Week 7 rosters have to deal with benchings, injuries, bye weeks and a suspension. Luckily, we have a few worthy replacements for you. We don’t have another Aaron Rodgers. If you lost him and don’t have a decent backup on your roster, look at the rest of your positions to see if there is room for an upgrade that can offset some of what you lose streaming at quarterback.
Quarterbacks: Rodgers, Watson, Stafford are out, but…
Tampa Bay’s quarterback Jameis Winston is listed as day-to-day with an AC joint sprain in his throwing arm. If you own Winston, you should grab Ryan Fitzpatrick for the worst-case scenario. The Buccaneers play in the early slot Sunday, so it is possible you have options on your bench already. But Fitzpatrick was a top-ten NFL fantasy quarterback in just over a half of work last week.
QB Tyrod Taylor, BUF
Maybe it is because he was on a bye last week, but I was surprised to see Tyrod Taylor available in a near-majority of leagues this week. Taylor is not off to the best NFL fantasy start this season, but his toughest days could be behind him. Buffalo is about to start a run of eight games against teams giving up higher-than-average NFL fantasy points to quarterbacks. Taylor’s running ability offers a high floor. His problem is injuries to his top two receiving targets. I believe Nick O’Leary will fill in admirably for Charles Clay, but Zay Jones and Andre Holmes have to catch more passes for Buffalo.
QB Jared Goff, LAR
Goff is still highly unowned as many folks dumped him for the Seattle and Jacksonville games. This week he gets the Arizona Cardinals, possibly without their shutdown corner Patrick Peterson. After a bye week, Goff faces the Giants and Texans before another wave of stingier quarterback defenses. He is certainly a worthy flyer this week against the third-most generous D/ST for quarterbacks.
QB Brett Hundley, GB
Hundley looked more like a DeShone-level quarterback than a Deshaun-level passer, but the odds were stacked against him in his unexpected relief appearance Sunday. We will get a better picture this week against the New Orleans Saints. Some facts about Hundley include that he has three years learning the Packers offense, he has always looked good when he played in preseason; he has a good arm, and he can run some. As long as the Packers’ offensive line can keep it together, the stable of weapons at Hundley’s disposal make him an exciting and potentially NFL fantasy-relevant quarterback.
Running backs: What to do about Zeke?
It is pure conjecture on anyone’s part who says they know whether Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris will handle the workload if Ezekiel Elliott is suspended in Week 7 (It looks like he is). McFadden has been inactive most of the year, but was that to keep him fresh and uninjured? Morris played in every game, but only has a handful of carries. Both runners are former premier backs. They could split the workload 50/50. I am betting on McFadden because he was ‘the guy’ in Dallas before Zeke, while Morris was the product of a good system in Washington. But that is pure conjecture.
RB Orleans Darkwa, NYG
Orleans Darkwa quietly averaged about 5.0 yards per carry all season in limited chances behind Paul Perkins and his 2.0 yards per carry. When Perkins got hurt, Darkwa also missed a game with a bad back and had to listen to everyone rant about how rookie Wayne Gallman’s time had come. Darkwa returned to a shared load last week and averaged over 6.0 yards per carry. He finally became a lead back this week and the result should have the Giants convinced they found their man. Darkwa may be a safer bet to replace Elliott than either McFadden or Morris.
RB Dion Lewis, NE
Mike Gillislee has been given every opportunity to take the lead running back role in New England, but despite a handful of nice runs, he has become a short-yardage specialist. Meanwhile, Dion Lewis took the most snaps and carries for the first time this year with good results. Of course, you never know what the evil brain trust in New England will do next. Gillislee and James White are not going away, and Rex Burkhead is still in the wings. But it looks like the Patriots like what they have in Lewis’ combination of power, agility, and speed.
RB Matt Breida, SF
Last week, coach Kyle Shanahan said he would go with the hot hand at running back, much to the chagrin of starter Carlos Hyde. This week, Hyde played the majority of snaps and Matt Breida only had six touches. But… rumors are out there that Hyde could be on the trading block. After seeing how well that Adrian Peterson trade worked out, the 49ers could have buyers. San Francisco just turned their offense over to rookie quarterback CJ Beathard. Trading Hyde would bring a valuable draft pick or two and open the door for another rookie.
WR Sterling Shepard, NYG
Sterling Shepard is available in a surprising number of NFL fantasy leagues. That shouldn’t be. He could return to action as early as this week, although it is possible the Giants hold him out until after their Week 8 bye. When Shepard returns, he will be the clear-cut WR-1 for Eli Manning. New York has a few promising youngsters to work with, but Manning will target his most reliable pass catcher whenever he can.
WR John Brown, AZ
Carson Palmer and the Cardinals quickly slid John Brown ahead of Jaron Brown and JJ Nelson in the pass receiving pecking order. Brown was targeted 4 times out of only 21 pass attempts last week. It doesn’t sound like much, but we suspect Larry Fitzgerald’s 11 targets will nudge down while Brown’s moves up. For now, the other receivers’ fantasy value has been lowered considerably by John Brown’s return and a probable shift to a run-first offense.
TE George Kittle, SF
The youth movement is on in San Francisco. George Kittle is already seeing an increase in targets, catching 11 of 17 over the last two games. Kittles was drafted by the 49ers out of Iowa. Want to know who else was drafted out of Iowa by the 49ers? Their new quarterback, CJ Beathard. Their familiarity may work in Kittles’ favor for targets.
TE Tyler Kroft, CIN
Old habits die hard. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton has a habit of throwing passes to his tight end named Tyler whenever he doesn’t throw it downfield to AJ Green. Kroft comes back from a bye week after two decent games for the Bengals. He is the full-time receiving tight end on a team without many dependable receivers.
There you have my top waiver wire additions for the week. Other names to consider are wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Ted Ginn Jr. Both are touchdown-dependent deep receivers. I am also waiting to see if Dak Prescott continues to throw to Cole Beasley after rediscovering him in the game before the Cowboys’ bye. If so, Beasley could be a priority Week 8 pickup. If running back Rob Kelly comes back from injury, neither Samaje Perine nor Chris Thompson did nearly enough to keep Kelly from going right back to his primary back role. If Leonard Fournette sounds limited at all, Chris Ivory becomes a good waiver target.
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