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Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 7

The bye week difficulties continue this week with Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay all getting their rest in Week 7. It should be noted, however, that just because a player is currently in their bye week, doesn't mean you should avoid them on the waiver wire. In fact, this is often the easiest way to secure long-term value.

Hopefully, you've been paying attention to this article in previous weeks and have been picking some of these guys up as speculative adds. If not, there are still some sparsely-owned players that can give you some value for this week and beyond.

The following players are owned in approximately 10% or fewer of Yahoo leagues, so they won't be the flashiest names on the market. But if you're looking for a good spot start or just need some high-upside lottery tickets, these are your guys. Let's look at some potential waiver wire adds in deep leagues.

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Free Agent Quarterbacks

Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers - 10% owned

Carolina will have a legitimately tough decision to make once Cam Newton is healthy enough to play. The undrafted sophomore has looked cool and confident in relief of Newton, who looked sluggish and inconsistent in the last handful of games he started going back to 2018. Allen has led the Panthers to four straight wins against respectable competition. They hadn't won a game with Newton under center since Week 9 of last season.

From a fantasy perspective, Allen has averaged 225 passing yards per game, has thrown for seven TDs and zero interceptions, and has been a steady and reliable presence in lineups. He's going into a bye this week, and has a tough matchup against San Francisco coming out of it, but I'd feel okay picking Allen up hoping he retains the starting job for a while longer.

Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers - 6% owned

If you can get the image of Rudolph's limp body crashing to the turf out of your head, you should be able to insert the young and hopefully resilient QB into your lineups with confidence after his upcoming bye week. If he starts Week 8, he gets to take on the Dolphins, who have allowed four Top 10 QB performances and an average of 23.5 fantasy points in five games. Through the rest of the fantasy season, there's really only one truly tough matchup remaining for him, which is in Week 15 against the Bills.

You may not want to invest in any individual Steelers skill position player at this point -- outside of perhaps James Conner -- but you still want the guy who's getting all of them the ball.


Free Agent Running Backs

Benny Snell Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers - 2% owned

With Jaylen Samuels sidelined, it was easy to be cautiously optimistic about an increased role for the rookie out of Kentucky. Snell hadn't looked special in his limited work prior to Sunday's matchup with the Chargers, but he broke out thanks in large part to a 3rd quarter injury to James Conner. Snell saw 17 carries for 75 yards and added a reception for 14 yards, proving he could fill in capably for Conner if needed.

Snell may be one of the more valuable handcuffs to own in fantasy right now given Pittsburgh's offensive style and the type of workload he would see if Conner were to miss a significant portion of time. The Steelers have their bye week to rest Conner, but be sure to keep an eye on the updates about his quad injury and grab Snell as a speculative add if you have the space.

J.D. McKissic, Detroit Lions - 0% owned

McKissic has turned into what Ty Johnson believers thought he could be in this offense. It's become increasingly clear that Detroit doesn't trust or doesn't want Kerryon Johnson to be a workhorse running back, but they've turned to McKissic to fill the spell/3rd down role over the other Johnson.

Granted, it's not as if you want to put McKissic into your starting at this very moment. He saw just five total touches and put up 11 total yards against Green Bay on Monday Night. But keep in mind this was on a night where Kerryon only touched the ball 15 times and was equally ineffective against the Packers Defense. In more favorable matchups, there could be a world where McKissic provides flex value outside his merits as the handcuff.


Free Agent Wide Receivers

Demaryius Thomas, New York Jets - 4% owned

This is not a typo. Demaryius Thomas may be fantasy relevant again. The Jets offense was humming against Dallas last week with Sam Darnold back under center, and it's possible multiple Jets receivers can have flex appeal given the right matchups. Granted, this week is not one of those matchups. New England has shut down every receiving corp they've been up against to this point and I don't trust the Jets to be the ones who break that pattern. But Thomas is a solid stash for Week 8 and beyond when his schedule softens considerably.

N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots - 6% owned

Allow me to reiterate my stance from last week: Now is the time to start considering stashing players like Harry that could help you later in the season. Not in Week 9 when he's first eligible to return to game action. Now. There will be plenty of meat on the bone in terms of fantasy production for the rookie wideout when he's in the starting lineup. The Patriots have relied on names like Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski, as well as the ever-inconsistent Josh Gordon over the last few, Antonio Brown-less weeks. Expect Harry to see heavy utilization down the field when he returns.


Free Agent Tight Ends

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills - 8% owned

The rookie tight end saw a season-high five targets in his last game and gets to play the hapless Dolphins this week. If you haven't figured it out already, the Miami defense is a cheat code for all opposing skill position players. He gets a series of five straight plus matchups against the Dolphins (twice), as well as the Eagles, Redskins, and Browns.

Knox has shown big play capabilities and brings a nice ceiling for fantasy production at a dilapidated position. With Zay Jones being shipped off to Oakland, there could be a slight bump in his target share, as well.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans - 4% owned

Fells was featured in this space last week based on his matchup with the Chiefs and his red-zone productivity. Unfortunately, Fells didn't come up with a score last week. Luckily for any fantasy owners wise enough to start him, that didn't matter since he came away with six receptions for 69 yards. It may seem like there's a timeshare happening with Houston tight ends given Jordin Akins' involvement in the passing game, but Fells is still besting him in targets and offensive snap percentage.

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