Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups
Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups
For the first time since this season began, football "normal" again. Aside from some unfortunate injuries to Joe Mixon, Zach Ertz, and Miles Sanders, there were no catastrophes this week (not counting the dumpster fire that is the 2020 New York Jets, of course). As we look ahead to Week 7, there are several worthwhile waiver wire targets to monitor, including a pair of handcuffs, a breakout rookie running back, and another rookie with an opportunity to take on a lead role soon enough (and that's just the running backs).
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QB Waiver Wire Pickups
Minnesota Vikings | Rostered in 24.7% of ESPN leagues
Yes, Cousins just threw three interceptions against a Falcons secondary that would make any Big 12 program blush. And yes, the Vikings are on bye this upcoming week. However, Cousins does rank third in the NFL in air yards per-attempt thanks to his dynamic receiver duo (Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson). He also has a rather favorable schedule following Minnesota's bye week, with matchups against Detroit, Jacksonville, Dallas, and Carolina lined up. I expect the Vikings to make some serious adjustments during their week off. Dalvin Cook could be back for the team's Week 8 matchup with the Packers, which will make Cousins' life much easier. Now is the time to buy low on a potential second-half QB1, particularly if you're a team that just lost Dak Prescott.
Indianapolis Colts | Rostered in 8.2% of ESPN leagues
Rivers finally demonstrated some signs of life for the Colts on Sunday, leading them to a comeback victory over the Bengals with his 371 passing yards and three touchdowns. Like Cousins, Rivers is on bye this week. However, this will be a good opportunity for Rivers and the Colts to make some necessary adjustments before they begin their march towards the postseason. I'm always a fan of picking up your streaming option the week before they're needed, and Rivers is an ideal target for Week 8, as he will be facing an exploitable Lions defense.
Cleveland Browns | Rostered in 18.5% of ESPN leagues
It was a rough week for Mayfield and the Browns, as they were dismantled at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet as bad as this week was, it was an expected dismantling due to the various ailments plaguing the Browns' playmakers -- including Mayfield, who was playing through a rib injury. The lost beauty in a terrible performance is the decrease in demand for the player responsible. While many fantasy managers will avoid Mayfield due to his terrible outing against Pittsburgh, now is the time to scoop him up. Mayfield faces the bottom 10 ranked defenses of Cincinnati (28th), Las Vegas (31st), Houston (23rd), and Jacksonville (32nd) in his next five starts. He's a prime bounce-back candidate.
Honorable Mentions (if available): Justin Herbert, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton
RB Waiver Wire Pickups
Detroit Lions | Rostered in 74.4% of ESPN leagues
Swift was a hot commodity in drafts this summer, coming off of the board as early as round three in some leagues. An incredibly talented rookie with three-down back potential, Swift had been held back by Detroit's RBBC approach, which allowed him only 12 carries through the first four games of the season. Week 6 was a different story altogether, as Swift toted the rock 14 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns, asserting himself as the top back in the Lions' rotation. With his role finally expanded, Swift has the potential to be a high-end RB2 down the stretch. If you're in one of the 25.6% of leagues where Swift is available, spend your FAAB freely to acquire him.
Philadelphia Eagles | Rostered in 10.9% of ESPN leagues
With Miles Sanders likely out this week, Scott should see some decent volume against the lowly Giants defense. Though he failed to seize the opportunity to produce in his first start of the season, Scott did see a double-digit touch count with Sanders inactive. He's a decent plug-and-play flex starter this week if your team is hamstrung by byes or injuries.
Philadelphia Eagles | Rostered in 0.5% of ESPN leagues
Clement is the "big" back in Philadelphia's carousel, listed at 5'10, 210 lbs. Compared to Scott (5'7, 200 lbs), Clement is a juggernaut. I would not be surprised if he was the guy that the Eagles lean on this week, and he could be had for a much cheaper price than his teammate. Both Clement and Scott should be one-week rentals regardless.
New York Jets | Rostered in 11.9% of ESPN leagues
With Le'Veon Bell out of the picture, the starting running back role in New York is Perine's for the taking. Though the rookie fourth-rounder out of Florida has seen only 26 touches this season, one has to imagine that will change soon. The Jets offense is going nowhere fast, so it may be time to expand the role of young players like Perine. While this is about as low-upside of a fantasy situation as there is for a running back, depth at the position is extremely important.
Cincinnati Bengals | Rostered in 2.9% of ESPN leagues
Joe Mixon busted his ankle while celebrating a touchdown against the Colts, leaving his status in doubt for this week's matchup with the Browns. That leaves Bernard with an excellent opportunity to produce. A trusty veteran with pass-catching chops, it's hard not to like Bernard's upside until Mixon returns.
Jeff Wilson Jr.
