The Waiver Wire Wizard Week 7 2021
Does anyone else get a visual image of Bob Harris riding a horse while wearing a trifold hat screaming "THE BYE WEEKS ARE COMING! THE BYE WEEKS ARE COMING!" when that commercial comes on Sirius XM? He's the next incarnation of Paul Revere, don't you know. Perhaps it is just me, who knows.
Regardless, the bye weeks are here and in full force, and none appear more detrimental than Week 7. Buffalo, Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Pittsburgh are all on hiatus, which means that there is a solid chance you're dipping into your bench depth or looking for help on the waiver wire. Luckily, there are plenty of options that are still widely available that will have an immediate impact upon lineups, all of which I'll highlight below. When relevant, I'll indicate how aggressive I'd be on bidding with FAAB to acquire a player, along with my thoughts on how relevant they will be for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
I had concerns regarding the health status of Kyler Murray for his contest against Cleveland, knowing that he was nursing an injury to his throwing shoulder - the same sort of malady that greatly capped his upside a season ago. Fortunately, it appears that Murray came away unscathed in their victory. Murray tossed four touchdowns, though it did appear that he was hesitant to take off running when lanes were open and available. He can still be a QB1 on his arm talent alone, but to climb back into the MVP discussion he needs to use his legs each week.
Dak Prescott went absolutely ballistic against New England, walking off into the evening with a touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb. This was already the second time this season Prescott has thrown for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns in a game. Unreal. Prescott did finish the game with a strained right calf (the injury du jour of the week), but he isn't expected to miss any time after Dallas returns from their bye week.
Jalen Hurts continues to befuddle me - he frequently misses throws that most quarterbacks would consider routine, yet salvages his entire week in the fourth quarter by racking up rushing yards in garbage time. Getting Lane Johnson back in front of him will help from a protection standpoint, but I'd really like to see him develop as a pocket passer. The loss of Zach Ertz shouldn't go ignored - he was one of his favorite safety outlets.
Baker Mayfield was under constant duress against Arizona, and he left the field after reinjuring his left shoulder. He was seen at the conclusion of the game in a sling, and made the comment that he felt terrible. Mayfield is likely to try and tough-it-out against Denver on Thursday Night, but not having the additional days of rest coupled with injuries in the backfield make the Broncos an interesting streaming option at DST.
A popular streaming option this week, Taylor Heinicke came up short against the Kansas City Chiefs, failing to capitalize on a primo matchup against a sieve defense. Heinicke completed 24 of 39 passing attempts for just 182 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. Fitzpatrick has a chance to return in Week 7, resulting in Heinicke riding the pine.
I received plenty of tweets in the first few weeks of the season about Sam Darnold, stating that my negative outlook on him was unjustified, and finding greener pastures in Carolina was the cure to his prior ineptitude. Well then. Not so much.
The biggest story of Week 6 at the position has to be the calf injury that Kareem Hunt suffered against Arizona, and how Cleveland's backfield will shake out. Initially speculated to be an Achilles tear, Hunt thankfully suffered a somewhat less significant issue, and early reports have him missing the following 4-6 weeks. All eyes are now on Nick Chubb to see if he can return on a short week, or be forced to miss yet another game. Head coach Kevin Stefanski was non-committal about which players would or wouldn't be available on Thursday, and to make matters more complicated, Chubb didn't practice on Monday. Should both Hunt and Chubb be sidelined, third-year pro D'Ernest Johnson would get the start, with Demetric Felton operating as the pass-catching specialist. Johnson will be the top waiver-wire add for Week 7, even though his stint as the starter will likely be short-lived. Fantasy players should spend 15-20 percent of their budget to acquire Johnson if he ends up the starter, but should understand that this would be a one-week rental. Don't go crazy.
Hopefully everyone paid attention to my public endorsement of Alex Collins in prior columns. Collins became an instant low-end RB2 following the IR designation of Chris Carson, and he responded in kind with a 100-yard effort against Pittsburgh. In an extremely physical contest, Collins rushed for 100 yards and found the end zone - this proves to me he's capable of a start regardless of the opponent. Collins failed to finish overtime for Seattle as he nursed hip and glute injuries. Pete Carroll didn't make it seem like a giant issue during his press conference on Monday, but we all known not to trust anything he says at this point. If Collins is able to lace up against New Orleans on Monday night he will remain a volume-based RB2, given the number of players on bye. If his injuries are more severe than we know, Rashaad Penny would split carries with DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer. Penny is worth throwing a few dollars at in FAAB, but his lengthy injury history and competition in the backfield are worrisome. I still believe Collins is the starter, even when Penny returns.
