Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire options that are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. I’ll list any players at the top who are above the 50% threshold (or are household names) but are still somewhat widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
WEEK 7 BYES: Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns
Best Options if Available: Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 63%), Gardner Minshew (Jax, 60%), Matthew Stafford (Det, 59%)
Josh Allen (Buf, 48%) — If Allen has been dropped over his bye week, now is the time to scoop him up because he has three enticing home matchups (vs. Mia, vs. Phi, vs. Was) waiting for him out of their Week 6 bye. Allen has cooled a bit since a disastrous performance against the Patriots, which ended with him suffering a concussion, but the week off and the upcoming schedule are exactly what he needs to get back on track.
Jacoby Brissett (Ind, 43%) — Brissett had a surprisingly quiet performance against the Chiefs in Week 5 because the Colts dominated the game on the ground in the surprising upset. He completed 18/29 passes for 151 yards and one interception but he at least added a rushing touchdown. Brissett had thrown for multiple touchdowns in every game before Week 5 and T.Y. Hilton should be back to full strength coming out of their Week 6 bye, which gives Brissett a much better chance at fantasy success. He gets some juicy matchups coming up (vs. Hou, vs. Den, @Pit, vs. Mia), including a potential mini-shootout with the Texans this week who could be down their top two cornerbacks.
Kirk Cousins (Min, 46%) — Cousins was off to a miserable start in 2019, throwing for just three touchdowns while averaging just 183.8 passing yards per game through four weeks. That’s changed the last two weeks thanks to two cupcake matchups against the Giants and Eagles. He’s thrown for 639 yards and six TDs with just one INT in Weeks 5-6 and he’s done it while averaging 11.4 YPA (44/56 passing). The Vikings are still a run-heavy team but Cousins’ performance the last two weeks should remind Kevin Stefanski that this passing game with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs needs to be featured every week. His schedule looks pretty good the next four weeks (@Det, vs. Was, @KC, @Dal) to keep his momentum going. Cousins isn’t the easiest guy to trust because of the run-heavy approach the Vikings are taking every week, and their conservative nature limits his upside.
Sam Darnold (NYJ, 16%) — A lot of dirt was shoveled on Darnold, Adam Gase, and the Jets in the first five weeks of the season, but Week 6 proved that New York is a completely different team with Darnold under center. In his first game back from mononucleosis, Darnold completed 23/32 passes for 338 yards, two TDs, and one INT in a victory over the Cowboys. Darnold had the looks of a potential breakout candidate at the end of last season and again this preseason, and he still looked like a potential fantasy difference-maker in Week 6. Darnold’s schedule isn’t the easiest the next two weeks (vs. NE, @Jax) but he has six juicy spots in a row in Weeks 9-14 (@Mia, vs. NYG, @Was, vs. Oak, @Cin, vs. Mia) if you’re really looking forward. He’ll also likely have his boy Chris Herndon back at that point too if you’re looking toward the end of the fantasy season.
Daniel Jones (NYG, 32%) — Jones was in an absolutely brutal spot in Week 6 for a rookie QB, taking on the league’s best defense without his top three offensive weapons in a steady stream of wind. Needless to say, the results weren’t pretty. Jones completed 15/31 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown but he threw three ugly interceptions, giving him just three TDs to six INTs in his last three games since his dramatic victory in Tampa. The good news is that he should get Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram back in Week 7 and his schedule does lighten up a bit over the next four weeks (vs. Ari, @Det, vs. Dal, @NYJ).
Andy Dalton (Cin, 27%) — Dalton is throwing it a ton every week — he’s averaging 40.5 attempts per game — because this Bengals O-line can’t create any running room. His O-line also can’t pass protect and he’s struggled without A.J. Green on the field. He needed a late rushing TD in Week 6 to salvage some fantasy production as he completed 21/39 passes for 235 yards and one INT. Dalton could be without Green for another week or two and it’s possible he never plays for the Bengals again, which would obviously be a huge blow for Dalton’s prospects for the rest of the year. Dalton schedule gets tougher in the next couple weeks (vs. Jax, @LAR, bye, vs. Bal), but he still has a chance to put up numbers if he continues to throw the rock as much as he has been to start the year.
