Six-team byes are always painful, but when you mix in key RB and WR injuries, they’re particularly brutal. That’s why the top Week 7 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds feature a who’s who of…”who?”. Handcuffs like D’Ernest Johnson, Rhamondre Stevenson, J.D. McKissic, and Rashaad Penny could command much higher waiver claims than they should, while borderline WR3s like Donovan Peoples-Jones and T.Y. Hilton will be must-adds after waivers clear around 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday mornings in ESPN and Yahoo leagues.
Yeah…yuck. Our full free agent list features even more of these types of players, many of whom land somewhere between one-week streamers and potential multi-week contributors. There are also plenty of under-owned guys who we’ve seemingly recommended picking up all season because of volume or mid-tier production (Mark Ingram, Michael Carter, Tim Patrick, Christian Kirk) who are more likely to get “cleaned up” this week. Of course, given the heavy dose of idle players, we also have plenty of Week 7-specific streamer suggestions at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list. If you’re looking for a new kicker or just like clicking links on the internet, check out our Week 7 kicker rankings.
It looks like Johnson will require a high waiver wire claim (though that could change if we get a positive report on Nick Chubb by Tuesday night), and both Penny and McKissic might, too, given the precarious injury situations of Antonio Gibson and Alex Collins. It’s also possible that an owner with a specific need at a position like TE or QB uses a high claim on someone like Ricky Seals-Jones or Tua Tagovailoa, though that’s not recommended unless you’re really desperate and there are no other good options. A low claim on players like that is fine, but not a top-five claim.
Ultimately, this is a tough week, as the top pickups could have multi-week value or be useless as early as this week. It really depends on injury outlooks, and we won’t know those when we have to make our decisions. Focus on your team needs and be smart with moves. (Update: Chubb has been ruled out, making Johnson a top waiver claim.)
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 7
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
D’Ernest Johnson, RB, Browns. With Kareem Hunt (calf) out four-to-six weeks and Nick Chubb (calf) likely to be “questionable,” at best, for Thursday night, Johnson could assume the lead-back role against Denver. Even if Chubb returns, we know the Browns like to mix in a second back often, so there’s potential flex value with Johnson, especially during the bye weeks. The main worry is Demetric Felton plays more than we suspect, but Johnson has been the primary backup in the past (remember his 95-yard game in Dallas last year?), so we expect him to see the extra touches. If Chubb is out, Johnson will be worth a top waiver claim; however, chances are we won’t know Chubb’s status when putting in claims and FAAB bids, so it’s a tough call with what to do here. Ultimately, it comes down to how badly you need a running back this week. (Update: Chubb has been ruled out, making Johnson a top waiver claim.)
Michael Carter, RB, Jets. Players coming off of byes are often forgotten, but Carter deserves to be owned in more than 52 percent of Yahoo leagues. He hasn’t had big yardage days, but he’s seen 13-plus touches in three of the past four games and scored in each of the past two contests. He seems to be establishing himself as New York’s lead back, and even in tough matchups like this week against New England, that has value. Add him now.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks. Penny (calf) might be one of those fantasy ghosts who is always more hype that substance. The oft-injured fourth-year back has had some moments, but nothing substantial. However, he’s set to come off the IR this week, and he just might find himself in a starting role against New Orleans on Monday night. We know Chris Carson (neck) is out for at least two more weeks, and Alex Collins injured his hip late in Seattle’s loss to Pittsburgh. DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer are more change-of-pace backs, so if Collins can’t go, Penny should get the bulk of the RB touches. The Saints aren’t an easy matchup, but Penny certainly has value if he’s going to see 12-15 carries.
Marquez Callaway, WR, Saints. The last time we saw Callaway, he was catching two touchdowns in Week 5. With a primo matchup against the Seahawks in Week 7, he’s a top streaming option, but he could be more than that depending on the other WRs who return for the Saints. Michael Thomas (ankle) is reported to still be a couple weeks away, but Tre’Quan Smith (hamstring) is eligible to return any time. Callaway might actually benefit from another decent receiver to take some attention off him. Either way, he’s worth grabbing as a free agent during a six-team bye.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins. Tagovailoa put up solid stats in his return from the IR (329 passing yards, 22 rushing yards, two TDs), and he gets another great matchup in Week 7 against Atlanta. It doesn’t always look pretty with Tua, but all fantasy owners care about is the final stat line. In a week where Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Kirk Cousins (among others) are out, Tagovailoa is a borderline QB1. He’s available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues, and there’s a chance he’s a better option this week than your backup or regular starter.
For additional waiver and free agent suggestions, including J.D. McKissic, Rhamondre Stevenson, Tim Patrick, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Ricky Seals-Jones, and more, check out our full Week 7 list.