Waiver Wire: Week 7

Adam Levitan
Nick Mensio keeps track of all the reserve/future contracts signed around the NFL

NFL Futures Deals

Nick Mensio keeps track of all the reserve/future contracts signed around the NFL

We’re at the point of the season where desperation starts to kick in. We’ve been ravaged by injury, we have guys failing to produce weekly and we are just looking for someone – anyone – to get touches.

It’s not the way we win fantasy league championships, but it is the way we can squeeze out the victories needed to get to the playoffs. That’s where guys like Joseph Randle, Jarrett Boykin and Harry Douglas come in. They’re only on our radar because of injuries in front of them and they aren’t supremely talented, but they project to see volume.

On to the assets. Here is how I would rank the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at each position. Notes and recommendations on each player will follow below.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 7. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

1. Nick Foles
2. Ryan Tannehill
3. Carson Palmer
4. Chad Henne
5. Brandon Weeden
* Terrelle Pryor is owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’s been the No. 1 add in this space since August and would be my No. 1 QB add this week if he’s available.

Running backs
1. Joseph Randle
2. Andre Ellington
3. Chris Ivory
4. Brandon Jacobs
5. Shonn Greene
6. Roy Helu
7. Shane Vereen
* Zac Stacy is somehow only owned in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 1 add at any position.

Wide receivers
1. Keenan Allen
2. Percy Harvin
3. Harry Douglas
4. Jarrett Boykin
5. Aaron Dobson
6. Andre Roberts
7. Terrance Williams
8. Kendall Wright

Tight Ends
1. Jordan Reed
2. Tim Wright
3. Brandon Pettigrew
4. Jeff Cumberland
* Heath Miller is owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 1 TE add.

Defense/Special Teams
1. Dolphins
2. Chargers
3. Panthers
4. Falcons

1. Alex Henery
2. Caleb Sturgis
3. Mason Crosby

1. Nick Foles, Eagles – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Starting NFL quarterbacks with Pro Bowl resumes typically don’t lose their job to injury. However, the Eagles are not in a typical situation. Michael Vick is on a one-year deal, growing increasingly injury prone and is 4-10 as a starter over the last two seasons. Nick Foles has shined over the last two weeks, displaying the accuracy that Chip Kelly has always said he covets most in a quarterback. At the very least, we have a quarterback controversy in Philly. The nature of Vick’s hamstring injury is especially concerning because without his mobility, it’s obvious Foles is a better choice. Look for the Kelly to give Foles another week or two of leash to see how this shakes out. Fantasy owners should do the same, especially with a tasty home matchup against Dallas on deck.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

2. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Dolphins are coming out of a bye, playing at home and facing a Bills defense that is 22nd against the pass. It would be a major surprise if Ryan Tannehill didn’t have a big game for savvy spot-starting owners. He’s due for a three-touchdown day after being held to two or less in each game so far despite averaging 276.7 yards per day.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
It’s been a wildly disappointing year for Bruce Arians and the Cardinals offense. Through six games, Carson Palmer has gone 131-of-221 (59.3 percent) for 1483 yards (247.1 per game) with seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He’ll be an extremely poor QB2 against the Seahawks this Thursday night, especially if Larry Fitzgerald (hamstrings) doesn’t play. All that said, Palmer still has the scheme, weapons and matchups to do damage. The Cardinals’ schedule in Weeks 8-14 looks like this: vs. ATL, BYE, vs. HOU, at JAX, vs. IND, at PHL, vs. STL. Arians reiterated Monday that he’s sticking with Palmer and blamed the receivers for the two Week 6 interceptions.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

4. Chad Henne, Jaguars – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Thanks to the widely publicized 27-point spread against the Broncos, everyone now seems to know that Chad Henne can produce in garbage time. In three starts this year (including two without Justin Blackmon), he’s averaged 259.6 yards per game. Over the final seven games of last year, he averaged 267.0 yards and threw 10 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. The Jaguars have announced Henne will start in Sunday’s ideal home matchup with the Chargers and won’t commit to Blaine Gabbert (hamstring) getting the job back once healthy. Henne will be a mid-range QB2 in Week 7 if Cecil Shorts (shoulder) gets cleared.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

