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Waiver Wired
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Waiver Wire: Week 7

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to the 7th edition of Waiver Wired for the 2017 season. The big injuries refuse to stop, and this week we lost Aaron Rodgers to what could be a season-ending collarbone injury. It is a devastating turn for Green Bay and the fantasy prospects of the entire offense, and it was not the only injury of the day. Leonard Fournette and Tyreek Hill look like they avoided serious issues, but Jameis Winston, Golden Tate, and Emmanuel Sanders could be looking at multi-week injuries.

As a reminder, the drop list consists of players who are no longer must-owns, recommended adds are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the watch list consists of players who are worthy of a roster spot if possible, and deep cuts are players owned in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

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The Drop List
QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB:
Andre Ellington
WR:
Tyrell Williams, Jamison Crowder
TE:
Eric Ebron, Coby Fleener

As with all the fantasy superstars we have lost this season, Rodgers is worth keeping around in an IR spot if possible until his timeline is finalized, but the fact he is opting for surgery suggests his season is over. To be clear, I would stash Rodgers if at all possible until the situation shakes out, but that might not be possible in shallow leagues. There are not any running backs owned in most leagues which stick out as clear drops, and Ellington is certainly a hold in PPR formats. That said, predicting his useful games will be difficult moving forward. According to Rich Hribar, only two of Ellington’s 41 targets have come while Arizona held the lead. Williams has one long play and almost nothing else through six weeks, and Crowder has finished among the top 50 receivers once this season. Ebron probably should have been on this list last week, but he became a lock for it after one catch against the Saints. He has fewer than 10 receiving yards in four of six games this season.

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Quarterbacks
1. Jared Goff
2. Tyrod Taylor
3. Brett Hundley

Running Backs
1. Darren McFadden
2. Alfred Morris
3. Orleans Darkwa
4. Rob Kelley
5. Marlon Mack
6. Dion Lewis
7. Alex Collins
8. Wendell Smallwood
9. Matt Forte
10. Matt Breida
11. D'Onta Foreman

Wide Receivers
1. John Brown
2. Taylor Gabriel
3. JuJu Smith-Schuster
4. Cooper Kupp
5. Bennie Fowler
6. Jordan Taylor
7. Kenny Golladay
8. T.J. Jones
9. Robert Woods
10. Adam Humphries

Tight Ends
1. Austin Hooper
2. Ed Dickson
3. George Kittle
4. Jack Doyle

Defense/Special Teams
1. Carolina Panthers
2. Buffalo Bills
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Dallas Cowboys
Looking Ahead: Cincinnati Bengals

Kickers
1. Harrison Butker
2. Jake Elliott
3. Josh Lambo
Looking Ahead: Blair Walsh

QUARTERBACKS
1. Jared Goff, Rams – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
This is completely a matchup play as Goff has not looked great the last couple games, but those performances came against the Seahawks and Jaguars. The Cardinals have been much more forgiving to quarterbacks including allowing seven touchdown passes and 655 passing yards combined the last two weeks. They have allowed at least 20 fantasy points to a quarterback in four of six games. This should be a matchup Goff can exploit.

2. Tyrod Taylor, Bills – Owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues
Luckily there are not many quarterbacks on bye this week because Taylor is not what one would call an exciting option with basically no one except LeSean McCoy to target. On the bright side, Tampa’s defense is struggling, and Taylor has the ability to create fantasy points with his legs.  

3. Brett Hundley, Packers – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hundley’s stat line was not great after taking over for Aaron Rodgers and the Saints have played much better defense the last three games, but the young quarterback should be better after a week preparing as the starter and has the weapons to put in a good fantasy day. That said, the offensive line is a big concern against the Saints’ suddenly dangerous pass rush. This is not as good a spot as it may look on paper.

