Week 7 is here! The injuries and bye weeks are starting to pile up and who to start isn’t as easy a question to answer as it was a few weeks ago. Many fantasy players fall into the trap of always starting the guy with the name they recognize, over someone who might be a little newer to the league or just emerging on the fantasy radar. “Can I really start Baker Mayfield over Deshaun Watson?” This week yes, yes you can. These are the types of moves that take a strong conviction to make but can also win your fantasy week. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Andy Dalton has the perfect matchup this week. Kansas City’s defense is equally as poor as its offense it good. This game projects to be the highest scoring contest of the week and I want all the offensive skill position players. Start Dalton with confidence as a top 10 QB.
Jameis returned to form last week as expected. Throwing for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns. Two interceptions accompanied those scores but that’s always a possibility with Jameis. Cleveland has been a top defense this year but do not concern yourself with that. Tampa Bay cannot run the ball reliably and with O.J. Howard seemingly back to full health I expect this to be another multiple touchdown affair for Jameis.
On the other side of the ball against Jameis Winston, Baker Mayfield has an excellent opportunity this week. Tampa Bay has a very weak defense; they rank last in passing yards per game to quarterbacks with 356. While I don’t know if he can quite reach that number, if you are the Rodgers or Wilson owner that faces a bye, then Mayfield will do the trick as a one-week fill in.
This sounds crazy, I know. There is only one team in the entire NFL that Drew Brees has not beaten, and it’s not the Saints. It’s the Ravens. Brees is 0-4 against the Ravens and they have a tough defense this year. The Ravens recorded 11 sacks last week when facing the Titans and their defense is eager to continue that in a home match-up this week. Brees is an elite talent and could have a good game anytime, however, the Ravens are number one against completion percentage and yards per attempt in the league, even over Jacksonville. If there was ever a week to sit Brees this is the one. Are you brave enough?
Watson has struggled in 2018. Watson currently has 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on the season and is going into Jacksonville this week. Watson is still dealing with a chest bruise and passed for only 177 yards in week 6. It’s hard to get away from his potential but look elsewhere if you can for this week.
Smith is generally as safe as they come as a low-end starter, but this week will prove challenging for the veteran QB. Dallas has only allowed one quarterback to finish in the top 12 all season thus far. With multiple players possibly sitting out and being one of the later games it’s too risky to rely on Smith this week.
Leonard Fournette is likely to miss another game this Sunday and Yeldon once again will draw the start. The Jaguars did go out and sign Jamaal Charles this week which is a bad sign for Fournette owners. Yeldon should not have his usage impacted by the Charles signing however and will continue to see a heavy workload. Start him in all formats and in PPR consider him an RB1.
Update: As of publishing, the Jaguars traded for RB Carlos Hyde. With only two days notice, I don’t think that Hyde will be much of a threat to Yeldon’s carries this week. Moving forward, that backfield is an absolute mess, but for week 7, Yeldon is still a start option, and a confident one.
Devonta Freeman’s season is likely over, the Falcons placed him on IR this past week. That leaves Tevin Coleman as the lead back for the Falcons going forward. Coleman is a solid pass catcher and a hard runner, and I expect him to benefit greatly from this opportunity. The Giants have allowed 4.4 yards per carry and I expect Coleman to feast this week.
It’s all about the backup running backs being thrust into starting roles this week. With Dalvin Cook still recovering from his injury I expect a good dose of Latavius Murray yet again. There is some speculation that Cook will play, however, I do not anticipate the Vikings to throw a heavy workload at him in his first week back. Murray is a solid flex play.
Drake has been outproduced by Frank Gore lately. That would not have turned anyone’s head three years ago, but in 2018 that’s not at all what we were expecting. After a fumble at the goal line last week Drake is likely on a short leash. Stay far away from Drake until the coaching staff proves they have confidence in him again.
Derrick Henry is averaging only 40 yards a game and 3.1 yards per carry. The entire offense has been poor lately and until that turns around there are no Titans worth starting.
