Week 7 of the NFL season has just two bye weeks, but for those who have Ezekiel Elliott or Greg Olsen on their rosters, this week could be a tricky spot.
With the Dallas Cowboys and the Carolina Panthers on bye weeks, replacements will be needed at both running back and tight end for owners who have two of the best at their respective positions taking the weekend off. This week’s sleepers column includes a top running back and top tight end option with that in mind.
Let’s take a look for another week at five players who are worth your attention on the fantasy waiver wire.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith tore apart the Oakland Raiders defense with his usual mix of short-yardage completions last week, a performance he is likely to replicate against another struggling defense in the New Orleans Saints. The Chiefs quarterback’s fantasy value increased with what will be a second straight matchup against a defense unlikely to stop Smith’s aerial attack.
When Alex Smith is hitting this kind of throw, the Chiefs' offense's ceiling raises about 300% pic.twitter.com/8bdzlTWRuA
— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) October 17, 2016
Smith does struggle to compile passing touchdowns in the red zone, so his sleeper status comes with a slight disclaimer: He could frustrate owners if the Chiefs run the ball near the goal line. However, the Saints have one of the worst defenses in the league and should concede plenty of yardage to Smith on Sunday. There are few weeks in which Smith is a bona fide option amongst fantasy quarterbacks. But with New Orleans allowing over 300 passing yards per game, it would be foolish to not consider Smith for a spot start.
Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams
Kenny Britt has long been a talented wide receiver who has never seemed to put it all together during his NFL career. The inconsistent Britt can have his moments, but over the course of his career, he just hasn’t been good enough to earn consideration as a true fantasy football option. However, Britt can bring out his best play for big games, like his 136-yard game with two touchdown catches against the Rams last Sunday.
Wow. This Kenny Britt catch.
Britt’s boom-or-bust play does, however, make him an intriguing sleeper option every season if he is on your waiver wire. He can often be a player who can have a big week out of nowhere. That’s the exact type of player you want when you scour the waiver wire for a bye-week replacement, someone who can put up big numbers as a backup on your fantasy roster.
Britt has 16 catches in the last two games for the Rams, thanks to Case Keenum’s frequent targeting of the wideout. If that continues, he has a good chance to have one of his frequent flashes of talent against the New York Giants this week in London. If Britt has a big game this Sunday, he will be off the waiver wire for good. So make sure you add him now, if he is still around after his performance last week.
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Oakland Raiders secondary is an automatic matchup to watch for sleepers as the Silver and Black have had awful pass coverage all season. Jack Del Rio’s team has yet to live up to its preseason hype, despite plenty of offseason spending on big names to bolster the defense. Adding cornerback Sean Smith and linebacker Bruce Irvin has yet to pay off in Oakland as their defense has been one of the worst in the league.
That gives the Jaguars wideouts a favorable matchup against a Raiders defense making a cross-country trip to the East Coast and allowing over 300 passing yards per game.
Blake Bortles to Allen Hurns for 25 yards. Longest play for the Jaguars so far today. https://t.co/53QOGmmNWz
— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) October 16, 2016
Allen Hurns is the Jaguars wideout most available on waiver wires and has the best chance of a big day. Hurns had 11 targets in the Jags’ previous game, and if he is close to that number against the Raiders defense, he should get big yardage. Coming off a bye week and facing a subpar defense traveling from one coast to the other, Hurns has the best potential of the players on this list to have a breakout performance.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
Jack Doyle has turned into a poor man’s Coby Fleener with the Indianapolis Colts, moving ahead of Dwayne Allen as Andrew Luck’s favorite red zone target. The former Western Kentucky tight end stood out on Sunday Night Football last week with his third end zone catch of the season.
Thru 6 games:
Coby Fleener: 19 catches, 237 yards, 2 TDs
Dwayne Allen: 18 catches, 192 yards, 2 TDs
Jack Doyle: 20 catches, 204 yards, 3 TDs
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) October 20, 2016
Doyle also added 53 yards on four catches in the game and is now solidly one of the Colts’ primary options once they are close to the end zone. Against the Tennessee Titans, Doyle is worth a look for owners in need of a bye-week swap at tight end. There are few better options for a sneaky touchdown to salvage a roster spot at tight end if Doyle can continue his best season with the Colts.
Dwayne Washington, Detroit Lions
Dwayne Washington has appeared on this list before this season, but the Detroit Lions’ revolving door at running back has him back on the sleeper watch for Week 7. Injuries in the Detroit backfield, rotating the job from Ameer Abdullah to Theo Riddick to Washington, back to Riddick and Washington again. He’s the most powerful runner of the three and appears set for some time in the feature back role this Sunday.
Dwayne Washington will get a big bump (low-end RB2) if Riddick remains sidelined. DW got injured before he had a chance to shine 3 weeks ago
— Justin Boone (@justinboone) October 20, 2016
An ankle injury to Riddick forced him out of action against the Rams last week, reopening the door for Washington to have his turn as the workhorse. Another injury turn gives fantasy owners a chance to use the Lions’ always-changing running back situation to their advantage.
Owners in need of the bye-week swap at running back this season could do worse than Washington, who is likely to continue the successful group effort from the Lions rushers. Detroit’s offense gives plenty of touches to the primary running back every week, so if Washington is that guy as expected, he should have a double-digit fantasy performance.