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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 7

It might be Week 7, but that does not mean it is going to be a lucky week for fantasy footballers on the waiver wire.

A half-dozen teams are on bye this week, which means 20 percent of the waiver wire crop cannot be picked since their teams will not be on the field. The candidates for pivot plays and post-waiver pickups are as shredded as Austin Ekeler. If one of your fantasy starters bails on you before his game and you need a last-second fill-in, there are still players to pick.

Without further ado, here are my pivot plays and post-waiver pickups for Week 7 – and the questionable superstars who you might need to replace at the last-minute in your fantasy lineup:

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Sneaky Pickups and Starts for Week 7

If Tampa Bay’s Rob Gronkowski (ribs) cannot be cleared in time for Sunday, you could pick up and play….

Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington Football Team (TE) at GB

Seals-Jones is the second tight end reclamation project the WFT has pulled off over the last two seasons. Logan Thomas finally came into his own as a tight end under Washington’s tutelage in 2020 and was the biggest fantasy find at the position. Now Seals-Jones has been saved from the scrap heap and has been a fantasy force since subbing in for Thomas after Thomas’ hamstring pull.

Seals-Jones has nine catches for 99 yards and a touchdown over Washington’s last two games. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke targeted him 15 times in those contests as Seals-Jones has become the No. 2 or No. 3 option in the passing attack. I know Seals-Jones is on the road against a fourth-ranked Green Bay pass defense, but the game script should be in his favor in the fourth quarter. I could see Seals-Jones gifting fantasy managers 50 yards and a TD.

 

If Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton (quad) is ruled out before Sunday night’s kickoff, you could pick up and play….

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs (WR) at TEN

Hardman has taken his sweet time rounding into the No. 2 WR the Chiefs thought he could be when they drafted him in 2019, but he is on the verge of finally putting his stamp on the fantasy football world. He has transformed from a home-run threat to a possession receiver this season, catching 13 Patrick Mahomes passes for 138 yards over his last two outings. He is only averaging 10 yards per catch compared to his rookie campaign where he averaged more than twice that, but even though his receptions are of the shorter variety, Hardman is on pace to obliterate his career-highs in receptions, targets and receiving yards.

Hardman is facing a Tennessee turnstile-like secondary that is banged-up and has allowed opposing quarterbacks to average 300 passing yards against them over the last three weeks. With Hardman’s target tally on the upswing and his place in the offense on solid ground, he might be on the verge of a breakout year. Sign him up and put him in your lineup if Hilton ends up unable to play.

 

If New York’s Saquon Barkley (ankle) cannot run without a limp by Sunday, you could pick up and play…

Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens (RB) vs. CIN

I have a special place in my heart for Freeman. While he does not have as much space in there as my wife does, he will always be cherished by yours truly for how he helped me win some fantasy money thanks to his back-to-back 1,000-yard years in 2015 and 2016 where he scored 27 total touchdowns. Now Freeman is trying to be a fantasy force one more time before he gallops off into the football sunset.

The Baltimore backfield is a fantasy minefield. Fantasy managers never know who the hot hand will be getting the bulk of the carries from week to week. The good news for Freeman is Latavius Murray has a bum ankle and is questionable to play. If Murray does not dress, Freeman would likely be the Ravens top tailback considering how the team has utilized (or not utilized) Le’Veon Bell and Ty’Son Williams this season. The amount of decent running backs available on fantasy waiver wires this late into a week at this juncture of the season is sparse. Freeman is probably one of your best bets. Cincinnati’s run defense has been above-average so far, but the Bengals history against the Ravens rushing attack is not good. Baltimore has rushed for 970 yards over its past four games against its division rival.

 

If Tennessee’s Julio Jones (hamstring) misses another game, you could pick up and play….

Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots (WR) vs. NYJ

Jones is having more trouble with his hamstring than Ben Simmons is having with the Philadelphia 76ers. While Jones ices his hammy in preparation to play this weekend, a fallback option if he cannot go is Bourne, who has certainly found an identity as a member of the Patriots.

Bourne has carved out a lane in the Patriots offense. Over his last four games he has 15 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns, surpassing high-priced offseason free agent Nelson Agholor as the better play these days fantasy-wise. Bourne will run his routes against a Jets secondary that allowed Atlanta’s Matt Ryan to throw for 342 yards and two touchdowns even though his top two receivers missed the game. Bourne will not get 100 yards and two scores, but he could give you 75 yards and one TD this week.



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