NFL

Fantasy Football waiver wire targets for Week 7 of 2021 NFL season

Ravens rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman was injured in the preseason and only made his debut in Week 6, but prior to his injury he was being drafted in the ninth or 10th rounds of a lot of fantasy drafts. Bateman only had four catches for 29 yards, but it was against a tough Chargers secondary in a game the Ravens had a lead throughout with just 167 passing yards. What matters is that he tied Mark Andrews for the team lead with six targets and played the second most-snaps among Ravens receivers, at 65 percent. The Ravens took Bateman with the 27th-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He provides Lamar Jackson with a weapon like he has never had before — a big-bodied, athletic target who can win both downfield and on contested catches. You will have to be a little patient, but there is a lot of upside here especially with the Ravens improved passing attack. Here is what I wrote about Bateman entering the NFL Draft:

“His best college season was in 2019 when he posted 1,219 yards and 11 TDs on 60 catches as a sophomore. He averaged a ridiculous 20.3 yards per catch that season. He still managed over 13 yards per catch in each of his other two college seasons. His 3.3 yards per route ran was seventh among draft-eligible players. He had 11 explosive pass plays (15+ yards), which may not seem like much compared to the others, but remember he played just five games and had 36 catches. That means 11 of those 36 catches, or nearly a third, went for over 15 yards.”

Week 7 Byes: Bills, Chargers, Cowboys, Jaguars, Steelers, Vikings.

Check if available: Khalil Herbert, J.D. McKissic, Alex Collins, Trevor Lawrence, Henry Ruggs III, Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaylen Waddle, Hunter Henry.

You can drop: Myles Gaskin, Josh Gordon, Kenneth Gainwell, DeVante Parker, Robert Tonyan, Brandon Aiyuk.

Do not drop: Allen Robinson, Kadarius Toney, Odell Beckham, Tee Higgins, Tyler Lockett, DeVonta Smith, Chase Claypool.

Quarterbacks

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa returned from a rib injury that landed him on the IR and threw for 329 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also added 22 rushing yards on three carries. Tagovailoa took advantage of a favorable matchup, but that is what he’s supposed to do. This was an encouraging first game back, especially considering how thin Miami currently is with pass catchers. He has a strong matchup against Atlanta next week and then gets the Bills before taking on the Texans.

Colts QB Carson Wentz threw for 223 yards and two scores in a game the Colts won handily against the Texans. It was not like last week when he threw for 402 yards and two scores, but he has now topped 17 fantasy points in every game this season but one. Wentz is not a weekly starter, but with the byes hitting hard in the coming weeks, Wentz is an intriguing option. He has an amazing upcoming schedule after the Niners next week with matchups against the Titans, Jets, Jaguars on tap.

Bears QB Justin Fields scored 13.26 fantasy points in Week 6, his most in any game this season. Fields still was far from great, throwing for 174 yards with a touchdown and interception. The most encouraging part of his outing was he rushed for 42 yards, which was more that he rushed for in his first three starts combined (25). He still has a way to go but if he runs more, he automatically becomes a better fantasy option. While he is more of a long-term upside play, he does have a favorable matchup against the Bucs if you are diving deeper at QB.

Running Backs

Browns RBs D’Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton will both be popular names on the waiver wire this week. Unless the Browns come out and say Felton is the lead runner, Johnson is the preferred add. Nick Chubb missed Week 6 with a calf injury and Kareem Hunt was carted off during the game and is likely headed to IR with a separate calf injury. In Week 6, Johnson played 22 percent of the snaps and had one carry and one target, while Felton had 20 percent of the snaps with two targets. Felton is the more explosive player, but he has exclusively been used in the passing game this season. He has nine targets and zero carries. Johnson has just three carries, but he had a game with 13 touches last season. It feels like Johnson is the Chubb replacement and Felton is the Hunt replacement. Both have value and should be added given the byes, but I will take the first shot on the one who likely sees more touches in Johnson. Felton is appealing in PPR. If Chubb is able to suit up on a short week, Felton would likely still have a role in the passing game.

Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny was a late addition to the waiver wire article but Alex Collins is dealing with a hip injury that has his Week 7 status in jeopardy. Penny can be activated off the IR and if Collins is out, he would be the lead back for the Seahawks with Chris Carson already on the IR. Given all the byes this week, Penny is a shot worth taking for RB needy teams. DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer are deeper league options. Dallas is the preferred option of the two, as he can be used in the passing game.

Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson played 32 percent of the snaps with five carries for 23 yards and a touchdown. He received a goal line carry after Damien Harris went to the medical tent, but the fact that he converted is important. Stevenson showed in the preseason he was a reliable goal line runner and continuing to do so in the regular season has him at worst next in line for those valuable touches. Most importantly, he was utilized in the passing game which is new. He was targeted three times, catching all of them for 39 yards. Previously, Brandon Bolden had been the pass catching RB, but he had just one target. Getting Stevenson more involved makes sense, as the Patriots lack explosiveness, and that is exactly what Stevenson brings them. He is a big back with very deserving burst and speed. If he is the new James White, like it looked Bolden was, that alone puts him in the flex discussion. Plus, Harris has been banged up the last two games. Stevenson would see a big workload if Harris was too miss time and backs like that are valuable stashes in fantasy.

