Injuries are really starting to have an impact on teams’ depth charts, as rookies and other unproven players are getting their chances to shine. Can any of these help your fantasy team in Week 7 or beyond?
The players listed in Athlon’s weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players worth grabbing.
Teams on bye in Week 7: New Orleans, Oakland
Week 6 Recap: Nick Foles threw for 296 yards and three scores and added one on the ground to lead the Eagles to a win in Tampa Bay. Foles’ performance certainly gave head coach Chip Kelly something to think about with Michael Vick recovering from a hamstring injury and NFC East rival Dallas on tap this Sunday. Brandon Weeden (right) returned to the starting role for Cleveland and finished with 292 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Browns’ home loss to Detroit. Jacksonville’s Chad Henne posted 303 yards passing against Denver, but tossed two picks and had no touchdowns in the loss. Blaine Gabbert will miss a second straight game because of his hamstring injury, so Henne will start this Sunday against San Diego.
Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Is it time to invest in Glennon? The rookie turned in a respectable effort against Philadelphia, throwing for 273 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. The Eagles were a good matchup for him, but that may be the case again this week. The Buccaneers go to Atlanta, and while the Falcons are coming off of their bye, they have lost a lot of key personnel to injuries and their defense has certainly had its issues. In their last game, the Falcons allowed another rookie, Geno Smith, to complete 16 of 20 passes for three scores and no picks. Glennon has less experience than Smith, but what he does have that Smith doesn’t is legitimate weapons in wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as well as running back Doug Martin to help him. This just may be the week to give Glennon a try, especially in 2-QB leagues.
Week 6 Recap:Andre Ellington led the Cardinals with 12 touches and produced 92 yards and a touchdown with them in the loss to the 49ers. If this keeps up, the rookie could develop into a reliable RB2/RB3 option. Fellow first-year back Zac Stacy may have locked up the starting gig for the Rams the rest of the season after posting 79 yards rushing on 18 carries (4.4 ypc) against a pretty solid Texans defense. This week’s matchup with Carolina will be another good measuring stick for the fifth-round pick. Donald Brown had 34 total yards on five touches on Monday night against the Chargers.
Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants
Jacobs has been mentioned in this space before, but any running back that rushes for 100 yards in a game merits a little more coverage. Jacobs gashed the Bears on Thursday night for 106 yards and two touchdowns, as the Giants nearly got into the win column. What’s more important for Jacobs’ fantasy value moving forward is that David Wilson’s season could be over because of a neck injury, leaving the veteran as the team’s primary ball-carrier. Andre Brown could have something to say about this, as he’s eligible to return from his broken leg in Week 10. With the Giants on bye in Week 9 that means Jacobs should get the majority of the carries against Minnesota next Monday night and Philadelphia in Week 8, not the worst matchups for fantasy RBs.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns
Wide receiver Travis Benjamin led the Browns with 45 yards rushing on Sunday, picking up all of those in one carry. What was more interesting, however, was the number of touches Ogbonnaya got. Willis McGahee doubled him in carries (10 to 5), but Ogbonnaya saw a team-high 12 targets, converting seven of them for 61 yards and a touchdown. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron are still the top weapons in the Browns’ passing game, but Brandon Weeden appears to throwing to his running backs quite a bit too. This is more for deeper leagues, but if Ogbonnaya continues to see double-digit targets and get his chances to run the ball (24 yards on 5 att. Sunday), he could be a flex option, especially with 16 teams lined up to go on bye from Weeks 8-10.
Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray had 29 yards rushing and a touchdown along with 21 yards receiving against Washington before exiting with a knee injury in the second quarter. He was scheduled to undergo a MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the damage, but the early diagnosis was a sprained LCL and it's highly likely Murray will miss at least one game. Murray has had trouble staying healthy throughout his career, which is why the Cowboys selected Randle in the fifth round. Randle wasn’t even on the field until Week 4 and after not getting any touches in his first two games, he carried the ball 11 times for 17 yards and a score and caught two passes in the win over the Redskins. If Murray is out, the Cowboys will need to increase Randle’s role in the offense, especially with Lance Dunbar dealing with a hamstring injury.
