We’ve reached the regular season halfway point in most fantasy leagues and you need help. Whether it’s because you are trying desperately to make the playoffs, or you are leading your league and trying to not rest on your laurels, you need help.
Help in Week 7 can come in many forms. Be it the hot player who gives you the help you need during the rest of the bye weeks, or the backup who is getting the call for the first time this week because the starter went down and you are hoping they pick up where the starter left off.
We have all of these types of players available this week plus many others. Remember – all of these players are going to be highly picked up this week and may turn out to be good. My intention with this list is to just show you that some of the most sought after waiver wire claims this week may not be the incredible pick up you think they are, and as always we will start with quarterbacks.
Case Keenum enjoyed a monster week this last week when his Los Angeles Rams took another hard loss to Detroit. In the loss, Keenum managed to throw for 321 yards and three touchdowns. His running back, and No. 1 fantasy pick, Todd Gurley, still hasn’t found his mojo which means Keenum is usually throwing a lot in games that he is either losing or close in, so he will be flying off the waiver wire this week and you should consider grabbing him too, right? Not so fast.
Keenum is only owned in 1.7 percent of leagues which means he is probably available in your league as well, but I would caution you against grabbing him due to his inconsistencies and schedule. Keenum did have a great week last week, but in the last five games he has actually had more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four).
Couple that with the fact that next week he plays against the New York Giants, which is good, but he plays in London, which is seriously no good. So you have an inconsistent quarterback playing in London. Now you see why I say to hold off. Instead, you should consider a player who also is playing from behind a lot but is staying in the states.
Cody Kessler is owned in 1.1 percent of leagues, making him almost certainly available in your league and he is coming off a great fantasy game in loss to Tennessee last weekend. In the loss, Kessler threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns, and now he faces division opponent Cincinnati next week.
Cincinnati has a good defense and a pretty good offense as well so Kessler should be playing from behind most of the day. Also, since it is a division rivalry the intensity is always notched up a bit. It’s also important to note that Kessler has been playing very well as of late. He did get knocked out of the previous week’s game against New England but before that he was putting up well better than 200 yards a game and usually a touchdown or two.
If you don’t feel strongly about going with the rookie, which I don’t blame you at all, then consider Marcus Mariota. I’ve touted Mariota many times in the past but not much this year. It seems the Tennessee offense has needed some time to get its footing. The good news is it appears as if they are starting to find it.
Mariota is only owned in 41 percent of leagues and had a great game last Sunday when he threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns versus a shaky Cleveland defense. As mentioned earlier, the offense has been a little shaky this year but this next week it gets a prescription for the shakes when Tennessee hosts Indianapolis, whose defense has been nothing short of suspect this whole season. Mariota will give you good numbers next weekend, a definite set it and forget it for this week.
Zach Zenner is only owned in 1.5 percent of leagues this year, which makes sense as he has had to battle just to be on the team and has spent the entire year behind every running back on the roster. But with injuries aplenty and Barry Sanders in the building, Zenner put on a nice show.
His stats don’t jump off the board as he didn’t reach the end zone, but he did rush for 58 yards. What is important here is that he had one of those games in which his presence was felt way more than his stats show. The coaching staff was very pleased with him and mentioned it multiple times in the press conference.
After having a solid game this last week and with injuries still plaguing the backfield with a Washington team coming to town, this may be the week he breaks out. Conventional wisdom would tell you to grab him, but on second thought, solid games and nice pressers do not put points on your fantasy board. So you may definitely want to consider Jay Ajayi instead.
Ajayi is owned in a minority of league at 42.5 percent. He has been running great and has a No. 1 running back in front of him whose football priorities have always been a little less Ronnie Lott and a little more Ricky Williams.
Not to say that Arian Foster partakes in the recreational activities that Williams did, but he certainly does not ever put the needs of his team over his own health and often that costs him full games or at least playing time.
Who is there to pick up the pieces and run with them? Jay Ajayi, that’s who. In fact, this last week he picked up the pieces and ran 204 yards with them and put them across the goal line twice. So if you think you will ever have a chance to pick him up off of waivers after this week you are sorely mistaken.
Next week Miami will be playing a very tough Buffalo team but that does bode well for him as even if Foster does decide to play, Miami is going to need all the help it can get. Ajayi has steadily increased his carries over every single game this season. He is running hot right now and would be a great running back on which to hitch your wagon.
DeAndre Washington has also been a back who has slowly but surely been plugging along this season and improving every game. He is only owned in 46.9 percent of leagues and put up another solid game this week rushing for 49 yards in a loss to Kansas City.
He is getting more playing time due to injuries but is currently the running back who carries the ball the most which means he is often getting in on goal line plays. He has a punchers chance any game of putting one in the end zone and sometime that is what you need to fill a bye-week hole.
Next week, Oakland gets the luxury of playing against Jacksonville, so as long as Latavius Murray’s toe does not miraculously heal, Washington could be a nice pickup for a bye week fill-in.