I continue to be impressed every week with Javonte Williams, and feel that he is an incredibly special talent. Even with Denver being reluctant (for reasons unknown) of giving Williams his due over Melvin Gordon, he is more productive with fewer touches. His time is coming, and Denver has an absurdly easy playoff stretch for Fantasy purposes.
Antonio Gibson left Sunday's game as he dealt with discomfort from his shin injury, and later underwent an MRI to determine the extent of an additional problems. Gibson has managed to be productive, even when clearly playing at less than 100 percent. Barring a setback I'd still plan on Gibson being active in Week 7, but I will admit that his routine of missing practices and pegged with questionable tags is frustrating. Jaret Patterson is the immediate backup in Washington, and he would assume early-down work if Gibson falters. It is worth throwing a 5 percent bid on Patterson in 12-team or larger formats, as it is better to be ahead of the curve if (or when) Gibson sits.
Jonathan Taylor is a really special player. Period. Carson Wentz resurrection has made defenses not focus on loading the box, allowing for open holes in the running and passing game.
He's likely already owned, but Rhamondre Stevenson is a key player to add if available in 12-team or larger leagues. He's begun to siphon snaps away from both Brandon Bolden and Damien Harris, and has started to cut out a major role in the offense. Add him for a few bucks before it is too late.
From a Fantasy standpoint, Cooper Kupp has to be one of the best return-on-investment players this year. Drafted as a mid-range WR2, Kupp has scored the most Fantasy points at the wide receiver position through Week 6. Yes, Robert Woods will occasionally complain until he has a bevy of squeaked-wheel targets, but Kupp is clearly the receiver to own in Los Angeles. Hope you own him!
Donovan Peoples-Jones was a training camp standout that generated a fair share of buzz entering draft season, and he flashed in a big way when Odell Beckham Jr. sat on the sidelines with an injury. Yes, people will be quick to point out that the majority of his statistics came on a fluke Hail Mary play - I get it. His mentioning here is a result of my eyes dissecting each of his snaps. His big-bodied frame is still plenty elusive, and he seems much more explosive downfield than OBJ - a sentence that I never thought I'd type. The return of Jarvis Landy limits his upside as a weekly play, but "DPJ" has really caught my eye. Keep him on your watch list.
Both as a New York Giants Fan and Fantasy writer, I was livid that Kadarius Toney aggravated his ankle injury and was forced to miss the game against Los Angeles. He's freakishly talented and electric. In shallower formats - if his manager ends up dropping him as a knee-jerk reaction, I'd grab him immediately. Sterling Shepard will continue to see a barrage of targets from Daniel Jones if Toney/Golladay/Slayton remain out.
D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett owners - that noise you hear is the sinking ship of their value. Russell Wilson's absence cannot be understated here. It is killing them. Geno Smith has a major reluctance to either be decisive with his throws or aggressive. Sell.
Terry McLaurin was able to start against Kansas City, though it was clear he wasn't at full health. McLaurin was questionable entering the contest after pulling his hamstring in practice late in the week, but he experienced no further setbacks at gametime. Even though he wasn't particularly effective this game, it was good to see this injury isn't long-term. He remains a strong WR1 for my rest-of-season rankings.
Noah Fant has a clear connection with Teddy Bridgewater, and Sunday marked the third time this season that Fant has seen at least 8 targets. The biggest benefactor of Denver playing from behind all day, most of Fant's 9/97/1 game came in the fourth quarter. He will continue to fall just outside of the top-5 at the position in my rankings most weeks.
Travis Kelce suffered an arm injury in the second half and was examined by team doctors before returning to the game. Falling just one yard short of the century-mark, Kelce continues to see a prolific amount of looks from Patrick Mahomes. He seems fine, thankfully.
Ricky Seals-Jones as a streaming option? Apparently so. The benefactor of 15 targets the last two weeks, "RSJ" hauled in a 39-yard touchdown against Kansas City, he will be a streaming option through bye weeks with Logan Thomas on IR.
Where the heck are the targets for Darren Waller? After seeing 19 looks in Week 1, Waller has seven or fewer glances from Derek Carr in four of the past five games. It makes sense for Las Vegas to will an alternative target into existence, but at this point it is detrimental. Waller is still a lock for double-digit points in PPR formats each week, but his managers drafted him with higher expectations.