Bye weeks can wreak havoc on well-constructed fantasy football rosters. The Week 7 bye is particularly brutal with all Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jacksonville Jaguars unavailable.
Attacking the waiver wire and knowing which players to start and sit is crucial towards overcoming the bye and giving your squad the best chance to win another game.
Ryan Tannehill (QB) Tennessee Titans
Saying Ryan Tannehill has been disappointing this season would be an understatement. After adding Julio Jones to a WR corps already featuring A.J. Brown, most experts ranked him as a QB1 with high-end upside. He’s currently the QB23 based on fantasy PPG this season. There is a good chance at this point you can find him sitting on your waiver wire. If he is sitting there you should pick him up this week and stream him.
Tannehill has a healthy Brown and is taking on the Chiefs this week, who are atrocious against fantasy quarterbacks. Only the Washington Football Team has been worse. The Titans’ defense is just generally awful as well so Patrick Mahomes should score at will, which should prevent an overwhelmingly heavy Derrick Henry game. The Titans will have to throw to keep up and hopefully can make this a shootout.
Devonta Freeman (RB) Baltimore Ravens
Latavius Murray went down with an ankle injury last week and doesn’t look good for Week 7. Ty’Son Williams has been relegated to being a healthy scratch and isn’t what the Ravens are looking for in a starting running back. This leaves Freeman and Le’Veon Bell left in the Baltimore backfield. Freeman has been running ahead of Freeman since the two got there and looks better on the field.
This is a team if you can get the starting running back, you want him because they run so much. This week they take on the Bengals and I fully expect Freeman to be the RB1 ahead of Bell and Williams. This doesn’t mean the other backs won’t see touches, but they should be significantly less valuable than Freeman. With all the injuries and byes this week, he should be in a lot of starting lineups.
Elijah Mitchell (RB) San Francisco 49ers
This is another backfield where you want the starter regardless of talent or matchup because they always put up points. We have been fooled by this backfield before, nevertheless, it seems like Mitchell is the clear RB1 in San Fran when healthy. As much as the fantasy community has clamored for Trey Sermon, he doesn’t look like he’s going to be a thing unless everybody else on the roster is injured.
I don’t care that the matchup isn’t great and I don’t care who the quarterback is. This week with so many holes for fantasy owners to fill, Mitchell is getting plugged into your starting lineup. He will handle the bulk of the carries, he should see red-zone work and he’ll likely have a few targets thrown his way. He’s the only back you can trust on the Niners.
Jaylen Waddle (WR) Miami Dolphins
Waddle scored two touchdowns this past week and had another huge targets week catching 10 of the 13 passes thrown his way. While I don’t expect the TDs to stay consistent the targets will. He’s seeing these targets for two simple reasons. This is what he was drafted for and no one else is healthy. With DeVante Parker and Will Fuller forever living on the injured list, Waddle is the only high-level healthy receiver this team has and it has shown in the box scores.
At this point, he is an every-week start in PPR leagues. The yardage totals haven’t been massive, but the targets are there and he’s starting to get a lot of looks around the end zone. He is beginning to move past the flex zone into WR2 territory.
Sterling Shepard (WR) New York Giants
This is another case of a wideout being the last man standing. Kadarius Toney won’t play this week, Kenny Golladay isn’t looking likely for Week 7 and Darius Slayton isn’t healthy either. Slayton is the one most likely to be active of the bunch and he’s a secondary receiver anyway. Shepard came back and saw 14 targets last week. It wouldn’t be surprising if he somehow saw, even more, this week. He’s a must-start this week despite a tough matchup against the Panthers.
Ricky Seals-Jones (TE) Washington Football Team
Seals-Jones was on this list last week and he’s here again because he needs to be started. Until Logan Thomas returns from injury, he should be viewed as a low-end TE1 with upside. Last week he caught four of six targets for 58 yards and a TD. He has everything you’re looking for in a plug-in TE. He is seeing targets, getting red zone looks, and has big-play ability because of his athleticism. If this guy is still on your waivers and you don’t have a top-tier tight end, scoop him up and plug him in.
Additionally, with Curtis Samuel sidelined, Seals-Jones was lined up in the slot for 52.5% of his snaps last week. If that usage continues, Seals-Jones (6-foot-5, 243) will have a decided size advantage against Green Bay slot corner Chandon Sullivan (5-11, 189).
Mac Jones (QB) New England Patriots
When you hear his opponent is the New York Jets, your first reaction is probably to think it’s a great matchup. However, the Jets have been tough against fantasy quarterbacks this season. Some of it is because they are a little better than expected and a lot of it is because they can’t stop running backs at all and their offense is so terrible teams usually don’t need to throw much. Either way, it’s not ideal.
Beyond the matchup, Jones hasn’t looked very good. He’s a dink and dunk guy with below-average weapons in a game where the opposing team isn’t likely to score 20 points. Don’t just see the Jets and insert Jones because he’s playing against them. I’m not saying it can’t work out because they are the Jets after all, but I’m avoiding this matchup on Sunday.
Khalil Herbert (RB) Chicago Bears
Herbert was great last week and it is easy to have fallen in love with him as a starter until David Montgomery comes back. Unfortunately, this week he plays the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who you just can’t run against. The only hope against the Bucs is that your running back has a huge day through the air. I’m not ready to trust Herbert in this situation yet and I’m keeping him on my bench.
Devontae Booker (RB) New York Giants
Booker is in a similar situation as Herbert. Despite a negative game script last week in a blowout to the Rams, I liked what I saw from Booker. Both on the ground and through the air. The bad news is, Booker has an even worse matchup than Herbert. The Panthers are the toughest team in the NFL against running backs and I don’t see how Booker can overcome this with that offensive line in front of him. Booker is a solid start most weeks while Saquon Barkley is out, but this isn’t one of those weeks.
Tyler Lockett (WR) Seattle Seahawks
I’m benching Lockett until Russell Wilson is back. It’s as simple as that. He’s an incredible talent, but Geno Smith just isn’t good enough to connect with him on the deep ball. He is always a bit of a boom-or-bust option even with Wilson. However, with Wilson, he is a lot more boom and with Smith, he’s proving to usually be a bust. This isn’t a Lockett problem, its’ a Geno problem. D.K. Metcalf is his guy and Lockett is lucky to see a handful of targets.
A.J. Green (WR) Arizona Cardinals
The Texans are another team that seems like a juicy matchup. However, it’s just not the case for wide receivers. They are allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts. Much like the Jets, the Texans’ offense being so miserable plays a big part in this, but that has to be taken into consideration. In this case, I just can’t trust anyone other than DeAndre Hopkins. Another pass-catcher could go off, but it’s too tough to guess which one. I’m rolling with a more predictable option this week in a game that’s likely to see more passing opportunities.
Tyler Higbee (TE) Los Angeles Rams
I’m just sick of Higbee and I’m done waiting on him. He’s the TE20 when it comes to fantasy PPG and it’s starting to look like he’s forever destined to be a preseason darling and fantasy season disappointment. We all want him to reach the potential we once saw, but it’s just not happening. I’m done with him. It’s time to cut your losses and move on. This isn’t about the matchup or quarterback, he’s just not that guy.