It's been an unusual NFL bye-week schedule this season. Like ripping off the Band-Aid, the NFL had six teams on bye in Week 4 (only two teams on bye that week last year) to kick things off.
Since then, we've had just two teams on bye every week. Unlike last year when six teams were on bye in Week 8, only two teams, Giants and 49ers, have their bye in Week 8.
Starting in Week 9, however, we will have back-to-back weeks with six teams on bye.
With this week's waiver-wire post (like the ones before it), the goal is to suggest some players that could be useful to fantasy owners from a rest-of-season perspective or as a bye-week fill-in or both.
Aside from the player offering some fantasy value, the only other rule I have is that all players on this list are owned in no more than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues to give realistic suggestions of players that could be on your waiver wire.
With that said, here are some players to consider adding to your fantasy roster(s) (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):
Palmer finished with nearly identical numbers this week (253 passing yards and two touchdowns) as he had last week (250 yards and two touchdowns). With one game to go in Week 7, Palmer ranks as the 11th-highest scoring fantasy quarterback for the week. Palmer and the Cardinals get a favorable matchup next week against the Eagles. Before their shutout against the Giants, the Eagles had allowed a top-12 finish to all five of the quarterbacks they had faced in Weeks 1 to 5 and three of those were top-six finishes.
QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (41 percent)
Averaging just 211.67 passing yards per game, Smith quietly puts up solid fantasy performances. In his past four games, he has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback twice and he enters Monday Night Football as the QB13 for the week. Since the start of last season, only four quarterbacks have more rushing yards than Smith (569) and only only three are current starters — Russell Wilson (866), Colin Kaepernick (784) and Cam Newton (775). Smith's schedule over the next two weeks is fantastic as he faces the Rams and Jets, who are the two friendliest defenses to fantasy quarterbacks through Sunday's games.
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In his first three games of the season, Tannehill finished as the QB20 or worse in all three contests. In his past three games, however, he has finished as the QB11, QB13 and QB4 (with just the MNF game to play), respectively. Tannehill has yet to throw for more than 278 yards in any game this season, but he has multiple touchdown passes in each of the past three games and has averaged 44 rushing yards per game during that stretch.
QB - Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (30 percent)
Before getting injured in Week 2, things started slowly for Griffin III, but there is obviously plenty of upside for him if things click in Jay Gruden's offense. While Kirk Cousins was benched on Sunday and the turnovers hurt more in real than fantasy football, Cousins had three top-eight outings in his previous five games. It's unclear whether RG3 will be ready for Week 8 and although it seems unlikely that he will play this week, he has yet to be ruled out by Gruden. Either way, he's getting close.
Glennon has finished as a top-15 fantasy quarterback — but outside of the top 12 — in his past three games. Glennon has a pair of 300-yard games and has thrown multiple touchdowns in all three of those starts.
In his three starts, Orton has averaged nearly 300 passing yards per game (296.67) with five touchdowns and three interceptions. While he has finished outside of the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in all three of those starts, Orton has a favorable matchup against the Jets this week for those that need a bye-week replacement for Week 8.
Active in only his second NFL game, Mason, the team's third-round pick, led the Rams in rushing with 18 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. Although the Seahawks allowed DeMarco Murray to rush for over 100 yards in Week 6 (then again, who hasn't?), it was only the second time that a back rushed for 40-plus yards against Seattle this season. Mason may not get 18 carries per game going forward, but he has been productive with his opportunities as he's averaging 5.34 YPC in two games.
With the injuries to C.J. Spiller (collarbone, likely out for season) and Fred Jackson (groin, expected to miss four weeks), Brown and Dixon will have an expanded opportunity in Buffalo's backfield. Like to Brown himself, it's been a surprise to me that he has been a weekly inactive. With more talent and upside than Dixon, Brown was dubbed "an every-down back" by Jackson and he would be the preferred add if you could add just one of these two backs.
