Apparently we used up all the waiver goodness for October on last week's wire. Both Kenneth Walker III and Deon Jackson finished as Top 10 fantasy backs. Heck, one could be excused for confusing Jackson for Jonathan (Taylor that is) on account of his week-high 28.1 fantasy points.
There is none of that on the Week 7 waiver wire. My deepest apologies to you, your fantasy teams, Kenyan Drake and Wan'Dale Robinson. Yes, these guys are worth a look, as are a few other names. But we're not finding a rest-of-season RB1 like we have with Walker (yeah, I'm that confident).
Still, bye weeks are about to hit different: Week 7 leaves us without the Bills, Rams, Vikings or Eagles. That means, incredibly, your 2022 WR1 (Cooper Kupp), WR2 (Stefon Diggs), WR3 (Justin Jefferson) and WR9 (A.J. Brown) are all out of commission. Not to mention the quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends from those squads.
We all need help and there's only once place to find it ... okay fine, you could also make some trades, but that's a different article.
To the wire!
(And if you want more guys, more explanations, or more answers, hit me up on Twitter @MattOkada!)
Rostered percentages are from NFL.com's fantasy football player trends. Players are roughly ordered by priority within position.
As it turns out, you can win Comeback Player of the Year as a rookie ... and Robinson has started building his case to do just that. Less than two months after being shot twice in an attempted armed robbery, the 23-year-old led the Commanders on Thursday Night Football with 17 carries, 60 rushing yards and his first career touchdown. Meanwhile, Antonio Gibson was relegated to 5 carries, 28% of the offensive snaps ... and special teams duties. So, while Robinson did not look particularly explosive and was not even targeted once in the game, he appears to be the clear-cut early-down guy for Washington. That’s not something we find on the wire often, so he’s a must-add -- but a low-priority must-add. given the lack of usage on passing downs and the general incompetence of the offense.
After multiple weeks on the periphery of this column, Jackson exploded for 121 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Jaguars (and caught all 10 of his targets) in the absence of both Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Fortunately for Taylor’s managers and unfortunately for everyone who snagged Jackson, we should expect JT to be back on the field next week against the Titans (he got in limited practice last week). That will relegate Jackson to a (very, very) high-value handcuff, which means he should not be your top priority (unless perhaps you roster Taylor). Still, if your bench is deep enough, there aren’t too many players with this kind of upside.
Let me be very clear. I think it’s just as likely that Drake has 20 fantasy points over the full balance of the 2022 season as it is that he logs another 20-point game. It took J.K. Dobbins exiting Sunday with tightness in his previously-injured knee for Drake to see significant work -- but boy, did he capitalize. Drake looked legitimately electric on several plays, including multiple 30-yard runs (one of which resulted in the Ravens’ first touchdown of the game). He finished with 119 yards on 10 carries (that’s 11.9 yards per carry if you’re math-averse) and may have earned himself some extra snaps in future contests. However, as soon as Dobbins’ knee clears up, Drake will slide back down to third in the Baltimore run game pecking order (at best). He’s basically Deon Jackson lite. Which is to say, add him if you have room, but don’t break the bank.
Offering up his best Bill Belichick impersonation, Arthur Smith is mixing up his running backs to an impressively frustrating degree with Cordarrelle Patterson on injured reserve for Atlanta. Allgeier led the room with 57% of snaps (to Caleb Huntley’s 36%), but they split carries 15 to 16, respectively, resulting in a forgettable fantasy day for both guys. In fact, quarterback Marcus Mariota was the highest-scoring Falcons rusher for fantasy, thanks to his 3-yard touchdown on the ground. Allgeier and Huntley are almost equally tenuous emergency adds at the position, though I lean Allgeier based solely on snap count.
Guys to 'Stache: Khalil Herbert has kind of established himself as catch-less Kareem Hunt. Which is to say, he's sometimes a FLEX-able secondary back with very attractive handcuff upside. Speaking of high-value handcuffs, Mark Ingram continues to produce as the backup to Alvin Kamara in New Orleans. He is the guy to roster in case of injury to Kamara. There are rumblings that Christian McCaffrey could be traded. If that occurs, D'Onta Foreman would be the guy for me and could have league-winning upside.
Somewhat quietly (outside of his mention in last week’s Guys to ‘Stache),Pierce has had 12-plus fantasy points in three straight games, scoring his first-career touchdown on Sunday. Even in a game where Michael Pittman, Deon Jackson and Parris Campbell combined for 37 targets, the Colts rookie managed to draw seven of his own (converting them into 49 yards and a TD). Importantly, I believe Pierce will typically out-target everyone but Pittman in this offense over the course of the season. That makes him a viable FLEX play in decent matchups for Matt Ryan and the Colts passing game (aka next week against the Titans, who’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers).
