Punch Drunk Wonderland

Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Via our friends at numberFire.

Week 7 is here and there are some nice new options on the waiver wire. Here’s a look at some solid waiver wire targets.

Blake Bortles (QB, Jacksonville Jaguars)

Last season, Blake Bortles finished with zero top-10 weekly quarterback performances, with his top-five games ranking 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 19th at the position.

Over the last five weeks, Bortles has four top-10 performances, including one in each of his last three games.

What happened?

Well, Bortles is playing much better. In 2014, his rookie year, he tallied a league worst -97.97 Passing NEP total with a -0.18 per drop back average. This year his Passing NEP is at 15.93 with a per drop back average of 0.06. That’s still below average, but it’s an improvement.

The Jaguars are also averaging five more plays per game this season compared to last, while having a higher pass-to-run ratio (1.85 this season versus 1.74 last year). And with the defense playing as poorly as it has (the Jags rank dead last against the pass according to our numbers), Bortles has simply had more opportunity to score fantasy points. Combine that with his rise in efficiency — something that’s more important than volume — and you’ve got yourself an average to below average passer putting up high-end fantasy football numbers. Add him if he’s still available in your

Christine Michael (RB, Dallas Cowboys)

Despite these positive Michael reports coming out in the middle of last week, he’s still on nearly 70 percent of ESPN.com waiver wires. If he’s available on yours, snag him.

The fact is, both Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden, behind a top-notch offensive line, have struggled. Both players have -0.05 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per rush averages, which is below the league norm of -0.02. Randle’s Success Rate — the percentage of positive runs made in terms of NEP — is a dreadful 33.7%, while McFadden’s is roughly average at 40.5%. Again, this is behind what many considered to be the best offensive line in the NFL entering the season.

The opportunity is certainly there for Michael, who has a career 4.8 yards per carry average while running to a 0.08 Rushing NEP per rush on just 54 career carries. If he’s available, he’s worth your top waiver claim.

Robert Woods (WR, Buffalo Bills)

The Bills are playing in London in Week 7, and they’re more than likely going to be without both Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin. That means their top wide receiver will be Robert Woods, who saw six targets in the team’s Week 6 loss to the Bengals. While we should expect Charles Clay to continue to gobble up work for Buffalo, on volume alone, Woods makes for a good bye week fill-in for teams needing a wide receiver.

Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, Tennessee Titans)

Green-Beckham keeps getting dropped in leagues because he’s not consistently producing. I don’t blame fantasy owners one bit, because the Titans’ coaching staff seems to be incompetent, playing guys like Harry Douglas ahead of him.

And while DGB’s production hasn’t been tremendous, a positive sign is that he continues to see the field more each game. In Week 1, Green-Beckham played just 15.3% of the team’s snaps, per FantasyData.com. Week 2 saw this jump to just 16.2%, with Week 3 being 17.1%. But over the last two weeks, DGB has played 26.1% and 42.0% of the Titans’ snaps, respectively, meaning he’s now increased his snap count in every game this season.

This is good for a rookie receiver. We were spoiled last season with so many breakout wideouts, when this is the general trajectory we’ve seen from young guys at the position in past seasons. Before his big breakout game, it’s not a bad idea to hit the waiver wire and roster him while he’s still cheap.

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