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Top 10 Fantasy Football Busts for Week 7

It's Week 7 and we are officially halfway through the fantasy regular season. With fingers crossed that the season continues to operate with minimal disruption, we can allow football to the forefront of our minds as it appears all games will be played as scheduled this week.

Assuming that's the case, fantasy GMs rostering Ravens, Colts, Vikings, and Dolphins will have to make alternate arrangements. That means prominent names such as Lamar Jackson, Jonathan Taylor, Dalvin Cook, and Ryan Fitz... err, I mean, Tua Tagovailoa, will not be available.

Luckily, our RotoBaller team is here to help fantasy managers navigate through issues such as bye weeks and waiver wire pickups while providing insight on every fantasy football matchup. As you prepare to set your lineups for a victorious Week 7, make sure to move potential fantasy landmines to your bench. Below are my top ten fantasy football busts for Week 7. Good luck!

 

Jared Goff vs. Chicago Bears

Jared Goff takes on a menacing Bears Defense in Week 7 that he has seriously struggled against in recent times. The past two matchups with the Bears have produced five interceptions and zero touchdown passes from Goff, the current QB16 on the season. Goff has been hit or miss, with three QB1 performances mixed in amongst three bust weeks.

The Bears have allowed the lowest completion percentage in the NFL at 57.1% and Goff lacks the mobility to extend plays and escape Khalil Mack and company. Expect the Rams to lean on the run in a projected low-scoring affair, affording minimal fantasy upside to the former number one pick.

 

Josh Jacobs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The entire Las Vegas Raiders’ starting offensive line currently resides on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That is troublesome, to say the least, for a starting running back. Fortunately, there is hope that they can be cleared prior to kickoff, but the NFL has changed the schedule in anticipation of a potential outbreak. Fantasy managers, therefore, must pay close attention to the status of this game, as well as its participants, as the fantasy fate of Jacobs could swing wildly depending on the outcome of test results.

Beyond that, the Buccaneers rank eighth against fantasy running backs, meaning Jacobs will have his work cut out for him even if his top blockers are available. The Buccaneers completely shut down the red-hot Packers last week and are an imposing matchup for offenses in general, as they rank third against quarterbacks to go along with their stifling run defense. Jacobs is a talented workhorse and simply cannot be benched, but managers rostering strong alternatives may be forced to consider such a drastic move if his offensive line is inactive.

 

Michael Gallup vs. Washington Football Team

Michael Gallup is fifth in targets for Dallas, behind Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dalton Schultz. He has lost his starting quarterback and the division-rival Football Team poses a challenging test in Week 7, as Washington has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Andy Dalton looked much worse than many expected in his first start as a Cowboy and his injury-riddled offensive line could pose serious problems.

Dalton should have better days than he had versus Arizona, as Ezekiel Elliott’s costly fumbles put the team in a difficult position, but this offense is going to take a bigger hit than fantasy managers hoped following Dak Prescott’s injury. Gallup is best left on the fantasy sidelines this week.

 

Tyler Higbee vs. Chicago Bears

Over the past four games, Tyler Higbee has run 67 routes to Gerald Everett’s 52 routes, has out-targeted Everett only 12-11, and has been outscored by Everett 25.3 to 19.8 in terms of fantasy points. This has become a full-blown timeshare, a fact not demonstrated by Higbee’s TE8 standing. Higbee was the TE1 overall during his Week 2 explosion but has not finished above TE16 in any other week. With only two games above 40 receiving yards, Higbee is touchdown-dependent. Considering he has scored in only one game this season and Goff has failed to throw a single touchdown pass in his last two matchups with the Bears, GMs can find more viable options elsewhere.

 

Jimmy Garoppolo vs. New England Patriots

Jimmy Garoppolo is fresh off a three-touchdown performance against a strong Rams’ defense. Unfortunately, he gets another tough opponent this week. Although he finally has both George Kittle and Deebo Samuel in the lineup at the same time, the Patriots have been downright dominant against opposing quarterbacks who aren’t named Russell Wilson.

Last week was the first time Garoppolo has finished inside the top eighteen quarterbacks and a road trip to Foxborough is not the recipe for streaming success. Even Patrick Mahomes was held to a QB17 finish against the Patriots. Garoppolo has yet to throw more than 33 times in a game this season and will require either increased volume or top-notch efficiency to justify a spot in fantasy lineups. Don’t bet on either of those things occurring and leave Garoppolo on benches this time around.

 

Henry Ruggs III vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Henry Ruggs is coming off the first fantasy-relevant performance of his career but faces the sixth-toughest matchup for wide receivers this week in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even in last week’s 118-yard performance, Ruggs accumulated only three targets. The volume is clearly not there for Ruggs yet. Fortunately, he possesses the type of skill set that does not require heavy volume. On any given play, Ruggs can produce a week’s worth of fantasy points.

While that makes him somewhat matchup proof, at least to an extent, the Buccaneers have not been prone to allowing big plays this season. Receivers average the second-fewest yards per reception against Tampa Bay. Further, with the entire Raiders’ offensive line in question, quarterback Derek Carr may be forced to get the ball out of his hands quickly. As such, the time for longer routes to develop may not be there. Ruggs is an upside play for managers needing a home run but be aware of his basement-level floor.

 

John Brown vs. New York Jets

John Brown went for 70 yards and a score in his first outing against the Jets this year. Since following that up with a second score in Week 2, Brown has done practically nothing. Injuries have played a big role in that, but the injury bug has not yet abandoned him. Brown missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday and appears nowhere near 100% health. Even if he suits up, Brown is likely to be extremely hobbled, as was evident in his zero-catch performance last week.

The Jets are middle of the road against fantasy receivers, mostly due to teams running out the clock in blowout wins against them and present a beatable matchup for Brown if healthy. Thus, it remains pertinent that managers monitor practice reports to see whether Brown returns to a limited session prior to gameday. Otherwise, Brown’s risk outweighs his potential reward.

 

Hayden Hurst vs. Detroit Lions

Hayden Hurst has not approached the breakout level that many fantasy enthusiasts dreamed of when he arrived in Atlanta to replace Austin Hooper. Although his involvement has not garnered every-week TE1 treatment, the state of the position has forced managers to treat him as such. While that remains the case, the Lions have been a surprisingly daunting matchup for opposing tight ends this season. That point remains to be truly tested, as the Lions have yet to face a top-tier tight end, but one could argue that trend is continuing this week.

The entire offense has functioned at a higher level whenever Julio Jones is in the lineup, for obvious reasons, so managers rostering Hurst can look to that fact for positive reinforcement. Otherwise, one could shutter at the notion that the Lions have allowed the lowest completion rate to tight ends in the NFL and that they allow only 5.3 fantasy points per game to the position, which is second in the league. Pivot where possible.

 

Jerry Jeudy vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Jerry Jeudy has taken a back seat lately as Tim Patrick has broken out with back-to-back games over 100 receiving yards. Patrick has out-targeted Jeudy fifteen to nine over that span. Jeudy had been averaging 8.33 targets per game prior to this slide and we will have to see him move back towards that number before getting excited about starting the rookie in tough matchups.

The Chiefs rank fifth against fantasy receivers, giving up an average of only 25.5 points to the position. Stefon Diggs was held to a meager 46 receiving yards against Kansas City last week, and although Diggs saved his day with a touchdown, Jeudy has scored only once thus far. Noah Fant is expected back this week, as is Melvin Gordon. The offense should operate more efficiently at full strength, but there is also more competition for targets. Jeudy is a promising stash but not one to be started until he reclaims a more prominent role in the offense.

 

Jared Cook vs. Carolina Panthers

There was a point this season that it appeared Emmanuel Sanders was done. In his last three games, Sanders has commanded 28 targets and turned that opportunity into 22 receptions for 271 yards and a touchdown. Comparatively, Jared Cook has been targeted only 4.5 times per game. That is notable, as last year Cook did not have to compete with Sanders for targets behind Michael Thomas.

Thomas has missed basically the entire season and is questionable for this week after picking up a hamstring injury to go along with his ankle issue. If Thomas suits up, it would mean considerably fewer targets available for options such as Cook, Sanders, and Tre’Quan Smith. Even if Thomas misses this week, the matchup is not ideal for a low-volume pass-catcher such as Cook. The Panthers are eighth against fantasy tight ends and have managed that success despite facing names like Darren Waller, Rob Gronkowski, Hunter Henry, Hayden Hurst, and Jimmy Graham. The common theme amongst brand name tight ends is that managers are forced to play them due to a lack of capable alternatives, and that remains true here. GMs should not kick Cook to the curb for a desperation streaming candidate but should plug in a more attractive option wherever possible.



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NFL Betting Picks For Week 7 (10/25/2020) - Moneylines, Totals, and Spreads

We had a solid 2-0 start last week after Detroit and Tampa bay did what they needed to do. Then I put too much trust in Andy Dalton to lead a new team and he let us down substantially. Dallas is in real trouble here if he can't figure it out, and that's a terrible thing considering the talent on that offense. Nonetheless, we move onto Week 7. I wasn't even sure if we'd get to this point in the season, but here we are!

  • Week 6: 2-1 (67%, +.85u)
  • 2020 Season: 10-7-1 (55%, +3.07u)

(You can stop the intro here if you’ve read this article before). However, things are going to get interesting with the amount of injuries we're seeing around the league, but that will make capping more fun, I think? I'm not a professional but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm here to bring you my best bets and recommendations for Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season. I'll be here at RotoBaller all season long and you can find me on Twitter @RotoStevieJ. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and please bet responsibly!

 

Green Bay Packers (-3.5, -186) at Houston Texans

O/U: 57

As I called it last week, the Packers were going to struggle against Tampa Bay's defense. Sure, Aaron Rodgers and co. got up 10-0 early and then proceeded to give up 38 straight points for their first loss. Rodgers had been just about as perfect as you could be coming into that game, but he's ready to put the two picks behind him. To help him, the team needs to get back to running the ball. After rushing for 417 yards through the first two games, they've rushed for just 280 in the last three combined. It would help if they decided to stick with their workhorse Aaron Jones (five touchdowns), but they've been sprinkling in Jamaal Williams quite frequently. Davante Adams is back, so when they do pass, expect Rodgers to look his way almost exclusively.

This Texans team is a mess and a half. Having Deshaun Watson has kept this team respectable from an offensive perspective, one man and a few of his offensive teammates can only foot so much of the bill. David Johnson has been mediocre at best, but that's more an estimation of the offensive line. Will Fuller is off to a great start but has one of the tougher matchups in the league this week with Jaire Alexander. On the other end, the Texans house one of the worst defensive units, allowing 30 ppg and over 420 ypg. Green Bay will certainly be a test, considering the Houston allowed over 600 yards against Tampa Bay.

Green Bay is 7-4 against the spread after a loss since the 2018 season, and while that's not otherworldly, it does show that they come ready to play following a defeat. Rodgers is still an elite quarterback and last week was a strange occurrence for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Green Bay has better weapons and a better defense, albeit not great themselves. While this is a very popular public play, I love the Pack in a bounce-back effort. If you’re the type of gambler to fade the public, I would completely understand the rationale as well.

Pick: Green Bay -3.5 (-106, Fanduel) 1 Unit

 

Kansas City (-9.5, -435) at Denver Broncos

O/U: 46

The Chiefs took reign over the Bills thanks to a stout run game in a rain-soaked Monday Night Football game. Tallying 245 yards on the ground means Patrick Mahomes doesn't have to be the star and savior, and that's what makes them so dangerous. The gunslinger averages 280 ypg with 16TD and just one interception and has his full arsenal of weapons. This will also be the first time we see Le'Veon Bell in a Chiefs uniform, so it will be interesting to see how they utilize him with rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1.

The Broncos actually have one of the best defenses in the league through their first five games. They rank in the Top 10 in both rush and pass defense DVOA. The problem is their offense's ineptitude has them on the field constantly; their opponents average over 32 minutes of possession when Denver is host, compared to just 28 when on the road. They held the Patriots in check last week, but yet again, their offenses inability to sustain drives score (just 12 points!!) hampered them. Considering the Broncos allow just 22 ppg, there is room for improvement here with a better offense, but sadly it's tough to expect from Denver.

Kansas City might be a little timid with displaying too much of Bell in his first game, but that's not an issue when you have Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. They're averaging 27.7 ppg on the road thus far but I see them coming out and firing against their divisional opponent. I'd trust the full game over, but Denver's offense scares me.

Pick: Kansas City Team Total Over 27.5 (-104, Draftkings) 1 Unit

 

Seattle Seahawks (-3.5, -177) at Arizona Cardinals

O/U: 56

Fresh off their bye week, Seattle has scored at least 31 points in four of their five games and is true contender for the NFC Championship at 5-0. Russell Wilson makes defenses pay and his weapons Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf are part of that with nine combined touchdowns. The fun part of this offense is that Chris Carson hasn't even gotten started. The team averages just 115 ypg on the ground, but keep in mind Carson was dealing with injuries prior to their Week 6 bye. This is a team that has averaged over 130 rushing ypg over the last two seasons, so expect the run game to see an uptick relatively soon. Defensively, Seattle has been stout against the run, allowing just 110 ypg, but they have some real issues against the pass, allowing 370 ypg, the worst mark in the league.

Arizona is fresh off of two blow out wins against garbage teams, the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, sans Dak Prescott. While they've scored 30 and 38 in their last two games, respectively, they averaged 24.5 ppg in their first four contests. Kyler Murray is such an exciting dual-threat player but still has some work to do, as evidenced by the six interceptions. He's led the offense to average 402.5 ypg, good for fifth in the NFL. The run game has been at the forefront, as they've tallied at least 109 yards in every game so far. In terms of passing, naturally, DeAndre Hopkins is the only passing option worth noting as he's accounted for over 40% of the team's passing yards through six games. On the defensive end, the Cardinals have been better at home allowing just 319 yards of offense but keep in mind that was against Washington and Detroit. Patrick Peterson is a shell of his former self and they're also without top pass rusher Chandler Jones.

The Cardinals have had a pretty easy schedule so far playing Washington, Detroit, and the Jets. While the Seahawks schedule hasn't really been much better, their 5-0 record would be more worrisome if the talent on the team wasn't as strong, but this unit was expected to contend for the big one. This is a primetime spot that Seattle is used to, and against an inferior team, give me the Seahawks.

Pick: Seattle -3.5 (-106, Draftkings) 1 Unit



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Booms and Busts - Starts and Sits for Week 7 Lineups

Week 6 in the NFL brought what may be one of the cleanest weeks of action to begin the season. With no catastrophic injuries affecting teams for the remainder of the year, the play on the field seemed to settle in as the more well-known players performed up to par. With big weeks from Derrick Henry and Julio Jones, along with others, it felt like all was right with the world. Now the question will be can they keep it up, or will we go back to the wild and wacky guessing game that is fantasy football?

Now that we are six weeks into the NFL season the crystal ball is becoming more clear. The cream always rises to the top and talent always finds a way. Which is what we are seeing if you look at positional rankings over the first six weeks. Players like Alvin Kamara and DeAndre Hopkins find themselves in their rightful places. But of course, there are outliers like Josh Allen and Robby Anderson taking full advantage of plus matchups to begin the season and it reflects in their rankings. The guessing game of the early parts of the fantasy season is out the window now and looking at matchups breeds success. Knowing which players are set up for big games while knowing which players are in for tough days and require benching is key for fantasy managers. With several weeks of data at our disposal, sifting through to set optimal lineups should be fairly easy.

Knowing positive and negative matchups is vitally important to a manager's success. That is what we provide for you here with the Woos and Boos of Week 7. I take a look at those under the radar plays that should be considered starting options for the week, while also pointing out the household names that could be in for disappointing weeks based on tough matchups.

 

Week 7 Woos

Matthew Stafford @ Atlanta Falcons

The beneficiary of "Who plays the Falcons?" this week will be Stafford. He has been an up-and-down performer to begin the season and is valued as a QB2 most weeks. But the offense has been without a fully healthy Kenny Golladay and the passing offense was struggling without him. Now with Golladay back, the Lions will be facing the worst defense in fantasy in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks (29.9 FPPG). The defense has continued to play horribly, allowing at least three touchdowns in each game except one (Week 5). Look for that to continue this week as the Stafford/Golladay connection is primed for a big day.

David Johnson vs. Green Bay Packers

I'm usually not one to promote playing David Johnson as I'm not very high on him as a fantasy player. But coming off a solid RB1 week against the Titans he is set up for success yet again in Week 7. He will be facing a Packers Defense that next to last in points allowed to the position (28.0 FPPG) and allows 6.8 FP over the average in scoring. They have had back-to-back weeks allowing multiple touchdowns to opposing RBs and we all saw what Ronald Jones did to this defense. Now the multi-faceted Johnson will get his turn and could turn in yet another RB1 scoring week for fantasy managers.

Tee Higgins vs. Cleveland Browns

Higgins continues to shine each week as the targets have been consistent since Week 3. He seems to be a big play waiting to happen as he is currently top-20 in air yards (525) and deep targets (9). This week he will look to take advantage of a Browns Defense that is near the bottom in points allowed to the position (30.5 FPPG). With the Bengals having plenty of weapons to cover on defense, Higgins should be able to see single coverage all day and I would count on another score in this matchup. I view him as a WR3 going into the week with WR2 upside and should be starting in all lineups.

Logan Thomas vs. Dallas Cowboys

Thomas re-emerged from his vanishing act in Week 6 as he found the end-zone for the first time since Week 1. There could be some sort of rapport between him and Kyle Allen as Thomas recorded a season-high 42 yards on four targets, finishing as TE9 on the week. This week he will look to take advantage of the porous Cowboys Defense, which is currently allowing 9.5 FPPG to the position. Thomas is the perfect candidate to start for managers that like to stream the position.

 

Week 7 Boos

Drew Brees vs. Carolina Panthers

My how the mighty have fallen. What used to be a perennial top-5 QB, Brees has been able to muster only two QB1 finishes on the season. He ranks 20th in passing yards (1,331) and 28th in air yards (1,010), showing that there is an unwillingness to take the shot down the field for the big play. This week could yet again be a struggle facing a Panthers Defense that is one of the best in the league in points allowed to the QB (14.6 FPPG). With Michael Thomas again in question for this offense in Week 7, starting Brees could be a risky proposition for fantasy managers.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire @ Denver Broncos

There are multiple factors here in play as I look at Edwards-Helaire for Week 7. Most fantasy managers will be starting him, or in a position to have to start him. But with Le'Veon Bell set to make his team debut, and facing a very stout Broncos run defense (12.1 FPPG, best in the league), Edwards-Helaire could struggle to find consistency. Sure, he recorded an RB1 finish a week ago (his first since Week 1) and is currently second in rushing yards (505). But he ranks just 16th in yards-per-carry (4.6) and 14th in evaded tackles (25). Look for the sure-tackling Broncos to bring him down early, eliminating his chances to get to the second level. He still will be played by fantasy managers in Week 7, but be sure to temper expectations.

Allen Robinson @ Los Angeles Rams

Robinson, bad quarterback play aside, remains the WR9 on the season. He requires plenty of targets to do his damage in matchups as his ability to get into the end-zone has just not been there (two TDs on the season). He is fourth in the league in receptions (40), third in air yards (674) but just 23rd in scoring. Expecting a quality start from him against a tough Rams secondary (16.3 FPPG, best in fantasy) will be a bit much to ask. He is another player that fantasy managers will be in a position to have to play, but the likelihood that he scores well enough to help you win will be minimal.

Tyler Higbee vs. Chicago Bears

Higbee has been by and large a disappointment for fantasy managers to begin the 2020 season. Aside from his three-score game in Week 2, he has not found the end-zone. The other statistics are not kind to him either. He ranks 21st in targets (21), 26th in routes ran (105), and 25th in red-zone targets (3). All showing a player that is inconsistently used in an offense that ranks 29th in the league in pass plays per game. This week he faces a tough road yet again as the Rams face a Bears Defense that allows just 7.8 FPPG to opposing TEs. With the poor play to begin the season, Higbee could be a player that most fantasy managers should be benching this week and use the waiver wire to stream a better matchup.



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NFL DFS Prop Picks for Week 7 - Monkey Knife Fight

Welcome to Week 7 of the NFL Season! The season is moving right along and has gotten very exciting and that means our friends at Monkey Knife Fight are offering some fantastic props for us to play.

Our friends at Monkey Knife Fight offer some of the coolest, and easiest to win, NFL DFS games in the industry. There are no massive tournaments where you have to get ridiculously lucky just to cash because, at MKF, you're not playing against other people, you're just playing against the house, and the dudes at MKF have fallen all over themselves to give you really attractive opportunities to make some money. With promo code 'BALLER' you can get a $50 deposit bonus.

As always, there are some solid props we can look to take advantage of in a couple of these games including the Lions at Falcons, Panthers at Saints, and Seahawks at Cardinals.

Lions @ Falcons Fantasy Challenge

Recommended Prop Pick:

Kenny Golladay, Todd Gurley, and Calvin Ridley more than 59.5 fantasy points

This game should see plenty of fireworks considering the total is 55. Kenny Golladay is likely to be the beneficiary of several targets in this game as he is currently earning seven targets per game. He will be going up against a defense that is allowing nearly 45 fantasy points to the wide receiver position on the season, which ranks fifth-worst in the league. They do this by allowing nearly 218 receiving yards per game to wideouts and have also given up seven receiving touchdowns to the position, which is tied for fifth-worst in the league.

