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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 7

by Jody Smith | @JodySmithNFL | Featured Writer
Oct 16, 2018

Marlon Mack looks like the leader in Indy’s backfield

It’s hard to believe that six weeks of the 2018 football season are already in the rearview mirror. After this upcoming slate of games, the regular season will officially be halfway over for the vast majority of leagues. It’s not too late to salvage a rough opening, but it’s getting time to hasten a quick turnaround.

One of the best ways to do that is to stay active and engaged on the waiver wire. Whether you’re adding talent to your roster or blocking your upcoming opponent from increasing their odds at beating you, it’s important to keep working towards that fantasy championship game, which is getting closer than we’d like to acknowledge.

Week 7 is the first slate that has four teams on bye. A ton of fantasy talent from Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Seattle isn’t available, making this week even more critical for free agency. Here are some of the waiver wire adds for this week with free agent budget recommendations.

Week 6 byes: Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle

Ownership data courtesy of Yahoo Fantasy.

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Joe Flacco (BAL) 27% owned (5% FAAB)
He’s not the most consistent weekly starter, but Flacco is middle-of-the-pack in terms of season-long quarterback ranks. Surprisingly, Flacco is averaging 298 passing yards per game and is on pace to toss his most touchdowns since the 2014 season. Baltimore did a solid job revamping their receiving corps, and that has helped improve a stagnant offense and Flacco’s production. The Ravens return home after three consecutive road games and welcome a New Orleans secondary that has allowed the fifth-most points to the quarterback position so far in 2018. Flacco is an appealing streaming option for Aaron Rodgers or Big Ben owners who need a one-week fill in.

Eli Manning (NYG) 22% owned (4% FAAB)
Manning had a rough outing against the Eagles on Thursday that everyone witnessed, which lowered his already plummeting fantasy stock. Not only are Giants’ fans growing restless, but there is also potential turmoil growing in the locker room. Fortunately, a temporary solution might be right at hand as the Giants will travel to Atlanta on Monday Night Football to take on a Falcons secondary that has yielded an NFL-high 18 total touchdowns to quarterbacks so far in 2018.

Baker Mayfield (CLE) 42% owned (3% FAAB)
Mayfield’s numbers are right in line with what you would expect from a rookie signal-caller. His accuracy isn’t there quite yet, and he’s thrown five interceptions in three starts. But Mayfield has averaged 289 passing yards per game and tossed at least one scoring pass in each contest. Three quality starters are on bye this week, which puts Mayfield on the streaming radar as the Browns have a lucrative matchup with a Tampa Bay secondary that has yielded the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Running Backs

Peyton Barber (TB) 33% owned (15% FAAB)
So much for Ronald Jones emerging from Tampa Bay’s bye week as the starter. Barber out-touched Jones 17-to-four and dominated playing time, including a touchdown reception. Jones might eventually work his way into the mix, but for now, this is Barber’s backfield and a starting running back that is available on waivers this deep into the season certainly warrants an aggressive bid.

Marlon Mack (IND) 26% owned (12% FAAB)
The Colts are likely to stick with a committee, but Mack might have made a case for leading that group with an 89-yard effort in New York against a Jets’ defense that had only let one running back surpass 65 rushing yards all season. Mack will cede most passing-down work to Nyheim Hines, but should emerge as the team’s leader in carries now that he’s fully recovered from a hamstring ailment that kept the sophomore back out of Indy’s previous three games.

Frank Gore (MIA) 10% owned (10% FAAB)
Gore’s role has increased for the past four games and culminated in the 35-year-old’s first 100-yard game of the 2018 campaign on a season-best 15 carries against a tough Bears’ run defense. While Gore more or less split time with Kenyan Drake, Gore was far more effective as a runner and has averaged 5.4 yards per carry over the past three games, while topping double-digit carries in all of them. Expect the Dolphins to stick with a two-man rotation, but Gore is starting to emerge as the better runner.

Ito Smith (ATL) 9% owned (5% FAAB)
Smith isn’t having a ton of success running the ball, but he has managed to score a touchdown in three consecutive games and looks like he’s emerging as a potential red-zone weapon behind Tevin Coleman. Unfortunately, Smith won’t see much playing time when Devonta Freeman returns, which could happen as early as this week against the Giants. Freeman owners might want to consider a more aggressive bid as a temporary handcuff, while Smith should be owned in all dynasty formats.

Wide Receivers

Cole Beasley (DAL) 9% owned (10% FAAB)
Fun Fact: Beasley is the Cowboys’ No. 1 wideout, yet is owned in fewer public fantasy leagues than their former top dog, Dez Bryant, who hasn’t even had a sniff at a job in 2018. Beasley hauled in nine-of-11 targets for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Jacksonville’s fearsome secondary. The status of Dallas’ sagging offense means we might not see those types of numbers again all season, but he has recorded multiple receptions in five of the Cowboys’ six contests and is a decent bet for targets. We’ve likely seen his ceiling, but Beasley can be a useful WR4/flex play or bye-week fill in.

Willie Snead (BAL) 9% owned (8% FAAB)
Being proactive is vital if you’re going to successfully improve your fantasy squad via the waiver wire. Despite entering Week 7 as a top-40 fantasy wideout, Snead is unowned in 91% of leagues. He has racked up 18 receptions over Baltimore’s past three games and has three-plus grabs in all six games played. Also, Snead gets a choice matchup with a New Orleans secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points this season to fantasy wideouts, and it just happens to fit the “revenge game” narrative if you’re into that sort of thing. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see Flacco send a few extra targets Snead’s way this week, especially in the red zone.

Christian Kirk (ARI) 14% owned (7% FAAB)
Kirk, not Larry Fitzgerald, is leading Arizona in targets and receptions. In fact, he has out-targeted Fitzgerald in four out of the past five games. Kirk has recorded more receptions and receiving yards in all three games that Josh Rosen has started. Week 7 offers a tough matchup on a short week against Denver, but we’re seeing the baton being passed and Kirk looks like he’s going to develop into a fine NFL receiver once Fitzgerald retires, which is expected after this season.

Albert Wilson (MIA) 10% owned (6% FAAB)
Over his past three games, Wilson has taken advantage of the absence of DeVante Parker to average five receptions on seven targets, including a huge 6/155/2 showing against Chicago with Brock Osweiler under center. The Dolphins signed Wilson to a three-year, $24 million dollar deal and seem determined to get him on the field, even at Parker’s expense. We’ve likely seen Wilson’s best game of the 2018 season, but he’s played more than 80% of Miami’s snaps since Week 4 and has accounted for five touchdowns so far this season.

Tight Ends

C.J. Uzomah (CIN) 33% owned (7% FAAB)
Uzomah played full-time against the Steelers and caught six passes for 54 yards. With Tyler Eifert once again out for the year and Tyler Kroft also sidelined with a foot injury, Uzomah has emerged as Cincinnati’s go-to tight end. He gets another choice matchup in Week 7 as the Bengals travel to Kansas City to take on a struggling Chiefs’ secondary that has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends so far in 2018.

Jeff Heuerman (DEN) 2% owned (1% FAAB)
The tight end position has been an unmitigated disaster this season. Many fantasy owners have simply thrown their hands up and are just looking for a cheap, plug-and-play option that can get them a handful of points. Heuerman has limited upside, but has recorded multiple receptions in the past five Broncos’ games. Week 7 is a pretty lousy matchup for Heuerman against an Arizona defense that defends the position well, but he’s worth a minimal bid if you’ve been getting by with Jimmy Graham or Jared Cook and need a one-week rental.

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Jody Smith is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jody, check out his archive and follow him @JodySmithNFL.