As we head into Week 7 of the season, waiver-wire options are getting harder and harder to come by. In the beginning of the year, it was pretty easy to snag a solid fantasy option that was left behind during your initial draft. But as we get closer to midseason, injuries, demotions and, hopefully, trades (Brandon Lloyd?) are going to be the three key ingredients in finding quality options to your fantasy roster.
That being said, here is this week's batch of Waiver Wire pickups for Week 7. This list will be updated throughout the day.
Christian Ponder - MIN: If Donovan McNabb wasn't benched last week, he is definitely going to be now. After taking five sacks and getting benched against the Bears, the Vikings really have no other choice. Leslie Frazier's seat is getting a little bit toasty right about now. And even though Frazier said the team will discuss what direction he wants the team to go on Monday, it's safe to say that McNabb may have played his last down of the year, perhaps even for his career. Ponder will take his lumps like any rookie. But considering guys like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton have played well above what was expected, Ponder could be worth an add in deeper leagues.
Raiders Quarterback: With Jason Campbell expected to be sidelined for the next six weeks with a broken collarbone, there is rampant rumors coming out of Oakland regarding their starting quarterback spot. After the win over the Browns, it was reported that the Raiders immediately got on the phone to inquire about trying to land Bengals QB Carson Palmer. The Raider were also reportedly in touch with free agent David Garrard. Garrard's agent even stated that it's "highly possible" his client will work out with the team. At 4-2, the Raiders will need more than game-manager Kyle Boller to get them through the next several weeks. If Boller winds up the starter going forward, he is far from being a fantasy option.
Update: According to Jay Glazer, David Garrard needs "immediate" surgery on a herniated disc in his troublesome back.
John Beck - WAS: It looks like Rex Grossman's time as the Redskins' starting quarterback could be up. After a bad outing in Week Five against the Rams, Grossman followed that up by throwing four interceptions and was eventually benched in the fourth quarter against the Eagles Sunday. Beck wasn't spectacular while on the field, but he did lead the team to a touchdown, which he ran in from two-yards out. Mike Shanahan says he won't decide who will start until Wednesday, but I would be shocked if he gave Grossman another chance. Beck is only worth adding in large leagues.
Matt Cassel - KC: Coming off a bye, I am sure Cassel is still available in many leagues. With a Raiders Defense giving up 24.8 fantasy points a game coming up in Week 7, Cassel could be the perfect remedy for the bye-week blues. He has thrown five touchdown passes and no interceptions in the last two games.
Tim Tebow - DEN: After being named the starter last week, Tebow is still only owned in only 46% of leagues this week. This is obviously due to the Broncos' Week-6 bye. So if Tebow is still available and you need help, make sure to pick him up. His value is hampered after the team traded Brandon Lloyd to the Rams, but Tebow should still be a decent option because of his running ability.
Marion Barber - CHI: Barber pretty much played how I expected him to against the Vikings. A guy who has clearly lost his edge, but can still be a decent option in the redzone. Through three games, Barber has only managed a 3.1 yards-per-carry average, but he did punch in a touchdown in Week 6. If he is still on your waiver wire in 16 team leagues, he could be worth a bye-week filler in the hopes that the Bears continues to turn towards him near the goal line.
DeMarco Murray - DAL: Playing in place of an injured Felix Jones (ankle) against the Patriots, Murray led the team in rushing with 32 yards off 10 carries. Murray played so well that there are now rumors that owner Jerry Jones might consider putting Tashard Choice on the trade block before the October 18th deadline. I had Murray as one of my sleeper players back in July. That prediction just got better after the weekend. Murray is a must-have handcuff for all Jones owners. He should also be a dynasty stash if he is still available, which he shouldn't be by now.
Update: Jones is now expected to miss Week 7 and possibly longer with a high ankle sprain.
Maurice Morris - DET: Jahvid Best wound up getting his second concussion of the season, the first coming in training camp, against the 49ers. Morris isn't exactly a stellar alternative should Best wind up sitting Week 7 against the Falcons, so try and looking for younger alternatives if you can.
Earnest Graham - TB: Just for the hell of it, I looked up Graham's percentage-owned number on Yahoo and was surprised to see him owned in only 53% of leagues. Like I wrote in last week's Blount/Graham article, Graham should have been a must-grab option for Blount and non-Blount owners. Coming off a 100+ yard game against the Saints, Graham's percentage should go way up this week. If he is there, nab him ASAP.
Monterio Hardesty - CLE: Peyton Hillis is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday after suffering a hamstring pull in Sunday's loss to the Raiders. Hardesty didn't look all that great in relief, rushing 11 times for 35 yards and muffing an exchange which resulted in a turnover. The Seahawks' rushing defense has been stingy this year, so Hardesty makes an iffy option if Hillis has to sit Week 7.
CJ Spiller - BUF: Spiller is in a unique situation. Because of the Bills' decimated receiving unit, the team opted to use him at the position against the Giants. It looks like it paid off after Spiller racked up five catches for 39 yards. It's not really huge news to be excited about, but owners in very deep PPR leagues may want to give Spiller a look. It sounds like the team is going to continue to use Spiller at wide receiver in the "short term."
Demaryius Thomas - DEN: Thomas has yet to play a down after coming off an Achilles injury and an injured finger. But with Brandon Lloyd trade rumors running rampant, Thomas could get an opportunity for a much bigger role if Denver can find a trade partner. Thomas is worth an add in most 12 team leagues and bigger if you can find room. We saw what he could do last year after he caught 8 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown against Seattle. The big-play ability is there.
Danario Alexander - STL: The Rams made a surprise move and benched a healthy Mike Sims-Walker for Week 6's game against the Packers. It was likely more of a desperation act by Steve Spagnuolo, who is fighting for his job after an 0-5 start. Alexander more than made the decision a wise one, catching 6 balls for 91 yards. He also dropped what could have been an 81-yard touchdown reception, but Alexander showed he at least deserves to be in the starting lineup again in Week 7. Keep in mind that the Rams are one of the teams interested in Brandon Lloyd. So if a trade is made, that could kill Alexander's value.
Arrelious Benn - TB: Benn has all the tools to be a strong fantasy option, but he is simply too inconcistent to count on every week. He did have 83 yards off 3 catches and a touchdown against the Saints, but he doesn't get enough targets to warrant weekly value. He only had two catches in the two previous weeks combined.
Jake Ballard - NYG: I had to pick Ballard up as a desperation option because both of my starting tight ends were on a bye. Needless to say, he didn't let me down. While he was held out of the endzone against the Bills, Ballard's 5 catches (off 5 targets) and 81 receiving yards were good for 13 points in my PPR league. He isn't a TE1. But with 153 yards over the last two weeks, Ballard is looking like a bonafide TE2.