Todd Gurley is not someone I would normally recommend, but I like him in this spot vs. the Lions. He is currently averaging nearly 17 carries and two receptions per game, which is solid volume for a running back. He will be facing a Lions Defense that has allowed an average of 30 fantasy points per game to the running back position, which is ranked sixth-worst in the league. They have allowed an average of over 5.2 yards per carry and have also given up five scores on the ground to backs. Add in the fact that the Falcons are also favored in this game and Gurley could get some added carries near the end of the game.

Calvin Ridley is an absolute beast and should be included in this prop. He is currently averaging 9.5 targets per game and that should bode well for him vs. the Lions. The Lions are allowing over 40 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, which ranks seventh-worst in the league. They have given up six receiving touchdowns, which is especially significant as this is where Ridley has shined by hauling in five touchdowns through the Falcons' first six games.

Play the Fantasy Challenge Contest Now on Monkey Knife Fight

 

Panthers @ Saints More or Less Contest

Recommended Prop Pick:

Drew Brees less than 280.5 passing yards and Teddy Bridgewater more than 275.5 passing yards

Is Drew Brees capable of going over this total? Sure. Is he going to have to go over this total at home against the Panthers? Not likely. The Panthers have one of the worst run defenses in football. They are currently allowing 4.85 yards per carry to running backs. They are also allowing nearly 104 rushing yards per game to backs, which tells me this is likely to be the Alvin Kamara and even the Latavius Murray show. The Saints should come out in this game looking to establish the run at home early and often and should be able to find plenty of success with this method of attack. The Saints are also 7.5 point favorites as the game currently sits, which is a pretty big number. It likely means the Saints won't be forced to throw late in order to attempt a comeback.

Bridgewater will likely have to throw for the Panthers to find success in this game. New Orleans has a strong run defense as they are currently only allowing running backs to rush for 88 yards per game. They are also only allowing 3.6 yards per carry. This strength does not carry over to their passing game, however, as they are allowing quarterbacks to throw for over 255 yards per game. As mentioned above, the Saints are 7.5 point favorites, which means Carolina will likely be trying to catch up for quite a bit of time in this game. If this happens, Bridgewater has the weapons in Mike Davis, D.J. Moore, and Robby Anderson to throw over this total much the way he did vs. Tampa Bay in a Week 2 contest, which saw the Panthers lose 31-17.

Play the More or Less Contest Now on Monkey Knife Fight

Seahawks @ Cardinals More or Less Contest

Recommended Prop Pick:

Russell Wilson more than 295.5 passing yards and Kyler Murray more than 267.5

This game has all the makings of a shootout with two bad defenses and a game total of 56. Russell Wilson has been on absolute fire in 2020 as he is currently averaging over 300 passing yards per game. He has two of the best weapons in the game at wide receiver in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, which only helps build a case for him in this matchup. While the Cardinals are only allowing 248 passing yards per game, they have not faced an offense anywhere near as reliant on the pass as this Seahawks offense. Arguably the best quarterback this Cardinals team has faced was Matt Stafford in Week 3, and he promptly threw for 270 passing yards. Wilson should be able to get over the total in this spot.

Kyler Murray will be facing the worst secondary in the league and must be played as a more than in this spot. The Seahawks are currently allowing quarterbacks to throw for a whopping 377 passing yard per game. They are also allowing wide receivers to go off for over 274 receiving yards per game. Kyler Murray should be able to have a monster game throwing the ball to DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk. It should also be noted that the Seahawks only allow running backs to rush for 75.6 yards per game, which means the offense should rely heavily on the arm of Murray in this game.

Play the More or Less Contest Now on Monkey Knife Fight

 



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Updated Week 7 PPR Rankings (Top 400)

Welcome to Week 7 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 7 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates:

These rankings are a consensus from four of our lead fantasy football columnists - Nick MarianoPierre Camus, Brandon Murchison, Scott Engel, and Dominick Petrillo - who have all analyzed the NFL matchups and game slates for Week 7.

And in case you weren't aware, our very own Nick Mariano was ranked #11 overall in 2018 out of ~120 industry experts, and was ranked #9 overall the year before. So be sure to follow his rankings every week!

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings (PPR)

You can also see our Week 7 ranks for Half-PPR and Standard scoring.

Note that quarterbacks, defenses and kickers are all grouped separately towards the bottom. Each of those positions is ranked on their own. This is to allow owners to compare running backs, wide receivers and tight ends for their FLEX spot (without seeing QB, DEF, K mixed in).

Last updated on Friday 10/23 at 7:00 am ET:

Tier Rank Player Name Pos
1 1 Alvin Kamara RB
1 2 Aaron Jones RB
1 3 DeAndre Hopkins WR
1 4 Davante Adams WR
1 5 Kareem Hunt RB
1 6 Ezekiel Elliott RB
1 7 Derrick Henry RB
1 8 Stefon Diggs WR
1 9 Mike Davis RB
2 10 Julio Jones WR
2 11 Kenny Golladay WR
2 12 Travis Kelce TE
2 13 D.K. Metcalf WR
2 14 Tyreek Hill WR
2 15 Joe Mixon RB
2 16 James Conner RB
2 17 Calvin Ridley WR
3 18 James Robinson RB
3 19 Chris Carson RB
3 20 Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB
3 21 Allen Robinson II WR
3 22 Keenan Allen WR
3 23 A.J. Brown WR
3 24 Todd Gurley II RB
3 25 Terry McLaurin WR
3 26 Ronald Jones II RB
3 27 Chris Godwin WR
3 28 Tyler Lockett WR
3 29 Will Fuller V WR
3 30 George Kittle TE
3 31 Josh Jacobs RB
3 32 Robert Woods WR
3 33 Amari Cooper WR
3 34 Robby Anderson WR
3 35 Chase Claypool WR
3 36 Michael Thomas WR
3 37 Cooper Kupp WR
4 38 Mike Evans WR
4 39 David Johnson RB
4 40 Kenyan Drake RB
4 41 David Montgomery RB
4 42 Tyler Boyd WR
4 43 Antonio Gibson RB
4 44 CeeDee Lamb WR
4 45 Odell Beckham Jr. WR
4 46 D.J. Chark Jr. WR
4 47 D'Andre Swift RB
4 48 Darrell Henderson RB
4 49 D.J. Moore WR
4 50 Jamison Crowder WR
4 51 Darius Slayton WR
5 52 Devonta Freeman RB
5 53 Devin Singletary RB
5 54 Travis Fulgham WR
5 55 Brandin Cooks WR
5 56 Tee Higgins WR
5 57 James White RB
5 58 Darren Waller TE
5 59 Boston Scott RB
5 60 Jerick McKinnon RB
5 61 JuJu Smith-Schuster WR
5 62 T.J. Hockenson TE
5 63 Christian Kirk WR
5 64 Mike Williams WR
5 65 Laviska Shenault Jr. WR
5 66 Adrian Peterson RB
5 67 Hunter Henry TE
5 68 Jarvis Landry WR
5 69 Justin Jackson RB
5 70 Julian Edelman WR
5 71 Deebo Samuel WR
5 72 Michael Gallup WR
5 73 Marvin Jones Jr. WR
5 74 Melvin Gordon III RB
6 75 Phillip Lindsay RB
6 76 John Brown WR
6 77 Jerry Jeudy WR
6 78 Tim Patrick WR
6 79 Chase Edmonds RB
6 80 J.D. McKissic RB
6 81 Mecole Hardman WR
6 82 Keelan Cole WR
6 83 Robert Tonyan TE
6 84 Dalton Schultz TE
6 85 Cole Beasley WR
6 86 Golden Tate WR
6 87 Evan Engram TE
6 88 Brandon Aiyuk WR
7 89 James Washington WR
7 90 Henry Ruggs III WR
7 91 Rob Gronkowski TE
7 92 A.J. Green WR
7 93 Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR
7 94 Noah Fant TE
7 95 Frank Gore RB
7 96 Damien Harris RB
7 97 Jamaal Williams RB
7 98 Hayden Hurst TE
7 99 Austin Hooper TE
7 100 Jared Cook TE
7 101 Randall Cobb WR
7 102 Jonnu Smith TE
7 103 Demarcus Robinson WR
7 104 Latavius Murray RB
7 105 Adam Humphries WR
7 106 Russell Gage WR
7 107 Diontae Johnson WR
7 108 Jimmy Graham TE
7 109 Damiere Byrd WR
7 110 Eric Ebron TE
7 111 Greg Ward WR
8 112 Breshad Perriman WR
8 113 N'Keal Harry WR
8 114 Logan Thomas TE
8 115 Danny Amendola WR
8 116 Joshua Kelley RB
8 117 Emmanuel Sanders WR
8 118 Darnell Mooney WR
8 119 Darren Fells TE
8 120 Le'Veon Bell RB
8 121 Tyler Higbee TE
8 122 Anthony Miller WR
8 123 Rex Burkhead RB
8 124 Kendrick Bourne WR
8 125 Malcolm Brown RB
8 126 Zack Moss RB
8 127 Duke Johnson Jr. RB
8 128 Tre'Quan Smith WR
8 129 Larry Fitzgerald WR
8 130 Andy Isabella WR
8 131 Scotty Miller WR
8 132 Lamical Perine RB
9 133 D'Ernest Johnson RB
9 134 Jeff Smith WR
9 135 JaMycal Hasty RB
9 136 Drew Sample TE
9 137 Brian Hill RB
9 138 Corey Davis WR
9 139 Hunter Renfrow WR
9 140 DeSean Jackson WR
9 141 Dontrelle Inman WR
9 142 Giovani Bernard RB
9 143 Greg Olsen TE
9 144 Leonard Fournette RB
9 145 Nelson Agholor WR
9 146 Cordarrelle Patterson WR
9 147 Tony Pollard RB
9 148 Anthony Firkser TE
9 149 Josh Reynolds WR
9 150 Richard Rodgers TE
9 151 Gerald Everett TE
9 152 Chris Conley WR
9 153 Chris Thompson RB
10 154 Jordan Akins TE
10 155 Cam Akers RB
10 156 Sterling Shepard WR
10 157 Isaiah Wright WR
10 158 Rashard Higgins WR
10 159 John Hightower WR
10 160 Curtis Samuel WR
10 161 Kerryon Johnson RB
10 162 Ian Thomas TE
10 163 Corey Clement RB
10 164 James O'Shaughnessy TE
10 165 Cedrick Wilson WR
10 166 Dion Lewis RB
10 167 KJ Hamler WR
10 168 Darrell Daniels TE
10 169 Tyler Johnson WR
10 170 Cameron Brate TE
11 171 Gabriel Davis WR
11 172 Olamide Zaccheaus RB
11 173 DaeSean Hamilton WR
11 174 Kenny Stills WR
11 175 Wayne Gallman RB
11 176 Tyler Eifert TE
11 177 David Moore WR
11 178 Chris Herndon IV TE
11 179 Tyler Kroft TE
11 180 Jalen Guyton WR
11 181 Jeff Wilson Jr. RB
11 182 Kalif Raymond WR
11 183 Austin Mack WR
11 184 Denzel Mims WR
11 185 Braxton Berrios WR
11 186 Benny Snell Jr. RB
11 187 Dan Arnold TE
11 188 Raheem Mostert RB
11 189 Royce Freeman RB
11 190 Collin Johnson WR
11 191 Jeremy McNichols RB
11 192 Justin Watson WR
11 193 Albert Okwuegbunam TE
11 194 Mike Thomas WR
11 195 Vance McDonald TE
12 196 Jesse James TE
12 197 Darrel Williams RB
12 198 David Njoku TE
12 199 Will Dissly TE
12 200 Ito Smith RB
12 201 Dawson Knox TE
12 202 Van Jefferson WR
12 203 Jason Croom TE
12 204 Byron Pringle WR
12 205 Anthony McFarland Jr. RB
12 206 Christian Blake WR
12 207 Cole Kmet TE
12 208 Kyle Juszczyk RB
12 209 Trent Taylor WR
12 210 Darrius Shepherd WR
12 211 Carlos Hyde RB
12 212 Ke'Shawn Vaughn RB
12 213 Harrison Bryant TE
12 214 Isaiah McKenzie WR
12 215 Cam Batson WR
12 216 K.J. Hill WR
13 217 Freddie Swain WR
13 218 Peyton Barber RB
13 219 Jalen Richard RB
13 220 Ryan Izzo TE
13 221 Ryan Griffin TE
13 222 Ty Johnson RB
13 223 Jace Sternberger TE
13 224 C.J. Board WR
13 225 Kaden Smith TE
13 226 Damion Ratley WR
13 227 Dontrell Hilliard RB
13 228 Travis Homer RB
13 229 JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR
13 230 Jason Witten TE
13 231 Seth Roberts WR
13 232 Nick Vannett TE
13 233 Keith Kirkwood WR
13 234 Miles Sanders RB
13 235 Jaylen Samuels RB
13 236 AJ Dillon RB
13 237 LeSean McCoy RB
13 238 Trenton Cannon RB
13 239 T.J. Yeldon RB
13 240 Devontae Booker RB
13 241 Marvin Hall WR
13 242 Demetrius Harris TE
13 243 Darwin Thompson RB
13 244 Cam Sims WR
13 245 Jason Huntley RB
13 246 Malik Taylor WR
13 247 Ryquell Armstead RB
13 248 Josh Hill TE
14 249 Alex Armah RB
14 250 Marcedes Lewis TE
14 251 Patrick Mahomes II QB
14 252 Russell Wilson QB
14 253 Cethan Carter TE
14 254 Josh Allen QB
14 255 Noah Brown WR
14 256 Kyler Murray QB
14 257 Ryan Nall RB
14 258 Equanimeous St. Brown WR
14 259 Aaron Rodgers QB
14 260 Deshaun Watson QB
14 261 Jakobi Meyers WR
14 262 Pharaoh Brown TE
14 263 Jakob Johnson RB
14 264 Blake Bell TE
14 265 Matthew Stafford QB
14 266 Matt Ryan QB
14 267 Justin Herbert QB
14 268 Tanner Hudson TE
15 269 Elijhaa Penny RB
15 270 Alec Ingold RB
15 271 Ben Roethlisberger QB
15 272 Ray-Ray McCloud WR
15 273 Tom Brady QB
15 274 Dare Ogunbowale RB
15 275 Ryan Tannehill QB
15 276 Josh Adams RB
15 277 Jacob Hollister TE
15 278 Cam Newton QB
15 279 Drew Brees QB
15 280 C.J. Prosise RB
15 281 Joe Burrow QB
15 282 Jaydon Mickens WR
15 283 Carson Wentz QB
15 284 Gardner Minshew II QB
15 285 Ted Ginn Jr. WR
15 286 Luke Stocker TE
15 287 DeAndre Washington RB
15 288 Adam Trautman TE
15 289 Eno Benjamin RB
15 290 DeeJay Dallas RB
15 291 Cyril Grayson Jr. WR
15 292 Teddy Bridgewater QB
15 293 Samaje Perine RB
15 294 Jared Goff QB
15 295 Virgil Green TE
15 296 Andy Dalton QB
15 297 MyCole Pruitt TE
15 298 Derek Carr QB
15 299 Chris Manhertz TE
15 300 Kyle Allen QB
15 301 Daniel Jones QB
15 302 Baker Mayfield QB
15 303 Jimmy Garoppolo QB
15 304 Foster Moreau TE
15 305 Nick Foles QB
15 306 Drew Lock QB
15 307 Sam Darnold QB
15 308 Brett Rypien QB
15 309 Antonio Gandy-Golden WR
15 310 C.J. Beathard QB
15 311 Tyler Ervin RB
15 312 Jarrett Stidham QB
16 313 Javon Wims WR
16 314 Case Keenum QB
16 315 Jake Butt TE
16 316 Nick Mullens QB
16 317 Alex Smith QB
16 318 Taysom Hill QB
16 319 Harrison Butker K
16 320 Geoff Swaim TE
16 321 Younghoe Koo K
16 322 Wil Lutz K
16 323 Lee Smith TE
16 324 Jeremy Sprinkle TE
16 325 Mason Crosby K
16 326 Temarrick Hemingway TE
16 327 Nick Keizer TE
16 328 Matt Prater K
16 329 Bryan Edwards WR
16 330 Zane Gonzalez K
16 331 Ross Dwelley TE
16 332 Devin Asiasi TE
16 333 Ryan Succop K
16 334 Tyler Bass K
16 335 Michael Badgley K
16 336 Jaeden Graham TE
16 337 Greg Zuerlein K
16 338 Michael Burton RB
16 339 Daniel Carlson K
16 340 Jason Myers K
16 341 Zay Jones WR
16 342 Randy Bullock K
16 343 Khari Blasingame RB
16 344 Graham Gano K
16 345 Stephen Gostkowski K
17 346 Anthony Sherman RB
17 347 Robbie Gould K
17 348 Brandon Powell WR
17 349 Deon Yelder TE
17 350 Jake Elliott K
17 351 Keith Smith RB
17 352 Nick Folk K
17 353 Gunner Olszewski WR
17 354 Levine Toilolo TE
17 355 Cody Parkey K
17 356 Luke Willson TE
17 357 Joe Flacco QB
17 358 Derek Carrier TE
17 359 Dustin Hopkins K
17 360 Jalen Hurts QB
17 361 Donald Parham Jr. TE
17 362 Kai Forbath K
17 363 Johnny Mundt TE
17 364 Auden Tate WR
17 365 Buffalo Bills DST
17 366 Reggie Gilliam RB/TE
17 367 Andy Janovich RB
17 368 Los Angeles Rams DST
17 369 Kansas City Chiefs DST
17 370 Philadelphia Eagles DST
17 371 Riley Ridley WR
17 372 Taywan Taylor WR
17 373 Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST
17 374 J.J. Taylor RB
17 375 New England Patriots DST
17 376 Los Angeles Chargers DST
17 377 Kalen Ballage RB
17 378 Trayveon Williams RB
17 379 New York Giants DST
17 380 Chicago Bears DST
17 381 Pittsburgh Steelers DST
17 382 Cleveland Browns DST
17 383 Nick Westbrook-Ikhine WR
17 384 Washington Football Team DST
17 385 San Francisco 49ers DST
17 386 Joey Slye K
17 387 Ka'imi Fairbairn K
17 388 Tyron Johnson WR
17 389 New Orleans Saints DST
17 390 Kenjon Barner RB
17 391 Isaiah Zuber WR
17 392 Chris Boswell K
17 393 Brandon McManus K
17 394 Marquez Callaway WR
17 395 Deon Cain WR
17 396 Ty Montgomery RB
17 397 Pharoh Cooper WR
17 398 KeeSean Johnson WR
17 399 Dante Pettis WR
17 400 Cairo Santos K
17 401 Andre Roberts WR
17 402 Jonathan Brown K
17 403 Sam Ficken K
17 404 Quez Watkins WR
17 405 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR
17 406 DeAndre Carter WR
17 407 Alex Erickson WR
17 408 Tyrie Cleveland WR
17 409 Diontae Spencer WR
17 410 Trent Sherfield WR
17 411 Deonte Harris WR
17 412 Quintez Cephus WR
17 413 Bennie Fowler III WR
17 414 John Ross WR
17 415 Keke Coutee WR
17 416 Cincinnati Bengals DST
17 417 Richie James Jr. WR
17 418 Vyncint Smith WR
17 419 Dallas Cowboys DST
17 420 Green Bay Packers DST
17 421 Seattle Seahawks DST
17 422 Tennessee Titans DST
17 423 Sam Sloman K
17 424 Arizona Cardinals DST
17 425 Las Vegas Raiders DST
17 426 Atlanta Falcons DST
17 427 New York Jets DST
17 428 Jacksonville Jaguars DST
17 429 Detroit Lions DST
17 430 Carolina Panthers DST
17 431 Denver Broncos DST
17 432 Houston Texans DST


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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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Break The Slate: DraftKings NFL DFS Lineup Picks - Week 7

Hi there, RotoBallers, and welcome back to Break The Slate! If you read this article regularly, then you know what we're about here, but if you are a new reader, let me quickly summarize our goals with this article. We'll spend each week discussing a few plays at each position for the DraftKings main slate that can add tournament-winning upside and/or juicy value to our NFL DFS rosters. I'll highlight my favorite players and breakdown my reasoning behind them.

I try to update the article on Saturdays to reflect any significant injuries or late-breaking news, as the landscape of the slate can change quickly in the NFL, and I definitely recommend you checking those out. Hits and misses were the theme of Week 6, with Derrick Henry and Ronald Jones II coming through huge for us at the RB position, while players like DeVante Parker and Jonnu Smith hurt us due to injuries. Week 7 is shaping up to be a fun slate and I'm excited to dig in! Remember, the NFL is ever-evolving from week to week, which gives us an opportunity to apply what we've learned on the next slate.

These DraftKings lineup recommendations are based on matchups, projected ownership, overall upside/talent levels, opportunity, and other factors such as Vegas odds, home-field advantage, and more. There are quite a few great plays available, so read on to find out which players are the best for Week 7. Be sure to also check out our weekly FanDuel DFS lineup picks and lots of other great NFL DFS articles and NFL DFS tools to help you win big! Good luck with your DraftKings DFS lineups, let's Break The Slate together!

