Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 7

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve just that.

The following offers suggestions for players to pick up now (who are currently under 50% rostered) so that that you won’t need to use a high waiver claim or spend a significant amount of free agent acquisition budget (FAB) on them next week.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

ESPN Roster Percentage: 26.6%

DeSean Jackson is likely to play in this week’s Thursday Night game against the New York Giants, which would be his first on-field action since Week 3. Jackson is averaging only 5.7 half-PPR points per game this year and has played in just six games since the start of last season -- but there’s little doubt that he’s a big play waiting to happen, considering his career 17.3 yards per reception is among the best in NFL history.

Jackson is worth adding to rosters now ahead of his probable return on Thursday night, as he will face the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8. Dallas ranks inside the top-16 in targets and receptions allowed to receivers this season, but they're in the bottom-five in yards, touchdowns and half-PPR points allowed. The Cowboys have given up the ninth-highest rate of explosive pass plays (9%, per Sharp Football Stats), and just saw DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk each haul in receptions of 60-plus yards last week.

Again, Jackson is far from a sure thing, but considering Philadelphia's woeful lack of pass-catchers due to a myriad of injuries, D-Jax could see enough opportunity to return to fantasy relevance, especially in Week 8 against Dallas.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers

ESPN Roster Percentage: 22.7%

Another deep option to consider for those lacking receiver depth is Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Because Davante Adams missed two games with a hamstring injury, Valdes-Scantling actually leads Green Bay Packers wideouts in offensive snap share. He has a 91% snap share over the last three games, which would rank seventh among all wide receivers for the season.

Valdes-Scantling hasn’t turned his usage into production, as he’s caught just eight balls across the past three games, but that could change in Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings -- especially considering that he smoked them for 96 yards and a touchdown on four catches in Week 1 this season. The Vikings have been susceptible to opposing receivers all year, as they rank bottom-five in targets, receptions, touchdowns and half-PPR points allowed.

Aaron Rodgers sits fifth in numberFire's Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back this season, while the Packers' offense ranks fourth by our numbers. Getting exposure to top offenses is never a bad idea for fantasy purposes, and Valdes-Scantling -- who is tied for the lead for targets in Green Bay this season -- is a cheap and viable option for Week 8 starting lineups.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers

ESPN Roster Percentage: 21.6%

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has had a slow start to 2020, as he currently ranks 29th in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks. Injuries have played a big part in that, though, as Garoppolo has missed two games due to an ankle injury and his main pass-catchers -- George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk -- have missed a combined six games through six weeks.

The Niners are at the New England Patriots this week, which is a difficult spot, but they take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8. Seattle is allowing the most passing yards per game this season and ranks bottom-five in net yards per pass attempt, numberFire’s Defensive Passing NEP per play, and fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

For those with Kyler Murray or Deshaun Watson (each of whom have Week 8 byes), Jimmy G is a smart look-ahead roster add for a pristine matchup versus the Seahawks.

JaMycal Hasty, RB, San Francisco 49ers

ESPN Roster Percentage: 1.6%

Undrafted rookie running back JaMycal Hasty took advantage of San Francisco’s injured backfield to rush nine times for 37 yards last week. Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman are both out indefinitely due to injuries, while Jeff Wilson and Jerick McKinnon are unlikely to see a majority of snaps soon due to their own injury concerns.

How large of a workload is Kyle Shanahan willing to give to such an inexperienced player? We'll have a better idea after this week's clash with New England. But it’s worth picking up Hasty now as a stash based on the success running backs have found under Shanahan. It’s likely that Hasty will be in a short-term committee with Wilson and McKinnon, but Mostert was also an undrafted free agent who broke out for the Niners, so crazier things have happened.

Considering the fragility and scarcity of fantasy running backs, as well as Shanahan’s running back-friendly scheme, Hasty is worth adding now. If Hasty handles a big workload in Week 7, he'd be a top waiver add ahead of Week 8, so you can beat your leaguemates to it by grabbing him now.