Waiver Wire Week 7: Reviewing Top Pickups and Drops Likely Available
Another week of NFL action is complete. The Tennessee Titans wrapped Week 6 with a thrilling Monday night victory over the previously rolling Buffalo Bills.
While some teams are providing clarity about how good they really are—the undefeated Arizona Cardinals are quite good, if you weren't aware—others are showing that early-season success was likely a mirage. Similar situations are playing out in the fantasy world, where early starters can now be safely dropped from the lineup.
Here, we'll examine a couple of the top drops for Week 7, along with some players to target off the waiver wire. All picks are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring).
Add: Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs wideout Mecole Hardman is beginning to establish himself as a quality No. 2 option. He's come on strong recently, catching 13 passes for 138 yards over the past two weeks.
In that same period, Hardman has been targeted 17 times. That's a big jump after he was targeted 18 times over the first four weeks. Whether Patrick Mahomes is starting to favor him, or the Chiefs are simply making a concerted effort to get Hardman more involved, his role is growing.
And in Kansas City, there are enough footballs to go around. Yes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce remain the top targets, but with Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined with a knee injury, the Chiefs are likely to be even more pass-heavy than usual.
Up next for Hardman is a Tennessee Titans defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers. Hardman is rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and 46 percent of ESPN leagues.
Drop: Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers
Over the first couple of weeks, it looked like Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold might be a surprise fantasy star. In wins over the New York Jets, Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints, Darnold passed for at least 275 yards while scoring two touchdowns in each game.
In a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, he had 301 passing yards, two touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns and two interceptions.
However, Darnold has fallen off since then, perhaps because of an underwhelming Panthers offensive line—Darnold has now been sacked 18 times.
Over the last two weeks, Darnold has failed to top 207 passing yards in a game and has just two touchdowns (none rushing). While he does have a favorable matchup in Week 7—the New York Giants have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks—it's time to dump Darnold for a more reliable option.
Add: Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Managers looking for an add-and-stash candidate should consider Baltimore Ravens rookie wideout Rashod Bateman. Baltimore's first-round pick made his NFL debut on Sunday and finished with four receptions for 29 yards on six targets.
While this obviously isn't standout production, it does suggest that Bateman is quickly going to find a role in the Ravens' passing attack. Given how much improvement we've seen in Baltimore's passing offense this season—the traditionally run-oriented Ravens rank 11th in passing yards—that means there's a lot of upside here.
Lamar Jackson is excelling as a passer this season, and players like Bateman are going to benefit on the fantasy front.
Managers should exercise caution when it comes to starting Bateman right away, as the Cincinnati Bengals have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers, but it's smart to jump on the Bateman bandwagon now. He is rostered in only 27 percent of Yahoo leagues and 15 percent of ESPN leagues.
Drop: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
If you've been holding out hope for things to finally click between Odell Beckham Jr. and Baker Mayfield, it's probably time to give up. Beckham did show signs of life in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals, but the Cleveland Browns wideout has been too inconsistent to justify starting in any given week.
Beckham had five catches for 79 yards in Week 6 and was targeted eight times. That's encouraging, but managers must keep in mind that he had just two receptions and 20 yards the previous week during a shootout with the Los Angeles Chargers.
There will likely be some solid fantasy outings for Beckham this year, but trying to predict them will be a maddening process for managers. On top of this, Beckham and Mayfield are both dealing with shoulder injuries that could impact them for the foreseeable future.
"I think we'll make sure to work through all that in the next couple days," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said, per 92.3 The Fan.
There's simply too much uncertainty surrounding Beckham to justify keeping him over a player with a reliable floor.