Kyle Allen (Car, 10%) — Allen has created a QB controversy in Carolina with his 4-0 start as the team’s starter. Cam Newton could be ready to play after their Week 7 bye but I don’t see the team pulling Allen during his current winning streak. Allen completed 20/32 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Buccaneers in Week 6 and he’s yeto to throw an interception this season. Allen’s schedule gets tougher out of their Week 7 bye (bye, @SF, vs. Ten, @GB) and we need to follow any developments that come out about this quarterback situation.
Ryan Tannehill (Ten, 0%) — The 2015 quarterback class had a rough Week 6 with Jameis Winston turning it over six times and Marcus Mariota getting benched after another abysmal performance. The Titans finally pulled the plug in the second half against the Broncos and Tannehill gave this offense some life, completing 13/16 passes for 144 yards and one INT. The Titans are squandering their chances at the playoffs by continuing to play Mariota with their record sinking to 2-4. Tannehill is an upgrade for this entire offense and he’s worth an add if you’re playing in two-QB leagues.
Teddy Bridgewater (NO, 20%) — The Saints are currently riding their defense with Drew Brees out of the lineup but Bridgewater has done enough to keep this offense on track to reel off a perfect 4-0 record without Brees so far. Teddy completed 24/36 passes for 240 yards and one TD in a victory over the Jaguars in Week 6. Brees did post a video of himself already throwing before Week 5, but Bridgewater should start at least one more game against the Bears in Week 7 if you’re really desperate for some QB help.
Best Options if Available: Latavius Murray (NO, 48%), Frank Gore (Buf, 58%), Ronald Jones (TB, 62%),
Mark Walton (Mia, 4%) — Kalen Ballage is terrible at football and the Dolphins appear to have realized it, elevating Walton above Ballage in the last two games. Walton actually started in Week 6 — Kenyan Drake still out-touched him — and he played well, posting 6/32 rushing and 5/43 receiving on six targets while playing 42% of the snaps against the Redskins. Walton was an interesting prospect with the Miami Hurricanes but he fell into the fourth round in 2018 because of a shaky Combine. He then had three different run-ins with the law this past off-season, which earned him his release for Cincinnati. Keep your expectations low for any offensive player in Miami but at least it looks like Walton could get a chance to play more in the coming weeks. It’s also notable that Drake could be moved before the trade deadline, which could elevate Walton into a workhorse role.
Jamaal Williams (GB, 14%) — HC Matt LaFleur has talked all summer and all season about using Williams and Aaron Jones in a committee, and they continued to split the workload in Week 6 even after Jones’ four-TD performance in Week 5. Williams led the Packers offense with 14/104 rushing and 4/32 receiving on five targets against the Lions. He ended up out-touching Jones 18-to-15, out-gaining him 136-to-60, and out-snapping him 39-to-36. LaFleur has been true to his word about a committee all year long with this backfield, giving Williams high-end RB3 potential in good matchups.
Darrell Henderson (LAR, 28%) — Henderson has been a major disappointment since he was drafted in the middle rounds of drafts this summer because he hasn’t had a role behind Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown. That changed in Week 6 with Gurley (quad) out of the lineup. He actually paced their stagnant offense against a fierce 49ers defense, posting 6/39 rushing and 1/9 receiving on two targets while playing 29% of the snaps. Henderson did drop a pitch from Jared Goff to start the third quarter so it was far from a flawless performance in his first real chance to play, but he brings much more explosiveness to this backfield than Malcolm Brown. Henderson could go back to having no role this week with Gurley likely back against the Falcons, but I think there’s a chance they move him ahead of Brown going forward so it’s worth stashing Henderson now. He’d of course have a ton of value if Gurley misses more time in the future.
