Man, how time flies. I can’t believe we’re already in Week 8. It feels like just yesterday we were debating over how much FAAB to spend on Ty’son Williams. Hopefully, you made the right pick-ups at the beginning of the season because the waiver wire is not looking too hot right now. A slew of injuries may impact that, which I’ll get into in just a moment. First, some takeaways I noticed when putting my weekly waiver wire column together:
- If you need a quarterback this week, yikes.
- If you need a tight end at all, yikes.
- Don’t be afraid to use a bench spot on a deep sleeper running back.
- Wide receivers continue to seemingly pop out of nowhere.
Have any more fantasy questions? Hit me up on Twitter @ZachCohenFB. There’s a better chance I respond if you include a funny gif, too.
Daniel Jones (QB - NYG)
Week 7 Stat Line: 17.52 points, 203 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 28 rushing yards
I really didn’t want to put Tua Tagovailoa here for the third straight week, so I’m offering my sincerest condolences if you need a quarterback. I have little faith in guys like Sam Darnold or Teddy Bridgewater. So how about Jones? He didn’t have the greatest performance, but he’s performed better than most typically available quarterbacks. Let’s not forget his wicked four-game stretch to start the season as the overall QB6, either. While Jones’ stats dropped off from there, he played decently enough against Carolina to finish as this week’s QB14 (before Monday Night Football). As long as Jones keeps running the ball, he’ll be worthy of a roster spot. And as the cherry on top, he faces the Chiefs this week. I don’t need to remind you how bad their defense has been. He’s a must-add if you need a passer, especially if you have Lamar Jackson because Baltimore has their bye week.
Derek Carr (QB - LV)
Week 7 Stat Line: 17.52 points, 203 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 28 rushing yards
Yeah, it’s really bad for fantasy teams that need quarterbacks. Not that Carr is a bad option, it’s just that I had him here last week. I try not to include the same player three weeks in a row because, at that point, you should’ve gotten the memo, right? Carr has quietly been the QB13 in fantasy while averaging 18.8 points. However, he’s only dipped below that average twice, so using an average doesn’t do his production justice. Even his range doesn’t accurately depict how good he’s been in fantasy. Excluding his two lowest-scoring weeks—14.44 points and 7.24 points in Weeks 4-5, respectively–Carr has had a range of about 19-24 points. His value comes mainly from passing volume and yards, which has been mostly consistent for Carr. The only downside with adding him is the Raiders have the week off. He’d be more of a season-long investment anyway.
Players to watch: Unless Jared Goff stumbles on the super-soldier serum, none.
Kenyan Drake (RB - LV)
Week 7 Stat Line: 16.9 points, 69 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 3 catches on 3 targets, 10 receiving yards
At first, I was going to write about how Josh Jacobs’ injury is huge for Kenyan Drake’s fantasy value. But now it seems like Jacobs is likely back in Week 9 after the Raiders’ bye week. Then I got more curious about Drake’s usage in the last two games. In Week 6, he scored once on four carries, but he also scored on a receiving touchdown. We hadn’t seen that type of usage from Drake up until that point. He followed up that performance with a workhorse role once Jacobs went down on Sunday. I have a sneaking suspicion Drake will start to become more involved in the Raiders’ offense now that Rich Bisaccia is in charge. Drake should definitely be on rosters, even if Jacobs comes back healthy.
Kenneth Gainwell/Boston Scott (RBs - PHI)
Week 7 Stat Lines: Gainwell - 14.1 points, 20 rushing yards, 4 catches on 8 targets, 41 receiving yards; Scott - 9.9 points, 24 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 catch on 2 targets, 5 receiving yards
Miles Sanders’ injury couldn’t have come at a better time for Gainwell’s fantasy managers. His role was fading hard until Sanders hurt his ankle early in the game. Gainwell went on to have the best game of his young career despite mostly just playing on passing downs. It was Boston Scott who filled in for Sanders on running downs. As of Monday, it’s unclear how long Sanders will be out for, but I’m already expecting Gainwell and Scott to have matchup-based value. In the case of Philadelphia’s loss to Las Vegas, Gainwell saw more usage because the Eagles were playing from behind. Scott may be better next week against the Lions if Detroit doesn’t keep it competitive. Looking long-term, I expect Gainwell to see more work against the Saints, Broncos, and Chargers. Their defenses could force the Eagles to pass more than usual.
Brandon Bolden (RB - NE)
Week 7 Stat Line: 19.9 points, 6 catches on 7 targets, 79 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
I had Bolden as a Player to Watch for so long, and then the one week I don’t include him, he pops off. Well congrats Brandon, you get your promotion. In all seriousness, Bolden was treated like the Patriots’ WR1. He led the team with seven targets despite running just 14 routes, which was the same number as Damien Harris. After weeks of producing almost nothing in New England’s offense, he finally matched his usage with some hefty production. I find it interesting that Bolden’s big day came in a positive game script. I think it’s because the Jets have quietly been a tough secondary for receivers in fantasy, though I’d have to re-watch the game to figure out why. The bottom line is I’m not expecting Bolden to repeat this performance, though he may be worthy of a pickup if you need running back depth.
