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Fantasy Football: Seven waiver wire pickups for Week 7

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Fantasy Football: Seven waiver wire pickups for Week 7

Hopefully your Week 6 matchup didn't end up like this play.

More than 36 hours and a few odd explanations later, we still don't get how this ended up happening. 

But nevertheless, the Colts tried to outsmart arguably the smartest team in football and it expectedly blew up in their face. 

[MORE: Get all your fantasy football coverage here]

Here's our waiver wire pick ups for the week that will actually allow you to outsmart your opponents going forward:

1. Stefon Diggs, WR, MIN

He might be the receiver we all thought Charles Johnson was going to be. Diggs has posted back-to-back strong performances (6+ catches, 80+ yds). I'd love to see him reach the end zone but it's a great start for the rookie. He's looked better than Johnson and Mike Wallace, who has drawn an Antonio Brown comparison to him. It's no longer a question of what will happen to Diggs when Johnson is healthy. He's earned his spot in the starting lineup going forward and is an intriguing future FLEX play. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

2. James Starks, RB, GB

The handcuff no one talked about finally broke through in Week 6, rushing for 112 yards and a score and adding another receiving score in the Packers' sixth straight victory. Mike McCarthy added after the game that Eddie Lacy is still banged up, and while a bye week will help that injury situation it's to consider Starks more than just an insurance policy for the bruising Lacy. Hell, McCarthy admitted they could have gone back to Lacy but wanted to keep the hot hand in there. As long as Starks produces when he's in, he's got value on just about every fantasy team. He's worth an add, regardless of Lacy's injury status. (Mark Strotman)

3. Christine Michael, RB, DAL

I'm not going to lie. I got really excited when the Cowboys traded for Michael just before the season started. He hasn't done anything (almost literally) this year but the whispers are getting louder than he's going to have a bigger role going forward. It's no secret Joseph Randle hasn't blown anyone away and neither has Darren McFadden. Expect Michael to get many more touches going forward. (Paschall)

4. Landry Jones, QB, PIT

I can't believe I'm writing this but that's the NFL for you. While it's not certain, it seems like the Steelers are going to start Jones this week with Michael Vick and Big Ben out. Jones actually looked pretty good during his time against the Cardinals, who have a solid defense. Luckily for Jones, things get much easier as the Steelers take on the Chiefs next. Jones has all the weapons he needs to succeed and the Chiefs defense has been putrid. He's a nice one-week emergency start if you need it. (Paschall)

5. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, TEN

More rookie wide receivers? You bet. He hasn't posted any huge numbers but his role in the Titans offense is starting to grow. He's arguably the most talented receiver they have (Kendall Wright up there too) but he has the size that every quarterback loves. He's going to be a red zone monster going forward and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see his game gradually pick up. (Paschall)

6. Falcons defense, ATL, DEF

No, Devonta Freeman doesn't play on this side of the ball and can't help you. But consider that before they got run all over by Drew Brees and Co. on a weird Thursday night, the Falcons had compiled 34 fantasy points (and three touchdowns) against sub-par offenses in Houston and Washington. Now they square off against a Titans team ranked 32nd in offense that likely will be without Marcus Mariota? Um, yeah. Give me the Falcons defense all day. This could be the stream of the year.

7. Jordan Cameron, TE, MIA

Owned in just 62 percent of ESPN leagues, this is a simple reminder that if anyone dropped Cameron to go out and snag him if you can. Miami's offense looked entirely different under Dan Campbell, and remember that Campbell was previously the team's tight ends coach. That should mean bigger and better things from Cameron, who caught three passes (on eight targets) for 30 yards and a score last week. Things are only looking up for this Dolphins team, so owners of Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Miller, Jarvis Landry and now Jordan Cameron can feel better about those picks. I expect Cameron to be back at TE1 status by the end of the year, making him a nice pickup if he can be had.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

Chris Emma, Matt Zahn and Gabe Ramirez join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh joins the panel to discuss the Bulls’ terrible defensive performance as well as Zach LaVine’s impressive season debut.