San Francisco 49ers | Rostered in 8.8% of ESPN leagues
Raheem Mostert's hard-running style has once again landed him on the injury report with an ankle injury. For the hundredth time this year, it's time to pick up Wilson. I cannot recall a fourth-string running back with as much usage as Wilson has gotten in the last three seasons -- it's rather remarkable.
Honorable Mentions (if available): Damien Harris, Justin Jackson, J.D McKissic
WR Waiver Wire Pickups
Denver Broncos | Rostered in 18.2% of ESPN leagues
Patrick was once again a fantasy star in Week 6, hauling in four of his eight targets for 101 yards. Patrick has gone for 100+ yards in back-to-back games now. More impressive, he's done so with two different quarterbacks. Patrick is the clear No. 2 receiver in this passing attack, which makes him a worthwhile pickup if he's still available in your leagues. With Jerry Jeudy taking much of the defense's attention, Patrick has been able to exploit his matchup on a weekly basis.
Keelan Cole Sr.
Jacksonville Jaguars | Rostered in 14.3% of ESPN leagues
Cole has been one of the bigger surprises in the NFL this season. The former UDFA ranks 13th among qualified receivers with an average of 2.0 yards of separation per route run while sporting a 95.5% true catch rate. Cole has seen at least five targets in every game this season, with a season-high nine coming in his 143-yard outburst against Detroit. Due to the inadequacy of the Jaguars roster, the team will often find itself in negative game scripts, prompting Gardner Minshew to move the ball through the air early and often. Cole will be a direct beneficiary of this, and he should be rostered in all redraft leagues at this point.
Indianapolis Colts | Rostered in 2.6% of ESPN leagues
With Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell sidelined, Pascal has held onto his role as the No. 2 receiver on the Colts offense. While he's been underwhelming in this capacity once again, Pascal did account for 54 receiving yards and a touchdown this week, while seeing a 78.2% snap share for this season, thus far. If you need reinforcements in the receiving core, Pascal is a solid player to target.
Honorable Mentions (if available): Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, Travis Fulgham, Tyler Johnson, Preston Williams
TE Waiver Wire Pickups
Philadelphia Eagles | Rostered in 24.1% of ESPN leagues
The struggling Zach Ertz is set to miss the next month with an ankle injury, leaving the now healthy Goedert as the top option in the Eagles passing game. Goedert will have a TE1 ceiling until Ertz returns.
Washington Football Team | Rostered in 7.6% of ESPN leagues
Thomas finally broke out this week against the Giants, reeling in three of his four targets for 42 yards and a touchdown. Thomas currently ranks 8th among qualified tight ends in air yards and 5th among that same group in air yards per reception. The opportunities have been there for the veteran tight end. Hopefully, he can continue to convert upon them, as he did this past Sunday.
Houston Texans | Rostered in 3.4% of ESPN leagues
Fells, known by many as "the touchdown robber" has burst back onto the scene in recent weeks, accounting for 142 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. If you want a guy with a solid chance to catch a touchdown, Fells is a solid bet. The 6'7 former basketball player has caught a touchdown on 22.7% of his receptions as a member of the Texans, with a touchdown rate of 17.2% for his career. By comparison, renowned RedZone machine Rob Gronkowski has done so on only 14.8% of his career receptions. If Fells is active, he's a threat to score.
Tennessee Titans | Rostered in 0.1% of ESPN leagues
Firkser catching eight of his nine targets for 113 yards and a touchdown was by far the anomaly of the day. With Jonnu Smith nursing an ankle injury, Firkser could be a solid plug-and-play starter, although expecting more performances like this one would be wishful thinking.
Irv Smith Jr.
Minnesota Vikings | Rostered in 5.1% of ESPN leagues
Smith's usage has gone up in recent weeks, as the former Alabama star has seen 10 targets in the last two games after seeing half of that amount in the first four games of the season. Smith will be replacing Kyle Rudolph as Minnesota's TE1 any day now, so grab him now while you still can.
Deep Stash Target
Denver Broncos | Rostered in 0.1% of ESPN leagues
Albert O, as many call him, had a quite impressive outing against a stout Patriots defense on Sunday. The rookie tight end impressed in his NFL debut, catching two of his six targets for 46 yards. Okwuegbunam's chemistry with Drew Lock was apparent, as the 6'6, 260 lb tight end was Lock's favorite target during their college days at Missouri. Like his teammate Noah Fant, Okwuegbunam is a matchup nightmare thanks to his size and 4.4 speed. I expect to see the former Missouri star's usage climb in the next few weeks, even as Fant returns to the lineup.
Honorable Mentions (if available): Rob Gronkowski, Trey Burton
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Alex is an avid fantasy football fan who spends most of his free time typing away in his writer's nook. He loves cats, funny socks, and Austin Ekeler. He has previously created fantasy content for his own brand (3CoSports), while also working for Pro Football Focus in the data department. You can follow him on Twitter @3COAK for any fantasy advice or discussions.