Check out the most
popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands
of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on
your waiver wire this week by using the MFL
Power feature at FF Today. Just input your
league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Manning, NYG – Did anybody freak out and drop Manning
when it appeared Odell Beckham might be leading a path toward
a quickly devolving, mutinous mess on a listless Giants ship?
Beckham, Manning and the Giants are now in a much better place
after a comeback win over the Ravens Sunday. The veteran QB had
his best game of the season so far, throwing for 403-3-2, the
two interceptions a mere blemish considering the two monster TD
explosions (75 and 66 yards) that Beckham took to the house. Manning
is available in about 10-25 percent of fantasy leagues, and he
should be owned in all formats given his immense upside against
the Rams in Week 7.
Cousins, WAS – Cousins has similar ownership levels
to Manning and has also been frustrating owners, so you might
see him available despite his enormous fantasy ceiling. He’ll
be in Detroit in Week 7 and could make a fine streaming option
coming off a decent performance in a win over the Eagles (263-2-1).
Dalton, CIN –UPDATE:
I didn’t realize that Dalton was only 69.5 percent owned in ESPN
leagues and up to about 85-90 percent owned in more competitive
formats, so I’m adding him to the list. His matchup with the Browns
is the best of the week, according to FFToday’s
Strength of Schedule matrix, and the veteran QB is quietly
having another solid season from a fantasy perspective. Don’t
forget about him, especially in shallow leagues where he may still
Kaepernick, SF –UPDATE:
The controversial Niners QB had a rough first week in the loss
to Buffalo, but there were some positives – namely his mobility
and fearlessness at the position. The Bucs are coming off a bye
and will definitely apply pressure, but that can lead to large
runs and Kaepernick is still a great athlete who can make defenses
pay. He’s already received the nod as the starter and is
likely to improve in all aspects facing a much weaker defense
this week, making him a sneaky QB2.
Jones, PIT – Jones is expected to start in Week 7 against
the Patriots with QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee) scheduled to have
surgery for a torn meniscus, and just about everybody in the Steelers
offense takes a hit because of this. Jones obviously benefits,
and the embarrassment of skill position riches makes him fantasy
relevant. Last season, he had a decent Week 6 filling in for Big
Ben against the Cards (168-2-0) and a bad Week 7 facing the Chiefs,
but Antonio Brown’s production fell off a cliff.
UPDATE: Roethlisberger had a meniscectomy – the surgical
removal of all or part of a torn meniscus – on Monday and
while the operation sounds serious, the recovery timetable is
much shorter than for a full repair. Big Ben could still be back
following the team’s Week 8 bye, which means that Jones
may only be a one-week starter. There are better options.
Keenum, LAR – Keenum (5-10 percent owned) threw for
321-3-1 and added a rushing TD in the tough loss to the Lions,
and while his food might not taste very good today, fantasy owners
might be willing to take a bite out of his matchup with the Giants
– which could see similar results to the Week 6 shootout with
the Lions. Jared Goff is still waiting in the wings, but he’s
not ready and the Rams have to be pleased with Keenum’s play in
Taylor, BUF – Taylor started off slowly against the
Niners but turnovers eventually put the Bills into some scoring
opportunities and Taylor took advantage, throwing for 179-2-0
and adding 68 rushing yards and a fumble in their 45-16 win. The
game was a lot closer for the first three quarters, and Taylor
seems to have a knack for knowing what the team needs from him
to win. Given how successful the running game has been, it’s hard
to see many three- or four-TD games form Taylor, but he’s still
rocking a decent floor and has some upside in the right matchups.
Smith, KC – Smith failed to take statistical advantage
(224-0-0) of a decent matchup with Oakland, and I’ll never suggest
him again in this column. I cannot stand how useless he is given
the talented pass-catching backs he has at his disposal (Ware,
Charles) plus an above average TE (Kelce) and WR1 (Maclin). If
Smith were a sandwich, he’d be two slices of Wunderbar bologna
on plain white bread, no mustard.
Prescott, DAL – Prescott may have put up slightly better
fantasy numbers in Week 3 against the Bears, but Sunday’s win
in Green Bay was his coming out party. The rookie threw for 247-3-1
with a lost fumble, and now that his first career INT is out of
the way, he can go back to a non-controversial existence as the
starting QB for the Cowboys. No? Well, forget the Tony Romo situation
and take a one-week break, because this Week 7 bye will give us
more time to think about what should be done once Romo is healthy
enough to play. As an unabashed Cowboy fan, somewhat knowledgeable
football writer and tireless Romo supporter, I’ve explained to
countless people, over the past couple weeks that I have nothing
intelligent to say on this topic, other than that I’m enjoying
Mariota, TEN – Mariota shredded the Browns en route
to a 284-3-1 passing day, adding 64 rushing yards. That makes
two big fantasy weeks in a row and the next few weeks continue
to provide excellent matchups. He should be owned in all formats,
despite current ownership levels ranging from about 60-80 percent.
