Fantasy Football: Week 7 Waiver Wire

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Another week is in the books as we head into Week 7. Hear about all the players discussed on today’s Week 7 Waiver Wire podcast or jump straight to the Waiver segment on YouTube. A number of the waiver pickups are a result of Week 6 Injuries. Ownership percentages are taken from Yahoo.

Wide Receivers

NYG Sterling Shepard (52% owned)
Was Out in Week 6 (ankle)
Weeks 7-9: Sea, Bye, LAR

If he hasn’t been picked up already it’s probably because he is hurt and has a tough matchup against the Seahawks followed by the Giants bye week. If you are in need of a wide receiver or depth at the position, it would be worth your while to get him now before the matchups after the bye become more appealing to other league-mates.

In the first game without Marshall, Beckham, or Shepard, Eli Manning heavily targeted his most reliable receiver on the field, tight end, Evan Engram. It was clear that Manning did not trust the wide receivers available as he targeted them a combined 6 times of his 19 attempts. Manning will be more comfortable throwing to a receiver he has already had a rapport with this season. Until Shepard is back (likely after the bye), Manning will continue to target Engram. When Shepard is back on the field, he will enjoy a healthy dose of target volume from his quarterback.

ARI John Brown (44% owned)
Week 6: 3/63/1 on 4 targets
Weeks 7-9: @LAR, Bye, @SF

With the signing of Adrian Peterson, the Arizona Cardinals were balanced on offense for the first time since before David Johnson went down for the season. Having a real threat at running back opened up the offense for Carson Palmer and allowed him to be more accurate and productive on fewer attempts. The only negative to take away from last week’s game was John Brown and Jaron Brown were only targeted for a combined 5 times (John Brown 4, Jaron Brown 1). The Presence of Adrian Peterson took attention off of Palmer’s longtime favorite target, Larry Fitzgerald who gobbled up 10 of his 11 targets for 138 yards and a touchdown.

Yes, this is only one game but if this trend continues and the field is open for Fitzgerald, Palmer is going to target him on the shorter cross routes to preserve his arm. Carson Palmer has been concerned about the number of times he’s been throwing the ball and was hoping Peterson would help him out in that department. It’s obvious the Cardinals coaches are worried about the same thing as Palmer threw for a season-low 22 times which is half of his per game average up until this point.

I would consider both Browns to be good depth, fill in pieces on your roster but hard to trust as fantasy producers week in and week out. You can play the matchups but they are likely to be boom or bust options rest of season.

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ARI Jaron Brown (40% owned)
Week 6: 1/30/0 on 1 target
Weeks 7-9: @LAR, Bye, @SF

See John Brown above.

PIT JuJu Smith-Schuster (14% owned)
Week 6: 3/32/0 on 3 targets
Weeks 7-9: Cin, @Det, Bye

Only 14% owned, JuJu Smith-Schuster should be closer to 50% owned and could be after last week. Not because he had an unbelievable game but because he has been on the field more than highly drafted in fantasy drafts, Martavis Bryant. JuJu has been more efficient on fewer targets than Bryant this season. The reason I feel the need to compare him to Martavis Bryant is because Smith-Schuster could move ahead of Bryant on the depth chart as Ben Roethlisberger gains more trust and builds chemistry with the rookie. Another big reason

Reports have surfaced that Martavis Bryant has requested a trade and that both coaches and teammates are aware he is unhappy. He has since denied requesting a trade but typically where there’s smoke, there’s fire when it comes to these things. Just something that could become enough of a distraction on and off the field and another big reason JuJu could move ahead of Bryant as the season continues.

LAR Cooper Kupp (43% owned)
Week 6: 2/35/0 on 3 targets
Weeks 7-9: Ari, Bye, @NYG

It’s amazing what scoring a couple of touchdowns can do in the eyes of fantasy owners. Cooper Kupp is owned in 35% more leagues than the team leader in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. No, not Sammy Watkins, I’m talking about the number one receiver for the Los Angeles Rams through 6 weeks, Robert Woods. Only owned in 8% of leagues and the only receiver of the three mentioned without a touchdown on the season.

