Six teams are on bye in Week 7, including several fantasy juggernauts, so we’ve got some work to do. (Somehow the Dolphins aren’t one of those six teams, despite playing in London a few hours ago. Good work, schedule-makers.)
We’re back with a few recommended pickups to get you through a minefield of a fantasy week. Every player mentioned below is available in a majority of Yahoo leagues and all are approved for immediate use.
Wide receivers and tight ends on the wire
We keep hyping Patrick and you keep not adding him. It’s pretty much the circle of fantasy life around here. After spiking again on Sunday afternoon…
…he now has either 80 receiving yards or a touchdown in five of six games this year. At 6-foot-4, Patrick is an inviting red-zone target with separation skills, plus he’s seen 21 targets over his last three games. He’s been ridiculously consistent, a trait many of you claim to value.
Bottom line: I HAVE NO IDEA WHY HE’S SO AVAILABLE. If you guys won’t add him in a week in which the receiving corps from the Chargers, Vikings, Bills, Cowboys, Steelers and Jags are all on bye, then it’s just never gonna happen. Let’s please try to boost him over 50 percent, at least for a few days. He’s about to face a Browns defense that just allowed top-20 finishes to three different Cardinals receivers.
Recommended waiver offer (assuming $100 budget): $11
Bateman had been sidelined for two months following groin surgery, but the first-rounder finally made his NFL debut on Sunday and the Ravens didn’t exactly ease him into the mix. The rookie played 45 snaps and drew six targets, catching four for 29 yards. His workload surely would have been more substantial had the Chargers given Baltimore a competitive game. We won’t say Bateman had a flawless afternoon — he allowed a well-thrown ball to bounce off his chest, turning an easy first-down into an INT — but it’s clear his role is significant and secure. He’s normally a sure-handed receiver and reliable route-runner with sneaky speed — a do-it-all wideout, not easily typecast. Here’s the full pre-daft Edholm report. He’s simply an excellent fit in the Ravens’ receiving corps.
Lamar Jackson is having the best passing season of his career and he’s on pace to obliterate his previous single-season high in attempts (by roughly 150). There’s little question he’s capable of supporting several viable fantasy receivers. If Bateman is unattached in your league, he deserves a home.
Just in case you’d forgotten this little piece of magic…
Callaway is coming off a season-high eight targets in Week 5, two of which resulted in touchdowns. He’s fully healthy, unlike various other Saints receivers, and he’s second on the team in targets at the moment behind only Alvin Kamara. New Orleans has an incredible string of matchups ahead for fantasy purposes, too, beginning next week with Seattle. If Callaway was cut in your league ahead of his bye, grab him from the discard pile.
Additional WRs and TEs to add: Darnell Mooney (it’s wild that he remains eligible for the pickups column, given his obvious talent and preferred position in Chicago’s receiving hierarchy), TY Hilton (picked up a quad issue in his return from IR, but it doesn’t sound too serious), A.J. Green and Christian Kirk (these guys are both barely under our 50 percent threshold, which is pretty amazing considering the offensive context), Donovan Peoples-Jones (some Cleveland receiver or tight end makes noise each week; we’d advise you not to chase TDs too feverishly), Mo Alie-Cox (the usual rules about chasing TDs do not apply to tight ends), Ricky Seals-Jones (it was easy to see his productive week coming; his targets are locked in for however long Logan Thomas is on the shelf).
Running backs to prioritize
Stevenson absolutely ruled the preseason, emerging as a yards-after-contact machine, but he was briefly exiled when ball-security issues surfaced early in the season. If you dropped him, you can’t really be blamed. But the rookie had a terrific day in an understudy role against Dallas on Sunday, gaining 62 scrimmage yards on eight touches and punching in a short score. He was highly effective as a receiver, snagging three balls for 39 yards, forcing a few missed tackles along the way.
Damien Harris was excellent against the Cowboys, totaling 108 total yards and one score while playing through injury. It’s not as if he’s losing his grip on the featured role. Still, Stevenson is a lively and versatile ball-carrier coming off an impressive week, and the Pats’ backfield has taken a few hits. In pretty much any 12-teamer, the rookie needs to be rostered by someone.
