It's Halloween season, so I'm going to scare you the best way I know how: your fantasy season is about halfway over.
Frightened? Probably depends whether you started Shonn Greene or Aaron Rodgers this past weekend. But with most leagues starting their playoffs in either week 13 or 14, time is slowly running out to put your team back on track.
Luckily, we're once again here to help. These guys can all be solid contributors to your team moving forward if you have the space. And as a (general) rule, I only include guys who are owned in less than half of ESPN leagues. So if you play with fantasy owners who would let Denarius Moore or his ilk go, proceed directly to Go and collect your $200.
Top 6 Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups for Week 7
RB William Powell - Arizona Cardinals
Week 6 Fantasy Points: 7
Leagues Owned: 3.1%
Well, to be fair, I wasn't wrong when I said that La'Rod Stephens-Howling would get the first crack at being the Cardinals' new starter. Over the first four Cardinals drives of the game, Stephens-Howling had six carries while Powell only had one. The problem was, if Stephens-Howling was trying to actually keep the job, he might have wanted to be, you know, moderately effective. On those first four Arizona drives, the Bills had more points from a safety (two) than Arizona did first downs (one). Cue William Powell's music.
Although he only had three carries total this season before the game, Powell showed he truly can be a starting-caliber back. After replacing LSH as the featured back with 10:25 left in the second quarter, Powell would have 12 carries for 69 yards for the rest of the game, giving him a total of 70. Those 70 yards shockingly placed him 12th among all running backs for week 6, and his 5.4 yards per carry finished fifth among all backs with at least 10 carries.
But will he do that every week? The downside to Powell is that the schedule gets much tougher than the Bills' #31 ranked opponent-adjusted defense. Arizona's next three opponents - Minnesota, San Francisco, and Green Bay - each have defenses in the top 20 of the league according to numberFire's rankings. However, the more Powell looks like he will be receiving the majority of the carries, the more I want him on my team going forward.
RB Felix Jones - Dallas Cowboys
Week 6 Fantasy Points: 16
Leagues Owned: 51.3%
I'm once again breaking my own rules here and including a player owned in at least half of ESPN leagues. But if you're in an active league, it's worth a look to see whether some unfortunate, overeager soul has already dropped Jones this season. Because now, lo and behold, the man has value once again.
Starter DeMarco Murray underwent an MRI on Monday morning, and the Cowboys give him a week-to-week prognosis for the future. At the very least, a walking boot is typically not a good sign for a running back. That means Jones jumps from "Haha, five fantasy points in four weeks" to "Give me him NOW!" He has the highest upside of the waiver players for a week 7 bye week filer, without a doubt.
Do I see him getting to 16 fantasy points every game as a starter? No, touchdowns are never a guarantee. Am I somewhat worried about a timeshare? Yes, especially when you look at the nine carries Phillip Tanner received on Sunday. But the immediate schedule shapes up nicely, with two not-as-tough defenses in Carolina and the Giants (remember, Murray had over 100 yards against them week 1) in the next two weeks. If the Cowboys stay anywhere near the 54% running plays they had against the Ravens, Jones should be adequate.
RB Alex Green - Green Bay Packers
Week 6 Fantasy Points: 6
Leagues Owned: 28.4%
Hesitantly pass on him last week? If somebody else hasn't already taken advantage of your misfortune, don't make the same mistake twice. Out of last week's RB injury replacements, Green looks like the best option for getting you those sweet, sweet fantasy points.
Green finished week 6 as one of five running backs with over 20 carries on the week, but that was to be somewhat expected with how quick Green Bay jumped down the Texans' throats. The number that interests me more is 76: the percentage of handoffs that went to Green rather than Starks or Kuhn on Sunday night. Green has undoubtedly established himself as the lead back in Packers' land, and if Cedric Benson's three games of at least 17 carries wasn't already an indication, he should see plenty of touches.
The schedule is still tough; Green Bay faces two top ten defenses in the next three weeks in St. Louis and Arizona, with Jacksonville sandwiched in between. If they jump out to an early lead similar to their one against previously #1 defense Houston, though, Green should be fine. And past Green Bay's week 10 bye, they only play one top ten defense (Chicago - week 15) the rest of the way.
RBs You Won't See:
Montario Hardesty: His value is entirely dependent on Trent Richardson's day-to-day status, and even then, he's a one-week-wonder if he starts.
Baron Batch: Is Ricky Williams next in line for Pittsburgh lead-back duties?