If you are a believer in the Rams offense then Cooper Kupp & Robert Woods are both solid, affordable options to roster on your team. Woods will be a bit easier for you to obtain but Kupp has the higher upside. Woods has just as many red zone targets as Sammy Watkins with two. The only difference? Watkins has caught both of his red zone targets for touchdowns. Cooper Kupp has dominated red zone targets for the Rams with eight. The only other player that is close to Kupp in red zone targets is Todd Gurley with six.

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Although I opened up defending Robert Woods as the number one receiver (which, statistically, he is), Cooper Kupp is the wide receiver to own out of the two, strictly based on his red zone opportunities. Woods is still a solid option if Kupp is taken in your league as his chances of scoring are decent given his target volume.

LAR Robert Woods (8% owned)
Week 6: 5/70/0 on 7 targets
Weeks 7-9: Ari, Bye, @NYG

See Cooper Kupp above.

JAX Marqise Lee (33% owned)

Week 6: 5/83/0 on 10 targets — 1/17/0 rushing
Weeks 7-9: @Ind, Bye, Cin

I shouldn’t have to say much here because the argument for Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns is identical for my argument between Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.

Marqise Lee plays the Robert Woods role. Owned in fewer leagues and yet, is the leader in targets and receiving yards. Lee has no touchdowns on the seasons, separating these two in fantasy points scored.

Allen Hurns has been more efficient with his targets and actually has one more reception than Lee despite having 10 fewer targets. Hurns has eight red zone targets to Lee’s two which likely explains the 10% ownership difference between the Jacksonville wideouts.

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JAX Allen Hurns (43% owned)
Week 6: 3/37/0 on 3 targets
Weeks 7-9: @Ind, Bye, Cin

See Marqise Lee above.

PHI Nelson Agholor (54% owned)
Week 6: 4/55/1 on 7 targets

Weeks 7-9: Was, SF, Den

Nelson Agholor should be the highest owned wide receiver from the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite having 18 fewer targets than Alshon Jeffrey, Agholor has more receiving yards, twice as many touchdowns (4) and five red zone targets to Jeffrey’s four. Last week, the story was no different as Jeffrey had three more targets than Agholor, however, Agholor had a better fantasy day catching 4 of his 7 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown.

The opportunity will continue to be there as Carson Wentz has been playing very well. This Eagles offense poses a threat on a weekly basis and Nelson Agholor is a big reason why. If you are lucky enough to find Agholor on waivers this week, pick him up. He is worth a spot as your third WR or flex option.

NYJ Jermaine Kearse (46% owned)
Week 6: 4/79/0 on 4 targets
Weeks 7-9: @Mia, Atl, Buf

Jeremy Kerley may be picked up this week just as much as Jermaine Kearse given his 2/61/1 line he put up against the Patriots last week. That would be absurd as Kearse leads Kerley in almost all receiving stats this season. But fantasy football is reactionary on a week to week basis otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this article every week. Robby Anderson has the most targets on the Jets with 41 yet he is only owned in 17% of leagues to Kearse’s 46%. If you haven’t caught on to the ownership trend, touchdowns are the difference maker.

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If you own or decide to own one of the New York Jets WRs, you won’t be thrilled about it. Regardless, this team has to throw the ball and someone has to catch it. You can use my information about each to determine who you would like to have on your team as you should have little trouble obtaining any of them.

CLE Ricardo Louis (4% owned)
Week 6: 3/25/0 on 7 targets
Weeks 7-9: Ten, Min, Bye

Ricardo Lewis has now seen 30 targets in the last 4 games but has only converted 14 of those targets to receptions. He has also been hot and cold in those weeks with 10, 64, 71, and 25 yards respectively. Yes, Lewis is easy to acquire on your team but I would stay away from the Cleveland Browns wide receivers.

DEN Bennie Fowler (1% owned)
Week 6: 3/21/0 on 8 targets
Weeks 7-9: @LAC, @KC, @Phi

If you are looking to stream the position, Fowler isn’t a bad play. He had just as many targets as Emmanuel  Sanders (8) last week and with Sanders out for at least a week, Fowler’s usage should increase. Fowler is by no means the same talent as Sanders so don’t expect Sanders type numbers.

