The coming of Week 7 knocks another important rung off the ladder that is the fantasy football season. Bye weeks still stand in the way of a complete starting lineup, and finding key replacements can become a challenge this late in the season. Week 7 is also a good time to decide if fantasy busts have any hope of regaining their luster. In either situation, the waiver wire could hold the answers to your fantasy riddles.
Free Agents to Target Key
Acquire: Players you should target to add to your team immediately.
Look to Acquire: Players you should consider adding if you have a need at the position, are looking to build depth or have the available roster space to block other owners from capitalizing on building the talent on their team.
Watch List: Players you should keep an eye on based off current trends or developing situations.
One-Week Play: Players you should pick up for a spot play due to their matchup.
Jason Campbell, Washington Redskins - After tossing two interceptions in the season opener, he has been picked off just twice through his last four games. He has tossed just five touchdowns over that same span. He's not one to provide overwhelming numbers, but he hasn't hurt his owners this season. Snatch him up before someone else does, as he's available in 73 percent of casual leagues and just 25 percent of competitive leagues.
David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars - Garrard has been one of the reasons for Jacksonville's four-game win streak. He's averaging 216.3 passing yards per game over his last four contests, and he hasn't thrown an interception this season. Garrard is coming off another productive week in a 37-17 victory against the Houston Texans, going 22-for-34 with 221 yards and two touchdowns. He's also contributing rushing yards, as he added a 26-yard effort Sunday. Garrard hasn't made mistakes and is available in 61 percent of casual leagues and 33 percent of competitive leagues.
Brian Griese, Chicago Bears - Despite two interceptions, Griese went off on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6, going 26-for-45 for 381 yards with three touchdowns. However, his 45 attempts were more of an indication of Minnesota's weak pass defense than an example of Chicago's typical offense. The Bears seem to be adjusting to the defense they face, as Griese attempted 52 passes against the Detroit Lions in Week 4. He only had 25 attempts in Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers, who possess a stalwart pass defense. Even with his inflated numbers, Griese has given Chicago a jolt in the passing game, and the Bears could lean on the air attack if he continues to be effective. He's available in 92 percent of casual leagues and 42 percent of competitive leagues.
Quarterbacks: Watch List
Cleo Lemon, Miami Dolphins - The young, untested Lemon provided some spark for a normally dull Miami offense in Week 6, going 24-for-43 for 256 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 41-31 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He also ran for two touchdowns. Despite tossing three interceptions in his two games since the injury to starting quarterback Trent Green (concussion), he seems to have found a favorite red zone target in tight end David Martin, who he found for both his passing scores. It's naturally uneasy to consider picking up a Dolphins quarterback, but Lemon would ease some fear with another effective outing. He has shown the ability to improvise while creating his own offense, which adds a new dynamic that the Dolphins didn't have with Green at the helm this year. Lemon could become a medium-risk, high-reward pickup. He's available 99 in percent of casual leagues and 91 percent of competitive leagues, so you'll most likely have another week to judge his performance.
NEW - Kyle Boller, Baltimore Ravens - Boller was average against the St. Louis Rams last week as he was 18-for-30 for 184 yards with an interception and a fumble. However, he has a great matchup against the Buffalo Bills this week. The Bills are allowing 288.2 yards and 2.00 touchdowns per game to quarterbacks but are picking off two passes as well. Boller is available in nearly all casual leagues and 95 percent of competitive leagues polled.
NEW - Byron Leftwich, Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons have chosen to bench Joey Harrington in favor of Leftwich. Leftwich looked awful in his first game two weeks ago as he went 2-for-8 for 28 yards with an interception and a fumble lost. Leftwich has only been with the team for a little more than three weeks and admittedly doesn't know the offense very well. He's available in virtually all casual leagues and 92 percent of competitive leagues polled.