 

DraftKings DFS Quarterbacks - Week 7 Picks

Josh Allen - BUF @ NYJ ($7,700)

Josh Allen's evolution was one of the hot topics over the first month of the season, but he's now logged a couple of relatively disappointing outings in his last two starts. Allen gets the mother of all bounce-back matchups against the abysmal New York Jets this week. He destroyed the Jets in Week 1, posting 33.2 DK points on 312 yards passing and 57 yards rushing that resulted in 3 TDs. There's reason to believe Allen will get back on track against a New York defense that's allowing opposing QBs to complete passes at nearly a 72% clip and is relinquishing over eight yards per attempt. Another reason to consider the Bills signal caller - especially in GPPs - is that his ownership should be noticeably depressed with all the other eye-catching QB options that are available on this slate.

Kyler Murray - SEA @ ARI ($7,100)

While Josh Allen will be contrarian, Kyler Murray will be chalk city this week. However, it's hard to argue with the play, as Murray's combination of production and matchup is hard to ignore. The second-year QB leads the position in rushing yards with 370 and has accounted for 6 TDs on the ground this season. He's also proven efficient when asked to throw the ball, posting 1,487 yards and 10 TDs. The matchup is a great one, as the Seahawks have been routinely shredded by opposing QBs. Seattle has allowed the fourth-most DK points in the NFL to the QB position and ranks 31st in the league in passing yards allowed. This game comes in with a "high and tight" O/U and point spread...and there's lots of paths that lead to this one turning into a true shootout.

Joe Burrow - CLE @ CIN ($5,500)

Those of you looking to pay down at the QB position might want to consider Cincy rookie Joe Burrow. The LSU product has looked every bit the part of a number-one draft pick, despite, ya know...playing for the Bengals. Burrow has thrown for 1,617 yards - the eighth-most in the NFL - and toasted the Browns for 316 yards and 3 TDs in their Week 2 matchup. Speaking of TDs, the rookie hasn't thrown for one in his last two games, so I think we can expect some positive regression in that department at some point. As for the matchup, it's an intriguing one, as the Browns rank bottom-five in the NFL in completions, passing yards, and passing TDs allowed.

 

DraftKings DFS Running Backs - Week 7 Picks

Alvin Kamara - CAR @ NO ($7,900)

Alvin Kamara in Week 7 reminds me a lot of Derrick Henry in Week 6...we have an uber-talented player in an absolute smash matchup. Yes, of course he could "fail", but why overthink it?

Kamara has posted 150.6 DK points this season - the most by a RB - and has combined for 20-or-more carries/targets in every Saints game to this point. He'll square off against a Panthers Defense that's allowed the second-most DK points in the NFL to the RB position, are tied with Houston for the most TDs allowed (8) in the league, and - perhaps most importantly in Kamara's case - are relinquishing a ridiculous 85.5% catch rate to RBs out of the backfield.

Aaron Jones - GB @ HOU ($7,200)

Speaking of Derrick Henry's Week 6 matchup...Aaron Jones wins the prize egg this week, as he's set to square off against a struggling Houston Texans Defense. The Texans contained Henry for a decent portion of the game last week before eventually allowing him to explode for 212 yards on the ground. It was the fourth time this season they've allowed a 100-plus yard rusher. Houston ranks dead last in the NFL in DK points, rushing yards, and rushing TDs allowed to the RB position. It's an appetizing matchup for Jones, a player with a lower floor than most "elite" RBs, but a guy that carries as much upside as anyone in the league, as evidenced by his 48.6 DK point performance against the Lions in Week 2.

Jerick McKinnon - SF @ NE ($5,800)

The revolving door at the RB position continues for the San Francisco 49ers, as Raheem Mostert went down yet again last week. With Tevin Coleman on IR, Jerick McKinnon will once again be asked to step into the lead role for this Niners backfield. He performed well in two games as the top option in San Fran, rushing for 92 yards and 2 TDs on 28 carries, and catching 10 of 12 targets for 82 yards, in Weeks 3 and 4. There are a couple of reasons to be skittish here...Niners rookie JaMychal Hasty received nine carries when Mostert left last week and the matchup against the New England Patriots is a tough one. Taking those drawbacks into account, McKinnon is an explosive, dual-threat back with a sub-$6k price tag. He's worth a long look.

DraftKings DFS Wide Receivers - Week 7 Picks

DeAndre Hopkins - SEA @ ARI ($8,200)

I'm normally a fan of paying down at WR, but as with Alvin Kamara this week, some spots are just too good to ignore. Arizona's DeAndre Hopkins is such an example. Hopkins tops the WR salary scale, but draws what can only be described as a smash matchup against the Seattle Seahawks this week. Seattle's secondary is a shell of its former self. The team that was once upon a time a matchup that we went out of our way to avoid with WRs is now one that we want to target. The Seahawks rank dead last in the NFL in DK points, receiving yards, and catches allowed to the WR position. It will be tough for them to slow down Nuk, a player that has been outstanding in his new Arizona home, and has went for over 130 receiving yards in three of the Cards six contests on an average of 12.2 targets per game. Seattle is a true funnel defense that's allowing just 3.73 yards per carry on the ground, so we can expect the Arizona passing attack to be deployed often in this matchup.

Terry McLaurin - DAL @ WAS ($5,800)

I honestly feel as though I could include Terry McLaurin in this column every week. He remains frozen in this mid-to-high-$5k price range, despite being one of the most explosive receivers in the game. McLaurin's production is undoubtedly hurt by both Washington's QB situation and overall offense, though his volume has stayed consistent despite the revolving door at QB. McLaurin has been targeted 58 times this season (11.6 targets per game), which is good for the fifth-most targets in the league. He and the WFT offense draw a "circle it on your calendar" matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7. The 'Boys struggles on defense this season have been well documented, but just to reinforce how bad it is, this Dallas unit ranks in the bottom-five in the NFL in DK points, receiving yards, TDs, and yards per target allowed to the WR position. We're targeting upside at WR and "The Jet" has both the talent and usage needed to crush his salary in this matchup.

Mike Williams - JAX @ LAC ($4,700)

This year has been the weirdest one that many of us have ever seen, so in true 2020 fashion, we're talking about the LA Chargers passing attack. A combination of injuries to Tyrod Taylor, Austin Ekeler, and a large portion of the LA defense has forced rookie Justin Herbert into action earlier than expected. The results have been surprisingly-good, at least from a fantasy perspective. Mike Williams has a pretty non-existent fantasy floor, but I love his upside in GPP formats. Williams had a nice game LA's last time out, racking up 109 yards and 2 TDs on five catches in an overtime loss to New Orleans. Keenan Allen left that game early, so Williams did see an uptick in usage, but the upside is there even if Allen returns this week. His juicy aDOT of 18.2 is one of the highest in the league and he's accounted for 27.7% of the Chargers air yards this season. He'll face a Jags secondary that's allowing nine yards per catch to opposing WRs. This definitely isn't a "safe" play, but is one that could pay big dividends in large-field tournaments.

 

DraftKings DFS Tight Ends - Week 7 Picks

Travis Kelce - KC @ DEN ($6,300)

If you've played NFL DFS regularly this season, chances are you're pretty frustrated with the TE position. I know I certainly am, as the position has consistently been a weak spot in my lineups. Hopefully, we can change that this week, as we finally get Travis Kelce back on the main slate. The KC tight end has been the most consistent producer at the position this season, churning out an average of 19.3 DK points per game. That consistency can be attributed to his steady role in this high-powered Chiefs offense. Kelce leads the NFL in TE targets (53), receptions (37), yards (470), and TDs (5). The matchup against Denver isn't a standout one, but the Broncos have allowed 73% catch rate to opposing TEs this season. Kelce's talent and usage in this offense make him virtually matchup proof and a solid bet to end any drought you might be experiencing at the TE position.

Austin Hooper - CLE @ CIN ($4,000)

Remember Austin Hooper? You know, the guy that signed the highest TE deal in history over the offseason. Nobody would blame you if you forgot about Hooper, as he was basically non-existent in this Browns offense for the first month of the season. However, Cleveland must have realized how much they're paying the guy, because he's actually getting some looks as of late. Hooper has been targeted 23 times over Cleveland's last three games, snagging 15 catches for 143 yards and a TD. This production is what fantasy forecasters had in mind for him this year and he has a great chance to keep it going this week against the Bengals, a team that ranks 30th in the NFL in receiving yards allowed to the TE position.



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Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 6 Analysis

Your wide receivers remain essential components toward your primary goal of securing league championships. As this unique regular season continues to unfold, an expanding assortment of tools is available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge regarding this critical position. Those results are contained in this weekly statistical breakdown of multiple categories, which is designed to help you fulfill your championship aspirations.

This will be the sixth installment that will examine game-specific data, including updated totals for targets, first downs, red-zone targets, snap counts, and a compilation of advanced statistics. The information that is contained in this weekly report will analyze how various receivers are being utilized, and how effectively they are capitalizing on their opportunities. This massive collection of data supplies the foundation from which the numbers that are generated in various categories can be evaluated.

As the season progresses noteworthy changes in usage and production will be blended into the equation. That will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference, PFF, NextGenStats, Rotowire, Rotoviz, and Football Outsiders were all used as resources in compiling this data.

 

Week 6 Target Leaders 

Wide Receivers Total Targets Targ/Game YPT
Allen Robinson 66 11 7.2
Amari Cooper 65 10.8 7.7
DeAndre Hopkins 61 10.2 9.9
Stefon Diggs 59 9.8 9.4
Terry McLaurin 58 9.7 8.4
Calvin Ridley 57 9.5 9.6
Robby Anderson 51 8.5 11.1
Keenan Allen 50 10 7.1
CeeDee Lamb 50 8.3 9.9
Adam Thielen 49 8.2 8.5
Tyler Boyd 48 8 8.7
D.J. Moore 48 8 9.9
Jamison Crowder 46 11.5 8.3
Cooper Kupp 45 7.5 8.3
A.J. Green 45 7.5 4.8
Darius Slayton 44 7.3 9.2
Odell Beckham 43 7.2 7.4
Marquise Brown 42 7 9
Brandin Cooks 42 7 8.7
Robert Woods 41 6.8 8
Will Fuller 41 6.8 11.1
DeVante Parker 40 6.7 9.1
D.K. Metcalf 39 7.8 12.7
Tyler Lockett 38 7.6 8.9
Tee Higgins 38 6.3 8.9
Keelan Cole 38 6.3 9.5
Tyreek Hill 38 6.3 10.1
Mike Evans 37 6.2 7.6
T.Y. Hilton 37 6.2 6.5
Cole Beasley 37 6.2 9.7
Emmanuel Sanders 36 7.2 8.4
Russell Gage 36 6 8
Julian Edelman 36 7.2 8.4
Justin Jefferson 36 6 14.9
Laviska Shenault Jr. 35 5.8 8
Greg Ward 34 5.7 5.6
Michael Gallup 34 5.7 10.9
D.J. Chark 34 6.8 7.8
Jerry Jeudy 33 6.6 8
Jarvis Landry 33 5.6 9.7
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 30 6 8
Darnell Mooney 30 5 6.5
Davante Adams 30 10 8.4
Julio Jones 30 7.5 11.7

 

Allen Robinson leads all wide receivers in targets for the second consecutive week (66). Amari Cooper is second (65), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (61), Stefon Diggs (59), Terry McLaurin  (58), and Calvin Ridley (57). Robby Anderson is next (51), followed by Keenan Allen (500, CeeDee Lamb (50), and Adam Thielen (49), while D.J. Moore and Tyler Boyd are tied with 48. Jamison Crowder is next (46), followed by Cooper Kupp (45), A.J. Green (45), Darius Slayton (44), and Odell Beckham (43). Marquise Brown (42), Brandin Cooks 42.  Will Fuller 41, Robert Woods, (41), and DeVante Parker (41), are the only other wide receivers who have eclipsed 40 targets.

Robinson also leads all wide receivers with 48 targets since Week 3. Cooper is second once again with 42, followed by McLaurin (41), Diggs (37), Hopkins (36), and a three-way tie with Boyd, Ridley, and Lamb at 35. Kupp and Anderson have collected 34 targets, while Crowder and Thielen are tied with 33 during that four-game span. Allen and Tee Higgins are next with 32, Fuller has captured 31, and both Marquise Brown and Justin Jefferson have been targeted 30 times. Jefferson’s recent surge in usage and production will be examined further in the 5 Things I Noticed section.

Robinson also leads to the position with 25 targets during the last two weeks, while Diggs is located directly behind him with 24. Crowder and the surging Travis Fulghum are in a tie for third (23). Cooks and Lamb are next (21), while Cooks’ teammate Fuller is tied with McLaurin at 19. D.J. Chark Anderson and Thielen are next (18), followed by Kupp, and Ridley in a tie at 17.  Five different receivers have also been targeted 16 times during that two-game span – Higgins, Moore, Jefferson, A.J. Brown, and Marquise Brown.

Crowder leads all receivers in targets per game (11.5) and is one of six receivers who is averaging 10+ - Robinson (11), Cooper (10.8), Hopkins (10.2), Allen (10), and Adams (10).

Justin Jefferson leads all receivers with a 14.9 yards per target average. Chase Claypool is the only other receiver with an average of 14+, followed by Metcalf (12.7), Julio Jones (11.7), and three receivers who are tied with an average of 11.1 - Anderson, Fuller, and Scott Miller. Michael Gallup and Travis Fulgham are next (10.9), followed by four receivers that are tied at 10.8 – Josh ReynoldsCorey Davis. Gabriel Davis, and Mecole HardmanTim Patrick and Kenny Golladay are tied at 10.7, while Tyreek Hill (10.1), Hunter Renfrow, and Christian Kirk (10.0), are the only other receivers who currently have an average of 10+

 

Largest Weekly Changes

Wide Receivers Week 5 Week 6 Changes
A.J. Green 1 11 10
D.J. Chark 4 14 10
Davante Adams INJ 10 10
Julio Jones INJ 10 10
Tim Patrick BYE 8 8
Breshad Perriman INJ 8 8
Amari Cooper 4 10 6
D.J. Moore 5 11 6
Julian Edelman BYE 6 6
Justin Jefferson 5 11 6
Adam Humphries COVID 6 6
Terry McLaurin 7 12 5
Robert Woods 5 10 5
DeVante Parker 3 8 5
Jerry Jeudy BYE 5 5
Marquez Valdes-Scantling BYE 5 5
Zach Pascal 2 7 5
Marcus Johnson 3 8 5
Jamison Crowder 10 13 3
Will Fuller 8 11 3
Keelan Cole 6 9 3
James Washington 4 7 3
Calvin Ridley 10 7 -3
Brandin Cooks 12 9 -3
Tyreek Hill 6 3 -3
Larry Fitzgerald 7 4 -3
Brandon Aiyuk 6 3 -3
Travis Fulgham 13 10 -3
Marquise Brown 10 6 -4
Jarvis Landry 9 5 -4
Odell Beckham 9 4 -5
T.Y. Hilton 10 5 -5
Allen Robinson 16 9 -7
Robby Anderson 13 5 -7
Darius Slayton 11 4 -7
Mike Evans 9 2 -7
Chase Claypool 11 4 -7
Jeff Smith 11 4 -7
Stefon Diggs 16 8 -8
Adam Thielen 13 5 -8
Gabriel Davis 9 1 -8

 

D.J. Chark captured 14 targets during Jacksonville’s Week 6 matchup with Detroit, which was the highest total for any wide receiver during the week. It was also his first double-digit target total since Week 14 of last season. Chark was one of 13 different receivers who collected 10+ targets during the Week 6 matchups. Jamison Crowder continued his streak of double-digit targets in every game this season while also attaining the second-highest total for the week (13). Terry McLaurin’s 12 targets placed him third, while four receivers were all targeted 11 times during Week 6 -Will Fuller, D.J. Moore, A.J. Green, and Justin Jefferson.

Robert Woods was among the six receivers who captured 10 targets, as he was joined by Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Travis Fulgham, and two receivers who returned after being sidelined by injury - Julio Jones and Davante Adams. Robinson, Cooks, Kupp, and Keelan Cole all received nine targets while a group of eight receivers was targeted eight times - Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, DeVante Parker, Tim Patrick, Marcus Johnson, Breshad Perriman, and Cincinnati teammates Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.

Four different receivers experienced a week to week increase of +10 in their target totals. Both Devante Adams and Julio Jones had been sidelined during Week 5 and re-emerged to join the two other receivers who attained a weekly increase of +10 during their Week 6 matchups. They were joined by Chark who had been averaging five targets per game from Weeks 1-5. A.J. Green also experienced a surge of +10 by collecting 11 targets just one week after being targeted just once when the Bengals traveled to Baltimore.

Tim Patrick returned from his Week 5 bye and promptly captured eight targets in New England. That tied him with Breshad Perriman who easily established a new season-high by collecting his eight targets. Amari Cooper, D.J. Moore, and Justin Jefferson all attained a week to week increase of +6. They joined by Julian Edelman and Adam Humphries who did not perform in Week 5 but resurfaced to capture six targets in Week 6. The weekly totals for seven different receivers rose by +5 during their Week 6 matchups - Terry McLaurin, Robert Woods, DeVante Parker, Jerry Jeudy, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Indianapolis teammates Zack Pascal and Marcus Johnson.

Gabriel Davis established a career-high when he received nine targets in Week 5. However, Josh Allen only launched one pass in his direction during Buffalo's Week 6 matchup with Kansas City. The week to week decrease of -8 ties him with his teammate Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen. However, managers will not be concerned about the Week 6 results for either veteran.

Six different receivers experienced a week to week reduction of -7 -Allen Robinson, Robby Anderson, Darius Slayton, Chase Claypool, Jeff Smith, and Mike Evans - whose two targets in Week 6 tied his career-low.

 

Week 6 Air Yards

Wide Receivers Air Yards Cmp AY % AY aDOT
Calvin Ridley 836 453 39.5 14.9
D.K. Metcalf 717 374 44.5 17.5
Adam Thielen 696 358 43.3 14.5
Marquise Brown 673 275 45.8 16
Allen Robinson 665 343 32.8 10.2
A.J. Green 659 170 30.4 14.6
Stefon Diggs 637 420 35.1 11
Will Fuller 610 360 32.1 14.2
Tyreek Hill 580 259 34.6 15.3
Amari Cooper 569 273 26.6 8.8
Terry McLaurin 562 216 42.8 10
Darius Slayton 559 331 45 12.7
D.J. Moore 559 320 41.3 11.9
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 556 169 35.8 18.3
Odell Beckham 531 272 38.7 13.3
Michael Gallup 528 285 27.1 16
Robby Anderson 503 322 36.9 9.5
DeAndre Hopkins 494 317 30.5 8
Tim Patrick 474 259 26.2 16.3
CeeDee Lamb 471 310 22.1 9.6
Justin Jefferson 469 351 27.6 13
Tee Higgins 467 227 25.3 13.2
Brandin Cooks 456 255 26.2 11.4
Tyler Boyd 448 301 21.4 9.3
D.J. Chark 431 219 24.1 12.7
Jerry Jeudy 429 188 24.7 13.8
T.Y. Hilton 424 180 27.6 11.8
Keelan Cole 420 261 24.9 11.1
Keenan Allen 410 201 31.1 8.7
Darnell Mooney 408 166 20.7 13.8
John Hightower 400 65 19.5 21.2
Preston Williams 398 181 24.9 14.4
DeVante Parker 389 282 25.2 9.6
Mike Evans 387 209 22.6 10.5
Julian Edelman 386 230 37 10.7
Mike Williams 379 167 27.7 17.2
Christian Kirk 378 124 24.2 16.4
Scott Miller 374 201 19.3 16.3
Jamison Crowder 367 189 23.1 8
Julio Jones 359 227 16.5 12

Calvin Ridley continues to lead all wide receivers in air yards after six weeks of game action (836). He is followed by D.K. Metcalf (717), Adam Thielen (696), Marquise Brown (673), Allen Robinson (665), A.J. Green (659), Stefon Diggs (637), and Will Fuller (610). No other wide receivers have eclipsed 600 yards entering Week 7. Tyreek Hill is next (580), followed by Amari Cooper (569), and Terry McLaurin (562), while Darius Slayton and D.J. Moore are tied at (559). Marquez Valdes-Scantling is next (556), followed by Odell Beckham (531), Michael Gallup (528), Robby Anderson (503), DeAndre Hopkins (494), Tim Patrick (474), CeeDee Lamb (471), and Justin Jefferson (469).

Marquise Brown has emerged as the new league leader in percentage share of air yards (45.8). Slayton is second overall (45.0), followed by Metcalf (44.5), Thielen (43.3), McLaurin (42.8), and Moore (41.4). No other receivers have obtained an average of at least 40%. Calvin Ridley is next (39.5), followed by Odell Beckham (38.7), Julian Edelman (37.0), Anderson (36.9), Valdes-Scantling (36.0), Diggs (35.1), and Hill (34.6).

John Hightower leads all wide receivers in targeted air yards (21.3), followed by Valdes- Scantling (18.4), Mike Williams (17.6), Michael Gallup (16.8), Marquise Brown (16.4), Metcalf, and Scott Miller in a tie at 16.3. Christian Kirk is next (16.1), followed by Tim Patrick (16), Andy Isabella (15.8), Ridley (15.4), Preston Williams (15.3), and Hill (15.1). No other wide receivers have attained an average of 15+. Thielen spearheads a group of four receivers that are averaging 14+ through Week 6.

