Fantasy owners face a big challenge in Week 7 with a whopping six teams on bye (Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia and San Diego). This means several owners will be scrambling to the waiver wire, and in most standard 10- or 12-team leagues owners must dig a little deeper than normal. While waiver adds are usually specific to team needs, there are a couple of running backs that in a vacuum have the ability to be significant difference makers the next couple of weeks.
Josh Freeman, TB - It's hard to figure out if Josh Freeman is still developing after passing for 328 yards and three touchdowns against the Chiefs. Freeman benefited from the big play, as three of his passes went for more than 40 yards. He has a solid group of receivers with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams heading the unit. Playing in a more disciplined system could be just what Freeman needed, and he has a great matchup this week at home against the Saints. New Orleans allows the second highest YPA (8.6), which means Freeman could be in for similar stats as he had against Kansas City (the league's highest YPA at 8.9).
Russell Wilson, SEA - Wilson had the best game of his short career, helping the Seahawks upset the Patriots. Wilson finished the day just shy of 300 passing yards (293) with three touchdowns and no interceptions. New England's secondary has been suspect to say the least, but Russell may be more comfortable in the offense considering how often he looked downfield. He's not a recommended starter this week with it being a short week for the Seahawks and playing at San Francisco, but depending on the matchup, he could be worth a look.
Felix Jones, DAL - Jones will probably be the player who has the most FAAB money spent on him this week, and if you have the top waiver option he's worth burning it on. Jones had a nice touchdown run and finished Sunday's contest with 18 carries for 91 yards (5.1 YPC). The Cowboys appeared to be more run-heavy Sunday (42 times) and have a great matchup heading into Carolina, which is giving up 4.4 YPC on the season. Jones has shown flashes of being a solid runner and has never averaged less than 4.3 YPC. Also, take a look in deeper formats at Phillip Tanner, who should see around 10 touches Sunday backing up Jones.
Daryl Richardson, STL - I discussed Richardson earlier this year when Steven Jackson was dealing with a groin injury. Richardson since has carved out a nice role in the Rams running game and his 13 touches were almost identical to Jackson's 15 touches vs. the Dolphins. It's important to remember that Jeff Fisher is new to the Rams and, therefore, might not have much loyalty toward Jackson as the team veteran. Richardson also is a good target in keeper leagues through trades talks if your team is eliminated early; Steven Jackson could be let go after the season and there's no guarantee the Rams bring him back.
David Wilson, NYG - Over the last two games Wilson has shown why the Giants used their first-round draft pick on him this year. Wilson broke a long touchdown run against the Browns two weeks back and had another outstanding kick return game Sunday. This in no way is a downgrade of Ahmad Bradshaw, who has been outstanding the last two games (316 rushing yards, two touchdowns). This is the type of waiver-wire pickup to stash on your bench in a proactive move in case something happens to Bradshaw.
Montario Hardesty, CLE - It was heartbreaking for Trent Richardson's owners to watch him standing on the sideline after he suffered a rib/side injury Sunday. Enter Hardesty, who ran well (15 carries for 56 yards and a score) and could be in line to start if Richardson isn't ready to go. Hardesty himself has been limited throughout his career due to injuries and will be running behind one of the underrated offensive lines. Again, check back on Richardson's availability as the week continues and remember what Shonn Greene just did to the Colts, Cleveland's opponent this week.
Jonathan Grimes, NYJ - Ready for a deep sleeper who likely won't be discussed much this week? Grimes likely will find himself as Shonn Greene's backup this week with Bilal Powell already ruled out and Joe McKnight dealing with a high ankle sprain. Signed off the Texans' practice squad at the end of September, Grimes should see some playing time spelling Greene Sunday. He shouldn't be considered in most formats unless McKnight (the Jets' running back with the upside) is ruled out for awhile and you want Greene's handcuff.
Chris Givens, STL - Brandon Gibson was highlighted in this space last week after Danny Amendola went down with a collarbone injury. Gibson had a nice game this week (seven catches, 91 yards, including a highlight-reel one-handed grab), but it might be Givens who is more of a big-play receiver. Givens has back-to-back weeks of 50-plus yard catches and averages 28.1 yards per reception this season.
Stephen Hill, NYJ - After missing two games with a hamstring injury, Hill was back on the field for the Jets on Sunday starting opposite of Jeremy Curley. Hill finished with three catches for 23 yards and a touchdown but only played 18 snaps because of the injury. He should get healthier as the weeks go by, and without Santonio Holmes, Hill possesses the most upside.
Greg Olsen, CAR - Olsen has found himself on waivers in a lot of leagues after being on a Week 6 bye. While his overall numbers aren't great for the season (293 receiving yards, one touchdown), Olsen was building some chemistry with Cam Newton before the bye. Over his last three games, Olsen is averaging eight targets, five catches and 75 yards receiving. Olsen may turn into Newton's No. 2 target behind Steve Smith and make for a great bye-week replacement at tight end if you're looking for one.
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