The NFL season is rolling on into Week 6, and fantasy football owners are now entering the grind of the fantasy season. Between the injury issues around the league to games being moved around because of COVID-19 concerns, every new week of fantasy football brings with it a new challenge. This week, owners are dealing with a brutal four-team bye that will knock out three top-12 RBs (Alvin Kamara, Josh Jacobs, Chris Carson) and several top-tier WRs (Michael Thomas, DK Metcalf, and more). Because of those byes and next week’s byes (Colts, Ravens, Vikings, Dolphins), owners are scrambling to find capable streamers and sleepers to liven up their start ’em, sit ’em decisions. While some may be focused on the Week 6 waiver wire period, looking ahead and grabbing a free agent that could be the next “must-have pickup” or top streamer in Week 7 is often sensible.
At this point in the season, there are more than a few spots on every fantasy roster that can be treated as revolving doors. Some of the early-season stars, like Russell Gage and Benny Snell, have fizzled out, and they can be treated as bench options who can be dropped to either pick up future players or better streamers for Week 6. Might you want to hold onto Gage in a good matchup against the Vikings or Snell because he’s a top handcuff? Sure, but is it worth keeping them over a player with a better matchup that week or an easier path to a starting job? That’s debatable.
It’s also absolutely time to take advantage of IR spots if you have one. If there are players available in your league like Tevin Coleman, Rashaad Penny, or even Dallas Goedert, feel free to pick them up and slot them into a spot. That way, when they return, you have them available. Conversely, you can just move a player who is officially “out” in any given week to IR to create an extra roster spot that will help you acquire early streaming pickups (at least on Yahoo leagues).
Another friendly reminder: Every roster move you make is just an educated guess. You’re going to get some things right and some things wrong. You can’t predict injuries, and it’s not always easy to see breakout coming (seriously, who saw Chase Claypool and Travis Fulgham being two of the top WRs in fantasy last week?). That said, if you get the right guy before he pops, it can be a huge difference-maker, as you don’t have to sweat out waiver claims or stress about spending up in FAAB to get them.
At this point in the season, the pickings are somewhat slim on the waiver wire except for one position: Wide receiver. There are still plenty of speed threats (Henry Ruggs), post-breakout players (Claypool and Fulgham), and underrated starters (Preston Williams and Tim Patrick) available to fill out fantasy benches. Add in La’Mical Perine, Andy Dalton, Eric Ebron, and the Chargers defense, and there are some intriguing streamers and future starters available at other positions too.
You don’t have to make a move now, but if you like a player enough, just go and get ’em. As long as you’re not dropping a top-tier player to get a one-week streamer, your move is probably sound, and it can put you ahead of the curve on the Week 7 waiver wire.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist
Reminder: This list was put together in the lead-in to Week 6, looking forward to the players that could be waiver-wire targets to scoop before the season starts to use in future weeks. If you have a roster spot to play with, these are options you could pick up early to beat the waiver buzz.
All these players are below 50-percent ownership on Yahoo unless otherwise specified.
Week 7 Waiver Wire Watchlist: Quarterback
Key QBs out because of byes: Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins, Philip Rivers, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars (53)
Minshew has been a staple of this watchlist, but not enough people have been willing to add him to their rosters yet. Perhaps that will change with byes now here, as Minshew has averaged about 288 passing yards and two TDs per game this season. He has multiple scores in four of his five games, so he can be trusted against a Chargers team that is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to quarterbacks (24.5).
Baker Mayfield, Browns (39)
In four consecutive games, Mayfield has thrown two TDs. The Browns offense is starting to hum, and while they have been ground-dominant this season, with Nick Chubb (knee) out, Mayfield will have to do a bit more to carry the team. Cleveland gets to take on the Bengals in Week 7, a team that allows the 10th-most passing yards per game, so he should do well against them and can be used for a solid four-game stretch after that (Raiders, Texans, Eagles, Jaguars).
Andy Dalton, Cowboys (20)
Dalton isn’t as mobile as Dak Prescott, but Dalton is a decent passer and is surrounded by a lot of strong weapons in the passing game. Going up against a Washington defense that has a knack for blowing coverages, Dalton should be a fine starter in Week 7 and in Week 8 against the Eagles. He’ll draw streaming consideration each week because of the multitude of weapons surrounding him in Dallas.
Week 7 Waiver Wire Watch List: RB
Key RBs out because of byes: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Myles Gaskin, Mark Ingram, JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards
Justin Jackson, Chargers (46)
As long as Austin Ekeler (hamstring) is out, Jackson figures to be a big part of the Chargers backfield. He out-touched Joshua Kelley 20-12 in their first game splitting duties against the Saints and had a 36-yard burst that showcased that he can be a playmaker despite lacking elite speed. Jackson should be the power back for the Chargers and could have a role even when Ekeler returns. And until he does, Jackson will take advantage of a weak schedule that will allow him to work his way into the RB2 category on occasion (vs. Jaguars, @ Broncos, vs. Raiders, @ Dolphins, vs. Jets).