Bradford, MIN – The Vikings return in Week 7 to face
Bradford’s former team – the Eagles. Should be interesting, and
Bradford could be a worth a look as a bye week fill-in for Cam
Jay Ajayi's breakout performance (25-204-2)
came on a week when Arian Foster returned to action.
Ajayi, MIA – Ajayi is owned in just 60-75 percent of
fantasy leagues, and his monster fantasy day on Sunday against
the Steelers (204 rushing yards, two TD; 1-3-0 receiving) makes
him one of the most obvious targets on the waiver wire this week.
While the Steelers had a bad week and were missing prominent run-stuffing
3-4 DE Cameron Heyward, the win over Pittsburgh comes as a welcome
revelation for an offense without much of an identity. Though
Arian Foster (groin, hamstring) was active and saw three carries
and caught 2-12-0 on three targets, it looks like it’s Ajayi’s
job to lose.
Stewart, CAR – I understand there’s not much chance
he’s available in your league (85-95 percent owned). However,
since the news of his official return was not confirmed until
Sunday, some owners may have been hesitant to scoop him up with
one game to go before his Week 7 bye. I’m including him as a reminder
that he needs to be owned in all formats. Stewart had 85 rushing
yards and 2 TDs in a game that featured a lot of passing – so
it stands to reason he’ll be utilized quite a bit once the Panthers
return in Week 8 to face the Cards.
White, NE – It’s pretty obvious that Tom Brady loves
him some James White, who had 19 rushing yards and 8-47-2 receiving
in the win over the Bengals. Owned in just 45-75 percent of fantasy
leagues – mostly depending on format – White will be a productive
contributor in PPR formats just about every week going forward.
UPDATE: Albany, New York native Dion Lewis might be looking at
a Week 10 return, and could have big value if he supplants White
as the passing down back. I’m not rushing to snap him up
yet, but he’s technically eligible to return this week and
you’ll just have to navigate the minefield of Bill Belichick’s
nebulous status updates and injury reports.
Ivory, JAC – Whatever strange illness befell Ivory
earlier in the season, he’s back in action for the Jaguars. The
team has a difficult time running the ball, but Ivory is the goal
line back and had a TD (11 carries, 32 rushing yards) in Week
6. He’s owned in just 50-70 percent of leagues and remains a powerful
runner who grinds out yardage and scores. He could be a big part
of the Jags’ offensive approach in Week 7 facing the Raiders,
and gets the Titans in Week 8.
UPDATE: The Jaguars worked out David Cobb (formerly a Titan and
briefly a practice squad player for the Steelers), but it’s
unlikely he’ll have an impact this season. Ivory looks to
be the best bet for the bulk of work in Jacksonville.
Gillislee, BUF – The Bills had a temporary scare in
Week 6 when LeSean McCoy’s knee got banged on an awkward hit –
giving Gillislee some carries. The former Florida Gator had 60
rushing yards and a TD on just six carries and is a necessary
handcuff to McCoy – and he’s owned in just 10-20 percent of fantasy
leagues. Gillislee is not as explosive or as shifty as McCoy,
but in a league where multi-week RB injuries are about as routine
as head injuries, he needs to be owned in 12-team leagues.
Kelley, WAS – Matt Jones (85-95 percent owned) had
a solid day for Washington, but the team made good on its promise
to get Kelley (5-10 percent owned) more involved. The rookie had
59 rushing yards on just five carries and would assume lead duties
on the first couple of downs if Jones were to get injured or struggle.
He’s worth a look in deeper formats.
Carey, CHI – For now, Jordan Howard has a stronghold
on the starting RB job, but Carey (1-5 percent owned) will be
utilized in a change-of-pace role and could assume a bigger workload
if the rookie falls out of favor or misses any time. Carey returned
from a hamstring injury in Week 6 and totaled 50 rushing yards
on nine carries.
Starks, GB – It was a strange week for Starks, who
was away from the team because of a personal issue, then added
to the injury report with a meniscus injury, then ruled out for
Week 6. He had surgery Sunday and will miss several weeks.
UPDATE: It looks like Starks will be out for about four weeks,
and the Packers have acquired Knile Davis from the Chiefs for
a conditional late-round pick. Davis isn’t worth adding
right now in most formats, but could be a decent fit for this
offense should they incur more problems at RB. Eddie Lacy didn’t
practice Monday and is expected to be at less than 100 percent
even if he plays on short notice Thursday.
