Fantasy Football: Waiver-Wire Pickups After Week 7
Injuries are unavoidable. They happen every year to some of the best players in the league. Even though they can suck the life right out of your team, you deal with them and move on because, hey, this is fantasy football, not fantasy badminton.
Week 7 gave us another crop of injuries to thin out an already depleted league even more, so with four more teams on a bye this coming week, what do you do? Hopefully you stashed a little depth on your squad that you can just plug right in there...but what if you didn't?
This is where the all-important waiver wire comes in handy, and this is why you need to know exactly which players to pick up.
QB Josh Freeman: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Freeman continues to impress with a third straight strong performance, one which was undoubtedly his best of the season—albeit against the Saints' last-ranked pass defense.
This past week, Josh posted 420 passing yards while throwing for three TDs and would have had one more if Vincent Jackson could have mustered out two more yards on what would have been a fat fantasy 97-yarder.
What's even more impressive for Freeman is his recent three-week total of 1,047 passing yards and seven TDs compared to only two INTs.
Freeman has a tough matchup on Thursday night this coming week going up against the Vikings in Minnesota, but he has a pretty nice schedule the rest of the way.
If anything, he's at least a reliable bye week replacement and could quickly becoming a sneaky start if he keeps coming on.
RB Rashad Jennings: Jacksonville Jaguars
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The only true threat of the Jaguars offense (Maurice Jones-Drew) is injured, and with no timetable on his return, his season could be in doubt.
If so, Rashad Jennings will have another chance to show the world he is ready to be an every-down back. The only problem he faces—and it’s a big one—is that he'll have to do it within the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars offense.
Against the Raiders this past week, Jennings squeaked out just 44 yards on 21 carries, but he did manage to rush for a TD and did some nice work out of the backfield, finishing with seven catches for 58 yards.
If Jones-Drew misses time, Rashad will be the focal point of the offense as well as a safety valve in the passing game, and he could be viable in fantasy lineups—even though he is on the Jags.
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling: Arizona Cardinals
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Stephens-Howling surprised many of us in Week 7, getting the majority of rushes (20) for the Cardinals over the assumed workhorse, William Powell (4).
The move seemed to pay off for Arizona, though, as Howling took those 20 carries and ran for 104 yards against a very stout Minnesota defense. As usual, he was an active participant in the passing game, adding four catches for 45 yards as well.
It would appear that LaRod has won the title of "lead dog" for the Cardinals right now, but at a slight 5’7” and weighing only 185 pounds, it will be interesting to see how he deals with the rigors of being a starting NFL running back.
RB Shane Vereen: New England Patriots
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Vereen had more touches in Week 7 than the prior six weeks combined, and frankly, he looked really good with the extended opportunity.
Shane had eight carries for 49 yards and one reception for another 10 while filling in for the injured Brandon Bolden against the Jets this last weekend.
However, for fantasy owners, the main problem when it comes to Vereen is Bill Belichick, a coach who continues to confuse and annoy the fantasy world by using all of his running backs almost equally throughout each game.
That being said, with his impressive Week 7 performance, Vereen should see more carries the rest of the way.
WR Santana Moss: Washington Redskins
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Moss (no, not that Randy guy in San Fran) is still doing his thing out there as he continues to take advantage of Pierre Garcon's absence on the field.
Santana showed his ability to make the big play once again this week, putting up two TDs against the Giants and finishing with three catches for 67 yards. In fact, Moss is averaging three catches for 64 yards and a TD over the past three weeks, so what he did on Sunday wasn't just a one-time thing.
With Fred Davis lost for the season, Moss should see an increase in targets going forward, as RGIII will need to lean on his veteran presence out there down the stretch.
As a savvy veteran with a knack for finding the end zone, Santana could be a useful WR3 or flex play in the second half of the season.
WR Donald Jones: Buffalo Bills
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It seems that every few weeks, Jones puts up a double-digit fantasy performance like he did on Sunday (four catches for 47 yards and a TD) as he's done so now in Weeks 1, 4 and 7.
