Much to the glee of their fantasy owners, the roaring and seemingly untamable Cincinnati Bengals have pounded opponents thanks to quarterback Andy Dalton’s new career-defining pace, the two-headed rushing monster of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, tight end Tyler Eifert’s emergence, and electric receivers A.J. Green and Marvin Jones.
But alas, that Bengals roster loaded with fantasy studs joins the equally stacked Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos, as well as the Chicago Bears, on the sidelines in Week 7 for their bye, leaving a vast holes in fantasy lineups.
Other than maybe Week 10, when the Atlanta Falcons rest up on their bye, fantasy owners won’t experience a bigger drop-off in production than Week 7. Owners will especially need some help at quarterback with Dalton and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers both absent for a week.
But there’s help available on the waiver wire prior to Week 7. Many players will emerge in the rest of Week 6‘s games, but for now here are four players to target for Week 7’s waiver-wire period and several others to consider or monitor.
Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Yes in his previous four games Floyd caught more than one pass only once, but as defenses tend to focus on Larry Fitzgerald and deep-threat John Brown, Floyd may be the underneath and intermediate receiver for the Cardinals going forward and he could especially excel in full-point PPR leagues. Owners may hesitate since its just the second good game of the season for Floyd, but the Cardinals offense is one of the most potent in the league and has to spread the ball around. He’s owned in just 41.9 percent of ESPN and 32 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Defenses have finally focused their efforts on Adrian Peterson, as evidenced by Kansas City allowing him to gain only 16 yards on 17 attempts in the first half on Sunday. Minnesota’s offense has become too one-dimensional, and they need to air it out more to stay in the playoff hunt. Enter the rookie Diggs, who's become a favorite target for the highly accurate Teddy Bridgewater of late. In Week 4 Diggs notched 10 targets against a tough Denver secondary and pulled down six of them for 87 yards. He looked even better against Kansas City and could take more targets away from No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace. He’s owned in a mere 2.3 percent of ESPN and 4 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Before Week 6, Bortles was top 10 in passing yards and touchdowns and he’s largely cut down on his turnovers with seven all season. He has excellent targets in receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, and tight end Julius Thomas, and rookie running back T.J. Yeldon has also helped take some pressure off Bortles. Should Yeldon come back from injury in Week 7, owners can target Bortles as a one-week plug-in, and going forward in keeper leagues he may be worth a long-term roster spot. Bortles is owned in just 46.2 percent of ESPN and 42 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Jim Caldwell should’ve at least threatened to bench Stafford much earlier this season, because in Week 6 it awoke a monster. Stafford exploded for three touchdown passes in the first half against Chicago, looking like the dominant young quarterback who threw for more than 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns four years ago. Next up for Stafford in Week 7 is an improved Vikings secondary, but he’s tortured Minnesota for 2,827 yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 career games, by far his best numbers against any opposing defense. Since he’s fallen off many owners’ radars, Stafford’s taken in just 69 percent of Yahoo and 60.9 percent of ESPN leagues.
Others to consider/monitor: Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins; Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns; Duke Johnson, RB, Browns; Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings; Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Jets; Eric Decker, WR, Jets; Dolphins D/ST; Brian Hoyer, QB, Texans