Ravens RB Latavius Murray left late in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. John Harbaugh did say after the game that he doesn’t believe it is too serious, but it will put his Week 7 in risk. If he sits Devonta Freeman, Ty’Son Williams and Le’Veon Bell will man the backfield. In Week 6, Freeman played 31 percent of the snaps and had nine carries and two targets going for 53 yards and a score. Bell played 31 percent of snaps with eight carries and zero targets, totaling 18 yards and a score. Williams was a healthy scratch for the second time in three weeks, but he will play a part if Murray is out. Freeman is the top add of the three as he has been consistently used and has the safest floor, with a good chance to lead this backfield in touches. Williams is the upside play, as he could lead them in touches and is the most explosive option, but his floor cannot be trusted. Bell is better suited in deep leagues.

Washington RB Jarret Patterson only played 3 percent of the snaps and had one touch. So why is he in this article? Antonio Gibson has been battling a shin injury that has lingered and forced him to miss practice. It reared its ugly head on Sunday as well. If Gibson was to miss time, Patterson would become the lead ball carrier, with J.D. McKissic handling some work, primarily in the passing game, as well.

Bengals RB Chris Evans played 24 percent of the snaps with four carries and three targets. He finished with three catches, 67 total yards and a touchdown. Its worth noting that Samaje Perine was placed on the COVID-19 list last week, but Evans played really well in his absence and the rookie has been drawing buzz since training camp. He is a strong pass catcher and could continue to compliment Joe Mixon. He is purely a PPR flier.

Wide receivers

Cardinals WR A.J. Green has been featured many times in this article, yet is still available in about 70 percent of NFL.com leagues. Green has consistently been the WR2 for the Cardinals, seeing six targets in all but one game. He has topped 16 fantasy in three of his last four games and over 13 in four of five. He has been the most consistent of the secondary receiver options on the Cardinals. All four of their receivers can be rostered as they consistently run four wide receiver sets. Green is the safest weekly option, while Christian Kirk has a lower floor, but higher ceiling. Rondale Moore is a weekly upside play as of now.

Panthers WR Robby Anderson is a strange one. He has not played well at all this season and because of that a lot of people are going to drop him. He is rostered in just over half of NFL.com leagues, but that likely changes after this week. There are no stats to justify holding onto him — except volume. Anderson now has 11 targets in two of his last three games and seven in the other. He had 11 total targets the first three weeks. While Anderson struggled with drops in Week 6, he did catch the game tying touchdown. The volume is just too much to give up on right now.

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton returned in Week 6 and led the Colts in targets (four), catches (four), and yards (89). I know, four targets isn’t that impressive, but Wentz only threw 20 passes so four was good for a 20 percent target share. Hilton still has speed, and Wentz is better suited to take advantage of that than Philip Rivers was. He is not what he once was, but he should see enough volume to warrant being at least in flex consideration. He could also come in handy as a bye week replacement as the Colts have a favorable upcoming schedule.

Loins WR Amon-Ra St. Brown finished with five catches for 26 yards. Those numbers are not impressive but he had seven targets. It is his third game in a row with at least seven targets. After leading in targets the last two weeks, he tied for the second-most on the Lions. He is heavily targeted on a team that throws 65 percent of the time, the fifth-most in the league. The ceiling isn’t super high, but he has a reliable floor.

Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman has been up and down, but he has just one game with fewer than eight fantasy points in his last five. That gives him a safe enough floor to quantify as a bye week replacement in a week when a bunch of receivers will be on bye. Last week he had 12 targets, which seems like an anomaly, but he has been used more as of late. He is an upside shot if you are in need of one due to all the byes.

Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones led Cleveland in receiving with 101 yards and two touchdowns, catching five of eight targets. He led Browns receivers with 78 percent of the snaps. This was coming off his five catch, 70-yard game last week. He has at least five targets in each of the last two games. He may soon have more target competition as Jarvis Landry is nearing a return. But DPJ has likely played his way into three wide receiver sets and Cleveland will certainly take some deep shots with him. He is a bye week replacement in Week 7.

Deeper Options: Lions WR Kalif Raymond caught six of his seven targets for 37 yards, good for 9.7 fantasy points. He has between nine and 19 fantasy points in three of his last four games. The only issue is in that other game he was shut out. Washington WR Dyami Brown had six targets catching three of them for 30 yards. Its not a huge day and his volume is in jeopardy if Washington gets some key pass catchers back from injury, but the rookie does have some explosiveness. He can be used in deeper formats if Curtis Samuel is out next week. Jaguars WR Jamal Agnew is on bye next week but his recent usage is worth pointing out. He had five catches on six targets for 78 yards. He’s had at least six targets in the last two and topped double-digit fantasy points in both. Texans WR Nico Collins had six targets — tied for the second most on the Texans. He caught four for 44 yards. He has the potential to be a good red zone weapon for Houston.

Tight ends

Washington TE Ricky Seals-Jones played 100 percent of the snaps and saw six targets, catching four for 58 yards and a touchdown. That is a week after he played 99 percent of the snaps and had eight targets. He has nine and 15.8 fantasy points in those games. He is a startable tight end while Logan Thomas is sidelined.

Chargers TE Jared Cook is on bye next week but can be a streaming option after that. He was targeted seven times, caught four for 25 yards and a touchdown. He has seven targets in two of the last three games, scoring 12.5 and 19 fantasy points in those two. The Chargers have been featuring their tight ends in the red zone as well. Cook could be useful with the byes hitting.

Colts TE Mo-Alie Cox scored a touchdown in Week 6, his third in the last three weeks. He has topped eight fantasy points in three straight. Next week with so many byes, teams in need of tight ends will be happy with a touchdown and Alie-Cox has as good of a chance as any.

Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard was targeted seven times, the second-most on the Bucs in Week 6. He caught six for 49 yards and a score. He is a bye week replacement option only if Gronk remains out. Also, this guy is going to be such a popular breakout pick next year if he ends up signing elsewhere.

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