Apparently some NFL stars read my musings.
Last week I wrote an article about the league’s best underachievers, which included the likes of Dez Bryant, Jeremy Maclin, Jordy Nelson and Antonio Gates. On behalf of my fantasy team, thanks for proving me wrong, guys.
Bryant and Gates each caught two touchdown passes, Nelson added three on his own, and Maclin caught a touchdown as well. If there’s anyone on your fantasy team you’d like me to criticize in my next article, let me know.
Joking aside, this weekend proved why fantasy football can be so exciting—and so exasperating. You can make all the right decisions and still come up short.
This is the time of the season that trades, waiver adds and bye-week fill-ins can make or break your fantasy team. You have to stay ahead of the curve, and the best way to do that is to be informed.
If you’re looking for a leg up on the competition, continue reading. The following is a list of waiver-wire adds you should consider for Week 7.
I took some heat for including Freeman on my list of Week 6 waiver adds. He was unimpressive in the Bucs’ first few games but was coming off his best performance of the season in Week 4.
Freeman torched the Chiefs on Sunday, throwing for 328 yards and three touchdowns. He faces an even friendlier matchup in Week 7 against New Orleans, which has allowed 283 yards per game and nine passing touchdowns to opposing passers this season.
I’ll say it again: Pick up Freeman this week if you need a bye week fill-in. Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson are both playing well, and Freeman is finally starting to hit his stride.
Production prediction: 19-for-31, 289 yards, two touchdowns
Weeden celebrated his 29th birthday Sunday with a win over the Bengals—the Browns’ first win of the season. Weeden has played like a rookie this season, but he’s also shown flashes of brilliance. With Josh Gordon emerging as his probable No. 1 target, Weeden will continue to improve as the season progresses.
Weeden already has a pair of 300-yard efforts under his belt, though his seven touchdowns through six games wouldn’t have helped you much in your fantasy league. Still, Weeden has a lot of potential. If you play in a deep league and the quarterback cabinet is nearly bare, take a flier on Weeden.
Production prediction: 24-for-41, 287 yards, two touchdowns
Fitzpatrick is maddeningly inconsistent, but he’s also shown he can put up some nice fantasy numbers. Fitzpatrick threw 12 touchdown passes in the Bills’ first four games, but sputtered against San Francisco and Arizona.
The Bills take on the Titans in Week 7, which is an enticing fantasy matchup for Fitzpatrick and Buffalo’s offense. Tennessee has allowed 292 passing yards per game and 13 passing touchdowns this season. Buffalo has a bye in Week 8, so don’t give up too much to pick him up.
Production prediction: 23-for-40, 312 yards, two touchdowns
If it’s not one thing, it’s likely another. That’s how the Cowboys’ season has gone in 2012, and the injury bug may be nipping at their heels again. DeMarco Murray left Sunday’s contest with a left foot sprain, and although X-rays were negative, he’ll likely be on the shelf this week.
With Murray sidelined, Jones carved up a good Baltimore defense to the tune of 92 yards on 18 carries. He found the end zone once, but also left the game for a short period with cramping. Still, Jones ran well, and if Murray’s injury is enough to hold him out of the team’s Week 7 game against the Panthers, Jones would be an excellent handcuff. Carolina is allowing 4.4 yards per carry to opposing backs.
Production prediction: 16 touches, 94 total yards, one touchdown
Trent Richardson exited the game Sunday against the Bengals with a rib injury, though Richardson failed to get much going before that. He had 14 carries for 37 yards, which may be why Pat Shurmur relied on Hardesty to shoulder the workload while Richardson stood on the sidelines with a “probable” return status.
Hardesty has been disappointing since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft. He ran well on Sunday, though, and could see the bulk of Cleveland’s carries in Week 7 against the Colts if Richardson can’t go. It’s still very early, so monitor Richardson’s “day-to-day” status as the week progresses. If T-Rich isn’t 100 percent, Hardesty could have a big day against a poor Indianapolis defense.
Production prediction: 17 touches, 74 total yards, one touchdown
Richardson seems to have worked his way into an even share of the workload in St. Louis. Steven Jackson has not been as productive as he once was, and Richardson’s fresh legs and 5.2 per-carry average is reason enough to pick him up.
Richardson was drafted in the seventh round by the Rams this year. He’s a much smaller back (5’10”, 196 lbs.) than Jackson, which works in his favor in the Rams’ backfield. His running style is a perfect complement to Jackson’s bruising rushing attack, and Richardson should continue to see plenty of work as the season continues. Stash him on your bench and hope he continues to impress, but don’t be afraid to play Richardson in deep leagues moving forward.
Production prediction: 14 touches, 87 total yards
Many of you asked last week whom to target on the waiver wire at the running back position, and Powell was my best answer. If he’s still available this week, don’t waste any time. Go get him.
