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Beat the Waiver Wire Week 7: Sammy Watkins, Shi Smith, Panthers RBs

Returning from injury, Sammy Watkins should take on a large role for the Packers.

Fantasy managers need to always be looking ahead to the next week. Even if Week 7 has barely started, look to Week 8 and check your lineups. Make sure that you have enough players to fill your roster. It may be beneficial to grab a DST for Week 8 already (and then you can drop a DST next week) if you have the roster space.

Obviously, you cannot predict injury, but you already know what players you won’t have available next week. It may be more difficult with the bye weeks, but if you do have roster space, there are options to beat the waiver wire.

Week 7 Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

Teams on bye: Buffalo, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, Philadelphia

Sammy Watkins, WR, Green Bay Packers (8 percent rostered)

Watkins has been on IR with a hamstring injury, but he has been designated to return. In fact, the team has said that he may return as soon as Week 7. While that may be optimistic, it seems he will definitely be active for Week 8. The Packers desperately need a pass catcher, and when healthy, Watkins can be that player. In Week 2, before he was injured, Watkins had three receptions for 98 yards. Expect him to have a large role on offense as soon as he is back in the lineup.

Related: Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for RB/WR in Week 7

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Free Agent (28 percent rostered)

Beckham tore his ACL in the Super Bowl last year, and he is still recovering. The expectation is that he will be cleared to play in a few weeks (mid-November) and he is looking for a team. Reports are that the Kansas City Chiefs may be looking to add him to their roster. Beckham hasn’t had an amazing season since 2019, but he would be a good fit for the Chiefs' offense. Fantasy managers with an eye on the playoffs (and the bench space) should consider adding him.

Shi Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers (0 percent rostered)

With Robbie Anderson gone from the Panthers, someone will need to step up and try to fill that role. While Anderson wasn’t exactly a target hog, there is room on the field for either Laviska Shenault Jr. or Smith. Shenault has been dealing with a hamstring injury and has missed the past two games. Smith, in Week 6, had two targets resulting in zero receptions (hey, at least he made it in the box score). In Week 5, he had four receptions for 69 yards, his best game of the season. This is a dart throw, given how this offense has looked, but at least he is playing.

Chuba Hubbard (24 percent) and D'onta Foreman (41 percent), RBs, Carolina Panthers

When the news broke late Thursday night that Christian McCaffrey actually was being traded (to the San Francisco 49ers), savvy fantasy managers immediately dropped Jeff Wilson Jr. and looked on the waiver wire to see if Hubbard or Foreman were available. While it seems possible that the Panthers may try to grab another running back before the trade deadline approaches (Cam Akers looks to need a home!), for now, Foreman and Hubbard are the running backs for the Panthers. Keep in mind that both backs are not going to replace McCaffrey at all. Managers that rostered Hubbard last year when McCaffrey was out know this from experience. So far this season, neither Hubbard nor Foreman has had a chance to show what they can do, but it seems likely that Foreman will have the first opportunity to secure the No. 1 running back role. Neither back will be a season-saver, but both may provide RB2/3 value (assuming the Panthers don't add another back).

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.