J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson, Washington F.T. (42% and 1%)
McKissic gained 110 total yards on 16 touches against KC, leading his team in both rushing and receiving (which, of course, tells you a little something about how things went for the F.T. on Sunday against the Chiefs). Antonio Gibson is battling injury at the moment and didn’t reach his usual snap-share on Sunday (39%). JDM is a gifted receiving option who has five or more catches in three of his last five games, including eight on Sunday. It’s easy to imagine Washington falling into a pass-heavy attack at Green Bay in Week 7, giving McKissic a clear path to double-digit touches. He belongs in the flex discussion.
If Gibson actually misses games due to the injury (which might not be the worst idea), undrafted rookie Jaret Patterson is going to see plenty of work as well. Patterson had an impressive preseason and he had back-to-back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the MAC, piling up touchdowns at Buffalo (53 in 32 games). He’s smallish (5-foot-8), but he had some absolutely legendary collegiate games…
Again, if Gibson can’t go against Green Bay, he’s a player of interest.
Offer: $12 and $7
Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens (2%)
It sorta feels like the Ravens are simply trolling fantasy managers with their backfield choices. On Sunday, they unleashed a three-headed rushing committee of dudes from your 2016 championship roster. Latavius Murray, Le’Veon Bell and Freeman combined for 115 rushing yards and three TDs on 26 carries. This week, Devonta led the way with nine carries for 53 yards and one spike. It certainly helped to face a defense that’s been escorting opposing runners into end zones all season, as they did here…
But still, this is two consecutive games in which Freeman has played at least 20 snaps. He’s also averaging 6.8 yards per touch. At this point, he and Murray appear to be the team’s most flex-worthy backs. Baltimore has averaged 31.7 rush attempts per game, so this offense remains as run-heavy as any. Add if you’re desperate for a flex in a problematic week.
Various other under-rostered RBs: Mark Ingram (he’s handled 34 carries over his previous two games, but clearly needs game-flow to be in his favor), D’Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton (this pair is likely to be playing the roles of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on Thursday night against Denver; Johnson is the priority, with Felton more of a PPR play), Rashaad Penny (returning from IR and Alex Collins is a bit banged up at the moment), Kenyan Drake (the touchdowns were nice, but he only handled six touches and played 12 snaps).
Quarterbacks who can help
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (38%)
We’re not promising a graduate-level quarterbacking clinic from Winston in the weeks ahead, but just look at this series of upcoming matchups for the Saints:
Week 7 – at Seattle
Week 8 – Tampa Bay
Week 9 – Atlanta
Week 10 – at Tennessee
You shouldn’t need us to tell you that’s a friendly stretch of games. Entering Sunday, those defenses allowed the 10th, fifth, 12th and 11th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. This next month is a gift, at least in theory. If you have bye-week trouble anytime soon, Winston can help.
Of course the biggest fantasy issue with Winston — aside from the occasional YOLO throw — is the low passing volume this season. He hasn’t yet put the ball in the air more than 30 times in any game and he’s averaging just 23.2 attempts per week. So that’s not ideal. Generally speaking, we like our quarterbacks to pass. But it’s tough to imagine the Saints navigating the series of matchups ahead without heavy reliance on Winston’s arm.
Other QBs of interest: Carson Wentz (he’s tossed multiple TD passes in three straight, Hilton is back in the mix and he’ll see the Titans, Jets and Jags in three of his next four), Teddy Bridgewater (the Cleveland matchup on Thursday isn’t necessarily the best spot, but he sees Washington the following week), Tua Tagovailoa (he definitely missed a few potential connections in the London game, but it was, for fantasy purposes, a productive return from injury), Mac Jones (he can definitely give us a 235-2 line against the Jets this week, if you’re into that sort of thing).
Defense to target
New York Giants (2%)
Obviously we do not intend this recommendation as a full rest-of-season endorsement of New York’s defense. User assumes all risks associated with the Giants. We simply wish to point out that Carolina is up next on the schedule and Sam Darnold has been sacked a dozen times over his last three games, tossing six picks. We can safely assume New York’s D will get its hands on Darnold at various points throughout the afternoon.