League Office: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire – Week 7

As we approach Week 7 of the NFL season, there may perhaps be even less clarity on the fantasy football landscape as there was a week ago. With points going on the board in record numbers, it certainly has been a wild season thus far.

Some things appear to be more certain than others. For instance, the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders offenses offer little fantasy value on a weekly basis; Adam Thielen is poised to be the WR1 in PPR scoring at season’s end; slot receivers torch the Colts; there may not be an NFL running back the Arizona Cardinals are capable of stopping; and the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Indianapolis Colts are positioned to be involved in shootouts every week.

While there are trends that are exploitable thus far, many fantasy owners are likely grasping for solutions and hoping one or two exist on the waiver wire.

Well, allow the Fantasy Sports Chef to deliver a solemn message as bye weeks pick up: The waiver wire is pretty barren this week.

There are some options that we will get to shortly. But first, an alternative view of the waiver wire as we embark on a five-week stretch where at least four teams are off each week.

Let’s say you either feel good about your team, or there simply aren’t any enticing options on the waiver wire. What do you do? Why you play defense of course!

To explain, let’s take a look back at season 4 of “Top Chef,” episode 10, to be exact.

In this episode, Spike Mendelson won the quickfire challenge to gain an advantage in the elimination challenge, which was to create a box lunch. The advantage he received was being allowed to choose four things (a protein, a grain, a fruit, and a vegetable) that only he could use and no one else would be allowed to include in their dishes. His choices were brilliant:

  • Bread
  • Chicken
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
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I know you’re probably wondering what great dish he had planned for the challenge. Well, the truth was he hadn’t the faintest clue about what he was going to make. But he knew blocking the other chefs from using bread, chicken, tomato, and lettuce could weaken their dishes and give him the advantage he sought.

And that is how to play defense on the waiver wire.

If you have a higher waiver priority than your opponent in a given week, you can place a claim on the best player at a position they desperately need to fill because of who’s on bye and thus, weaken their team. Sure, you don’t have a plan to use that player the same way Spike didn’t know how to use his ingredients. But the important thing is, your opponent won’t have said player.

Now since I can feel the stink eye of “Top Chef” fanatics who recall how that episode ended, allow me some further explanation.

Spike made a weak chicken salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato on it. A bland dish for a competition show to say the least and certainly a waste of his advantage for how the show works. As such, he ended up on the chopping block out of principle. But did he lose? No.

Spike placed in the bottom three because the judges deemed him a jerk for the round who squandered an advantage just to be a jerk and make everyone else’s dishes weaker. Well, he survived the elimination because his plan worked.

So if nothing on the waiver is appealing, use your advantage to be a jerk and block others from acquiring something they really need to make their dishes better. It may not make yours stronger outright, but if it weakens your opponent, then it does indeed improve your chances of winning.

The teams on bye for Week 7 are the Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers. Players to look for in your Week 7 opponent’s lineup if attempting to stick it to them the way Spike did his competitors are: Quarterback (Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger), Running Back (James Conner, Marshawn Lynch, Aaron Jones, Chris Carson), Receivers (Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Devante Adams) and Tight End (Jared Cook, Jimmy Graham, Vance McDonald). If your opponent has any of these players as every-week starters, they should be in the market for a bye week replacement on the waiver wire, offering the perfect chance to block them.

Before tackling what the waiver has to offer this week, here is the recurring list of players who should be owned in all leagues but are not. An injury and the woes of the Tennessee Titans offense have forced two names from this list: (*these are in no particular order)

  • WR John Brown (ownership: 73% on ESPN, 82% on Yahoo)
  • WR Tyler Boyd (ownership: 84% on ESPN, 85% on Yahoo)
  • WR Calvin Ridley (ownership: 89% on ESPN, 93% on Yahoo)
  • RB James White (ownership: 91% on ESPN, 93% on Yahoo)
  • RB Tarik Cohen (ownership: 76% on ESPN, 75% on Yahoo)
  • RB Nyheim Hines (ownership: 59% on ESPN, 63% on Yahoo)

If any of the above players are available on the waiver wire, they should receive top claim priorities or FAAB bids.

