Our weekly Waiver Wire column covers all of the big-ticket adds for casual leagues, but the Deep Dive is for leagues with intensive waiver pools. For this column, we'll try to focus on players that are less than one-third (33 percent) owned in NFL.com leagues. Fantasy football is a forward-thinking game, and we'll strive to stay one step ahead of the competition in the weekly Deep Dive with players to add, drop, and stash on your bench.
Ito Smith, who I wrote about in detail in Waiver Wire, and Marlon Mack, who is still owned in over 67 percent of NFL.com fantasy leagues, are the obvious must-adds this week. Mack (35 percent) still lagged behind Nyheim Hines (44 percent) in snap rate in Week 6, but he easily led the way in touches (13) and yards from scrimmage (93). The problem for the Colts will always come down to game-script. When Indy gets behind, Hines dominates usage.
This week, I'll focus on players it's time to move on from. Making the right adds and bids off of the wire is crucial, but keeping your bench fresh and avoiding landmines is nearly as important.
Players to add:
Don't look now, but the Bears offense is heating up a bit. Granted, the production came against the Dolphins and Bucs -- but Trubisky has thrown for 670 yards and nine TDs in his last two games. Fresh off finishing as the weekly QB1 and QB5 in Weeks 4 and 6, Trubisky enters Week 7 as a high-end QB2 with a likely shootout against the Pats on the docket.
With Cooper Kupp (knee) likely out for Week 7 against San Francisco, Reynolds will be promoted to a full-time role. The Rams use 11-personnel (1RB, 1TE, 3WR) on over 97 percent of their offensive snaps, the highest rate in the league. With three or more wideouts on the field all of the time, Reynolds will assuredly be a full-time player with Kupp on the sidelines. In all likelihood, the Rams red-hot offense commanded by Sean McVay will rotate Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods in the slot without Kupp in the lineup. Woods has run 47 percent of his routes in tight to the formation or in the slot, per Next Gen Stats. This leaves Reynolds on the outside to burn the Niners secondary. In his one spot start last year, Reynolds posted 4/37/1 (on six targets).
Players to drop:
Green Bay is on their bye this week, and we're not any closer to clarity in the backfield. In Week 6 vs. San Francisco, Aaron Jones played third fiddle in snap rate (27 percent) behind Jamaal Williams (38 percent) and Ty Montgomery (37 percent). Since returning in Week 3, the Packers have not allowed Jones' snap rate to crest above 38 percent.
In Weeks 3-6, Jones has 32 carries (188 yards) to Jamaal Williams' 28 carries and 118 yards. Ty Montgomery has siphoned off 17 carries for a fairly ineffective 61 yards. Look, we can all sit and wait for Jones' breakout, but it's not happening in this current state. Perhaps the Packers learn their ways in Week 8 after their off date, but they have given no inkling of promoting Jones clearly above the pack.
Over the last four weeks, Jones has ripped off a run of 10 or more yards on 22 percent of his carries. On the flip side, Williams has gained 10-plus yards just 11 percent of the time. Jones' explosiveness can be quantified further to show his explosiveness. Per PFF data, Jones has forced a missed tackle on 30 percent of his touches while Williams has been dormant (4.4 percent). Jones is the better player, by far, but he continually isn't treated as such.
Mike McCarthy will keep giving lip service over how they need to get Jones "more involved" -- but the proof is clearly in a month's worth of usage. Not a single Packer back is going to be trustworthy until Week 9 at the earliest. If you have significant waiver wire needs over the next two weeks, Jones and Williams are no longer must-stash RBs in 10-team leagues.
Ronald Jones Truthers believed Week 6 would somehow be the semi-breakout game. Coming off a bye, there was suspicion Jones would take another leap forward to nip at the heels of Peyton Barber. It ... didn't happen. Jones played on just 18 percent of team snaps in Atlanta, fewer than his Week 4 rate before the bye (32 percent). Jones is still playing a ton of special teams, too, and was well behind starter Peyton Barber (62 percent snap rate). Jones had four touches against the Falcons while Barber earned 17. Just like the Rashaad Penny dream in Seattle, Jones' fantasy outlook is bleak unless an injury takes place.
Player to avoid:
Foreman is eligible to return from the PUP list, but Texans head coach Bill O'Brien does not expect him to be activated. In his Monday presser, O'Brien mentioned Foreman isn't, "quite ready yet." Unfortunately, the hit rate for running backs coming back off Achilles injuries is fairly slim. Foreman showed promise last year, earning more yards after a defender closed within a yard (4.1) than Lamar Miller (3.7) and career steady man, Alfred Blue (3.1; per Next Gen Stats). Still, it appears Foreman is perhaps a bit behind schedule rehabbing an injury that occurred nearly a year ago.