Running Backs

DAL Darren McFadden (51% owned)
Week 6 Bye
Weeks 7-9: @SF, @Was, KC

Both McFadden and Morris are already half owned and it still isn’t clear who would get the lion’s share should Elliott miss time. The whole situation is a mess and frustrating for Elliott owners. Neither McFadden or Morris would provide you with the upside Elliott has so it’s not a dire situation if you don’t own either one. McFadden hasn’t played a snap this season and Morris has just 8 carries on the year. There is too much value being placed on these backs and unless you can get them cheap off waivers, I’d stay away from them as they will be on your bench until this suspension is sorted out. Who knows when that will be.

DAL Alfred Morris (54% owned)
Week 6 Bye
Weeks 7-9: @SF, @Was, KC

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See Darren McFadden above.

WAS Rob Kelley (44% owned)
Week 6: Did not play (ankle)
Weeks 7-9: @Phi, Dal, @Sea

Rob Kelley should return from injury in Week 7. If he does, he’s the lead back for the Redskins and should see solid volume.

NE Dion Lewis (10% owned)
Week 6: 11/52/1
Weeks 7-9: Atl, LAC, Bye

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Owning a Patriots running back is always (with the exception of Blount last year) a risky play. With that said, Dion Lewis can and should see more of a workload moving forward. Gillislee has been the unquestioned goal line back all season but after a costly fumble, it was Dion Lewis that scored a touchdown from short yardage. Lewis looked explosive and brought some life into the Patriots run game. If you are interested in Lewis, now would be the time to get before he sees the volume increase.

NYJ Matt Forte (21% owned)
Week 6: 9/22/0 — 8/59/0 on 8 targets
Weeks 7-9: @Mia, Atl, Buf

Matt Forte is a shell of his old self when handed the football. Where he has been more effective is in the passing game. He averaged fewer than 2 yards per carry last week versus the Patriots but was able to accumulate 59 yards, catching all 8 of his targets. It’s not a sexy pick but if you are in desperate need of a running back or need depth as a fill-in, Forte won’t get you zero points when on the field. It is worth noting that Elijah McGuire did get one more carry than Forte last week.

NYG Orleans Darkwa (10% owned)
Week 6: 21/117/0 — 1/13/0 on 1 target
Weeks 7-9: Sea, Bye, LAR

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Darkwa has now out-performed Wayne Gallman in two consecutive weeks. Orleans Darkwa is the veteran on this team and has earned more shares in this broken backfield. He put an exclamation point on his stake in the backfield last week, out carrying Gallman 21-9. Darkwa ran for 117 yards against the Denver Broncos, one of the best defenses in the league last week. Two weeks ago, before the game against the Chargers, I Tweeted out that I had a gut feeling, Darkwa would be the better running back of the two and I’m sticking with that for the rest of the season. The hype was behind Gallman but Darkwa is owned in fewer leagues and the better pickup.

NYG Wayne Gallman (35% owned)
Week 6: 9/27/0 — 2/5/0 on 3 targets
Weeks 7-9: Sea, Bye, LAR

See Orleans Darwka above.

BAL Alex Collins (31% owned)
Week 6: 15/74/0
Weeks 7-9: @Min, Mia, @Ten

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Alex Collins should be the starting running back for the Baltimore Ravens and last week could hint that being the case moving forward. Collins out carried Javorius Allen 15-10, hardly dominating the backfield in touches but Collins has been more effective than Allen all season with fewer attempts. The Ravens are in Minnesota this week so if you are to pick Collins up, I’d keep him safe on your bench until Week 8. Use next week to watch that backfield closely and see if Collins out carries Allen for a second week in a row. This may give you confidence in your decision and in playing him moving forward.

SEA C.J. Prosise (10% owned)
Week 6 Bye
Weeks 7-9: @NYG, Hou, Was

C.J. Prosise is just another piece to this backfield mystery. The Seahawks have some tough matchups for running backs in the next few weeks. I am not confident Prosise or anyone else in the backfield will have significant enough success to separate themselves as the clear lead back here. Prosise has only played in 3 games this season and has only totaled 20 yards on 8 carries. I am not buying into Prosise. In fact, I would stay away from the Seahawks running backs, period.

