With Week 7 upon us there's never been a more important time to hit the waiver-wire. Bye weeks are upon us, they start getting pretty heavy in a few weeks, and injuries are piling up all over the field. In this piece I'll take my weekly look at all the options you might be considering adding off the waiver-wire. I'll give my thoughts on their outlook as well as recommend a dollar amount that you might consider spending on each guy if your league has a FAAB system.
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BYE: New Orleans, Oakland
FAAB THOUGHTS (Assuming a $100 Budget)
Josh Freeman, Vikings
The Vikings won't commit to who their QB is until Wednesday, but most signs point to Freeman getting a shot. Christian Ponder averaged 230 yards, 0.67 TDs and 1.67 INTs in three games. Matt Cassel averaged 244 yards, 1.5 TDs and 1.0 interceptions in his two games. Neither guy really moved the offense, and both showed that they should be holding a clipboard as the backup QB on a winning team. It's debatable if the offense will move any better with Freeman under center, but I don't think it's debatable that he's the best talent the Vikings have at quarterback. FAAB BID: $10
Thad Lewis, Bills
The Bills are down to like their 23rd quarterback this season in Lewis. The inexperienced signal caller actually was a QB1 in Week 6 with more points than guys like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Seriously. Playing without the Bills #1 wideout in Stevie Johnson, Lewis threw for 216 yards and two scores an added another score on the ground. He did lose a fumble but didn't throw an interception against a strong Bengals defense. Alas, Lewis injured his foot and he may or may not be available this week. As insurance the Bills signed Matt Flynn off the street. Flynn would likely be a total disasters if forced to play so the Bills better hope Lewis is back soon. E.J. Manuel (sprained LCL) is making progress and is likely to beat the original estimates that had him out for potentially six weeks (which would be five more weeks from now), so Lewis is only a short-term fill-in for those in very deep leagues.
FAAB BID: $5
Brandon Weeden, Browns
The Browns are averaging 19.7 points a game, the 9th lowest total in the league. However, they are throwing 42.3 passes a week, the third most in football, as they have been bonkers pass happy. When your QB is averaging more than 40 passes a week it's hard not to be a viable fantasy option. Weeden's doing his best to dispel that fact. He's got a nice arm but he still locks on to receivers and has a hard time working through his progressions. He threw for 292 yards and two scores in Week 6 but don't be swayed. He's still completing just 56.2 percent of his passes and has only four scores against five interceptions in four games. You can do better for your QB2. FAAB BID: $5
Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns
Willis McGahee is the back to own in Cleveland, period. Ogbonnaya isn't an awful add to a club, he does have a role as a blocker and as we saw in Week 6 he can fill up a stat sheet as a pass catcher (7-61-1 on 12 targets). Still, he doesn't get any goaline work, there's no way anyone can expect him to get double-digit targets again, and he remains nothing more than a RB5 depth stash at the moment.
FAAB BID: $10
Joseph Randle/Phillip Tanner/Lance Dunbar, Cowboys
I'm shocked... DeMarco Murray is hurt. Who could have possibly predicted that? Any sane/objective person of course. Murray has a sprained left MCL, an injury that could cost him 2-4 weeks. Randle was drafted by the Cowboys with the expectation that he would be the #2 back but he had a rough preseason and fell behind Phillip Tanner. Given that Lance Dunbar is dealing with a hamstring injury, it looks like we'll get a Randle/Tanner mix in the short-term. Randle is the back I'd favor, he scored in Week 6, Jerry Jones is in his corner, and Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com thinks that it will be Randle who will carry the load. Dunbar could have a role once healthy as a third down option. I have never trusted Murray and still don't, so I don't mind spending a bit on Randle.
FAAB BID for Randle: $15-20
FAAB BID for Tanner: $5-8
FAAB BID for Dunbar: $3-5
Mike Tolbert, Panthers
DeAngelo Williams is a borderline RB2 each week (he's better served as a flex option). Cam Newton can score with his legs at any time (like in Week 6). That makes it hard for anyone to rely on Tolbert. The big fella can have big fantasy game like he did in Week 6 – Tolbert scored on the ground an as a receiver – but no one knows when those outbursts will occur. Face it, the guy hasn't run for 35 yards in a game this season and has all of 41 yards receiving on the year. One postive for Tolbert is that Jonathan Stewart (ankle) isn't likely to be activated for a couple of weeks, and it's actually a growing possibility that he might not play this season.
FAAB BID: $10
Jarrett Boykin, Packers
Randall Cobb will be out for multiple weeks with a knee injury. James Jones (PCL sprain) might be able to tough it out an play in Week 7 but it's no sure thing. Those injuries mean two things. (1) Eddie Lacy is likely to keep receiving 20 touches a week. (2) The Packers need help at wide receiver. At this point it appears like Boykin will see the biggest increase in playing time. The youngster caught one pass for 43 yards in relief work in Week 6 but he also pulled in just one of six targets and dropped two balls. He's talented but more of a chain mover who does his best work out of the slot. If Aaron Rodgers is throwing the football though, any wide receiver who is getting significant snaps is worth a look.
FAAB BID: $10
Riley Cooper, Eagles
Cooper is not someone who you should be chasing. Through five games he hadn't caught more than two balls for 29 yards, so the 4-120 line, not to mention the touchdown, he put up in Week 6 was about as fluky as it gets. Let someone else fall for this “breakout” effort – Cooper is a better blocker than receiver.
FAAB BID: $3-5
Brandon LaFell, Panthers
Here are his yardage totals this season: zero, 13, 53, 47 and 107. Throw out the low and high and we're looking at a guy who is averaging 38 yards a game. He's got three scores and has some level of intrigue in TD-only leagues or if you're in a deep league with all the Bye weeks coming up, but he's just not someone you are going to be able to trust.
FAAB BID: $10
Joseph Fauria, Lions
Tony Scheffler continues to be sidelined with a concussion, an at this point he'll likely be behind Fauria even when he's healthy. Don't forget though that Brandon Pettigrew is still with the Lions and he's the lead dog at tight end (he has 28 targets, Fauria has nine). Fauria can present mismatches in the red zone, and he's a certain threat there as he's scored five times in six games. Five... on nine targets. The guy has seven catches for 66 yards for the season. He's nothing more than a gimmick start since a good effort is likely to result in about 10-12 fantasy points.
FAAB BID: $5
Tim Wright, Buccaneers
Mike Glennon likes throwing to Wright, an undersized pass catching rookie out of Rutgers. In two weeks working together Glennon has thrown 15 passes his way and Wright's converted those targets into 12 receptions and 132 yards. He's already firmly on the TE2 radar but he may not be able to climb the scales to TE1 status since he's been seeing some looks undoubtedly because Mike Williams has been missing action with a groin injury. FAAB BID: $5-10
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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- DeMarcus Cousins will start Thursday
- Dwight Howard will play Thursday
- Taj Gibson will not play Thursday
- Tyreke Evans will not play Thursday
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- Carmelo Anthony will not play Thursday