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Now on the streamers and upside stashes that could be available on the waiver wire in your league.

Quarterbacks

Eli Manning

(ownership: 11% on ESPN, 22% on Yahoo)

  • Yes, Eli Manning has looked terrible for most of the New York Giants’ first six games. However, the Giants take on the Atlanta Falcons on the road this week. In their four home games, the Falcons have given up at least 25 fantasy points to the opposing quarterback. Streaming Manning isn’t something you’ll want to admit to your friends, but just call him “Manning” and tell yourself it’s Peyton to offset the gag reflex that likely happens when you slide him in for Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger this week.

Others To Place Claims On: Baker Mayfield (43% ESPN, 42% Yahoo)

Droppables: Marcus Mariota (21% ESPN, 33% Yahoo), Alex Smith (59% ESPN, 49% Yahoo)

Running Backs

Peyton Barber

(ownership: 43% on ESPN, 33% on Yahoo)

  • Those who follow me on Twitter know that I was high on Peyton Barber heading into the season. Barber looked good in the preseason while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ second-round pick Ronald Jones looked awful. But Barber disappointed early in the season until he finally flashed in Week 6 with 20.6 PPR points against the Atlanta Falcons. Here’s what’s interesting about that: In his final six games of 2017, Barber averaged more than 11 PPR points per game. What kicked off that stretch was a two-touchdown performance against the Falcons on the road. Now that he’s shown out on the road in Atlanta again, Barber is worth adding to fantasy rosters as a flex play.

Others To Place Claims On: Corey Clement (62% ESPN, 59% Yahoo), Ito Smith (14% ESPN, 9% Yahoo)

Droppables: Derrick Henry (71% ESPN, 67% Yahoo), Alfred Morris (68% ESPN, 62% Yahoo)

Wide Receivers

Keke Coutee

(ownership: 39% on ESPN, 47% on Yahoo)

  • While Keke Coutee has seen his targets and fantasy points decline each week after exploding in his debut in Week 4, he’s a priority target for this week and beyond. The Houston Texans do play the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, but Coutee could find success. He’s a talented slot receiver, and Dallas Cowboys slot man Cole Beasley carved up the Jaguars secondary in Week 6. As for his staying power on a fantasy roster, when the fantasy football playoffs begin in Week 14, Coutee will get another shot at the Indianapolis Colts, who have been shredded by shifty slot receivers all season.
  • Speaking of receivers having success against the Colts: Zay Jones (1% ESPN, 1% Yahoo) is a desperation heave for Week 7 as the Buffalo Bills take on the Colts. While it could be Nathan Peterman under center for the Bills, Jones may be able to find some room to work against the Colts’ shaky underneath coverage.
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Others To Place Claims On: Taylor Gabriel (33% ESPN, 22% Yahoo), Christian Kirk (14% ESPN, 14% Yahoo)

Droppables: Larry Fitzgerald (80% ESPN, 81% Yahoo), Quincy Enunwa (56% ESPN, 48% Yahoo), Jordy Nelson (77% ESPN, 77% Yahoo)

Tight Ends

David Njoku

(ownership: 72% on ESPN, 77% on Yahoo)

  • The Cleveland Browns have a fantasy-friendly schedule for the remainder of the season, and tight end David Njoku is a great asset for any fantasy roster. Not to mention, the Browns face the Buccaneers this week, and Tampa Bay has given up an average of 20 PPR points per game to tight ends. Njoku can be fired up as a TE1 this week and will remain one for the rest of the season.

Others To Place Claims On: C.J. Uzomah (15% ESPN, 32% Yahoo)

Droppables: Cameron Brate (40% ESPN, 56% Yahoo) — O.J. Howard returned, and Winston’s rapport with Brate was only good for one target, albeit a 15-yard touchdown

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Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook

Writer Fantasy Football Desk at Sports Talk Line
Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a fantasy writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
Joshua Cook