Chase Edmonds (Ari, 34%) — Second-year RB Edmonds is the handcuff here and he would have top-12 weekly potential if he’s thrust into the starting role. However, he’s starting to carve out a role next to Johnson the last two weeks while DJ plays through a back injury — he played 29% of the snaps. Edmonds hasn’t disappointed with his extra playing time, posting 13/102 rushing and 5/51/1 receiving in Weeks 5-6 against the Bengals and Falcons. Edmonds has earned weekly playing time going forward as another explosive element out of this backfield. With the bye-week blues really setting in this week, Edmonds is worth consideration against the Giants in Week 7 if you’re looking for some help with CMC, Nick Chubb, and James Conner on bye.
Nyheim Hines (Ind, 18%) — Hines is the passing back in the offense and he actually led them in receiving in Week 5 against the Chiefs, posting 4/46 receiving on five targets. He played on just 21% in that contest with the Colts surprisingly playing from ahead for most of the game. Hines isn’t a player to use with much confidence unless the Colts project to be playing from behind in a given week because he’s their preferred hurry-up back and receiver out of the backfield. The Colts do play the Texans this week so there’s a chance it could turn into a shootout.
Benny Snell (Pit, 2%) — Snell may have been a little higher on this list if the Steelers weren’t on bye this week, which will give James Conner full two weeks to recover from the quad injury that landed him on the sidelines in Week 6. Snell finished 17/75 rushing and 1/14 receiving in relief of Conner against the Chargers. Conner didn’t appear to be badly hurt and there’s a chance he would’ve stayed in the game if the Steelers weren’t up by three possessions. Still, it might be worth snagging Snell off the waiver wire the next two weeks since he could get some run against the lowly Dolphins when the Steelers play again in Week 8.
Ito Smith (Atl, 14%) — Smith has played a lot behind Devonta Freeman but he hasn’t been involved quite enough to have significant fantasy value — he played 26% of the snaps in Week 6. Smith managed just 3/6 rushing in a juicy matchup against the Cardinals in Week 6 while Freeman went nuts with 19/88 rushing and 3/30/2 receiving. The Falcons simply can’t get any kind of running game going behind a bad O-line, which is crushing the value of this backfield. Smith has some standalone value right now and he’s certainly worth consideration as a bench stash since he is playing a bunch each week.
Rex Burkhead (NE, 22%) — In case you forgot, as soon as you think you’ve figured out the Patriots backfield HC Bill Belichick is about to flip the script on you. Burkhead has been active in this backfield to start the season, but he’s been plagued by a foot injury the last couple weeks and was inactive again in Week 6. Trying to figure out how Patriots will divvy up the touches and the snaps from week to week is difficult, but it looks like he could have a pretty healthy role going forward in one of the league’s best offenses. Burkhead can fill in as a replacement for both Sony Michel and James White.
Alexander Mattison (Min, 22%) — Starting RB Dalvin Cook is primed for a huge season, but he has had some injury issues throughout his career dating back to his days at Florida State. The Vikings have just Ameer Abdullah behind Mattison and I’d expect Mattison to see a heavy workload if Cook missed time. He’s the best handcuff in fantasy right now and he’s close to having standalone value with how much work he’s getting each week.
Giovani Bernard (Cin, 11%) — Gio is a must-own in any week that Mixon is out of the lineup. Bernard is a capable runner and receiver who can take on a big role as we’ve seen in the past when Mixon has missed time. Gio is one of the best handcuffs in the league and it looks like he could have some low-end standalone value playing next to Mixon.
Ty Montgomery (NYJ, 6%) — Montgomery has litle playing behind Le’Veon Bell — he was a little more active as a receiver in Week 6, though — but Montgomery would have RB2 potential as the lead back in New York.
Reggie Bonnafon (Car, 13%) — Bonnafon has emerged as the top option behind Christian McCaffrey after his 5/80/1 rushing performance against the Jaguars in Week 5. If McCaffrey would miss time, Bonnafon wouldn’t see the type of workload that CMC sees on a weekly basis but he could certainly find himself in the RB2 conversation.
