What if I told you, just a season (or two) ago, both Le’Veon and Antonio leading the league in rushing and receiving in a weekend wasn’t a rare occurrence; or there was once a time when Adrian Peterson would rushing for over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns wouldn’t cause a second look. If you became an NFL or fantasy fan this season, I don’t think you would believe me. However, this week has brought about a reclamation for some, and an introduction for others. This week seemed to cooperate the most with the predictions and hopes of fantasy owners. With many guys taken in early rounds finally paying off. However, this week also helped reveal, in a season decimated by injuries, who should be pumped and who should be dumped.
The changing of faces at the different positions is becoming a weekly thing, both on the field and in our fantasy rosters. The waiver wire is topped with guys many well read fantasy players haven’t ever heard of, or with guys that we never thought would be on our rosters. Most are due to injury, but still some are getting the chance to show their talents with new opportunities. We have to stress though, barring injury, quality wire pickups are becoming fewer and fewer; and you should really have the mold of your playoff starting roster forming/ formed by this point. Fear not though young padawans, were hoping with this week’s entry to provide you with the top remaining dark horses, as well as give you some quality advice on what to do with your current assets.
The fantasy season is flying by and before we know it the playoffs will be upon us. Each week that passes presents new opportunities that have come and gone, chances you won’t get back. SO, the only option is to look forward. It’s time to start preparing for your playoff push , by that we mean padding your roster with hand-cuffs and potential stars. It is far past the time of using your bench spots for players that will never start on your team or you only kept there so another team couldn’t grab them. It’s time to pick up potential end of the year studs and to grab the hand-cuff of your best RB. Injuries have been tough this year to all owners’ and it (likely) won’t change. Don’t be the guy that misses their hand-cuff player on the waiver wire to some chump, but also don’t miss the sleeper that is sitting on there for weeks 7-10. Get the QUALITY bench warmers on your roster before it is too late!
Tiered Week 7 Projections: QB, WR, RB, TE 1, 2 & 3s
Tier 1: 100% Starters
QB: Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Carson Wentz, Alex Smith, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins
RB: Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette*, Le’Veon Bell, Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, DeVonte Freeman, LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard, Doug Martin, Mark Ingram
WR: Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Aj Green, Brandin Cooks, Keenan Allen, Michael Crabtree, Larry Fitzgerald, Adam Thielen, Jarvis Landry, Jordy Nelson, Michael Thomas, Tyreek Hill, Dez Bryant, Mike Evans
TE: Rob Gronkowski , Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Jason Witten, Cameron Brate, Delanie Walker, Jimmy Graham, Evan Engram, Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Tier 2: Confident Starts
QB: Philip Rivers, Blake Bortles, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Marcus Mariota, Russell Wilson, Josh McCown
RB: Adrian Peterson, Jerick Mckinnon, Carlos Hyde, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Thompson, Jay Ajayi, Alvin Kamara, Tevin Coleman
WR: Demaryius Thomas, Kelvin Benjamin, Pierre Garcon, DaVante Adams, Alshon Jeffery, Doug Baldwin, Devante Parker, Chris Hogan,
TE: Kyle Rudolph, George Kittle, Hunter Henry, Zach Miller,
Tier 3: Gambles
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Trevor Siemian, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Derek Carr, Jay Cutler, Case Keenum, CJ Beathard, Tyrod Taylor
RB: CJ Anderson, DeMarco Murray, Mike Gillislee, Dion Lewis, James White, Theo Riddick, LeGarrette Blount, Marshawn Lynch, Duke Johnson Jr., Matt Forte, Alex Collins, Tarik Cohen, Latavius Murray, TY Montgomery,
WR: TY Hilton, Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee, Ted Ginn Jr., Nelson Agholor, Danny Amendola, DeSean Jackson, Randall Cobb, John Brown, Terrelle Pryor Sr., Devin Funchess, Mike Wallace, Marvin Jones Jr., Amari Cooper, Robert Woods, Jermaine Kearse , Martavis Bryant, Cooper Kupp
TE: Vernon Davis, Jordan Reed, Jared Cook, Martellus Bennett, Benjamin Watson, David Njoku, Ed Dickson, Austin Hooper
Buy/Sell : Players we are going for or getting rid of
Mike: Buy. Peterson looked great in his debut with Arizona and each week will help him to understand the scheme/ offense better. He should see a heavy workload till December when DJ comes back. Solid RB2 with RB1 potential.
Devin: Buy. While I 100% believe he will lose the job completely once DJ is back, Peterson made me eat my words this week when he erupted for 130 and 2 scores. Gameflow really helped this week, but he showed he is clearly the workhorse for them going forward. Taper down your expectations to a more realistic level, but I’d wager he has at least 1 or 2 of these games left till he’s benched. Could certainly help you make the playoffs, and from there, it’s anyone’s game.
Mike: Sell. The addition of Adrian Peterson changes the dynamic of this offense. There will be less safety dump off passes which means Ellington’s value takes a big dip.
Devin: Sell. I heartbreakingly dropped him last night, he performed valiantly while it lasted, but we had a good run. While i don’t think he’ll goose egg again for the rest of the year, it’s to unknown what his part in the offense will be.
Alshon Jeffery WR PHI
Mike: Buy. The Eagles really like to throw the ball and Wentz has proven to be a top QB in the league. Alshon will still have games that he only get 3-4 catches for 45 yards, but there should be more “boom” games to come with his schedule easing up in the second half of the season.
Devin: Buy. Wentz is growing to love the big bodied pass catching machine that is Alshon Jeffery. I really think the touchdowns will start to come as the season progresses. He’s only at 2 on the season, and I’m willing to bet he’s got at least 6 more coming. He’s just too talented, and on a quality offense, with a very above average QB. I see a spike in Jeffery’s stock going forward, try to get him now while he’s still outside the top 20 receivers.
Amari Cooper WR OAK
Mike: Buy. As you will read below...I am a Amari Cooper owner myself ( in a few leagues). Owners around fantasy are desperate for WR help if they bought into Cooper and will most likely dish him. Argue the stats and not his name until they break if possible, then hope that he fixes the problem between his ears and becomes a top 20 WR again. I am NOT saying break the bank to get him...but he is a player that is worth a stash until he produces 2-3 more duds.
Devin: Sell. I’ve heard year 3 is when teams can tell if a wide out has the juice or not. I didn’t see it last year and luckily dumped this poor sap on Mike, but that’s a story for a different day. Crabtree has been the one to own the last 2 years and that didn’t change this season. Cooper runs great routes and is very physically talented, i’m not saying sell him off for nothing, but no one is drinking the Amari Kool-aid any more. He was an upside investment that didn’t pay off (at least yet). You can hold and see if it bounces back, or try and sell of the assets for above current value. If you’re winning or deep at WR then hold, if you’re desperate consider giving away at a loss. Someone wants to own him, don’t just drop him.
Mike: Buy. It’s clear now why the Vikings held onto Mckinnon and why the spoke so highly of him. He fits into their system and looks good running & catching ball. He should continue to be a strong RB2/3 player in PPR leagues.
Devin: Buy. He’s not Dalvin, but McKinnon is certainly getting the job done and has been more than serviceable. You were lucky if you got him off the waivers, hold on and ride the wave of house money till it dries up.
Mike: Sell. As always I am totally against any Detroit RB. The Lions don’t care too much about a strong running game and even the safety dump offs have been getting fewer and far between. Theo is merely a RB3/Flex option at BEST.
Devin: Sell. Throw him as a package deal in a trade and hope his reputation carries some weight. He’s not producing fantasy relevance in any way, but provides a consistent low floor in PPR. I did keep him over Ellington in my league if that means anything, as at least his role is defined in the offense.