Running Backs: Acquire
Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Graham shows up on this list for the second straight week, starting in the Bucs backfield with running backs Cadillac Williams (knee) and Michael Pittman (ankle) out. Graham mustered only 29 yards on 13 carries, but contributed six receptions for 17 yards. He has just 43 rushing yards over the past two weeks and hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 4. Despite his sluggish two weeks, any starting running back shouldn't be left sitting on the waiver wire. He has shown a penchant for receiving, and with quarterback Jeff Garcia holding a reputation for finding his backs on passes, Graham presents a high-reward opportunity once he breaks out. He's available in 45 percent of casual leagues and 7 percent of competitive leagues.
Kevin Jones, Detroit Lions - The old Lion has seemingly reclaimed control over the kingdom. In Detroit's Week 5 contest, Jones had 11 carries for 48 yards and former starting running back Tatum Bell had just four carries for 15 yards. Fantasy owners have been waiting all season for Jones to become involved in the offense after he spent the first two games inactive. His early return to action showed a desire to play, and Lions head coach Rod Marinelli rewarded him for it. Now, he appears to be the featured back in the offense. With Bell having reportedly requesting a trade due to his limited action, Jones' value could spike. Pick him up as soon as you can, as he's still available in 12 percent of competitive leagues. He's still on the wire in 66 percent of casual leagues.
DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers - Williams ran 10 times for 121 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. In his first 100-yard performance of the season, he broke off a 75-yard run, displaying the big-play ability fantasy owners have been drooling over since Williams entered the league last season. Fellow running back DeShaun Foster gained just 43 yards on the ground, as it was just the second time all season Williams outperformed him. The Panthers have a Bye for Week 7 before hosting the Indianapolis Colts, but you might want to spend their off week by snagging Williams for running back depth - an action which is always encouraged. He could end up in your starting lineup with another solid performance. He's available in 27 percent of competitive leagues and 46 percent of casual leagues.
NEW - Brian Leonard, St. Louis Rams - Leonard has been dropped in a few leagues with starting running back Steven Jackson's (groin) eventual return (though maybe not this week). Leonard has averaged 59.3 rushing yards, three catches and 19 receiving yards in the three games Jackson has missed. Leonard is available in 77 percent of casual leagues and 25 percent of competitive leagues; he should be owned in nearly all formats polled.
NEW - Michael Bennett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Bennett was traded to the Buccaneers this week and could see at least 10 touches in Week 7. He's the biggest home run threat the team has at running back, and he could eventually split the load with Earnest Graham. He's available in nearly all of casual leagues and 46 percent of competitive leagues polled.
NEW - Kenton Keith, Indianapolis Colts - Keith filled in admirably for running back Joseph Addai (shoulder, back) before their bye week with 121 yards, two touchdowns and five receptions for 37 yards. Addai should be back in Week 7, but Keith should continue to see action in order to keep Addai healthy. Keith is available in 90 percent of casual leagues and 33 percent of competitive leagues polled.
NEW - Samkon Gado, Houston Texans - It appears Gado has leapfrogged Ron Dayne on the depth chart. Gado rushed for 15 yards and caught three passes for 26 yards in Week 6. Starter Ahman Green (knee) hasn't fully recovered from a bone bruise and could continue to be limited. Therefore, Gado could receive a nice share of carries. Gado is available in 99 percent of casual leagues and 98 percent of competitive leagues polled.
Running Backs: Watch List
Aaron Stecker, New Orleans Saints - Stecker was snatched up throughout the fantasy world after running back Deuce McAllister (knee) went down for the season. With halfback Reggie Bush now the featured back, Stecker is in line to contribute on spell plays. However, he has just 17 carries in five games this season, but he could benefit as being Bush's complement in the coming weeks. He hasn't contributed enough to make a distinct case for his signing, but keep tabs of his performance and utilization. He's available in 99 percent of casual leagues and 81 percent of competitive leagues.
