When it comes to Week 7 this is the proverbial hump in your season. You’re halfway done and have an idea whether you will be a buyer or a seller at the upcoming trade deadline.
Even Justin Timberlake knows that this week is all about the bye, bye, bye. Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia and San Diego all get to chill out on Sunday. San Diego really the needs bye week after gagging away a 24-0 halftime lead to Denver last night in their 35-24 loss to the Broncos.
(If you get that song stuck in your head, please call (555) 666-7962. That’s 555 NO-NSYNC and a man named Arthur will visit you shortly to deliver a ball peen hammer that you can use to hit yourself upside the head in an effort to get that song out of your brain.)
With only 13 games on the docket it really shrinks the pool of players you can pick up for this week. Not only will I give recommendations on who to pick up but whether they are a one-week flier or something to hold on to more long term.
The percentages are the available percentages on ESPN.com leagues and FAAB are based on $100 budgets.
Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman TB (34.2%; $2). Freeman faces a Saints’ defense that hasn’t stopped much of anyone this season. New Orleans has allowed at least 24 points in each game this season and has a poor defense to say the least. They rank in the bottom four against the run and the pass so Freeman and the Bucs should be able to score fantasy points. Freeman had a strong set of numbers against KC this past week. In their 38-10 win over the Chiefs, Freeman threw for 328 yards and 3 TDs.
Pick him and keep him through the bye weeks as he has some easy matchups in the next five games with the Saints, Vikings, Raiders, Chargers and Panthers before the byes end. His value should rise over the next few weeks.
St. Louis QB Sam Bradford (55.1% $2) is also going to be a good pickup to help out. Bradford and the Rams threw for 315 yards but no touchdowns in their 17-14 loss to Miami last week. What makes that number more impressive is that it was done without the services of star wide receiver Danny Amendola as he deals with a clavicle injury. The Rams face Green Bay and New England in their next two games prior to their week nine bye. St. Louis will have to throw to keep pace with an invigorated Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
Green Bay and New England are two of the better matchups a quarterback can have in fantasy. Both teams are susceptible to the pass and will yield points and yardage in garbage time. It may not be pretty but Bradford can get it done to help you through the next couple weeks.
Pittsburgh RB Isaac Redman (34.4%; $3) would be a good pickup to get through the next few weeks. Rashard Mendenhall left the Steelers’ loss to the Titans with an Achilles injury. It’s believed to not be too serious but will certainly impact Mendenhall’s ability to run. Redman showed he can be a threat out of the backfield in the passing game as he picked up 105 yards on four catches.
Redman will be a good one-week pickup against Cincinnati and should be held onto if Mendenhall doesn’t show improvement in his health or his production. Washington, the Giants and Kansas City are on the docket before a three-game run against Baltimore (twice) and Cleveland. The Ravens’ defense has been weakened by season-ending injuries to Ray Lewis (triceps) and Lardarius Webb (ACL) so Redman could be very productive over those three weeks.
Dallas RB Felix Jones (48.6%; $15) is worth a strong move on the waiver wire this week. DeMarco Murray is dealing with ligament damage he suffered in his left foot and is listed as week-to-week. Jones steps into a matchup against Carolina who is the best possible matchup in fantasy for running backs. Carolina has given up at least 115 rushing yards in four of its first five games so the potential is there.
The only drawback is the extent of the injury on Murray is unknown, so this might be a one-week fling with Felix. Keep in mind that Jones hasn’t been spectacular when he carries the ball. Over the last two seasons, he has 312 carries for 1375 yards and a total of two rushing touchdowns. He’ll add value with his pass-catching ability but consider shying away from him in TD-only formats.
Tennessee WR Kendall Wright (83.6%, $3) makes for a nice pickup if you need a wideout. The Titans are on bye on Week 11 which is the last bye week of the season so he can be plugged in during the next four weeks. Wright could be right for you since Kenny Britt is barely starting to get back on track. Britt had more yardage in the win at Pittsburgh (62) than he had in the entire season to date (60). Nate Washington continues to get the targets but isn’t worth more than a couple catches a game. Wright, the rookie out of Baylor, has 15 catches for 137 yards in his last two games so his appeal is greater in PPR leagues.
Wright is worth holding on to since he has favorable games against Buffalo and Indianapolis in the next two weeks. The Titans will have a tough go against Chicago but play a weak Miami defense in week 10. Three out of four isn’t bad for a receiver that can help fill in the gaps.
Tampa Bay WR Mike Williams (45.3%; $3) would be a nice addition for depth on your roster. We mentioned the Bucs’ schedule above so the appeal on Williams is consecutive 110-yard games and three touchdowns this season.
Get a hold of the Dallas D/ST (66.2%, $1) for a one-week play against Carolina. The Cowboys might be a little beat up with the injury to Morris Clayborne but Carolina looks like a hot mess. Cam Newton and company are going through a tough season and the running backs are not doing well for the Panthers. Dallas takes on the Giants and Falcons next so they won’t be a recommended play going forward.
If you can’t get the Cowboys, go for the Patriots D/ST (54% $2). New England is coming off a loss against Seattle and will look to take it out on the Jets. They’ve recovered seven fumbles in the last three games and have two good matchups before their bye week. After the Jets, they take on the Rams in St. Louis. Both teams are top-10 matchups for opposing defenses.
Players to Avoid
Detroit RB Joique Bell should be left on the waiver wire. With Jahvid Best being ruled out indefinitely (concussions), Bell steps into the RB2 spot on the Lions’ depth chart. With Detroit’s running game being shoddy at best (pun intended), Bell would face some tough matchups with Chicago, Seattle, Jacksonville and Minnesota in the next four weeks. Even if you own Leshoure, Bell is best left to the bench until Leshoure gets hurt.
Cleveland RB Montario Hardesty is also waiver wire fodder. Yes, Trent Richardson left the game with some rib pain and had an MRI to check for damage. The real issue is whether or not T-Rich can tolerate the pain. With this being the NFL, look for him to find his way into the game and relegate Hardesty to his reserve role.