Tag Archives: Christian Kirk

NFL Week 7 Waiver Wire: Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

Another week of exciting NFL action has gone by and, for those of us who play fantasy football, the attention turns to the waiver wire for Week 7. In a shift of recent trends, there was more news on players returning to action than would be missing time going forward. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean we were injury-free. All in all, it should be another busy waiver period. So let’s see who should be on your radar ahead of Wednesday.

There’s a good chance you’re going to bristle at first blush upon reading several of these names. But with the number of injuries we have seen already, beggers can’t be choosers. Hopefully, if you’re looking for a quarterback or tight end, it is just for streaming or a short-term injury replacement. If it’s a wide receiver or running back then you’re in luck. There are a couple of options at either position that will get you through.

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers in Week 7 Waiver Wire

Quarterbacks

Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers

Teddy Bridgewater was certainly a letdown in Week 6. That can happen when playing a stout Chicago Bears defense that ranks fifth in DVOA, per Football Outsiders. Teddy Two-Gloves is your QB16 on the season though and was the QB4 back in Week 4 and QB12 in Week 5. He has a favorable Week 7 matchup on deck against the New Orleans Saints. Bridgewater has thrown three of his six touchdowns on the road. He’s also thrown for more yards and completed a higher rate of his passes away from Bank of America Stadium.

New Orleans is eighth in defensive DVOA but that is thanks in large part to their superb run defense. While the Saints rank third against the run and fourth in run defense DVOA, they are a middling pass defense. They rank 19th in passing yards allowed and 15th in pass defense DVOA. They’ve allowed top-10 performances to quarterbacks in their three home games, including a QB4 performance by Justin Herbert in Week 5.

Kyle Allen – Washington Football Team

Let’s be honest, you’re only doing this if you’re a Lamar Jackson owner and your league is competitive or is a two-quarterback or superflex league. Kyle Allen got his second start of the season in Week 6 and ended up as the QB16 for the week. He did so against the New York Giants 21st-ranked pass defense (23rd in DVOA) but will face a Dallas Cowboys defense that ranks 23rd against the pass and just got lit up by the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Dallas has allowed three QB6 or better performances already. Again, if you’re desperate.

Running Backs

Boston Scott – Philadelphia Eagles

For the second time this season, Boston Scott will be called upon to handle the majority of the backfield touches for the next few weeks while Miles Sanders recovers from yet another injury. Sanders is the RB19 so far but missed Week 1. Scott struggled in that game against the Washington Football Team’s stout front to the tune of 3.9 yards per carry. This time, he steps into the role with the Philadelphia Eagles needing all the playmakers they can get.

He’ll face the Giants who, if you’ve read to this point, you already know have a suspect defense. They allow a respectable 3.7 yards per tote but have faced the ninth-most carries and rank 15th in run defense DVOA. They’re also tied in facing the fifth-most passes to running backs, are eighth in receptions, and sixth in receiving yards allowed to backs. Scott could be very busy with the Eagles so depleted.

J.D. McKissic – Washington Football Team

You may not have felt the sting of bye weeks at quarterback, but running back might be different. No solid-if-unspectacular Jonathan Taylor, or the suddenly reliable Myles Gaskin, or Alexander Mattison who was already filling in for the injured Dalvin Cook. That’s the RB15 and RB16 in Taylor and Gaskin, respectively. And Cook is still the RB4 on the year. Enter J.D McKissic, the forgotten back for the Washington Football Team. With Antonio Gibson garnering all the pub, you may not have noticed that McKissic was the RB12 in Week 6 and that he has out-snapped Gibson, 50 percent to 43.7 percent.

Gibson has the touch advantage (83-58) but, as we saw against the Giants, McKissic is still a vital part of this team. He’s just RB37 on the season but did come in as RB27 in Week 5 and has seen multiple carries in five of six games while catching multiple passes in his last four. He’ll see a Dallas defense that is most vulnerable on the ground. But in a game that will have serious implications for the NFC East, McKissic is worth a shot this week.

Frank Gore – New York Jets

Death. Taxes. Frank Gore getting the bulk of the carries over an intriguing rookie. This time Gore has relegated LaMical Perine to speculative bench duty while he plods his way to 3.3 yards per rush. He did up that to 4.2 in a losing effort against the Miami Dolphins and, as long as Adam Gase in running the show, appears locked into double-digit touches. If you aren’t hurting for running back help, maybe stash Perine in case the winless New York Jets boot Gase and they start evaluating players. It won’t be pretty and there isn’t much upside. But as it stands, Father Time has nothing on the 37-year-old.