The Bills will be on a bye next week, but Jones is starting to become a more active participant in the Bills passing game (as evidenced by his steady increase in targets), and he could be a decent flex play going forward, depending on the matchup.
His production will be inconsistent for the rest of the season, however, and he's really only recommended as a pickup in deeper leagues.
WR Tiquan Underwood: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
J. Meric/Getty Images
Despite being targeted six times in Week 7, Tiquan could only pull down two receptions for 35 yards, but one of those catches went for a 13-yard touchdown to lead off the Bucs' scoring.
The Bucs have been searching for a third wide receiver for quite a while now, and they just may have found that guy in Underwood. His playmaking ability has been on display lately, and it seems Big Josh has noticed, with Underwood's targets increasing by the week.
With Vincent Jackson drawing double-teams and Mike Williams stealing attention of his own, Underwood will continue to see one-on-one coverage and has a chance to put up some nice games.
He might be worth the risk here, with his arrow (and hair) pointing straight up.
WR Josh Cooper: Cleveland Browns
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Cooper has the benefit of knowing his quarterback (Brandon Weeden) very well, as they played together back at Oklahoma State.
Cooper saw eight targets from his college buddy this past weekend and came down with four catches for 53 yards.
This isn't the first time we've seen a player put up fantasy points due to the familiarity of being college teammates, either, as the WR Earl Bennett and QB Jay Cutler (both went to Vanderbilt) did the same thing a couple of years back for the Chicago Bears.
Josh could end up being a similar player to Bennett in that his prior relationship with his QB earns him additional looks each week.
Coop has a chance to be a nice waiver-wire addition, especially in PPR leagues, though he'll first have to hold off fellow rookie Travis Benjamin for snaps in the slot before becoming a legit fantasy starter.
WR Kyle Williams: San Francisco 49ers
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Williams has yet to scorch the fantasy score sheet, but the 49ers obviously need some help in revving up the passing game, so it would seem Williams' big-play ability fits the bill.
As has been shown in the return game, Williams has an arsenal of nifty moves in the open field and can stretch the defense with his overall speed, so there's no reason to think he won't be used as a legitimate weapon in the near future.
With the Niners becoming a bit predictable, I expect Kyle to see an increased role in the offense going forward as the 49ers look for more creative ways to score points.
WR Joe Morgan: New Orleans Saints
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Morgan is more of a deep-league sleeper and won't be a real consistent threat in fantasy this season—but hey, did you see that freakin' catch he had this week?!?!
It might actually go down as the play of the year and possibly one of the best ninja moves ever on a football field (flipping a guy, staying on his feet and then taking it to the house).
If you didn't see it, please try and check it out somewhere. It's absolutely awesome!
That being said, once Jimmy Graham is back as the Saints' main target, Morgan will slide back into relative obscurity—but WOW did he live up his 15 minutes of fame this week!
TE Chris Cooley: Washington Redskins
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With Fred Davis done for the season, the Redskins went out and immediately re-signed their ex-tight end of eight years, Chris Cooley.
Because Cooley already knows the offense, he should have no problem jumping into the fire and might even get the start against Pittsburgh in Week 8.
If not, Logan Paulsen is certainly worth taking a look at after filling in nicely for Davis, catching four out of his six targets for 76 yards after he went down.
Neither one will be a fantasy game-changer for your team, but one could be a nice bye-week fill-in if necessary.
TE David Thomas: New Orleans Saints
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With all-world tight end Jimmy Graham missing Week 7, David Thomas was asked to start in his place and received four targets from Drew Brees that were turned into two catches for 27 yards and a 20-yard TD.
If Graham continues to miss time, then Thomas will remain the starter for the Saints, but don’t expect him to see the same type of attention from Brees that Graham gets.
However, Thomas will be a solid play and put up some consistent points for your fantasy team for as long as Graham as out.
That being said, his ceiling is kind of low, even in this high-flying Saints offense.
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