 

Week 6 First Downs

Wide Receivers First Downs
DeAndre Hopkins 31
Calvin Ridley 28
Amari Cooper 28
Tyler Boyd 27
Terry McLaurin 26
Stefon Diggs 25
Robby Anderson 24
CeeDee Lamb 24
Allen Robinson 23
D. J. Moore 23
Adam Thielen 22
Justin Jefferson 22
Keenan Allen 21
Darius Slayton 21
DeVante Parker 20
Will Fuller 20
D.K. Metcalf 19
Cole Beasley 19
Tyreek Hill 18
Cooper Kupp 18
Marquise Brown 18
Keelan Cole 18
Tyler Lockett 17
Russell Gage 17
Emmanuel Sanders 17
Mike Evans 17
Odell Beckham Jr. 17
D.J. Chark 17
Laviska Shenault Jr. 17

 

DeAndre Hopkins has maintained his league lead in first down receptions (31), while Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper are tied for second (28). Tyler Boyd is next (27), followed by Terry McLaurin (26), Stefon Diggs (25), Robby Anderson (24). CeeDee Lamb (24), Allen Robinson (23), D.J. Moore (23), and Minnesota teammates Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson with 22. Keenan Allen and Darius Slayton are tied with 21 first downs, while DeVante Parker and Will Fuller each have 21 receptions for first downs. D.K. Metcalf and Cole Beasley are next (19), while four receivers are tied with 18 receptions for first downs - Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, Marquise Brown, and Keelan Cole.

Jefferson collected six receptions for first downs in Week 6, while Cooper captured five. McLaurin accumulated four catches while a collection of receivers collected three first down receptions in Week 6.

 

Week 6 Red Zone Targets

Wide Receivers Inside 20 Inside 10 Inside 5 Team %
Calvin Ridley 8 4 2 26.67
Adam Thielen 8 4 2 38.1
Darius Slayton 8 5 2 28.57
Emmanuel Sanders 8 4 2 26.67
Russell Gage 8 4 2 26.67
D.J. Chark 8 3 1 21.05
Zach Pascal 8 4 3 25
N'Keal Harry 8 4 2 40
DeAndre Hopkins 7 3 1 33.33
Robby Anderson 6 2 1 26.09
Stefon Diggs 6 3 3 16.22
Amari Cooper 6 3 2 19.35
CeeDee Lamb 6 5 4 19.35
Allen Robinson 6 2 1 18.18
Will Fuller 6 2 1 26.09
Tyreek Hill 6 4 1 20
Cole Beasley 6 5 2 16.22
Keenan Allen 6 1 0 31.58
Julio Jones 6 2 1 20
Odell Beckham 6 5 4 33.33
Mike Evans 6 5 4 17.65
Sammy Watkins 6 5 2 20
A.J. Brown 6 3 0 24
DK Metcalf 5 4 0 17.86
Cooper Kupp 5 2 1 22.73
Tyler Lockett 5 4 3 17.86
Tee Higgins 5 3 3 17.24
Robert Woods 5 1 0 22.73
Travis Fulgham 5 1 1 22.73
Kenny Golladay 5 2 0 16.13
Preston Williams 5 4 3 19.23
Brandon Aiyuk 5 4 3 16.13
Trent Taylor 5 2 1 16.13

Entering Week 5, N’Keal Harry led all wide receivers with eight red zone targets. As we fast forward two weeks to the current leaderboard, Harry remains stagnant with his eight targets and is now tied with seven other receivers for the league lead - Calvin Ridley, Adam Thielen, Darius Slayton, Emmanuel Sanders, Russell Gage, D.J. Chark, and Zach Pascal. DeAndre Hopkins has collected seven targets, while 14 different receivers have been targeted six times inside the 20.

Five different receivers are tied for the league lead with five targets inside the 10 - Slayton, CeeDee Lamb, Cole Beasley, Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, and Sammy Watkins.

Lamb, Beckham, and Evans are tied for the league lead with four targets inside the five, while Pascal, Stefon Diggs, Brandon Aiyuk, Preston Williams, Tyler Lockett, and Tee Higgins, have all captured three targets in inside the five.

Julio Jones had only been targeted twice inside the red zone as he entered Week 6. But he registered more targets than any other wide receiver in Week 6 (4). Travis Fulgham, A.J. Brown, D.J. Chark, and Pascal all collected three targets inside the 20 during their Week 6 matchups.

 

Week 6 Snap Counts

Wide Receivers  Week 6 Snaps  Total Snaps Total Snap %
Michael Gallup 72/80.9% 417 89.84
Amari Cooper 79/88.7% 392 81.51
DeAndre Hopkins 48/77.4% 380 93.26
Terry McLaurin 70/95.9% 379 94.99
Tyreek Hill 67/91.8% 370 86.82
Robert Woods 57/95% 357 90.15
Adam Thielen 52/92.9% 350 92.11
Tyler Boyd 57/78.1% 348 77.85
Calvin Ridley 59/73.8% 346 79.18
Mike Evans 51/78.5% 344 83.7
Cooper Kupp 55/91.7% 343 86.62
D.J. Moore 64/94.1% 338 84.29
Allen Robinson 58/87.9% 338 83.87
Darius Slayton 40.83.3% 337 91.33
Zach Pascal 58/92.1% 324 81.41
Odell Beckham 48/84.2% 314 78.7
Damiere Byrd 55/96.5% 312 92.58
Stefon Diggs 51/96.2% 307 89.5
D.K. Metcalf BYE 304 95.6
DeVante Parker 46.82.1% 301 76.79
Marvin Jones 62/80.5% 301 88.01
Tyler Lockett BYE 300 94.34
Robby Anderson 59/86.8% 299 74.56
Kendrick Bourne 41/56.2% 299 72.93
T.Y. Hilton 59/93.7% 298 74.87
Brandin Cooks 63/87.5% 297 82.5
A.J. Green 58/79.5% 296 66.22
Larry Fitzgerald 38/61.3% 295 82.87
Will Fuller 66/91.7% 292 81.11
Keelan Cole 48/75% 292 73.37
Jarvis Landry 44/77.2% 289 72.43
Keenan Allen BYE 288 80.22
Brandon Aiyuk 62.84.9% 288 82.76
Tee Higgins 59/80.8% 288 64.43
Justin Jefferson 50/89.3% 287 75.53
Marquise Brown 62/84.9% 284 76.14
Dontrelle Inman 66/90.4% 280 70.18
Tre'Quan Smith BYE 279 83.28
Preston Williams 40.71.4% 275 70.15
Chris Hogan IR 274 82.78
CeeDee Lamb 60/67.4% 274 71.35
JuJu Smith-Schuster 42/64.6% 271 77.65
Josh Reynolds 50/83.3% 270 68.18
Russell Gage 51/63.8% 267 61.1
D.J. Chark 57/89.1% 266 80.12
N'Keal Harry 51/89.5% 266 78.93
Greg Ward 58/88.7% 266 62.88
Tim Patrick 59/92.2% 265 79.58
Jalen Guyton BYE 264 73.54
Demarcus Robinson 69/94.5% 263 62.32
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 53/84.1% 259 76.4

Michael Gallup now leads all wide receivers with 417 offensive snaps. His teammate Amari Cooper is second (392), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (380), Terry McLaurin (379), Tyreek Hill (370), Robert Woods (357), Adam Thielen (350), and Tyler Boyd (348). Calvin Ridley is next (346), followed by Mike Evans (344), Cooper Kupp (343), and two receivers who are tied at 338 - Allen Robinson and D.J. Moore. Darius Slayton is next (337), followed by Zach Pascal (324), Odell Beckham (314), and Damiere Byrd (312). Stefon Diggs and D.K. Metcalf spearhead a group of seven additional receivers that have been involved in at least 300 offensive of snaps from Weeks 1-6.

Metcalf leads the position in offensive snap count percentage (95.6), followed by McLaurin (95.0), Metcalf‘s teammate Tyler Lockett (94.3), Hopkins (93.2), Damiere Byrd (92.6), and Thielen (92.1). Slayton is next (91.3), followed by Woods 90.2, Gallup 89.8, Diggs (89.5), Marvin Jones (88.0), and Tyreek Hill (86.8). Jamison Crowder, and Cooper Kupp, are among the group of 17 additional receivers that have performed on over 80% of their teams’ offensive snaps.

Cooper led all receivers in offensive snaps during Week 6 matchups (79). His teammate Gallup was second with 72. McLaurin was next (70), followed by Demarcus Robinson  (69), and Hill (67), while Dontrelle Inman was tied with Will Fuller at 66. Julio Jones and D.J. Moore were next (64), while four receivers were tied with 63 snaps. Brandin Cooks, Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and A.J. Brown. Three receivers were next with 62 snaps - Brandon Aiyuk, Marquise Brown, and Marvin Jones. Deebo Samuel and Jeff Smith were next 60, while a group of five receivers was tied at 59 - Tee Higgins, T.Y. Hilton, Tim Patrick, Calvin Ridley, and Robby Anderson.

Damiere Byrd led the position in snap count percentage for Week 6 (96.5). McLaurin was second (95.9), followed by Woods (95), Robinson (94.6), Moore (94.1), Hilton (93.7), Thielen (92.9), and Tim Patrick 92.2. Zack Pascal was next 92.1, followed by Fuller 91.7, Kupp (91.7), Inman (90.4), and N’Keal Harry (89.5). Justin Jefferson was next (89.3), followed by D.J. Chark (89.1), Cooper (88.7), Crowder (88.7), and a collection of four additional receivers that were involved in at least 85% of their teams’ offensive snaps during Week 6.

 

Five Things I Noticed

1. The Vikings enter their Week 7 bye while contending with the uncomfortable reality of a 1-5 record.

The numerous shortcomings that have permeated the team include an overly generous defense (ranked 28th) that has surrendered 413.7 yards per game - which is 72 yards higher than the 341.6 that their 14th ranked unit allowed during 2019. The vulnerable nature of Minnesota’s defense has not compelled Mike Zimmer to completely abandon his penchant for the ground game.

But the Vikings have risen slightly to 25th in pass play percentage (53.1%), after ranking just 30th with a 50.9% percentage during 2019. The Vikings are also ranked 21st in passing (235 yards per game). This is slightly above last season when the Vikings were 23rd while averaging 220.2 yards per game. Kirk Cousins is also averaging 29.2 attempts per game, which is slightly below the 29.6 attempts per game average that he attained during 2019. However, Minnesota’s top two receiving weapons are also commandeering an even 50% of Cousins’ targets. This has enabled Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to function as highly productive resources for their fantasy GMs regardless of their team’s deficiencies.

 

In Weeks 1-2, Jefferson averaged 3 targets, 2.5 receptions, and 35 yards per game. But the 21-year old rookie delivered a statistical explosion in Week 3 (7 receptions/175 yards/1 touchdown) that has fueled his meteoric rise toward weekly WR2 status. He accumulated more receiving yards than any other receiver in Week 6 (166) and also tied for first at his position in receptions (9). Jefferson also resides at WR1 in scoring from Weeks 3-6 and has averaged 7.5 targets, 5.8 receptions, and 117 yards per game during that span. If you extract the results of his matchup in Week 5 versus Seattle (5 targets/3 receptions/23 yards) he has averaged 8.3 targets, 6.7 receptions, and 149 yards per game.

Jefferson was outside the top 70 in receiving yards entering Week 3 but has soared to fifth overall (537) after stockpiling 166 yards during Minnesota’s matchup with Atlanta. He has also averaged at least 18.4 yards per reception and 15.1 yards per target during three of his last four contests, which has propelled him to the league lead in yards per target average (14.9), and fourth overall in yards per reception (19.2).

None of this diminishes the numbers that Adam Thielen has attained through six matchups, as he is currently WR3 in scoring. The seven-year veteran also leads the league with seven touchdowns and is fourth in percentage share of air yards (43.3%). Thielen is also 10th in targets (49), 14th in receiving yards (415), and third in air yards (696). Regardless of the frequency with which Zimmer is willing to rely on Cousins and the passing attack, Thielen and Jefferson will not be contending with formidable competition for targets. This should sustain their current status among the league leaders in a collection of categories.

 

2. DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf entered the NFL in 2019 after performing in a total of 21 games at Ole Miss.

Projections for his professional career contained a blend of excitement surrounding his unique blend of physical attributes that was offset by concerns regarding limitations in his experience, and his need for further development as a receiver. That contributed to Metcalf being just the ninth receiver to be selected during the NFL Draft.

Metcalf’s prospects for delivering a breakout season were discussed here last April.  The rationale was based upon his exceptional combination of size, speed, and athleticism that would enable him to explode into high-end WR2 territory. He has accomplished that, while his accelerated progression as a receiver has propelled him to the periphery of WR1 status. This has also fueled Metcalf’s emergence as arguably the NFL’s premier deep threat. His usage and production have exceeded even the most optimistic expectations entering the regular season, which provides the incentive for reviewing his accomplishments after five contests.

Metcalf entered Seattle’s Week 6 bye in a tie for 13th with 39 targets (7.8 per game). He was also second in air yards (717), third in percentage share of air yards (44.5), fifth in yards per target (12.7), and eighth in targeted air yards (16.3). Metcalf was also tied for 11th in first downs (19) and tied for fifth in targets inside the 10 (4). He had also joined teammate Tyler Lockett in placing among the top 10 in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement ratings (DYAR) for wide receivers.

Seattle's restructured offensive approach has also been beneficial in his statistical surge as the Seahawks have climbed to 11th in pass play percentage (60.9%). This represents a significant change from 2019 when the aerial attack ranked just 27th (54.0%). Russell Wilson is assembling touchdowns at a historic rate, as his 19 touchdown passes are just one short of the all-time record for the first five regular-season games.

A team-high 24.2 share of Wilson’s targets is being distributed to Metcalf, who was WR4 in scoring entering his Week 6 bye. Metcalf’s aforementioned 12.7 yards per target average is nearly four yards higher than his average as a rookie (9.0). His 22.5 yards per reception average is exactly 7 yards higher than the 15.5 he attained in 2019. Metcalf has also added an additional 42.9 yards per game when contrasted with last season 2019 (99.2/56.3). At his current pace, Metcalf would collect 125 targets, capture 70 targets, and stockpile 1,587 yards.

Tyler Lockett is also constructing a highly productive season even though he has been surpassed by Metcalf in targets, first downs, air yards, targeted air yards, percentage share of air yards, and yards per target. Lockett does lead the Seahawks in receptions (30), while his 68.4 yards per game average is still the highest of his career, However, it is Metcalf that has become Seattle’s most explosive and productive receiver. That will remain intact regardless of whether Seattle eventually adds Antonio Brown.

 

3. Several wide receivers returned to game action following their collective receiving very from injuries.

Julio Jones was leading the league in receiving yards (157), was second in air yards, and included among the top five in targets (12), and receptions (9), after Week 1. However, a protracted hamstring issue had limited him to eight targets, six receptions, and 56 yards from Weeks 2-5. It also created trepidation for many managers regarding the potential of Jones’ to deliver substandard numbers due to the lingering impact of his injury in Week 6. But he tied for eighth among all receivers in targets (10), and was third in both receptions (8), and receiving yards (137). He also accumulated 71 air yards, while averaging 17.1 yards per reception and a season-high 13.7 yards per target.

Davante Adams also re-emerged for the first time since Week 2, following a recovery from his hamstring injury. He attained a double-digit target total for the second time this season by capturing a team-high 10, and his season-long average of 10 targets per game ties him for sixth among all receivers. He also paced Green Bay in receptions (6) and receiving yards (61) during Green Bay’s matchup in Tampa. He should continue to stockpile targets and supply favorable numbers to fantasy GMs while performing as the focal point of the Packers' aerial attack.

Breshad Perriman also resurfaced in Week 6 to deliver what was easily his most productive outing since signing his one year, 8 million-dollar deal with the Jets. Perriman had been limited it came to 76 snaps, seven targets, five receptions, and 29 yards entering New York’s AFC East matchup with Miami. But he established new season-highs in targets (8), receptions (4), and receiving yards (62). The 27-year old Perriman also averaged 15.5 yards per reception and 7.8 yards per target against Miami, after averaging 5.85 yards per reception, and 4.7 yards per target prior to the contests. The Jets desperately need another receiver beyond Jamison Crowder to perform reliably, while anyone who invested in Perriman during the offseason would be ecstatic if that would transpire.

A.J. Brown was involved in his second matchup since his reemergence from a knee issue that had forced his absence in Weeks 2-3. He has collected 12 of 16 targets for 138 yards and three touchdowns since his return. Brown finished ninth among overall among all receivers with a 50.3% percentage share of air yards in Week 5 and was also 13th in target share (33.3) during that matchup with Buffalo. He has also averaged 11.45 yards per reception and 8.55 yards per target since resurfacing in the lineup. Even with Corey Davis scheduled to also return this week, Brown has reestablished his WR1 status on the Titans and should provide managers with the WR2 that they had envisioned during their draft process.

 

4. Many fantasy GMs have constructed rosters that contain Dallas receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, or Michael Gallup.

If you are among them, then you might have overcome your initial concerns regarding Dak Prescott season-ending ankle fracture, and shifted into renewed optimism regarding Andy Dalton's prospects of keeping your wide receivers productive as the season advances.

Of course, that was before Dalton's calamitous performance in Week 6. Dalton's unsightly efforts included two interceptions, a 4.9 yard per attempt average, and a quarterback rating of 38.7.

However, it will be beneficial to examine the target distribution and production for Dallas receiving weaponry during Dalton’s initial start under center. Cooper was second overall in targets (55) as he entered Week 6. He was also second in receptions (39/7.8 per game), fourth in first downs (23), seventh in receiving yards (433/84.8 per game), and ninth in air yards (510). Exceptional newcomer CeeDee Lamb was 10th in targets while averaging 8-per game. He was also ninth in receptions (29/5.8 per game), and seventh overall with an 86.6 yards per game average. Lamb was also 16th in yards per target (16.8), 21st in air yards (394), 10th in first downs (20), and tied for the league lead with five targets inside the 10. Gallup was tied for 35th in targets (5.6 per game). But he was also 13th in air yards (453), third in targeted air yards (17.4), and seventh in yards per target (12.4).

Despite Dalton's deficiencies, anyone with Cooper or Lamb on their rosters has reason to be satisfied with their receiver's production. Both players collected 10 targets, caught seven of those passes, and combined for 143 yards. Cooper overcame a slow statistical start to eventually collect a double-digit target total for the fourth time this season, and the third time in his last four matchups. He also generated his second touchdown and attained a yard-per-target average of 11 + for the third consecutive game.

Lamb's 10 targets created a streak in which he has now attained a double-digit total in two consecutive matchups. His yards per reception average (9.1) was significantly lower than the 15.5 that he had averaged from Weeks 2-5. He also registered the lowest yards per target average of the season (6.4) after entering the game with an average of 10.7.

Gallup was targeted six times which essentially matched his season average. However, he tied his season-low in receptions (2) while his 23 yards were 46 fewer than his average of 69.6 prior to the matchup. He also dropped from 13th to 16th in air yards, and from third to fourth in targeted air yards. The results of the Week 6 outing also diminished his season-long yard per game average by nearly eight yards (61.8). Any continued struggles by Dalton could be most impactful to Gallup, due to his downfield usage. However, if you have been dependent upon any member of this trio for your fantasy points, there is no reason to alter your plan after one matchup.

 

5. The focus will now shift toward two receivers that have been mentioned recently in this column but still do not appear to be garnering the level of attention that they deserve among fantasy GMs.

Tim Patrick has leapfrogged presumed lead receiver Jerry Jeudy by commandeering WR1 responsibilities in Denver.

Courtland Sutton was originally expected to function as the Broncos' top receiver, but a torn ACL abruptly terminated his season. First-round selection Jeudy was the logical candidate to absorb the majority of targets following Sutton’s injury.

But Patrick has now garnered more receptions (20/17), and assembled more yardage (310/266) than Jeudy, even though his role did not expand until Noah Fant and K.J. Hamler also encountered injuries. Patrick also leads the Broncos in target share since Week 4 (25%), while Jeudy is second at 14.3%. Patrick is also leading the team in percentage share of air yards (35.1%), while easily generating the most air yards during that span (214). He has also averaged a team-high 14.0 yards per target during that sequence and is tied for third among all receivers with five receptions of 20+ yards. Even after Fant and Hamler return, Patrick should still operate as Denver’s WR1 and will supply fantasy GMs with a viable WR3 option.

 

Travis Fulgham was included in last week’s review, and his career transformation continued in Week 6. The former sixth-round pick was originally selected by Detroit in 2019. However, he did not register a reception as a Lion. But he eventually landed on the Eagles’ practice squad and was signed to their active roster in early October. His stock has soared since Week 5, as his production during the past two matchups has cemented him as Philadelphia’s primary receiving option. His ability to capitalize on his recent surge in usage has been timely for the Eagles, whose conga line of injured receiving options has been expanded following Zach Ertz’s ankle injury.

Fulgham has been WR3 in scoring since Week 5 and is third among all receivers with 23 targets during his last two contests. He also leads all receivers in air yards (124), is second in receptions (16), and is also second in receiving yards (227) during that span. He has also captured a 36.1% target share while averaging a 30.5 percentage share of air yards since his Week 5 emergence. That easily exceeds the second-highest share of both John Hightower and Zach Ertz, who were tied at 16.7%. Fulgham’s ascension into Philadelphia’s WR1 responsibilities should continue for the foreseeable future, which provides managers with a legitimate WR3 for their rosters.



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Week 7 IDP Rankings, Streamers, and Notes

The big IDP news of the week happened just this Thursday morning, as our rankings were being finalized.

It was pretty big news, too. Yannick Ngakoue was traded to the Baltimore Ravens! Let’s discuss just how big this news is, and whether it’s good or bad for his short and long term fantasy prospects, shall we?

In the short term, fantasy managers should expect Ngakoue’s fantasy potential to actually improve after this trade, even if he was already on a 13 sack pace in Minnesota. The reason for this optimism is twofold.

 

Yannick Ngakoue Implications

The first reason to be optimistic about Ngakoue’s 2020 prospects in Baltimore is the likelihood that the Ravens will use him similarly to how they have used Matthew Judon this season. In 2020, Harbaugh and company have put Judon at or on the line of scrimmage on 79% of his snaps. That is encouraging, since Ngakoue is used to being a hand-in-the-dirt pass rusher and not a stand-up coverage 'backer. Fantasy managers do not want Ngakoue learning a new position mid-season, nor do they want him serving as an all-purpose linebacker. His strength is as a pass rusher, and Baltimore should use him that way.

The second reason to expect Ngakoue to continue his 2020 tear, despite changing teams and defensive schemes, is that he should get FAR more help from the secondary in Baltimore than he got in Minnesota. Baltimore’s three best corners this year (Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith, and Marcus Peters) are giving up a 63.8% completion percentage to opposing passers despite seeing a dozen more targets than Minnesota’s corners. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s corners are giving up a 72.9% completion percentage to opponents. This upgrade in corner performance, as well an increase in opponent passing plays, should spell a much better opportunity for Ngakoue’s sack totals.

While the short term ramifications of this trade are positive for Ngakoue’s fantasy managers, the long term implications are even better. According to overthecap.com, the Vikings are currently more than $8 million over the 2021 salary cap, meaning they will likely be cutting talent rather than adding it this offseason. The same cannot be said for the Ravens, who have approximately $43 million in 2021 cap space. Keep in mind that Baltimore's rosy cap situation is with players like Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, Patrick Queen, and Chuck Clark all under contract through at least the 2022 season.

Overall, this trade is great for all IDP managers who roster Ngakoue. Dynasty managers should love the idea of a 25-year-old pass rusher going to a defense with good corners under contract for several years. Redraft managers should also love this move, as it makes big plays easier to come by for the stud pass rusher. In both formats, the needle is pointing up on this Maryland born star.

 

Top-25 Fantasy Defensive Linemen of the Week

Rank Player Opponent
1 Myles Garrett Bengals
2 T.J. Watt Titans
3 Joey Bosa Jaguars
4 Jason Pierre-Paul Raiders
5 Harold Landry III Steelers
6 Chase Young Cowboys
7 Za’Darius Smith Texans
8 Bud Dupree Titans
9 Khalil Mack Rams
10 Aldon Smith Washington Football Team
11 Aaron Donald Bears
12 Bradley Chubb Chiefs
13 Cameron Jordan Panthers
14 J.J. Watt Packers
15 Shaquil Barrett Raiders
16 Montez Sweat Cowboys
17 Chris Jones Broncos
18 Frank Clark Broncos
19 Josh Allen (Q) Chargers
20 Brian Burns Saints
21 Kyler Fackrell Eagles
22 Carl Lawson Browns
23 Grady Jarrett Lions
24 Jeffery Simmons Steelers
25 Sheldon Richardson Bengals

DL Streamer of the Week: Chase Young, Washington Football Team

Young sits comfortably outside of the top-15 DL rankings for multiple prominent fantasy outlets this week, and that may make sense if you just looked at his output since he was injured in Week 2. Another factor that may be scaring some IDP managers/rankers is his matchup this week with a Dallas Cowboys team famous for its pass-blocking unit. The Cowboys' pass blocking isn't what it used to be, however.

This year, the Cowboys have allowed 14 sacks, which is only slightly below the league average. That number does not reflect what the Cowboys passing game has going on right now, though. So far this year, Dallas has lost both of its starting offensive tackles, Pro Bowl Guard Zack Martin, and mobile superstar Dak Prescott. Do not underestimate how many sacks Prescott has saved this season with his legs or how many Dalton won't save with his. If you want a better idea of what this Cowboys offense really looks like aftr all of these injuries, look no further than the three sacks they allowed against a Cardinals Defense that was missing its best pass rusher (Chandler Jones) on Monday.

Given his low rankings across the industry this week and his matchup with a gimpy Cowboys squad, Young is a nice sneaky play in pretty much all IDP formats. While he may already be a starter for some managers, Young is available in 25% of leagues right now. Young’s combination of availability, talent, and matchup mean he is a strong sleeper/streamer in Week 7.

DL Fade of the Week: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Donald is arguably the best player in the NFL, and he is always a fantasy starter in leagues where you have to play a DT. In fact, most weeks Donald is a reasonable high upside fantasy play no matter what kind of league you play in. With all of that said, Donald doesn't have the ideal fantasy matchup in Week 7.

While Chicago’s offense has surrendered 11 sacks this year (tied for 13th lowest), their starting offensive line has been surprisingly efficient. The five starting blockers for the Bears have allowed only seven total sacks and 9.3 pressures per contest this season. That type of efficiency should concern Donald fantasy managers. Although Donald has the talent to blow up any blocking unit in the league, the Bears and their style of play suggest another dud of a week could be on tap for the former Defensive Player of the Year. Donald is a boom-or-bust fantasy prospect in Week 7

Sneaky Good Matchup of the Week: Jason Pierre-Paul v. the Oakland Raiders’ Offensive Line

You don’t need me to tell you to start Pierre-Paul. The fireworks fan stands third in the NFL in sacks right now, and he has already forced three fumbles while averaging nearly four tackles per game. He is arguably a top-ten DL each week, regardless of matchup. His matchup this week is particularly interesting, though.

On paper, fantasy managers should consider downgrading any defensive linemen going against the Raiders’ offensive line. Las Vegas has allowed the sixth least sacks in the NFL so far this season, and the Raiders rank 12th in Adjusted Sack Rate according to Football Outsiders. However, things in Sin City aren't quite as rosy in Week 7 as those factors may suggest.

One of the Raiders’ best pass blockers is Trent Brown, who just went on the COVID list. If Brown doesn’t play, Pierre-Paul could take advantage. On top of that, the Raiders are currently quarantining all of their starting offensive linemen because they had contact with Brown. If Vegas is missing multiple starting offensive linemen, it could turn into slaughter and a terrible fantasy week for the Raiders’ offensive players, too.

 

Top-25 Fantasy Linebackers of the Week 

Rank Player Opponent
1 Bobby Wagner Cardinals
2 Blake Martinez Eagles
3 Jaylon Smith Washington Football Team
4 Roquan Smith Rams
5 Fred Warner Patriots
6 Devin White Raiders
7 Zach Cunningham Packers
8 Lavonte David Raiders
9 T.J. Watt Titans
10 Micah Kiser Bears
11 Shaq Thompson Saints
12 Joe Schobert Chargers
13 Jordan Hicks Seahawks
14 Deion Jones Lions
15 Jon Bostic Cowboys
16 Myles Jack Chargers
17 Foyesade Oluokun Lions
18 Kenneth Murray Jaguars
19 Jayon Brown Steelers
20 Demario Davis Panthers
21 Alexander Johnson Chiefs
22 Tremaine Edmunds Jets
23 Kyzir White Jaguars
24 Dre Greenlaw Patriots
25 Avery Williamson Bills

LB Streamer of the Week: Dre Greenlaw, San Francisco 49ers

Kwon Alexander missed last week’s matchup against the Rams with a high ankle sprain. It seems increasingly likely that he will miss this week’s game after he sat out practice this Wednesday, too. In games that Alexander sits, Dre Greenlaw averages a fantasy friendly nine tackles per game, with a ceiling of 13 tackles.

The Patriots are the third most run-heavy team in the NFL. Even better, Cam’s powerful yet improvisational running style tends to involve linebackers in the game more than usual. That bodes well for a guy like Greenlaw, who brings with him a high floor and ceiling in tackle premium IDP leagues.

LB Fade of the Week: Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys

For those who read all of our IDP columns, you will notice that we have advised you to both add Vander Esch and fade him in this week. That is not an accident or a typo. As a season-long asset, fantasy managers should be eager to add the Boise State product. That doesn't mean you should start him this week, though.

As a Week 7 fantasy prospect, there are simply too many questions floating out there to start him. Chief amongst those questions is how much playing time Vander Esch will see against Washington. Last week he played only 52% of the Cowboys’ snaps, and it would make sense for this team to continue to take things slow with a guy who has a history of neck issues and a recently repaired clavicle. With only six total tackles this year and less than 55% of his team’s snaps in both of the games he has played (granted Week 1 was due to injury), Vander Esch should be rostered but benched until he is back to being a full-time starter.

Cautious Optimism of the Week: Foyesade Oluokun, Atlanta Falcons

If you know who Foyesade Oluokun is or how to pronounce his name, then you are probably one of his family members, a teammate, or an IDP fantasy manager. The Yale alumnus has never had the profile of an NFL superstar, nor has he ever been given the playing time necessary to become one. He is finally getting that opportunity now, though, and he is doing enough to make casual fans wonder just who this guy is and whether he is for real.

You want a reason to believe Oluokun is for real? Well, it helps that the Atlanta Falcons finally seem to think he is. While Oluokun occasionally popped with double-digit tackle games during his first two pro seasons, the Falcons rarely rewarded that play with significant playing time. For example, in 2018 the Yale grad only played on 29.88% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps, despite being available in all 16 games. This season is a different story, though, as the Yale Bulldog has played on nearly 60% of Atlanta’s defensive snaps despite missing time to injury. Expect that increased usage to continue, as Oluokun saw 100% of the team’s defensive snaps in Interim Head Coach Raheem Morris’s first game leading the Falcons.

A second reason for Oluokun optimism, beyond how often Atlanta is using him, is how Atlanta uses him. In his first two seasons combined, the Falcons brought Oluokun on a blitz just 25 times. In just five games this season, the Falcons have already sent him after the quarterback on 23 times. That increased blitz usage spells an increase in sack and TFL opportunities, which raises his fantasy value in all formats. Additionally, Oluokun has significantly improved in pass coverage. While quarterbacks had a 115.4 Passer Rating targeting him in 2017, they are now putting up an 85.6 Passer Rating against him. That improvement is likely one of the reasons that Atlanta feels comfortable keeping Oluokun on the field during passing downs.

Given his current production and increased usage, Oluokun is worth rostering in 16-team IDP leagues and unique IDP setups. Do not make the mistake of thinking you have to know how to pronounce his name in order to roster him, though. You don’t. If your friends ask you who he is or how you knew to add him, just say, "He’s that guy from that thing… you know, the guy! I've always liked him! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go poop!” That should end the conversation right there.

 

Top-25 Fantasy Defensive Backs of the Week

Rank Player Opponent
1 Budda Baker Seahawks
2 Jamal Adams Cardinals
3 John Johnson III Bears
4 Jordan Poyer Jets
5 Tracy Walker Falcons
6 Jessie Bates III Browns
7 Jeremy Chinn Saints
8 Antoine Winfield Jr. Raiders
9 Justin Simmons Chiefs
10 Landon Collins Cowboys
11 Malcolm Jenkins Panthers
12 Josh Jones Chargers
13 Taylor Rapp Bears
14 Vonn Bell Browns
15 Johnathan Abram Buccaneers
16 Jabrill Peppers Eagles
17 Jordan Whitehead Raiders
18 Carlton Davis Raiders
19 Marcus Maye Jets
20 Pierre Desir Bills
21 Justin Reid Packers
22 Keanu Neal Lions
23 Logan Ryan Eagles
24 Adrian Phillips 49ers
25 Kenny Vaccaro Steelers

DB Streamer of the Week: Taylor Rapp, Los Angeles Rams

As we have already covered in past articles, fantasy managers with Taylor Rapp on their roster are in a precarious position this season. Rapp performs very well when he sees a ton of snaps, but he doesn’t tend to see a ton of snaps when rookie Jordan Fuller is healthy.

When Fuller was healthy in Weeks 1, 2, and 5 of his season, Rapp never played more than 24% of the Rams’ defensive snaps. When Fuller wasn’t healthy in Weeks 3, 4, and 5, Rapp played a vast majority of his team's snaps, and he consistently put up starter level fantasy numbers. This trend consistently reflects Rapp's 2019 season, too. Last year Rapp started ten games and saw more than 80% of his team's snaps in nine contests. Rapp put up enough stats to be a fantasy starter in most formats in each of those games.

The lesson to learn from all of this is that when Rapp plays a lot, fantasy managers play him. With Jordan Fuller on the IR, he isn’t going to play this week. That means Rapp will play a lot. It also means you should play him.

DB Fade of the Week: Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A constant favorite of mine and a streamer recommendation for us last week, Davis is a bit of a fade in Week 7. The primary concern with Davis this week is the fact Derek Carr likes to spread the ball around. Carr has given double-digit targets to seven different skill players on the Raiders this year. His most-targeted weapon by far is Darren Waller, who lines up inline or in the slot on 77.6% of his snaps this year. Davis rarely goes into the slot, preferring to stick outside. A diverse target selection and primary target in the slot means the Raiders could easily avoid Davis without changing their game plan much at all.

While Tampa may use Davis to shadow Waller, it seems unlikely. It also seems unlikely that Carr will force the ball to his tight end if Davis is blanketing him in good coverage. That means Davis should see limited opportunities for fantasy points this week.



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Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings, tiers, player news and stats for Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find:

    • Weekly PPR Rankings
    • Weekly Half-PPR Rankings
    • Weekly Standard Rankings
    • Dynasty League Rankings

 


 

Fantasy Football Rankings by NFL Position

ALL - QB - RB - WR - TE - DEF

Our fantasy football rankings articles are broken down by NFL position, and include analysis on numerous league formats including: PPR, non-PPR, redraft, keeper, dynasty and deeper formats too.

Fantasy football rankings are an important piece of your preseason draft strategies, and your in-season roster management as well. This rankings dashboard will be updated continuously throughout the preseason and NFL season with fresh analysis and updated rankings. Stay on top of our rankings analysis and content all season long.

 

2020 NFL Rookie Rankings

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2020 Best Ball Rankings

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Dynasty League Rankings

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6 months ago

Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Wide Receiver)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right? We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.) But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand... Read More

6 months ago

Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Running Back)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right? We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.) But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand... Read More

7 months ago

Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Quarterback)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right? We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.) But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand... Read More

7 months ago


More Dynasty Analysis Articles

 

IDP League Rankings

2020 IDP Rankings - Top 120 Defensive Players for Fantasy Football

Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rankings (top 120) for IDP formats. For those of you who are not familiar with fantasy football IDP leagues, these are formats where individual defensive players (IDP) are drafted by fantasy managers and accrue points for defensive stats like tackles, sacks, interceptions, etc. Our... Read More

3 months ago

Early IDP Tiered Rankings & Analysis for 2020

Individual Defensive Player (IDP) formats are becoming more popular in fantasy leagues, but not all IDP leagues are the same. Your IDP ranks can and should change depending on your league's format. An example might be that if your league requires you to start a defensive tackle (DT) specifically, then Aaron Donald's fantasy value would... Read More

6 months ago

More IDP Analysis Articles

 


 

Rankings Archives

Click below to see archives of our rankings from previous years. Categories include tiered staff rankings for PPR, Half-PPR and Standard scoring leagues. Also included are impact rookie rankings and dynasty rankings.

2019 fantasy football rankings columns and analysis

2018 fantasy football rankings columns and analysis

2017 fantasy football rankings columns and analysis

2016 fantasy football rankings columns and analysis

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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NFL DFS Value Plays for Week 7 (Premium Content)


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NFL DFS Stacks: Week 7 (Premium Content)


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Fantasy Football Trade Targets - Week 7

The fantasy trade market is always a fun one to evaluate. Articles like this are essentially glorified "Who's Hot and Who's Not" pieces but the tables are turned to where sometimes, you want to trade for those that are cold and trade away those hot.

Now, six weeks into the season, we have several big-name players underperforming and others over-performing. The trade market has the most leverage possible early on in the year when owners are 0-6 or 1-5 with injuries flooding them (especially this year). The time to buy/sell is now and I am here to help.

If you like this piece or others like it,  follow me on Twitter @RotoSurgeon to catch on any relevant and/or ask questions. Best of luck!

 

Players To Trade For

J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens

With Mark Ingram presumably out or limited for the next few weeks due to an ankle sprain, J.K. Dobbins has an opportunity to seize a larger workload in the Ravens backfield.

The Ravens' backfield as a whole is a mess for fantasy. Dobbins has been on the field plenty since Week 1 but is only averaging six touches per game. Gus Edwards is rumored to see an increase in touches as well but his role seems fairly established as an early-down grinder, particularly, late in games to eat first-downs and maintain leads. Given that Edwards has just three targets this season and 12 total in his three year career, it's fair to assume that he will not see a significantly substantive change to his role. It is very likely that Justice Hill is activated if Ingram is out. Hill will probably take on two-minute drills and obvious passing situations like last season.

Edwards is a tell for defenses that the Ravens want to run. The hard part is of course stopping their potent ground game thanks to super-human athlete Lamar Jackson at the helm. Nevertheless, even the Ravens have to keep defenses honest and have versatile options on offense. Dobbins spaces the field much more than Edwards and can even move out-wide to play some receiver. His snap-share probably does not exceed 50% sans Ingram but his touches could consistently hit low double-digits, which is all he needs in this offense to become a fantasy-viable starter.

Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Adams is obviously not some diamond-in-the-rough but there is a window to buy at partially discounted value. After missing multiple weeks with a hamstring injury and now being five weeks removed from an extraterrestrial-like Week 1 performance, Adams can possibly be traded for with a WR like DK Metcalf who has not missed all season or Ronald Jones, a RB coming off of three straight 100-yard performances. There are plenty of avenues to get creative here but the main goal is to acquire Adams who could end the season as the WR1 in PPG scoring.

There is virtually no competition for targets in GB and even when hounded by secondaries, Adams is bound to win, especially in the end-zone where he has been a favorite target of Rodgers' throughout his career. The Packers' offense is not devoid of talent but even after missing two games, Adams still leads the team in targets (tied with Marquez Valdes-Scantling). Adams saw 10 targets in his first game back from injury and is underperforming his expected yards-after-catch per reception at the sixth-highest rate in the league. He is as dominant a WR as there is in the league and is in his prime of primes at age 27. The Packers' defense is horrendous (30th in DVOA) which will keep the offense moving through the air despite Coach LaFleur's desire to run.

It is not out of the question for Adams to hit a pro-rated end-of-year target total of 200, this type of player is worth buying even at full-cost.

 

Players To Trade Away

Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals

Although this sell is a little too obvious, it must be done. Drake's rushing line at half-time this past Monday night was 7 rushes, 20 yards, and one TD. The Cowboys' gave up in the second half, it was evident from DeAndre Hopkins' 60-yard catch and Drake's 69-yard TD run. There was no fight left in that defense after witnessing the demise of their offense thanks to Andy Dalton and their shoddy offensive line. The play-calling was horrendous, specifically, the 58-yard field goal call when down 25 points in the first-half.

Drake has been a black hole all season and is hardly used in the passing attack. His value in the past was driven by his usage as a receiver but now, in passing-downs, Chase Edmonds gets the call. Drake has totaled just eight (8!!) targets through six games which puts him on pace for the second-lowest total of his career (first being his low-usage rookie season). While Drake's snap-share has remained steady all season, Edmonds had been incrementally rising up until this past week where his services as a receiver were unnecessary. This backfield is not one that will be ran away with anytime soon but if Drake hits another skid, Edmonds will be right on his tail to pick up the slack. Take the value regained from this past game versus Dallas and try to move Drake. It will be hard due to the timing but there's no harm in trying.

Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

*DISCLAIMER: Do not trade McLaurin until AFTER this weekend's matchup versus the Cowboys*

Scary Terry is a fantastic receiver on pace to have a great season, unfortunately, that pace is now derailed thanks to the decision to bench Dwayne Haskins and role out a QB duo of Kyle Allen and Alex Smith. While Allen is the starter for now, it is very possible that Smith takes over full-time if struggles continue. The splits here, although within a small sample, speak for themselves

McLaurin is faced with the gargantuan task of carrying the receiving load for a mediocre football team in complete flux, aiming at their future this season rather than the season itself. If he were to suffer a minor-ish injury, the team would probably shut him down as to not further the damage on their start wide-out. The risk with McLaurin outweighs the reward and luckily, he is coming off of a good enough game (12 targets, 7 receptions, and 74 yards) to sell with some semblance of value.



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Re-Evaluating the Rookie Running Back Class of 2020

We're six weeks into the 2020 NFL season and are starting to get some good ideas of what usage patterns are looking like.

Which means we probably have enough data now to start to re-evaluate where certain players stand in relation to other players. For example, we've got a better idea of how this year's rookie running backs are performing as rookies and what their 2020 value is for the rest of the season.

So, let's do that by ranking the top rookie running backs for fantasy re-draft leagues for the rest of 2020, then breaking down why the players rank where they do.

 

Rookie Running Back Redraft Rankings

I've put a lot of thought into the various nuances here and this is what I've ended up with as my ROS rankings in PPR leagues for the rookie backs.

  1. Jonathan Taylor - Indianapolis Colts
  2. James Robinson - Jacksonville Jaguars
  3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire - Kansas City Chiefs
  4. D'Andre Swift - Detroit Lions
  5. Antonio Gibson - Washington Football Team
  6. Joshua Kelley - Los Angeles Chargers
  7. J.K. Dobbins - Baltimore Ravens
  8. Zack Moss - Buffalo Bills
  9. Cam Akers - Los Angeles Rams
  10. La'Mical Perine - New York Jets

Apologies to the handful of guys who are not ranked, especially Darrynton Evans, who would leap up this list in the event of a Derrick Henry injury upon return from IR.