Tevin Coleman, 49ers (23)
Coleman (knee) is set to come off IR soon and he could work his way back into the 49ers backfield rotation. Raheem Mostert would still be ahead of him as the top back while Jerick McKinnon may be the receiving backup, but Coleman has been a trusted between-the-tackles runner in the past. He had 18 carries through two games before suffering his knee injury. Even though he totaled just 30 yards, he could be a good goal-line back for San Francisco and would replace Mostert as the volume guy if Mostert needs to miss time again. The 49ers have a tough schedule against the Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, and Saints in Weeks 7-10, but Coleman needs to be stashed as a top handcuff because of his potential for volume.
Frank Gore, Jets (20) | La’Mical Perine, Jets (8)
Le’Veon Bell is no longer a member of the Jets. As a result, Frank Gore is going to be the lead runner out of the backfield, at least short-term. In the three games that Bell missed, Gore racked up 51 total touches, good for 17 per game. Like Coleman, he didn’t do much yardage-wise (53.7 yards per game) but he has the volume and could get a TD near the goal line. Meanwhile, Perine is worth picking up as a potential long-term option in fantasy formats. The fourth-round rookie has been behind Gore in the Jets’ pecking order, but if they look to the future in what looks like a lost season, they could give Perine a chance to handle a bulk of the workload or at least split carries with Gore. He could be especially valuable in PPR formats after showcasing his receiving ability with 40 receptions in college last year.
Jamaal Williams, Packers (15)
Williams has been more of a receiving complement to Aaron Jones this year, but he has shown the ability to damage on the ground, too (eight carries, 63 yards against the Lions in Week 2). Williams gets a favorable matchup in Week 7 with a Texans defense that has allowed a league-high 706 rushing yards through Week 5, so he could have flex value in that game.
Carlos Hyde, Seahawks (13) | Rashaad Penny, Seahawks (4) | Travis Homer, Seahawks (1)
The Seahawks are coming off a bye and get to take on a Cardinals team that is allowing 21.8 FPPG to RBs, good for 11th-most in the NFL. That could leave an opening for another RB to get in on the action with Chris Carson. If Carlos Hyde is healthy, he’d be a potential TD vulture. If not, Travis Homer will continue to do most of the work on passing downs and in two-minute situations. And for further down the road, Penny is eligible to return from the PUP list in Week 7 as he works back from a torn ACL. His status isn’t known yet, but he is worth stashing as a potential late-season option to take some carries away from Carson.
Week 7 Waiver Wire Watch List: WR
Key WRs out because of byes: Marquise Brown, T.Y. Hilton, DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson
Henry Ruggs III, Raiders (47)
Ruggs returned from a hamstring injury against the Chiefs and proved to be a big-time playmaker deep for the Raiders. He logged just two catches, but he turned them into 118 yards and two TDs. Ruggs is certainly worth rostering, especially with a favorable schedule coming up after a Week 7 clash with the Buccaneers (@ Browns, @ Chargers, vs. Broncos).
Mike Williams, Chargers (45)
Keenan Allen (back) missed a good chunk of the Chargers’ loss to the Saints dealing with back spasms. Williams took over as L.A.’s No. 1, catching catching five-of-eight targets for 109 yards and two scores while showing a strong rapport with Justin Herbert. Williams has five great matchups on deck (vs. Jaguars, @ Broncos, vs. Raiders, @ Dolphins, vs. Jets), so he can be trusted as a potential WR3 even with Allen likely to return following the Chargers’ Week 7 bye.
Chase Claypool, Steelers (44)
Claypool has been a dynamic playmaker for the Steelers this year and totaled a whopping four TDs against the Eagles in Week 5. He will still have to compete with Diontae Johnson and James Washington for playing time, but Claypool is certainly earning the trust of the coaching staff. His Week 7 opponent, the Titans, have allowed 26.2 FPPG to WRs, 11th most in the league, so Claypool could be a nice high-upside flex there at the very least.
Laviska Shenault, Jaguars (39)
Shenault set a new high in receptions (7) and had 79 yards against the Texans last week. He continues to get overlooked, though his ownership has been creeping up slightly. So long as Shenault is getting touches, he can be trusted as a flex, especially since his next three opponents starting in Week 7 (the Chargers, Texans, and Packers) all can be beaten by receivers.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals (36)
Kirk gets to play an awful Dallas defense in Week 6 and then gets to play the Seahawks in Week 7. Those two defenses allow the most FPPG to WRs, so Kirk should be in a smash spot in each of these games. Pick him up now, especially since he just had five catches for 78 yards against the Jets.
N’Keal Harry, Patriots (30)
In Week 7, the Patriots get to play a depleted 49ers defense that was just torched by the Dolphins receivers. In Week 8, they get the Bills, who are currently without Tre’Davious White (back) and Levi Wallace (ankle). In Week 9, they play the Jets. That should give Harry, their No. 2 receiver, a chance to have some breakout games and at the very least, rack up some targets from Cam Newton to become relevant in PPR.