Running Backs: One-Week Plays
Najeh Davenport, Pittsburgh Steelers - Like fellow Steelers running back Willie Parker has the moniker of "Fast" before his name, Davenport's nickname could be "Pay Dirt." Davenport has been featured in goal-line and short-yardage situations for the last few weeks, and the veteran power back truly had a breakout game in Week 5. He ran for a season-high 58 yards on seven carries, including touchdown runs of one and five yards. Parker has just one touchdown despite being the top back, and Davenport's three scores make him a great situational pick-up. Consider him a modern-day version of former Buccaneers running back Mike Alstott. More importantly, consider him an option for a below-average running back corps or as a Bye week replacement. He's available in 91 percent of casual leagues and 52 percent of competitive leagues.
Wide Receivers: Acquire
Donte' Stallworth, New England Patriots - In Week 6, Stallworth had his best game of this season by abusing the Dallas Cowboys' secondary for seven catches, 136 yards and a 69-yard touchdown catch. He has now scored a touchdown in his last two games, and with four catches of over 23 yards this year, he has finally taken true advantage of the matchup attention garnered by fellow wide receiver Randy Moss. Lock him up soon, as Stallworth is available in 30 percent of casual leagues and 17 percent of competitive leagues.
Andre' Davis, Houston Texans - Davis trailed off in Week 6 after three solid weeks. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, he only caught three passes for 30 yards and lost a fumble. He's still averaging 74 yards per game and had a 40-yard catch in each of his prior three games. The absence of wide receiver Andre Johnson (knee) keeps Davis atop the wide receiver depth chart. He's available in 46 percent of casual leagues and 27 percent of competitive leagues.
Muhsin Muhammad, Chicago Bears - Although wide receiver Bernard Berrian holds the attention in Chicago's passing offense, Muhammad threw his hat into the ring after a good contribution against the Minnesota Vikings last week. He caught two passes for 44 yards, including a season-long 33-yard catch for a touchdown. Muhammad is available in 49 percent of casual leagues and 46 percent of competitive leagues.
Nate Burleson, Seattle Seahawks - Burleson stepped up against the Saints last week, catching six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown, including a season-high 22-yard catch. Burleson is also seeing a lot of action as he received 13 looks to wide receiver Bobby Engram's 11 last week. He is available in 75 percent of casual leagues and 47 percent of competitive leagues.
Reggie Brown, Philadelphia Eagles - Despite failing to grab a receiving touchdown through six weeks of play, Brown reestablished some of his value with a six-reception, 89-yard outing last week against the New York Jets. In by far his best performance of the year - his previous high was his two-catch, 23-yard spot in Week 3 - Brown reconnected with quarterback Donovan McNabb. The Eagles had been counting on him all season, and this could be a sign of things to come as the Eagles will likely need more from their passing game in the coming weeks. He's available in 45 percent of casual leagues and 35 percent of competitive leagues.
Lee Evans, Buffalo Bills - Evans had a tough time in Week 5 against the Cowboys, mustering just one catch for 12 yards. With the Bills' quarterback situation up in the air as of print time between injured starter J.P. Losman (knee) and rookie Trent Edwards, Evans has reportedly spoken out in favor of Losman regaining his job. If Losman is named the starter this week, he could look to the familiar hands of Evans to reestablish his rhythm in the offense. Evans is available in 24 percent of casual leagues and 23 percent of competitive leagues and those percentages are way too high for someone of Evans' ability.
Wide Receivers: Look to Acquire
Kevin Walter, Houston Texans - Walter blew up in Week 6, pulling in 12 receptions for 160 yards. Through six games this season, he already has his career-high of 338 receiving yards. As long as Johnson remains out of the picture, Walter should have some value. He averaged just 3.00 receptions and 35.6 yards before his Week 6 explosion, so temper your judgment until he proves he can do it again. But certainly keep an eye out for him if he has another similar performance. He's available in 99 percent of casual leagues and 95 percent of competitive leagues.
Ike Hilliard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Showing up for a repeat performance on this list, Hilliard had four catches for 59 yards against the Titans in Week 6. He has averaged 6.33 receptions and 77.0 yards over the past three games, leading all Buccaneers receivers. He has gone under the radar, but you should feel a ping if you need help in your wideout corps. He's still available in 97 percent of casual leagues and 81 percent of competitive leagues.
NEW - Chris Henry, Cincinnati Bengals - Henry is eligible to return from suspension in two weeks. Henry is such a dynamic player in an explosive offense that he should start being picked up off waivers. He was amazing in the preseason with 14 catches for 195 yards and two scores. He is available in 94 percent of casual leagues and 85 percent of competitive leagues polled.
Wide Receivers: One-Week Play
NEW - Ben Obomanu, Seattle Seahawks - Obomanu had a big day last week with four catches for 72 yards and a score. He faces an excellent matchup against the St. Louis Rams this week. No. 1 receiver Deion Branch (foot) is expected to miss another week with a foot injury, and the same is expected with wideout D.J. Hackett (ankle), which means Obomanu should play a lot. He is available in nearly all leagues polled.
Wide Receivers: Watch List
Mark Clayton, Baltimore Ravens - Clayton has just 13 receptions on the season, and has taken a back seat to wide receiver Derrick Mason, who has 26 catches over his last three games. Clayton has just seven catches over that span. Quarterback Kyle Boller did a good job of replacing injured quarterback Steve McNair (back) in Week 6, and regardless of who's under center, Clayton could start to contribute this coming week. He's available in 56 percent of casual leagues and 54 percent of competitive leagues.
NEW - Marques Hagans, St. Louis Rams - Hagans is the beneficiary of a Rams receiving corps that is demolished due to injury. Hagans has talent, but he was a quarterback in college. He has begun to catch on, though, as he had a great preseason with 13 catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns. He also came on in Week 6 with five catches for 74 yards. He's available in nearly all leagues polled.
Tight Ends: Acquire
Owen Daniels, Houston Texans - As a key target for quarterback Matt Schaub, Daniels has averaged just less than six catches in each of his last four games. Despite the fact that he doesn't have a touchdown reception this season, he's benefiting from the weakened Texans receiving corps. It doesn't hurt to have a tight end with his frequency of looks, and Daniels could especially help in points-per-reception leagues. He's available in 28 percent of casual leagues and 22 percent of competitive leagues.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers - Even with the Steelers offense having "opened up" in the eyes of fantasy players, Miller still remains a key piece to its function. His two touchdowns on the season misconstrue his performance, as he's averaged 3.67 catches per game over his last three contests. Pittsburgh wide receivers Hines Ward (knee) and Santonio Holmes (hamstring) have both been fighting the injury bug, and coming off a Bye week, Miller would be a smart buy. He's available in just 6 percent of casual leagues and 23 percent of competitive leagues, so if he's still on the wire, don't hesitate to pull the trigger.
Tight Ends: Look to Acquire
Desmond Clark, Chicago Bears - While he has been sharing duties with fellow tight end Greg Olsen, the veteran had a touchdown in two consecutive games before Week 6, when he ended up with three catches for 48 yards. Clark has the big-play ability, catching passes for over 30 yards in his last two games. In the past four weeks, Clark has been utilized in 23 plays (8.23 percent of the Bears' total offense) and three red zone plays (12.90 percent). In this comparison, the numbers don't lie, as Clark has been considered the more reliable red zone option. In this dual tight-end setup, Clark looks to have a slight edge over his younger teammate.
Tight Ends: One-Week Play
NEW - Chris Baker, New York Jets - Baker has averaged 2.25 receptions for 23 yards and 0.25 touchdowns per game over the last four weeks. Baker has a great matchup against the Bengals in Week 7. They have allowed 4.67 catches for 43.3 yards and 0.67 touchdowns per game to tight ends. Baker makes a great one-week play this week. He's available in 92 percent of casual leagues and 79 percent of competitive leagues polled.