Wide Receivers

Christian Kirk – Arizona Cardinals

It can be hard not to get wrapped up in big performances during primetime games. There’s always a random, fringe player that makes a huge impact on the night. Sometimes, like with the Pittsburgh Steelers Chase Claypool, it can be a springboard. But the road to fantast football glory is paved with unrealized potential. Some guys just use the national stage to announce themselves to the rest of us. Christian Kirk was the WR4 in Week 6 and is WR14 over the last three weeks.

This is undoubtedly DeAndre Hopkins’ show, but with Arizona among the league leaders in plays per game, there are points to go around. That should be particularly true this week with the Seattle Seahawks and their sieve-like passing defense (29th DVOA) coming to town. Shaq Griffin will likely be tasked with covering Hopkins which should leave plenty of opportunity for Kirk, who has three touchdowns the last three weeks, to make plays.

Tim Patrick – Denver Broncos

Would you believe the Denver Broncos Tim Patrick is the WR36 on the season? It’s true. When Courtland Sutton went down we all anticipated Jerry Jeudy to dominate the looks there. But Patrick has more catches, yards, and touchdowns than the rookie from Week2 on with just one fewer target. Most of that, by the way, came without starting quarterback Drew Lock, who struggled in his return.

Patrick, the WR24 in Week 6, was WR7 in Week 4, and WR34 in Week 3. That makes him the WR19 on average since Week 3 with a matchup against the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7. You shouldn’t expect him to out-produce Jeudy all the time. And Melvin Gordon missing last week helped some. But Patrick is looking like a solid WR3/Flex player available for a bargain.

Breshad Perriman – New York Jets

I know, I know. There’s no way two Jets made it on the list, right? Well, here’s the thing, sure you could go after James Washington and Demarcus Robinson, two guys getting extra burn due to injuries. Or you can take a chance on Keelan Cole or Corey Davis and hope you get one of their boom performances. Or you can go after the guy set to fill the Robby Anderson role for the Jets. Breshad Perriman is no stranger to fantasy relevance. He was the WR5 from Weeks 13-17 last season, catching 25 passes for over 500 yards and five touchdowns.

He isn’t likely to put up those kinds of numbers in New York but the Anderson role is a valuable one nonetheless. Anderson was the WR40 in 2019 and had three 100-yards games, two additional 80-yard games, and five touchdowns. The Jets face the Bills, Chiefs, and Patriots the next three weeks before their bye. Jamison Crowder is still the top option but the Jets are bad and figure to be trailing the rest of the season. Perriman will get his opportunities.

Alshon Jeffery – Philadelphia Eagles

Sterling Shepard – New York Giants

A twofer! Both of these guys are coming back from injury but have arguably the highest ceiling of any players listed. Sterling Shepard has been out since Week 2 with a turf toe injury but has a shot to come of the injured reserve in time for the Giants Thursday Night Football game against the likewise beaten-up Eagles. He’ll return to an offense that has only cracked the 20-point threshold once (they hit it one other time) and will compete with Golden Tate and Darius Slayton for targets. But neither of them are world-beaters that command a certain number of looks.

Alshon Jeffery’s Eagles need him in the worst way. He has yet to suit up this year as his team has lost weapons left and right. DeSean Jackson is still working his way back from a hamstring injury, rookie Jalen Reagor hasn’t played since Week 2, and they just lost Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders. Travis Fulgham has been their go-to guy the past two weeks for goodness sakes. Jeffery could bring WR2 upside if he gets (and stays) healthy.

Tight Ends

Greg Olsen – Seattle Seahawks

The “Frank Gore” of tight ends, Greg Olsen just keeps coming back and producing for his team. His tenure with the Seattle Seahawks has been more of the same. The volume hasn’t been heavy, but he’s had four-plus targets and receptions in three of five games this season. Week 5 against the Vikings, before the Seahawks bye, Olsen put up a dud. That just served to further remove him from your league-mates memories.

Olsen is the TE27 in 2020 but was TE15 from Weeks 3-4, grabbing 10 of 13 passes for 96 yards. The downside is that MVP-hopeful Russell Wilson spreads the ball around and there are even other tight ends on the roster that pose a threat to Olsen’s (who only has one touchdown) production. But losing Mark Andrews (TE3).  Mike Geisicki (TE11), and Indy’s bunch of productive tight ends at an already thin position makes people desperate. You could do much worse than Olsen.

Darren Fells  – Houston Texans

We’ve seen this movie before. From Weeks 3-13 in 2019, Darren Fells was the quintessential streaming tight end. He wasn’t seeing a ton of targets and averaged just under three catches per game. But he had a better-than-not chance to catch a touchdown from one of the most dynamic passers in the league in Deshaun Watson. Well, Fells might be at it again, having more than 50 yards and catching a touchdown in each of the last two weeks. He gets the Green Bay Packers in Week 7, who just let the ghost of Rob Gronkowski go off for 5/78/1 in Week 6.