Now, let's talk about why these 10 guys rank where they do.

 

Re-Evaluating Rookie RBs - The Top Tier

Let's start with the player who is No. 1 in these re-rankings: Jonathan Taylor.

Yeah, yeah, yeah -- everyone told us for months that Taylor was the rookie RB1 and we just didn't believe it, which is how I ended up with so much Clyde Edwards-Helaire in dynasty and not enough Taylor.

But there was definite reason to not have Taylor as your redraft RB1. The main reason: his path to carries was crowded by the existence of Marlon Mack, while CEH had no competition.

Well, Mack's done for the season, and since Week 2, Taylor is eighth among running backs in red zone attempts with 16. This week, he saw 80 percent of Indy's carries, the second-highest percentage in the league behind Derrick Henry. Take out quarterback carries, and this past week paints a very clear picture of this backfield. Per Add More Funds:

image taken from AddMoreFunds

This is Taylor's spot moving forward, which makes him one of two rookie running backs with a very clear grip on a No. 1, workhorse-type role. Taylor is 100 percent the top rookie.

Second is someone who was on no one's radar until just before the season kicked off: Jacksonville's James Robinson.

When Jacksonville let Leonard Fournette go, things opened up with the Jags. Ryquell Armstead, Chris Thompson, and Devine Ozigbo were expected to compete for the lead role.

But nope, it was none of them who emerged. Instead, undrafted rookie James Robinson became the lead back.

Over the last three games, Robinson is ninth among running backs in snap rate, and he's second to David Montgomery in positional attempt rate at 95.45 percent, as Jacksonville's other most-used back by snap rate, Chris Thompson, is exclusively a receiving option and has two carries in the last three games to Robinson's 42.

Robinson isn't as talented and doesn't run behind as good of an offensive line as Taylor, but his usage on the ground and in the passing game makes him the clear No. 2 rookie running back for fantasy right now.

Next is where things start to get a little dicier.

I have Clyde Edwards-Helaire third for now, with D'Andre Swift fourth. But this was the decision that perturbed me the most as I was working on this piece. It ultimately came down to going with the player in the better offense, but it was close.

See, CEH is about to be in a timeshare with Le'Veon Bell. I'd guess the split breakdown with Bell goes more to Edwards-Helaire's side -- and that we see a good bit of Bell split out at receiver with Edwards-Helaire in the backfield. It's not like Bell is in his prime at this point, but he's still a capable back provided Adam Gase didn't permanently ruin him. He'll get opportunities, which cuts too much into Edwards-Helaire's workload.

D'Andre Swift almost earned the third spot in my ROS rankings, but I was worried that I was buying into recency bias just a little too much. See, Swift is coming off by far the best game of his young career, rushing 14 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns while catching three passes for seven yards. But while his touches and production rose, he still saw action on just 38 percent of snaps, plus Adrian Peterson received 15 carries and also found the end zone. This team won't be as efficient each week, which ultimately lowers Swift's floor. He's a clearly talented back, but I don't trust the opportunities as much as I do with CEH, even with the Bell addition factored in.

Fifth is Antonio Gibson, who suffers from "bad offense" syndrome. The Washington team plays from behind a lot, which is part of why they average just 23.4 run plays per game. Gibson's 55 carries rank 26th at the position, and the Washington offensive line ranks 28th in adjusted line yards per game. So while Gibson is his team's primary back -- he's had 64.71 percent of their running back carries over the last three games -- he's also limited by a terrible supporting cast, which has helped contribute to him not running for more than 55 yards in a game yet, though his three touchdowns this season has boosted his value.

 

Re-Evaluating Rookie RBs - Lower Tier

Sixth, we have Joshua Kelley. The Austin Ekeler injury is giving Kelley a short-term boost, and he'd probably drop below J.K. Dobbins if I did this exercise a month from now. But the short term matters when ranking rest of season value, as does the importance of his bye week being behind him. Kelley has lost some touches to Justin Jackson, but it's always good to follow where these touches come from. Kelley does have a team-high 10 red zone carries, while Jackson has none.

J.K. Dobbins is seventh and I'm probably undervaluing him a little, but the Ravens remain a tough team to project. Over the last three games, here are some attempt numbers for the team:

image taken from AddMoreFunds

Dobbins has trailed Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram in carries, even while surpassing Ingram in snaps. And with Lamar Jackson siphoning off 19.35 percent of the carries over that span, it's hard to love Dobbins right now, even after a season-high nine carries in Week 6. A Week 7 bye week also helps keep him under Kelley in my rankings, as does the fact that while he's the best receiving back on this team, there's still not a lot of running back receptions coming in this Ravens offense.

The final three ranked players come with a good bit of a gap between them and the first seven.

At eight is Zack Moss, who just played his first game since Week 2, getting five carries for 10 yards. Moss is barely playable in fantasy, but he does have one advantage: in Weeks 1 and 2, Moss had seven red zone attempts to Devin Singeltary's three. He's got touchdown upside, even if it's not a lot of upside.

Ninth is Cam Akers. I like Akers. I'm sure we all like Akers. But a seemingly healthy Cam Akers played just one offensive snap against the 49ers, despite rushing for 6.78 yards per carry in Week 5. If he gets opportunities, he has flex appeal, but he's ninth right now because we can't guarantee anything at all when it comes to chances, thanks to Sean McVay's unpredictable usage.

Rounding out the top 10 for now: La'mical Perine. Sure, he gets more touches than Akers, but his low ceiling makes it tough to justify him on your fantasy roster right now. He's backing up Frank Gore in an Adam Gase offense. There's nothing at all good about that, even if he had seven carries and two catches this week, and this team has a very tough upcoming schedule that will lead to pass-heavy game scripts.



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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid - Week 7

The CB Matchup Chart has been a helpful resource all season, specifically in Week 6Last week's article was predictive in forecasting boom games for Julio Jones, Justin Jefferson, and Christian Kirk. It also predicted let-downs from Robby Anderson, Cooper Kupp, and Mike Evans. This week's chart will give the most accurate landscape of CB matchups yet, as I have continued to update it with new data and left and right alignment splits.

The chart below is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points. There are inherent flaws within the data compilation of cornerback play. The first being the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things. Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science. The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups, rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics. The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red. The "PPGA" is the number of fantasy points per game that the player has given up. A name in blue means the corner could possibly shadow the WR1. A name in red means that the player is dealing with an injury. WRs highlighted in yellow have an easy matchup. WRs highlighted in pink have a tough matchup.

 

Cornerback Ratings and Matchups - Week 7

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in most cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player. However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners. This weekly process has made it clear to me that the WR talent and his target share are more important than his opposition.

It’s become a tradition to start this space each week with attacking Atlanta. Kenny Golladay could have his best game of 2020 this Sunday. All of Atlanta’s outside CBs are below average, so the fact that Kenny G and Marvin Jones Jr. split time on the right and left shouldn’t matter much. Jones has had a down year so far. If he fails to produce against Atlanta, it might be time to drop him in fantasy leagues.

I highlighted both A.J. Green and Tee Higgins because they play right and left side just about evenly.  Whoever gets more snaps on the left side will have the easier matchup against Terrance Mitchell. Denzel Ward is a completely different story.  It would make sense to attack Mitchell with Higgins, but we can’t be sure until game day. Ward plays exclusively LCB.

Denver’s secondary didn’t give up much to the New England passing attack last week. Prior to their win against the Patriots, they were one of the most frequently burnt units in the league. Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill are in bounce-back spots after Buffalo chose to play their safeties 20 yards deep in Week 6.

Detroit has been dominated by outside WRs, so in a game with a 56.5 total, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are both potential slate-breakers.

Stefon Diggs is in a good spot against the Jets. They move him around the formation and he has a plus matchup against two bad outside CBs.

The chart projects a very favorable matchup for DeAndre Hopkins as the LWR against Seattle. The Seahawks have been gashed by LWRs all year, and Hopkins lines up on the left side the majority of the time. However, it’s important to note that Tre Flowers has been responsible for a lot of fantasy points against that position. Quinton Dunbar hasn’t been good this year, but he’s better than Flowers. I’ll be watching that matchup very closely, especially after Hopkins inexplicably flopped against Dallas.

In the slot, Jamison Crowder gets a Bills Defense that he exposed in Week 1.  Meanwhile, Greg Ward gets a matchup with Giants rookie Darnay Holmes, who has been abysmal.  Finally, the underwhelming JuJu Smith-Schuster gets another easy matchup against Tennessee’s Kristian Fulton. Fresh off a disappointing outing against the Browns, anything other than a breakout game could mean JuJu simply isn’t a priority target for the Steelers anymore.

Finally, Tyler Boyd does not have as easy a matchup as the chart indicates. Kevin Johnson has been a much better slot corner in recent weeks compared to who the Browns used earlier this season.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Avoid

James Bradberry is having an amazing season and probably deserves some DPOY consideration at this point.  I expect him to shadow and severely limit Travis Fulgham in Week 7.

In that same game, I expect Darius Slay to match up against Darius Slayton and limit him as well.

Jaire Alexander is one of the best corners in the league and may shadow Will Fuller.  Alexander had Deshaun Watson's number in college so I wouldn't be surprised if Watson tried to avoid him.  The bad news for Brandin Cooks is that even if Alexander moves off his home at LCB and shadows Fuller, Cooks will have a tough matchup with Green Bay's other outside corners.

Tre’Davious White is back for the Bills, so Breshad Perriman is not an advisable start this week.

D.J. Chark plays both right and left, but the bad news for him is that both Chargers’ outside corners are outstanding. Laviska Shenault Jr. is going to have a game with an explosive touchdown sooner or later, but this not a good matchup for him either.

The Saints have done a terrific job against RWRs this year, so downgrade Robby Anderson a bit for the second consecutive week.

The Washington Football Team's pass defense has been well above average at limiting fantasy points to opposing WRs. With Andy Dalton at QB, all three of the top Dallas WRs should be downgraded a bit.  I especially don’t love Amari Cooper’s matchup against Kendall Fuller.

Similarly, Kyle Fuller and the Bears have done a great job against WRs all year.  This might not be the best week for the Rams’ WR group, especially Robert Woods.

As far as slots go, there are a lot of good players in bad spots.  Randall Cobb, Jerry Jeudy, Cole Beasley, Julian Edelman, and Hunter Renfrow have the most difficult slot matchups in the league this week.  I would like to specifically highlight Brian Poole, who has been stellar as the Jets’ slot corner.  The Jets have been atrocious, but Poole deserves All-Pro consideration at this point.  Nickel backs are no longer just sub-package players.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups - Week 7

Things are starting to get difficult for fantasy football managers.

Indianapolis, Minnesota, Miami and Baltimore all have the week off, so fantasy managers are already playing shorthanded. Fielding a full lineup is going to be tough as it is if you have a few injuries. If one of your key guys is listed as questionable heading into their game, you better have a backup plan the A-Team would have been proud of back in the 80s.

Without further ado, here are my pivot plays and post-waiver pickups for Week 7 --- and the questionable superstars who you might need to replace:

 

Week 7 Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups

Darren Fells (HOU, TE) vs. GB

If Denver’s Noah Fant (ankle) cannot go again on Sunday, you could go with…

Before you go thinking Fells is a bottom-of-the-barrel choice at the tight end position, remember that he scored a career-high seven touchdowns last year. Deshaun Watson loved throwing to him inside the red zone, but then early in 2020 Fells lost his place as Houston’s top tight end to up-and-comer Jordan Akins. Fells subsequently only caught six passes over his first four games.

Akins is banged-up with multiple injuries, however, and Fells has reclaimed his role and has thrived just like he did last season. He recorded eight receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown during the last two weeks he has been Houston’s main man at tight end. Fells is a nice fallback option if you are a Fant fan who gets burned at the last minute as his home matchup against Green Bay should not scare any fantasy managers away.

 

Anthony Firkser (TEN, TE) vs. PIT

If Tennessee’s Jonnu Smith (ankle) cannot suit up on Sunday, you could go with…

Backup tight ends are about as valuable in fantasy football as punters and waterboys. Even if you were in an AFC South fantasy league you probably would have passed on Firkser. Smith started strong as Tennessee’s top tight end (19-234-5) and made Firkser a fantasy non-factor the first month-plus, but Smith is on a limpy leg due to an ankle injury suffered this past week.

All Firkser did once Smith got hurt last Sunday was step in and step up to the tune of eight catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. I know Firkser is facing an undefeated Pittsburgh team with a top-10 pass defense, but we have seen how well the Titans passing attack has gone with Ryan Tannehill as its leader. No matter who is plugged in as a pass catcher, that person produces when Tannehill is throwing to him. Firkser is the perfect insurance policy if you have Smith on your roster. 40 yards and a TD is not out of the question if he starts for Smith.

 

Nelson Agholor (LV, WR) vs. TB (MONDAY)

If New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (ankle) cannot find his way to the field on Sunday, you could go with…

Agholor is getting to be a modern-day Cris Carter --- all he does is catch touchdown passes. Despite only being targeted 11 times in five games, Agholor has reached the end zone a trio of times and is averaging an impressive 18.5 yards per catch after never averaging more than 12.5 yards a catch in any of his first four seasons.

Agholor is not Derek Carr’s top target or second-best target. Might not even be his third-best. The fact is that Agholor is making plays every time the ball is spiraled his way, however, and he could break a play or two versus Tampa Bay on Sunday night. When picking up a player for fantasy purposes when you have a lineup emergency, it is sometimes best to get a game breaker who can post a ton of fantasy points in one shot rather than go for a guy who needs a volume of targets to be worthwhile. Agholor has shown he can give fantasy managers a lot with just one or two catches in a game.

 

Frank Gore (NYJ, RB) vs. BUF

If Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon (foot) cannot overcome his injury on Sunday, you could go with…

I know Gore is 100 years old. I know being a favorite of Adam Gase is like being a favorite of Rich Kotite. And I know Gore has not amassed more than 70 combined yards in a game this season and is facing a desperate Buffalo defense that will be out for blood after losing two straight games and tail spinning out of control. I know all this.

I also know that there is not much on the waiver wire at running back at this point of the season, especially at the end of the week after the first round of waiver picks have happened. On top of that, Buffalo has the 25th-ranked run defense in the league and can be exploited if the Jets offensive line brings its best game of the season. The Jets have nowhere to go but up, and neither does Gore. If you need someone in a pinch if Mixon’s foot holds him back, you might as well plug in this veteran and pray for the best. One thing is for sure --- Gore will get touches because there is not much behind him on the depth chart in the Jets backfield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Week 7 Stream Team - Shallow and Deep-League Pickups

Welcome to Week 7 of the NFL season. Each week we will be providing streamer advice for all of those who need it, which is pretty much anyone and everyone. Streaming players with the best matchups each week as well as during your stud's bye weeks is an integral part of winning a fantasy championship and we are here to provide the best choices week in and week out.

Each week in this article, we will break down streamers for both shallower leagues of 8-10 teams (around 40% rostered or less) and deeper leagues of 14 or more teams (around 20% rostered or less). We will provide a specific roster in each type of league, which will include a QB, RB, WR, TE, and Flex. It should also be noted that if you play in a deep league, but a shallow-league player mentioned here is available in your league, feel free to stream them as

Everything seemed to go off pretty well last week and we did not have any games recommended here canceled, so let's hope for the same as we head into Week 7. Some of the best options to stream are highlighted below.

 

Stream Team for Shallow Leagues (<40% Rostered)

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

36% Rostered

Quarterback is slim pickings for streaming this week, so Mayfield gets the nod in this spot. He will be going up against a Bengals Defense that is currently allowing nearly 18 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. The total in this game is currently set at 50, so scoring should not be a problem. Also, Mayfield had his best fantasy performance of the season in Week 2 at home vs the Bengals when he threw for 219 yards and two scores.

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers

51% Rostered

I struggled to decide between recommending Jackson or Joshua Kelley here, but decided to go with Jackson based on his production from a week ago when he carried the ball 15 times for 71 yards while also hauling in five receptions for 23 yards. He gets a matchup vs. a Jaguars Defense that is allowing nearly 113 rushing yards per game to running backs as well as over 4.3 yards per carry. They have also allowed seven rushing touchdowns and are allowing backs to be active in the passing game as they have given up 36 receptions, which is tied for seventh-worst in the league.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

41% Rostered

This game is expected to be a shootout with a total currently sitting at 56. The Seahawks have been awful vs. wide receivers as they are allowing over 394 receiving yards to wideouts thus far in 2020. Kirk has seen an average of five targets per game and could have a major impact in this one much the way he did last week vs. the Cowboys when he hauled in two scores. The Cardinals are also 3.5 point dogs, so Murray could be throwing a bit more, not to mention the Seahawks have one of the best run defenses in the league, likely making passing a priority for this offense.

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

51% Rostered

Schultz is rostered a bit high for this section, but hopefully, you can grab him and stream him in your league. He saw five targets last week in Andy Dalton's first start and could see even more vs. a Football Team Defense that struggles vs. the tight end position. They are currently allowing almost 17 points per game to tight ends as they have given up 32 receptions for 386 yards and five scores.

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans

25% Rostered

Corey Davis should return from the Covid-19 list this week and could have a solid day vs. the Steelers. The Steelers are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to the position by allowing nearly 40 points per game. Davis saw an average of over six targets per game through his first three games and could be the benefactor of a similar target share this week. The Titans are slight dogs, so some additional passing could be instore in this game, especially because Pittsburgh has allowed the fewest rushing yards to running backs thus far in 2020 with 274 rushing yards allowed through their first five games.

 

Stream Team for Deep Leagues (<20% Rostered)

Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team

4% Rostered

As I said above, choices are limited at the quarterback position this week and that is also why Allen finds himself in this spot. The Cowboys secondary has been atrocious in 2020 and the defense as a whole is currently allowing over 21 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. They have given up 13 passing touchdowns on the season, which is ranked tied for fourth-worst in the league.

Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers

25% Rostered

Williams has been involved in the past couple of weeks as he has 12 carries and eight receptions in the previous two games. He could find success with limited action vs. a Texans Defense that is allowing nearly six (!) yards per carry and has allowed eight rushing touchdowns to running backs, which is worst in the league.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

19% Rostered

I am going to stick with Patrick for the third straight week this week vs. the Chiefs. While the Chiefs do have a strong pass defense, the Broncos are 9.5 point dogs and are going to have to be throwing often to stay in this game. In the previous three weeks, Patrick has caught 14 balls for 257 yards and scored twice. He should be a favorite target of Drew Lock on Sunday.

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team

16% Rostered

Logan Thomas continues to see a solid target share as he received four targets last week and hauled in three of those targets for 42 yards and a score. He will be facing a Cowboys Defense that has allowed over 14 points per game to the tight end position.

Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers

4% Rostered

I am going out on a limb again this week and recommending Kendrick Bourne. Bourne has seen an average of nearly five targets per game in 2020 and could have a nice day vs. the Patriots' secondary. New England is allowing an average of 36 fantasy points per game to wide receivers and has allowed 164 receiving yards per game to the position. They have also allowed seven receiving touchdowns to wideouts, which ranks tied for fifth-worst in the league.



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Lies, Damned Lies, and Fantasy Football Statistics (Week 7)

The more data we get as the season goes on, the better equipped we are to interpret matchups and make informed decisions. Then Week 6 comes along and blows it all to hell.

The unpredictability of sports is what keeps us intrigued, as frustrating as it may be at times. Numbers are supposedly to be black and white, with no inherent bias. That may be true, but it doesn't mean that we can't misinterpret them.

Not all advanced metrics are meaningful and some can be downright deceptive. My aim here is to point out potential outliers that could steer you wrong when making key lineup decisions for Week 7 and beyond.

 

Target Share

The very talented (and lovely) Phil Clark publishes his FSWA-award-nominated series on WR Snap Counts and Target Trends on RotoBaller each week. A major component of fantasy value for receivers, tight ends, and running backs alike is target totals. By recognizing trends and major risers or fallers, we can identify players to add, drop, start, and sit based on matchups.

Of course, this is where I reveal that even target share can be misleading at times. "Owning" a large market share of your team's passing targets doesn't always translate to production, especially on a bad offense. Thinking of one in particular where the gang wears green...

Conversely, players who are more efficient with the targets they see or may have a lower rate based on a high-volume passing attack could be undervalued. Let's look at both sides of the coin in this week's editions of "Stats That Lie."

 

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

26.4% Team Target Share

It's no surprise that Hollywood Brown is third in the league in total air yards and AY%. He is the field stretcher for a run-first offense that exploits the secondary when they least expect it. It might be surprising to see that he is ninth in TGT%. At first blush, the reaction is that he garners that market share because the Ravens don't have a deep receiving corps and limit their passes to Brown, Mark Andrews, and the running backs. This is true to an extent but Brown's 42 total targets rank 18th among all wide receivers.

Brown is known as a boom-or-bust player in fantasy but his target totals have been steady and he is among the leaders in that area. He hasn't seen fewer than six targets in a game this season, even as the Ravens rank in the top-five in total rush attempts once again.

Here's the deceptive part: his 61.9% catch rate ranks 133rd among all skill players. The targets will be there, but he isn't always going to come down with them. That's by no means an indictment on him as a player, it's a byproduct of how he is used in this offense. Brown does have seven receptions of 20 yards or more, so the boom aspect is still there while the bust has been mostly mitigated.

