Whether you’re 5-1 or 1-5, there’s still time to falter or turn your season around. Keeping active on the waiver wire will ensure you have a strong second half of the season, and picking up any number of these players can help your team immensely in the long-run:
NOTE: All owned percentages are based off Yahoo! Fantasy Football stats.
QB Andy Dalton — 47-percent owned
After an abysmal start to the year, Dalton and that Bengals offense are beginning to hit a groove. Since throwing four picks to the division rival Ravens in Week 1, Dalton has a 7:2 TD/INT ratio while completing 69-percent of his passes. He’s averaged just under 20 fantasy points per game since then which puts him right at the QB10 line. New offensive coordinator Ken Zampese has kept it simple which has played to the strengths of their personnel. A.J. Green is as involved as ever, and the stable of running backs are being put in the correct position to succeed.
Dalton’s 15-point performance against the Bills in Week 5 may not look like much, but it was the highest total a QB has posted on Buffalo this year (higher than Cam Newton and Matt Ryan). The Bengals have the Steelers in Week 7, a team that has given up the second fewest points to QB’s this season. Don’t be too deterred from the match-up though, as Pittsburgh may have faced the worst string of consecutive quarterback’s possible in DeShone Kizer, Case Keenum, Mike Glennon, Joe Flacco and Blake Bortles to start the year. For what’s it worth, Dalton was very good in Pittsburgh from a fantasy perspective last season accruing 366 yards and a touchdown.
QB Brett Hundley — 2-percent owned
If you had Rodgers on your team, there’s a good chance your season is just as finished as the Packers are. Replacing him on the field and in your lineup is impossible. Still, you could do much worse than Hundley as a replacement. He’s a good athlete with a solid group of receivers around him. In Rodgers’ absence, Hundley threw for a modest 157 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
He has room to grow, and Mike McCarthy will implement some stuff to play to his strengths. We’ll know fairly quickly if adding him is worth it as he gets a red-hot New Orleans Saints defense that forced five turnovers and scored three touchdowns in their last game.
RB Orleans Darkwa — 12-percent owned
The G-Men finally picked up their first win of the season as Darkwa emerged as the team’s lead back. Darkwa pounded the Broncos all night long, gaining 130 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches. This is the same Denver defense that allowed just 95 yards on 50 carries to the quartet of Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy, and Marshawn Lynch.
Darkwa out-carried Wayne Gallman by 12 and that was only because the Giants were trying to kill clock in the second half. Darkwa is the clear early-down back, with Gallman doing most of his damage in the passing game. With all of their injuries at receiver, look for the Giants to lean on Darkwa as they attempt to limit Eli Manning’s turnovers.
RB Dion Lewis — 10-percent owned
You never know exactly what Bill Belichick is thinking, but he certainly doesn’t care about your fantasy lineup. Mike Gillislee won a lot of people their fantasy match-up in Week 1, but has only scored one touchdown since and has yet to record a reception. James White had 10 carries in Week 1, and 13 carries total from then on. He’s also the team leader in receptions with 33 and is averaging seven targets a game.
And then after an effective game against the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football, Lewis paced the team in touches in Week 6. He’s been by far the most efficient rusher thus far with a 5.0 yard per carry clip. If they turn to him on early-downs, his receiving numbers will go up as well as Brady looks to get rid of the ball early to avoid hits. He’s the least-owned Patriots running back, but possess the most upside.
WR Nelson Agholor — 55-percent owned
The USC product is finally starting to fulfill his lofty expectations as a first-round pick. A 16.1 yard per catch average puts him in the top-15 for the league, and is a far-cry from his 10.1 average from last season. Looking ahead, Agholor could have a couple of big days in store with the Norman-less Redskins and the dreadful 49ers coming to Philadelphia over the next two weeks.
WR Mike Williams — 21-percent owned
LA’s 7th overall pick made his NFL debut this past week — and it was underwhelming. Williams’ herniated disk nearly kept him out of the season, so seeing him on the field at all is a plus. He snagged his first career catch, which had to have been a great feeling. The quiet performance was promising, as the talented wideout didn’t suffer any sort of setback when he took the field. As the Chargers have now put together consecutive wins, Williams is worth a look in that offense. Phillip Rivers is known for spreading the love, and Williams would instantly be the team’s most dynamic red zone target.
TE Evan Engram — 70-percent owned
There’s no reason that Engram should be available in your league. The uniquely gifted tight end is built more like a receiver and the Giants deploy more often as the latter. All of the injuries to the receiving corp has given him a chance to be more featured in the offense than originally anticipated. His style is very similar to that of Washington’s Jordan Reed, with his ability to use his speed and quickness to outpace slower linebackers. Make sure to secure him before it’s too late, Engram just came off the best game of his career with five receptions, 82 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos.
TE Jack Doyle — 40-percent owned
Jacoby Brissett has quietly found a way to keep the Indianapolis Colts offense semi-fantasy relevant. T.Y. Hilton, while not consistent, has had two 150-plus yard receiving games. Marlon Mack has been a nice waiver wire pickup. And most recently, Doyle put together a quality game versus the Titans on Monday Night Football.
Doyle is just one reception back from Hilton’s team leading 25 catches. And with Andrew Luck potentially coming back sometime next month, all of the pass catchers on this team have a chance to leap in value. In a year that has been tough on tight ends, Doyle is worth a streaming option.
D/ST Buffalo — 26-percent owned
The No. 1 streaming option for a defense this week has to be the widely-available Bills group. Sean McDermott has this team playing at a high-level, and will be ready to go following their bye week. Tampa Bay could potentially be without QB Jameis Winston, but even if he plays the Bills have been opportunistic with creating turnovers and getting pressure on opposing passers.
D/ST Carolina — 53-percent owned
A bit less accessible on the waiver wire, Carolina’s D/ST should be keyed in on at the season’s midway point. In Weeks 14, 15 and 16 (fantasy playoff weeks) the Panthers have three straight home games against Case Keenum, Brett Hundley and Winston. All winnable games against QB’s that either don’t move the ball downfield or will turn the ball over when pressured.
Sources: Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports, Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports, Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports, Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports