When a player long thought hopelessly irrelevant storms back onto the fantasy radar, some get cranky and seemingly prefer the cozy shell of dismissiveness. It turns into sheer reluctance too, because a player presumably tarnished, must remain tarnished with no exceptions. Never hold any preconceived notions in fantasy like that - anything can happen.
Just as setting the bar too high for prospects leads to missed opportunity, setting the bar too low just wastes your bench resources. Balancing between the two extremes with simple research and a little scouting knack will help you get ahead of the waiver wire. You won't always get it right, but some of the players you pluck clear of the waiver rush will send your opponents reeling.
No matter what you do, a guy will rise beyond all expectations; catching everyone by surprise. Week 6 gave us a couple players a little out of the blue. One guy in particular, who sharply fell off the fantasy "hum" in recent weeks, put in a performance that plain and simply crushed it. The other one worked hard several weeks to get relevancy. I'll be talking about them and the curious fantasy twist in the tale they brought.
Week 7 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Grabs
Bye Week: Panthers, Cowboys
So here we are. This week marks the halfway point to the fantasy playoffs. The players you acquire now may have a huge impact on your playoff hopes ahead. It's still uncharacteristically thin on the waiver wire from previous seasons, but there is something of a reset going on for many teams, so expect more surprises ahead.
As usual, I select players no greater than around 35% ownership at Yahoo fantasy. Grabbing players means sending others back to waivers, so Alex Hamrick's drop list can help you with that.
Dak Prescott brings a 5-1 record into the bye week for the Cowboys; creating a comfortable zone for owners of the outstanding rookie. I think Romo's return falls deeper into the calendar and likely wears the uniform as a backup at some point - at least to start with. So right now Prescott remains undroppable. You are best to look elsewhere on your roster to make room to fill the bye week for another quarterback.
Case Keenum, Los Angeles Rams (3%)
You could fairly claim "chasing the points" with Case Keenum, but there is little doubt that he brings a hot hand into London this week. In the loss to Detroit, he put up his best fantasy numbers since 2013 with the Texans.
300 yard games are a rarity with any quarterback outside the elites, but Keenum deserves a lot of credit for his seamless coachability in his 5th year. The quick pass release the coaches developed with him still lacks natural form, but it camouflages some of the defiencies of the Rams pass protection.
The effect is improving not only his fantasy interest, but the rest of the pass-catchers on the team. Heck, I even noticed Lance Kendricks as a tight end sleeper on a few fantasy advisory sites last week. Well done guys.
So Keenum is a good spot starter in place of Cam Newton, Dak Prescott as well as a stream for the injured Ben Roethlisberger if a better replacement is hard to find. The good news against the Giants in London is that their defense forces the fewest turnovers against any team in the league.
Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (31%)
The amount of carries for Ajayi for each game so far in 2016 are (0, 5, 7, 6 , 13, 25). His 204 rushing day in Week 6 ranks third all-time for the Miami Dolphins. I haven't checked lately, but if cats and dogs are living together it shouldn't surprise me. This performance, even against a mild Pittsburgh run defense, is just too large to ignore. We see these 200+ games from a single running back only two or three times a season.
Until this past Sunday, Ajayi was a fantasy frustration. The blame was less on his part than perhaps the gameplans of Adam Gase, the head coach. In relation to that, I'm beginning to think that the acquisition of Arian Foster was the biggest mistake of 2016 for the Miami Dolphins. Foster's presence alone continues this "camel in the tent" fantasy nerve on Jay Ajayi.
I'd ignore all that and just grab Ajayi where possible. The upside is right where it should have been to start with and when the fantasy playoffs do arrive, I'll bet on Foster being a distant memory.
Mike Gillislee, Buffalo Bills (4%)
Inside the last minute of the half on Sunday, LeSean McCoy suffered a scary injury that jarred fantasy owners. This bolt of news sharply differed for McCoy owners with Mike Gillislee handcuffed than those without.
Among all the handcuffs, it is safe to say that Gillislee is an elite. He frustrates McCoy people with occasional vultures, but Gillislee looks good enough when he does relief duty during Bills games.
He scored a tidy 12 fantasy points in his own right included with McCoy's brief absence. He doesn't catch much out of the backfield like Shady does, but is just as capable in doing that when required.
If you own McCoy, this wake up call to insure him couldn't be clearer. Other owners in your league are watching this too don't forget. They are just as ready to pounce on Gillislee if some complication emerges concerning McCoy during the week.
Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles (8%)
Another handcuff of note is the rookie Wendell Smallwood.
His role reverts to special teams when Ryan Mathews is healthy and available. Smallwood had a big outing in Week 3 in place of Mathews and this past week he returned a kick for a touchdown. His resume is filling up nicely in a "here and there" capacity, but if he ever sees a steady workload in 2016 the result could make him a fantasy player with rich capital.
Cracks are forming in the Philadelphia offense too, a team that started so effectively early in the season with the wunderkind Carson Wentz. Shaking up some of the formula is likely in the works, because Wentz and the Eagles are now two straight losses worse off after their bye week.
So pick up Smallwood as not just a handcuff, but also as a possible beneficiary of gameplan reverberations.
Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams (11%)
He finally made it. Britt is worth picking up. Since his days in Tennessee, Britt was one of those "boom and go quiet" type of receivers that fantasy footballers really love to hate. You know the type - Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Danny Amendola, Ted Ginn Jr., etc.
The path in 2016 for Britt was much different than his past seasons. There is a consistency forming with the LA Rams and they are a very good football team. That's right, not just good, but very good. For a few seasons now, the Rams were woefully short of fantasy football players. It's amazing what a good running game can do for a passing game.
I'm putting Todd Gurley indirectly responsible for bringing Kenny Britt into fantasy relevance. I mean, what else can it be? Before Gurley came along, there was a whole lot of nothing going on apart from some Tavon Austin sparkles from time to time. Not forgetting a couple of the biggest busts in fantasy history, Zac Stacy; Tre Mason - where your garden gnomes could probably gain more yardage. The team as a whole was a fantasy wasteland before Gurley.
I'll go further and include Case Keenum's uptick as partly due to Gurley's presence on the field too. Kenny Britt won't give monster statlines like 7-136-2 every Sunday, but what we have seen is the breakout of something that was building since the start of the season.
Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers (1%)
A grab tied to the availability of Davante Adams. I'm thinking it doesn't matter either way though.
Montgomery was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal showing from the Packers offense on Sunday. His 10-98-0 stat line on 12 targets led the receivers in individual yardage. Montgomery also filled for Starks in the backfield as Lacy wasn't healthy enough for an increased workload. Should Lacy continue his eased duty, those extra touches add a nice brush of upside to Montgomery's value.
The Packers play the Bears on Thursday, so this being a short week, you'll have to accommodate Montgomery quickly as your spot starter. Whether you keep him beyond Thursday is an open question, but one where your answer comes quickly on Friday morning.
Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (29%)
A grab tied to the availability of Jordan Reed. Even when Reed is healthy, Crowder is worth a bench spot somewhere. His targets are down by about one half in recent weeks, but he certainly makes use of what he gets. Because of the target reduction however, his grab appeal limits him to standard leagues.
Again, Jordan Reed has a lot to say in his production and Vernon Davis certainly holds his own as a tight end streamer after this weekend. I would still own Crowder over many other players in his tier category, simply for the red zone opportunity and explosiveness. He is a difference maker on the Redskins.
Chester Rogers, Indianapolis Colts (0%)
With everything going downhill for the Colts in 2016, you could probably expect some experiments from the coaching staff to somehow revive the team spirit. One emerging player could be a part of that - Chester Rogers. The increase in offensive playing time hasn't gone unnoticed by some in fantasy and Rogers looks like a strong speculative grab.
Phillip Dorsett was supposedly the dark horse of this group to start the season, but his production has not picked up at all. Dorsett fails as far as speculative additions go, especially with the absence of Donte Moncrief. Chester Rogers now appears the better stash because there is just simply nothing going on with Dorsett at all.
Dorial Green-Beckham, Philadelphia Eagles (5%)
Another interesting speculative addition is this guy. All the Eagles turned in low performances against the Redskins in Week 6, but DGB continued a steady increase of snaps. He might take over the number two duty from Nelson Agholor going forward. Agholor is the Phillip Dorsett of the Eagles.
Green-Beckham has everything you like seeing in a wide receiver - size, speed, hands, but he apparently doesn't pick up things quickly in the chalkboard department. This is why getting DGB the extra work is taking so long. The Titans just gave up on him, but the Eagles persisted and now something is starting to show.
If you have extra bench space, Dorial Green-Beckham is well worth holding.
The San Diego Chargers revealed some fantasy gold in Hunter Henry (35%) who I talked about last week. Sunday marks the third week in a row he hit pay dirt, but touchdowns aside, the better looks from Rivers still go to him rather than Antonio Gates. If still available anywhere, make sure you clean up.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (12%)
Good tight ends are pretty scarce these days, but with Dwayne Allen reportedly week to week with an ankle sprain, Doyle is next up in the position chain on the team. Yes I know, Doyle ranks typically with guys like C.J. Fiedorowicz (1%) or Lance Kendricks (1%) for end zone shots. At least you know that Andrew Luck is without many second choices and Doyle has a good edge.
I can say that the other two I mentioned are worthy enough sleepers for those without Jason Witten or Greg Olsen this week.
For the Watch List...
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans (3%)
Despite what you think, Wright's big statline of 8-133-1 is a bit deceiving. Yes, he did well to accumulate this in just around one third of the offensive snaps.
However, it was against the Browns who are pretty weak defensively. Tennessee faces the Colts next, who are somewhat better versus receivers.
Just the same, you can watch list him instead of an outright grab to see if the snap count goes up based on the performance.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings (5%)
Probably the most dependable receiver on the Vikings. However, the statement is closer to "real" football than fantasy.
Thielen filled in for the injured Stefon Diggs just before the bye week and put up a 7-127-1 statline against the Texans in Week 5. Because the Vikings went on the bye week, he went virtually unnoticed during the fantasy talk of Week 6.
We expect Diggs back to face the Eagles, but watch list Thielen anyway and grab him if Diggs suffers any setbacks.
Justin Forsett, RB, Detroit Lions (32%)
RotoWorld suggests holding Forsett as he acclimates to the new offense. I suppose that's okay in a deep league, but for 12s or less, I'd rather watch list him instead.
It might be weeks, if anything, to see Forsett gain any relevance in Detroit. The upside is practically non-existent in a pass heavy offense like the Lions anyway, so the odds are against even modest production.