Second on the depth chart behind an injury-prone running back (Ben Tate) and on a run-heavy team, Crowell should be owned more than he currently is. As long as Tate is healthy and Terrance West is also active, Crowell will likely have some quiet games like Sunday's 18-yard performance on seven carries. That said, he's still averaging 5.0 YPC and has four touchdowns in six games on the season.
With some added flexibility as a rare WR/RB-eligible player in Yahoo! leagues, Robinson had a massive 22/127/1 line in their first win of the season. It was the first time that a Jaguars running back had more than 42 rushing yards since Toby Gerhart had in Week 1. It was also the first time a Jaguars running back had more than 10 carries since Gerhart's 18 attempts in Week 1.
Since Week 2, McFadden has averaged 17.0 touches — 13.8 carries and 3.2 receptions — per game. Even though he is averaging just 3.82 yards per carry on the year, he has finished as a top-27 running back (at least a flex option) in four of his past five games. Through Sunday's games, the Browns, Oakland's next opponent, has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
With 100-plus yards for Murray in seven straight games, it's also alarming that he's on a record pace of 424 carries and has never played more than 14 games in a season. Randle should be handcuffed by Murray owners, but is a decent speculative stash given Murray's durability track record. If Murray misses a game or two, Randle will likely share the workload with Lance Dunbar, but I'd expect Randle to get the larger share of touches and the Cowboys have one of the league's best offensive lines.
It was Gray — not Brandon Bolden or James White — that was given an opportunity (albeit fairly small) after Shane Vereen last week. Gray had three carries for 12 yards, but there will be chances for larger production in the future. Considering the unpredictability of how Belichick allocates running back touches, however, he will almost always be a dicey fantasy option on a weekly basis.
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WR - Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (50 percent)
Beckham made the most of his four receptions on Sunday as he scored twice and now has three touchdowns in his three NFL games. While I don't expect him to maintain a TD-per-game pace, I would expect his reception and yardage totals to increase from his current averages of 3.3/35.3. A dash of bad news is the Giants have a bye in Week 8 and then a couple of tough matchups against the Colts and Seahawks after the bye.
With Percy Harvin now a member of the J-E-T-S, Baldwin had his best game of the season, by far, with seven catches for 123 yards and a score on 11 targets. Through Sunday's games, only three receivers have scored more fantasy points than Baldwin. Baldwin certainly won't get 11 targets per game or even in most games, but he's definitely the best option among Seahawks receivers going forward.
Robinson has appeared on this list many times this year and to show the minuscule extent of my influence, he's still owned in only 15 percent of leagues. That said, Robinson has 50-plus yards in three consecutive games and now in five of his past six games.
Hawkins had a couple of duds in Weeks 5 and 6 with three catches for 27 yards combined in those two games. Or in Week 5 alone considering he had a goose egg in Week 6. That said, Hawkins had five catches for 112 yards on nine targets this week and now has nine targets or more in five of six games this season. Hawkins has yet to score a touchdown this season and he remains a better option in PPR formats, where he has four top-25 performances this season.
One week after getting a season-high eight targets, Adams made the most of his sole target this week as he scored a 21-yard touchdown. As the team's third receiver, Adams has at least 7.1 fantasy points in three consecutive games. One of the problems for Green Bay's passing attack is that they have jumped out to huge leads and Rodgers has thrown 28 or fewer pass attempts in four of his past five games. Going forward, there will be closer games and more opportunities for Adams.
Daniels had a season-high six catches and nine targets in Week 7. It will Daniels third week this season finishing as a top-10 fantasy tight end, but he has more than 50 yards in only two games this season. The good news is that the Ravens face the Bengals in Week 8 and no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than Cincinnati.
Battling a knee injury since the preseason, Clay has played in every regular-season game, but things got off to a slow start for him. With 35 yards or less and no touchdowns in his first five games, Clay had 4/58/1 last week and is tied with Daniels for the fourth-most fantasy points at the position this week (obvioulsy excluding tonight's game). Clay and the Dolphins have a fantasy-friendly matchup against the Jaguars this week.
More fantasy football resources:
- Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings (to post Tues. night)
- Rest-of-Season (ROS) Fantasy Football Rankings
- Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule