Oct 14, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (10) makes the catch against Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Jordan Lucas (24) in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Week 7 Starts and Sits

Bye Weeks: Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

Starts

QB

Joe Flacco (vs. New Orleans)

The Joe Flacco rollercoaster continues as he enters a prime week 7 matchup. Flacco has been serviceable this year and startable in all plus matchups as he continues to do just enough to keep Lamar Jackson (mostly) on the sidelines. Flacco draws a matchup against a Saints defense that was struggling against the pass heading into their week 6 bye, allowing an average of 25.1 fantasy points per week to quarterbacks and allowing 11 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions on the season. Flacco has a prime matchup to capitalize on in week 7.

Andy Dalton (at Kansas City)

Andy Dalton’s stellar 2018 season has an excellent chance to continue with an excellent matchup against the Chiefs. Dalton played excellent against a terrible Steelers defense in week 6, throwing for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. He gets an equally juicy matchup in week 7 against a Chiefs defense giving up an average of 23.7 points per week to quarterbacks and fresh off getting carved up by Tom Brady. Dalton has the weapons and the offense to have a top 10 week, especially with some of the quarterbacks on bye in week 7.

Sam Darnold (vs Minnesota), Matt Stafford (at Miami), Baker Mayfield (at Tampa Bay)

Despite coming into 2018 with a highly respected defense, the Minnesota Vikings has largely disappointed, coming into week 7 as the 6th worst defense against the pass (22.6 points, 10 touchdowns/ 3 interceptions). Sam Darnold is coming off another strong performance, completing 24 of 30 attempts for 280 yards and a 2/1 TD/INT ratio against the Colts. Darnold has an excellent matchup to try build upon 2 straight positive performances. The Miami Dolphins have had success against opposing passers this season, but that didn’t stop Mitch Trubisky from completing 71% of his passes for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns last week in a losing effort. Look for Matt Stafford to find ways to exploit the Dolphins secondary, especially coming off a bye week and with excellent weapons in Marvin Jones Jr, Golden Tate, and Kenny Golladay. Baker Mayfield has been less than stellar since taking over the starting job full time, throwing more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4). However, if there is a week for him to flourish, it is week 7 against a Tampa Bay defense that is allowing an average of 28.6 points to opposing quarterbacks and just fired their defensive coordinator. Baker’s matchup is too good to ignore in week 7 if you’re looking for a streaming option.

RB

David Johnson (vs Denver)

Let’s be honest, if your drafted David Johnson you’re probably playing him regardless (unless you have ridiculous running back depth and have been able to play off his uneven start). But understand, his matchup in week 7 doesn’t get much better. In the last three weeks, the Broncos have been gashed by opposing running games, allowing 89 carries for 677 yards (7.6 per carry) and 4 touchdowns. David Johnson is a lock as a must start as long as Denver continues to be clueless against the run.

Kerryon Johnson (at Miami)

Going into the bye week, Kerryon Johnson was getting consistent workloads in the Detroit offense, getting double-digit touches in the run and pass game each week. He enters week 7 against a Dolphins defense that has allowed over 90 yards on the ground in five of their 6 games and over 4 yards per carry on the season. Beyond that, they are surrendering an average of 31.7 fantasy points per week to the position, good for 4th worst in the NFL.

Phillip Lindsay (at Arizona), Joe Mixon (at Kansas City), Carlos Hyde (at Tampa Bay)

The Thursday Night matchup features two defenses that have no idea how to stop the run game, leaving Phillip Lindsay with an excellent matchup as well. With Denver’s defense struggling, the offense may find itself in another situation where they need explosive plays. Lindsay only had 4 carries for 18 yards against the Rams but converted 6 catches for 48 yards. His value lies in his versatility, and he should have another opportunity to show out in week 7. Joe Mixon has been highly effective since his return from injury, converting 11 week 6 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers. He also added 4 catches for 20 yards, continuing his emergence as a three down threat this season. His week 7 matchup, the Kansas City Chiefs, are allowing running backs to score 35.8 points per week and just allowed Sony Michel to carry the ball 24 times for 106 yards (4.4 per carry) and 2 touchdowns. Mixon has a prime matchup to cause some serious damage. Finally, Carlos Hyde continues to get double-digit touches out of the backfield per game. Despite gaining only 34 yards on 14 carries against the Chargers in week 6, he enters week 7 with a prime matchup against a Buccaneers team allowing 30.6 points to fantasy running backs this season. Don’t be surprised if the Browns give Hyde more work to open up opportunities for Baker Mayfield in the play-action passing game.

