The purpose of a waiver-wire column should be to spotlight players who may be on the verge of a breakout. After all, trying to land that player after his breakout is exponentially more difficult. Additionally, waiver-wire moves should always be made to add high-upside depth for later in the season or improve your chances of winning the upcoming week.
Not all of these columns will feature a future stud or no-brainer add, but we can usually find help for our fantasy teams if we try hard enough. Furthermore, I will try to avoid recommending players coming off a 10-catch or three-touchdown game because it should be very obvious to most that they need to be on a roster at that point.
The players listed below are available in at least 75 percent of ESPN leagues and stand at least a decent chance of making some kind of impact in the coming weeks:
Fantasy Football Week 7 Waiver Wire Quarterbacks To Consider
Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
Week 6: 151 yards passing, three yards rushing and three total touchdowns
The Sam Howell experience has been a wild ride so far, as he has thrown for 202 or fewer yards in three contests and 290 or more in his other three. What has been relatively constant is that he has been more than serviceable as a fantasy starting quarterback, finishing as a QB13 or better in five of six weeks.
Howell is the overall QB11 on the season (total points), which means he has been a better fantasy starter than Trevor Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow and Geno Smith on a fairly regular basis. By no means should he be considered a regular starter yet just because he has put up some solid numbers through six games, but his weekly finishes up to this point (10, 13, 27, 13, 6, 9) show that he is a solid matchup-based starter at worst.
ESPN ownership: 19.1 percent
Other potential strong add(s): Kyler Murray, Cardinals (13.5 percent – should already be stashed in leagues with multiple IR spots); Desmond Ridder, Falcons (5.2); Tyrod Taylor, Giants (0.8 – Daniel Jones’ neck issue could be very serious)
Fantasy Football Week 7 Waiver Wire Running Backs To Consider
Keaton Mitchell, Baltimore Ravens
Week 6: N/A
Mitchell is more of a long-term play following a week in which injuries ravaged the running back position, which will force managers to look for one-week stopgap options in many cases. He impressed during his limited preseason action, flashing his 4.37 speed while averaging six yards per carry on seven attempts and 7.5 yards per catch on two receptions.
The main reason the undrafted rookie free agent out of East Carolina has yet to do anything of note is that he injured his shoulder in late August and was subsequently stashed on IR, although he turned enough heads before then to cement a spot on the team’s initial 53-man roster. Mitchell will probably never be a featured back at 5-foot-8 and 191 pounds, but the Ravens need someone with his speed and explosiveness out of the backfield (the longest run by any Baltimore running back this season is 22 yards).
It should surprise no one if he ends up making the same kind of impression Denver’s Jaleel McLaughlin – another undersized undrafted rookie free agent – has made as soon as he gets his chance.
ESPN ownership: 5.5 percent
Other priority add(s): Keaontay Ingram, Cardinals (9.0 percent); Craig Reynolds, Lions (6.6); Rico Dowdle, Cowboys (4.1); Jordan Mason, 49ers (1.5); Zach Evans, Rams (0.4)
Other potential strong adds (especially in deeper leagues): Salvon Ahmed, Dolphins (10.0); Leonard Fournette, free agent (0.8)
Fantasy Football Week 7 Waiver Wire Wide Receivers To Consider
Wan’Dale Robinson, Giants
Week 6: Eight catches for 62 yards on eight targets
While it is rare to find fantasy value in an offense averaging less than 12 points through six games, Robinson is a notable exception. While he has a low ceiling (his 3.4 average depth of target ranks third-lowest among receivers with at least 14 targets and none of his 25 targets have been deeper than nine yards), he makes up for with volume with at least seven opportunities (targets plus carries) in three straight contests.
The Giants’ offensive line has been so ravaged by injury that their quarterbacks have had little choice but to get rid of the ball quickly. As long as that statement remains true, New York will have little choice but to continue feeding the ball to Robinson – the one receiver on the team that creates separation consistently.
ESPN ownership: 5.2 percent
Other priority add(s): Kendrick Bourne, Patriots (20.4 percent); Michael Wilson, Cardinals (15.5); Rashid Shaheed, Saints (13.5); Marvin Mims, Broncos (12.4)
Other potential strong adds (especially in deeper leagues): Kadarius Toney, Chiefs (22.3); Jonathan Mingo, Panthers (12.1); Chase Claypool, Dolphins (9.8); Nelson Agholor, Ravens (0.7)
Fantasy Football Week 7 Waiver Wire Tight Ends To Consider
Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders
Week 6: five catches for 75 yards on six targets
Although he was the third tight end drafted this spring, Mayer was widely considered the best all-around prospect at his position. The Notre Dame product was an afterthought for the first month of the season in Las Vegas’ offense (one catch on two targets through four games), but his involvement has picked up in a big way over the last two weeks (seven receptions on nine targets).
While it is difficult to get overly excited about a young player who is no higher than fourth on the priority list on his own team (Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Josh Jacobs are averaging six targets), Mayer’s role should only grow as the season progresses.
As luck would have it, Las Vegas faces two teams that rank inside the top quarter of most fantasy points allowed to the tight end position over the next two weeks (Bears and Lions). At the very worst, he should be a serviceable replacement for those managers who are dealing with bye-week issues at the position.
ESPN ownership: 1.5 percent
Other priority add(s): Luke Musgrave, Packers (17.4 percent); Jonnu Smith, Falcons (14.8); Trey McBride, Cardinals (0.4)
Other potential strong add(s): Tyler Conklin, Jets (18.4); Taysom Hill, Saints (4.8)