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The Waiver Wizard Week 7
The Waiver Wizard - Week 7
With Halloween right around the corner and in celebration of just watching an all-time holiday great movie “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” with my three children, I wanted to theme the Waiver Wizard this week after Charles Shulz’s wonderful creations.
Akin to Lucy pulling away the football from Charlie at the last second after promising over and over again that she wouldn’t do it this time, Fantasy managers were dealt a bait and switch in Week 6, between stars coming up short in layup matchups, folks being booted from survivor pools due to a litany of upsets, and another unprecedented amount of injuries to core roster players.
Injuries do lead to alternative opportunities, which is why I’m here. Some stars have direct handcuffs that are worth mentioning that will be thrust into the limelight, and others we will need to comb through depth charts for. Which options could crack your lineup in Week 7 with the Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans all on bye? Lets find out.
Sam Howell (19 percent rostered) – Howell returns to the column this week after he finished as a top-5 option in Week 6. Still widely available in the majority of standard-size formats, Howell is presented with an incredibly juicy opportunity in Week 7 against the cellar-dwelling New York Giants of the NFC East. Howell passed for multiple touchdowns for the second straight week, and only has one turnover since Week 3. Meanwhile, the Giants allow the fifth-highest YPA to QBs (7.3), and have a difficult time generating turnovers. Additionally, New York has the fewest sacks in the league through six weeks with just 5, allowing Howell plenty of time to progress through his reads. Expect a QB1 finish for him.
FAAB: Howell is worth a $5-7 investment in standard-size formats as a high-end streaming option during the bye weeks, with long-term upside to become a top-15 option at the position each week.
Brian Hoyer/Aidan O’Connell (0 percent rostered) – Jimmy Garoppolo was forced from Week 6 due to a back injury, and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation after departing in the second quarter. With Aidan O’Connell inactive, Hoyer stepped in, completing 6-of-10 passes for 102 yards against New England. Given the team’s decision to declare O’Connell inactive last week, I’d assume that Hoyer would be the one to see a spot start should Garoppolo miss time, but keep an eye on practice reports to see who rises up the pecking order. Their inclusion in this column isn’t so much predicated upon talent, but rather the upcoming matchup against the Chicago Bears in Week 7. Pick a statistic on defense, and the Bears are likely in the bottom-5. They allow a 70.3 percent completion rate, have surrendered the third-most passing yards in the league (1,604) and the second-highest number of passing touchdowns (13) while generating just 3 interceptions. Whoever starts for Las Vegas shouldn’t have an issue peppering Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers with wide-open targets.
FAAB: Hoyer and O’Connell are both worth a minimum bid in a juicy spot start against Chicago, for managers who are dealing with bye-week issues. Don’t expect this to be a long-term pickup.
Elijah Mitchell (26 percent rostered) – Even though Jordan Mason is sure to be the headline on plenty of waiver-wire columns this week, I refuse to make the same mistake as with the Arizona Cardinals, endorsing the third-string Emari Demercado over the incumbent Keaontay Ingram or Damien Williams instead. Mitchell is more talented than Mason, and his minimal usage last week can be chalked up to San Francisco easing him back into action after his knee injury. Fantasy managers who have kept an eye on Mithcell since entering the league in 2021 have seen him succeed when afforded the opportunity – health has always been his biggest obstacle. Mithcell has rushed for nearly 5.0 YPC over his career, and is set to square off against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7. Both 49ers option will be entirely dependent upon the injury news on Christian McCaffrey, who departed multiple times after suffering oblique and rib injuries. The team will benefit from having one additional day of rest as they are the upcoming Monday Night game, so this could come down to a game-time decision.
FAAB: Mitchell is worth a $7-10 investment, as both a short-term start if McCaffrey were to miss time, and upside handcuff for the remainder of the season on a potent San Francisco offense.
