Early Week 7 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Darren McFadden, Orleans Darkwa, John Brown and Samaje Perine the ones to chase
Quarterbacks will be a necessity for some owners, but depth is the name of the game when hunting for help off the waiver wire in Week 7.
It's beginning to feel like Fantasy owners are playing two games every week: the one in their Fantasy leagues, and the one against the evil, dreaded injury bug.
Every professional athlete will tell you that injuries are part of the game, and that's absolutely the case in pro football, but it feels like every week this year we've lost at least one bona fide superstar. Week 1 was David Johnson, was Odell Beckham, and .
MAKE IT STOP!!!!
Fine, it's not going to stop, no matter how much I scream. And all of this underscores the importance of roster depth. Not only should Fantasy owners aim for reliable starters from week to week, but also a good pool of players waiting on the bench in case of emergency. Week 6 had a handful of guys who have a chance to help make rosters stronger -- including some folks who didn't even play!
The Cowboys didn't play in Week 6, but we can't say with certainty that Ezekiel Elliott will play in Week 7, or Week 8, Week 9 and so on. Because his status is up in the air, Fantasy owners are forced to go after his potential replacements. Alfred Morris has already been nabbed in 72 percent of CBS Sports leagues, but Bryan Broaddus, a writer for the Cowboys' official website, gave an educated guess of McFadden as the team's starter in place of Zeke. The 30-year-old hasn't played a game yet this season... but, maybe that's been by design. He's got a much more versatile skill-set than Morris and has contributed in this offense before. Perhaps his experience and fresh legs will benefit the Cowboys -- and Fantasy owners.
It looks like Darkwa has finally wrestled the main running back job away from the competition in New York. On Sunday night he had 21 carries -- the most by any Giants running back in any game this season -- and turned it into a career-best 117 yards. It was the first game this season the Giants built a lead and sat on it with the run, and it was successfully done against a stout Broncos run defense at their place. It's a no-brainer for Fantasy owners to add Darkwa, but some might even want to lean on him next week against the Seahawks at home.
I wouldn't count on Collins as a regular Fantasy starter yet, but he's continuing to trend in the right direction. Against the Bears, Collins led the Ravens in carries despite playing 22 snaps to Javorius Allen's 48 snaps, per Pro Football Focus. It's a slight uptick in playing time for Collins along with a decent increase in touches. Working against Collins is a lack of snaps inside the opponents' 10-yard line -- he was shut out there for the second week in a row. In time, Fantasy owners should expect that to change. Until then, Collins is worth trusting as a week-to-week running back thanks to his explosive running. Collins is averaging 6.4 yards per carry on the season and at least 4.6 yards per rush in every game he's played in.
When you need someone who will touch the ball 15 times, Forte is there. Just don't expect a lot of huge numbers beyond that. On Sunday Forte finished second on the Jets in carries with nine (Elijah McGuire had 10), but added eight catches and totaled 81 yards. It's decent. A tough matchup awaits Forte in Week 7 at Miami but he should be able to fill in as a decent PPR running back if Bilal Powell remains out -- he's been good for 11-plus points in that format in two of his last three games.
Mike Gillislee fumbled in the first quarter of the Patriots' win at the Jets and was unsurprisingly benched for a quarter and a half. In came Lewis, and season-best numbers followed. The veteran rusher played 29 snaps and took 11 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown, leading New England. No one should be naive enough to buy into Lewis as a must-start option, but perhaps this effort will put Lewis in better position to get more touches from week to week (he averaged 5.2 touches per game before Sunday).
Jay Gruden said Perine would replace Rob Kelley as the primary running back, but it was Chris Thompson who led the Redskins in carries and rushing yards. Again, Perine struggled to maintain even a three-yard average but surprised Fantasy owners with a touchdown reception via three catches. He was a good fill-in for those owners looking for a spot starter but he remains a touchdown-dependent running back on a team that struggles to routinely run the football. He'll have a much harder time scoring at Philadelphia next Sunday.
All eyes turned to Ivory after Leonard Fournette limped off the field late against the Rams. He didn't return with an ankle injury, but Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said after the game that he would have been able to if the team felt they needed him. Ivory hasn't been a consistently good running back in Fantasy for years but he might be considered a necessity for anyone who has Fournette as a weekly lineup staple. Obviously interest in Ivory would spike if it's revealed that Fournette would miss some time.
It's starting to look like Brown is coming back into form as a dangerous receiver for the Cardinals. He's scored in his last two games and has finished second among wide receivers in targets in every game he's played in. So long as he and Carson Palmer are healthy, Brown is worth considering as a No. 3 receiver. He plays against the Rams in London next week.
Wasn't Alshon Jeffery supposed to be the Eagles' No. 1 receiver? Through six games, that title's gone to ... Zach Ertz. But Agholor has been second-best! He has caught 20 of 30 targets for 321 yards and four touchdowns including three from 20-plus yards. That's two more scores than Jeffery and a handful more yards on four fewer receptions and 10 fewer targets. His matchup at home against the Redskins is pretty good, and the targets from Carson Wentz should remain. Firmly a No. 3 receiver, Agholor has appeal as a low-end No. 2 choice for owners struggling through other players' poor performances.
The Lions don't play in Week 7, and we're not sure what Golden Tate's status will be when the team comes back in Week 8 against the Steelers. But through six games, Jones has three touchdowns and is second on the squad in targets with 40, thanks to 22 targets in his last two games. If those kinds of looks from Matthew Stafford continue then Jones will be a fixture in Fantasy lineups. He's worth adding to build roster depth.
Lee had 10 targets on Sunday against the Rams, catching half of them for 83 yards. That's par for the course since he's caught half of his targets on the season for 14.6 yards per grab. The Jaguars aren't a pass-friendly team to begin with and Lee hasn't scored yet, but a good matchup against the Colts in Indy in Week 7 make him interesting. He's a good bench receiver.
There are three reasons to dig Hooper. One, he caught 7 of 9 targets on Sunday against the Dolphins. Two, he's snared 12 of 16 targets over his last two games. Three, he plays at the Patriots in Week 7. No doubt he's a touchdown-or-bust tight end in non-PPR leagues, but he should have a chance to score next Sunday given the good matchup. The recent boost in targets solidify his status in PPR leagues.
Tyler Eifert's season is over, and Tyler Kroft's opportunities are just beginning. The Bengals tight end has put his mitts on 10 of 12 targets in his last two games, providing an over-the-middle threat for Andy Dalton to lean on. Not good for much more than 10 yards per catch, Kroft will need to score in order to return good Fantasy value. But he'll see regular playing time and potentially work as the second-most prolific pass catcher in Cincy's offense. Not a bad gig. He'll alternate good and bad matchups over the next few weeks.
Mitch Trubisky is looking for anyone open in the Bears offense. On Sunday, despite playing into overtime, Trubisky attempted just 16 passes, completing half. Miller caught one of them from Trubisky for four yards, adding a 21-yard touchdown from Tarik Cohen. We'd expect to see more targets for Miller from Trubisky moving forward, including next week at home against the Panthers.
The Bills' upcoming schedule is really nice, including three favorable home matchups and a Week 9 rematch against the Jets. We know Taylor doesn't have a lot of receivers to depend on but he should still find ways to collect numbers as a passer and a rusher, giving Fantasy owners in need of a quarterback some stability. He could be a priority add for anyone who lost Aaron Rodgers and Jameis Winston.
Fitzpatrick took over for Winston on Sunday and did a heck of a job, save for two bad interceptions. But the gunslinger finished with 290 yards and three scores in just about three quarters of play against a good Cardinals defense. Coach Dirk Koetter didn't have an injury update on Winston's shoulder, but given the pass catchers in the Bucs offense, Fitzpatrick has a shot at some good stats almost regardless of matchup. Playing on the road for the second week in a row against a good Bills pass defense isn't the best situation, but Fitzpatrick should get a good chance at scoring more touchdowns.
McCown couldn't lead the Jets to a win on Sunday against the Patriots, but he did toss two touchdowns for the second straight game and tacked on 354 yards, blowing away his previous season-high of 249 yards. He'll remain a viable bye-week replacement quarterback when he plays at Miami in Week 7.
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