Chris Ivory, RB Buffalo Bills (Rostered in less than less than 1% of NFL.com leagues) It did not take long for our ol’ pal Chris Ivory to find his way back into Waiver contention! As Bills starter LeSean McCoy exited Sunday’s contest last week with what was believed to be an ankle injury, later confirmed as a head injury, Ivory rushed for 81 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes on six targets for 25 yards. Ivory does not provide much upside as a plodding veteran on a tanking Bills team, but if LeSean McCoy is forced to miss extensive time, Ivory looks set up for 15+ touches and enough volume to provide fantasy relevance. Be warned that Ivory briefly exited Sunday’s contest with what some believe is a lower leg injury. His status will need to be monitored, but if he suits up, Ivory will be in line for a considerable amount of work.
Marcus Murphy, RB, Buffalo Bills (Rostered in less than less than 1% of NFL.com leagues) Similar to his counterparts in the Buffalo backfield, Marcus Murphy is worth a roster spot ONLY if the backs ahead of him are ruled out. With McCoy and Ivory nursing injuries, Murphy could be poised for a start on Monday night against the Patriots. This doesn’t set up as a very friendly matchup, but Murphy has been effective at times in the passing game for Buffalo. In his limited work against the Colts last Sunday, Murphy rushed for 53 yards on only 4 carries. Obviously this sample size is rather small, but if Murphy is able to get work done in spite of the dilapidated Bills offense then he may have the most upside of the Buffalo running backs.
Kenjon Barner, RB, New England Patriots (Rostered in less than less than 1% of NFL.com leagues) In Sunday’s wild game against the Chicago Bears, Sony Michel got twisted up and exited the game without returning. His knee injury is not believed to be serious, per an MRI he received on Monday. The key point to make here is that this game will be on Monday night; this means that if not ruled out on Saturday, Michel would be a game-time decision. Wise fantasy managers should go snag Barner who figures to be in line for 1st and 2nd down work and could even see a goal line plunge or two in the event that Sony Michel misses. Couple that with the fact that the Patriots are playing the lowly Bills on Monday, and you realize that there may be plenty of work to go around.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins (Rostered in less than less than 60% of NFL.com leagues) The song that has been on repeat for years in Miami? No not “Welcome to Miami” by Will Smith! It is the narrative that DeVante Parker is just about to break out and finally live up to the 1st round pick that the Dolphins used on him. Personally, the ship has sailed for me with him becoming a special player in this league, but due to injuries in the wide receiving corps to both Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills, Parker is set up for enough volume to be fantasy relevant, especially on a Dolphins team that figures to be climbing back from large deficits in many games this year.
Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland Raiders (Rostered in less than less than 2% of NFL.com leagues) If you missed some of our live shows last week (or updates across our social media platforms and podcast episodes) then it is possible that Jalen Richard is still available on your waivers. It was announced by several beat writers that the Raiders were likely to put Marshawn Lynch on the IR this week. These rumors turned into reality as the Raiders did just that, and now the job of starting running back is up for grabs. Jalen Richard may cede the early down work to Doug Martin at first, but where Richard really excels is in the passing game. As the 3rd string running back for most of the year, Richard has already caught 31 balls for 253 yards at an average of 8.2 yards per reception. If you have watched the Raiders on and off the field, it is clear they will not be competitive in many games and will more than likely be one dimensional for the better part of this season. This should mean that Richard will remain a valuable piece and heavily involved in the Raiders offense, if you can call it that….
Doug Martin, RB, Oakland Raiders (Rostered in less than less than 4% of NFL.com leagues) Doug Martin is many years removed from his RB2 overall finish in 2012. He has been incredibly ineffective for 6 years now, and I do not think his addition will by any means win you your league this year. I do, however, believe he could win you a week or two based on the simple fact that he will be in line for the first crack at starting running back volume for the Raiders. If you are hungry for running back depth (and let’s face it, if you are reading this you likely are) then Martin is worth a stash.
