Fantasy Waiver Wire Targets For Future Payoff: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jaret Patterson, Rhamondre Stevenson, More

Fantasy Waiver Wire Targets For Future Payoff: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jaret Patterson, Rhamondre Stevenson, More article feature image

Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo.

  • We know which players are popular on the fantasy waiver wire for Week 7, but which should you buy now before their stock rises?
  • Our analyst runs through players to add now for future payoff, including running backs like Jaret Patterson and Rhamondre Stevenson.

We've put a bow on Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season — now it's time to gaze into the crystal ball and see which players we should target on the waiver wire now for a big payoff later.

This week we will specifically target the fantasy playoffs, by playing the "What If" game. With six teams on a bye this week, there will be a ton of necessary waiver pickups across seasonal leagues. To win the fantasy championship, it is critical to start looking towards the playoffs.

Let's identify which waiver pickups not only help in the short term but also could be league-winning moves in the fantasy playoffs.

Week 7 Early Waiver Wire Targets

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers

Question:  What if Trey Lance is simply not ready to lead the 49ers in 2021?

We have repeatedly mentioned the 49ers' extremely friendly end-of-season schedule. After watching Lance perform at Arizona, it is clear that Jimmy Garoppolo gives San Francisco the best chance to win in 2021. 

Despite a full week of practice, Lance managed just 192 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and just a 51 percent completion percentage. If San Francisco’s defense is going to hold Kyler Murray to under 240 passing yards and just one total rushing yard, the 49ers need to win that game.

Regardless of popular opinion, the numbers prove that San Francisco has been a better team with Garoppolo than without since his arrival in 2017.

In Garoppolo’s last full season in 2019, he produced three overall QB4 or better weeks with four passing touchdowns in each of those games. The 49ers face the Falcons, Titans, and Texans from Weeks 15-17, the heart of the fantasy football playoffs.

It’s all about the matchups in playoff time, and there is absolutely a path that Garoppolo could be streamed in seasonal leagues. He is still available in 93% of Yahoo Leagues. 

Jaret Patterson, RB, Washington

Question:  What if Antonio Gibson's shin injury is season-long problem?

Washington is 2-4 with one of the worst defenses in the NFL. If they continue to falter, and Gibson's shin injury doesn't improve, watch out for the 2021 UDFA Jaret Patterson.

Patterson was a dominant producer at the University of Buffalo, where he tallied 53 touchdowns in just three seasons.  He showed nice burst and elusiveness in the preseason, and would be the choice for early-down work if Gibson's season ends prematurely.

Rookie Jaret Patterson through two quarters tonight:

🔸7 Touches

— PFF (@PFF) August 21, 2021

During the fantasy playoffs, Washington faces the Eagles and Cowboys twice. Philadelphia has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, and Dallas has allowed the fourth-most receptions to the position.

Gibson was a converted wide receiver at Memphis, and has done nothing to show he can handle the workload of a lead NFL running back. He has reportedly been struggling with the injury and could miss time depending on the evaluation this week.

These type of injuries can linger all season. Keep Patterson on your radar as a critical waiver move that could payoff in the playoffs.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Patriots

Question:  What if Damien Harris fumbles again?

It would be no surprise to see a different lead rusher for New England at the end of the season. Whether it's been Stevan Ridley, Dion Lewis, or Rex Burkhead, the Patriots have reveled in being one of the most unpredictable fantasy backfields.

The one thing head coach Bill Belichick cannot tolerate is turnovers. Damien Harris has produced two costly fumbles this season, placing him on a short leash. In Week 1, Harris fumbled in the red zone late in the fourth quarter, leading to a 17-16 loss to lowly Miami. In Week 5, Harris fumbled into the end zone in a game New England barely escaped with a 25-22 win at Houston.

Despite his own early-season fumble issues, Stevenson has slowly creeped back onto the field for the Patriots. He scored a goal line touchdown (after Harris was injured) and totaled three receptions and 39 receiving yards in Week 6 against Dallas. At 5-foot-11, 231 pounds, Stevenson is the perfect goal line rusher and has surprising ability in the receiving game.

New England faces an unintimidating slate of teams after a Week 14 bye against Indianapolis, Buffalo, and Jacksonville. It would not be shocking to see Stevenson as the Patriots' leading rusher during the most important time of the fantasy season.

Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Tyrell Williams, WR, Lions

Question:  What if T.J. Hockenson's knee injury lingers throughout the season?

Given the news of Christian McCaffrey's unexpected injured reserve designation, we need to take a closer look at lingering injuries for star players.

Hockenson has battled through a knee injury that first occurred in the preseason.  He suffered a shoulder AC joint sprain in early August and a knee injury earlier in the season. After a scalding hot start with consecutive TE3 and TE2 performances, Hockenson totaled just eight total receptions from Weeks 3-5.

In Week 6,  Hockenson returned to his old form with eight receptions and 74 receiving yards. Detroit relies on Hockeson and running back D'Andre Swift for passing game production, given their poor wide receiving core was decimated further by second-year wideout Quintez Cephus getting placed on injured reserve.

Veteran free agent signing Tyrell Williams has been out with a concussion since Week 1. He also missed the entire 2020 season with a torn labrum. Still only 29 years old, Williams brings elite speed (4.48) and a 10.41 (98th percentile) Catch Radius. That makes for an explosive weapon this Detroit offense desperately needs.

Williams should return over the next two weeks and should receive a healthy target share immediately upon return. He may be the only team WR1 available on the waiver wire, and that has gone ignored due to his recent injury history. Williams is still available in 90% of Yahoo Leagues.

Chris Evans, RB, Bengals

Question: What if Joe Mixon gets hurt again?

Through six weeks Joe Mixon has the third-most touches of any running back, trailing only Derrick Henry and Najee Harris. His volume is a rarity among a league dominated by a committee approach to the running back position.

There are always injury concerns with Mixon, but if he misses time at the most crucial time of the year, there is a chance sixth-round rookie Chris Evans sees a huge increase in opportunity. Evans shined in Week 6 against the Lions, showing off his elite receiving skills with three receptions, 49 yards, and a touchdown. 

Joe Burrow to Chris Evans for the @Bengals score! #RuleTheJungle

📺: #CINvsDET on FOX
📱: NFL app

— NFL (@NFL) October 17, 2021

Evans has the most complete skill set of any backup Cincinnati running back and should find more opportunities even with Mixon as the starter. I could see Evans earning more passing game work in the next few weeks, putting him next in line for an increased workload if Mixon did get injured. This is a stash play, but Evans impressed in the preseason and again in Week 5.

Evans is still available in 96% of Yahoo Leagues.

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