Tony Pollard (Dal, 19%) — Pollard’s complementary role has evaporated with Zeke back to dominating the work in this backfield. Elliott owners would be wise to scoop up Pollard if he’s thrown to the scrapheap if you want to handcuff your top-five pick.
Ryquell Armstead (Jax, 2%) — It might be wise to scoop up Armstead if you’re a Leonard Fournette owner as he’s the clear #2 RB on this depth chart. Fournette doesn’t have the best history of staying healthy for too long.
Best Options if Available: Robby Anderson (NYJ, 59%) D.K. Metcalf (Sea, 59%), Mecole Hardman (KC, 49%), Mohamed Sanu (Atl, 60%)
Jamison Crowder (NYJ, 42%) — Crowder is alive again with Sam Darnold back in the lineup off his mononucleosis. Crowder led the Jets in targets in Week 6 with nine on his way to 6/98 receiving against the Cowboys while playing 81% of the snaps. That gives Crowder 20/197 receiving on 26 targets in just two games with Darnold. These two two have demonstrated a strong connection dating back to the preseason, and Crowder is back in the mid-WR3 range when Darnold is on the field.
Auden Tate (Cin, 23%) — John Ross landed on the IR with a shoulder injury, and there’s a possibility A.J. Green may never play for the Bengals again as his “rehab” drags into a third month after an initial 6-8 week recovery timeline. Green is in the final year of his contract and he could be angling to be traded rather than playing for this winless team. Tate is the new #2 WR here for now and he managed 5/91 receiving on a team-best 12 targets against the Ravens in Week 6. Our guy Greg Cosell said Tate has lost some significant weight and looks much more explosive than he did when he first came into the league as a seventh-round pick out of Florida State in 2018. Tate was an absolute monster in the red zone in college with 24.6% of his career catches going for TDs (16 of 65), and he’s been active in the red zone with Andy Dalton — his eight red-zone targets are just one target from the NFL lead in red-zone targets.
Phillip Dorsett (NE, 42%) — Dorsett missed Week 6 because of a hamstring injury but the ailment doesn’t sound serious — The Athletic’s Jeff Howe said there’s optimism that he doesn’t miss any additional time. Dorsett will step right back into his #3 WR role once he’s ready, potentially against the Jets this week, and he could have an increased role if Josh Gordon is limited or misses Week 7 with the minor knee injury he suffered against the Giants. Dorsett was off to a strong start through three weeks (13/187/3 receiving) before a down game against a stingy Bills defense in Week 4 and before picking up his hamstring injury against the Redskins in Week 5. He’s a high-end WR4/flex option when he’s healthy in this potent Patriots offensive attack.
Allen Lazard (GB, 1%) — The Packers have been crushed by WR injuries with Davante Adams (toe) sitting out recently and Geronimo Allison could be looking at an absence after taking a hard hit to his neck and chest in Week 6. Lazard came into their matchup as the #5 healthy WR but he quickly became the go-to receiver for Aaron Rodgers when he got on the field after Allison’s injury and after Darrius Shepherd’s dropped pass near the end zone that turned into an interception. Lazard led the Packers with 4/65/1 receiving on five targets on just 23% of the snaps and all four of his catches came on the Packers’ final two drives of the game, including an impressive 35-yard TD catch. Lazard is massive (6’5”, 227 pounds) and he has pretty good wheels for a big man, and he may have just become a new crush of Rodgers’ with his performance on MNF. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allison have also been disappointments this season, so the Packers may look to Lazard to upgrade their receiving corps behind Adams when he’s healthy.
