Pickups of the Week: Jay Ajayi tops waiver wire options

Each week throughout the NFL season, we identify six players to target on fantasy waiver wires, plus a lightly owned D/ST. All are available in a majority of Yahoo leagues. Add as needed.

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Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins, 30% owned

You probably don’t need an expert to tell you to add a running back who just erupted for 204 yards and two scores on 25 carries. Ajayi was a wrecking ball on Sunday, running with patience and power, exploiting every opening. Enjoy some highlights. He was simply outstanding. Most of us assumed Arian Foster would reclaim the featured role in Miami’s backfield in his return from injury, but he was a lightly used rotational player against the Steelers. Foster was out-touched by Ajayi, 26 to 5, and out-gained by 192 yards. Going forward, we have to assume that Ajayi, a second-year back from Boise State, will own the largest share of the Dolphins’ rushing workload. He’s come a long way since opening week, when his head coach decided to leave him at home as the team traveled to Seattle.

Ajayi didn’t seem particularly surprised by Sunday’s massive workload…

“From last week, coach [Adam] Gase told me that he would feature me more in the run game and he would try to get me a good amount of touches,” said Ajayi, who’d never had more than 13 carries in an NFL game.

… so let’s not think of him as a one-hit wonder. He’s actually found the end zone four times in his last four games, and he’s averaging 5.7 yards per attempt. Miami hosts Buffalo’s mid-pack run defense in Week 7, and Ajayi will rank as a viable RB2 for fantasy purposes.

FAAB bid: $29

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 22%

Doug Martin is expected to return from his multi-game hamstring injury this week, just in time for a stellar matchup at San Francisco. But we should note that Martin hasn’t yet returned to practice and the Bucs were perfectly happy to feed Rodgers the ball in Week 5 at Carolina (35 touches, 129 yards). At a minimum, Jacquizz should own the role that previously belonged to Charles Sims (IR, knee), which means 9-12 touches per game. He’s seriously undersized (5-foot-6) and he’s never averaged better than 3.9 YPC over a full season, but he has a pair of 50-catch seasons on his resume. Tampa Bay has an incredibly friendly rest-of-season schedule, including a pair of matchups with New Orleans in the money weeks (14 and 16). Rodgers will be a useful commodity in PPR formats; consider him a handcuff with benefits.

FAAB bid: $5

Kenny Britt makes a house call. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Kenny Britt makes a house call. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Kenny Britt, WR, Los Angeles Rams, 10%

If you’re not interested in making an investment in the Rams’ passing game … well, we get it. That seems like good policy, long-term. But if you play in a league deep enough that every team’s No. 1 receiver belongs on a roster, then Britt clearly deserves pickup consideration. He leads his team in receptions (30) and yardage (492), he’s delivered nine plays of 20-plus yards, and he’s produced a catch-rate of 75 percent. Britt torched the Lions for seven catches, 136 yards and two spikes on Sunday, and he was inches away from a third score. He delivered one of the week’s more ridiculous highlights, too. Britt has topped 60 receiving yards in five of his six games this year, so he’s been surprisingly reliable. L.A.’s upcoming schedule is full of appealing matchups — NYG, Car, at NYJ, Mia, at NO — and Britt is the receiver most likely to exploit ’em.

FAAB bid: $6

Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns, 39%

Coleman produced a breakout performance in Week 2 against Baltimore, hauling in five balls for 104 yards and two TDs on eight targets. Unfortunately, three days after his binge against the Ravens, he broke his hand at practice. Because the Browns are not allowed to have nice things, apparently. If Coleman’s original recovery timeline holds, there’s a chance he’ll return either next Sunday against the Bengals or the following week against the Jets. Here’s hoping he’s back in action for the matchup with New York, because that defense ranks dead-last in yards allowed per pass attempt (9.2). Coleman is an exceptional vertical threat, an explosive leaper with sub-4.4 speed and a terrific collegiate history. Add the rookie now, before the rush to reacquire his services.

FAAB bid: $4

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Anquan Boldin, WR, Detroit Lions, 20%

It sorta feels as if Boldin will be catching 65 balls for 700 yards when he’s, like, 50. It certainly didn’t take the vet long to emerge as a heavily targeted weapon for Detroit. Over the past five weeks, Boldin has averaged 6.8 targets per game and caught three touchdown passes. He’s been strictly a short-range option for Matthew Stafford, producing only 8.4 yards per catch, but he remains an effective, reliable receiver in the red zone, where the field is constricted. Boldin may not be our game’s most exciting add, but he’s a threat to make a house call against any opponent.

FAAB bid: $5

Sam Bradford is coming out of a bye, set to face his former employer. (Getty Images)
Sam Bradford is coming out of a bye, set to face his former team. (Getty Images)

Sam Bradford, QB, Minnesota Vikings, 14%

If you just lost Ben Roethlisberger, consider making a short-term commitment to Minnesota’s passing game. Bradford has dramatically exceeded expectations in his first four games for the Vikes, passing for six touchdowns and zero picks while completing 70.4 percent of his throws. He’s coming off a bye and preparing to face a Philadelphia defense that’s allowed five TD passes over the past two weeks. Bradford should know pretty much all there is to know about the Eagles, his former employer. Assuming that Stefon Diggs (groin) is good to go, it’s realistic to hope for 260-ish yards and two scores from Bradford. He’s a respectable low-cost Big Ben placeholder.

FAAB bid: $6

Baltimore Ravens, 33%

Baltimore gets to face Ryan Fitzpatrick on a short week, you guys. Let’s not overthink this. Fitz entered Week 6 leading the NFL in both interceptions (10) and fumbles (5). The Ravens are a near-lock to finish as a top-10 fantasy D/ST, and this group is widely available.

FAAB bid: $1

Additional adds to consider: Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos, 27% (vs. Hou); Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets, 37% (vs. Bal); Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers, 25% (vs. TB); Hunter Henry, TE, San Diego Chargers, 34% (at Atl); C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Houston Texans, 1% (at Den); Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs, 28% (vs. NO)

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