Daryl Richardson: Love him as a handcuff, not as a starting fantasy (see: workhorse) back.
WR Donnie Avery - Indianapolis Colts
Week 6 Fantasy Points: 6
Leagues Owned: 7.4%
Ready to buy low? There's a Donnie Avery on sale, fresh off eight combined fantasy points since week 3, and he can be yours for the low price of dropping that useless backup (here's looking at you, Titus Young!) off your bench.
But why should you want Avery? I'm sure I can think of a few good reasons. Why would you want a player who has averaged 10 targets per game the last two weeks since Austin Collie was knocked out for the year, anyway? His eight targets in week 5 might not look that impressive when compared to Reggie Wayne's massive 20 target number. But this week, when Andrew Luck struggled, he looked the Avery more than any other receiver. His 12 targets were the most on the team (Wayne had 10), represented 29% of Luck's total throws, and were sixth among all NFL receivers in week 6.
As long as the Colts keep throwing the ball with reckless abandon, Avery will get his shots. Luck threw the ball 44 times on Sunday; 72% of Indianapolis's offensive plays were passing. That number sounds high, and it may be considering the Colts were trailing most of the game. But this season, the Colts have thrown the ball on 65% of their offensive plays, one of the highest proportions in the league. Luck is also second in the league behind Drew Brees with 44.2 passing attempts per game.
WR Kendall Wright - Tennessee Titans
Week 6 Fantasy Points: 7
Leagues Owned: 13.2%
Oh, hey look guys, Kendall Wright led the Titans in both receptions and receiving yards against the Steelers! I've never seen anything more surprising to me in my life. His catch rate is now up to 63.4%; neither Nate Washington nor Kenny Britt are above 50%. Oh, and because I apparently haven't stressed this in this space enough, he's a rookie.
Fine, I'll be fair and give the (extremely small) downside: he did not finish in the top two in Titans targets for the first time since week 1. He was third, three targets behind Britt for the team lead. This now moves his team lead to only 16 targets more than Nate Washington. And before you get up in arms about Britt's time missed, he has the supposed #1 receiver outpaced in targets per game too: Wright has 8.7 per game while Britt only has 7.3.
And before I forget to mention it: the Titans' next three games are against the Bills and Colts. Those two teams are in the bottom four opponent-adjusted defenses in numberFire's rankings. For those concerned about Wright's lack of TD prowess, I promise to never write his name in this space again if he does not have a TD one of the next two weeks.
WR Brandon Gibson - St. Louis Rams
Week 6 Fantasy Points: 9
Leagues Owned: 24.8%
I did not put Brandon Gibson on last week's list, and I left him off for a reason: last week's waiver wire was one of the best we've seen for receivers all season, and Gibson had shown absolutely nothing of worth through the first five weeks. His catch rate was floundering at 56%, he had a combined six FP over his past three weeks, and he hadn't hit 60 yards receiving the entire year despite starting every single game. Then, this past week, he goes off for 91 yards against the Dolphins. Have to love that timing, right?
If I had to write last week's article all over again, I would change absolutely nothing.
Gibson is this week's #3 receiving pickup almost by default. When only five receivers have over seven catches on the week, there aren't many places to turn. I'm not a fan of Gibson's - or by extension the entire Rams passing attack now that Amendola's gone - in the least. Despite Bradford's most passing yards since Week 10, 2011, Gibson only finished with less than 100 yards receiving, 24% of Bradford's throws (good, but not astonishing), and single-digit fantasy points. I also refuse to see Gibson as a touchdown threat; Bradford only threw his way once inside Miami's 30 yard line, and it was an incompletion.
The Rams have a schedule conducive to a lot of passing the next two weeks, both in the "weak secondary" and the "playing from behind" departments when they take on the Packers and Patriots. If Gibson's ever going to get points, these will be the weeks (thus his inclusion on this list). But my trepidation could not be more evident.
WRs You Won't See:
Josh Gordon: Still like him as a sleeper, but only four targets worries me.
Jeremy Kerley: Had him as a pickup last week, and he would probably be the next guy on the list. However, a sample size of 18 Sanchez throws is too small to tell me anything definitive.
Michael Jenkins: Remember, Jerome Simpson was out this week and looks to be healthy entering week 7.
Who I would pick up this week, in order (with auction waiver $, assuming a $100 spending limit)
1. Green ($7)
2. Powell ($6)
3. Jones ($5)
4. Wright ($4)
5. Gibson ($3)
6. Avery ($2)