Mike: Sell. Again, I am not fond of the Lions backfield...Ameer especially. He has had three good games in his last 10. If that doesn’t speak to you then you just don’t want to hear it. Either their line doesn’t want to block for him or the talent just isn’t there. I don’t see him getting past RB3 value this year with a maybe a few ‘boom” games.
Devin: Sell. I can barely accept description of him as an startable option, let alone the RB2 many are propping him up as. Seriously, who is still buying this narrative??
Mike: Sell. Ajayi had a good game and it would be a good time to sell. The Miami offense still doesn’t look great and Ajayi’s knees still are banged up. He hasn’t managed to get in the end zone this year and even though the 25 carries a game are nice to see, it is terrible for his knees.
Devin: Buy. I took him early, and i’m just along for the ride at this point. Obviously Jay Cutler is gonna hurt anyone unfortunate enough to be on his team’s fantasy value, But Ajayi’s sheer volume and talent should overpower the patheticness of this offense as a whole.
Mike: Buy. I think Agholor is clearly the ⅔ option on the team. Alshon Jeffery has been covered by the best defenders every game and that leaves Agholor to reap the benefits of weak coverage. You can’t ignore the TD potential especially against defenses worried about Alshon. Decent WR 3 / flex option.
Devin: Buy. After another week of consistent touches and another touchdown, I think it’s hard to deny his connection with Wentz. I wouldn’t depend on him for much more than a flex option, but his high ceiling ability his impossible to let sit on the waiver wire.
Mike: Buy. Deshaun looks like the real deal. He can throw the ball ( and does often ) and he can run the ball. He gets you around 3-5 points on the ground a game which is very promising in today’s NFL. Plus, I like his remaining schedule for the most part.
Devin: Buy. Dude has so many weapons to choose from. Also, he’s a freak athlete, and terrific football player. The sky is seriously his ceiling. He does make at least 1 terrible throw a game, but that is to be expected. This once streaming option may be the waiver wire pickup of the year.
Mike: Buy. With or without Jameis Winston the Bucs are looking to check down to the TE for caution...and they do it often. Brate continues to impress with TDs and has clear chemistry with Winston and Fitzpatrick. Brate is a solid TE1 for the season.
Devin: Buy. Clearly and integral part of their offense, multiple redzone looks. I don’t see this guy slowing down at all. He’s Healthy this year, and looking good.
Mike: Buy. The options at TE are very limited and Engram is one of the few if not the only #1 option for his team. With the WR core going down Engram will step up and be the favorite target of Eli Manning.
Devin :Buy. I mean who the hell else is Eli gonna throw it to. In a position very limited by legitimate starts Engram has been this past week’s waiver wire wet dream. Anyone who grabbed him was very happy after this week. I think it’s a trend that will continue.
Jordy Nelson / DaVante Adams / Randall Cobb
Mike: Sell. I love the Packers, love Aaron Rodgers and love watching these receivers go to work...Unfortunately, without Rodgers the wide receivers on this team take a huge dip. Each game will be a toss up of who will get the most targets with QB Brett Hundley. If you can get rid of these guys on name value then I would do it. This season is completely up in the air now for all three.
Devin: Sell. Like Mike I saw try and trade them if you can, but i’m not totally terrified by their outlooks the R.O.S. Jordy was still heavily targeted and is to talented not to be an high end WR 2. I think a touchdown fall off for Adams has to happen, and his and Cobbs targets will suffer some.
Ty Montgomery / Aaron Jones
Mike: Sell. I think these backs are still worth owning and if I had them ( I do ) I would be trying to package them in a trade ( I am). Get back what you can and work forward from there. Brett Hundley will like dump the ball off often to his RBs and the offense will look to the backfield now with the unsure QB. They still have value, but who and what value is up in the air.
Devin: Buy. I think his opportunity in PPR may be better, as his slot/backfield receiving could bump up after Rodgers injury. Trade for him and get more for less quality offer.