Week 6 Recap: Justin Blackmon (right) led all wide receivers this week with 14 catches and 190 yards against Denver. Denarius Moore caught his fourth touchdown of the season and is now a top-20 fantasy wide receiver. Keenan Allen posted his second straight 100-yard game with nine catches for 107 and a touchdown in San Diego's win over Indianapolis Monday night. Terrance Williams went back to being the Cowboys’ No. 3 wideout with the return of Miles Austin (hamstring), but the rookie still made the most of his chances, as he caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the win over the Redskins.
Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers
The Packers beat the Ravens on Sunday, but also lost wide receivers Randall Cobb (knee) and James Jones (shin) to injuries. Their early exits forced Boykin into action and Aaron Rodgers didn’t shy away from throwing to the second-year wideout. Boykin got six targets from Rodgers and while he only hauled in one of them, it did cover 43 yards. On Monday head coach Mike McCarthy said that there's a chance Jones will be able to play on Sunday, but Cobb could be out up to eight weeks due to a fractured fibula. One way or the other, Boykin should see more playing time, and the opportunity is there for Boykin to put up decent numbers.
Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons were on bye in Week 6, yet it still feels like the team lost. A disheartening home defeat to the Jets in their last game left them at 1-4, but that wasn’t even the worst of the news to come. Julio Jones is done for the season after sustaining a foot injury against the Jets that will require surgery and Roddy White may have added a hamstring injury to the high-ankle sprain that has severely hampered him this season. With these injuries, the Falcons need Douglas to step up, as he will move into the starting lineup. He could end up being the team’s No. 1 wide receiver if White misses any games. Douglas is third on the team in targets with 27, which should only go up from here.
Kris Durham, Detroit Lions
Nate Burleson will miss a few more weeks because of a broken arm and Calvin Johnson has been hobbled by a knee injury the past two weeks. The Lions were hoping that Ryan Broyles would emerge, but instead it’s been Durham. Last week with Johnson sidelined, Durham led the way with eight targets. On Sunday, with Johnson back but clearly not at 100 percent, Durham got 13 targets and led the team with eight receptions for 83 yards. Broyles just isn’t getting the job done right now (5 rec., 61 yds. in four games), which means Durham is the Lions’ No. 2 option behind Megatron, which is not a bad place to be if you are a wide receiver.
Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald played through a left hamstring injury on Sunday and led the Cardinals with six catches for 117 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, the All-Pro reportedly injured his other hamstring, which could put his availability for Thursday’s game against Seattle in doubt. Floyd is the team’s No. 2 option, but he has been somewhat forgotten in fantasy circles because of his mediocre production. Even though he has recorded at least three catches in every game, Floyd has 345 yards receiving and finally caught his first touchdown pass on Sunday. If Fitzgerald can’t go this week, Floyd moves up to No. 1 and could see double-digit targets, although the matchup with the Seahawks isn’t that appealing. Still, Fitzgerald’s health is something to monitor in the weeks ahead and Floyd is probably someone worth adding to your watch list.
Week 6 Recap:Sean McGrath didn’t catch any of his three targets against Oakland, as Alex Smith completed just 14 of 31 passes for 128 yards.
Joseph Fauria, Detroit Lions
It doesn’t get any more efficient, not to mention productive, than this. Fauria caught three passes against Cleveland on Sunday and all three were for touchdowns. Overall, the UCLA product and undrafted free agent has five touchdowns and seven total catches on the season. It’s hard to trust someone who has not caught a single pass in half of his games, but it’s pretty clear that Matthew Stafford likes throwing to the rookie in the red zone.
Timothy Wright, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Who is Wright? He’s an undrafted rookie from Rutgers (where head coach Greg Schiano came from) and, more importantly, he’s been one of Mike Glennon’s (see above) favorite targets. In Glennon’s two starts, Wright has 12 catches for 132 yards receiving. It’s early, but 12 catches in a two-week span from a tight end is something worth keeping an eye on.
Week 6 Recap: Indianapolis held San Diego to just one touchdown and 19 points total on Monday night, but had no turnovers and sacked Philip Rivers twice. Next up for the Colts is a visit from Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
St. Louis Rams
Can the Rams be trusted again? The defense was at its nastiest on Sunday in a dominating 38-13 victory in Houston. The Rams had five sacks and forced four turnovers, turning their two interceptions into scores. The rushing defense is still a bit of an issue (153 yards vs. Texans), but Rams have 48 fantasy points in their last two games and are back among the top-10 fantasy DSTs on the season.
Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.