Week 7 features the biggest bye of the season, so you might be scrambling to get enough startable options into your lineup.
The Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, and Pittsburgh Steelers are all off this week. By my count, that’s at least 20 fantasy starters are unavailable. There aren’t a lot of big names to target, but we’re looking for decent options and spot starts in a pinch. So, how should you approach the waiver wire in Week 7? This is one of those weeks where I’d recommend making a lot of claims with very small bids, or what I’m calling (starting right now), the “Sprinkle, Spray, & Pray” approach. Sprinkle small bids, spray a bunch of claims for lots of these players, and pray you land a few spot starters that pan out. You’re better off saving your money for when you might need it. Rainy days and all that.
With that said, let’s dive in.
Oh, one more thing. Don’t sacrifice your rest-of-season chances for one week. If Week 7 hits you especially hard, it might be better for your championship hopes to take the L and get your boys ready for Week 8.
Percentages are based on Yahoo! leagues.
J.D. McKissic, Washington (42% rostered)
All of this has happened before, Starbuck. J.D. McKissic has been up and down in fantasy this season, but he’s maintained his role as the clear passing option in Washington’s backfield. In Week 6, we saw Antonio Gibson continue to be hobbled by the stress fracture in his shin. Ouch. Expect Ron Rivera’s offense to continue to lean on McKissic, whose workload would only increase if Gibson were to miss time. Jaret Patterson could take some early-down work in that scenario, but he’s more of a speculative add at this point. With injuries piling up and six teams on bye, McKissic is the priority add for managers in need of running back help.
D’Ernest Johnson & Demetric Felton, Cleveland Browns (2%)
Last week it was the Giants, now it’s the Browns. Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. are nursing shoulder injuries. Jarvis Landry is expected to come off injured reserve. Kareem Hunt is looking at his own stint on IR after exiting Sunday’s game against Arizona, and Nick Chubb missed Week 6 and isn’t practicing. Last but not least, Cleveland plays on Thursday Night Football against Denver. If we weren’t in Week 7, I’d tell you to make a stash and stay away from Cleveland’s backfield. But if you’re able to make the add and need a running back, D’Ernest Johnson would be in line for early-down work in an offense that is the third-most run-heavy in the league. Demetric Felton is more of a pass-catching option, but could also see an uptick in snaps if Chubb misses more time.
With Chris Carson going on IR and backup Alex Collins (60% rostered) also banged up, some combination of Deejay Dallas, Rashaad Penny, and Travis Homer would be the Week 7 options for Seattle. Penny is due to come off IR, so Dallas might be a better bet for early-down work. There’s still a decent chance Collins plays, so all of these are speculative adds. Seattle has a tough matchup at home against the Saints, so temper expectations if Collins is out.
Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens (2%)
Shocking? Yes. But to be fair, I didn’t think I was going to be writing this much on Latavius Murray, either. Devonta Freeman is old and slow, but so is Murray. I wouldn’t start either of them if I had other options, but Freeman could be worth a flyer while Murray’s status is monitored this week. There are worse options to have than the Ravens backfield, even if it’s a one-week rental before Baltimore’s Week 8 bye.
Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers (19%)
For someone who may not take up space on your roster (if you have IR spots) and could lead the 49ers backfield in a few weeks, Jeff Wilson Jr. is way too under-rostered. Wilson is eligible to come back in Week 11, but the clock is ticking on stashing him.
Potential Drops: Kenneth Gainwell (28%), Marlon Mack (29%), Alexander Mattison (70%)
Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens (28% rostered)
In his first week off injured reserve, rookie Rashod Bateman was immediately involved, playing on 63% of Baltimore’s offensive snaps and getting 6 targets in the process. He may not supplant Marquise Brown or even Mark Andrews, but the Ravens offense is hot enough to support multiple fantasy players. Bateman is not a must-start yet, but he’s someone I want to make sure I have on my roster.
