Another week of NFL football is in the books and if you’re somehow not feeling the injury bug somewhere on your fantasy roster, consider yourself incredibly blessed. I’ve been playing fantasy football for 20 years and I can honestly say I do not recall an NFL season with more injuries to key fantasy players this early on. The first 1/3rd of the season has been a blood bath and upon concluding Week 6, it doesn’t appear the situation is improving. In some cases, we’re needing to handcuff our handcuffs! And with bye weeks now fully upon us, your activity on the waiver wire is as crucial as ever.
Before we discuss the big names this week, I want to give you 3 quick rules to live by to help you navigate this increasingly tricky landscape:
- No week is more important than this week – Sure, holding three defenses for the next three weeks might seem to be a good idea, but not at the peril of the week in front of you. Don’t keep holding onto that big name stash (i.e. Josh Gordon) if that extra roster spot could help you this week. Your world can turn on it’s head in a hurry. Nobody has a playoff spot clinched yet, conversely, nobody is out of it yet.
- Stay patient – Don’t get tempted into desperation trades because of your bye week situation. Stay disciplined. Only make moves that you feel better your roster both in the short term and long term.
- Find value – Khalil Herbert, Henry Ruggs, Alex Collins, and many more provided huge value this week and were players that never made it on this column because they were never the “obvious” adds. This is why I say don’t waste roster spots on things like defenses and bye week fill in QBs. In today’s NFL, you never know when that bench stash suddenly becomes extremely valuable. Herbert was an aftermarket guy I targeted heavily following the Montgomery injury. I didn’t want to spend the big money on Damien Williams, but I didn’t want to miss out on the upside of this backfield. I got Herbert for nothing in several leagues and now he very well may have taken over that backfield. That’s just one example, I can list out 20 more from this season, but let’s be honest you don’t have the time for that. You want this week’s names, so let’s get to it!
A reminder on how this works… For this feature, I will be focusing exclusively on players rostered in less than 50% of both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.
If your league has a standard waiver system, then simply follow the order of my picks to determine your waiver priority. If your league has a FAAB system, I will assign each waiver pick a % of your FAAB budget I would be comfortable committing. You may see some repeat names from previous weeks, that would be because these individuals still are not rostered in 50% of fantasy leagues and these are my TOP 5 waiver adds. That won’t change just because I want to give you some fresh names.
- Demetric Felton (20% of FAAB budget) RB/WR – If you’ve been here before, you know the drill. I always kick this thing of with a running back. Same goes for this week… Well, wait… Does it? Kind of. I think? Anyway, Felton’s role in this offense may not be as black and white as Running Back or Wide Receiver, but that doesn’t stand in the way of fantasy production (see Cordarrelle Patterson). Hunt is out for several weeks and Chubb doesn’t appear likely to play on Thursday. Furthermore, Chubb’s lack of practice suggests maybe he’s out longer than just Week 7 as well. Either way, Stefanski hasn’t been the type to ride one back and while an argument could be made about D’Ernest Johnson this week, to me Felton is the back to roster moving forward especially in PPR. He’s a dynamic playmaker with excellent receiving chops and I think a sure bet to receive 10+ touches moving forward, regardless of Chubb’s health. D’Ernest Johnson is probably better value if you’re just looking for production this week but beware of the matchup against Denver on a short week. Johnson has next to no value if Chubb is active and while he might have a safer floor than Felton if Chubb is inactive, his ceiling is nowhere near Felton’s.
- Devonta Freeman (20% of FAAB budget) RB – Quantity over quality is the name of the game this week. Not many big name, season-altering waiver additions to speak of but plenty of depth to go around. Freeman is another example of this. Latavius Murray left Week 6’s game late with an injury and his status for Week 7 is uncertain. Devonta Freeman has looked solid over the past couple weeks and while my eyes still tell me Ty’Son Williams is clearly the best running back on this roster, Baltimore appears intent on riding their veterans. Devonta Freeman is next man up in an offense that makes running backs of any skill level fantasy relevant. He might only have value for a week or two, but in times like this, that’s all you may need to get you through.
- JD McKissic (15% of FAAB budget) RB – Now we’re getting into the risky/speculative portion of this article. There were whispers that Washington wanted to get McKissic more involved prior to Week 6 and they did just that. Exacerbated by Antonio Gibson’s ongoing shin issue, McKissic ripped up KC’s defense to the tune of 110 all purpose yards. McKissic does have some stand-alone value but he’s probably not start-worthy in fantasy unless in the deepest of leagues or Washington elects to shut down Gibson for some time. Even in the event of the latter, I’m not convinced that McKissic’s role changes all that much. Rookie Jaret Patterson could easily pick up the “Gibson role” and McKissic continues passing down duties. Either way, we probably won’t know more about Gibson’s situation until after you’ve had to make your waiver claims so exercise caution with this backfield.
- Ricky Seals-Jones (10% of FAAB budget) TE – Last week I gave you Dan Arnold, this week I give you Ricky Seals-Jones. I still believe in Dan Arnold and the usage is there to support that argument, but RSJ was more heavily involved than I expected he would be. This Washington offense is banged up and Seals-Jones was a huge beneficiary of this in Week 6. Washington has two TE friendly matchups remaining before their bye week in Week 9, after which Logan Thomas is expected to return.
- Rashad Penny (5% of FAAB budget) – A sneaky, under-the-radar grab a-la Khalil Herbert. All the attention and focus is (rightfully) on Alex Collins but lest we forget Penny (decidedly) beat Collins out for the #2 job in Seattle. Penny is expected to return from IR and play this week. Pete Carroll must see what he has in his former first round pick and now is the time to try to insert some juice into this offense. Rumors continue to swirl that Carson’s injury may be more than meets the eye (season threatening?) and as I always say, where there’s smoke there’s fire. That doesn’t mean Chris Carson is definitely out for the season, but I think the IR stint should be realistically viewed as more than a 3-week thing. Penny could have more value than you’d think as a potential league winner if he steps in and performs. Best part is, I don’t think you’ll really need to pony up for him. Let the rest of your league fight over Collins while you slide in and grab Penny. Worth noting Collins did leave Week 6’s game very late in the contest and his health for Week 7 is a bit of question mark. That said, I think Penny (at worst) splits work with Collins as long as Carson is out and Seattle is going to give their first rounder every opportunity to win the job outright. He may be last on this list, but I believe he has the biggest ROS upside.
BONUS PICK(S): Like last week, I want to make a special note of a few choice streaming options at QB this upcoming week. Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, and Kirk Cousins are all on a bye this week. Here’s my top names to target to replace your valuable QB production in Week 7:
- Derek Carr (LV) – Excellent matchup against PHI in Week 7. One of the few healthy offenses in the NFL. Carr should push for QB1 production this week.
- Carson Wentz (IND) – Hopefully you listened to me last week and scooped him up. Wentz has value well beyond Week 7. The Colts next 4 opponents? SF, TEN, NYJ, JAX, all have not been great against the pass.
- Matt Ryan (ATL) – Miami is very bad against the pass and Matt Ryan has sneakily been very solid following a slow start, scoring 15.6+ points in his last 4 starts headlined by a 29 point performance in Week 4 against Washington.
- Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) – Another name I gave you last week. Excellent matchup at home against a very beatable Atlanta defense. Tua looked sharp in London. Let’s hope he carries that over to the states
- Jameis Winston (NO) – Jameis has been a great streaming candidate since his rookie year. He has an outstanding matchup against a bottom five Seattle defense but you know as well as I that you’re playing with fire when you roll with Jameis. His ceiling is Q1, his floor is QB30. Enjoy the ride
-Cory, Fox Fantasy Football Insider