5. Brandon Weeden, Browns – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brandon Weeden doesn’t progress through his reads well, holds onto the ball too long and is uncomfortable in a muddied pocket. But he does have a first-round arm, and that’s good enough to keep him on the back-end QB2 radar when he has Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron on his side. Through four appearances this season, Weeden is averaging 251.2 yards per game and has four touchdowns against five picks. Coach Rob Chudzinski confirmed Monday that he’s not thinking about turning to Jason Campbell. The biggest concern here is the Browns’ upcoming schedule: at Green Bay, at Kansas City, vs. Baltimore, bye, at Cincy. They are also at New England, vs. Chicago and at Jets in Weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoff time). Adjust accordingly.
Recommendation: Should be owned in two-quarterback leagues

Watch List: Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon – With Matt Cassel crashing back to earth in Week 6 and the Vikings apparently ready to give up on Christian Ponder, Freeman should be up soon. … Glennon will benefit from Mike Williams’ (hamstring) expected return, but is just a weak two-quarterback option.

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1. Joseph Randle, Cowboys – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
DeMarco Murray sprained his left MCL in Sunday night’s win over the Redskins. We don’t have a timetable yet, but we know he’s out for Week 7 and we know this is typically a 2-4 week injury. The reason Randle wasn’t more widely owned as a handcuff is two-fold. First of all, he’s not nearly as talented as guys like Ben Tate, Bryce Brown, Christine Michael, Bernard Pierce etc. Second of all, he was running behind Lance Dunbar (out, hamstring) for backup duties before Dunbar’s injury. That said, Randle is looking at a lot of touches in a high-powered offense against a bad Eagles defense in Week 7. And with Murray’s extremely lengthy injury history, this might not be his only stint as the starter. Plug-n-play away.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Andre Ellington, Cardinals – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’ve discussed Andre Ellington in this space time and time again over the last month. His playing time is no longer a trend to watch for – it’s his role. Over the last four weeks, Ellington is averaging 27.0 snaps, 9.0 touches and 70.2 yards per game. Rashard Mendenhall is playing 30.0 snaps during that span and hasn’t topped 50 yards. Ellington is becoming a solid weekly flex option in PPR and a bench asset in standard leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team PPR leagues
3. Chris Ivory, Jets – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
In two games since returning from a hamstring injury, Chris Ivory has totaled eight carries. That’s about to change, as Mike Goodson is out for the season with a torn ACL. Goodson had gotten seven carries and 30 snaps over the last two weeks. Ivory isn’t going to overtake Bilal Powell, but he’s definitely talented enough to create a 60:40 split. This is still a guy that has averaged 4.90 YPC on his 290 career carries. Ivory is a non-PPR bench stash to see if that talent can shine through.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team non-PPR leagues

4. Brandon Jacobs, Giants – Owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
I wrote about Brandon Jacobs’ jaw-dropping Week 6 performance here. Essentially, it was a fluke that’s unlikely to be duplicated. But with David Wilson (neck) out 3-4 weeks, Da’Rel Scott (hamstring) out multiple weeks, Andre Brown (leg) ineligible until Week 10 and the Giants showing no faith in Michael Cox, Jacobs is basically all they have. Anything more than 60 yards against the Vikings would be a major surprise, but he will get any goal-line carries. Just monitor the tender hamstring before executing a desperation plug-n-play.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

5. Shonn Greene, Titans – Owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Chris Johnson stuck in the mud, the Titans are desperate to get their running game going. They’re praying that Shonn Greene can make that happen once cleared off his knee injury. The ex-Jet won’t be a fantasy option right away, but as he gets healthier the schedule gets softer. Tennessee’s Week 9-12 schedule is at Rams, vs. Jags, vs. Colts and at Raiders. Greene will get all the goal-line work and maybe even some series to himself if Johnson’s struggles continue.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

6. Roy Helu, Redskins – Owned in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
Let this serve as your reminder to handcuff properly and use an extra roster spot on a lottery ticket. We never know when someone like Ben Tate, Bernard Pierce, Christine Michael, Bryce Brown, Joique Bell or Kendall Hunter is going to turn into a difference-making RB1 thanks to an injury. Roy Helu is one of these handcuffs that could actually emerge with some standalone value. He played a season-high 43 snaps against the Cowboys, actually getting some reps in non-passing down spots and finishing with 10 touches.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

