Free-agent recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated. FAAB $ amounts are based on a $100 budget.
Bye weeks: Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay
1-Week Plug & Play
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals
While Minshew is not known for his legs, he can run with some effectiveness and should enjoy a matchup vs. a defense that has struggled to contain quarterbacks via the pass and on the ground. Don’t expect numbers like Lamar Jackson put up, of course, but there’s room for bonus points. Josh Allen (46 yards) and Kyler Murray (93 yards, 1 TD) also did some damage with their wheels. Minshew struggled vs. a strong New Orleans Saints defense in Week 6 and should be poised for a bounce-back effort against the Bengals. Cincy has given up a pair of TD passes to each Mason Rudolph and Jimmy Garoppolo, in addition to Russell Wilson. Minshew is owned in a fair amount of competitive leagues but could be available in shallower setups.
grab & stash
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
For the third consecutive week, here’s a reminder to snag Darnold and stash him for a quality schedule over the second half of the season. New York has two poor matchups ahead with the New England Patriots and a trip to Jacksonville before going to Miami. The remaining matchups in fantasy: NYG, @WAS, OAK, @CIN, MIA, @BAL and PIT. After what Darnold did to Dallas, it is fair to believe he will have more than utility to cover bye weeks.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Update: Tuesday night the Titans named Tannehill the starter.
While no starter has been named for Week 7, it seems outlandish at this point to go back to Marcus Mariota. After four years and change, we know what he is as a quarterback. The same can be said for Tannehill to an extent, although his biggest drawback has been durability and not so much performance. The Titans face the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 7, and if you’re in dire need of a quarterback, Tannehill is possible option to cover a bye. More reasonable, watch this one from the outside looking in ahead of an enticing Week 8 battle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
priority free agent
Mark Walton, Miami Dolphins
Okay, this one requires a little prefacing … Walton earned the start vs. the Washington Redskins, which in an of itself makes him a worthwhile add in fantasy leagues. Any running back with a shot at leading his team’s backfield in touches belongs on a roster. And Walton was rather efficient, going for 75 total yards of offense on only 11 touches, including five receptions. He was, however, still five handles behind Kenyan Drake in utility, and bruising rusher Kalen Ballage scored a 1-yard touchdown. This is still the winless Miami offense, and Walton will be sharing it at least two ways and possibly three as long as he is seeing action. Miami needs some kind of boost to create chunk plays, so the explosive Walton should remain involved as long as his pass protection isn’t a total liability. He gave up a 9-yard sack of Josh Rosen after whiffing on a block. Nevertheless, despite plenty of downside to be found, Walton is a low-tier waiver priority.
1-week plug & play
Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams at Atlanta Falcons
Todd Gurley’s thigh injury cost him Week 6 action, and he’s uncertain for the Week 7 visit to the Atlanta Falcons. He has a chance to play, so keep tabs on his availability before deploying the rookie. Henderson hadn’t touched the ball since the opener until this past Sunday, going for 39 yards on six carries and adding one grab for nine yards on his pair of targets. Malcolm Brown is widely owned, and Henderson faces a defense that has permitted four touchdowns in the last two weeks to the position. Should Gurley return, Henderson is unlikely to have a role, so keep your investment at a minimum.
Javorius Allen, New York Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals
Purely a desperation move, Allen is worth a look after the Giants jettisoned Jon Hilliman following Week 6’s Thursday night loss to New England. The former Raven can catch pretty well out of the backfield and is an asset in short-yardage situations. Saquon Barkley probably returns for Week 7, but he could be on a snap count. Allen is a flier for flex points in PPR with four squads on hiatus.
Grab & Stash
Benny Snell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Reprising his recommendations inclusion from a few weeks back, Snell will continue to be a significant part of the Pittsburgh offense as long as Jaylen Samuels is out of commission, which should be a few more games. The rookie back will see work due to the inexperience at quarterback and resulting heavy reliance on the run. Even though the Steelers are on bye in Week 7, add Snell and stash him throughout the off-week.
Jay Ajayi, free agent
Purely speculative, but Ajayi is worthy of a low-cost addition in deeper leagues. He recently notified teams around the league that he is healthy. Given the volatility of the position, it would be wise to stash him before he lands on an NFL roster. Reports suggest he will be ready to work out for teams this upcoming week.
priority free agents
Auden Tate, Cincinnati Bengals
In a repeat from last week, Tate should be universally added in Week 7 after going for 91 yards on five catches in Week 6. More importantly, he saw 12 targets after combining for that many in the previous two games. The Bengals are without John Ross and A.J. Green, making the 6-foot-5 Tate a worthwhile commodity so long as at least Green is out of action. Cincinnati faces the Jaguars and Rams before a Week 9 bye week. Tate has some PPR utility in both matchups ahead of the vacation.
1-Week Plug & Play
Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots at New York Jets
The rookie stood on his head in the preseason and has proven competent in the regular action, when given a chance. Josh Gordon (knee) came up lame last week and, in typical New England fashion, likely will be listed as “limited, questionable” this week. The injury reportedly is not severe, but that doesn’t mean Gordon will play in the next few games. Improving Meyers’ odds of producing, WR Phillip Dorsett is week-to-week after missing the Giants game last Thursday. Meyers is unlikely to have a couple of weeks worth of staying power, however, since Gordon’s injury is minor, and first-round WR N’Keal Harry (ankle) is expected to begin practicing this week as he looks to return from the Reserve/Injured list.
DaeSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Emmanuel Sanders left Week 6 action with a knee issue and did not return. The Chiefs come to town on a short week with this being a Thursday game, but early indications suggest Sanders could be ready to return. The Broncos will look to its second-year slot receiver more often in this contest if the veteran cannot go. Hamilton showed he belonged in the bigs last year as a rookie, but it has been church-mouse quiet from him in 2019 (15 targets, 7-77-0). Kansas City has given up a touchdown per game to receivers in 2019, and that’s all a gamer could ask for in playing Hamilton. Be sure to keep tabs on Sanders’ status earlier than normal.
Tavon Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Amari Cooper’s quad bruise left him in immense pain and, if it costs him time, Austin will benefit. Michael Gallup becomes the de facto WR1 of the passing attack, but everyone gets a boost. No Randall Cobb in Week 6 helped Austin post 11.4 points in PPR — there’s room for both for the reeling Cowboys in Week 7. Don’t invest heavily; Dallas has a Week 8 bye after facing Philadelphia this upcoming Sunday night, and it’s only a bruise, after all, for Cooper. Austin will have utility vs. Philly even if Cooper returns as long as Cobb sits again.
grab & stash
Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans
This recommendation is incumbent upon Ryan Tannehill taking over as the starter, so hopefully we have a decision from head coach Mike Vrabel ahead of waivers processing. (Update: Tuesday night the Titans named Tannehill the starter.) Humphries has seen 12 targets in the last two games, and he has 24 in the past month of action. A.J. Brown is more explosive, and it wouldn’t hurt to check your wire for him (38 percent availability). Humphries is a safer bet for simply getting “something” out of the position in PPR.
Priority Free Agent/1-week plug & Play
Darren Fells, Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Perhaps “priority” should be defined as 1) positional needs 2) league size 3) desperation level. … Tight ends are a thin, fickle bunch in 2019. Fells has produced double-digit fantasy points in three of the last four games, and he hasn’t solely relied on scoring touchdowns along the way. In Week 6, he saw seven targets, landing six for 69 yards — his second appearance with at least five grabs in the last month. He is somewhat risky, based on his erratic involvement, but the matchup play in Week 7 couldn’t be much better. Indianapolis was the third-best matchup for tight ends entering its Week 6 bye.
1-Week Plug & Play
Rhett Ellison, New York Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals
Evan Engram (sprained MCL) was able to practice some Monday and likely will be questionable entering this one. If he indeed sits, Ellison will be Engram’s primary replacement. This one is really simple: Arizona is utterly miserable at defending the position, and even the likes of Ellison can be utilized in a pinch. He certainly will be a cheap addition for willing participants.
Grab & Stash
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Entering his bye week, few gamers are going to be targeting Brate. He has scored in consecutive games and has a pair of excellent matchups after the hiatus. Tampa returns to face the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks, which amounts to seven touchdowns scored against by the position when combined. Brate has a strong track record in fantasy when given the chance, and O.J. Howard clearly isn’t getting the job done. If matchups are your preferred choice for the position, preemptively add Brate this week.
Luke Willson, Seattle Seahawks
Up-and-coming tight end Will Dissly’s Achilles tendon injury could be a crucial loss for the Seahawks. The position is one of utility for Russell Wilson, and veteran journeyman Willson returned to the ‘Hawks … he’s familiar with the system, as well as Wilson. Don’t invest anything just yet — Baltimore is among the league’s better defenses at limiting this position.
1-Week Plug & Play
Josh Lambo, Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati has faced 32 total kicks, granting 16 field goal attempts in 2019, allowing 13 to go through the pipes. Every PAT has connected. This matchup pits a moderately capable offense on the road against a defense that occasionally shows its claws. Lambo has connected on all 14 of his three-pointers and each of his nine point-after kicks in 2019.
Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans
Coming off of his bye week, the ancient kicker is widely available, especially after early-season struggles have gamers questioning his efficacy. He nailed all five of his kicks, including four field goals, in the Week 5 contest before the break. The Texans have yielded 12 of 14 field goal kicks and all 12 extra points in six games this year. Only six teams have been worse entering Monday night.
priority free agent/1-Week Plug & Play
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
The Bills return from a week off to face the Dolphins and bring a fairly opportunistic unit to face the least potent offense in the league. Buffalo has only 12 sacks in five games but has applied constant pressure, which has helped generate seven takeaways. Miami is a turnover machine without facing much defensive heat, giving it up 11 times and allowing 23 sacks in five contests.
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
Beyond risky, this one isn’t for the faint of heart. The upside here is the Daniel Jones factor. He has turned it over six times in the last three games, taking five sacks in that window. Arizona ranks 30th in fantasy points produced, and it has not tallied more than four fantasy points in any game since the opener, spanning three contests without a takeaway. The return of star cornerback Patrick Peterson this week could energize this group, but Jones making mistakes is the real promise of this high-risk recommendation. Wait for first-come, first-served waivers.