Hey there, Flockers!
Let’s look at those fantasy lineups for Week 7 around the NFL and see if I can’t help with bragging rights and bringing home the bacon…
Instead of the usual ‘Start Em/Sit Em’ style fantasy preview, I’ll go position by position, point out the obvious starters (no need to delve deeper for those no-brainer starts) then discuss a few sneaky starts, along with a few players to avoid like the plague.
Let’s roll into this Ravens lineup first before we get into the rest of the league:
You’re starting Mark Andrews, Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson, no matter what. Hollywood Brown still hasn’t seen the field in 11 days now and even if he does play, I’m expecting limited reps. If you plan to play Brown, make sure you have a backup plan in the event he’s the fan favorite GTD (game time decision) status. Beyond that, you have a bunch of boom or bust candidates. Miles Boykin is still only seeing 3-4 targets, Willie Snead is still averaging 2 receptions per game, and Seth Roberts/Chris Moore are about useless in fantasy. Gus Edwards is touchdown dependent, but after getting a few goal-to-go looks last week versus Cincy, coupled with the Seahawks’ 8 rush TDs allowed (T-2nd) and 25th ranked 4.7 ypc allowed, don’t be shy in deep, deep leagues.
As for the rest of the league…
Bye-bye-bye week: Yinz, Brownies, Buccos, Panthers
No Brainers: Mahomes,Watson, Brady, Dak, Ryan, Russ
I’m back on the Danny Dimes train this week. With Daniel Jones, you have a QB facing a league-worst Cards pass D, and he’s getting back Evan Ingram and Saquon Barkley. Yes, I know Barkley is a running back, but having an established run game will open things up for Jones in a big way. Rodgers is another play I’m watching for this week. He’s questionable with a knee injury, but he’ll play and take advantage of a Raiders D that’s given up 11 pass touchdowns in 5 games (bottom-5 in the NFL). Gardner Minshew is a sleeper for me this week, fairly inexplicably so. I just have faith he’ll rebound against a bad Bengals secondary currently without William Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick, despite their piss poor run defense looking primed for a Leonard Fournette big game (start him too, will ya?). But my biggest surprise this week? Jared Goff. He absolutely shat the bed last week against the 49ers, but a great matchup against the woeful Falcons is much more promising, especially when you consider Malcolm Brown is out, & Todd Gurley is limited, turning this into a more pass-happy attack come Sunday.
Meanwhile on the shallow end of the starter pool, we’ll find the recently woeful Philip Rivers, Matt Stafford against a tough Vikings defense, and my surprise- Carson Wentz. The Cowboys have given up 5 total pass touchdowns this season, and I think Wentz will have a tough time finding paydirt (unlike Sam Darnold last week- ouch!).
No Brainers: Hopkins, Julio, Michael Thomas, Tyreek
DJ Chark against a depleted Bengals secondary is an ideal scenario in my book, and his boom-or-bust production falls back in the boom category this week. Looking at the Vikings and guessing which receiver between Diggs and Thielen will have the big game against the Lions is tough call, but I’ve got a Thielen (not even sorry for that) we’ll see Adam Theilen as the better stat line, based on consistency versus a splash game last week (Diggs has been wildly inconsistent versus Thielen’s 1 outlier bad game). Tyler Boyd versus the Jags suddenly appears to be a sexier fantasy candidate with Jalen Ramsey traded… or is it Auden Tate? Just kidding, Maurice Canady isn’t on the Jags (yet!). John Brown is another one of those sneaky sexy plays this week, as Josh Allen takes on the woeful Fins defense, with Smoke leading the aerial assault. Michael Gallup is another solid play with Amari Cooper banged up and his status for Sunday still up in the air.
As for those wideouts to avoid, I don’t personally trust any particular Brady target this week… or any week. He’ll spread the love and you’ll inevitably guess wrong because that’s the Patriot Way! Typically I’m a Scary Terry McLaurin guy, but against the 49ers stout defense this week I’m avoiding him like the plague…
No Brainers: Barkley, Zeke, Fournette, Cook
I almost put Chris Carson in the no brainers because I still can’t shake what Nick Chubb did to us, but then I remember the return of Brandon Williams influenced that game, with the Ravens holding James Conner and Joe Mixon in check the past 2 weeks. Carson is still a smart play, but he’s not going crazy like Chubb did. Josh Jacobs versus the Packers will be a great matchup against a bottom 10 run D, and Oakland likely using their run game to extend drives and limit possessions for Aaron Rodgers (still going to be a high scoring affair- also Aaron Jones is a great play here too). Matt Brieda on a 49ers team that’s keen on running the ball more than any team in the NFL, and doing so against the Skins, will be a solid play Sunday.
I’ll be steering clear of Devonta Freeman this week against the Rams. He’s coming off a few big games, but the Rams are giving up 3.5 ypc (4th lowest in NFL) and this will be a full blown shootout. I’m also still not sold on either Melvin Gordon‘s full return to glory, or Alex Ekeler having enough value since Gordon came back (barring the one 15 reception game a few weeks back). Also struggling to justify Kerryon Johnson in my lineups this week against a stout Vikings run defense.
No Brainers: Kittle, Mandrews, Kelce, Hooper
With Evan Engram‘s return to the Giants lineup I expect big things from him with Danny Dimes. I also expect former-Raven Darren Waller to make good on his shiny new contract with a big showing versus the Packers on Sunday. Gerald Everett will return to his recent trend of 15+ point fantasy games after a down week against the 49ers last week, and I inexplicably feel like Jimmy Graham has a big game, but it’ll be touchdown dependent.
Delanie Walker went from a hot start season to total disappearing act. Switching to Ryan Tannehill likely won’t change much. Hunter Henry had 30 points last week as he made a return to the Bolts… but I don’t expect that to maintain against the Titans this week. Don’t get too hype about TJ Hockenson either.
Are people still playing kickers? It’s all a crap shoot…
No Brainers: Pats, Bills, 49ers
The Titans have a top-5 fantasy defense, and face a weak Chargers offense on Sunday for a match made in fantasy heaven. The Bears defense is typically up there, and facing Bridgewater should help that cause but I couldn’t make them a no-brainer simply because of Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Sean Payton. Jags defense should be bumped up this week too, as they take on Cincy.
I don’t love the Ravens defense this week after 2 solid games. Russ Wilson hasn’t thrown a pick this year, and they score in bunches. We’re more likely to see a 28-31 game than a 17-14 game. Vikings will have their hands full with the Lions. They’ll do fine, but they won’t be a to-tier defense this week, either. The Jets are also a top-10 fantasy defense but… Patriots so yea…