Kyler Murray: The NFL’s Next MVP

Kyler Murray will be the Most Valuable Player in the NFL in 2020. Yes, we are months out from training camp, let alone the regular season. So much can change from basic cuts and trades to devastating injuries. But the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019 is uniquely outfitted to bring the award to the desert.

Sure, this sounds crazy now. The Arizona Cardinals just finished a 5-10-1 season. It was their fourth-straight losing season, and seventh in the past decade. But there were some mitigating factors (on top of Murray’s inexperience) that played a large part in that. Not the least of which is the defense that allowed the fourth-most points in team history.

Since this is about the MVP, an individual award, we can (somewhat) take his team’s success with a grain of salt and focus on Murray and why he makes sense for 2020 MVP.

Kyler Murray Will Be the Next MVP

History

Before we get into the numbers that Murray put up himself, let’s do a quick skim of the history of the MVP in the NFL. And we don’t even have to look too deep to recognize the pattern that has developed over the years. One that has shown a clear bias towards who will and won’t win the most-coveted individual award in the League.

Established in 1957 (yes, the award pre-dates the AFL-NFL merger of 1970), the MVP award has been awarded to the player thought to be the most indispensable to his team. That has usually been an offensive player.  More often than not, that has meant awarding a quarterback. More specifically, 38 quarterbacks have been named MVP compared to just 16 running backs.

That pattern has through recent times as quarterbacks have won every MVP since Adrian Peterson won it back in 2012. Before him, it was Shaun Alexander (05) and LaDainian Tomlinson (06) winning back-to-back. But this isn’t the biggest historical factor leading to this proclamation. We only need to look at the past few years to find that.

The past two winners of the coveted award were Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Aside from both sharing the NFL’s glamour position, they both won the award in their second season. Unlike either Jackson or Mahomes, however, Murray started every game of his rookie campaign, perhaps giving him a leg up in development.

His Story

Murray enjoyed a fantastic collegiate career at Oklahoma playing for Lincoln Riley. His dynamic skill set made him the perfect fit for Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid scheme and he proved it in 2019. It was an uneven start but it didn’t take long for the jitterbug passer to show what made him special.

The Cardinals quarterback threw the sixth-most passes (542) in for a rookie in NFL history and joined some notable company in doing so, including a Hall of Famer. He joined Cam Newton and became just the second rookie ever to throw for over 3700 yards and run for over 540 yards, and the ninth player overall to do so.

Arizona, as mentioned, was bad on the whole and the porous offensive line allowed the sixth-most sacks. But they still managed to rank 10th in rushing. That was thanks in no small part to Murray who finished 36th overall in rushing yards. His dual-threat abilities were on full display during a three-game stretch where he averaged 10 carries per game.

He did all this with the terrible blocking, yes. But he was also the victim of depleted weaponry. His All-Pro running back David Johnson has been reduced to a shell of his former self. He saw himself replaced by his backup Chase Edmonds and later (and for good) by Miami Dolphins castoff Kenyan Drake. His top receiver was the ageless Larry Fitzgerald. That’s not good.

The Sooner the Better

Murray finished the season 15th in passing yards and completion percentage despite all the shortcomings around him. He’s in a system that is geared towards his strengths, something else he has in common with Jackson and Mahomes. This system has never featured the run and the defense will still be bad next season. In other words, he’ll need to throw a lot.

An infusion of talent is on the horizon via free agency and the draft. Depending on how they feel about young pass-catchers Christian Kirk, Damiere Byrd, and KeeSean Johnson they could focus heavily on the offensive line. They could also focus on cornerback and pass rush help because they will want to at least try to stop their opponents.

The success of Mahomes has been the result of the perfect marriage of a great situation and superb individual talent. And he still sat for a season behind Alex Smith. Baltimore overhauled their coaching staff to implement a system that would best utilize Jackson’s abilities (a novel concept, right?). But only after his rookie season.

Murray will enter his sophomore campaign with far more experience than either of those two. He’ll also have a system in place that was seemingly designed for him and that he won’t have had to learn in one offseason. All this along with the organization assumedly having a better understanding of what pieces he needs around him only enhances his prospects.

Kyler Murray, 2020 MVP

This is speculating to the extreme. No one knows how anything in the offseason will play out. But Murray answered two very important questions last season. He proved he could play in the NFL and he proved he can survive a 16-game season at his size. The next step will be improving his consistency and turning drives into points. If he does that, he will certainly be the MVP in 2020.