Some of the top waiver wire targets over the past few weeks were Giants receiver Kadarius Toney, Seahawks running back Alex Collins and Bears running back Damien Williams. In Week 6, Toney exited the game during an awesome first drive in which he hauled in three catches, and his status going forward is in question. Collins had a great day overall, rushing for over 100 yards and a score, but he did not play in overtime because of hip and glute injuries. Williams didn't even play, landing on the COVID-19 list prior to his matchup.
And that, my friends, is a nice little microcosm of just how tumultuous the fantasy football landscape is and why the waiver wire stays continually important throughout the season. One week, you think you've found the guy that can help your team out for the next month. The next, you're scrambling to find yet another replacement. Fortunately, the waiver wire is also the gift that keeps on giving, and so we're back with another handful of players to target this time around.
As a reminder, I won't be including players that have appeared on past issues of the weekly waiver wire column, though some of those names remain relevant, including Patriots RB Rhomandre Stevenson. Also, players must be owned in fewer than 50 percent of leagues in at least one format to qualify for inclusion.
All stats and information retrieved from FantasyPros.
Demetric Felton/D'Ernest Johnson | Cleveland Browns, RBs
We'll break down each running back individually, starting with Felton.
Yahoo: 9% owned | ESPN: 3% owned
With a short week ahead, a hampered Nick Chubb who missed Week 6, and a Kareem Hunt injury that left him unable to put weight on his leg, Felton figures to get a sizable role on Thursday night barring any quick improvement to Chubb. He's got some pass-catching chops and had the same amount of snaps as Johnson in Week 6.
Yahoo: 2% owned | ESPN: 1% owned
Johnson, a 25-year-old back, might be the guy that Kevin Stefanski views as more of a pure running back, but it's hard to say. He received 13 carries for 95 yards last year in a game that Chubb got injured in last season, whereas Felton is a rookie this year. Again, it's hard to say, so pay as close attention as possible prior to the deadline to submit your bids to see if Stefanski hints at what role each guy will play — and if there's any chance for one of the starting backs to suit up in time.
DeVonta Freeman | Baltimore Ravens, RB
Yahoo: 2% owned | ESPN: 2% owned
Really? In the year 2021, this is a real waiver wire recommendation? Sure is.
It's not a great one, but considering there have been plenty of injuries and the running back position is one that is especially volatile, any guy with a glimpse of an opportunity to record double-digit carries in a good rushing attack is worth a look. That's exactly the case with Freeman, with Ty'Son Williams all but completely out of the picture and Latavius Murray potentially missing time with an injury.
Freeman may have been the last running back to find the end zone for Baltimore in Week 6, but he had the best overall day of the trio on the ground and could see even more work if Murray is out.
Rashod Bateman | Baltimore Ravens, WR
Yahoo: 28% owned | ESPN: 14%
This is more like it. Forget about the old men at running back — unless you really need to address that position, in which case you should not forget about Freeman on the waiver wire — and go with the young stud. It's been a long time coming, with Bateman finally coming off the IR, and we hope you got out ahead of his debut.
Now, it looks like Bateman could become a favorite target for Lamar Jackson, earning six targets — tied with Mark Andrews for the team lead — in his debut. This also came in a game when Lamar Jackson only threw the ball 27 times, and there's hopefully some more competitive matchups ahead for Jackson and co., which would undoubtedly benefit Bateman and lead to some big games.
T.Y. Hilton | Indianapolis Colts, WR
Yahoo: 39% owned | ESPN: 22% owned
Hilton left with an injury, but it’s not considered anything too serious and the Colts were up big, so there was no reason to chance anything. Four catches on four targets for 80 yards was a beautiful, familiar way for the veteran to return to the field, and Wentz’s arm is one of the strongest that he’ll have had the pleasure of playing with in recent years. He looked like his usual self, getting open on a near-50-yard bomb in the second quarter, and those are the types of plays that have made him such a weekly fantasy threat in years past.
What’s more is that Parris Campbell also suffered an injury, one that has a chance to be “season-ending.” If you need a nice option at wideout with bye weeks on the horizon, Hilton is about as good as you’ll find on the waiver wire.
Nico Collins | Houston Texans, WR
Yahoo: 1% owned | ESPN: 2% owned
Like Bateman, Collins is a rookie wideout who spent some time on IR his rookie season. He finished with four catches on six targets for 44 yards, which isn't the most exciting total we've ever seen but did finish second on the Texans behind Brandin Cooks. Davis Mills also played poorly, and it's possible Tyrod Taylor could make his return for Houston soon, which helps out everyone's fantasy stock. With some vulnerable secondaries ahead — including those of the Cardinals, Dolphins and Titans, all bottom-ten teams against receivers for fantasy purposes — Collins could be a very, very sneaky add this week. However, you can probably wait, and you definitely shouldn't spend much FAAB, if any at all, in attempting to add him to your roster.