11:35- Khalil Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Can the Bears pull off the upset against Tom Brady?

23:50- NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom E. Curran joins Kap to talk about how New England views the Bears and discuss how Matt Nagy’s team can exploit the Patriots’ weaknesses.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.

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Khalil Mack appears set to play Sunday with Tom Brady, Patriots looming

Khalil Mack appears set to play Sunday with Tom Brady, Patriots looming

Khalil Mack appears in line to play Sunday with Tom Brady, Patriots looming

Khalil Mack participated in the Bears’ final practice of the week on Friday, clearing the way for the edge rusher to play Sunday against the New England Patriots. 

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier Friday that the Bears expected Mack, who hasn’t missed a game in his career, to play after suffering an ankle injury early in Week 6’s 31-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Mack is officially questionable for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. 

Mack had little interest in discussing his ankle with the media on Friday, passing on answering questions about his readiness for New England. Coach Matt Nagy, though, said he thought Mack “looked pretty good” during practice on Friday. 

Mack didn’t record a sack against Miami and was held to just one pressure, per Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins’ gameplan was to commit plenty of resources to stopping Mack, but he wasn’t effective even when he had one-on-one pass rushing opportunities as the game went on. 

“He was (affected),” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “I can't put a percentage on it, but he definitely was.”

Having Mack available — even if he’s not full strength — will be critical for the Bears’ defense to have a chance at keeping Tom Brady from lighting up the scoreboard. The key for the Bears will be to generate pressure on the 41-year-old quarterback without blitzing, which is something Fangio’s defense was successful at prior to Sunday’s wacky loss to the Dolphins. 

Brady’s passer rating is 138.4 when he’s blitzed, per Pro Football Focus, while when under pressure his rating is 87.2. That’s still pretty good, but it’s worth noting that all of the six interceptions he’s thrown this year have come when he hasn’t been blitzed. And only one of the eight sacks he’s taken has come when he’s been blitzed. 

The point being: If the Bears feel like they have to start blitzing to generate pressure, they can expect Brady to pick them apart.  

“You could say all of that but ultimately (Brady’s) a gamer,” Mack said. “He’s going to take those hits, and you gotta be able to deliver them but also have coverage over the top. It’s going to be real important for us.” 

The good news for the Bears, perhaps, is that New England’s tackles have struggled at times this year. Left tackle Trent Brown has allowed 17 pressures in 234 pass blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus (about one in every 14 snaps). And starting right tackle Marcus Cannon is out with a concussion, giving way for backup La’Adrian Waddle, who’s allowed eight pressures in 78 pass blocking snaps (about one in every 10). 

So the opportunities will be there for Mack, Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks and the Bears’ pass rush to affect Brady on Sunday.

A bigger injury concern?

While cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) was a full participant in Friday’s practice and will play Sunday, slot corner Bryce Callahan suffered an ankle injury during Thursday’s practice and did not participate Friday. He’s officially questionable for Sunday. 

Callahan “did his ankle,” Nagy said, toward the end of Thursday’s practice, and he felt worse as the day went on. Nagy characterized Callahan’s absence from Friday’s practice as “precautionary.”

Callahan’s availability may be more of a pressing concern than Mack’s, given how well the Patriots’ offense has played since slot receiver Julian Edelman returned from a four-game suspension to begin the season. While his numbers aren’t eye-popping (11 catches on 16 targets, 111 yards, 1 TD), New England’s offense has scored 38 and 43 points in his two games back. 

“Brady has always had a guy in the slot that he’s comfortable with; whether it be (Wes) Welker, (Danny) Amendola or Edelman,” Fangio said. “It’s a big part of their offense. They haven’t missed a beat, but I really think it’s helped their offense and played a big part in them basically averaging 40 points in the last three weeks. I really appreciate and respect how good of a player he is and has been.”

If Callahan isn’t available, Sherrick McManis could be the next man up at slot corner.