Brown isn't as risky as you may imagine, nor will he have the potential to be a top-1o fantasy receiver as some posited in the preseason. He is simply a volatile WR3 with a high weekly ceiling. If you happen to play in a league that rewards PP1D (points per first down), you'd be glad to know that Brown is tied for 19th in that department. More leagues should play PP1D instead of PPR, don't you think?

 

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles

26.0% Team Target Share

I'm almost afraid to touch this one because anything short of calling Fulgham this year's breakout performer doesn't go over well in the fantasy community. This particular stat is also very telling yet misleading at the same time.

Fulgham was non-existent in terms of fantasy relevance for the first year of his NFL career and the first three weeks of 2020 as well. He caught two passes for 57 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco but only saw two targets that game. Then came Pittsburgh where we ALL discovered his name. Fulgham didn't just have big yardage, he caught 10 of the 13 targets thrown his way. He followed up with six receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown, making it three straight games with a score. His 10 targets that day made 23 in a two-week span and 26 over his three weeks on the active roster.

While that target total ranks far down the list, his extraordinary target share over the small sample places him 11th among all wide receivers, ahead of Odell Beckham, Cooper Kupp, and DK Metcalf. With an average of 10.9 yards per target, this could indeed be indicative of a breakout season but perspective is needed.

Fulgham has achieved his target share due to two huge games. One down week might tank that. As of this writing, the Eagles haven't played on Thursday Night but once again I am being realistic in suppressing expectations. The Giants have only allowed one 100-yard receiver all year (CeeDee Lamb) and no other WR has even reached 75 yards, thanks mainly to James Bradberry. With no other options to distract from Fulgham, he'll draw plenty of attention from Bradberry and others. I am ready to buy into Fulgham as a streaming option even if Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson ever return but it's with the understanding that his target share will eventually even out.

 

Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints

21.3% Team Target Share

It was a slow start in the Big Easy for Sanders but the last couple of games before the bye reaped great rewards for fantasy managers. Sanders caught six of nine targets for 93 yards in Week 4 and outdid that with 12 catches on 14 targets for 122 yards in Week 5. Steadily trending upward, the return of Michael Thomas comes at an inopportune time. That is, if it's coming at all.

The team's franchise wideout is now questionable again after aggravating a hamstring that could be related to his existing ankle injury. Don't forget about his mysterious suspension that came on the eve of his supposed return too.


If Thomas doesn't go in Week 7 or beyond, Sanders seems like an obvious start. Otherwise, it's a tricky proposition.

His value has been buoyed by the target volume but a decline, especially a substantial one that could happen when Thomas returns, could make him unplayable outside of very deep PPR leagues. For what it's worth, Thomas had the second-highest target share among all WR in 2019 at 34.5%. The only player who topped that was... Emmanuel Sanders at 43.8%. Of course, that was with Denver and San Francisco, so circumstances have changed.

Targets are indeed the lifeblood of a receiver's fantasy value but we do need to see them convert into yardage and touchdowns. Sanders' 39.9% Air Yard Share is even higher than his target share but his 9.0 aDoT is middle-of-the-pack and his air yard total is barely higher than guys like Zach Pascal and Jeff Smith (see below).

Sanders is worth a shot in Week 7 based on the uncertainty surrounding Thomas but GMs should know that the Panthers allow the lowest points per reception to WR relative to the opponent's average. Here's a chance to share the very latest #DFBeersReport courtesy of Mike Beers on Twitter.

The Saints' next two opponents are Chicago and Tampa Bay which allow the third and 11th-fewest fantasy PPR to the receiver position. This is a good time to exploring trading Sanders away if possible.

 

Jeff Smith, New York Jets

21.2% Team Target Share

I'll admit to being excited for a minute about the potential of a fantasy sleeper on a forgotten team (or a team we wish we could forget) like the Jets. By Week 4, they were rolling out Braxton Berrios and Chris Hogan as starting wideouts due to the sheer volume of injuries. In stepped Jeff Smith, an undrafted second-year player out of Boston College with 4.4 speed and apparent doppelganger to Travis Fulgham in terms of career trajectory.

He was inactive for three weeks, suddenly burst onto the scene with seven catches and 81 yards in Week 4 on nine targets, then saw 11 targets the following week, catching only three for 23 yards sadly. Was Smith the playmaker this team sorely needed? Apparently not, as he fell to four targets in Week 6 with Breshad Perriman back in action. Despite the ball being thrown his way a ton, he only averaged 4.7 yards per target.

Jamison Crowder is already second in the league in target share, so with Perriman on the field again and Denzel Mims looking ready to return this weekend, Smith is a distant fourth in pecking order for a team that ranks last in passing yardage. He could be a deep dynasty stash for 2021 if Crowder is traded and/or Perriman signs elsewhere but he would need Trevor Lawrence on the team in order to jump back to relevance.

 

Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders

11.2% Team Target Share

The first WR picked in this year's draft, Ruggs hasn't gotten the chance to full showcase what he can do yet. He missed two games, exited early in two others and the Raiders have already had their bye. Since we're looking at target rate rather than total targets, that shouldn't matter if he was a major part of the offense in those couple of games, much like Fulgham.

Ruggs hasn't been targeted much when he's actually on the field but he doesn't need to be. Unlike a slot receiver who depends on volume, Ruggs is content to take one pass and turn it into a 72-yard touchdown. He has quickly shown exactly what Mike Mayock envisioned when drafting him with his blazing 4.2 speed. A mere 11 targets has resulted in 177 yards.


Simply put, his target share doesn't matter if he's hyper-efficient on deep balls and can outrun the defense at every step. When a player averaged 16.1 yards per target, it doesn't take very many to be productive. If Ruggs stays healthy, he has boom potential any given week regardless of opponent and may be considered a midseason trade target.

 

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

15.2% Team Target Share

Here is another rookie, albeit one who has yet to explode on the scene to the level of Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb or Chase Claypool. Shenault had been steady but not especially fantasy relevant until last week's dud. He had been on a steady climb in terms of targets and receptions until he laid an egg in a great matchup with Detroit.

image taken from RotoWire

His steady snap count totals and occasional involvement as a runner are good signs. The red flag isn't his one-week drop in target share, it's the complete lack of involvement in the red zone.

As far as his low Target%, it has to do with the fact that the Jags are passing so much to so many players. After six games, they are fourth in total pass attempts at nearly 43 per game. D.J. Chark absorbs most of those when healthy and Keelan Cole is actually the team leader with 38 targets. Shenault is right up there with 36.

Shenault has yet to provide a huge play or a breakout game but he should continue to grow as the season progresses. He can provide a steady floor in PPR leagues but is nearly useless in standard leagues without any touchdowns. He has seen just as many targets this year as Emmanuel Sanders, so being higher on the veteran than the rookie would reek of recency bias. Maybe reverse ageism too.



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The King's Week 7 Fantasy Football Lineup Rankings (Premium Content)


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NFL DFS RB and WR Anchors For Week 7 (Premium Content)


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College Football Betting Picks for Week Eight (10/24/2020)

At long last, Big Ten (and Mountain West) football is BACK. This weekend, opportunities to see sensational NFL prospects like Justin Fields, Pat Freiermuth, and Rashod Bateman will be littered across the television guide. If there was ever a Saturday to schedule a date with your couch and television, this might be the one.

Week Seven brought a disappointing 1-2 record. Temple overcame a slow start to hold off South Florida, but not by the margin that we needed, and Boston College faltered badly in primetime against Virginia Tech. Luckily, Western Kentucky and UAB nearly crossed the over in the first-half to notch our only win of last week. The season-long record is now 10-8, as we hope to end the two-week slide this week.

Week Eight's slate includes a few exciting games for teams making their season debuts. Here are some betting picks to follow along with as you enjoy another college football Saturday.

 

Rutgers at Michigan State (-13.5)

O/U: 44.5

Piscataway, New Jersey , has become the laughingstock of the Big Ten. Rutgers, losers of 21 straight conference games, made a big move this offseason by bringing back the program's most successful coach of all-time in Greg Schiano to lead the program once more. Schiano immediately hit the transfer portal to pick up players that could contribute right away such as 2nd team all-Big Ten returner and receiver Aron Cruickshank (Wisconsin), tight end Jovani Haskins (West Virginia) and five defensive linemen from Power 5 schools. Nearly 40% of the players on the 2020 roster are newcomers, and Schiano is beginning to generate a buzz. This infusion of talent will not turn Rutgers into a contender overnight, but it will give 2018 starting quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who took a redshirt year in 2019 to focus on his development, more weapons than any Rutgers quarterback has had since the program's days as a member of the Big East Conference.

The 2020 offseason was tumultuous in East Lansing. After Coach Mark Dantonio resigned, while the program was allegedly under investigation, the team's desperate coaching search for his successor had little success. With top options like Luke Fickell and Pat Narduzzi opting to stay with Cincinnati and Pitt, respectively, the Spartans took an unconventional and unusually late route hiring Mel Tucker away from Colorado in mid-February. The 48-year old Tucker had just wrapped up a 5-7 year in his first and only campaign in Boulder, but brings a strong defensive pedigree with NFL experience and collegiate experience as an understudy to Nick Saban and as Kirby Smart's defensive coordinator at Georgia. 2020 marks the start of a rebuild, replacing 14 starters from a year ago - a 7-6 team that had one of the least productive offenses in college football. Without the benefit of spring practice, and with position battles still ongoing through game week (Michigan State's quarterback race was still unsettled with four contenders), expectations may be at an all-time low for this program.

The Scarlet Knights have been beaten by the Spartans in their last six matchups, but this year's matchup between a pair of new coaches feels different. Sitkowski was a highly sought after quarterback recruit who has never had many weapons at his disposal, but has shown glimpses including a strong performance against Boston College last season. The speedy Cruickshank was underutilized at Wisconsin and should become the go-to option early on. Looking down the road, this game may be each team's most winnable game on the schedule, an opportunity that Coach Schiano will seek to maximize.

Pick: Rutgers +13.5

#3 Notre Dame at Pittsburgh (-13.5)

O/U: 44.5

The Fighting Irish overcame a mini-scare to hold off Louisville last week and preserve their spotless 4-0 record. The passing game still has some flaws, but the rushing attack has powered Notre Dame thus far. Sophomore Kyren Williams and freshman Chris Tyree lead the way as a fearsome duo of running backs that led an Irish rushing attack bulldozing Florida State to the tune of 353 rushing yards. The youngsters' success is made possible by the best offensive line in football, featuring at least five legitimate NFL draft prospects with multiple years of starting experience. Before last week's lackluster 12-7 win, the offense had seemingly been able to do as it pleased with comfortable wins over Duke, South Florida and Florida State. Senior quarterback Ian Book should be expected to bounce back from his poor performance last week to help the Irish passing attack compliment the elite rushing offense.

Pitt found out the hard way last week how difficult life could be without their star quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett, who was on his way to a campaign worthy of discussions in the Heisman race, was replaced by redshirt freshman Joey Yellen, a talented four-star transfer from Arizona State. Yellen looked nervous and floated a few throws in the first half, but settled in and seemingly became comfortable behind solid pass protection versus a staunch Miami defense. The Panthers' leading receiver is freshman sensation Jordan Addison, who is a threat to take any play to the house with his speed. The problem for Pitt, offensively, has been running the ball. Pickett had been arguably the team's biggest rushing threat up until his ankle injury, which is expected to keep him out of this week's contest. At one point, Pitt had five running backs designated as co-starters on its depth chart, to no success. In order to have a chance of upsetting the Irish, Pitt will need to develop some sort of threat on the ground to open up the passing game for Yellen.

The defenses for both teams, while rightly praised, have been torched for big plays quite a bit more than one would expect so far. Pitt, for instance, has the nation's leader in sacks (Patrick Jones II) and one of the most talented defensive lines in college football, but continually plays man-to-man press coverage on the outside with the undersized, but talented, 5-foot-8 cornerback Marquis Williams. If Coach Pat Narduzzi sticks to his stubborn defensive philosophy, Notre Dame will follow the blueprint set in their last three losses to North Carolina State, Boston College, and Miami, by attacking Williams and his fellow cornerback Jason Pinnock over and over again until they break a big play.

Pick: Over 44.5

Texas State at Brigham Young (BYU) (-28.5)

O/U: 61.5

Coach Jake Spavital, in his 2nd year commanding the Texas State Bobcats, is one of the youngest coaches in football at age 35. Spavital brought the air raid concept to San Marcos, which he embraced as Dana Holgorsen's offensive coordinator for two seasons at West Virginia. So far, the Bobcats' offense has had its fair share of success through the air, but the defense is ultimately holding the team back from winning more games. At quarterback, Brady McBride gives Coach Spavital the prototypical gunslinger that he's looking for his system, and McBride has done a good job of spreading the targets to senior receiver Jeremiah Haydel and five other pass-catchers with double digits receptions this year. On defense, the Bobcats allow nearly 450 yards of offense per game, and might need a miracle to keep BYU under their season average of 43 points per game. 

Junior quarterback Zach Wilson and the BYU Cougars are playing inspired football and are off to the first 5-0 start for the program since 2008. Head coach Kelani Sitake's team is firing on all cylinders, with a strong offense averaging over 43 points per game, and a solid defense pulling its weight in recent weeks with a convincing 43-26 win on the road at Houston. The offense, which is averaging a staggering 541 yards per game, should score at will in yet another favorable matchup against a lousy defense.

Another week, another large BYU spread. The Cougars are starting to garner College Football Playoff conversation, and for good reason. The team has convincingly dispatched of its opponents thus far in impressive fashion, and has shaped up the narrative for a second half push. The second half of the Cougars schedule, which features marquee games versus Boise State and San Diego State, will put their playoff resume to the test. Winning games like this in convincing fashion will be necessary if BYU wants to earn a spot in the prestigious playoff.

Pick: Over 61.5



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Slow Starters Ready to Break Out in Fantasy?

We are now more than a third of the way into the fantasy football season and a seemingly clearer picture is available across the landscape. After a pandemic-shortened offseason and lack of preseason exposure, there were plenty of worries headed into the first month specifically. Thus far, one of the most prevalent topics with regards to how the pandemic played a part in fantasy is injuries because that is the easiest connection to make between lack of training camp reps, allowing for limited ramp-up time for players.

While injuries are the most tangible, slow-starting players are also ones who may have been hurt by the limited reps. Several skill guys had their snaps/roles cut early on in the season (Joe Mixon for example), yet were brought along over the course of subsequent weeks. Every player's performance is affected differently. Some are due to the pandemic, others are due to a rough schedule. It is often hard to pinpoint but this piece takes the best possible approach to evaluating each player's position.

Here are five slow starters expected to bounce back this season. For any questions on this topic or any other post, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@RotoSurgeon) and shoot it through.

 

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

I'm not buying any of the Jalen Hurts hype coming from the internet. Wentz has not been perfect, but thus far, he is not the only problem in Philadelphia's offense. Currently, nine out of 11 offensive starters are out with injury. Plus, Wentz is dealing with a league-worst 16 drops from his pass-catchers.

The Zach Ertz injury is a blessing-in-disguise because a plodding TE is now removed from the equation, allowing for more dynamic players to take his place. Richard Rodgers will sub in for the interim and Dallas Goedert, upon return from IR, will then take over. Ertz has been terrible this season despite having a fruitful history as Wentz's safety blanket. He shrinks the field around him, forcing more attention elsewhere.

Losing Miles Sanders would prove costly if the Eagles were not facing the New York Giants this week and then facing off against Dallas' putrid defense afterward. Boston Scott and the backups should fill-in just fine. With a bye week right after, Sanders should be fully healthy for the stretch run to take control of the NFC East in the second half.

Jalen Reagor's timetable to return from his thumb injury lines up here as well along with DeSean Jackson and Lane Johnson. The Eagles are in the most advantageous position within the division, making it possible they even add a dynamic piece at the trade deadline given the plethora of receivers potentially available for trade. Wentz is currently QB15 in scoring with a ceiling around the top-six given his increased rushing. Wentz is running more, and more efficiently than ever with 6.1 yards-per-carry on 28 carries. He is on pace for a career-high 75 attempts and already has four touchdowns on the ground which make up for and negate the increased turnovers this season.

 

Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams

It is inconceivable that Akers only played one snap this past weekend versus the 49ers but it happened and Rams head coach Sean McVay's "game-flow" explanation was a non-answer. Akers was not drafted with their first pick in the 2020 draft and named starter out the gates to ride the bench. Either there was an issue in practice or Akers is still not fully healthy.

Despite playing 13 snaps in Week 5 and touching the ball nine times, it did not make much sense to keep him benched the next week, especially with McVay commenting on his increased involvement. Akers returned along a reasonable timeline from his rib cartilage injury, yet the "optimal recovery time" according to Inside Injuries of The Athletic is five weeks as to not re-aggravate the rib. Akers suffered the injury in Week 2 and we are now heading into Week 7.

Darrell Henderson has looked very good in a handful of games and mediocre in others. Nevertheless, he has the "hot-hand" and will continue to start until he is usurped or fails. Akers will have to be the one to usurp him and fortunately for fantasy GMs who are stashing him, he is quite capable. Henderson is seldom used on third-down and obvious passing-situations because of his limitations as a pass-blocker and receiver. This is where Akers could thrive and eat into the RB snaps.

Malcolm Brown has been a black hole when given touches since Week 2 but that is nothing new. Brown is averaging 3.7 yards-per-carry and 2.2 yards-per-target thus far, below-pedestrian numbers. If Akers' issue with getting on the field is due to the Rams' desire to unleash him on third-down and passing downs, there is a fantasy monster brewing that should have been unleashed earlier.

 

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

Hilton has been extremely disappointing early on, no one is arguing against that. The assumption coming into the season was that despite a clear decline for Philip Rivers, the fringe Hall-of-Fame QB would still be an upgrade over Jacoby Brissett as a passer. That, unfortunately, has not been very true as Rivers is looking like a shell of himself but the Colts are winning games on the back of their top-three defense. The addition of RB Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the 2020 draft was meant to spark the offense as well but he has been just as disappointing, if not more than Rivers given the high hopes that come with youth. All-in-all, the Colts' offense is bad.

Hilton's 6.5 yards-per-target on the season is a career-low and he has not found the end-zone yet through six games. However, he did have a TD called back this past week on a penalty far away from the play. He has six red-zone targets on the season and is still building rapport with Rivers. Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. are out for the foreseeable future and now Hilton is playing nearly every snap. Over the first four weeks, he did not play more than 80% of the offensive snaps in a single game, but these past two, he has played 95% and 94%, respectively. Hilton owns a 19% target share this season with a season-high 10 coming two weeks ago versus the Browns. He is still fast/explosive and has brighter days ahead given a very soft second-half schedule.

 

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Hollywood Brown is one of the fastest players in the league playing on arguably the most versatile offense, and yet, his fantasy production is lacking in 2020. Part of the reason for this is Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' low-passing volume, and another is the lack of need for extensive receiving production.

Brown has just one red-zone target on the season and did not crack 80% of snaps through the first four weeks of the season but has 86% and 85% over the past two weeks, respectively. The Ravens have outscored opponents thus far by a margin of 75 points. In their one loss to the Chiefs, Brown was blanketed and then phased out from the game by being on the opposite end of a blowout.

Brown's home-run ability makes him a stereotypical boom-or-bust option but with a 26% target share and nine yards-per-target, he is just on the wrong end of touchdown variance with one on the season. He's a fantasy star on the cusp of breaking out.

 

Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

Austin Hooper has ascended to fantasy relevance over the past few weeks but has yet to truly break out. After signing the largest free-agent TE contract ever, Hooper was expected to be a massive part of Cleveland's offense after a fantastic stretch in Atlanta. While a good bit of his production was driven by a high-volume passing offense next to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, Hooper held his own with a large target share and end-zone production.

Through the first three weeks of the 2020 season, Hooper totaled seven receptions on 10 targets for 62 yards and no touchdowns. Just this past week, he had five receptions on six targets for 52 yards with 57 yards the game prior. Snaps have not been an issue as he is on the field plenty but with David Njoku back in the mix, he has seen a dip below 80% over the past two weeks despite an increase in targets.

Fortunately, Njoku has once again requested a trade out from Cleveland, leaving Hooper and Harrison Bryant as the primary options at the position. Hooper played up to 98% of the snaps in games sans Njoku and will likely carry a massive share moving forward. He's building rapport with QB Baker Mayfield but there is work to be done.

Having only two red-zone targets thus far is disappointing, but that could change as the chemistry grows. Cleveland is being forced to throw more often than they'd like with star RB Nick Chubb out-of-commission. Hooper's role will continue to grow and it could hopefully blossom in the second half of this season.



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Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 7

The warning signals get brighter by the week since we have more data to work from. The larger the sample size the easier it is for us to connect the dots from the latest trends. Football is a game of small samples and many variables, making it one of the hardest sports to predict.

How a player is used can indicate a player's future production. Target share and air yards are prime metrics when evaluating how valuable a player is to their team’s offense. The more volume or work a player gets on a consistent basis the more they are valued in the team’s weekly game plan. Chasing targets, air yards and touches are key signals to a player’s production.

It could also be a clue to a player’s demise. If a player is seeing less work or if another player in the offense has emerged as the team’s workhorse, then we could see a shift in player value. When we look for warning signals, we want to look for reasons why a player might lose touches in their team’s offensive system. Bad play, injuries, and other players in the offense breaking out are all factors that could derail a player’s season.

 

Quarterback

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

Lock trotted back on the field in Week 6 after recovering from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for a few weeks. His comeback game didn’t go so well considering he completed just 10 of his 24 pass attempts for 189 yards and two interceptions.