We’ve waited all season for someone to step up consistently in the Giants receiving corps and after Week 6 ... I mean, we’re still waiting. There have now been four different wideouts to lead the team in fantasy points in a given week this season, with Robinson joining the list on Sunday. With 14.2 fantasy points. On four targets. And 14 snaps. Do you see the problem here? We just haven’t seen anything close to consistent production from anyone in the New York WR room, which means there’s opportunity for the second-round rookie. I just have no confidence. Consider him a ‘stache that made his way into the main body of this article amidst a dearth of other options.
This is a public service announcement: Prior to his Week 6 bye, Reynolds had scored 12-plus fantasy points in four straight games and 15-plus in three straight. Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift are on the mend and will likely reduce Reynolds’ target share moving forward, but I’m still interested in productive pieces on this offense. Reynolds should be a FLEX-able option most weeks, especially with all the byes on the horizon.
Guys to 'Stache: Ask me if I trust Allen Robinson, or Matthew Stafford/Sean McVay to involve Robinson, and I will say "absolutely not." Nevertheless, Robinson had his best game as a Ram Sunday and the team has now won both games this season in which Cooper Kupp had fewer than 10 targets (turns out balance is a good thing). Chase Claypool had a shockingly efficient breakout in Week 6, catching all seven of his targets for 96 yards and a score. I still like Diontae Johnson and George Pickens more, but Claypool has at least thrown his hat in the ring. Tyquan Thornton earned a second-round draft pick by the Patriots on account of his blazing speed. In his second game as a rookie, and first with significant usage, Thornton cashed that speed in for 51 yards and a pair of scores (one by air, one by ground). He's an interesting dart throw.
Given the mess of untrustworthy options at the wide receiver position in Green Bay, it’s kind of surprising that it took this long for Aaron Rodgers to turn to his big tight end. Tonyan was a non-factor last season, but back in 2020 he scored 11 touchdowns and caught a mind-boggling 88% of his targets (52 catches on 59 targets). Out of nowhere, 2020 Tonyan re-appeared in Week 6, as he snagged 10 of 12 targets for 90 yards. I could see this performance leading to a relevant bump in attention from Mr. Rodgers moving forward, which could catapult Tonyan back into the TE1 conversation.
See everything I said about the Giants wide receivers in the Wan’Dale Robinson section above. Now enter a tight end that caught 5 of 5 targets for 38 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Meet fourth-round rookie Bellinger out of Georgia. In an offense where nothing beyond Saquon Barkley is reliable, Bellinger could end up being a half-decent streamer when needed. Just don’t expect the next Travis Kelce.
Guys to 'Stache: Noah Fant led the Seahawks with seven targets, six receptions and 45 yards on Sunday. That will not be a regular occurrence, but it's worth noting at least. As a long-time Mike Gesicki stan, it warmed my heart to see the Miami tight end put together a position-high 24.9 fantasy points in Week 6. He's still not back into the guaranteed-starter tier, but he should be rostered in the majority of leagues. On a Saints team wracked by injury, Juwan Johnson caught 4 of 6 targets for 41 yards. Taysom is the more exciting "tight end" on this team, but Juwan might be the more reliable one.
NOTE: Both of the quarterbacks mentioned above are likely to return in Week 7 and will immediately be must-start options if healthy.
ANOTHER NOTE: No one else eligible for a waiver pickup gives me confidence as a long-term add, so here is a list of streamers...
Ryan threw a baffling 58 times in Week 6 and turned the volume into an impressive 27 fantasy points. He gets the Titans in Week 7, who are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
Jimmy G finished Week 6 with two touchdowns and nearly 300 yards -- and two interceptions. Classic Jimmy. Still, he connected very well with all three of his top targets (Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk) and gets the Chiefs in Week 7 (sixth-most fantasy points per game allowed to QBs).
Mills has not had a single QB1 performance yet this season. Not inspiring, I’ll admit. But to that I say: Raiders. Las Vegas has allowed 25.2 fantasy points per game to the position, most in the NFL, and 18-plus to every single QB they’ve faced. This is the definition of streamer material.
Guys to 'Stache: I don't love Marcus Mariota's matchup in Week 7 (against the Bengals), but he continues to record valuable rushing production and remains a viable streamer most weeks. Jameis Winston is still recovering from back and ankle injuries, and is no guarantee to start in Week 7. If he does, he's a low-end starting option in a (very tight) pinch against the Cardinals.
We are now living in an alternate universe where the Jets D/ST is the top option on the waiver wire. Yup, Robert Saleh's squad has posted 9-plus fantasy points in three straight weeks and draws the hapless Broncos offense in Week 7. I'm in. While I do like Matt Ryan in Week 7, I also like the Titans D/ST, as the Colts have been extremely generous this season -- 21 sacks allowed and 11 giveaways are both bottom 5 in the NFL. The Cardinals D/ST has scored 12-plus fantasy points in two of the last three weeks and draws a Saints offense ravaged by injuries (and not particularly scary when healthy) in Week 7.