We are now officially one-third of the way through the 2021 season and fantasy football managers will be tasked with their most difficult choices yet.
It’s been hard enough dealing with injuries and the underwhelming performances of a few fantasy studs. But now an entirely different factor is thrown into the mix for Week 7.
Dread it. Run from it. It still arrives all the same. And now, the bye-pocalypse is here.
Fantasy managers got a taste of what the bye weeks bring and now we’re getting thrown into the fire with several elite teams on a bye. Those six teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Yeah. A lot of fantasy firepower will be sitting on the bench this week.
But that’s why we’re were. To navigate you through these vast decisions. This is where good fantasy managers separate themselves from the rest of the league. By using the waiver wire to your advantage.
To be eligible for the waiver wire, a player cannot be rostered in more than 50% of ESPN leagues. Don’t be afraid to hit me up on Twitter (@KevinHickey11) with any questions either!
So without further ado, here are 12 waiver-wire targets in Week 7 for fantasy football:
QB Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) draws back to pass Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Week 7: at San Francisco 49ers
Wentz has shown plenty of improvement over the last three games as he finally gets healthy. He’s been a solid option at quarterback, finishing as QB14 and QB10 over the last two weeks, respectively. Wentz gets a prime-time matchup with the 49ers, who have allowed three QB1 (top-12) finishes in five games. If you’re dealing with a bye week, there are worse options to choose from.
QB Jamies Winston, New Orleans Saints
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Week 7: at Seattle Seahawks
Coming off his own bye week, Winston had arguably his best performance of the season when he threw for 279 yards and four touchdowns against Washington in Week 5. He finished the week as the QB5 and now gets a Seahawks defense that’s allowed 20.9 fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last four weeks. With an extra week to prep, Winston is a fine replacement play.
QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
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Week 7: at Miami Dolphins
It’s hard to have full confidence in Ryan, but things may be getting better. He’s posted a QB3 and QB12 finish in his last two games before entering his bye week and the Dolphins defense has allowed 23.8 fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last four weeks. Coming off the bye week with extra prep time and the return of Calvin Ridley from a personal issue makes Ryan a solid replacement play in Week 7.
RB D’Ernest Johnson & Demetric Felton, Cleveland Browns
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Rostered: 2.5% and 4.7%
Week 7: vs. Denver Broncos
The priority add of the week should be Johnson. With Kareem Hunt expected to go on the injured reserve list and Nick Chubb still a question mark on a short week, we could get a volume play from Johnson. If both Hunt and Chubb are out, Johnson will likely see the early-down work against a Broncos defense that just allowed the third-most fantasy points to the running back position in Week. Felton should be added in deeper and PPR formats because he’s likely to see the passing game work with Hunt out. It should be noted that they play on Thursday night so a big decision will have to be made.
RB Jaret Patterson, Washington Football Team
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Week 7: at Green Bay Packers
Patterson may be more of a speculative add right now because we aren’t sure what the deal is with Antonio Gibson’s shin injury. If the MRI results show Gibson might have to miss time, Patterson is likely to step into that early-down role. Patterson was an undrafted free agent this offseason who came out of Buffalo with a prolific rushing profile. He won’t get all of the work, but it might be enough for a FLEX play in deeper leagues and those dealing with the bye-pocalypse.
Bonus: If J.D. McKissic is available, he would be the priority add over Patterson.
RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
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Week 7: vs. New Orleans Saints
Penny is expected to come off of the injured reserve list this week and is considered a “full-go” after dealing with a calf injury. With Chris Carson still on the injured reserve list, it has been mostly Alex Collins in the lead role. But Collins is dealing with glute and hip injuries of his own. If Collins can’t go, Penny is a solid FLEX play with RB2 upside. If Collins is active, it’s difficult to have confidence in playing Penny. Regardless, he should be added as a high-priority handcuff.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
AP Photo/Steven Senne
Week 7: vs. New York Jets
Despite seeing just 33% of the snaps and receiving eight total touches, the rookie running back finished as the RB20 in Week 6. This was all while splitting time with Damien Harris and Brandon Bolden. With Harris working through injuries, Stevenson has been getting more work as receiver while seeing a decent amount of carries. In Week 6, Stevenson saw a 15% target share out of the backfield compared to Harris and Bolden’s (5% each). He had more carries, targets and snaps than Bolden. The rookie is worth the add to see if his role continues to increase into a timeshare with Harris.
WR Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Week 7: at Cleveland Browns
His roster percentage shot up overnight likely because of leagues that don’t run waivers on Tuesdays. That said, Patrick should have been added weeks ago. It’s clear that Courtland Sutton is the engine of the passing game, and that’s how it should be. He’s finished as the WR25 in three of the last four weeks. The 13% target share in Week 6 isn’t all that encouraging but he’s still getting the opportunity with a snap share above 89% over the last three weeks. He’s a FLEX play with touchdown upside against the Browns, but that’s all we need during the bye-pocalypse.
WR A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals
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Week 7: vs. Houston Texans
Green has been enjoying a revived season in Arizona’s pass-happy scheme with Kyler Murray running the ship. He’s seen exactly six targets in every single game but one this season and has three finishes inside the top-24 over the last four weeks. He has at least an 18% target share in five of his games while recording a touchdown in three of them. Green is a solid FLEX play against the Texans and should be rostered for future spot starts.
WR T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Week 7: at San Franciso 49ers
Hilton comes back from the injured reserve list just in time to remind the Texans who their real owner is. Despite this being his first game with Carson Wentz, Hilton looked like a reborn player. He played on just 50% of snaps but led the offense with a 22% target share and 80 receiving yards. It would have been more had a quad injury not forced him from the game. Keep an eye on the injury this week, but Hilton should be added in case he winds up holding a decent target share moving forward.
WR Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
AP Photo/Terrance Williams
Week 7: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The rookie wideout made his debut in Week 6 and while the stat line won’t blow you away, there is a lot of reason to be encouraged a breakout will eventually come. Bateman played 65% of the snaps in his debut and wound up seeing six targets. That and his 22% target share were tied for the team lead with tight end Mark Andrews. There is little to go around in the Ravens passing game but the efficiency of Lamar Jackson can trump that. Bateman is a solid FLEX play moving forward with some real potential if he takes over WR1 duties from Marquise Brown.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington Football Team
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Week 7: at Green Bay Packers
The tight end landscape in fantasy football is a disaster to begin with and now we have to deal with bye weeks. If you’re in need, Seals-Jones appears to be the best option out there. Seals-Jones finished as the TE6 in Week 6 after he posted four receptions on six targets for 58 yards and a touchdown. The 15% target share was a drop off from the 20% the week prior, but he’s still in a strong position against the Packers in Week 7. He’s also played 99% and 100% of the snaps in each of the last two weeks, respectively. If Ryan Fitzpatrick returns, that gives Seals-Jones even more of a boost.