Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 7 October 20, 2015  |  Evan Sandel


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Running Backs


James Starks (18% Yahoo, 22% ESPN)

The Packers handed the reins over to James Starks on Sunday and the fifth year man out of the University of Buffalo responded with vigor.

Starks rushed for over 100 yards against the Chargers, something Eddie Lacy has failed to do all season long. Starks also found the end zone twice, another thing Lacy has yet to do.

Lacy’s demotion wasn’t due to any sort of injury beyond being “banged up” with Coach McCarthy conceding, “we went with James first just because he’s been playing extremely well.”

Starks will have some tough matchups coming out of the bye week as the Packers will travel to Denver and Carolina, but it’s safe to assume Starks will continue to be featured until he falters or Lacy earns his job back.

Add in all formats. Meanwhile, Lacy can join fellow first round fantasy pick C.J. Anderson on the bench.


Wide Receivers


Brandon LaFell (50% Yahoo, 20% ESPN)

LaFell is finally off the PUP list and will return to practice on Monday, his recovery has gone smoothly and he’s a veteran with a year of Patriots experience under his belt, therefore it’s likely he’ll be active against the Jets next Sunday.

LaFell had a career year in 2014, his first season in New England. LaFell showed instant chemistry with Tom Brady and racked up nearly 1,000 yards and hauled in seven touchdowns.

The Patriots offense has managed to be prolific in LaFell’s absence, but it’s lacking the vertical presence that the LSU alum provides. Diminutive receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola only average 10.5 yards per reception and depend on lots of YAC, meanwhile both New England running backs are averaging an impressive five yards per carry.

Expect LaFell’s return to open up opposing defenses and for the Patriots to score even more pretend points for their fantasy owners.


Marvin Jones (35% Yahoo, 29% ESPN)

Marvin Jones saw season highs in both targets and fantasy points this past week against Buffalo, with 12 and 15.5 (standard) respectively.

On an undefeated Bengals squad that continues to impress, Jones battles it out with the universally owned Tyler Eifert every week to be Andy Dalton’s second favorite passing target.

Cincinnati has a lot of mouths to feed on offense, which will lead to some inconsistency for Jones, but his ceiling is apple pie in the sky high.

Roster Jones as a solid WR3 with the potential to have a big game every week.




Blake Bortles (25% Yahoo, 27% ESPN)

Bortles finished 5th amongst quarterbacks in fantasy point scoring in week six, thanks to his three touchdown passes and 331 passing yards. Far from a fluke, Bortles is surprisingly fourth in scoring amongst QB’s on the season. And with newly minted tight end Julius Thomas now healthy, he has an increasingly impressive array of weapons to throw to.

It’s hard to expect the situation in Jacksonville to remain so friendly to the young quarterback’s stat-line, but Bortles appears to have taken a step forward this year and is worth rostering for those with QB troubles.

It’s also worth noting that Bortles’ fantasy playoff schedule is absolute cake, as he’ll see the some of the worst passing defenses in the NFL in weeks 13-15. He’ll face Indy (287 ypg), Atlanta (288 ypg) and New Orleans (273 ypg). Bortles could be worth stashing just for that primo scheduling.


Tight Ends


Benjamin Watson (10% Yahoo, 4% ESPN)

Watson had a career day on Thursday night, catching 10 of 12 targets for 127 yards and a score.

There was speculation before this season that Jimmy Graham’s departure might make a star out of New Orleans’ other tight end Josh Hill, who was theorized to fill that role for the Saints. That theory has been widely debunked, as Hill has been invisible all season long, but Thursday night provided a glimmer of hope that there might yet be a role for a tight end in Sean Payton’s offense.

Watson’s 10 receptions led the Saints by a mile, as Cooks and Snead tied for second with four catches each.

It’s possible that Watson’s big night was a fluke, but the Saints are in need of weapons. He showed chemistry with Brees…and there’s always the ghost of Jimmy Graham to consider.

Watson is only a TE2 for now, but if you’re not satisfied with your current one, it’s worth adding Watson to see if he can maintain a significant role.




Stefon Diggs – Starting in place of the injured Charles Johnson, Diggs has actually been productive, something Johnson wasn’t at all, and that includes a game in Denver. I don’t think Johnson gets his job back when he returns; Diggs is worth a stash.

Landry Jones – Big Ben is almost back, but Jones looked like an immediate improvement over Vick. He’s not worth rostering in redraft leagues, but if Rothlisberger misses another week, Jones is my DFS quarterback.

Ahmad Bradshaw – With Josh Robinson already a healthy scratch, Bradshaw is now the primary handcuff to an aging Frank Gore. He may even have some stand-alone value in PPR.

Matthew Stafford – If somebody got frustrated and cut this guy, go swoop him up. His poor production the last few weeks has had a lot to do with tough scheduling (DEN, SEA, ARI), but that’s about to turn all the way around as the Staff infection will face KC, OAK and PHI in 3 of the next 5 matchups. He led QB’s in scoring this week; he could do it again in any of those games.






19 Responses

  1. Shane says:

    Drop Rashad Jennings for Theo Riddick in 12 team PPR? Thanks!

    • Evan Sandel says:

      I wouldn’t. Jennings has been frustrating but had a few bright spots last week, meanwhile his backup Andre Williams looks inept and Shane Vereen is off with CJ Spiller on a vacation in “why the hell don’t they use this guy” land. His workload is at least pretty certain.
      Meanwhile, Riddick seems dependent on Abdullah fumbling to get any serious run, and Joique Bell is returning to health this week and will look to vulture both of the smaller backs on goal-line carries.

