The NFL eased us into the bye weeks in Week 6, but we're getting hit hard in Week 7, with the Bills, Rams, Vikings, and Eagles all out. That's going to hurt at every position, obviously, but we're especially going to feel the absence of the quarterbacks, with Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts ranking among the position's elite and Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins were still started in over 50% of CBS Fantasy leagues this week, so there are going to be a lot of Fantasy players in need of a starting QB for Week 7.
And your best bet might be a guy who just attempted 14 passes Sunday. Of course, if you're starting Marcus Mariota, you already know that his passing production isn't why you're there. He did have two passing touchdowns Sunday while completing 13 of 14 passes for 129 yards, which is nothing to scoff at.
But the value Mariota brought to the table with his legs is what makes him a viable bye-week replacement option. In the 28-14 win against a very good 49ers defense, Mariota had six carries for 50 yards and a touchdown, accounting for 11 of his 28.2 points in six-point-per-pass-TD leagues with his legs.
Mariota hasn't been great this season, but he's had his moments, generally when he's been making plays with his legs. He's got the Bengals on the way in Week 7, and while they're a pretty good defense, it shouldn't be enough to scare you away entirely. And, if the Bengals offense forces the Falcons to throw the ball a bit more than normal, well we wouldn't mind that one bit.
If Mariota isn't available, there aren't a lot of other great options for next week, either. Daniel Jones against the Jaguars, Justin Fields against the Patriots, or Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton against the Cardinals might be the best options otherwise. So … let's hope Mariota is out there on waivers in your league if you need a QB.
Here's who else we'll be chasing on the waiver wire for Week 7.
Deon Jackson RB
IND Indianapolis • #35
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Jackson left Sunday's game with a quad injury, and with Jonathan Taylor (ankle) and Nyheim Hines (concussion) nearing their returns from injury, his time as the Colts lead back might be coming to an end. This is a bummer because he's looked pretty tremendous, especially Sunday, as the Colts built their game plan around him and he racked up 121 yards from scrimmage before the injury. Jackson only rushed for 42 yards, but he added 10 catches for 79 yards on 10 targets and showed he could be a must-start Fantasy RB if called on. That's the kind of upside we're always looking for, and while you probably won't be able to use him moving forward, he's worth adding if you have the bench spot to play with just in case anything happens to Taylor or Hines.
ATL Atlanta • #42
Age: 24 • Experience: 1 year
For much of Sunday's game against the 49ers, Huntley served as the lead runner for the Falcons offense. He ended up leading the team in carries and yards, and while it didn't lead to a big Fantasy game Sunday, there's value in the role he clearly has in this offense. That may go away if Damien Williams is back from his injury soon, but Huntley has looked good enough to belong in the bye-week/injury replacement discussion.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #17
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
We've been waiting for Robinson to get healthy, because the Giants offense has had a pretty massive hole at the WR spot all season long. Robinson made an impact in Sunday's game, scoring a touchdown despite playing just 14 offensive snaps. His role will grow as he gets more comfortable in the offense – and further removed from his knee injury – and he has a real chance to be a viable Fantasy option if he can stay healthy. This was a good start.
NE New England • #11
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Thornton is another extremely talented rookie wide receiver who flew under the radar early in the season due to injuries, in his case a broken collarbone suffered in the first preseason game. He didn't do much in his Week 5 debut, but he was a difference maker while stepping in for an injured Kendrick Bourne Sunday, scoring two touchdowns in a win over the Browns. Thornton ran a 4.28 40-yard dash at the combine, one of the fastest ever, and that speed was on display on his jet sweep touchdown. He provides an element the Patriots offense doesn't really have, and could be pretty valuable as his role continues to grow.
GB Green Bay • #85
Age: 28 • Experience: 5 yrs.
There were a few interesting tight ends who got going in Week 6, and given how bad the position has been, that's worth paying attention to. Both Daniel Bellinger and Mike Gesicki found the end zone and impressed Sunday, but I think Tonyan is the guy to add if you've got the opportunity. We've seen him succeed with Aaron Rodgers in this Packers offense, but Sunday was arguably the best game of his career – his 10 receptions were a career-high by three. Can he do it every week? Definitely not, but Tonyan has shown he can be productive in this offense and given how wide open things are, that's at least something you can grab hold of. Tonyan also played a season-high 65% of the snaps Sunday, a sign that he is getting back to full speed after suffering a torn ACL. I'm not sure he'll rank as a top-12 TE for Week 7, but he'll be close enough to consider adding if you've been rolling the dice on the likes of Taysom Hill or Tyler Conklin.