Waiver Wire Weekly: Williams, Tate could serve as crucial fill-ins


David T. Foster III, Charlotte Observer | TNS

Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis (58) brings down Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams (30).

By Adin Link, Staff Writer

With the conclusion of Week 7, half of the fantasy football season will be in the books, so now is the time to build momentum for a strong closing run. A good way to do that is through the friendly waiver wire. Keep in mind that the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not be in action in Week 7 because of their bye weeks, so if you have a fantasy stud like Christian McCaffery, Odell Beckham, James Conner or Mike Evans, make sure you pick up one of these players to fill their shoes.

*The %OWN statistic is based on ESPN standard leagues from Oct. 15.




Sam Darnold, New York Jets, %OWN: 8%

After being sidelined since Week 1 with a non-football related illness and then a spleen injury, Sam Darnold was more than ready to return to football in Week 6, pulling off a major upset against the Cowboys. Darnold shredded the Cowboys defense going 23-32 for 338 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

Although Darnold faces an extremely difficult task in Week 7 against the Patriots, who boast the league’s best defense, he completely transformed the Jets offense last week. Expect Darnold to utilize all of New York’s weapons like Le’Veon Bell, Robby Anderson, Demaryius Thomas and Jamison Crowder this week.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings, %OWN: 26.4%

Cousins got off to a rough start this year, struggling in his play and being publicly criticized by teammates. But Cousins seems to have taken his early season criticisms in stride and steadily improved his play in the last two weeks.

Last week, Cousins went 22-29 for 333 yards and four touchdowns against a formidable Eagles defense. As long as he continues to keep his eyes downfield and utilize talented receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, his success is sustainable.

Running Backs

Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers, %OWN: 25.8%

Jamaal Williams was productive when given ample opportunities this week after regular starter Aaron Jones fumbled and dropped what would have been a wide-open touchdown pass.

Williams carried 14 times for 104 yards and also made his presence felt in the passing game, catching four passes for 32 yards and a touchdown, and his stellar stat line came against a stout Detroit Lions defense. If Jones continues to take his opportunities for granted, expect Williams to step in as Green Bay’s number-one choice.

Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints, %OWN: 47.6%

Murray has largely served a backup role to star back Alvin Kamara thus far. Although Kamara was active last week against the Jaguars, his status before the game was in question due to a nagging ankle injury. Evidenced by Murray’s increased usage in Week 6, the Saints will be more careful than expected with Kamara moving forward.

Murray carried only eight times for 44 yards and caught three passes for 35 yards against the Jaguars. But expect him to get even more usage next week as the Saints may try to protect Kamara against a physical Bears defense.

Wide Receivers

Auden Tate, Cincinnati Bengals, %OWN: 21.4%

With A.J. Green still on the sidelines and John Ross recently going down on the injured reserve, Auden Tate has found himself in a regular role in the Bengals offense. Tate was targeted a whopping 12 times on Sunday, catching five of those passes for 91 yards. With a long list of injured receivers and teammate Tyler Boyd garnering most of the attention from opposing defenses, expect the opportunities for Tate to keep pouring in.

Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots, %OWN: 1.1%

Meyers’ inclusion in this stems from the increasingly depleted Patriots receiving core. With Phillip Dorsett unable to play and Josh Gordon going down in the 2nd quarter of Thursday’s game against the Giants, Meyers quickly became the number-two receiver in New England’s offense. Meyers caught four passes for 54 yards and nearly had a touchdown, but was ruled down on the 1-yard line. If both Dorsett and Gordon are unable to play in Week 7, Meyers becomes a must-play option.

Tight Ends

Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers, %OWN: 54.3%

After returning from an injury sustained in Week 1, Henry caught eight passes for an even 100 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against the Steelers. When healthy, Henry has proved to be one of the more reliable tight ends in football. Now that he is fully healthy, expect Henry to be utilized often for the Chargers near the goal line.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans, %OWN: 2.5%

Fells is coming off two straight weeks of solid fantasy production and seems to be climbing over Jordan Akins for the number-one tight end role in Houston. After a week in which he caught two touchdowns, Fells caught six passes for 69 yards on Sunday, outpacing Akins by three receptions and 30 yards. As long as Fells remains in this position, consider him a strong play due to the explosive nature of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.