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (Rostered in less than less than 1% of NFL.com leagues) Matt Breida has been doing his best Iron Man impression over the last few weeks and shaking off injury after injury; however, that came to an end Sunday against the Rams as Breida only managed 7 snaps before being forced from the game with his aggravated ankle injury. This opened up the door for Mostert who had shown some flashes of speed and burst in the previous few weeks. Against Los Angeles, Mostert ran for 59 yards on only 7 carries and also added 4 catches for 19 yards. These are not mouth watering numbers, of course, but Mostert will likely start the next couple weeks if Breida is forced to miss time. His first potential matchup? An Arizona Cardinals defense that has allowing the most points per game on average to the running back position.
Trenton Cannon, RB, New York Jets (Rostered in less than less than 1% of NFL.com leagues) In their Sunday matchup against the Vikings, the Jets watched as Bilal Powell was forced to leave the game with a neck injury. Powell did not return, and this created the opportunity for Trenton Cannon to fill in as the receiving back in the Jets offense. Cannon was effective, amassing 69 receiving yards on only 4 catches. If Powell misses time, Cannon could have some value if he continues to show signs of explosive play out of the backfield.
Michael Roberts, TE, Detroit Lions (Rostered in less than less than 1% of NFL.com leagues) The week 7 Fantasy TE#2? Michael Roberts… Just like we all predicted! Michael Roberts had 3 catches on Sunday; two of them were for touchdowns. He was only targeted 3 times, but he caught all three and tallied 48 yards. In a very tumultuous fantasy tight end group, Roberts deserves consideration, especially if you are looking to fill in for bye weeks.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (Rostered in less than less than 7% of NFL.com leagues) I had Williams pegged as a waiver pick up last week after his explosion against the Browns in week 6 only to have him follow it up with another big day against the Titans in London. Williams was once again only targeted 4 times, but he caught them all for 118 yards and a touchdown. Williams now has 118 yards in back-to-back games and is certainly cashing in on the explosive nature of this Chargers offense. There is a case to be made that this, like all good things, will come to an end. We will have to wait until week 9 to find out as the Chargers are on bye, but Williams is worth a stash if you want to roster a big play wide receiver for the coming weeks.
Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints (Rostered in less than less than 17% of NFL.com leagues) Looking for a tight end replacement? Take a closer look at Ben Watson of the New Orleans Saints. This year Watson has averaged just under 6 targets and just under 40 yards per game. Is he touchdown dependent? Yes. Is just about every tight end this year touchdown dependent? Yes. As a streamer or flier TE, Watson fits the bill.
Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets (Rostered in less than less than 1% of NFL.com leagues) Herndon, after scoring in week 6, was a player that I advised the Whisper Nation to play with confidence in my “Play or Stay Away” article. How did he repay my confidence? Handsomely, as Herndon scored yet another touchdown; however, this time he was targeted 7 times, catching 4 of them for 42 yards. Herndon has found a role in an offense that has several of its wide receivers banged up and missing time. With Gronk injured and bye weeks raging on, Herndon is an interesting streaming option.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears (Rostered in less than less than 22% of NFL.com leagues) Another weekly visitor in this column, Mitchell Trubisky is QB5 on the year. You read that right, QB5! He continues to take advantage of the plethora of weapons at his disposal and, in doing so, has only been the QB2 overall in the last month. We are seeing a nice marriage between offensive guru Matt Nagy and an athletic quarterback in Trubisky who just ran for 81 yards against the Pats, bringing his weekly rushing average up to 40. With a four point per game rushing boost, Trubisky’s floor will remain safe week to week, and he’s already shown high TD upside. It is time to take Trubisky seriously.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Oakland Raiders (Rostered in less than less than 70% of NFL.com leagues) Continuing our theme of movers and shakers will be Jordy Nelson. The Raiders have traded away Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys, leaving about 5 targets per game and the defacto title of number one wide receiver up for grabs. Jordy Nelson’s rostered percentage is higher than a lot of players in this column, but he may have been dropped during byes and after a poor team performance in London prior to Oakland’s bye.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Oakland Raiders (Rostered in less than less than 3% of NFL.com leagues) Bryant, much like Jordy Nelson, is worth a speculative add as his production could be in line for an uptick with Cooper’s exit. I wouldn’t sacrifice too much to add Bryant, given his off the field issues and the lack of efficiency of this Raider offense.