Powell had 14 touches for 78 yards on Sunday against the Bills, and he should continue to see plenty of work this season with Ryan Williams on IR and Beanie Wells out for at least another month. LaRod Stephens-Howling was a popular add last week, but he’s averaging just one yard per carry this season. Powell is the much better option, and if you’re in need of a running back, pluck him off the waiver wire before someone else does.
Production prediction: 16 touches, 91 total yards, one touchdown
It’s been a long time since the Packers’ running game was anything with which to be impressed. Aaron Rodgers is slinging the ball around as well as anyone in the league, and Green Bay doesn’t really need much of a rushing attack to put up gobs of points.
Still, Green is getting his share of opportunities with Cedric Benson sidelined. He got 22 carries against the Texans on Sunday night, though many of them came in garbage time when the Packers were trying to run out the clock. If your running back situation is in dire straits, grab Green off waivers. Just don’t expect him to make or break your fantasy season.
Production prediction: 18 touches, 72 total yards
Chris Givens (St. Louis)
I gave Givens the nod as one of my top Week 6 waiver adds, and he thanked me with a solid performance against the Dolphins. Givens caught three passes for 85 yards in the Rams’ loss.
Givens has a catch of 51 yards or more in each of the last three games, and with Danny Amendola out, Givens has become Sam Bradford’s top deep threat. St. Louis takes on Green Bay in Week 7, and the Rams will need Givens to continue getting behind the secondary if they are to compete with the Packers. If you need a bye week fill-in or have injuries at wide receiver, take a chance on Givens.
Production prediction: Three catches, 79 yards
Hill missed a couple games this year because of injury, but he’s back, and he returns as New York’s top receiving threat. Santonio Holmes will miss the rest of the season with a Lisfranc injury, and the Jets are desperately searching for consistent options at wide receiver.
Many owners dropped Hill when he injured his hamstring a few weeks ago. Their trash can be your treasure. Hill is a very talented receiver and has the potential to steal a lot of red zone targets from Dustin Keller. He caught a touchdown pass in Week 6 and could end the season with double-digit scores if he can stay healthy.
Production prediction: Six catches, 92 yards, one touchdown
Baldwin is a boom or bust fantasy option at this point, but he’s still an option. Baldwin hasn’t caught more than three balls in a single contest, and Seattle’s passing attack still leaves a lot to be desired.
Baldwin did catch a 24-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson on Sunday (his first of the season), and he could see more targets as Wilson continues to get acclimated. I don’t consider Baldwin an every-week play at this point, but he deserves some consideration if your team is really hurting at the wide receiver position.
Production prediction: Three catches, 47 yards
I liked Gordon last week enough to recommend him as a top add at wide receiver, projecting the rookie to have four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. He caught just three passes, but posted 99 yards and a touchdown in the Browns’ 34-24 win over the Bengals.
Cleveland forfeited their 2013 second-round pick to take Gordon in this year’s supplemental draft, and it’s looking like the Browns may have made a wise decision. Gordon is playing like a No. 1. He’s taken advantage of Greg Little’s inconsistency by becoming one of the Browns’ most consistent receiving threats. If you didn’t heed my advice last week, this may be a good time to reconsider.
Production prediction: Six catches, 107 yards, one touchdown
Mike Williams (Tampa Bay)
Williams probably isn’t available in a lot of leagues at this point, but if he is, don’t wait to pick him up. The Buccaneers signed Vincent Jackson to a lucrative contract this offseason, and many expected V-Jax to be the clear-cut No. 1 in Tampa.
Williams is playing like the team’s best receiver, catching four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs in Week 6. Both Jackson and Williams are very good options moving forward, especially with Josh Freeman’s progress. Jackson probably isn’t available in your league, but Williams might be. Pick him up and plug him in.
Production prediction: Four catches, 95 yards, one touchdown
Myers has been one of Oakland’s most consistent receiving options this year. The Raiders have woefully underutilized their tight ends the last couple seasons, but Carson Palmer seems to really like Myers.
Myers has at least four catches and 55 yards in all but one of Oakland’s games. He’s yet to find the end zone, but so have a lot of Raiders at this point. He should continue to see a lot of targets this year and has made his case for fantasy consideration. If you’re in a deep league, or there simply aren’t many options at tight end, take a flier on Myers.
Production prediction: Five catches, 69 yards, one touchdown
Cook is an imposing receiving threat in the middle of the field. He’s also surprisingly athletic and has been one of Tennessee’s best weapons in the vertical passing game.
Cook has 23 catches for 291 yards and two touchdowns this season. He caught four passes for 54 yards against the Steelers on Thursday night and has at least three catches in every game this season. Cook isn’t an elite tight end, but he’s owned in a good portion of fantasy leagues. If he’s still available in yours, consider snagging Cook and stashing him away for bye weeks and injury-insurance purposes.
Production prediction: Six catches, 81 yards