ARI Andre Ellington (64% owned)
Week 6: no catches on 1 target
Weeks 7-9: @LAR, Bye, @SF

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Andre Ellington pulled off the great Houdini act last week as he put up a giant zero in the presence of Adrian Peterson. As much as Peterson negatively affects the wide receivers not named Larry Fitzgerald, the same will go for Ellington because let’s face it, Andre Ellington is a wide receiver. I would not drop Ellington just yet and if you see that others in your league do so, he may be worth a pickup and stash as he has been very effective for this offense up until last week. The Cardinals just wanted to see what they had in a 32-year-old, Peterson and they liked what they had, enough to leave Ellington completely out of the picture. This doesn’t necessarily mean Ellington has no place in this offense. He could still be used as another reliable receiver for Palmer. Don’t hit the panic button on him yet. He is worth the “wait and see” approach as the game script for this week’s game could be better for Ellington.

IND Marlon Mack (47% owned)
Week 6: 2/18/0 and no catches on 2 targets
Weeks 7-9: Jax, @Cin, @Hou

Marlon Mack was barely used in a game where the Colts could and should have run the ball a lot more as they had a decent enough lead to allow that type of game script. Instead, they opted to utilize Jacoby Brissett (ineffectively). Frank Gore was the answer to any run game the Colts had with 49 yards on 10 carries. Robert Turbin out touched Mack and had 4 receptions on 5 targets on top of that. Marlon MAck was an afterthought in a game he should have seen more action. His lack of usage should put up a red flag to fantasy owners and anyone thinking about picking him up this week.

Tight Ends

BUF Nick O’Leary (0% owned)
Week 6 Bye
Weeks 7-9: TB, Oak, @NYJ

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Nick O’Leary is unowned and is worth a pick up given the Bills matchups coming up. Charles Clay is out and Tyrod Taylor does not target his wide receivers. Expect O’Leary to see the same target volume as Clay had before going down. Taylor will target both LeSean McCoy and Nick O’Leary heavily until Charles Clay is back in the lineup.

NYJ Austin Seferian-Jenkins (63% owned)
Week 6: 8/46/1 on 11 targets
Weeks 7-9: @Mia, Atl, Buf

ASJ was already heavily owned and if you want to pick him up, you may have to spend some significant FAAB to do so. Seferian-Jenkins is one of the top tight ends in the league at the moment and I would expect that to continue. ASJ has been targeted more than anyone on the team in the last two weeks and will continue to see a ton of targets as he is the most talented option on the Jets offense. He is worth the FAAB and is someone you can confidently start at the tight end position week in and week out.

ATL Austin Hooper (50% owned)
Week 6: 7/48/0 on 9 targets
Weeks 7-9: @NE, @NYJ, @Car

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With Mohamad Sanu out, Julio Jones clearly not 100%, and Taylor Gabriel not doing much with his targets, Austin Hooper was targeted more than anyone on the team last week. He has now been targeted 16 times in the last two weeks. Hooper is in a great situation at the moment, seeing the volume and being fairly productive in the process. He hasn’t put up crazy fantasy numbers since week one but he may have earned the trust of Matt Ryan over the past two weeks. Hooper may be a more situation and matchup dependent type TE but he has a high ceiling. One negative, there are plenty of weapons on the Falcons offense to take some opportunity away from Hooper at any given time.

BAL Ben Watson (16% owned)
Week 6: 6/28/0 on 8 targets
Weeks 7-9: @Min, Mia, @Ten

Watson has been getting the target volume he just hasn’t done anything with it since Week 2. He has totaled just 85 yards combined in the last 4 weeks. There are plenty of other options you would feel much better about having on your roster than Watson. I suggest you explore those options.

CIN Tyler Kroft (10% owned)
Week 6 Bye
Weeks 7-9: @Pit, Ind, @Jax

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Tyler Kroft has been the best tight end on the Bengals even before Eifert announced that he was having season-ending surgery. He had himself a two-touchdown game in Week 4 but hasn’t done much outside of that. He has been efficient with his targets and that should lead to more volume and production now with Eifert out for the year. He is only 10% owned and is a more appealing option than Ben Watson.

Editor’s Note: Read about the Week 7 QB Streamers.