Asiata, MIN – The bye week hasn’t helped clear up anything
regarding the Vikings plans at RB, so for now Asiata resumes his
previous value in a 50-50 split with the underachieving Jerick
Booker, DEN – Booker had 46 rushing yards and 2-7-0
on two targets Thursday. He’s seeing about 80 percent of C.J.
Anderson’s snaps (29 versus 36 in Week 6) and is a must-own in
all formats as he develops into a dynamic contributor. His ownership
levels vary widely (25-70 percent owned), but he’s stashed away
on more of the seasoned fantasy sites and his ownership levels
are much lower among casual fantasy formats. Since the sharps
continue to be on him, he’s worth owning in all 12-team leagues
and could be worth grabbing in more shallow formats with bench
space. The Broncos have some favorable matchups coming, so it
might be worth it to find room for him.
UPDATE: Gary Kubiak was back to work and had plenty to say about
increasing Devontae Booker’s involvement, according to a
quote from ESPN: “As a young player, we're trying to get
him going as far as protection and those type of things, and he's
starting to handle himself better," Kubiak said. "I
think he deserves some more opportunities to touch the football.
And when he's had the opportunity, he's done some good stuff.”
Sounds good to me!
Rodgers, TB – Rodgers is coming off his bye and is
owned in about 30-60 percent of fantasy leagues. The Bucs also
picked up Antone Smith, a home-run hitting RB who excelled in
Atlanta in Dirk Koetter’s offense – so it appears the Bucs are
possibly preparing for another week without Doug Martin (hamstring,
did not practice Monday). Rodgers could still be worth adding
and had a solid Week 5, but you’ll have to stay tuned to the news
out of Tampa as it develops.
Washington, OAK –UPDATE:
After the Oakland offense looked atrocious in Week 6, it’s
very possible that Washington gets more of the workload in Week
7. He’s not likely going to be a workhorse at any point
this season, but in PPR leagues and deeper formats, there’s
going to be some value and the possibility of a big-play TD here
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Britt, LAR – The Lions defense was terrible in Week
6, but Britt (7-136-2) looked good. The former Rd.1 draft pick
(2009, Titans) busted through multiple tackles for a 20-yard TD
in the first quarter, and he repeated the scoring scamper on a
9-yard TD late in the game. He almost had another TD in the third
quarter, when he juggled the ball on his legs before securing
it between his ankles on a 47-yard gain. Britt (20-30 percent
owned) has always been talented – and the no-pressure situation
in LA might be exactly what he needs to thrive.
Tate, DET – Remember a couple of weeks ago when I told
you not to drop Golden Tate, even though everybody else was recommending
cutting bait? And last week, when I reiterated it after another
slow week? This is why you’ve been coming back to read my column
all these years, folks. It’s not that I’m prescient – I just have
a decent memory, and Tate’s most recent struggles couldn’t dissuade
me from trusting he’d catch on at some point. The 8-165-1 (which
easily could have been 8-165-2) is testament to my process. Snap
him up if some dummy dropped him.
Wright, TEN – After being eased into action the past
couple of weeks after nursing a hamstring injury, Wright busted
out for 8-133-1 on nine targets from Mariota in Week 6 – though
he played on just 35 percent of the Titans offensive snaps. Wright
is a talented, quick receiver who’s had pockets of fantasy viability
over his five-year career, and is owned in just 5-10 percent of
fantasy leagues. The Browns defense is in rough shape and was
missing Joe Haden on Sunday, so Wright’s offensive outburst might
be very difficult to repeat this season, and his low usage could
mean he’s overvalued this week. Still – I’ve always been a fan
of Wright’s; he a much more seasoned competitor than rookie Tajae
Sharpe, is more explosive than Rishard Matthews, and has a lot
more in the tank than the ghost of Andre Johnson, who can be spotted
on occasion haunting the Tennessee huddle.
UPDATE: Mike Mularkey said Monday that Sharpe has “taken
a step back” in his development, which helps open the door
for more targets to Wright and the other receivers.
Montgomery, GB – Montgomery, dynamic performance (10-98-0;
6 rushing yards on three carries) was the lone bright spot for
the Packers in Week 6. He’ll be a popular add this week despite
nearly universal availability, but it remains to be seen how the
Packers will use him going forward. The matchups the next few
weeks are favorable, but that could actually work against him
if Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb start going off.
UPDATE: As I mentioned earlier, Lacy was a no-go at practice
Monday and it’s looking more likely that Montgomery –
who is healthy – gets a few additional backfield carries
against the Bears Thursday night. He is a great snag off the wire
this week. You’ll just have to commit to him early, which
is never any fun.
Garcon, WAS –UPDATE:
Once a waiver-wire darling for the Colts, Garcon is now an overlooked-but-talented
veteran who could be getting another big bump in targets (11 in
Week 6) with TE Jordan Reed dealing with yet another concussion.