  2. Brent says:

    For depth, would you drop Jordan Matthews for Brandon LaFell, and would you drop Martellus Bennett for James Starks? Hillman could be picked up also.

    • Evan Sandel says:

      The Eagles are maddening this year. I understand the impulse to drop him, but Matthews started off the year strong and there’s just too much upside there for me to be happy dropping him just yet. It shouldn’t be too long before he has another big game, see if you can trade him afterwards.

      Honestly, I don’t love dropping Bennett either, since Cutler got back he’s had 10+ targets per game, which is rare air for a tight end. Although he has struggled to do much with those targets, I think the return of Alshon Jeffery opens things way up for Bennett, Cutler and the Bears in general.

      That said, Starks is a juicy enough target, that if you’re comfortable with your other tight end, talking top 5 here, go ahead and make that move.

      • Brent says:

        Yeah, I have Barnidge and the only rb’s I have are J Stew and Woodhead, so that’s why I might pick up Starks. J. Thomas is available also and I’ll need a te when Barnidge is on bye. Maybe I’ll drop Jordan Matthews for J. Thomas.

  3. Osiris says:

    What do you think about Rishard Matthews

  4. Osiris says:

    I bought your membership do you really respond to people questions and if you do mould you trust Rishard Matthew having big game he was on the field at least 60snapa last week and got eightysomething yards. He is facing Texans horrible defense but if they can’t stop Watt no points for Rishard but if they do game on what is your thoughts

    • Evan Sandel says:

      I can’t guarantee I’ll always respond to questions, it depends on the volume of them and my schedule, but I try my best every week.

      I love Rishard against the Texans. He’s officially emerged as their go-to target, on the outside. Meanwhile, Cameron’s inconsistency and their befuddling refusal to get DeVante Parker involved, just add’s to Matthew’s value.
      I think the presence of Watt and Houston’s strong D-Line will primarily serve to swallow up the run, which benefits Matthew’s further.

      He’s actually outscoring Jarvis Landry by a hair in standard scoring. Start without hesitation.

  5. Zach says:

    I have Andy Dalton on bye and based on priority will have my pick of Stafford vs Minnesota or Bortles in London possibly without Robinson… is Bortles the no brainer or is Stafford the play?

    • Evan Sandel says:

      I really like Bortles, and he’s been really consistent this year, but I have a hard time trusting those London games.
      And I look over at the Lions and see not only Stafford but also Megatron coming off his best game of the season, and he’s going for his second contest against an (albeit underrated) Vikings secondary against whom he posted a 10-83-1 line in week 2… I’d roll with Stafford, who I think has the higher ceiling this week.

  6. Randy says:

    Who do I keep? ROS
    CJ Anderson or Charcandrick West?

    • Evan Sandel says:

      Ouch. Tough choice, because it’s entirely possible that the rest of the season is far kinder to Hillman and K. Davis.

      I’d go with Anderson, just because I saw him play fantastically just last year, he’s on the better overall offense, and he will probably continue to have a role even if the Broncos roll with Hillman from here on out.

  7. Jimbabwe says:

    So who should I pick up, looking for a rb, but maybe i could pick up julius thomas and trade him.

    Currently I have at rb: hillman (bye), lacy (bye), chris johnson, david johnson, crowell and knile davis. Im gonna drop davis and get lafell, but should i drop david johnson and pick up christine michael or james starks?

    • Evan Sandel says:

      It’s safe to Drop D. Johnson, I’d prioritize Starks.

      As far as Julius Thomas goes, if you can add him, try to do so, and not necessarily just to trade him. Bad as the Jags are, that’s a pass-first offense and Thomas is one of their best weapons, he saw 13 targets last week, that’s primo usage. If you can add Orange Julius I wouldn’t trade him, unless of course, you’re lucky enough to be a Gronk owner.

      • Jimbabwe says:

        Haha yeah I have gronk and i traded graham for chris johnson last week. If only I held onto him for one more week I could have gotten a better value. The thing is my rbs havent done anything so far. I’ll try to pick up julius thomas and probably trade him or maybe i could make a spicy deal and trade gronk for a top 3 rb? Im not sure who i could get in return, but thsi season the pats rbs look the same as last year if not better and lafell can come back week 7 so gronk will see a slightly decreased production, although edelman could be limited in the future with his hand injury. If i get julius how do you feel about a trade with gronk? Thanks for all the help man.

  8. Cutler says:

    If you have to drop either Theo Riddick or Darren Mcfadden, who will you drop?


    • Evan Sandel says:

      PPR- Keep McFadden, Standard- Keep Riddick.

      McFadden has earned passing back duties since Dunbar went on IR and has a decently high, if somewhat game-flow dependent, basement. But I doubt he’ll actually break out.
      With the Lions down to just Abdullah and Riddick, Theo could carve out some real work, considering Abdullah has looked pretty “meh” and has fumbling issues.

  9. Big Mike 2 says:

    Any other suggestions for RB?

    • Evan Sandel says:

      As the season wears on there are fewer and fewer solid waiver wire options baring an injury. But some other thoughts would be:

      David Cobb- Returns from IR week 9 and could soon be the Titan’s best back.

      Christine Michael- Looks like he’s about to get his turn in Dallas

      Matt Jones- Under-owned at 37%, could force a true committee with Alf.

      Charles Sims- 3 consecutive weeks of double digit fantasy points before the bye, needs to be owned especially in PPR.

      Good luck.

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