The Giants have been hit just about as hard as any team in the NFL by injuries, at least when it comes to the skill positions, and they lost Kadarius Toney after just seven snaps Sunday, as he apparently aggravated his lingering ankle injury. That's another big blow for the Giants, but Sunday's game against the Rams highlighted something we have known to be true about the Giants since Week 1: Sterling Shepard might just be a must-start Fantasy WR in this offense. Which makes him arguably the top waiver-wire target heading into Week 7.
Shepard, who was making his own return from a hamstring injury, was targeted 14 times in the game, catching 10 of them for 75 yards. The yardage total isn't terribly impressive, but it was against a tough Rams defense that made Daniel Jones' life miserable. But the key point here is that Shepard returned from injury and was right back as Jones' favorite target.
Early on Sunday, that wasn't necessarily true, as Toney earned three targets on the team's first drive before exiting with the injury. However, Shepard was probably always going to get his, especially in a game where the Giants had to throw 51 times. Shepard has been targeted at least nine times in each game he has been healthy enough to complete, averaging 94 yards on 8.7 catches per game.
Shepard has been super productive working primarily out of the slot, and the Giants WR injury issues don't seem to be going away, so he sure looks like a WR you want in your lineup every week. And, if Toney and Kenny Golladay are sidelined in Week 7 against the Panthers, Shepard will probably be a must-start WR.
Here's an early look at who else we might be looking at on waivers in Week 7:
CLE Cleveland • #30
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
With Nick Chubb already out and Kareem Hunt leaving Sunday's game with a calf injury, the Browns find themselves without their two offensive centerpieces for what could be Week 7 and maybe longer. That will likely push both Johnson and Demetric Felton into a significant role for the Browns, and it's interesting to consider how those two might be used if the Browns do miss both Chubb and Hunt Thursday against the Broncos. The fit seems natural -- Felton is a solid playmaker in the passing game, while Johnson could serve as the more traditional lead back -- and I'll go with Johnson as the top target on waivers for now, though both will be worthwhile adds, especially Felton in a PPR format.
BAL Baltimore • #12
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
If you're looking for upside at WR, this should be a pretty good week on the wire. Bateman didn't have a huge game, but he did tie for the team lead in targets in his NFL debut, which is a good sign. Marquise Brown figures to continue to be the team's best receiver, and Mark Andrews is an absolute must-start tight end, but Bateman getting six targets in his first game is a great sign -- especially if Lamar Jackson's pass volume remains at career-high levels moving forward. Bateman has a ton of potential as the team's most recent first-round pick, and it was good to see him so involved right away. He could turn that into big production before long.
T.Y. Hilton WR
IND Indianapolis • #13
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
We'll have to see whether the quad injury Hilton suffered late in the game is going to be something that will cost him time, which would be frustrating as Hilton just made his return from neck surgery. And was very productive! Sure, it was against the lowly Texans, but he caught all four passes thrown his way for 80 yards in his first action. Those four targets may not sound like much, but they led the team and accounted for 20% of the team's total passes. Hopefully Hilton is healthy enough to build on that looking ahead to Week 7.
BAL Baltimore • #34
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Freeman saw his role increase a bit in Week 5, and then he had his best game of the season Sunday, matching for the team lead in carries and lead the team in rushing yards while scoring a touchdown. Of course, Latavius Murray and Le'Veon Bell also both had eight or nine carries and a touchdown, too, so Freeman isn't exactly the lead back here. But he ran well, and with so many running back injuries right now and six teams on bye in Week 7, Freeman could be useful.
Chris Evans RB
CIN Cincinnati • #25
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
With Samaje Perine on the COVID list, Evans got a chance to play a bit of a bigger role Sunday, and he showed that he can be the kind of playmaker in the passing game the Bengals hoped he could be when they picked him in the sixth round this year. Evans got on the board early, lining up out wide and scoring on a very nice 24-yard catch early in the game that required a tough over-the-shoulder catch. He ended up with 67 total yards, and be that kind of contributor if he were able to work his way into a consistent role as the No. 2 RB for the Bengals. If you're playing in a deeper PPR league, Evans is an interesting stash.
WAS Washington • #83
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Apparently we're going to have to take Seals-Jones seriously as long as Logan Thomas is sidelined by his injury, because this is his second solid game in a row. Seals-Jones now has 15 targets, nine catches, and 99 yards with a touchdown over the last two games and belongs in the streaming conversation against the Packers in Week 7.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 7 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that has out-performed experts big-time.