By Matt Citak
(CBS Boston)- With Week 6 in the books, we are now officially halfway through the fantasy season. It’s certainly been an up and down year, as COVID-19 has added a new wrinkle to fantasy football.
Whether you’re sitting pretty at 5-1 or looking to turn your season around at 1-5, the waiver wire recommendations are here to give your team a boost.
Between the injuries suffered in Week 6 and four teams having upcoming byes, this week will be an interesting one on the waiver wire. The Bengals saw Joe Mixon leave with an injury, while the Eagles lost Miles Sanders and the Ravens lost Mark Ingram. Ingram has a week to get healthy as the Ravens, along with the Colts, Dolphins and Vikings, won’t return to action until Week 8.
It remains to be seen how serious those injuries are, but regardless, it paves the way for some intriguing names on the wire. With that said, let’s dive right in. (Note: this article was written prior to the two Monday night games).
QB Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers– The Chargers are fresh off a bye, which is likely why some of the buzz around Herbert has died down a bit. But let’s not forget how much Herbert was dealing in the few weeks leading up to the bye. Going up against the Buccaneers and Saints in Weeks 4 and 5, Herbert completed a total of 67.8 percent of his passes for 554 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. In Week 7, Herbert gets a matchup against a Jaguars defense that just surrendered 34 points to a sputtering Lions offense. The rookie signal-caller has an easy schedule for the rest of the season and could end up being a league-winner for any fantasy owner that lost Dak Prescott or has been streaming QBs each week. Grab Herbert before he explodes onto the fantasy scene.
QB Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders– The Raiders are also coming off their bye week, which is probably why no one is talking about Carr’s recent performance. Of course, Carr’s outing against the Chiefs in Week 5 was great as he threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns while completing just over 70 percent of his passes. He did throw an interception, but it was his first of the season. Carr has an 11-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has not finished a game with a completion percentage under 70 percent yet this year (73.1 percent on the season). Simply put, he’s been outstanding. Carr also has a somewhat easy remaining schedule, and with his bye week now in the rearview mirror, Carr makes for a solid add for the remainder of the season.
RB Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals– Bernard didn’t do much in Week 6, but the injury to Joe Mixon could pave the way for Bernard to step in as the Bengals’ featured running back. Even with Mixon healthy, Bernard caught at least three passes in four of six games this year. His ability as a pass-catcher could make him a huge asset for Joe Burrow for moving forward if Mixon is sidelined for multiple weeks. Even if Mixon is only one for one game, Bernard would become a top 20 play in Week 7. This week, the Bengals face a Browns team coming off a 38-7 beatdown by the Steelers in which James Conner rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Let’s wait and see the injury outlook on Mixon, but if he’s out for even a week, Bernard becomes a must-add.
RB Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles– Bernard was listed first here, but Scott could easily leapfrog him as the top add of the week depending on the severity of Miles Sanders’ injury. We’ve seen how well Scott can perform in this offense at the end of last season when he filled in for Sanders, so there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t be able to do more of the same this year if Sanders is forced to miss significant time. With the Eagles playing on Thursday night this week, it is highly unlikely Sanders will be ready to suit up, even if his injury ends up being less serious than expected. Scott will get a matchup with the Giants in Week 7, making him a solid fantasy play. While the Giants held Washington to 3.6 yards per carry on 24 rush attempts last week, Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic combined for 10 receptions for 68 yards. This is another injury report to keep an eye on, but Scott is probably going to get at least one week as the Eagles’ starting RB, making him a must-add.
RB Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens– Edwards is the third running back that could be looking at a bigger role moving forward following the injury to Mark Ingram. But because the Ravens are on a bye this week, Edwards falls behind Bernard and Scott. The early reports indicate that Ingram’s injury is not expected to be a long-term one. However, there is still a possibility the veteran is forced to miss some time. The Ravens, despite some of their recent struggles, are still one of the top offenses in the NFL, and the chance to add the lead RB in that backfield is not one that should be passed up. Edwards didn’t do much with his 14 carries in Week 6, but he was able to find the end zone. He’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry on 48 rush attempts this season, and an increase in his role would make him a valuable fantasy asset while Ingram is sidelined.
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WR Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans– Humphries returned to the field this past Sunday after a brief stay on the COVID-19 list and caught all six passes thrown in his direction for 64 yards and a touchdown. While he hasn’t blown the doors off of defenses this season, Humphries has been quite consistent. He’s averaging just over five receptions a game for 50.0 yards while scoring touchdowns in half of the games he’s played in. Ryan Tannehill has been on fire this season and does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. While Corey Davis’ eventual return will likely bite into his value a bit, Humphries target share could benefit if Jonnu Smith misses time (more on that later). Humphries has a solid floor, making him a decent streaming option for anyone dealing with bye weeks.
WR James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers– Fantasy owners had high hopes for Washington heading into the season. However, the third-year receiver hadn’t done much with his opportunities through the first five games. Washington had somewhat of a breakout against the Browns in Week 6, catching four passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. Chase Claypool is emerging as possibly the most talented receiver on the Steelers, but JuJu Smith-Schuster has easily been one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments. Excluding Claypool, Ben Roethlisberger seems to enjoy focusing on a new receiver each week, meaning Washington would make for a risky start in Week 7. While I wouldn’t throw him in my lineup quiet yet, Washington is worthy of an add for anyone with a roster spot to spare.
WR Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos– Courtland Sutton was lost for the season in Week 2 when he tore his ACL. In Denver’s three games since then, Patrick has four receptions for 43 yards and a TD against the Buccaneers, six receptions for 113 yards and a TD against the Jets and four receptions for 101 yards against the Patriots. More importantly, he led the Broncos in targets in two of those three games. While some of that certainly has to do with injuries to both Noah Fant and KJ Hamler, Patrick has certainly earned more a role in Denver’s passing game moving forward. Drew Lock’s performance against New England is slightly concerning, but Patrick was able to enjoy a solid fantasy day anyway. The Broncos offense definitely worries me a little, but I’m willing to take a chance on Patrick as a bench add until Denver can show more consistency.
TE Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts– After missing the first three games of the season, Burton has emerged as the Colts’ top tight end after the last three games. Week 6 was easily Burton’s best game of the season as he caught all four targets for 58 yards and a score, adding a one-yard rushing touchdown as well. Even with Jack Doyle and Mo Allie-Cox in Indy, Burton has become Philip Rivers’ preferred tight end target, and we know how much Rivers loves throwing to his tight ends. The Colts offense doesn’t really have a number one wide receiver, making Burton even more of a valuable fantasy tight end. The Colts have their bye this week, but Burton looks like he could be a TE1 for the remainder of the season. With how unpredictable the tight end position can be in fantasy, this makes Burton a must-add.
TE Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans– Jonnu Smith has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises this season, scoring five touchdowns in Tennessee’s first four games. Smith suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter of the Titans’ win over Houston, leading to Firkser seeing a much bigger role. What did he do with this opportunity? He reeled in eight catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. It’s clear that Tannehill likes throwing to his tight ends. Smith could be looking at a multi-week absence, which would land Firkser firmly on the fantasy radar for the near future. Let’s keep an eye out for injury updates on Smith, but any missed time would make Firkser a solid fantasy play.