7. Shane Vereen, Patriots – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
It’s time for deep-leaguers to start thinking about Shane Vereen as a stash. We don’t have any updates on his progress because it’s the Patriots, but he’s on IR/recall because of a wrist injury. It’s far easier to hit the ground running off this injury than it is off a knee or other lower-body issue. Vereen was on his way to a monster year as the “joker” before going down. He’s a legit candidate for 10-15 touches weekly once healthy and up to speed.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues with an IL spot or those with deep benches

Watch List: Chris Ogbonnaya, Andre Brown, Jonathan Stewart, Khiry Robinson, Michael Cox – Brandon Weeden loves checking down to his fullback, Ogbonnaya. PPR owners take note. … The Giants grow more desperate by the week for Brown’s return. … Stewart is still feeling discomfort in his ankle. We now can’t expect him to be back until Week 9 at the earliest. … Robinson continues to play better than Mark Ingram (week to week, toe). … Cox could be the change-of-pace back behind an old and less-than-100 percent Jacobs (hamstring) on Monday night.  

Cut Bait: LeGarrette Blount, Marcel Reece, Da’Rel Scott, Rashad Jennings – With Stevan Ridley reassuming control of the backfield, Blount can’t expect more than a handful of touches. … Reece and Jennings missed their window as the injuries to Darren McFadden proved mild. The Raiders are now on a bye. … Scott (hamstring) is out multiple weeks.

1. Keenan Allen, Chargers – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
The No. 1 receiver on the No. 5 passing team in the entire NFL? Yes please. Allen was considered a first-round talent before a knee injury and poor quarterback play over his final season at Cal sunk his draft stock. Now the rookie is showing fearlessness in traffic, an ability to separate and fine rapport with Philip Rivers. It’s resulted in 15 catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns on 21 targets over the last two weeks. With Danario Alexander (knee) and Malcom Floyd (neck) done for the year, Allen’s role is here to stay.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Percy Harvin, Seahawks – Owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
There’s been a wave of Percy Harvin news as he’s back in Seattle after rehabbing from hip surgery in New York. There’s also a wave of optimism as rumors Harvin is ahead of his original 3-4 month are gaining steam. He won’t practice with the team prior to Thursday’s game at Arizona, but the long week after that provides a nice window. Coach Pete Carroll said Harvin’s return is “right around the corner” and he’s “encouraged” by what he’s seeing. There’s a slight possibility that he could see some time in Week 8, but that’s not what owners should be counting on. We’re stashing Harvin because he’s an elite difference-maker that could be close to 100 percent and a huge part of the scheme in fantasy crunch time.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Harry Douglas, Falcons – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
By now, everyone knows that Julio Jones (foot) is out for the season and Roddy White (hamstring, ankle) is questionable for Week 7 at best. Harry Douglas is a mediocre slot receiver, but he’s being thrust into the No. 1 wideout gig. We can be certain that the Falcons did some things during the bye week to pull him up to speed in his new gig and designed some things to play to his strengths. They know Tony Gonzalez is going to see constant double teams. It’s also worth noting that Douglas has been targeted in the end zone three times and at the 1-yard line twice already this season. He was already a red-zone target before the injuries struck.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Jarrett Boykin, Packers – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Packers were only carrying four receivers on their 53-man roster heading into Week 6: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin. That lack of depth is getting put to the test now as Cobb (knee/leg) will be out anywhere from 2-8 weeks and Jones (PCL sprain) is in doubt for Week 7. Enter Boykin, a 6’2/219 Virginia Tech product that went undrafted in 2012 in part because he ran a 4.7 at his Combine. He played on 58-of-69 snaps against the Ravens, catching one of six targets for 43 yards and committing two ugly drops. But with a week to be coached up and Aaron Rodgers at the controls, there’s certainly upside here. He’ll certainly play in all three-wide sets (the Packers base) and will be in two-wide sets if Jones sits out. The matchup is right this week as Joe Haden figures to shadow Nelson.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Aaron Dobson, Patriots – Owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
We saw some interesting usage among Patriots wideouts in Week 6. Aaron Dobson came out of nowhere to lead the way in snaps, playing on 80-of-88. He ate up some of the reps that Kenbrell Thompkins (59 snaps) normally gets. Meanwhile, Julian Edelman played just 43 snaps even though Danny Amendola (concussion) left early. It’s a mess and certainly not a predictor of the future because this is the Patriots, but we have to take note of Dobson. He still drops too many balls, but he’s capable of playing all over the field, is gaining Tom Brady’s trust slowly and will sustain a big role with Amendola likely sidelined.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