WR

Josh Gordon (at Chicago)

After two weeks of playing 18 snaps, Josh Gordon’s usage skyrocketed in week 6 against the Chiefs. He was on the field for 63 plays (81%) and collected 9 targets, catching 5 of them for 42 yards. Despite their status as a strong defense this season, the Bears have actually struggled against opposing wideouts, allowing 40.4 fantasy points per week. Gordon is in prime position to capitalize against the Bears secondary given his expanding role and their inability to stop the quick passing game.

Devin Funchess (at Philadelphia)

Devin Funchess has been the most consistent target for Cam Newton in the receiving corp (no offense Christian McCaffrey), as he turned in a 5/74/1 line against Josh Norman and the Redskins defense. Funchess has a chance to have an explosive week considering the fact that the Eagles are the 3rd worst defense against fantasy receivers this season, allowing 46.8 points per week. Funchess has excellent value in the red zone and should have the ability to get another touchdown in the end zone against a questionable Eagles secondary.

John Brown (vs New Orleans), Sterling Shepard (at Atlanta), Jarvis Landry (at Tampa Bay)

One week after being targeted 14 times, John Brown finally turned in a weak performance, catching only 2 of his 3 targets for 28 yards against the Titans. A lot of this can be blamed on the ineptitude of the Titans offense as they struggled to gain any traction on offense, allowing the Ravens to establish a run game to keep the game moving. Given the matchup this week, Brown may find himself in another shootout scenario, which should improve his overall ability to collect catches and targets. Sterling Shepard once again collected 7 targets in week 6, catching 3 of them for 37 yards against the Eagles. While Eli Manning has struggled, Shepard continues to get targets and his work in the short to intermediate game allows him to have a ton of upside to collect Manning’s errant throws. Shepard has a prime matchup in the slot against a Falcons team allowing 43.4 fantasy points to opposing receivers and lack their starters in the middle of the field, which is where Shepard does his damage. One week after his most disappointing matchup to date (2 catches on 9 targets for 11 yards), Jarvis Landry steps into a prime matchup against a Tampa Bay defense that has let opposing receivers run rampant against them this season (49.0 PPG). Landry and Baker Mayfield have struggled to find chemistry the past few games, but that may not matter against a Buccaneers defense that seems to struggle with the concept of stopping the forward pass.

TE

David Njoku (at Tampa Bay)

While Jarvis Landry has struggled to find chemistry with Baker Mayfield, David Njoku has flourished. He once again was targeted over 10 times (12), catching the ball 7 times for 55 yards and a touchdown. If Tampa Bay is bad against opposing receivers, they are especially bad against tight ends (20.1 points per week). Given his apparent chemistry with Mayfield, and the prime matchup, Njoku is poised for a huge week.

Ricky Seals-Jones (vs Denver)

The Broncos have been less than stellar against tight ends this season (15.4 points per week) and Seals-Jones seems to be establishing rapport with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. One week after catching 0 of 6 targets, Seals-Jones converted on 5 of 6 attempts for 69 yards against Minnesota. Denver and Arizona are both awful teams, and this game could somehow turn into a shootout, which should mean at least more consistent targets and more chances to have a big game.

CJ Uzomah (at Kansas City), Charles Clay (at Indianapolis), Trey Burton (at New England)

The Bengals offense has been firing on all cylinders so far this season, and a big part of that offense revolves around quick targets to tight ends. Now that Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft are both out, that leaves the bulk of the workload to CJ Uzomah. In his first game as the primary tight end, Uzomah gained 54 yards on 6 catches (7 targets). Uzomah has an opportunity to build on this performance against the Chiefs who are allowing fantasy tight ends to average 17.7 points per week. The Buffalo offense has been awful this season and doesn’t figure to get much better with Nathan Peterman at the helm (more on him later). However, Charles Clay enters this week with an excellent matchup. Coming off a 4 catch for 20-yard week, Clay faces a Colts defense allowing the 6th most fantasy points to tight ends this season (15.3). With Peterman in the fold again, look for a lot of check downs and dump offs, which gives Clay high upside in week 7. Trey Burton hasn’t filled the fantasy role of Travis Kelce a lot of people envisioned for him in the previous offseason, but he is coming off a second consecutive week with at least 4 targets and a touchdown. The Patriots are allowing tight ends to average 14.8 fantasy points per week this season, giving Burton a shot at another week finding the end zone.

Sits

QB

DeShaun Watson (at Jacksonville)

Deshaun Watson has been solid but not spectacular to start the 2018 (a lot of that can be attributed to a lack of run game/competent offensive line). Watson is coming off a fantasy letdown week against the Buffalo Bills where he threw for 177 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. His week 7 matchup is incredibly more difficult, going against a Jaguars defense that was just picked apart by Dak Prescott to the tune of 183 yards and two touchdowns. Odds are that the Jaguars will be more aggressive in week 7 to atone for their letdown against Dallas, which could mark problems for Watson and the Texans.

