So, they think they found the Zodiac Killer huh? I had this case solved in 2007 after seven marathon viewings of David Fincher’s Zodiac. The eighteen-hour film festival of sorts guided me to another cinematic treasure and the true greatest San Francisco based film of all-time, Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco. Every clue to every cipher can be found there. All those exhausted detectives. All those man hours. One viewing of HB: Dos with Sassy, Chance, and Shadow would’ve solved all your problems. You know what else is exhausting? Trying to find the right person on your waiver wire. Lucky for you, I patterned my work ethic this week after Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal in Zodiac (Seriously the best San Francisco based film or maybe it is Vertigo. Yeah, it’s Vertigo), pounded the coffee to find some of this week’s best options on the waiver wire.
My goal is to keep it simple with the waiver wire recommendations in terms of layout. I will include player, team, roster percentage, free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) dollar amount (in percentage) I would use on the player, and of course a little background on why the player is being suggested. The players will be listed by position in order of priority. The threshold I work with is generally less than 50% rostered in leagues. I also want to provide you something quick and easy to pull up while making your waiver claims on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. At the bottom of every article, you will find the “waiver cheat sheet.”
34% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
I usually would not recommend carrying a quarterback over his bye week, but Jameis Winston returns from his Week Six bye with a four-week run against four of the ten worst teams against fantasy quarterbacks. The Seahawks, Buccaneers, Falcons, and Titans give up an average of 26.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Last Sunday marked the first time this season Winston’s passing yardage approached his usual Tampa Bay 300 yard passing floor. His touchdown to interception ratio is currently 4/1 which is beyond the best mark of his career. Also, Taysom Hill was carted off the field with a rough looking concussion which means the worry of him cutting into Winston’s playing time will be nil if he were to miss time.
3% Rostered | 10% of FAAB (if we hear he’s starting)
3% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
The Dolphins quarterbacks are my favorite widely available one week bye or injury related replacements for Week Six. The Dolphins will have to travel further than up interstate 95 for their meeting with the Jaguars this week as their game will be played in London. The Jaguars have allowed over two hundred and eighty yards passing yards four out of the last five weeks. There is talk of Tua Tagovailoa returning this week, but he has not practiced as of yet. We should get more info by late Tuesday afternoon and if Tagovailoa looks on track to play, he is only 15% rostered. We don’t have many high-profile quarterbacks on bye this week, but if you are looking to get yourself down the road if you are the Russell Wilson manager, a Dolphins quarterback should be a good plug and play.
1% Rostered | 7% of FAAB
Davis Mills turned in the fifth best quarterback performance of the week as of Monday afternoon with 312 yards passing and three passing touchdowns. It is the first multiple touchdown game of the year for the rookie. Most impressive is he did it against a team who didn’t allow Tom Brady a single touchdown the week before. Then again, it could have been the rain and emotions limiting Brady, but facts are facts. Mills and the Texans will travel to Indianapolis to face a Colts team who has been middle of the road against the pass this season. There is hope Sunday was the coming out party for Mills and the Texans may be able to redirect a lot of their city’s quarterback chatter in a more positive direction.
1% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
Russell Wilson is expected to miss at least the next four weeks of the season with a fractured finger on his throwing hand leaving many fantasy managers scrambling for a replacement. The Seahawks solution for their next few weeks is Geno Smith. The initial response may be negative for a quarterback who has not started a game since 2017, but he did look remarkably electric last Thursday night. Smith threw for 131 yards and a touchdown in a quarter and a half of play. The Seahawks next three matchups are against the Steelers, Saints, and Jaguars. While on paper the Steelers are a tough matchup, they’ve actually given up a decent number of points to quarterback ranking in the bottom twelve against the position. The Saints are tough still and you’ll definitely want to avoid Smith in Week Seven. Week Eight against the Jaguars at home is the matchup to circle. You should be able to find better options, but in two quarterback and Superflex leagues he is an option.
27% Rostered | 25% of FAAB
Of the two high-profile running back injuries from Week Five, Darrel Williams is my favorite replacement. It is an unfortunate MCL injury for Clyde Edwards-Helaire who in the last two weeks was finally looking like the running back people were spending a third-round pick to acquire. Still Williams has averaged 4.4 yards per attempt over the last three weeks with a touchdown. The next five weeks for the Chiefs don’t look too difficult in terms of teams against the run. The teams give up an average of 22.9 fantasy points to running backs per game. I am happy spending upwards of 25% of FAAB on Williams as MCL injuries are known to linger and take up to eight weeks to return from even in minor cases.
6% Rostered | 20% of FAAB
Saquon Barkley had a nasty ankle injury on Sunday requiring the services of backup running back Devontae Booker for the rest of the game and it appears the next couple weeks. Booker had fifty-eight total yards and two touchdowns last Sunday against the Cowboys. Next Sunday will his first start since December of last year where he struggled against the Jets to the tune of only fifty total yards. The Rams are the next team up for the Giants who may be without Daniel Jones as well assuring Booker should see a decent workload.
37% Rostered | 15% of FAAB
Even though Alex Collins didn’t have the best fantasy day last Thursday night against the Rams, his workload was very encouraging looking forward. The Seahawks had twenty-five total carries in the game with Collins accounting for fifteen of those carries. He was also on the field for seventy-one percent of the Seahawks snaps. For as long as Chris Carson is sidelined with his neck injury, the job seems to be in Collins’ hands. Seattle has tough matchups against the Steelers and Saints the next two weeks, but the workload should be there to give Collins low-end RB2 or flex appeal.
19% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
So, it turned out to be a timeshare for Chicago last week as Khalil Herbert and Damien Williams split carries almost 50-50. Herbert led the team with eighteen carries to Williams sixteen, although Williams hauled in two receptions for twenty yards and the one touchdown between the two. I expect both men to have a role going forth until David Montgomery can return. Although after their week six meeting with the Packers, the Bears face two of the stoutest teams against running backs and then their bye in their next four weeks. By Week Eleven, Montgomery might be back. If you didn’t get Williams last week and Herbert is available, he’s worth an add but I would not be spending too much.
17% Rostered | Do Not Add
I usually don’t include “do not add” players in a piece about players you need to put waiver claims in on, however I wanted to address the Samaje Perine situation. Perine had an extremely efficient game on Sunday working in tandem with Joe Mixon with eleven carries for fifty-nine yards, four receptions for twenty-four yards and a touchdown. He followed this performance up with a trip to the COVID-19 list. Now I am not shaming him rather saying his season high in carries and receptions felt much more like an easing Mixon back in scenario rather than this becoming a split backfield. I expect Mixon to take back his usual role with or without Perine joining him in the backfield.
17% Rostered | 35% of FAAB
Who am I most excited to add onto my fantasy teams this week? The same player I said last week I was intrigued to start as long as Shepard was out. Well now I am happy to start Kadarius Toney with or without Shepard on the field. Toney erupted Sunday for 189 yards on ten receptions. It felt like a star making performance and it marks the most exciting wide receiver waiver addition of 2021. Toney also benefitted from a knee injury to Kenny Golladay who will now miss at least this upcoming week’s matchup against the Rams. Tony is worth using 35% of your FAAB budget and even I’m willing to punch up to spend a little more.
40% Rostered | 10% FAAB
Rondale Moore had two incredibly disappointing outings in as many weeks before his ninety-seven total yard performance Sunday against the 49ers. He remains my favorite to finish the season as the Cardinals number two receiving option. An interesting note is thirty-eight of those yards came from rushes with the Cardinals lead back Chase Edmonds dealing with a shoulder injury. As long as Edmonds is dealing with his shoulder injury, it appears some running game work may go Moore’s way. The Cardinals are looking for ways to get Moore involved and he seems to be doing great with every target and carry.
43% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
I feel like I’ve spent about as much time down the Mecole Hardman rabbit hole the past few seasons as detectives spent investigating Arthur Leigh Allen. It’s a lot. Hardman led the Chiefs in receptions Sunday as the Bills honed in on Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, the latter who suffered a knee injury. If you’ve picked up Hardman before you might feel a little too burned to try again. However, a matchup with the Washington Football Team’s mediocre secondary may be too good to pass up, especially if Hardman walks into the game as the Chiefs number one wide receiver.
3% Rostered | 7% of FAAB
Rookie Amon-ra St. Brown led the Lions in targets and receiving yards in Sunday’s divisional loss to the Minnesota Vikings. St. Brown is averaging just over five targets per game which could go up with Quintez Cephus missing the remainder of the 2021 season with a broken collarbone. St. Brown was a popular late round flyer in August drafts, and it appears with opportunity his time may have arrived. He has yet to catch a touchdown this season, but all that could change as the Lions face the Bengals this Sunday.
30% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
The Saints are on bye this upcoming week so you shouldn’t need to spend too much or even use a high priority to get their number one wide receiver. Callaway benefitted from Jameis Winston’s best game of 2021, especially on a first half ending forty-nine-yard hail mary touchdown. There has not been any news of Michael Thomas returning so Callaway should continue to lead the Saints receivers in targets.
Receiver is always deep, so here are a few more players rostered in less than 25% I would recommend rostering on your bench:
47% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
The tight end battle in New England is starting to lean in Hunter Henry’s favor. Henry was a popular pick for best ball drafters in the summer, but his average draft position plummeted when he ran into a shoulder injury in early August. The first two weeks of the season it seems like Jonnu Smith might win the job out, but a combination of Smith dropping passes and Henry getting acclimated with the offense has vaulted Henry ahead of Smith in the eyes of Mac Jones. Henry has fifteen receptions for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns over the past three weeks. The Patriots play the Cowboys, Jets, and Chargers over the next three weeks and Henry should continue to see looks in the passing game.
3% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
I am a little hesitant to trust David Njoku after Sunday’s impressive performance. Njoku has spent a lot of time on the injured reserve the last two seasons and in the games he played, he never topped fifty yards more than once. Sunday’s 149-yard one touchdown performance was easily the best of his four year career and is more than an outlier. However, the Browns are desperate for receiving options and Njoku is third on the team in targets and first in receiving yardage. Any tight end who is being utilized in such a way is worth a spot on your roster and if you are streaming tight end, you could do much worse.
37% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
Zach Ertz had an absolutely awful game against the Panthers on Sunday; however I am firing him up with what looks to be a shoot-out Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to tight ends in 2021 and now Lavonte David will be missing Week Six adding to their defensive woes. Ertz has averaged seven targets per game the last three weeks, and I look for the looks to continue at least into the next week. Those without Kyle Pitts and George Kittle this week should take a long look at Ertz.
Green Bay Packers
24% Rostered | 3% of FAAB
Justin Fields has yet to have a breakout game in 2021 and until then I am starting the defenses against him. It is not just Fields though as the Bears are down to their backup running back. Green Bay should have decent numbers in your DST slot this Sunday against the Bears and are available in three-quarters of all leagues.
47% Rostered | 2% of FAAB
Davis Mills had a great game against the New England Patriots last Sunday, but a trip away from Houston may prove different for him. The Colts had also forced a fumble heading into Monday night in every game this season. Look for this trend to continue with a rookie quarterback and positional players who outside of Brandin Cooks, haven’t been taken in a fantasy draft in four seasons.