Fantasy football waiver wire: Build depth during painful bye week

(Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports)

(Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports)

It’s a rough week for fantasy football players. With the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers all on bye, that’s a lot of big-time skill players that’ll come out of lineups.

It’s hard to replace big names like Matt Forte, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Aaron Rodgers and others. But fantasy waiver wire pluckers can try finding help via players coming off their own bye weeks. Perhaps the need for bodies will also force players to finally consider useful names who might be hanging around the waiver wire unattended.

On that note, we have some Week 7 pickup options. Each recommendation includes the suggested bid range (from conservative to aggressive) for owners’ Free Agent Acquisition Budgets (FAAB), based on a $100 cap.

Also, check if any of last week’s names are available.

Top pickups

1. RB Christine Michael, Dallas Cowboys ($6-$16)
2. RB James Starks, Green Bay Packers ($6-$16)
3. RB Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions ($4-$12)

Michael could overtake Joseph Randle for lead-back duties, since it was Dallas’ bye week and he might’ve had enough time to work with the first-team.

Week 6 highlights

Starks stole the spotlight (10 carries, 112 yards, two total touchdowns) from a banged-up Eddie Lacy (ankle), who conceivably could lose his job even if he’s healthy if Starks can keep rolling. It’s a necessary handcuff, and you might need to top the max of his range if you own Lacy. Even during Green Bay’s week off, it’s an important pickup.

Riddick is a PPR machine who still isn’t owned widely enough.

4. TE Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns ($4-$12)
5. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4-$8)

If Barnidge (five touchdowns in four weeks) remains available in your league … seriously, why are you still reading this? Add him.

ASF could be returning this week from his shoulder injury and would make a fine secondary option. Seferian-Jenkins was a favorite of Jameis Winston before hitting the sidelines.

6. WR Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals ($3-$8)
7. WR Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots ($3-$8)

8. WR Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers ($3-$7)
9. WR Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers ($3,-$7)
10. WR Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings ($3-$7)

Many gave up on Arizona’s Floyd because of John Brown’s emergence and Larry Fitzgerald’s revival. But Floyd should look great to someone desperate for a wideout. Though production will be erratic, games like Sunday’s (5-50-1 on eight targets) remind us of his utility.

LaFell, who broke through last season, might come off the Physically Unable to Perform list this week. While it’ll be hard for him to top Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman on the pecking order, he’s in line to overtake Danny Amendola, who excelled Sunday night with Edelman dinged.

Diggs (7-129 on nine looks), Inman (3-18-1 on seven) and San Diego’s Floyd (5-95 on 12) could gain valuable reps if Charles Johnson, Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson must keep sitting.

Own any player, anytime you want.

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More injury replacements

WR Davante Adams and Jeff Janis, Green Bay Packers
WR Robert Woods and Chris Hogan, Buffalo Bills
QB Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers
RB Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

Ty Montgomery suffered an ankle injury, but X-rays were negative. Still, if he misses time, Adams would step into valuable targets. Of course, Adams hasn’t played since Week 3. Janis stepped up after Montgomery went down Sunday, with two catches for 79 yards on four looks. Stay tuned to see how this plays out with Adams’ timetable.

It’s a similar situation in Buffalo. Harvin missed Week 6, and Sammy Watkins (ankle) was seen on crutches in the back during the game. Woods (4-47 on six looks) and Hogan (2-31 on five targets) could fill in during the coming weeks if Watkins has to miss time.

Jones was solid in replacing Michael Vick, going 8-for-12 with 168 yards and two touchdowns. He was helped by some after-the-catch wizardry by Martavis Bryant, but he looked like a much better replacement for Ben Roethlisberger. A caveat that Big Ben might be back in Week 7, so it could be all for naught with the third-year slinger.

There wasn’t a clear winner in Jacksonville, as the two backs split work with T.J. Yeldon inactive. Gerhart is the better choice for standard leagues, Robinson for PPR. It might not even matter, so don’t go chasing either aggressively unless Yeldon is slated to miss more time.

Digging deeper

WR Albert Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs
QB EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills
WR Lance Moore, Detroit Lions
RB Zac Stacy, New York Jets
WR Bryan Walters, Jacksonville Jaguars

The pint-sized Wilson (3-57-1 on six looks) could be used more with Jamaal Charles out.

Manuel was at least serviceable in his substitution for Tyrod Taylor (263 passing yards, two total touchdowns). There was talk of him pushing out Taylor with a solid outing. If you’re desperate at quarterback, he’s worth a guarded trial.

In case you missed it, Moore has 14 targets and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. He snared five for 106 yards Sunday and might be the key to both Matthew Stafford’s turnaround and filling in for fantasy byes at wideout, especially this week with so many studs on vacation.

Top players report | News

With a whopping 12 targets Sunday, Walters is taking a lot of the work Rashad Greene left behind after thumb surgery. Plus, the Jags were in comeback mode, and Bortles attempted 53 passes. Be careful, but there could be fleeting use here.

Stacy earned 15 utilizations Sunday behind Chris Ivory. Most came because Bilal Powell left with an ankle injury. If Powell has to rest, Stacy could be flex-worthy the occasional week. He’s the top handcuff for Ivory, too.

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