Salvon Ahmed/Jeff Wilson (10 percent/50 percent rostered) – With electric rookie De’Von Achane placed on IR while dealing with a knee injury, the Miami Dolphins opened up Jeff Wilson’s 21-day return window and slid Ahmed into Achane’s role Sunday. On six attempts, Ahmed rushed for 23 yards and a touchdown, contributing three receptions for 11 yards as well. The Dolphins are fortunate to have an embarrassment of riches in the backfield, and as long as Ahmed is given opportunities within this role, he will have fringe FLEX value in PPR formats. Should Wilson Jr. be activated prior to the start of the team’s epic Week 7 showdown against Philadelphia, Fantasy managers can pivot away instead, unless he is somehow available in a shallower format.
FAAB: Ahmed is worth a $3-5 investment, in the off chance that Wilson Jr. takes another week to be activated from the IR. Keep an eye on beat reporter rumblings on this one, as whoever backs up Raheem Mostert deserves to be rostered.
Wan’Dale Robinson (5 percent rostered) – I’ve discussed Robinson in depth with Bob Harris and Mike Dempsey on my Sirius XM Monday Night segment, but I’ll jot my thoughts down quickly here in case you missed my commentary: add Robinson. He has five or more receptions in each of the past three weeks, and as his snap share has risen, he has quickly become the WR1 for the New York Giants, over Isaiah Hodghins and Parris Campbell. Robinson has an 88 percent catch rate, and is the team’s quick-trigger outlet when the quarterback is under duress (which is essentially every single play). He has completely overtaken Campbell as the top slot option, and is one of the few skill players that can be safely rostered from Big Blue. Even though I’m a self-admitted Giants homer, Robinson does carry a double-digit floor each week in PPR formats, and I expect his roster percentage to dramatically rise following another strong showing against Buffalo.
FAAB: Robinson is worth a $10-15 investment in PPR formats as a WR3 with upside, and is the Giants primary outlet on third downs and quick passes. He is incredibly relevant during the bye weeks and is a strong add.
Curtis Samuel (25 percent rostered) – Since Week 4, Samuel has topped the 14-point mark in PPR formats each week, and has a combined 17 receptions for 158 yards and multiple scores during that stretch. The clear WR2 to roster in Washington, Samuel has surpassed Jahan Dotson on the depth chart, and is a clear favorite of Sam Howell’s. Samuel will capitalize against a weak New York Giants secondary in Week 7, and it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see him find the end zone for the third consecutive week. His versatility and ability to make defenders miss in space is a major asset to Washington, and they would do well to get the ball in his hands frequently as a 1B compliment to Terry McLaurin.
FAAB: Samuel is worth a $5-7 investment as a WR3/FLEX start the next several weeks, with Washington featuring him all over the field.
Michael Mayer (2 percent rostered) – Mayer had a breakout performance in Las Vegas’ victory over New England this past weekend, securing 5-of-6 targets for 75 yards – placing him as a top-5 option at the position this week currently. Drafted in the second round this year, Mayer hails from “tight end university” Notre Dame, and he has a similar skillset to several Domers who have preceded him, in Kyle Rudolph and Mike Gesicki. Mayer is an adept blocker and sure-handed option that isn’t particularly flashy, but constantly finds holes in zone defense, with a knack of stretching the seam and being faster than one might think. Las Vegas has begun to shift into a pass-first team after struggling to run the ball all season, and it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see Mayer start cracking the TE1 ranks in short order.
FAAB: Mayer is worth a $5-7 investment in an otherwise thin position, with additional relevance during the next several bye weeks.
Trey McBride (1 percent rostered) – Consider McBride’s inclusion here a long-term play, for managers who have a roster spot to burn. Hear me out on this one. Arizona is going nowhere soon – that shouldn’t be a major surprise to anyone who has paid attention since March. I fully expect the team to be strong sellers at the trade deadline, and it would make a ton of sense for them to deal Zach Ertz to another squad looking for help at the position. McBride is an exceptional talent who ranked as my top-player at the position from last year’s NFL Draft – he just hasn’t been afforded the opportunity yet. This past week he caught 4-of-5 passes for 62 yards in a losing effort against the Los Angeles Rams, a trend that I expect to continue. Get ahead of the curve and add him now, being patient when possible. The talent is there.
FAAB: McBride is worth a minimum investment that could pay dividends down the stretch. Arizona will need to throw the ball to stay relevant, and McBride would be a fringe TE1 should Ertz be traded.