Tight Ends: Watch List
Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans - Scaife had five looks in Week 6 after being on the end of four looks in each of the prior three games. After starting quarterback Vince Young (quad) went down, backup quarterback Kerry Collins gave Scaife all three of his receptions for 45 yards. He's averaging just 20 yards per game, but the Titans don't really have a game-breaking receiver to take looks away from him. Keep tabs of Tennessee's quarterback situation before making any concrete decision on Scaife. He's readily available in both league formats, sitting on the waiver wire in 97 percent of casual leagues and 83 percent of competitive leagues.
David Martin, Miami Dolphins - Martin's production has increased with Lemon's ascension at quarterback. After attaining just seven catches over his first four games, he has five catches over his last two contests, including a two-touchdown performance in Week 6. His 30 receiving yards are anything but mind-blowing, but his obvious increase in performance could be a trend under Lemon's watch. He's available in 83 percent of casual leagues and 94 percent of competitive leagues.
Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears - Despite Clark's utilization advantage, Olsen should not be considered a slouch. He has nine catches over his last two games, and gives the Bears another big-play threat, with catches of 31 yards and 27 yards in that time. With the rookie's athleticism, he's not a bad consolation prize if you can't land Clark, and he could offer some insurance for your tight end spot. Olsen is available in 69 percent of casual leagues and 40 percent of competitive leagues.
NEW - Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders - Miller caught his first touchdown of his career last week and may be shaking off the early season rookie woes. In five games, he only has 10 catches for 71 yards. Now that quarterback Daunte Culpepper has had a few weeks to throw to him, chemistry could be developing. He's available in 99 percent of casual leagues and 79 percent of competitive leagues polled.
NEW - Kyle Brady, New England Patriots - Brady caught a touchdown in Week 6 and could be a sneaky option in the red zone in the coming weeks. Starting tight end Benjamin Watson (ankle) is dealing with an injury, and his status is up in the air. This could improve Brady's value even more. He's available in nearly all leagues polled.
Place Kickers: Acquire
Kris Brown, Houston Texans - If you've hesitated this long, just hope he's still on your wire. His valuable foot graces this page for the third straight week, but owners listened as his ownership percentages jumped through the roof. He fell a bit short of his five-field goal performance from Week 5, but Week 6 was business as usual, as he drilled all three of his field goal attempts. He's 16-for-17 on field goals this year, including 5-for-5 on kicks over 40 yards. He is still available in 27 percent of casual leagues and 21 percent of competitive leagues.
Place Kickers: One-Week Play
NEW - Rob Bironas, Tennessee Titans - Bironas has averaged two field goal attempts the last four weeks and has nailed four of his six attempts. He has made all of his seven extra points as well. He's facing a great matchup in the Houston Texans, who have allowed the most field goal attempts the last month. They have allowed 3.50 attempts while 3.00 of them were made. Bironas is available in 98 percent of casual leagues and 82 percent of competitive leagues. He makes an excellent one-week play.
Defense/Special Teams: Acquire
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs forced three turnovers last week against Tennessee, with two fumble recoveries and one interception. Excluding their 33-14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, they allowed 20 points combined to the Titans, the Carolina Panthers and the St. Louis Rams over the last four weeks. Although these numbers have come against weaker offenses, their defense has been the anchor of their success. They have also averaged 2.25 takeaways per game over that span. They are still available in 80 percent of casual leagues and 61 percent of casual ones.
Washington Redskins - The Redskins have given up just 13 offensive points in their past two games against effective offenses in Detroit and Green Bay. Two of their next three games pit them against offensively struggling opponents, as the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets sandwich a tough game against the juggernaut New England Patriots. They are still worth adding and are currently obtainable in 84 percent of casual leagues and 58 percent of competitive formats.
NEW - Seattle Seahawks - The Seahawks defense has been battered in recent weeks, but they have a great matchup against the Rams. The Seahawks have recorded 2.75 sacks, 1.00 picks and 1.00 fumble recoveries the last four weeks. Meanwhile, the Rams have allowed 2.5 sacks, 3.0 interceptions and 0.25 fumbles per game over the last month. The Seahawks can be scooped up in 9 percent of casual leagues and 26 percent of competitive leagues polled.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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