A.J. Green (44%) & Christian Kirk (45%), Arizona Cardinals
Speaking of hot offenses, the roller coaster ride is worth it to get a piece of a Kyler Murray-led attack. The addition of Zach Ertz and the continued presence of breakout-waiting-to-happen Rondale Moore make it hard to trust Christian Kirk as a third receiving option behind DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green, but there’s always the potential for a boom game. Green is my preferred pick of the two, having bounced back from Week 5 to his usual 6 targets per game.
Bids: $8 for Green, $5 for Kirk
Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos (35%)
In a tough Week 7, Tim Patrick is the perfect fill-in. He doesn’t seem to have a true ceiling game in him, but he’s going to get double-digit fantasy points almost every week. Jerry Jeudy was designated to return from Injured Reserve, so he must be activated within 21 days. Patrick’s days of fantasy relevance might be numbered, but I’m going back to the well until Jeudy returns.
Other names to consider: The wire is full of decent options to get you through Week 7, so I’m making multiple $0 or $1 claims and hoping I come away with 1-2 of these options. T.Y. Hilton (39%) went for 80 yards in his return from injury; Marquez Callaway (35%) is coming off a two-touchdown performance before the Week 6 bye; DeVante Parker (40%) is worth adding if he is active; Dyami Brown (1%) looks like the second-best wide receiver in Washington; Jamison Crowder (27%) could see decent volume out of the slot against New England; Donovan Peoples-Jones (2%) might be the last man standing in Cleveland.
Potential Drops: Jalen Reagor (15%), Nelson Agholor (30%), don’t drop Allen Robinson (93%)…yet.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington (29%)
For the second straight week, Ricky Seals-Jones has slotted into the Logan Thomas role without missing a beat, which may make the Washington coaching staff less likely to bring back Thomas before their Week 9 bye. In Week 6, RSJ had another 6 targets, 4 receptions, 58 yards, and a score. Taylor Heinicke hasn’t looked very good two weeks in a row, but Seals-Jones is a set-and-forget option for as long as Thomas remains sidelined.
Other names to consider: Zach Ertz (60%) passes the roster percentage threshold we like to use, but make sure he’s not available in your league; Dan Arnold (9%) is the tight end to own in Jacksonville and is worth a stash if you have the kind of team that can do that in Week 7 (Seriously? Who can do that? 🧐); Ross Dwelley (1%) is a dart throw with Jimmy G potentially starting and George Kittle still on IR.
Drop: Robert Tonyan (55%)
Note: I don’t recommend spending FAB on quarterbacks, outside of the deepest leagues and Superflex, but injuries to several players have made the position a little more shallow this week. If you’re desperate (hello, fellow Russell Wilson managers!), you can add a little here to make sure you have a starter for Week 6.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans (37% rostered)
In a week where you’re scrambling for points, a quarterback who can explode might be just what you need. The risks of Jameis Winston are well documented, but so are the rewards. He’s coming off a big performance before the bye, and going on the road to face Seattle isn’t as daunting as it once was. If you find yourself an underdog this week, I like taking a shot with Winston and Callaway as a bold way to close the points gap.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami (17%)
Playing in London in his first game back from IR, Tua Tagovailoa threw it 47 times against Jacksonville en route to a productive fantasy day, and we could see more of the same against another bad defense in Atlanta. The Falcons come into Week 7 giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to the QB position. Matt Ryan (56%) is more heavily-rostered, but he’s also a good play this week against Miami’s QB-friendly defense.
If you’re looking for DSTs to stream, New Orleans is a good option against Geno Smith and the Seahawks, but be aware that it’s only a one-week play with Tampa Bay coming to town in Week 8. You could do worse than the Las Vegas defense at home against Philadelphia. The Raiders are on bye in Week 8, so they’re another one-week rental. This goes without saying, but if the Cardinals are still on waivers in your league, pick them up against Houston this week.
Bonus tip: Call it the Bye-pocalypse, Bye-mageddon, Justin Bye-ber, whatever. We’ve talked ad nauseam about how many players are out. If you’re sitting pretty or punting this week, keep an eye out for desperation drops or managers who are willing to trade. Is the Chase Claypool manager under .500 and disappointed in his draft pick? He or she might be willing to part ways with him for a lesser starter who isn’t on bye.
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