I'm not gonna lie, this is a pretty ugly week for the waiver wire. With that being the case, try improving your team through trades, not just the waiver wire. This is the time of year when fantasy owners tend to get desperate, so make some trade offers. You might get a steal from an owner that has to win this week.
Alright, let's see which free agents are still available. Keep in mind the owner % mentioned is for 10-team standard ESPN leagues. Some of these players below are good for the short-term, while others have more long-term value. You have to make the call on what your team needs. Immediate help to start this week, or a player to stash on your bench and hope he breaks out. Let's get started.
Jimmy Garoppolo: He's widely available in leagues and looked great against the Browns on Monday Night Football. He's rostered in about 34% of 10-team ESPN leagues, and most weeks he'll have to throw more than he did against Cleveland. Also, he's already had his bye week so his numbers are better than they look. Jimmy should have to pass more this week against the Rams.
Josh Allen and Jacoby Brissett: They both have a bye this week, but you can beat the waiver wire by picking one of them up now, and not having to worry about getting them next week. Coming off a concussion Allen still had 10 carries against the Titans, so you know he'll continue to run. Plus, Allen gets the best possible matchup against the lowly Dolphins in Week 7. He could win your week for you, so grab him now. As for Brissett, he gets the Texans in week 7 so the matchup isn't scary, and we know what T.Y. Hilton can do to Houston.
Matthew Stafford: He gets the Packers this week in what could be a high-scoring game. The Lions scored 62 points against the Packers in 2 meetings last year, so he could be poised for another big game despite the Packers having a revamped defense this year. He's owned in 42% of standard ESPN leagues.
Gardner Minshew: Dude continues to produce, and he has a great No.1 WR with D.J. Chark. This week, he gets a nice matchup at home against the Saints, so fire him up if you need him. He did really well against a Panthers defense that held Deshaun Watson and the Texans to 10 points in week 4. He's only rostered in 18% of ESPN leagues.
Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson: If there's ever a week to use these guys, this is it. They get the Dolphins, so feel free to use Thompson in a PPR as a flex, and Peterson in non-PPR as a flex. Thompson is probably owned in your league, but somebody might drop him because the Redskins are a disaster. Peterson is out there in 52% of leagues, so pick him up if you need him.
Jon Hilliman: He has a tough matchup against the Patriots this week, but if you're desperate you should be able to use him before Saquon Barkley likely returns for Week 7. Hilliman's widely available.
Ito Smith: Devonta Freeman hasn't looked good, so Smith is a decent stash as the Falcons might be looking to see what Smith can do with their season in the toilet.
Robbie Anderson: He's only available in shallow leagues, but he might have been dropped. With Darnold returning, Anderson could be a nice option down the stretch. He's rostered in 66% of ESPN leagues.
D.K. Metcalf: He's coming off a decent game against the Rams where he caught a long TD. He might have been dropped in your league, so he's worth taking a look at. He's available in about 38% of standard leagues. Metcalf is very talented, but he seems dependent on the big play for now.
Geronimo Allison: He's out there in 58% of leagues and there's a good chance Devante Adams misses another game.
Auden Tate: Somebody has to catch some passes for the Bengals besides Tyler Boyd. Is that a ringing endorsement of what?
Mohamed Sanu: Sanu made the list last week, and he came through with a TD against Houston. He's hard to trust though since he's the 4th option in Atlanta's passing game.
Byron Pringle: Tyreek Hill may return this week, so Pringle is a bit of a dart throw. But he is available in almost all leagues, and he faces the Texans this Sunday.
Chris Herndon: He's finally off suspension and Sam Darnold might be back this week too. He's out there in about 88% of leagues, so pick him up if you need a TE.
Gerald Everett: That's 2 straight quality games for Everett, and we know the Rams will score points. He's only rostered in 3% of ESPN 10-team standard leagues.
The Cowboys and the Ravens have good matchups this week against the Jets and Bengals respectively, so look for them first on the waiver wire.
If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or listen to my radio show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo Sundays from 10-noon on ESPN 97.5 FM. We talk all things fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.
“Another one!”- DJ Khaled
That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.
The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.
Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!
One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.
As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.
To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.
I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.
The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.