Week 7 Waiver Wire Wunderkinds

by Dennis Dunbar ·

With Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, and Green Bay all on bye you may be forced to stream players in week 7.

In this piece, we go in-depth outlining a single high upside “plug and play” option at the quartergback, running back, and wide receiver positions headed into week 7.  The chosen players meet at least one of the following requirements:

1. Enhanced Opportunity (Touches/Targets/Attempts)
2. Elite Playmakers (Stature/NFL efficiency/College Domination/Workout Metrics per PlayerProfiler.com)
3. Friendly Match-ups (via Upcoming Schedule on PlayerProfiler.com)

Here are three high ceiling players to add to your fantasy football team heading into week 7.


Josh McCown

What? Huh? How?

You’re telling me to play the Cleveland Browns quarterback?  Did I miss the news that Josh Gordon has been reinstated?!  His only receiver of consequence is Travis Benjamin, who at best is a dollar store brand T.Y. Hilton.  Based on how Josh McCown face-planted in Tampa last season, the skepticism is well-deserved.

But…. did you know that Josh McCown has been the No. 2 QB in fantasy over the last 3 weeks?  That Cleveland boasts the 6th best aerial attack in the league averaging 272.3 yards per game?  That Cleveland is 4th best at converting 3rd downs?  Long drives = pass attempts and pass attempts = fantasy points.

Josh McCown was knocked out in week 1 vs the New York Jets when he did his best John Elway helicopter impression and missed the following week’s matchup vs Tennessee with a concussion.  Since then, he strung together one double digit fantasy point week after another with highlight-worthy athleticism.  According to PlayerProfiler, Josh McCown has a 123.8 SPARQ-x score (99th-percentile), 10-13 points higher than both Colin Kaepernick (110.1) and Cam Newton (112.9) both of whom are known for elite athleticism at the quarterback position.  Shocking.


Josh McCown Advanced Metrics Profile

Josh McCown was a fantasy force in Chicago in 2013 before being reincarnated in Cleveland in 2015.  Perhaps his pit stop in Tampa, not his prolific half season in Chicago was the outlier all along.  In week 7, McCown faces a St. Louis defense that allows a paltry 235.4 YPG.  Cleveland’s defense, however, allows 407.3 yards per game (No. 30) and 26.3 points per game (No. 23).  Cleveland’s defense gives it up quicker than a drunken prom date. Putting McCown in passing situations playing from behind.

Josh McCown‘s floor is also higher than most perceive.  McCown posted double-digit fantasy points against a brutal Denver defense that allows only 192.2 YPG.  With Ben Roethlisberger, Tony RomoAaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Andy Dalton (Peyton Manning intentionally not listed) sitting out week 7, McCown is an attractive streamer and a viable season-long match-up play.  Per PlayerProfiler, McCown will enjoy the 8th easiest schedule for quarterbacks moving forward.  Time to plug Ivan Drago’s doppelgänger in your lineup.

Running Back

Christine Michael

Much to the dismay of the brain behind PlayerProfiler, Matt Kelly, I am a Christine Michael believer.  More importantly I am a believer in the Dallas Cowboys offensive line.  The most influential (and most overlooked) factor of running back success is his offensive line. Look no further than Devonta Freeman 2014 vs. Devonta Freeman 2015 to appreciate the true fantasy power of a dominant run blocking offensive line.  Indeed, even mythological hero Adrian Peterson gets slowed down by instant penetration.

Every aspect of Christine Michael‘s athletic profile inspires excitement.  On the surface most think, “wow, this kid has all the tools to be a stud in the NFL.”   Then a huge, ugly wart in his profile is revealed: 14-percent (11th-percentile) College Dominator Rating.  How could a player with a 135.5 (97th-percentile) Burst Score, to go along with with quicks so good he can’t be touched in phone booth, get out-produced and/or usurped by guys named Cyrus Gray and Ben Malena?  There simply is no explanation for Michael’s inability to translate his extraordinary athletic gifts onto the football field at the collegiate and professional levels.


Christine Michael Advanced Metrics Profile

There is precedent.  Chris Ivory is ascending at 27-years old after failing to dominate at any level of football for almost ten years.  Perhaps Christine Michael‘s prima donna attitude didn’t play well with coaches in Seattle and College Station.  The reasons no longer matter, because Michael and his gifts will be charging through Dallas’ dominant offensive line this Sunday.  The stars may finally align for Michael in week 7.  One red flag does not define a player.  Play this physical freak this week, because if Christine Michael improbably hits, he could go nuclear.

Wide Receiver

Stefon Diggs

Two popular narratives dominated the analysis of the Minnesota Vikings receiving corps over the summer.

First: “Mike Wallace‘s 4.33 speed combined with Teddy Bridgewater‘s impressive 43.9-percent (No. 14) rookie year Deep Ball Completion Percentage would make beautiful music in Norv Turner’s vertical offense.”

Second: “Charles Johnson is an athletic freak and could experience a Josh Gordon-like breakout playing the Michael Irvin target hog role in Norv Turner’s offense.”

While any sports narrative that focuses on the coach being the primary reason for the player’s performance is misguided, these narratives made perfect sense nonetheless.  While Adrian Peterson occupies the defense, the play action deep ball to Mike Wallace should be deadly.  Norv Turner brought Charles Johnson with him to Minnesota from Cleveland and stated flatly that Johnson was Vikings’ best receiver.

Wallace and Johnson now sit outside the top-40 fantasy wide receivers.

Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs has been a top-20 wide receiver averaging 17.3 fantasy points per game since being inserted into the lineup.  Diggs has the telltale signs of a fantasy football sleeper.  He posted a 36.1-percent (67th-percentile) College Dominator Rating along with an exceptional 18.6 (96th-percentile) Breakout Age after posting 848-6 his freshman year at Maryland.  Since the rookie was first activated in week 4 vs. Denver, he has been the Vikings leading receiver by a wide margin.  Despite playing four fewer games than Mike Wallace this season, Diggs only has 40 less receiving yards along with a contract that looks microscopic next to Wallace’s lotto payday.


Stefon Diggs Advanced Metrics Profile

Three external forces will prevent Stefon Diggs from breaking out Martavis Bryant-style in 2015.  Minnesota is last in the NFL with 179.6 passing yards per game and No. 29 in overall scoring with 19.2 points per game.  Teddy Bridgewater’s 10.9 fantasy points per game are last among healthy NFL starting quarterbacks.  Charles Johnson is due back soon from broken ribs.

Stefon Diggs‘ upside will be significantly throttled by a reduced role on low volume offense with an inefficient quarterback.  Longer term opportunity challenges aside, Diggs’ 24.4-percent Target Share and +11.9 Production Premium reveal a trusted wide receiver who will continue to siphon targets from Narrative Street to Efficiency Boulevard as the season progresses.

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