Mike: Buy. Martin has received limited touches in both his games back, but still managed to produce in each game. The Bucs should give Martin a full workload now with a few weeks under his belt. Martin should be a solid RB1/2 moving forward.
Devin: Buy. He’s capitalized on his touches and proved his the best back in Tampa. I see them feeding him the rock a little more going forward, and to respect play action then to go deep to Evans and Brate.
Put me in coach: Waiver wire adds
Orleans Darkwa, NYG RB- Darkwa proved this last week that he wasn’t going to let Gallaman take his role easily and produced one hell of a game when the Giants needed him most. After this performance it is safe to say that the team will give Darkwa the lead role back until something changes.
George Kittle SF TE- Kittle has cemented himself as a key role in this offense. In the last two weeks he has been targeted 17 times! That is ridiculous and you don’t see that often minus WRs and Gronk. Kittle is worth and add/start on almost all rosters. He should continue to produce against a poor defensive Dallas team.
Dion Lewis, NE RB - As soon as Gillisllee fumbled most Patriots fans knew what would happen. The rest of the carries would be shared amongst the other backs. With that happening Dion Lewis emerged with a role we haven’t seen from him in recent years...He ran the ball and ran it effectively. Although the backfield is crowded in NE there is a good chance that Dion could see 10+ carries a game with some passing involvement as well.
Robert Woods, LAR WR - The writing was on the wall by Week 3 and it is still there. Robert Woods is the most consistent wide receiver for the LA Rams. Each game he has seen a healthy amount of targets and each week he produces numbers worthy of a roster spot on most fantasy teams. Woods should continue to be a safety net for Jared Goff.
Benjamin Watson, BAL TE - Watson has been what most players call boom-or-bust , but in reality he has produced better than half of the TE field. You could find worse options moving forward at the position.
Austin Hooper, ATL TE - Although Hooper started off the season slow he has had 5 or more receptions in his last two games. With the Atlanta offense not looking nearly as good as last year we could see the workload stay close to similar moving forward for Hooper. Keep an eye on his targets this week to see where his situation is now with Julio and Sanu healthy.
Alex Collins, BAL RB - The RB situation in Baltimore is just like many backfields in the NFL..messy. Buck Allen will continue to see work on run and pass plays and Terrence West will come back sometime in the next few weeks, BUT Collins is the best runner out of the 3 and if he fixes the fumble problem should gain the lead back role.
Zach Miller, CHI TE - As seen in the last two weeks with Mitchell Trubisky behind center, Zach Miller is the safety net of this team. He gets looks going down the field and gets looks in the end zone. He only has 5 catches in the last two games but two of them were for TDs. He will be a boom-or-bust play considering the TD aspect, but is worth a look if you are short on TE.
Jordan Matthews, BUF WR - The Bills WRs are not very talented and now that Charles Clay is out they will need another primary weapon. I am not saying it will be Matthew’s but his role should increase from the beginning of the year and could merit WR3/flex value.
Josh Doctson, WAS WR - Doctson has proven to be a threat near the end zone despite his lack of targets and Coach Gruden has already said twice the plan on getting him more involved since Crowder and Pryor have proved to be uneffective. Doctson has the talent and if given the chance would be a good add to your team. He is worth a stash if you have an open spot for a few weeks.
Look out for me: Keep an eye on
Kenny Stills, MIA WR - Stills seems to be on Cutler’s radar and has got some decent looks at the end zone. Although he is fighting for targets with Landry and Parker the potential is still there for 4-5 receptions a game and possibly a TD.
Mike Williams, LAC WR - The talent and potential are there. Now Williams just needs an opportunity to show what he can do. The team is pretty crowded for receptions, but if they can create him 5-6 targets a game he instantly becomes fantasy relevant. Worth a stash.
Chris Ivory, JAX RB - The Fournette scare on Sunday has every owner anxious. His knee did not look ok and the fact that he came back was a big surprise. Ivory could continue to be worked into the offense after his big pass catching day.