He makes sense as a Kirk Cousins correlation play in DFS and as
a bye week fill-in in redrafts.
Beasley, DAL – The Cowboys are on a bye in Week 7,
so Beasley won’t be taken by too many owners despite his big Week
6 (6-58-2). And with fantasy owners addressing more pressing concerns,
he could be overlooked. At just 40-75 percent owned, Beasley could
be a sneaky pickup, and I don’t think Dez Bryant’s likely return
in Week 8 will impact his role in the offense too much. Giddyup,
Thomas, NO – With 5-78-1, Thomas (55-85 percent owned)
had a solid Week 6, but remains one of many secondary cogs in
the Saints offense. The only thing that would solidify more steady
production would be an injury to one or more of the Saints WRs.
Still, if he’s available, he’s a decent option with upside.
Woods, BUF – Woods doesn’t get a ton of targets, but
he cashed in for 5-44-1 on six targets during Sunday’s win over
San Fran, and is a must-own in larger PPR formats. He’s not a
consistent performer and there are better options out there, but
I still like Woods’ ability to post decent numbers in the right
Henry, SD – Henry had 6-83-1 on eight targets against
a tough Denver defense in Week 6. He’s now scored in there straight
weeks and is a must-own in all formats, despite the presence of
Antonio Gates – a veteran who may have staved off Ladarius Green
the last couple seasons but will have a tougher time maintaining
fantasy relevance with Henry flourishing.
UPDATE: Gates (hamstring) is still banged up and admitted he’s
not 100 percent. Henry could see an increased workload this week
and in subsequent action.
Doyle, IND – It’s time to admit that Doyle (4-53-1
on Sunday night) is a more viable fantasy TE than Dwayne Allen
(ankle). I really liked Allen coming into this season, but he
can’t stay healthy and has been an underachiever since the jump.
Doyle’s fantasy ownership is half that of Allen’s even though
he’s exceeded his production.
UPDATE: Allen is considered week-to-week with the ankle injury
and I’m getting more excited about adding Doyle as the week
Fiedorowicz, HOU – Speaking of admissions, it’s time
to talk about Fiedorowicz. With 14-194-2 over his last three weeks
(and coming off a 6-85-1 Week 6 performance), the Houston TE looks
like a high-end TE2/low-end TE1 who’s gained the confidence of
Brock Osweiler. He’s just 4-6 percent owned and will be a popular
pickup this week.
Coates, PIT – With Big Ben hobbled and the Steelers
struggling, Coates was a no-show in the reception department despite
four targets. His predictable value is almost entirely wiped out
with Jones at the helm in Pittsburgh, though he could be good
for an occasional deep TD bomb.
Williams, SD – He had 3-28-0 on three targets, but
that was Thursday against Denver. He’ll be fine.
Hogan, NE – Hogan had just 1-39-0 on one target in
Week 6, as the Brady-Gronk train steamed along. Stay tuned in
the coming weeks.
Kerley, SF – Bills DBs did a great job shutting down
Kerley. The veteran WR had just 2-12-0 on seven targets from Colin
Kaapernick, who looked mighty rusty, albeit capable of running
the offense better than Gabbert. Still, one of the best parts
about Kerley’s upside was Gabbert’s affinity for him on short
Adams, GB – Adams might be worth dropping some formats
due to his most recent injury (undisclosed) that saw him shaken
up and taken back to the locker room. He finished with 2-34-0
on three targets and could take a back seat to Montgomery in three-WR
sets moving forward.
Meredith, CHI – Meredith followed up his breakout with
11-113-0 on 15 targets from Brian Hoyer. He’s a must-own in all
formats, and that’s all I’m going to say.
Thielen, MIN – Even if Stefon Diggs (groin) is back
for Week 7, I like Thielen’s emergence as a popular target for
Sam Bradford, who may need to pass a bit more in the coming weeks.
Don’t forget about this guy.
Aiken, BAL – Aiken was better this week (Steve Smith
was out), with 4-64-0 on six targets from Joe Flacco. He’s not
in the same upside category as Golden Tate, so I’m fine if you
drop him, but I have a hunch he’s still got a few decent games
in him this season.
Barnidge, CLE – Barnidge had 3-59-0 on five targets
form Cody Kessler, and will be much more viable as a fantasy options
if and when his buddy Josh McCown returns at QB for the Browns.
UPDATE: The Browns insist that Kessler is the starting QB, which
should keep Barnidge as a TE2.
Clay, BUF – Clay tallied 5-52-0 on seven targets in
Week 6 and appears to be over his knee injury. He’s a TE2
with some upside in PPR leagues and should get more red zone usage
against better front sevens when the Bills can’t just plow
ahead with McCoy.