Having only two teams on bye makes some of these recommendations less imperative from a necessity perspective. There is still value to be found on the waiver wire, along with some affirmation for those in need of it.
Next week is when the real fun begins with bye weeks. But as Bill Belichick says, one week at a time.
Ownership rates are in parentheses.
WR Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets (17 percent)
Steve Smith Sr.’s status for Week 7 is unknown, but if — and only if — he cannot play again, Aiken vaults into the ranks of useful point-per-reception options. Filling in last week, Aiken caught four of his six targets for 64 yards. Prior to Week 6, Aiken had been completely invisible. Much like with any desperation play made at closing time, this one in end in head-scratching bewilderment that often follows high-risk behavior.
The Jets, entering Monday night, ranked as the second worst defense of PPR receivers. This unit has given up seven touchdowns on 65 receptions, or one every 9.3 catches.
QB Cody Kessler, Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (98 percent)
Caveat: If Terrelle Pryor Sr. (hamstring) does not play, Kessler cannot be in lineups. Last week, the Kessler threw for a career-high 336 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He has just one interception in 122 attempts, which would be getting more publicity if not for Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott. Three of Kessler’s four NFL starts have been on the road, like this one, and you know Cleveland is likely to play from behind.
The Bengals have granted 14 passing touchdowns to only four interceptions in six games, this year, and the aforementioned Prescott ran one in two weeks ago. Quarterbacks have averaged 23.9 points per contest on the year against the Bengals.
Make it a fling
QB Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (60 percent)
Last week, in this space, I called him a tease — because he had been, to that point, and he still is to a degree. I’ll jump on the bandwagon for a short-term endorsement, largely because of the schedule for the next six weeks (IND, JAX, @SD, GB, @IND, @CHI) before a bye.
Each of those teams rank as top-14 matchups but Chicago, and the Bears have been more vulnerable in the last two weeks. Jacksonville is the team at No. 14 as a defense that has given up two rushing touchdowns in five games.
QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (57 percent)
Dallas enters its bye week, so you have time to watch this play out a little more. Prescott has become far more comfortable as a passer in recent weeks, and we’ve seen just how dangerous he can be on the ground.
The Cowboys haven’t made a determination yet — that we know of publicly — between the rookie and oft-injured veteran Tony Romo. It also remains unclear precisely when Romo will be physically ready to return to the field. My gut feeling is we will see Prescott the rest of the way. If so, he’ll be serviceable over the next several weeks with so many teams on bye between Weeks 8 and 10 (PHI, @CLE, @PIT). Should he excel in these matchups, consider going the distance with him.
Put a ring on that thing
RB Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (31 percent)
Any 200-yarder will get attention, but dating back to the summer I was fond of Ajayi before the Arian Foster acquisition. Foster saw five touches to Ajayi’s 26, and the once-prized fantasy back is a shell of his former self. I cannot envision a team craving an offensive spark as badly as Miami can do anything but ride the second-year rusher into the dirt.
WR Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams (11 percent)
Britt has shown up in a big way over the past month, and it’s clear he’s Case Keenum’s BFF. The veteran receiver has so much talent but flamed out time after time, which makes this a sketchy recommendation. Ride with him while he continues to ball week after week.
TE Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers (35 percent)
Henry is the future; Antonio Gates is not. The second-rounder has scored three straight weeks and will continue to eat into the future Hall of Famer’s playing time. Henry has gone from a decent matchup or desperation play to a near must-start.
The big tease
WR Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers
He probably sprained something as I was writing his name … like an internet voodoo curse. He’s a seriously talented softie, which is the ultimate tease in fantasy.
Losing Davante Adams (concussion) paved the way for this one, and with a short week, Green Bay probably will have to roll with Montgomery this Thursday. We witnessed flashes from the second-year receiver as a rookie … it’s just hard to expect you’ll get lucky when it counts.
Grounds for divorce
RB T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars
The supposed starter was nearly doubled in touches (13 to 7) by Chris Ivory last weekend, and the former Jet scored. Yeldon isn’t a featured back in the red zone, and Ivory most often will see the short-yardage scoring work. The young running back isn’t even being used in the passing game enough to offset the upside mitigation. Yeldon is taking up roster space in most formats, and while I don’t necessarily recommend moving on, it is hard to argue against it. His only saving grace to stay on most rosters is the overwhelming number of teams about to go on bye over the next month. #DesperateTimes