Devonta Freeman (RB - BAL)
Week 7 Stat Line: 12.9 points, 4 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 3 catches on 3 targets, 25 receiving yards
It pains me to even write Freeman‘s name here considering his severe lack of volume in the last two games. He is not a must-add, he just happens to score. That tends to happen when you’re on 100% of your team’s plays inside the 5-yard line. Look, it is so rare to find running backs who consistently find the endzone, but that’s exactly what Freeman has done in back-to-back weeks. Just don’t bank on him to do this every week, especially if/when the Ravens’ running back room returns to full health. If you desperately need a running back, Freeman may be worth a late waiver claim or a small amount of FAAB.
Players to watch: Samaje Perine, Ty Johnson, Rashaad Penny
Rashod Bateman (WR - BAL)
Week 7 Stat Line: 11 points, 3 catches on 6 targets, 50 receiving yards
After starting the season on IR, the first-round receiver has become a focal point of Baltimore’s offense. He saw six targets again this week, thus solidifying him as the Ravens’ WR2. It’s really just him, Marquise Brown, and Mark Andrews catching passes with some other guys sprinkled in. It certainly helps that the Ravens are fourth in neutral pass rate over the last four weeks, as Hayden Winks shows here.
Bateman is definitely someone with a low enough floor to roster if he’s still available in your league.
Kendrick Bourne (WR - NE)
Week 7 Stat Line: 15.8 points, 4 catches on 4 targets, 68 receiving yards, 1 passing TD
Don’t look now, but Bourne has been pretty darn productive lately. He’s reached double-digit points in four of the last five games. Albeit, a passing touchdown (yes, a passing touchdown) boosted an otherwise average Week 7. He’s also not seeing the most volume—he’s seen more than five targets just once all season. Luckily, Bourne has eclipsed 50 receiving yards four times. At this point in the season, that’s a large enough sample size where we can expect him to hit that in most weeks. Of course, there’s risk with him, so it’s nice he’s averaging nearly 16 yards per catch. Bourne is a sneaky addition to your rosters.
Russell Gage (WR - ATL)
Week 7 Stat Line: 16.7 points, 4 catches on 6 targets, 67 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
Gage missed the last four weeks with an injury and came back to a delicious stat line. His usage was also on par with what we saw in Week 2 before he got hurt. Gage was treated as the team’s WR3 behind Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts, the latter of which is just a big wide receiver anyway. It should be noted that Atlanta‘s upcoming schedule isn’t the easiest for wideouts: vs. Carolina, at New Orleans, at Dallas. Luckily for Gage, the Falcons have the ninth-highest passing rate in neutral situations and the third-most passing attempts per game. If Gage is available in your league, he’s worth a stash.
Kalif Raymond (WR - DET)
Week 7 Stat Line: 17.6 points, 6 catches on 8 targets, 115 receiving yards
Excluding a nonexistent Week 5, Raymond has seen 6-10 targets in each of the last four games. His production range in that time is also 9.7-19.6 fantasy points. Those are weekly flex numbers. Dare I say Raymond is approaching matchup-proof status? If the Lions keep throwing the ball 39+ times a game, then Raymond may continue to see enough volume where it doesn’t matter what team Detroit’s facing. This week, they play Philadelphia, who have been mostly good against opposing wide receivers. It may not be enough to get Raymond into your lineup yet, but this season’s WR52 thus far is definitely worth a pickup.
Note: Now that Davante Adams is on the COVID-19 list, Allen Lazard is another option to add, just don’t expect Adams-like numbers.
Players to watch: Allen Lazard, Van Jefferson, Jamal Agnew, Dante Pettis, Bryan Edwards
C.J. Uzomah (TE - CIN)
Week 7 Stat Line: 24.1 points, 3 catches on 3 targets, 91 receiving yards, 2 receiving TD
I put Ricky Seals-Jones here the last two weeks, so I figured I’d move off of him since he’s been producing well enough. And who better than someone who celebrated National Tight End Day with 24.1 points? (I still can’t believe that’s a real thing). Two 24+ performances in four weeks have put Uzomah on the map, and rightfully so. Production like that is so hard to come by for tight ends, even if he’s still not seeing sustainable volume. Uzomah has seen more than three targets just once all season, so he’s not exactly someone you can trust in your lineups. I know I’m normally high on volume and consistency, but production is more valuable for tight ends. Just be warned if you slot him in your starting lineup.
Evan Engram (TE - NYG)
Week 7 Stat Line: 10.4 points, 6 catches on 8 targets, 44 receiving yards
Engram was a borderline TE1 this past week, much to the chagrin of the anti-Engram crowd. His 4-8 target range isn’t the greatest, yet he’s had only two games with fewer than six targets. Considering the state of the Giants’ pass-catchers—they’re very banged up—Engram offers some value at the position. That’s especially true as we get deeper into bye weeks—Mark Andrews and Darren Waller are taking a week off this week. If you have either of them, you may want to quickly find their replacements.
Mo Alie-Cox (TE - IND)
Week 7 Stat Line: 11.5 points, 3 catches on 3 targets, 25 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
Alie-Cox was placed on this planet for one reason: to score touchdowns. He has four of them in the last four weeks, which has contributed to a great production range of 8.0-19.2 fantasy points. On the flip side, he’s only seen 3-5 targets each game. That’s not great. Despite his volatility, Alie-Cox just gets the job done. And like I said with Uzomah, sometimes you have to take when you can get from tight ends in fantasy.
Players to watch: Pat Freiermuth, Foster Moreau