Tavon Austin (Dal, 0%) and Randall Cobb (Dal, 19%) — Amari Cooper left the Cowboys’ Week 6 contest early with a quad injury and he was in some major pain after the game. The Cowboys would look toward Cobb, Austin, and Devin Smith to fill Cooper’s role if he’s forced to miss some time. Austin led the Cowboys in receiving in Week 6 with 5/64 receiving on six targets against the Jets. Cobb looked past his prime in his final couple years in Green Bay and he’s been mostly a pedestrian option so far this year. He missed Week 6 with back and hip injuries but the Cowboys could need him if Cooper is going to miss time with his quad injury. The Cowboys do get the terrible Eagles secondary this week so these two could be upside flex options if Cooper is out.
Preston Williams, Albert Wilson, and DeVante Parker (Mia) — The Dolphins will roll with these three WRs when they’re healthy, and they’re each in the WR4/5 range since they’re going to get targets each week. However, these WRs don’t have much upside at all since they’re playing on the worst team potentially in the history of football. Wilson the better option for PPR formats playing out of the slot while Williams and Parker have more potential in non-PPR leagues because of their size in the red zone. Williams and Parker are pacing these wideouts in snaps each week — they each had an 88% share last week — while Wilson saw 38% of the snaps in his first game back in Week 6.
Diontae Johnson (Pit, 26%) — The Steelers were down to their fourth-string QB from the preseason in Week 6, and this Steelers passing game predictably underwhelmed. However, they didn’t even get some late-game passing situations as huge underdogs as the Steelers jumped all over the Chargers. With Develin Hodges throwing for only 132 yards, Johnson caught his only two targets for 14 yards, which actually led their WRs and TEs in receiving. OUCH. Mason Rudolph (concussion) will likely be back in the lineup out of their bye in Week 8 and he could be a high-end flex option against the lowly Dolphins, but Johnson isn’t a player you have to hold if you’re desperate for bye-week help.
Duke Williams (Buf, 1%) — The Bills traded away 2017second-round pick Zay Jones over their bye week, which officially elevates Williams into the #3 WR role in this offense — Robert Foster didn’t play a snap in Week 5. At 26 years old, Williams scored a touchdown and posted 4/29/1 receiving in his NFL debut against the Titans in Week 5. Williams led the CFL in receiving in 2018 to earn an invitation to Bills camp and the Bills appear to be believers in the former five-star recruit out of Auburn. The Bills have three juicy matchups in a row (vs. Mia, vs. Phi, vs. Was) and it wouldn’t be shocking if Duke makes some noise, especially as a red-zone threat because of his size (6’3”, 225 pounds).
Darius Slayton (NYG, 4%) — Slayton stepped into the #2 offensive role in Week 6 against the Patriots with Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Saquon Barkley each missing. He did finish second in targets behind Golden Tate, but he could manage only 3/32 receiving in the coverage of Stephon Gilmore. Engram, Shepard, and Barkley could all be back in Week 7 against the Cardinals to sink his fantasy value, but he’s still an emerging rookie WR to keep an eye on. Slayton will primarily be the lid-lifter for this offense with his 4.39 speed.
Demaryius Thomas (NYJ, 4%) — Thomas has worked his way into low-end consideration with consecutive games with four catches, including a 4/62 receiving performance against the Cowboys in Week 6 in Sam Darnold’s first game back — he played on 81% of the snaps as the clear #3 WR Thomas will likely be the #5 option in this offense once Chris Herndon (hamstring) returns to the fold, but Thomas can be considered as a deep flex option for as long as Herndon is out of the lineup.
Jakobi Meyers (NE, 1%) — Meyers could have a healthy role again this week if Philip Dorsett (hamstring) and/or Josh Gordon (knee) can’t play in Week 7. It looks like they should play early in the week but the Patriots aren’t going to push either of them since they’re always keeping an eye toward the postseason. Meyers posted a respectable 4/54 receiving on just four targets against the Giants in Week 6 while playing 70% of the snaps.
Zay Jones (Oak, 4%) — I’ve never been a fan of Jones but he should get a chance to play in Oakland because of their disastrously bad WR depth chart. He should line up opposite of Tyrell Williams eventually especially after the Raiders released J.J. Nelson during their bye week. Jones owns a pathetic 46.4% career catch rate and he’s averaging just 11.5 YPR in three season so he’s a longshot to suddenly become a revitalized player right away in Oakland, but a change of scenery may at least help him to become relevant.