Nathan Peterman (or Derek Anderson?) (at Indianapolis)

Despite the Colts lackluster ability against opposing quarterbacks, the Peterman/Anderson duo should fail to strike fear into any opposing teams hearts. Nathan Peterman has thrown 9 interceptions in 79 career attempts and the last game action Derek Anderson saw was with the Panthers in 2017 where he completed 2 of 8 attempts for 17 yards. Outside of that simple fact, the Buffalo weapons outside of LeSean McCoy are extremely underwhelming. The Colts are actually fielding a solid defense this season, meaning no matter how desperate you get, you should stay as far away from the Bills QB options as possible.

Jameis Winston (vs Cleveland), Case Keenum (at Arizona), Marcus Mariota (at LA Chargers)

Jameis Winston ended up being an excellent QB play against the Falcons last week, which should be no surprise considering Atlanta is the second worst fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks. While the Tampa defense is still awful, Winston may find some struggles against Cleveland’s aggressive secondary and defensive scheme (allowing only 14.6 fantasy points this year). Winston should have high volume upside once again, but this could also exploit him to more turnovers (which he already has a tendency to do). Case Keenum has followed up his extraordinary campaign with the Vikings in 2017 with a dud of a season in 2018, throwing 8 interceptions to 7 touchdowns to date. It is worth noting that Keenum has thrown four of his seven touchdowns in the last two weeks against the Rams and Jets, but both of those matchups came in pass heavy game scripts. The Cardinals are only allowing opposing quarterbacks to generate 15.1 fantasy points per game this season, which could create difficulties for Keenum once again. Marcus Mariota has struggled the last two weeks, combining to throw for 246 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception against the Bills and Ravens. The Chargers haven’t been great against quarterbacks this season (allowing 18.6 points per week), but Mariota just hasn’t been up to snuff attacking teams through the air and could continue to struggle once again.

RB

Mark Ingram (at Baltimore)

Inevitably, it’s easy to be extremely high on Mark Ingram after his debut against the Redskins (16 carries for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns). However, it is possible to see a more even shift away from Ingram to try and split the workload better between Ingram and Kamara, especially following the Saints bye week. Beyond all of that, the Ravens defense has been dominant against opposing rushing attacks, allowing only 13.4 fantasy points per week and 1 touchdown on the season. Ingram should be a strong RB option for the rest of the season but may be worth sitting on the bench if you have better options in week 7.

Isaiah Crowell (vs Minnesota)

The Vikings have been as good against running backs this season as they have bad against quarterbacks and receivers. Opposing RB’s are averaging only 18.2 points against the Vikings front 7 and have only 1 rushing touchdown and 2 receiving touchdowns. Crowell followed up his 219-yard effort against the Broncos with 13 carries for 40 yards against the Colts. Crowell has been extremely hit or miss this season and may cede touches to Bilal Powell as the Jets try to attack the perimeter against the Vikings.

Jordan Howard (vs New England), Derrick Henry (at LA Chargers), Lamar Miller (at Jacksonville)

Jordan Howard finally had a decent week against the Dolphins, carrying the ball 14 times for 69 yards. Overall, this is been a very disappointing season for Howard as he is averaging only 3.5 yards per carry and has produced only 1 touchdown on the ground. New England is average against the run (23.9 fantasy points per game), but their defense is comprised of players who struggle to get to the perimeter both in the passing and running game. This could be another script that heavily favors Tarik Cohen’s explosive speed, which will only cut into Howard’s production. We are getting dangerously close to enshrining Derrick Henry in the sit em hall of fame and hanging his jersey in the rafters of players you should never start for any reason. Henry ran into the Baltimore run defense buzzsaw in week 6, carrying the ball 7 times for 21 yards and once again producing only 3.0 yards per carry. He also isn’t contributing much at all in the passing game with Dion Lewis in the backfield. The Chargers have only surrendered 21.9 fantasy points to opposing running backs, but just shut down Cleveland’s run game. Lamar Miller hasn’t been much better than Derek Henry this season, carrying the ball 73 times for 271 yards (3.7 per carry) and generating zero touchdowns. He has been able to add 79 yards on 10 catches, which does provide some sort of PPR upside at least. Jacksonville has done well against the run game this season (19.1 ppg), and the Texans offensive line is so bad Miller may be fighting off defensive lineman in the backfield, severely limiting his week 7 upside.

