) - 10% owned (2% FAAB)

Tyler Eifert opting to undergo season-ending back surgery wasn’t as actionable due to Cincinnati being on a bye in Week 6, so many folks weren’t going to stash an unproven commodity like Kroft in a pinch. Kroft had torn apart the Browns with a 6-68-2 line before making some nice grabs in Week 5 against Buffalo, though the box score (4-38-0) was disappointing. While A.J. Green will remain King of the Targets in Cincy as long as he’s healthy, Kroft could suddenly be the No. 2 option in front of Brandon LaFell and Giovani Bernard. Kroft’s 62 snaps in Week 5 led all Bengal skill players.

George Kittle (TE, SF) - 8% owned (1% FAAB)

Kittle’s nine Week 5 targets surpassed his combined total from Weeks 2-4 (eight) and it was against the Colts, so there was plenty of reason to be skeptical. However, Week 6 saw him draw eight targets -- he would catch four of them for 46 yards -- and was honed in on by new starting quarterback C.J. Beathard once Brian Hoyer was benched. The 49ers play Dallas in Week 7, a team which hit their bye week ranked 27th in DVOA against the tight end. Not a bad setup for the athletic Kittle.

Nick O'Leary (TE, BUF) - 0% owned (1% FAAB)

The Bills made it through their bye and O'Leary's ownership level hasn't moved a bit. This is understandable because he's not exactly a world-shaking talent, but the guy should still see enough opportunity to garner six-plus targets from Tyrod Taylor in an offense that is sorely hurting for weapons that aren't named LeSean McCoy. Taylor had seemingly realized how reliable Charles Clay really was before Clay went down with a knee injury, but O'Leary would catch five-of-six targets for 54 yards in Clay's stead in Week 5. As a result, I'd feel comfortable saying O'Leary should offer TE2 fantasy value against Tampa Bay in Week 7.

*Feel free to grab Zach Miller (23% owned, 1% FAAB) as well if he's available, but seven combined catches over his last three games is ugly and his two touchdowns have come on a tipped ball and a gadget RB-pass play. Still noteworthy that he's being targeted in the end zone, of course, but this feels like a situation I want to avoid at nearly all costs.

 

Early Defensive Streaming Candidates

  • TEN (@CLE) - 30% owned
  • DAL (@SF) 6% owned
  • MIA (v. NYJ) - 4% owned

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis