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Fantasy Football Week 7: Waiver Wire picks


Fantasy Football Week 7: Waiver Wire picks

The nice folks at asked yours truly and a handful of other fantasy football writers to rank 25 potential waiver wire options based on the rest of the season. They provided the names -- all running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. My rankings are below along with additional thoughts on Stefon Diggs, bye week QB options and more.

1. Christine Michael (RB - DAL)  -- We're talking about a running back with two carries on the season playing in a backfield with a player who scored three touchdowns in one game this campaign plus Darren McFadden. Yet all signs point to the Cowboys giving the ex-Seahawk a legitimate shot at becoming the team's primary ball handler. I made this call early on Monday and before reports that Michael was handling most of the first team reps during Monday's practice. Bidding 35 percent or more of your FAAB isn't a bad thought, especially if RB woes are ruining your team, but we should all acknowledge this somewhat a leap of faith.

2. Marvin Jones (WR - CIN) -- Monster performance in Week 6. Issue has been weekly consistency. Issue this week? Cincinnati is on a bye.

3. Stefon Diggs (WR - MIN) -- We were asked to identify one player on the waiver list that intrigued us most. I picked Diggs:

“There are receivers and there are playmakers, but not all receivers are playmakers. Stefon Diggs, he is indeed a playmaker. Anybody who watched him at the University of Maryland knows this truth and also understands that injuries rather than talent knocked him from becoming a Day 2 NFL Draft pick into the third round. Minnesota’s roster includes several intriguing options at receiver, but only Mike Wallace is producing. Until now that is. Diggs has weekly WR3 upside and ranks second in my ROS rankings among these options only because Cincinnati’s Marvin Jones has a longer track record/plays with a better quarterback.”

4. Brandon LaFell (WR - NE) -- It's quite possible this ranking is about three slots to low, especially if LaFell and Brady show the same chemistry they developed when the receiver joined the team last year. LaFell (foot) is eligible to return from the PUP list. All indications are pointing to that occurring. We'll see later in the week if he's ready to practice, let alone play.

5. James Starks (RB - GB) -- Packers head coach Mike McCarthy didn't announce Starks as the starting going forward Monday. Green Bay's bye week gives Eddie Lacy a chance to rest. Therefore, only Lacy owners MUST add Starks if possible, but all should considering doing the same.

6. Theo Riddick (RB - DET) -- Entered the season third on the depth chart, but only Lions running back putting up stats as runner and receiver. 

7. Charles Sims (RB - KC) -- Doug Martin is the clear No. 1, but Sims offers potential Flex appeal now. If he lands starter job, Bucs RBs have fifth easiest schedule going forward.

8. Eddie Royal (WR - CHI) -- Jay Cutler receivers put up stats and the slot target remains best bet as second option opposite Alshon Jeffery.

9. Cecil Shorts (WR - HOU) -- At some point teams are going to start triple-teaming DeAndre Hopkins, right?

10. Jamison Crowder (WR - WAS) -- Not going away even when DeSean Jackson returns, whenever that is.

11. Ted Ginn (WR - CAR) -- Coming off a nothing week, but has been Cam Newton's top receiver.

12. Ben Watson (TE - NO) -- That was some monster performance last Thursday. Maybe not a weekly play. Then again, Saints passing game hierarchy isn't exactly set.

13. Kamar Aiken (WR - BAL) -- Clearly the Ravens will be in plenty of shootouts going forward.

14. Dorial Green-Beckham (WR - TEN) -- Pure lottery ticket with jackpot potential due to impressive size and speed.

15. Malcom Floyd (WR - SD) -- Value shoots up if Keenan Allen's hp injury worsens.

16. Javorius Allen (RB - BAL) -- WIll Justin Forsett make it through all 16 games?

17. Michael Floyd (WR - ARI) -- Big upside due to red zone size and Carson Palmer's hot hand, but behind Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown.

18. Crockett Gillmore (TE - BAL) -- Combo with Maxx Williams gives Baltimore options at tight end, though they also cancel each other out in fantasy.

19. Ahmad Bradshaw (RB - IND) -- Reminder: Frank Gore is 32. Not that Bradshaw is a kid, but he's the one in waiting.

20. Danny Amendola (WR - NE) -- Good stats Sunday night, but hard counting on him week-to-week especially with LaFell returning.

21. Albert Wilson (WR - KC) -- Only worth mentioning in case Jeremy Maclin misses time. 

22. Robert Woods (WR - BUF) -- Higher value for Week 7 considering no Sammy Watkins or Percy Harvin.

23. Kenny Stills (WR - MIA) -- Bummer there are so many receiver mouths to feed in Miami.

24. Derek Carrier (TE - WAS) -- Hey, it's not like we know when Jordan Reed returns or how long he remains available if he does. 

25. Robert Turbin (RB - CLE) -- Potentially interesting if Duke Johnson needs time off.

Click here for the article and the combined rankings among all the rankers.

Week 7 only picks


1. Ryan Tannehill

2. Blake Bortles

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick

Others: Landry Jones, Brian Hoyer

Running backs

1. Theo Reddick

2. Christine Michael

3. Darren McFadden

4. Knile Davis

5. Charles Sims

6. Chris Thompson/Matt Jones

Wide receivers

1. Stefon Diggs

2. Malcom Floyd

3. Rishard Matthews

4. Jamison Crowder

5. Kamar Aiken

Tight ends

1. Ben Watson

2. Crockett Gillmore

3. Zach Ertz


1. Giants 

2. Redskins

3. 49ers

4. Browns

5. Jaguars

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When asked about the defensive decline, DJ Swearinger gives response 'they want' him to give

When asked about the defensive decline, DJ Swearinger gives response 'they want' him to give

A frequent question Redskins players have had to face this past month is, in some form or another, "What's wrong with the defense, and what's changed?"

Washington's defense was, for the most part, effective and at times dominant during the team's 6-3 start.

But in this losing streak that extended to four games after the disgraceful performance against the Giants, the unit has been a trainwreck on top of a dumpster fire. 

DJ Swearinger was the latest 'Skin to be asked the increasingly common question in the FedEx Field locker room postgame. His response was noteworthy.

"We just didn't execute, we just didn't get the job done," he said. "That's the answer they want me to give."

Swearinger attracts some of the largest media crowds when he speaks because he's passionate and never holds back with his quotes.

However, some recent comments from No. 36 about the Redskins' practice habits caught Jay Gruden's attention to the point where the coach explained in one of his weekly pressers he'd prefer the safety keep those thoughts in-house.

So, is Gruden or another coach or front office person the "they" that Swearinger referred to following the Giants blowout? You'd have to assume so.

Regardless, it's obvious that he wanted to say more, but instead, he kept his full, unfiltered opinion to himself — this time. If things continue to trend downward and his frustration continues to trend upward, though, don't expect him to keep giving the answers "they want."


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Basketball court to the NFL: Inside quarterback Josh Johnson's wild week with Redskins

Basketball court to the NFL: Inside quarterback Josh Johnson's wild week with Redskins

FEDEX FIELD — A week ago, Josh Johnson was playing in a charity basketball tournament in his hometown of Oakland. Five-on-five, full court, twenty-minute halves and four games, if you want to know the truth. His squad won the title. 

That’s a pretty good day. It had been a while since Johnson played that much ball. He couldn’t have realized what the next week had in store. Signed and cut by 11 NFL teams, now 32 years old and with his hopes of another chance remote at best, circumstances changed dramatically for Johnson. 

Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy broke his leg in last Monday’s game at Philadelphia. By Tuesday night Johnson was on a red-eye flight to Washington. By Wednesday, he was at practice. By Sunday he was on the field in the second half, replacing ineffective starter Mark Sanchez with Washington down 40-0 to the New York Giants. 

