Fantasy Football Week 7 Waiver-Wire Must-Adds
Sam Darnold reintroduced himself to the fantasy football world Sunday. Thanks in large part to the second-year quarterback's performance, the New York Jets offense woke from a three-game slumber to have an electrifying showing against the Dallas Cowboys, logging a season-high 382 yards.
Managers should flock to Darnold while he's available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo leagues. His presence also rejuvenates a budding wide receiver who's available on about 40 percent waiver wires. In other words, collect stock in Gang Green's offensive playmakers.
In Week 6, we also saw some veterans whom owners may have given up on re-emerge as viable fantasy options with long-term appeal.
Let's take a look at six must-add players going into Week 7. They're all owned in fewer than 70 percent of Yahoo pools as of Monday at 2 a.m. ET. We'll also go over free-agent acquisition bids for each player in the context of 12-team leagues. The dollar amounts are based on $100 budgets.
QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (47 Percent Owned)
Over the past two weeks, quarterback Kirk Cousins has carved up subpar pass defenses—the New York Giants (31st) and Philadelphia Eagles (28th)—and racked up 639 yards and six touchdowns with only one interception.
In Weeks 7 and 8, Cousins will face two more teams with suspect pass coverages, the Detroit Lions (29th) and Washington Redskins (20th). After that, he may have to throw more than usual in what could be a high-scoring contest with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9. The AFC West club ranks fourth in scoring.
Fantasy owners shouldn't fall for Cousins as a long-term keeper, but he's put together consecutive performances that place him back in the rental category for rosters that lack quality options at the position.
The Minnesota Vikings have established their identity as a run-first offense, ranking fifth in attempts per game after their Week 6 matchup, but Cousins has shown he can dissect a weaker secondary if necessary. The 31-year-old projects as a solid play for the next three outings. Pick him up now and potentially score big through the first week of November.
Free-Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB): $3
QB Sam Darnold, New York Jets (16 Percent Owned)
Here's your chance at an early buy-in on a player who is capable of progressing into a solid QB2 for the remainder of the year.
After missing time because of mononucleosis, Darnold threw for 338 yards, two touchdowns and just one interception against the Dallas Cowboys' then-No. 9-ranked pass defense that had allowed three scores going into Sunday's contest.
Darnold recorded his second-most passing yards in a game for his career.
With new Jets head coach Adam Gase calling the plays, Darnold should improve on an inconsistent rookie campaign. And now that he's healthy, he can attempt to make strides in an offense equipped with two-time All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell, who's an exceptional pass-catcher out of the backfield, and an ascending wideout in Robby Anderson.
Although the Jets play the New England Patriots in Week 7, the Miami Dolphins (twice), Redskins, Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals—all with pass defenses ranked 15th or worse—are still on the schedule.
FAAB amount: $5
RB Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (63 Percent Owned)
Adrian Peterson ran his way back into fantasy football relevance in Week 6, logging 23 carries for 118 yards with a pair of catches for 18 yards. He's an RB2 or flex option with that type of volume.
Sure, the Redskins ran the ball all over the Dolphins, who have the second-worst run defense in the league, but Peterson played more than 47 percent of offensive snaps for the first time this season.
With Bill Callahan as the interim head coach, we may see Peterson maintain a steady workload as the featured ball-carrier after he went into obscurity under Jay Gruden. With Derrius Guice on injured reserve with a knee injury, rookie fourth-rounder Bryce Love rehabbing a torn ACL and Chris Thompson handling pass-catching duties, Peterson's role seems stable.
Aside from wideout Terry McLaurin, quarterback Case Keenum doesn't have high-quality options on the perimeter. Paul Richardson hasn't moved the needle with big plays since signing with the team last year. The Redskins will likely lean on Peterson to carry a significant load.
FAAB amount: $7
WR Golden Tate, New York Giants (61 Percent Owned)
This is probably the last call for Golden Tate as a must-add who's available in more than 30 percent of Yahoo leagues.
With the New York Giants' depleted offense missing running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), wideout Sterling Shepard (concussion) and tight end Evan Engram (knee), Tate put up big numbers in Week 6. He posted six receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots' now second-ranked pass defense.
Once Barkley and Engram return, they'll soak up some targets, but Tate will likely hold on to the No. 1 spot at wide receiver. According to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, Shepard will miss an indefinite amount of time after his second concussion this season.
In the meantime, the 31-year-old Tate will likely see eight-to-10 targets per contest. Although he isn't in his prime years, he knows how to create separation and rack up yards after the catch, as we saw Thursday in New England.
FAAB amount: $7
WR Robby Anderson, New York Jets (60 Percent Owned)
With Darnold's return, the Jets wide receivers see a boost in fantasy value. In Week 6, Robby Anderson recorded his third 100-yard game with the USC product under center.
Anderson has big-play capability, which he put on display Sunday with a 92-yard touchdown reception against the Cowboys. Because of that aspect, the 26-year-old offers more fantasy upside than Jamison Crowder, who needs more volume to make an impact.
During the offseason, general manager Joe Douglas mentioned Anderson's ability to rack up chunk plays, per The MMQB's Albert Breer.
"He's a tough weapon for defenses to match up with, he can get behind you and he can challenge the defense vertically," Douglas said. "That was a very pleasant surprise."
We'll likely see Darnold and Anderson connect on several long completions going forward. The fourth-year pro possesses major boom potential for the remainder of the season. Furthermore, as the No. 1 wideout on the depth chart, he has a decent floor to his weekly outlook.
FAAB amount: $10
TE Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (63 Percent Owned)
After he suffered a tibia plateau fracture in the season opener and missed four games, Hunter Henry returned to a major role in the aerial attack against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.
The Los Angeles Chargers didn't wake up until the fourth quarter, falling behind 24-0 through the first 46 minutes. Beneath the team's offensive futility, Henry recorded a fantasy gem, logging eight catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. And he's TE1 in the Chargers' pass-heavy offense, which ranks fourth in attempts per game.
During Henry's absence, owners likely placed him on injured reserve or the free-agent scrap heap. If he's available, grab the 24-year-old and hope for an injury-free stretch to finish the campaign.
In 31 career contests, Henry has logged 93 receptions for 1,217 yards and 14 touchdowns. Clearly, he and quarterback Philip Rivers have a strong connection when they take the field together.
FAAB amount: $12