Corey Davis, Titans (28)
Davis will have a chance to come off the COVID list for the Titans before Week 7 if all goes well. Tennessee gets to play the Steelers and Bengals in Weeks 7 and 8, and the Steelers have surprisingly allowed the fifth-most FPPG to WRs this year (30). That’s a nice stretch for the former top-five pick, so perhaps he can continue to rack up targets from Ryan Tannehill, even with A.J. Brown back in the lineup.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles (26) | Travis Fulgham, Eagles (21) | Alshon Jeffery, Eagles (17)
The Eagles didn’t have much in their receiving corps with Jackson (hamstring) and Jeffery (foot) sidelined until Fulgham broke out for 10 catches, 152 yards, and a TD against the Steelers. Fulgham is worth owning given the chemistry he is showing with Carson Wentz, but so are Jackson and Jeffery. Jackson will be a deep-threat once he returns, while Jeffery could be a contested-catch and TD option for Wentz. All three have some value, so feel free to scoop them up ahead of a stretch of games against the Giants, Cowboys, Giants (again), Browns, and Seahawks.
Preston Williams, Dolphins (24)
The Dolphins appear to be making a concerted effort to get Williams the ball, and he had four catches for 106 yards and a TD against the 49ers. The matchups against the Rams and Cardinals the next two weeks will be tough, but perhaps if they focus more of their energy on DeVante Parker, Williams will still do well.
Tim Patrick, Broncos (17)
Patrick has scored in two consecutive games and had a 100-plus-yard game against the Jets. He is going to continue to command a lot of targets given the Broncos’ injuries on offense, so Patrick should do well against the Chiefs, Chargers, and Falcons in Weeks 7-9.
Week 7 Waiver Wire Watch List: TE
Key TEs out because of byes: Mark Andrews, Mike Gesicki, Trey Burton, Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr.
Eric Ebron, Steelers (49)
Ebron is averaging 4.3 catches and 46 yards per game his last three outings and is starting to develop a connection with Ben Roethlisberger as his short/intermediate security blanket. The Steelers take on the Titans in Week 7, and the Titans have allowed 10.5 FPPG to TEs this year, the ninth most in the NFL. Ebron will continue to be a good streamer, and he’s also a guy to pick up ahead of his Week 6 matchup with the Browns, another team that has been weak to TEs.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles (42)
Goedert (ankle) is available to come off the IR in Week 7, and after he was initially injured, there was “hope” he could be ready when first eligible. Goedert saw 17 targets in his two full games and generally looked better than fellow TE Zach Ertz. We’re not saying Goedert will be the top tight end on the Eagles when he returns, but it’s not impossible. Either way, given Philadelphia’s receiver issues, there’s reason to believe Goedert will continue to see frequent targets, which automatically gives him value at this position.
Chris Herndon, Jets (23)
Herndon hasn’t put up big numbers this year, but he has a great matchup against the Bills in Week 7. The Bills have allowed the most yard per game to TEs this season at 83.6 yards per game. With Le’Veon Bell gone, Sam Darnold may look Herndon’s way more, so he’ll garner some consideration in a rough week for TE streamers.
Logan Thomas, Washington (16)
The Cowboys are one of the worst defenses in the NFL against TEs, allowing 11.4 FPPG to the position. Thomas has only two catches for 12 yards the past two weeks, but he is still averaging 7.4 targets per game so far this season. If there was ever a time for him to break out, this would be the matchup to do it in.
Tyler Eifert, Jaguars (7)
Eifert is getting a chance to suit up against a Chargers team that is one of nine NFL teams allowing double-digit FPPG to TEs this year. Eifert may not be a reception threat, but he could easily pay off as a TD-dependent streamer.
Week 7 defense streamers and sleepers
D/STs out because of byes: Colts, Ravens, Dolphins, Vikings
Dallas Cowboys (41) | Week 7 opponent: @ Washington
Los Angeles Chargers (31) | Week 7 opponent: vs. Jaguars
Philadelphia Eagles (30) | Week 7 opponent: vs. Giants
Cleveland Browns (25) | Week 7 opponent: @ Bengals
After a couple of bad weeks for defensive streamers, we finally get a good one in Week 7. There are a few defenses that could pan out, and none have more upside than the Chargers. Coming off a bye, the Chargers will take on the Jaguars. While Gardner Minshew doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, the Chargers could pressure him with a healthy Joey Bosa and force him into mistakes. If Chris Harris and Melvin Ingram are ready to return from IR — a big if — they’ll be even stronger, but given that they just played a great game against Drew Brees and the Saints, they are good flier.
Meanwhile, the Eagles get to take on Daniel Jones who has been sacked 17 times and has committed eight turnovers as of this writing. The Giants have one of the league’s bottom-two scoring offenses, and if the Eagles can pressure Jones, they will be able to force turnovers and potentially log a pick-six. Their defensive line is strong, so they have a high sack floor.
The Browns and Cowboys are also intriguing options because of their competition. Joe Burrow struggled against the Ravens’ defense, and the Browns pass rush consisting of Myles Garrett and Sheldon Richardson, among others, should be able to bother him and give him happy feet. As for the Cowboys, they’re not a fun team to play because they give up 36 points per game, but Washington’s offense has been awful this year. The Cowboys can be started as a desperation play as we continue to target the QB trio of Kyle Allen, Alex Smith, and Dwayne Haskins in Washington.