6. Andre Roberts, Cardinals – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
This one is completely dependent on the status of Larry Fitzgerald (hamstrings). He reportedly had trouble even getting dressed following Sunday’s loss to the 49ers, leaving him extremely questionable for Thursday night’s game against the Seahawks. If Fitz can’t go, Andre Roberts would step in as an every-down outside receiver (Rob Housler continues to monopolize inside snaps unproductively). It’s obviously an extremely poor matchup against the Legion of Boom and Richard Sherman/Brandon Browner, but there could very well be some garbage-time opportunities. Roberts is a talented guy. If Fitzgerald’s injury lingers or gets aggravated, owners will be happy they own his “handcuff.”
Recommendation: Should be owned as a short-term play only in 14-team leagues

7. Terrance Williams, Cowboys – Owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
Miles Austin’s return from a hamstring went about as we expected. He played on 35 snaps against the Redskins and Terrance Williams played 37. However, the production was not even. Austin had zero catches on four targets while Williams had a 2/27/1 line on two targets. Will that lead to less of a rotation and more of a full-time role for the rookie? Perhaps, but we can’t count on that right away. Williams is more of a stash until Austin aggravates his hamstring or recedes into the true No. 3 role.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

8. Kendall Wright, Titans – Owned 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
Wright continues to quietly do his thing on a weekly basis. With Kenny Britt a complete non-factor (two snaps in Week 6), Wright is playing in all two-wide sets along with Nate Washington. He’s had five or more catches in five straight games, averaging 64.8 yards during that span. There’s not a very high ceiling with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the controls, but Wright can be a WR3 in a pinch.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Kenny Britt, Marlon Brown, Leonard Hankerson, Austin Pettis, Stephen Hill, Kris Durham, Jeremy Kerley, Mike Brown, Myles White, Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree – Britt clearly needs a change of scenery and it should be coming. … Brown held off Jacoby Jones for No. 2 duties. … Hankerson has seen at least six targets in four of five games. … Pettis is right there with Chris Givens for the title of Rams No. 1 wideout. … Hill is healthy and remains a top-tier talent. Consistency with him and Geno Smith is the issue. … Durham, a college teammate of Matthew Stafford, is emerging as the clear No. 2 man opposite Calvin Johnson. … Kerley will continue to play heavy snaps with Santonio Holmes (hamstring) not close. … Brown is Cecil Shorts’ (SC joint) direct backup. … White is the only WR currently on the Packers practice squad. … Crabtree is well behind Percy Harvin and Manningham in terms of progress. Manningham is expected to resume practicing this week.

1. Jordan Reed, Redskins – Owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
If not for a Week 3 quad contusion, Reed would have been on the top-14 TE radar a while ago. Check out the tape of Sunday night’s loss in Dallas and you’ll see a 6’2/236 athlete with excellent route-running skills and sudden quicks. On the field, the Florida product reminds of a poor man’s Aaron Hernandez. On Sunday night, he played on 56-of-79 snaps while Fred Davis played just 19 snaps. The changing of the guard has happened here, and it’s not too late to hop on board. Reed is an ideal bye-week replacement and could evolve into more very soon.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

2. Tim Wright, Bucs – Owned in zero percent of Yahoo leagues
I’m not going to lie and say I know a lot about undrafted rookie Tim Wright. But Bucs coach Greg Schiano does, as he coached him at Rutgers. The 6’4/220 Wright was a wideout for the Scarlet Knights before getting moved to tight end once he signed on with Tampa. It’s been one of the few brilliant moves Schiano has made. During a 7/91/0 line against the Eagles in Week 6, Wright showed he is extremely agile, separates with ease and has a ton of wiggle after the catch. He clearly has good chemistry with Mike Glennon, as the duo spent a lot of time with the “2s” over the last six months. In the two games Glennon has started, Wright has 12 catches for 132 yards on 15 targets. He’s lining up in the slot often. Even with Tom Crabtree (ankle) getting healthy and Mike Williams (hamstring) expected back, the Bucs can’t lessen Wright’s role too much. He’s playing too well. This week’s excellent matchup with the Falcons is a good place for Wright to stay hot.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’ve seen enough of Pettigrew and discussed him enough here to know what he is. He’s a catch-and–fall tight end that doesn’t get the goal-line looks and gives very little after the catch. Over the last three weeks, Pettigrew is averaging 5.0 catches for 49.6 yards with no scores. That’s a very reasonable expectation going forward.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team PPR leagues

4. Jeff Cumberland, Jets – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jeff Cumberland was playing ahead of Kellen Winslow even before Winslow’s four-game suspension. Now he’ll be an every-down player. That’s intriguing, but Cumberland is really “just a guy.” He’s a 6’4/260 lumbering body that went undrafted out of Illinois in 2010 and came into this year with 32 career catches. Cumberland’s weekly ceiling is 3-4 catches and 35-50 yards.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Zach Ertz, Ben Watson, Dallas Clark, Levine Toilolo, Rob Housler – Ertz’s snap count is on the rise in a big way, and he plays the “move” spot well. … Watson is desperation insurance after Jimmy Graham limped off Sunday. … Dallas Clark will have some big games and some airballs. He’s just such a bad player at this point, he needs tons of volume. … Toilolo is being talked up as a red-zone threat with Julio Jones (foot) out for the season. … Housler continues to play the slot role ahead of Andre Roberts and has a soft schedule starting in Week 8.

Cut Bait: Kellen Winslow, Brent Celek – Winslow was suspended four games for a PED violation. … Celek has lost the pass-catching tight end role to Zach Ertz.
1. Dolphins – Owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
We love to use teams at home coming out of a bye. It’s a bonus that the Dolphins get to face a Bills team that has hit rock bottom at quarterback. With E.J. Manuel (knee) out indefinitely and Kevin Kolb (concussion) on injured reserve, they’re going to have to start Thad Lewis (day to day, foot) or newly signed Matt Flynn. C.J. Spiller (ankle) is playing limited snaps and is clearly less than 100 percent. It’s a dream scenario for Cameron Wake and friends, who have forced nine turnovers and recorded 13 sacks through five games.

2. Chargers – Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
Chad Henne is far better than Blaine Gabbert, Justin Blackmon is emerging as a top-15 receiver and the Chargers have to go across the country on a short week. Still, streaming against the Jags is never a bad thing. The Chargers held the Colts to just 267 total yards on Monday night and held Andrew Luck to zero touchdowns against one interception.

3. Panthers – Owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
Quietly fielding one of the league’s top front-sevens, the Panthers are allowing just 13.6 points per game on the season. There’s certainly a good argument out there that they should be a weekly start, not just a streaming play. This week, the Panthers are in an especially good spot as they get the Rams on a back-to-back road spot.

4. Falcons – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Yes, the Falcons have one of the league’s worst defenses. But they’re coming out of a bye at 1-4 and should turn in a season-best performance at home this week. They’ll be facing a Bucs team that could muster just 20 points against the Eagles’ Swiss cheese unit in Week 6.

1. Alex Henery, Eagles – Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Eagles offense is going to move the ball whether it’s Nick Foles or Michael Vick under center. That will be especially true this week in a home game against the Cowboys defense that bent but didn’t break against the Redskins in Week 5 (Four FG attempts for Kai Forbath). Alex Henery is 13-of-16 on the season.

2. Caleb Sturgis, Dolphins – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
I discussed the luxurious spot the Dolphins have this week in the Defense section. Caleb Sturgis should be among the beneficiaries. The fifth-round rookie is 10-of-11 to start the season and already has three field goals of 50-plus in just five games. The coaching staff has a ton of confidence in him.

3. Mason Crosby, Packers – Owned in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues
Mason Crosby appears to finally be over the yips that he caught a year ago, when he went an atrocious 21-of-33 on field goals. This season, he’s 13-of-14 and has made seven field goals from 40-plus. Even if
the Packers are missing their potent wideouts, Aaron Rodgers is still going to find a way to move the ball into the red zone.

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