Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Football: Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 7

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Six weeks of the 2013 NFL season are nearly in the books, with only Andrew Luck leading the Indianapolis Colts into San Diego to take on the Chargers for his Monday night debut left on the Week 6 slate.

Bye weeks are now going in full force, but Week 7 qualifies as the calm before the storm with six teams idle in both Week 8 and Week 9. With the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders off next week, fantasy owners will be without top-tier options Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham, but other weekly starting options (Terrelle Pryor, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, Darren McFadden) will also be unavailable to their owners.

As always, I have attempted to narrow my weekly waiver wire recommendations to players and defenses that are currently available in over half of Yahoo! leagues. There have been rare exceptions up to this point and I will continue to follow that blueprint right through Week 17, but some notable players inevitably wind up being left off the list on a weekly basis under that criteria.

I have also tried to focus on players who have a chance to make a long-term impact for fantasy owners with byes in play through Week 12. Sometimes a one week “plug-and-play” is hard to ignore due to a particularly favorable matchup, but I find it difficult to confidently recommend a player in any given week that should go back to being waiver wire fodder the next.

Here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” for Week 7.

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Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins

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Tannehill threw for 307 yards against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5 prior to Miami’s bye, and he has at least 12 fantasy points (ESPN standard scoring) in four of five games this season. Miami’s upcoming schedule has a mix of favorable matchups (Week 7-Buffalo Bills, Week 11-San Diego Chargers), tough matchups (Week 8-New England Patriots, Week 12-Carolina Panthers) and some that are in-between, but Tannehill is still worth owning as a QB2 in 12-team leagues and he is currently available in over 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

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Josh Freeman, QB, Minnesota Vikings

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Freeman was signed by the Vikings last week, and after the team’s Week 6 loss to the Carolina Panthers it would be a surprise if he does not start in Week 7 against the New York Giants in place of Matt Cassel. Head coach Leslie Frazier will likely avoid naming a starting quarterback for the game as long as possible, but even if he does not start next Monday night it looks like only a matter of time before Freeman is starting for his new team. That makes him a worthy roster stash in fantasy leagues, and usable as a QB2 if he does start against the Giants.

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Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals

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Ellington had seven carries for 56 yards and a touchdown along with five receptions for 36 yards against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, as he got more touches than Rashard Mendenhall (10 carries and one catch) in the game. A tough matchup is coming against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7, but after that things get easier in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons and on the other side of Arizona’s Week 9 bye against the Houston Texans (Week 10) and Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 11). Ellington’s ownership percentage (35 percent in Yahoo! leagues) is sure to continue rising along with his role, so now may be the time to look to add him in 12 and 14-team leagues while you still can.

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Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants

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Jacobs started Week 6 against the Chicago Bears with David Wilson (neck) out, and turned back the clock with 22 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns along with one catch for eight yards in the game. Wilson may miss the rest of the season and Da’Rel Scott can’t stay healthy even with limited touches, so Jacobs is unchecked as the Giants’ No. 1 running back for the foreseeable future.

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Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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With Julio Jones (foot) out for the season and Roddy White (hamstring) continuing to battle injuries, Douglas is in line to start and become a primary target for Matt Ryan as the Falcons come out of their bye. He only has 16 catches (on 27 targets) for 219 yards without a touchdown so far this season, but he does have at least four receptions in a game three times. Douglas is not in the same class as Jones and White are when healthy, but he is a virtual must-add right now for anyone that lost Jones or is simply seeking wide receiver depth ahead of some challenging bye weeks.

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Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys

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Williams has taken full advantage of Miles Austin’s absence due to a lingering hamstring issue, with 13 receptions for 249 yards over the last three games and a touchdown in each of the last two contests. Austin was active against the Washington Redskins on Sunday night, but did not have a catch and was only targeted four times in the game. Williams is approaching the territory that would make him ineligible for this list, but for now he is still available in over half of Yahoo! leagues.

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Kendall Wright, WR, Tennesee Titans

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Wright had five receptions for 69 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6, and he now has at least five catches in five consecutive games even with Jake Locker (hip) sidelined and Ryan Fitzpatrick starting the last two games. Wright only has one touchdown this season and he is unlikely to suddenly become a red zone machine, but he is an underrated asset in PPR leagues and is still widely available.

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Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins

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Reed had four receptions for 58 yards against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night after being inactive for the game prior to Washington’s Week 5 bye with a thigh issue. He landed on the fantasy radar with 13 receptions and a touchdown over his first three games, and the rookie appears to have usurped Fred Davis in the tight end pecking order for the Redskins. Since he is healthy now and has already had his bye, Reed is a solid choice as a TE2 with upside in 12-team leagues.

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Mike Nugent, K, Cincinnati Bengals

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“The Nuge” went 2-for-3 on field goal attempts and made all three of his extra points on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, and he has now made multiple field goals in three straight games (6-for-7 overall). Three of Cincinnati’s next four opponents entered Week 6 in the bottom half of the league against opposing kickers (ESPN scoring), so Nugent has a chance to string together a few more productive games. With the Bengals’ not having their bye until Week 12, now may be the time for fantasy owners that need to add a kicker to put a “Stranglehold” on Nugent.

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Carolina Panthers Defense

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Carolina enter Week 6 seventh in the league against the run (92.3 yards per game), and they held Adrian Peterson to 62 yards on 10 carries on Sunday and the Minnesota Vikings’ offense to 10 points and 290 yards of offense. They have now posted 43 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) over their last three games, with eight forced turnovers and 12 sacks over that span. Week 7’s matchup with the St. Louis Rams does not look favorable on the surface, since they have scored 51 offensive points over their last two games, but quarterback Sam Bradford and company have been aided by the Rams’ defense forcing seven turnovers in that timeframe. Some tough matchups will come down road, particularly Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers and Week 11 against the New England Patriots, but Carolina’s defense has the makings of an underrated fantasy option and may give owners an opportunity to navigate bye weeks well over the next few weeks.