WR

Calvin Ridley (vs NY Giants)

Calvin Ridley was a hot fantasy commodity for several weeks this season, but he has cooled off in weeks 5 and 6, catching 7 of 8 targets for 85 yards and 0 scores. Beyond that, Ridley suffered a bone bruise in his ankle against the Buccaneers which knocked him out of the game. The Giants are the second best team against wide receivers in 2018, allowing an average of 29.5 points per week and allowing only 4 touchdowns this season. Ridley’s injury, combined with a strong secondary, could mean you should look in a secondary place for a receiver in week 7.

Chester Rogers (vs Buffalo)

Chester Rogers has been a solid option for Andrew Luck in the absence of Jack Doyle and TY Hilton, collecting double-digit targets each of the last 3 weeks. Against the Jets, Rogers caught 4 of 10 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown. One of the big issues with Rogers so far has been drops, but with the lack of talent and dearth of injuries for the Colts, they don’t have a choice but to feed him the ball. The Bills have done well against opposing wide receivers, surrendering an average of 32.9 points per week to receivers. They also boast lockdown corner Tre’Davious White, who could shadow Rogers considering locks propensity to target him in the passing game.

Demaryius Thomas (at Arizona), Will Fuller (at Jacksonville), Josh Doctson (vs Dallas)

Demaryius Thomas has been up and down this season and saw his lowest target total against the Rams, seeing only 4 passes come his direction. However, he did capture 3 of those attempts, getting 57 yards and a touchdown. He has definitely been victim to Case Keenum’s inconsistency and could struggle considering the number of routes he runs from the outside and the high likelihood he gets Patrick Peterson matched up across from him. Will Fuller has been the receiver who has suffered most in Houston with the emergence of rapport between DeShaun Watson and Keke Coutee. Fuller was the recipient of 3 targets, catching 2 of them for 33 yards against the Bills in week 6. While the whole Houston offense scuffled behind the inconsistency of DeShaun Watson, Fuller has put together back to back underwhelming weeks. His task doesn’t get any easier against a Jacksonville defense motivated to show out after two rough weeks. Even with Jamison Crowder missing week 6 against Carolina, Josh Doctson couldn’t find a consistent workload. He was targeted 6 times, catching 3 for 20 yards in a receiver corp looking for somebody to step up. His task gets infinitely more difficult this week, facing a Dallas defense allowing the 3rd fewest points to opposing receivers (30.8) and featuring lockdown corner, Byron Jones.

TE

Kyle Rudolph (at NY Jets)

Kyle Rudolph has been extremely consistent this season, catching 27 of 31 targets for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns. While he faces a Jets defense that allowed Colts tight ends to catch 2 touchdowns, a lot of that could be attributed to the fact that the Colts lack perimeter weapons and are forced to feed their tight ends. The Vikings, however, have plenty of acceptable targets in the form of Adam Theilen and Stefon Diggs. Combine that with the fact that the Jets are only allowing tight ends to score 11 fantasy points per week and you find yourself in a situation where Rudolph could disappoint in week 7.

Greg Olsen (at Philadelphia)

Greg Olsen had a great week off his foot injury, collecting 4 of 7 targets for 48 yards. His assignment gets much more difficult in week 7 as he faces an Eagles defense that is allowing tight ends to score only 8.0 fantasy points per week and have only allowed 230 yards and 1 touchdown on the year. Olsen is still the best tight end in Carolina but could serve as a decoy to open up Christian McCaffrey and the perimeter weapons.

Ben Watson (at Baltimore), Austin Hooper (vs NY Giants), Hayden Hurst (vs New Orleans)

Ben Watson continued to get consistent targets in week 6, catching 4 of 4 targets for 30 yards against the Redskins defense. The Ravens are only allowing tight ends to score 10.9 fantasy points per week and have yet to allow an opposing tight end to reach the end zone in the 2018 season. Austin Hooper has capitalized on two prime matchups against two poor defenses against tight ends the past two weeks (Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay). He has caught 18 of 22 targets for 148 yards and a touchdown in these prime matchups. In week 7, he gets a much more difficult assignment in the Giants who have only allowed 10.1 points to tight ends. Given the excellent weapons at Matt Ryan’s disposal, its possible Hooper finds himself in the background for the first time in several weeks. Despite the excitement around Hayden Hurst’s return off of an injury, he has yet to emerge as a viable passing option collecting only 3 targets for 1 catch and 7 yards in 2 games. Despite their lack of defensive presence, the Saints have done well against tight ends this season, allowing only 8.1 points per week against the position. Chances are Hurst doesn’t emerge as a premier target yet again in week 7, despite his growing snap count on a weekly basis.

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