Watch List: Jacoby Brissett looked better than his numbers on Monday night, but he is not an option against the Jaguars even assuming Andrew Luck remains sidelined another week…Ryan Fitzpatrick could be worth a look if Jameis Winston is forced to sit out this week, but the Bills have been very good against quarterbacks this year, allowing just two passing touchdowns in five games…The Giants showed better than expected in Denver, but Eli Manning managed just 128 yards and a touchdown in a run-heavy game plan. With the Seahawks up next, he is still not a fantasy option…Andy Dalton had been better before the bye, but the Steelers just shut down Alex Smith, and he traditionally struggles against teams he plays regularly… Even with Teddy Bridgewater expected to resume practicing, Case Keenum will almost certainly start this week. He has not done anything since the Week 3 thrashing of Tampa, though, and has a tough matchup against the Ravens…Forced to throw, Josh McCown had a better fantasy day than I expected against the Patriots, but it is highly unlikely the Dolphins will put McCown in position to throw 47 passes again. He attempted 23 the last time the two teams met in Week 3…C.J. Beathard has a pretty good matchup against the Cowboys at home in his first start, but he is an unproven quarterback in an offense which has not created much fantasy value early in the season…Trevor Siemian has not been a good fantasy option this year, is hurt, and has a below average matchup against the Chargers...Blake Bortles has a good matchup, but is that really a road you want to travel?

~RUNNING BACKS
1. Darren McFadden, Cowboys – Owned in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues
2. Alfred Morris, Cowboys – Owned in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Ezekiel Elliott situation remains as clear as mud, and it is possible he ends up eligible to play this week and even the rest of the year, meaning neither of these guys would be worth adding. It is also impossible to know who the better option is between Morris and McFadden. The easy answer is Morris because he has been active, but McFadden is a better three-down option and looked like the replacement of choice for Zeke before the suspension was put on hold. The likely outcome is something of a committee, but the gut says McFadden is the “better” add, and that is about all we have to go on at this point.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. Orleans Darkwa, Giants – Owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues
There is an argument to be made for Darkwa being No. 1 on this list because we at least have some clarity about his situation, but he has problems of his own. The Giants’ backfield has been in flux seemingly all season, so it is tough to be confident Darkwa will keep the job even coming off a great performance, the running game has been bad for so long it is impossible to assume everything is fixed after one game, and the passing game will have to be better moving forward to keep defenses honest. Darkwa is an add in every league and even a starting option in a better-than-you-think matchup against the Seahawks, but there is certainly a chance we are back at the drawing board in this backfield this time next week.  
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

4. Rob Kelley, Redskins – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
I understand he has been hurt, but Kelley looks like he will be back this week and is the starting running back in Washington when healthy. The last time that was the case, he went for 78 yards on 12 carries in less than a half of work against the Rams.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

5. Marlon Mack, Colts – Owned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues
Mack opened with a 22-yard explosion on Monday night, but he lost four yards on his next run and did not touch the ball again the rest of the game. The only reason he is this high in the rankings is the serious-looking elbow injury to Robert Turbin, making it likely Mack has at least a slightly bigger role moving forward. That said, he is still just an upside bench stash until we see it.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

6. Dion Lewis, Patriots – Owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
Mike Gillislee’s fumble will get credit, but Lewis actually started against the Jets, has seen his workload grow over the last couple games, and has six red-zone touches including four inside the 10 over the last three weeks. Rex Burkhead will be back soon, James White is going to get his, and Gillislee is not going to disappear, however, so it is tough to get too terribly excited about Lewis' weekly prospects. Still, we have seen what Lewis can be in this offense, and that is a very good fantasy asset. That alone makes him a stash-and-see in most leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

7. Alex Collins, Ravens – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
Terrance West appears likely to miss a couple more games, and Collins has 27 carries over the last two weeks. The issue is he has zero catches and just two targets in 73 snaps so far this season. In an underwhelming offense and not adding value in the passing game, Collins looks like a low-ceiling option, but he is worth FLEX consideration in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

8. Wendell Smallwood, Eagles – Owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
Smallwood would be higher on the list if it was clear he was coming back this week. Even with Smallwood sidelined, the Eagles have remained committed to a timeshare in the backfield, and it stands to reason he will take back over a role which netted 27 touches in the two games before his injury. He will be starting option whenever he returns. Unfortunately, it is not clear when that will be.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

9. Matt Forte, Jets – Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
Forte returned to action for the first time since Week 3 against the Patriots, and he took right back over as the lead back. That role has yet to get him more than 10 carries or a touchdown, but he has topped 80 yards in two of his four games. That is worth something in deeper leagues, although his value will take a hit if Bilal Powell is able to make it back this week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

10. Matt Breida, 49ers – Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
More disappointing than Breida seeing just six touches against Washington was coach Kyle Shanahan calling the Carlos Hyde trade rumors “absolutely 100 percent false” after the game. Breida is worth stashing to see how the situation shakes out, but things are not as promising for him as they were this time last week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

11. D’Onta Foreman, Texans – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
Foreman bounced back with 12 carries and probably should have had a touchdown on his long run, but it does not look like Lamar Miller is going away anytime soon. Foreman is just a bench stash.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: It looks like Wayne Gallman will take a back seat to Darkwa moving forward, but we have seen this situation flip a couple times already this season. Gallman is still a stash if possible…Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, and J.D. McKissic are all widely available. Rawls would be the bet I would make, but it is tough to call any of them must-owns in an unsettled situation which may just remain a timeshare all season…Latavius Murray keeps getting the carries, but he is not doing anything with them. He is starting to look like the new Matt Asiata for Minnesota, meaning he will pop up randomly with a three-touchdown game at some point…If Theo Riddick is not going to top 60 yards in a game the Lions were losing by 35 at one point, it is probably not going to happen…Since his explosion against the Jaguars, Elijah McGuire has 21 carries for 42 yards, and Bilal Powell could be back soon…Rob Kelley is expected to return this week, and Samaje Perine did not do much against the 49ers anyway…Jamaal Charles has six touches each of the last two games…Giovani Bernard is averaging just six touches a game.

Deep Cuts: Leonard Fournette is expected to play this week, but his injury puts Chris Ivory’s value as a handcuff in sharp focus. More than that, however, Ivory has shown stand-alone value in deep leagues the last three weeks…Charles Sims has 12 targets and nine catches in the last two games even with Doug Martin back in the fold. In fact, his role has grown since Martin returned…Devontae Booker’s performance Sunday night was probably a fluke, but he seems more likely to take over the lead role if something happens to C.J. Anderson than Charles, who the Broncos seem content using as a change-of-pace option.

~WIDE RECEIVERS
1. John Brown, Cardinals – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brown is healthy right now, and when that is the case he is usually a decent fantasy bet. There is really nothing else to say at this point. He should be rostered.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Taylor Gabriel, Falcons – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Gabriel will not even be on this list if we find out Mohamed Sanu will return this week, but he saw eight targets with Sanu out last week and has a great matchup with the Patriots. As long as Sanu is out, he will be a starting option in every format.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers – Owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
Smith-Schuster did not have a big game against the Chiefs, but he once again played more snaps and out-produced Martavis Bryant, who reportedly has asked to be traded. Perhaps that does not happen and perhaps the Steelers’ passing game is not good enough this year to support two pass catchers, but Smith-Schuster is worth stashing in all leagues to find out.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

4. Cooper Kupp, Rams – Owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
Kupp had an underwhelming day against the Jaguars while Robert Woods had his second solid game in a row, but Kupp still seems like the best fantasy bet out of the receiver corps because he looks like the most likely to score a touchdown in any given week. Kupp has double the red-zone targets of Woods so far this season, and Sammy Watkins is simply a non-factor at this point. That said, Woods looks like the floor play right now.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Bennie Fowler, Broncos – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
6. Jordan Taylor, Broncos – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Emmanuel Sanders looking likely to miss several games with a sprained ankle, Fowler suddenly appears to be the No. 2 receiver in Denver after seeing eight targets on Sunday night. That said, just three of those came after Sanders left the game, Fowler has been more of a slot receiver than perimeter option in his career, and Jordan Taylor looks like he is going to be involved as well – all four of his targets Sunday night came after Sanders left, and he profiles more as a replacement on the outside than Fowler. A good looking schedule over the next month (LAC, KC, PHI, NE) means there could be some fantasy value here, but Fowler and Taylor may end up eating into the other’s workload too much for it to matter. As it stands now, Fowler looks like the better bet, but both are worth adding to see how it shakes out.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

7. Kenny Golladay, Lions – Owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
8. T.J. Jones, Lions – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
There is a similar situation brewing in Detroit with Golden Tate expected to miss some time because of a sprained AC joint, potentially leaving a lot of targets available. Projecting who will get those is difficult. T.J. Jones has some experience in the slot, where Tate mostly operates, has actually been healthy, and saw nine targets against the Saints, but Golladay was getting the snaps and targets before he got hurt and is probably the better player. That is enough to give Golladay the edge, but it might not matter in the end if Tate is able to return after Detroit’s bye this week. Regardless of Tate’s health, neither of these players are going to help this week, so there are better options for teams which need a fill-in.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

9. Robert Woods, Rams – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
As mentioned above, Woods has put together two solid games in a row and has three with more than 70 total yards in his last four. Scoreless on the year, the upside does not seem to be there for Woods, but 70 yards is worth something in most leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

10. Adam Humphries, Bucs – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Humphries will be less interesting if Ryan Fitzpatrick is forced to start this week, but he has at least 50 yards in each of his last four games with six catches in three of those. Those numbers a good enough to make him usable in PPR formats, and he has some value in deep standard leagues as well.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Ted Ginn had a good game which probably would have been better had the Saints not jumped out to a big lead, but he has still yet to catch more than four passes in a game as a Saint…Eric Decker had failed to top 50 yards in any game this season before Monday night, and most of those came with Marcus Mariota at quarterback. I would like to see it again before I jump back on board, especially with Corey Davis expected back this week. Both are stashes at best right now…Jermaine Kearse, Robby Anderson, and Jeremy Kerley had solid games against the Patriots, but it may be a while before Josh McCown tops even 250 yards again let alone 350…Aside from a dropped touchdown, Donte Moncrief had a pretty good game Monday night, but the Jaguars are up next and Andrew Luck does not look particularly close to returning…Marqise Lee is the better fantasy bet than Allen Hurns, but avoiding the situation seems like the best course of action…With John Brown healthy, Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson are not fantasy options…Jordan Matthews did appear headed in the correct direction before his injury, but it does not seem as if he will be ready to return this week…Roger Lewis should not have been expected to do much against Denver, but the road does not get any easier against the Seahawks this week…Mike Williams played just 11 snaps in his debut. It could be some time before he sees a substantial workload…Cole Beasley had two touchdowns before the bye, but he has yet to top 35 yards this season…Kenny Stills found the end zone against the Falcons, but he is going to offer little if he does not find pay dirt even if DeVante Parker remains sidelined…Tyler Lockett makes Paul Richardson tough to trust in fantasy, and vice versa…Zay Jones has caught 5-of-23 targets this season for 66 yards…Josh Doctson got the touchdown, but he saw three targets and played 19 snaps. He is just a stash.

Deep Cuts: It looks like Tyreek Hill will be fine for Thursday night, but if not Demarcus Robinson could be in for some targets…As we probably should have expected, Marquise Goodwin came crashing back to earth against Washington. He is going to have some big plays, but they will be difficult to predict…I do not have high hopes for John Ross’ redraft prospects, but he returned to practice Monday and is talented enough to make noise if healthy…With Stefon Diggs and Michael Floyd questionable, Laquon Treadwell may get the chance to finally live up to his draft stock. He went for 51 yards on three catches including a highlight-reel grab against the Vikings…With both Breshad Perriman and Jeremy Maclin hurt, Chris Moore could get a shot…Kasen Williams has 11 targets the last two weeks and could be the next man up in the Browns’ receiver roulette, although Ricardo Louis remains my bet of choice…It will be interesting to watch if the Cowboys get Brice Butler more involved coming out of the bye week…I do not think the work will consistently be there this year, but Taywan Taylor looks like a future fantasy factor.

~TIGHT ENDS
1. Austin Hooper, Falcons – Owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hooper’s appeal will take a big hit if Mohamed Sanu returns this week, but he will be an easy top-10 play if Sanu continues to sit. Hooper has 16 targets over the last two games with Sanu sidelined, and he has a great matchup this week against a Patriots defense which has already given up five touchdowns to tight ends.  

2. Ed Dickson, Panthers – Owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues
Dickson did not have the big plays, but he saw eight targets against the Eagles and looked like he is going to remain a part of the offense moving forward. That makes him usable in a non-threatening matchup against the Bears this week.

3. George Kittle, 49ers – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
I was not ready to jump on the Kittle bandwagon last week, and while his four for 46 line did not kill me, he did see another eight targets and watched his college quarterback C.J. Beathard be promoted to the starting job. It is a bit of a narrative street reason to like someone, but it only makes sense for a young quarterback to look toward someone with whom they are familiar. The upside might not be there in this offense, but Kittle will be worth a look in good matchups as long as he is seeing eight targets a game.  

4. Jack Doyle, Colts – Owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
Doyle has made some uncharacteristic mistakes so far this season, but he saw 11 targets in his return from a concussion on Monday night. Against a Jaguars defense which shuts down opposing wide receivers, Doyle should once again be a big part of the game plan.

Watch List: Zach Miller has fluked into two touchdowns the last two games, but there has not been much there otherwise and the matchup with Carolina is not great…After flirting with usability early in the season, Jared Cook has just five catches for 39 yards the last two games, and the Chiefs are not a particularly good matchup for tight ends…Tyler Kroft is going to have weeks where he is on the streaming radar, but in Pittsburgh is not one of them…Antonio Gates has still failed to record more than 30 yards this season, and the snap share seems to be trending Hunter Henry’s way…Jesse James was held without an official target against the Chiefs – his one look was negated by penalty – which was the game Vance McDonald caught his first pass as a Steeler…While he did not gain a yard on his two catches, David Njoku set a career-high with five targets against the Texans. Still, Seth DeValve is seeing too much work for either to be a real fantasy option on a bad offense…Ben Watson has some value in deep PPR formats, but there is just not enough upside in Baltimore’s passing game…Tyler Higbee has another reasonable matchup this week and continues to play the snaps, but he will probably be too hit and miss to stream…With Charles Clay out, the Bills need someone to step up at tight end. It looks like Nick O’Leary, who saw six targets against the Bengals, will be that guy, but he is limited athletically. Former quarterback Logan Thomas would be more interesting if he is able to carve out a role.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Carolina Panthers – Owned in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is a tough week for streaming, so I will cheat a little with the Panthers, who have a great matchup against Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears. The Panthers have at least three sacks in all but one game this year.

2. Buffalo Bills -- Owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Bills will be much less interesting if Jameis Winston ends up playing, but they have eight interceptions already this season and may get to face former flame Ryan Fitzpatrick at home. 

3. Tennessee Titans – Owned in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues
Tennessee’s defense looked headed for another bad game on Monday night, but they regrouped in the second half and now get to face a Browns team which turns the ball over for fun.

4. Dallas Cowboys – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Dolphins and Colts could also be considered, but I went with Dallas because they have been getting pretty good pressure all season and get a rookie quarterback making his first start.

Looking Ahead:
Assuming Andrew Luck is not back, the Bengals will be a great option at home against the Colts.

KICKERS
1. Harrison Butker, Chiefs – Owned in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues
Butker has been among the best fantasy kickers in the game since taking over the job, and the Raiders have faced at least three kicks in all but two games.

2. Jake Elliott, Eagles – Owned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues
Elliott has attempted multiple kicks and extra points in every game this season, and Washington has been a good matchup for kickers all season.

3. Josh Lambo, Jaguars – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
There are quite a few options with good matchups available on the wire – Blair Walsh and Brandon McManus to name a couple more – but Lambo gets the nod in his first game with the Jaguars because he gets to kick inside in Indianapolis.

Looking Ahead: Butker and Elliott will once again be good options, and Blair Walsh will be in a good spot at home against the Texans. 

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.