We’re entering one of the most painful bye weeks of the season for fantasy purposes, with the Bills, Rams, Vikings and Eagles all out of the mix. In all likelihood, no one in your league is gonna feel particularly good about their starting receivers in Week 7. Six of the season-to-date top-20 fantasy WRs will be resting. We’re also staring at some of the ugliest waiver wire names in recent memory to be completely honest, so this is no easy week. Below you’ll find a collection of approved pickups, all of them available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Wide receivers on the wire
YOU GUYS. c’mon. What are we waiting for?
We keep writing about Pierce around here, yet curiously he remains eligible for this feature, sitting out there unattached in over 60 percent of Yahoo leagues. The rookie has delivered 271 receiving yards over his last four games, catching 18 balls on 27 targets. It’s perfectly clear that he’s earned Matt Ryan’s trust. Pierce is a dangerous downfield threat with size (6-foot-3), speed (4.41) and leaping ability (40-plus inch vertical), and the Colts are certainly using him. He scored his first NFL touchdown on Sunday, a game-winning deep shot:
It’s well past time to add this man. He deserves at least a bench spot in any 12-team league. Let’s please not have this discussion again next week.
Recommended waiver offer, assuming $100 budget: $14
Robinson may have played only 15 snaps on Sunday, but they were certainly productive. The rookie caught three balls for 37 yards on four targets, with a short touchdown reception included:
Robinson was an absolute terror at Kentucky last year, catching 104 passes while gaining 1,445 yards from scrimmage. He’s live-wire quick and fantastically competitive, a dynamic weapon for creative coaches like Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka. we shouldn’t need to convince you that targets and touches are there for the taking in the Giants’ offense; it won’t be long before Robinson sees a significant uptick in usage. New York’s upcoming schedule is plenty friendly, beginning with matchups against the Jaguars and Seahawks ahead of their Week 9 bye.
Reynolds ranks among the NFL leaders in red-zone targets (8) as well as opportunities inside the 10-yard line (6), so he’s seeing high-value chances in Detroit’s offense. He’s caught 19 balls on 28 targets over his past three games. Reynolds has contested-catch ability, wingspan and the complete trust of his veteran quarterback. We’re past Detroit’s bye week, so that’s one less worry attached to Reynolds and various other Lions. He’s a WR3-worthy fantasy option until further notice.
Anderson was literally booted from the sideline by his own team’s coaching staff in Week 6, so his fantasy value was not exactly trending up. Carolina is an absolute fantasy wasteland at the moment; Anderson had no shot at relevance in our game while he remained on the Panthers’ roster.
On Monday afternoon, Anderson was flipped to Arizona for a pair of late-round picks (future sixth and seventh rounders), so it’s now at least possible to imagine the veteran wideout making noise in the second-half. Marquise Brown A significant foot injury on Sunday, which created a need for Anderson’s services. It seems unlikely the new arrival can possibly help in Week 7 because the Cards are facing the Saints on Thursday night, but he may enter the flex conversation in future weeks.
Other receivers to add: Tyquan Thornton (the rookie reached the end zone as both a receiver and a rusher on Sunday, playing 40 snaps; he’s also a burner who had 10.6 speed in the 100m in high school), Chase Claypool (he’s a carnival ride of a player, but he’s coming off a 7-96-1 performance and he’s seen 16 targets in his last two games), Rondale Moore (he’s caught 13 balls for 117 yards in Arizona’s last two games and the Brown injury creates a path to ongoing value).
Roster-worthy tight ends: Robert Tonyan (Green Bay has a desperate need for competent receiving threats, particularly after Randall Cobb an injury on Sunday; Tonyan just caught 10 balls for 90 yards in the loss to the Jets), Greg Dulcich (he spiked on Monday night and, at this point, any tight end who shows signs of life is an add), Mike Gesicki (he just delivered a two-touchdown performance, though he remains well behind Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in the team’s receiving hierarchy), Daniel Bellinger (the rookie caught all five of his targets on Sunday, including a short TD reception), Evan Engram (he has 11 catches for 109 yards over the past two weeks, which is pretty stellar by the outrageously low standards of his position this season).
Quarterbacks to target
Mariota made the most of his 14 pass attempts in Sunday’s win over the Niners, completing 13 for 129 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 50 yards and a short score on eight carries, which gives him 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the season. Atlanta’s schedule is about to take an exceedingly friendly turn — Gin, Car, LAC, Car, Chi, Was, Pit — which should make Mariota a viable streaming option into December. Add as needed if you need a bye week placeholder.
Also on the approved list at QB: Matt Ryan (*Admiral Ackbar “It’s a trap!” gif*), Daniel Jones (the passing numbers have been mostly gross, but he has some rushing juice and his receiving corps is getting healthy), Bailey Zappe (if you’re desperate for superflex help, he just delivered a 300-yard performance and the Bears are on deck).
Running backs to prioritize
On the one hand, this does seem like it might be a terrible idea, doomed to failure. We can’t rule it out. But we can’t simply ignore the fact that A) Drake rushed for 119 yards and a long score on Sunday against the Giants and B) he’s actually out-snapped JK Dobbins in each of the past two games. Dobbins actually Dealt with knee discomfort in Week 6, which is obviously worrisome for a player coming off ACL surgery. We have to assume Drake is going to be a big part of the team’s game plan next week against Cleveland, one of the NFL’s most generous run defenses. In a messy bye week, this clearly puts him on the fantasy radar.
The most memorable image from Monday night’s otherwise unmemorable game was of Melvin Gordon standing on the Denver sideline, forlorn and abandoned, simply watching other people run the ball for a still-ineffective Broncos offense. Gordon finished his night with just three carries for eight yards while Murray, the new arrival, dominated second-half touches, ultimately rushing 15 times for 66 yards. Obviously there are no great answers here; Denver’s offense ranks dead-last in the league in scoring (15.2 PPG) and No. 22 in total yards (329.3 YPG). Murray is a well-traveled nine-year NFL vet who isn’t exactly a lock to control this team’s backfield rest-of-season, but he appears to have the top job right now. He can be flexed by desperate managers against the Jets this week, but we’ll make no long-term promises.
Deon Jackson, Indianapolis Colts (43%)
Jackson was tremendous on Sunday, gaining 121 yards on 22 touches, catching all 10 of his targets and scoring a short-yardage touchdown. He was a bright spot in Week 5 as well, accounting for 91 total yards in the team’s weird and unwatchable win over the Broncos. Jackson exited on Sunday with a quad injury, but pronounced himself healthy following the win. He has some elusiveness to his game and he’s perfectly willing to run through a defender when necessary:
The obvious problem facing Jackson is, of course, the expected return of Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. While he may have established himself as a bankable understudy, he’s clearly no threat to a healthy Taylor. This is not a blow-the-budget situation.
Additional RBs to consider: Caleb Huntley (he was out-snapped on Sunday by Tyler Allgeier33 to 20, but actually led the Falcons in carrying, finishing with 16 rush attempts for 59 yards), Rachaad White (he’s seen the field a fair amount over the past three weeks, handling 23 touches, and, as we’ve mentioned a time or two, he’s just one injury away from must-start status).
If you’re streaming D/STs
New York Jets (5%)
New York’s defense just owned the Packers at Lambeau, sacking Aaron Rodgers four times and holding Green Bay to only 10 points. The Jets are currently tied for fifth in the league in total takeaways (10), so we’re talking about a frisky defense here. They travel to Denver next week to face a sketchy offense coming off a short week. This is a D that deserves a long look.