Week seven of the National Football League is in the books. And with that, football fans are looking towards the fantasy football waiver wire to see if their team can be improved in any way. And at this point, it’s probably time to cut bait with some of the names near and dear to your heart, because the fantasy football playoffs are quickly approaching.
Before we get to this week’s potential waiver wire pickups, it’s important to note that I WOULD spend my first waiver priority on a few players from the list below. Also, players listed below are in no particular order, so be sure to read them all.
Just mentioning these names because they’re owned in less than 60% of Y! leagues. Both McKinnon and Hillman graduated from this column a few weeks ago, but if by chance they’re still available in your leagues, they need to be your first priority. McKinnon is getting the the bulk of carries in Minnesota and they have a few beneficial matchups for ball carriers in the next few weeks (Green Bay and Carolina). He eclipsed the 100-yard mark in week seven on 19 carries, averaged 5.4 yards per rush and caused defenders to miss four tackles.
Hillman ran the rock 14 times for 74 yards (5.3 yards/carry) and found the end zone twice against the 49ers on Sunday. He also added four receptions on four targets for 29 yards out of the backfield for the Broncos. Hillman did this to a San Francisco 49ers defense that was the fourth toughest to opposing fake running backs heading into week seven. And while the lack of Patrick Willis likely aided Hillman’s fortune, he earned more fantasy points against the Niners than DeMarco Murray, Andre Ellington, Matt Forte or Jamaal Charles did so far this season. Parlay this with the fact that Montee Ball may not return soon (or healthy) enough to make a fake impact for teams this season and Hillman’s stock should tick upwards even more.
Tre Mason | Rams
Benny Cunningham earned the start for the Rams on Sunday. Zac Stacy saw the field for just one snap. So it was Tre Mason that earned the lion’s share of carries (18) against the Seahawks’ stout defense. He tallied 85 yards and a touchdown, averaging an impressive 4.7 yards per carry and broke a 20+ yard dash for the second consecutive week. The rookie out of Auburn only has one target out of the backfield through weeks six and seven, making him a more interesting target in standard formats. The Rams get the Chiefs, 49ers, Cardinals and the Broncos in the next four weeks, which is not exactly appealing for fantasy owners.
Both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller went down with injuries in week seven. While Jackson’s injury could sideline him for about four weeks, Spiller’s broken collarbone could keep him on the shelf for the remainder of the season. In their absence, Dixon saw the work out of the backfield — 13 carries for 51 yards and three catches for 15 yards — but that’s because Bryce Brown was inactive for the seventh consecutive week. Brown did see some action in the preseason — yes, I said preseason — in five games. He ran the rock 33 times for 148 yards (4.5 yards per carry), but failed to get into the end zone. In 2013, Brown averaged 4.2 yards per carry on 75 attempts and 4.9 yards per carry on 115 carries in 2012. Dixon is typically active due to his expanded special teams role, but now could be the bruiser/goal line back for the Bills with the starting duo on the mend. But I think Brown is more of a home run hitter than Dixon, and therefore, the better waiver wire addition until FJax comes back. If you’re a Spiller or Jackson owner and Hillman or McKinnon are already spoken for, consider Bryce Brown with your top waiver priority.
Doug Baldwin | Seahawks
The ‘Hawks shipped off Percy Harvin on Friday, clearing way for Doug Baldwin to take on a larger role in Seattle’s passing game. Russell Wilson looked Baldwin’s way nine times on Sunday — a season-high for the former Stanford Cardinal — and he hauled in seven of those targets for 123 yards and a score. Although this week’s performance was just Baldwin’s third career 100-yard receiving game, he should continue to get a significant percentage of the team’s targets going forward. For those in deeper leagues, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson and Cooper Heifert make for some interesting waiver wire targets as well.
Denard Robinson | Jaguars
Another week, another Jaguars’ ball carrier makes the waiver wire list. This week it’s former Michigan quarterback, Denard Robinson. Robinson converted to a skill position once drafted in 2013. He was listed as a wide receiver, athlete and now as a running back. He started week seven as the featured back and carried the ball 22 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. The 127 yards Robinson ran for this week is the most the Cleveland Browns have surrendered through seven weeks (they allowed just 106 yards in week one to Le’Veon Bell). Although he failed to bring in the only target thrown his way this week, Robinson has caught 11-of-12 targets on the year.
Stepfan Taylor and Travaris Cadet look like deeper waiver wire targets at the running back position. Taylor carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards and found the end zone on Sunday against the Raiders. Cadet hauled in 6-of-9 targets for 51 yards against a tough Detroit defense in a Saints’ loss in week seven. He deserves a look in PPR formats. As noted above, both Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson could make a deep league impact without Percy Harvin in Seattle. Steelers’ wide receiver Martavis Bryant caught two passes for 40 yards and a score on Monday Night Football against the Texans. Bryant is physical specimen at 6’4” that may get some more looks going forward when teams choose to double up Antonio Brown. Clay Harbor and Jace Amaro are two tight ends that could make sense for owners as we enter the bigger bye weeks. Harbor gets the Cowboys in week 10, who are notoriously generous to opposing fake tight ends.