Cole Beasley (Buf, 15%) — Josh Allen is going to chuck it deep to John Brown or he’s going throw it underneath to his safety-valve Beasley. The former Cowboys slot WR had seen 9+ targets in three of his first four games before posting just 3/21 receiving on three targets against the Titans in Week 5. Beasley provides a solid PPR floor but he’s not going to offer much of a weekly ceiling since he has 23 career TDs in 107 games.
Keke Coutee (Hou, 18%) — Coutee has some life again with Kenny Stills missing game because of a hamstring injury. Coutee posted 4/39 receiving on six targets against the Chiefs with Stills out of the lineup again in Week 6. Stills did practice on a limited basis last week so he could be back in Week 7, but Coutee could be more active in the coming weeks in PPR formats.
Best Options if Available: Hunter Henry (LAC, 63%), T.J. Hockenson (Det, 64%), Jason Witten (Dal, 60%)
Chris Herndon (NYJ, 27%) — Herndon was first eligible to return off his four-game suspension in Week 6 but he unfortunately picked up a hamstring injury before his return. The Jets ended up not activating Herndon before their Week 6 contest against the Cowboys and it’s also looking like he could miss this week against the Patriots. When he’s finally healthy enough to play, Herndon has top-12 potential at the position over the rest of the season. If you lost Will Dissly this past week, Herndon is worth a stash even if he can’t help you this week.
Ricky Seals-Jones (Cle, 3%) — RSJ is loaded with receiving potential but he’s consistently underwhelmed when given opportunities to play. Well, he’s back in another good spot with the Browns after David Njoku landed on injured reserve. He exploded in Week 4 by posting 3/82/1 receiving and he emerged again in Week 6 with 3/47/1 against the Seahawks. Most importantly, RSJ saw his snap share rocket upward in Week 6, playing 68% of the snaps last week after averaging 31% in Weeks 4-5. RSJ is likely to go back to disappointing but he’s worth a look if you’re really digging deep just in case he figures things out in Cleveland. He’s made some plays over the last three weeks so they could look to integrate him into the offense more over their bye week.
Dawson Knox (Buf, 8%) — Knox strung together two good performances in Week 3-4 to put himself on the streaming radar but he came back to earth in Week 5. He managed just 2/12 receiving on five targets while playing 72% of the snaps against the Titans as he saw fellow TE Lee Smith vulture a TD from him. Knox impressed at the Combine by posting a 4.58 forty and a 34.5-inch vertical at 6’4”, 254 pounds. The Bills are desperate for a third-receiving option behind John Brown and Cole Beasley and it’s possible Knox could be developing into that guy for Josh Allen.
Jack Doyle (Ind, 19%) — Doyle has shown a pulse in the last three weeks, catching 11 passes in that span but for just 87 yards and a touchdown. He caught all three of his targets for 19 yards while playing 72% of the snaps against the Chiefs in Week 5. He’s not an ideal option since he splits the tight end workload with Eric Ebron, and the Colts have been a run-heavy squad with their O-line dominating in the trenches.
Mike Gesicki (Mia, 1%) — Gesicki has been a massive disappointment as a 2018 second-round pick but it’s in the Dolphins’ best interests to let Gesicki play to see what they’ve got going forward. He had his best game of his second-season with 3/51 receiving on seven targets against the Redskins. The good news is that the Dolphins will be playing in a lot of garbage-time situations but, unfortunately, this passing game has looked anemic in all situations so far this season.
Buffalo Bills (vs. Mia, 61%), San Francisco 49ers (at Was, 64%), Green Bay Packers (vs. Oak, 51%), Jacksonville Jaguars (at Cin, 64%), Seattle Seahawks (vs. Bal, 53%), New Orleans Saints (at Chi, 60%)
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