“It’s really something I’ve been doing the last six years. I’ve been cut so much, been picked up one time the day of a game,” Johnson said. “The poise was there within myself because I just had to remember what I did before. Everybody probably would have expected me to go out and not do anything so I really had nothing to lose.”

At this point the 6-7 Redskins probably have nothing to lose, either. Their top two quarterbacks (Alex Smith, McCoy) are lost to broken legs, the offensive line is decimated by injuries again, the defense is fading. Johnson’s presence is the perfect metaphor as a once-promising season slips away during a four-game losing streak. 

Sanchez, who signed himself just last month after Smith’s gruesome leg injury, struggled in the pocket against New York and doesn’t have the mobility to escape when protection breaks down. 

At 5:31 of the third quarter, coach Jay Gruden turned to Johnson. He still has the athleticism to escape trouble and his legs can stress a defense. Gruden used to tease Johnson about his ugly spirals when they were together with the Cincinnati Bengals. Gruden was the offensive coordinator then, Johnson just a reserve.  

It’s fair to point out that Johnson was playing during garbage time against a 4-8 team that had long ago gave up on its own season and was ahead 40-0 and ready to kill the clock and get out of Washington with a win. But he did complete 11 of 16 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. He was not sacked. He ran for 45 yards on seven carries, including a touchdown. 

“The guy has been around the league for a while and has been with Jay before. To see him put that on tape was great,” Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses said. “He told us he’d communicate and make sure we’re on the same page - even if we’ve got to go on the same snap count. If we’ve got to dummy it down and make it simple for guys to get the ball out, that’s what it takes.”

That Johnson produced as much as he did was shocking given that he hardly knew anyone’s name other than tight end Vernon Davis, who he played with in San Francisco, running back Adrian Peterson, tight end Jordan Reed and wide receiver Jamison Crowder.  Johnson ran scout team reps in practice as the Redskins scrambled to get Sanchez ready to start. He did not get his own package of plays.  

Teammates didn’t know much about Johnson, either. He spent all week holed up in meetings trying to learn the playbook as fast as he could. It’s an impossible task. He even took to playing Madden football to learn his own teammates’ names. He laughed that it came to that, but wasn’t surprised. You do what you have to when given an unexpected chance.

“Felt fun. It felt fun. I was just really embracing the opportunity,” Johnson said. “When you don’t get to play this game and you love this game then you really appreciate every opportunity that you get. And so I just wanted to enjoy it. And that’s how I’m taking it every day. Come to work. Practice. Weight room. Whatever. Just enjoy it. I’m 32. I’m 32. Just enjoy it.   

And Johnson ultimately gave Gruden what he needed in that moment. The final score was still a brutal 40-16 after a pair of two-point conversions. But Johnson will start next Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars - though it is probably too late for the Redskins who look less and less competitive every week.

"The bright spot we had to today was Josh Johnson,” cornerback Josh Norman said. “The rest of it, it is what it is."

For some players, that’s enough to start thinking about the offseason. For Johnson, cut by the Giants at the end of training camp in 2017, the Houston Texans last December, the Oakland Raiders, his hometown team, in May, every minute in the NFL is a gift. He could be back in Oakland, working with cousin Marshawn Lynch and their Family1st Foundation, which helps provide, mentoring, skills, sports and business opportunities and training to kids in inner-city Oakland and beyond. 

Johnson was at a local hospital visiting one of his foundation’s kids, who had a broken leg, when he got the call from the Redskins. He was ready for a chance no one saw coming except himself. Maybe that lesson will stick with the kids back home, too.   

“We’re just trying to do what we do for our community and then spread it to other communities,” Johnson said. “We grew up like a lot of these inner-city kids. If we can be an example of how to keep pushing, stay motivated within yourself, be able to take the good with the bad - that’s how life is. It’s overcoming.”