Crowell is the DeSean Jackson of running backs this year. He’s as boom or bust as they come. Splitting time in the backfield with Bilal Powell is too hard to predict on a week to week basis. Until that becomes clearer Crowell is only a high upside play if you’re desperate.
Landry has seen 29 targets since Baker Mayfield took over but only converted 11 of them into catches. We’re just waiting for Landry and Mayfield to get on the same page because once they do, the potential for greatness exists here. Tampa Bay has a poor defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to receivers in the NFL. This is a big bounce-back spot for both Landry and Mayfield and I expect it to happen.
Gordon led the team in targets with nine last week against the Chiefs as Brady looked for him early and often. The Bears host a top-notch defense, but it looks like Khalil Mack may miss this game. If that’s the case Brady will have more time to throw and given time, Gordon is a fantastic deep threat. He’s only been in New England a short time, so it will take a bit before Brady and Gordon are perfectly in sync but once they are…. watch out.
Hilton has been able to log full practices for the first time in weeks and should have no problem starting in a good match-up with the Bills. Andrew Luck continues to throw on pace for over 750 pass attempts which would be an NFL record. The return of Marlon Mack certainly helps the ground game but overall the Colts cannot run the ball with much success. Luck will continue to throw, and with his favorite target back, expect Hilton to be heavily involved immediately.
Fuller suffers similarly to Watson in the match-up against the Jaguars. Since the emergence of Keke Coutee, Fuller has seen a downturn in production and I don’t expect him to get back on track this week. He’s still handling two injuries with his hip and hamstring; consider Fuller a boom or bust option that’s best left on the bench.
Davis had his worst game of the season in week 6 hauling in only one pass for 24 yards on four targets. The Titans offense has been awful in 2018 and until Marcus Mariota can get it together, you can’t trust Davis no matter how much talent he has. At this point, he is not only a ‘sit’ but in shallow leagues, he’s a drop candidate.
Prior to week 6, Wilson had averaged only 3.4 catches and 41 yards per game. That’s not a fantasy starter. Don’t be fooled by one big game which was a result of a good YAC (yards after catch) performance. Wilson is small and fast, so he can occasionally bust open a big play, but he’s not reliable enough to be a starter unless you’re absolutely desperate.
Uzomah benefits this week from a matchup against Kansas City in what should be a shootout. Traditionally, Andy Dalton favors his tight ends and seems to have found his new guy since Tyler Eifert exited for the season. If you’re in a pinch, Uzomah is a solid streamer this week.
Hooper now has back to back weeks of 9 receptions for at least 70 yards. Atlanta’s defense continues to struggle and as such, they will continue to have to throw the ball. Hooper isn’t quite an elite option just yet but if this trend continues he could be. Start him this week with confidence and hope you’ve found an emerging star.
Kittle is averaging 4.5 catches and 71.5 yards per game in the first six weeks of the season. That would be fine on its own, but the 49ers have the Rams this week and will have to put up points to keep up with that offense. Kittle is a top 10 Tight End option this week with a ceiling to be top 5.
The return of O.J. Howard to the offense spells doom for Cameron Brate. While Jameis has a soft spot in his heart for Brate, Howard is the Tight End to own in that offense. Brate will occasionally get end zone looks so if you want to roll the dice on a touchdown then Brate is your guy. If you want more reliable catches and yards, Brate belongs on your fantasy bench.
In a tough match-up against the Ravens, I expect Drew Brees to struggle and that won’t help Watson whatsoever. Watson has been targeted in the RedZone often but has not scored a touchdown yet in 2018. The Ravens defense also has not allowed a touchdown to a tight end this season and I don’t expect Watson to be the one to change that. There are better options on the waiver wire.
Engram should play this week, but it’s his first week back and he plays on a Monday night. We may not know his availability until right before game time and if he’s out then you’re taking a 0 at tight end. Simply put, don’t risk it.
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