Brice Butler, DAL WR - Let’s all be real here for a second. Terrence Williams is not good at what he is supposed to do and it is only a matter of time before Butler carves out a larger role in the offense.
Ricardo Lewis, CLE WR - Lewis has seen a fair number of targets over the last 3 weeks and could come out as the number 1 WR option on the Browns. Now that isn’t saying a lot but he could be worth a roster spot in certain leagues moving forward.
Hand-Cuffs: Worth your last roster spot if…
Alfred Morris / Darren McFadden, DAL RB - Right now it looks like Morris could get the larger role in the backfield, but it is truly unknown. Plus, Zeke could get the suspension pushed back or lessened.
D’Onte Foreman, HOU RB - Foreman is clearly talented and the Houston coaching staff likes what he can do when he touches the ball. Lamar Miller isn’t super productive as it is and all it would take is a small injury to change Foreman’s role.
Mike Tolbert, BUF RB - McCoy is constantly banged up and we are never quite sure of his health leading up to games. Often times he is questionable until kick-off. Tolbert is a safe add in all leagues for LeSean owners.
Marlon Mack, IND RB - Marlon Mack has already proven to be more effective running the ball than Frank Gore. It is only a matter of time before he takes over the majority snap counts.
Jamaal Charles, DEN RB - Cj Anderson is another RB that is hurt often and the talented Jamaal Charles could walk into the RB1 role in Denver very easily if anything were to happen.
Zach Zenner, DET RB - I have already talked about the lack of production from the two RBs in Detroit...with that being said, Zenner is first in line to take snaps if one goes down.
Charcandrick West, KC RB - West already has a role in the offensive and if anything were to happen to rookie stud Kareem Hunt then West would surely take on a much bigger role.
Matt Brieda, SF RB - Brieda has already stolen a significant amount of carries from Carlos Hyde and forced the coaching staff to announce they would play the “hot hand”. If Hyde struggles or gets injured Brieda would take over and be quite productive with the touchers.
Derrick Henry, TEN RB - Henry may already be the most talented back in Tennessee, but DeMarco Murray still keeps getting in his way. The weekly on-off with the two backs has fantasy owners going crazy. Henry has the potential to be a top back in the NFL with the right amount of carries.
You’re killing me smalls: Bench, trade or drop
Jamison Crowder, WAS WR - Trade/Drop: Crowder has fallen off so drastically from last year he could be the biggest bust of the season. His workload hasn’t changed weekly and it looks like Josh Doctson will steal more targets moving forward.
Tyrell Williams, LAC WR - Trade/Drop: Similar to Crowder it looks like a younger player may steal some receptions. Mike Williams is back and the Chargers will want to see what they have in him.
Martavis Bryant, PIT WR - Bench/Trade: Bryant has been hard to watch and we were pretty high on him this year. There is still a chance he will have 2-3 good games this year, but it is looking like he was overvalued.
Marshawn Lynch, OAK RB - Bench/Trade: Lynch played decently without Carr behind center, but it still looks like the old Marshawn of beastmode days is past. Lynch is most likely a fringe RB2 and maybe RB3 option.
Mike Gillislee, NE RB - Bench/Trade: Do NOT fumble in Billy B’s offense. Well Gillislee did and it will cost him. He was already having poor production since week 3 and it doesn’t look to get better with Dion Lewis back.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR RB - Bench/Drop: Stewart has looked pretty bad this year in all formats. The running game in Carolina is split between Cam, McCaffery and Stewart with the two first looking the best. Stewart is an RB3/flex.
Tarik Cohen, CHI RB - Bench/Trade: The emergence of Mitchell Trubisky seemed to put a little hump in Cohen’s production and has only been targeted 5 times in the passing game in two weeks.
Jordan Reed, WAS TE - Bench: Hopefully this changes now that he is fully healthy, but right now it doesn’t look like Reed is his usual self. You can’t drop him and trading a good TE is always hard. Store him for now.
Injuries: Going into week 7