The support just isn’t there for Lock. Courtland Sutton is out for the year. Noah Fant isn’t there to bail him out. Lock will need to play at his best to be able to churn out weekly QB1 production. He’s not going to be bailed out by his receivers anymore and will need to be firing on all cylinders to keep the chains moving.

The warning signals started strobing when Sutton went down with his season-ending injury. It became more apparent this week. He is droppable in traditional 1QB leagues. If anything, he should already be on the waiver wire.

 

Running Back

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fournette missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, but that’s not the warning signal. Ronald Jones is balling out of control and looks to be the true steal for fantasy this year. Against the Packers, he rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He’s currently the RB12 on the season with 90.6 PPR fantasy points.

Even if Fournette comes back healthy and ready to go he will still compete with Jones for touches out of the backfield. Right now, Jones has the hot hand, and it would be a mistake to divert from him. He has earned all the touches given to him. Fournette will need to wait his turn and make the most out of all the opportunities that are presented to him.

 

Wide Receiver

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

The tide is turning in Pittsburgh. The wide receiver corps is a lot different compared to years past. There is now an even distribution of targets among the whole unit. Chase Claypool is emerging as a dangerous playmaker. James Washington is a deep threat who can make plays downfield. Diontae Johnson has been out due to injury, but when he comes back, he will take some of the targets from the slot.

Pittsburgh isn’t a pass-funnel to JuJu Smith-Schuster anymore. There are other players in the offense who can take care of business. This is exciting if you’re a Steelers fan but it’s not exciting if you’re a Smith-Schuster’s fantasy manger.

We can only hope for volatile fantasy production going forward. There are not enough targets to go around in Pittsburgh’s offense to sustain consistent fantasy production from Smith-Schuster. He’s still a very talented wide receiver, but he’s not in the most optimal situation to blow up the box score on a weekly basis anymore.

 

Tight End

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

There was a lot of excitement surrounding Hockenson’s fantasy potential going into the season. Think about it. Mathew Stafford was coming back to toss lasers all over the football field. The Lions were going to be in more shoot-outs than Bradley Cooper when he starred in American Sniper. All these scenarios set the stage for a second-year breakout for Hockenson.

The Rolling Stones new fantasy football before it ever existed, because you can’t always get what you want. We all wanted the Hockenson break out to happen. We could feel in our drafts pumping through our veins. Unfortunately, those feelings might be premature.

Hockenson has only reached TE1 status once this season. This past week, in a favorable matchup against the Jaguars, he could only muster two catches for 27 yards. Tight end is a fickle position and is the hardest position to predict in all of fantasy football. With the team leaning heavily on the run game and Kenny Golladay being the true alpha wide receiver the offense, it’s going to be hard for Hockenson to maintain consistent production.

Remember this is only his second season. He’s still developing and is an elite-level prospect. Hockenson could turn it on at any time. He still plays in a high-powered offense while having the talent to be one of the top tight ends in the league. The warning signals are saying 2020 might not be consistent for Hockenson, but there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Break Out Alert!

J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team

In his last two games, McKissic has been targeted 14 times and owned a 21 percent share of the team’s passing targets. He has developed into a key piece in the passing offense. The team is in shambles right now and they are doing whatever they can to keep the ball moving on offense.

McKissic hasn’t been so hot running the ball between the tackles but he is seeing enough workload to be fantasy relevant. He’s a must add off the waiver wire if you are in need of a running back. The Football Team is going to be trailing in most games which will present plenty of opportunities for McKissic to get used as a receiver out of the backfield in garbage time.



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How to Value Clyde Edwards-Helaire with Le'Veon Bell in KC

Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor? Coming into the season this was the biggest question for fantasy GMs, both dynasty managers who were thinking long-term and redraft managers who wanted to know who would be better for this season. There were many different theories and believe me when I say, both sides thought they were 100% right.

After a monster Week 1 against Houston, CEH truthers were already taking their victory laps. That coming Sunday though, not only did Taylor show his pass-catching potential, Marlon Mack also was lost for the season. Bring on the Taylor truthers. While Taylor has been rather steady, albeit unimpressive thus far, Edwards-Helaire has been up and down for sure. With the entrance of Le’Veon Bell starting in Week 7, he may lose more than a bit of value, for this season at least. The real worry is how much value will he lose and does this affect his dynasty value as well.

When it comes to dynasty, the answer is a bit easier to decipher. So, we will conquer this area first followed by the more challenging question of what to do in redraft leagues. We know the Chiefs high powered offense is capable of supporting multiple weapons. But with Travis Kelce and Tyrek Hill already there, is there room for two RBs to thrive?

 

Dynasty Value

After being taken with the first or second pick in all but the rarest of dynasty leagues, it will be hard-pressed to find a manager willing to trade CEH for anything less than a boatload of assets. Even if the production looks to be taking a hit, managers refuse to admit so quickly that someone will not retain all the value they had at the start of the season. To be fair, it is only six weeks into his first season. So, if I were the one with Edwards-Helaire on my roster, I would not sell cheap either.

Le’Veon Bell may have his best days behind him. It is also possible he may still be capable of performing as he did in his prime. Either way, it is likely Andy Reid and the Chiefs brought in the disgruntled RB to help make a second straight Super Bowl push in 2020. Much like LeSean McCoy, Bell is more of a one-year rental and less of a multi-year compliment in the offense. It is clear the Chiefs and more importantly, Patrick Mahomes love their rookie. When your newly-minted $500 million QB asks you to draft someone, this is not really an ask. It is more of a polite demand. Mahomes got his way and he will make sure CEH is a featured part of the offense.

While the value of CEH may or may not have gone down for the remainder of this season, his dynasty value remains as high as ever. Not only is he going to be a top-five dynasty start-up pick next season, but if you were to redraft the rookies again right now, he would still be top three. This shows the confidence managers still have in him and the machine which is the Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes mind-meld. As long as they are together this is an offense you want a major piece of. CEH is a great way to have it for at least three seasons. Maybe even longer.

 

Redraft Value

This is the more difficult place to put a value on Edwards-Helaire. We would have liked to see how the pairing between him and Bell co-existed this week but with COVID precautions in place, Le’Veon Bell was unable to participate in the Monday night game against the Bills. So, we will need to wait another week.

Bell has thus far not fared well away from Pittsburgh. With only 74 rush yards in two games this season and 3.2 yards per carry last season, it is challenging to get a read on his ability. Has it diminished to the point of him being relegated to a backup? Or was the Jets offensive line and coaching so dreadful he was bound for failure from the start? My feeling is a bit of both.

He has diminished a bit for sure. A one-year layoff will do this to an older runner. But the mish-mash offensive line did him no favors either. Combine this with the lack of any other weapons and his time in New York was set up for failure. Kansas City is a horse of a different breed.

The Chiefs offense is the antithesis of the Jets. They have the best QB in the NFL at the moment and arguable the top TE and a top-five WR as well. Bell will fit in extremely well on a veteran team who does not expect him to be a savior. Instead, he can simply meld in and take some pressure off the rookie.

After a Week 1 game with 138 yards and one TD, CEH has come down to earth a bit. He has not played bad by any means. He has come back to reality with mediocre games until Week 6 when he exploded again with 161 rushing yards. This is not a big deal for the Chiefs but for fantasy, it is not such a happy occasion.

After 92 receptions in college in 2019, Edwards-Helaire is having another good season with 21 receptions on 31 targets as a rookie. This puts him on pace for over 65 receptions and nearly 100 targets as a rookie. We also know what Bell can do in the passing game having over 80 receptions on numerous occasions in his time with the Steelers. This will be the main area in which Bell cuts into the production level of CEH. The real key is how much of a cut will it be. Will he take all the pass-catching work? Likely no. It may be far more than we hope though.

After Damien Williams opted out of the season, Edwards-Helaire was immediately being drafted at his ceiling of RB 5. To this point, he is RB 13 on the season. With the entrance of Bell this will take an even further hit. He will likely still finish as a top 24 RB on the season. Although it will be closer to 24 than it is 10 at this rate.

 

Verdict

It is clear Andy Reid and the Chiefs do not care about your fantasy team. This is rude and needs to certainly be addressed with them. Until we are able to have our complaint heard, you can continue to start Edwards-Helaire each and every week. He still has an extremely high floor. His ceiling though is not nearly as high as it was a week ago.

That said, Bell has not been the pillar of health in his career. If something happens and he misses some time, Edwards-Helaire could easily take over this backfield and run with it. We know Reid likes using a bell-cow back. If he is given a reason to do so, he will use it. Do not trade away CEH. He will be fine moving forward. More importantly, you will not get a good return. So, you are better off keeping him.

Good luck the rest of the way. Man, this is a fun season isn’t it?



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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 7) - Targets and Avoids

It started off as a great day of football but the decision to have just two 4 p.m. games quickly backfired when the Dolphins-Jets and Bucs-Packers became blowouts after the first quarter. Another decision that is still, and will continue to be, scrutinized is the Texans decision to go for two. It was the right decision. Houston's defense was awful Sunday and Romeo Crennel, a defensive guy, knew his team wouldn't be able to stop Tennessee. A two-point conversion would've iced the game. They had the right play, the receiver was wide open, but the ball got deflected. I'm always in the belief when you can control a situation and finish something, then go for it.

Underdogs went 9-5 against the spread with six outright upsets. The biggest was the Broncos beating the Patriots in Foxborough which knocked out around 20 percent of remaining entrants in pools. Majority of entrants chose the Dolphins which required no sweat in an easy win against the Jets. My survivor plays went 3-1 straight-up. The Vikings were an avoid and they got blown out.

Week 7 kicks off with the Giants at the Eagles Thursday night. The Colts, Dolphins, Ravens, and Vikings are on bye.

 

Survivor League Week 7

Teams favored by a touchdown or more in Week 7; Bills -13.5 @ Jets, Chiefs -9 vs. Broncos, Chargers -7.5 vs. Jaguars, Saints -7.5 vs. Panthers.

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines are from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.

I also give out my three top plays against the spread. That can be found at the bottom of the column.

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 7

Bills -13.5 @ Jets

Not only are the Jets winless but they're also 0-6 against the spread. There's really not much to say about this game, only whether the Jets will cover. It's really remarkable to not have covered a game yet but that should eventually end.

Bills 30 - Jets 19

 

Packers -3.5 @ Texans

Both these teams have similarly explosive offenses, but the one difference in the stats are the Packers are fifth in converting third down's while Houston is 21st. Green Bay hadn't been tested before Sunday and they got a refreshing wake-up call, especially their defense. The Texans Defense though is so bad giving up 6.1 yards per play, 27th, and 23rd in opponent third-down conversion percentage. Aaron Rodgers should pick apart the secondary.

Packers 31 - Texans 23

 

Chargers -7.5 vs. Jaguars

The Chargers could really be 5-0. They should have beaten the Chiefs, had a great chance to beat the Panthers, and blew leads to the Bucs and Saints. Justin Herbert has been getting better by the week. Their defense ranks 17th in yards per play, 10th in getting off the field on third down, and fifth in opponent red zone touchdown percentage. But they have looked a lot better than the stats and they're fresh off a bye.

I wrote this last week about Jacksonville; "the Jaguars are who we thought they were before the season; a bad team." The Chargers should finally cruise to a win.

Chargers 26 - Jaguars 14

 

Chiefs -9 @ Broncos

Denver played a great game Sunday in New England but six field goals just won't come close to cutting it against Kansas City. I don't care how great your defense is, you won't hold Kansas City to less than 17 points or less. The Broncos offense ranks 27th in yards per play, 29th in third down conversions, and 30th in scoring touchdowns in the red zone. They may very well cover but you can't beat the best offense like that.

Chiefs 28 - Broncos 20

 

Rams -5.5 vs. Bears

Chicago keeps winning despite an offense similarly bad to Denver's; 28th in yards per play, 27th in third down conversions, and 26th in touchdowns in the red zone. Their defense is in the top six in those defensive categories. The Rams though have had all their wins come against the NFC East. They've lost to the Bills and 49ers. Jared Goff struggles in bad weather and a good pass rush. The weather will be fine in LA but the Bears pass rush will put him under immense pressure. Sean McVay better have a good plan to get the ball out of Goff's hands quick.

Another point is if the Bears are actually good and since the Rams have played a cake schedule, shouldn't this line be three. I think that's a big tell from the Vegas bookmakers.

Rams 24 - Bears 17

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

 

Saints -7.5 vs. Panthers

This game goes either two ways; the Saints come off their bye and win convincingly or struggle immensely. I can't get over the memory of last year when New Orleans came off a bye at 7-1, and were double-digit favorites over the Falcons only to be beat 26-9. The Saints don't look like a team that should be favored by more than a touchdown over anyone. Not even Carolina despite them looking awful against the Bears. However the Panthers have been up-and-down and this is a divisional game which usually tends to be close.

Saints 23 - Panthers 21

 

Browns -3.5 @ Bengals

This teams met on Thursday night football in Week 2 with the Browns winning 35-30. The game was not as close as the score was but Joe Burrow would not go down. Both teams are off losses, but Cleveland got blown out and you wonder how they'll respond. A road divisional favorite of 3.5 is too much with a guy like Burrow on the other side.

Bengals 23 - Browns 21

 

Best Bets for Week 7

  • Packers -3.5 @ Texans
  • Dallas -1.5 @ Washington - Cowboys are off an embarrassing blowout loss on national television. Teams in that situation usually rebound the following week.
  • Chargers -7.5 vs. Jaguars

 

Running Totals

  • Last week: 2-1
  • 2020 season total: 9-9
  • 2019 season total: 23-26-2


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NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why this column is the most important one you'll read today. It's time to tackle how quarterbacks have done through six weeks of play.

To gain the biggest edge in your fantasy football league, it's necessary to understand how to apply the advanced statistics being used in sports nowadays. Back in the day, it was all about wins and losses, passing yards, and touchdowns scored. It's not that those stats are now worthless, they just don't offer enough information to savvy analysts. While football is still in its infancy compared to baseball in terms of analytics, the evolution the sport has seen lately in those terms is notable.

Each week, I'll be tackling NFL's Next Gen Stats, bringing you data from the previous week's games with notable takeaways you should consider when assessing fantasy players for the upcoming week. In case you're new to the series, or Next Gen Stats altogether, I recommend you read our NGS-primer. Now, let's get to the data!

 

Week 6 - The State Of The Passing Game

One of the most important concepts to consider when analyzing players are Air Yards. The metrics around it are key to know who is really over-performing or under-performing among receivers and passers, but it doesn't have much to do with rushers.

Today, I'll present each of the stats from the NFL's advanced metrics site, its correlation with quarterback-fantasy points, and a list of leaders and trailers in each category along with some notes and takeaways on both the players' and the metrics' impact on fantasy football as a whole.

As we'll be discussing quarterbacks and their passing stats, I will reduce the fantasy points per game averages to just those related to passing. That means that I have removed the rushing/receiving fantasy points the qualifying quarterbacks have logged during the season. I've called this metric paFP/G, which is to say passing Fantasy Points per Game.

So let's dive in. Note: The cutoff is set at 45 pass attempts.

 

Time to Throw

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: 1%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • When it comes to explaining fantasy points, there are few less predictive metrics than Time to Throw. The relationship sits at a measly 1% through more than a third of the season, just imagine...
  • That's why things like this happen: no. 1 quickest TT (Ben Roethlisberger) is averaging 17.8 paFP/G... while no. 2 slowest (Josh Allen) is averaging virtually a similar 20.7 paFP/G.
  • Three of four players with a TT below 2.5 seconds were either benched (Haskins), started the season as the reserve (Foles), or will be benched next game (Fitzpatrick).
  • On the other hand, all but one (Mitchell Trubisky) of the 21-slowest QBs in TT (all taking 2.7+ seconds to throw) have not been benched for a backup (some, like Drew Lock or Sam Darnold, were only benched due to injuries).
  • Through six weeks, there are six QBs averaging 20+ paFP/G, and their TT marks are spread all over the spectrum, ranging from 2.67 (Ryan Tannehill) to 3.07 (Josh Allen).
  • Something similar happens at the bottom of the paFP/G leaderboard: of the eight QBs averaging below 10 paFP/G so far, the TT numbers range from 2.65 (Jeff Driskel and Andy Dalton) to 3.05 (Drew Lock).
  • As expected, the longer a QB takes to throw, the more yardage he tends to rack up as routes have more time to develop. The relationship between TT and CAY and IAY is up to 49% and 44% respectively through W6.
  • On the other hand, there is a negative-46% relationship between TT and expected COMP% so far this year. The longer a quarterback takes to throw his passes, the lower the expectation is he completes them (makes sense, assuming "slower" passes are harder to complete as they tend to go for more yards downfield).
  • All things considered, don't put much weight on this metric, as it is way more descriptive of past performance than predictive of future ones.

 

Completed/Intended Air Yards & Air Yards Differential

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: 34% / 0% / 36%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • While there is a rather high relationship between Completed Air Yards and paFP/G, there is zero relation between Intended Air Yards and paFP/G. That is rather surprising, and will probably vary through the rest of the season, but interesting nonetheless with more than a third of the year in the rearview mirror already.
  • Take CAY and IAY for what they are. In fantasy leagues, what amounts to points are the things that happen on the field (CAY), not what players want to happen (IAY).
  • Although Ryan Tannehill IAY is just 7.6 yards, his CAY is at 7.2 yards, which means he has the smallest difference between both values (AYD) at just -0.3 yards. He might not be throwing the most explosive bombs downfield, but he's doing what he's attempting to to perfection.
  • Nick Mullens and Drew Brees are the only other quarterbacks with an AYD over -1.0 yards. The difference with Tannehill, though, is that they're averaging over one fewer air yard per attempt (6.5 and 6.1 IAY respectively), making their high AYD marks much easier to reach.
  • Drew Lock has been as wild as it gets. His AYD of -6.0 leads all qualified quarterbacks by a mile, with Flacco having the second smallest mark (-4.9), already more than a yard over Lock's value. No other quarterback is below -3.5 (Mitchell Trubisky) AYD.
  • Oh, by the way, try to find the similarities between those three (solution: all of them are bench-fodder).
  • Both Denver Broncos quarterbacks with min. 45 attempts (Lock and Driskel) have the two largest CAY+IAY combined marks at 19.8 and 18.5 yards respectively. Kirk Cousins is third with 18.2. The problem for the two Broncos is that none they're just completing 6.9 and 8.0 CAY compared to Cousins' league-leading 8.4.
  • Don't believe the lack of relationship between IAY and paFP/G? Well, Drew Lock has the highest IAY mark so far (12.9) while averaging the fewer paFP/G (5.7). Then, Andy Dalton has the second-lowest IAY (6.1), and is averaging the third-lowest 7.5 paFP/G... Similar outcomes, wildly distant IAY marks.
  • Same at the top of the paFP/G leaderboard: Aaron Rodgers (9.3 IAY) is averaging 20.6 paFP/G while Derek Carr is at a virtually similar 19.9 paFP/G average with a rather low 7.1 IAY (10th-lowest among 38 qualified QBs).
  • When it comes to the relationship between CAY and paFP/G, though, things are a little better. Of QBs with 20+ paFP/G on the season, their average CAY sits at 6.8. Of QBs with fewer than 10 paFP/G so far, their average CAY is at 5.6, more than a yard lower.
  • Complete more passes for more yardage, and reap the rewards. As simple as that, I guess.

 

Aggressiveness

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: negative-19%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • We define "Aggressiveness" as the percentage of passes a quarterback throws into tight coverage, that is, when a defender is within 1 yard or less of the receiver at the point of the catch/interception. Don't take this metric as a sign of "braveness" or anything like that, though. It relates more to reckless-passing than anything else.
  • A quick peek at the most aggressive passers gives you an idea of what we're dealing with here: Trubisky has been benched already, Foles replaced him, Fitzpatrick is insane (and will the bench next Miami's game), Jones has yet to prove his worth (which is growing smaller by the day), Haskins is on the trade list, and Joe Burrow has been forced to risk the biscuit on a weekly basis...
  • There is just a negative-19% relationship between AGG% and paFP/G, but it's rather funny to find the top-five most aggressive players averaging paFP/G inside a tiny 1.8-clip ranging from 12.8 (Foles) to 14.6 (Fitz).
  • Don't get it wrong or for what it's not. Of the seven least-aggressive players (all below 12.0 AGG%) the paFP/G range from a putrid 8.9 (Mullens and Darnold) up to the league-leading 26.0 (Russell Wilson).
  • Joe Burrow already led the league in aggressive attempts back in Week 3. He's still leading by a lot through Week 6, with 53 passes into tight coverage to Wentz's 44 and Fitzpatrick's 40. No other player is at 40+ attempts.
  • Of QBs with at least 100 passing attempts, Russell Wilson has thrown the fewer into tight coverage (14 of 169), followed by Sam Darnold (15) and Cam Newton (20).
  • Drew Brees has been long discussed being washed up. Well, it very well could be the case, and he's not really trying to improve by himself. Not only are his 5.3 CAY and 6.1 IAY two of the lowest marks among qualified QBs, but he's also throwing the ball -2.5 yards behind the first-down marker on average. That's virtually the same as hyper-conservative passers as Nick Mullens (-2.8), Teddy Bridgewater (-2.1), and Dayne Haskins Jr. (-2.1).
  • Obviously, King of Wilderness Drew Lock leads the league in AYTS (Avg. Yds. to the Sticks) with a monster 4.4 mark. Trubisky is second at a distant 2.0, followed by Aaron Rodgers (0.8), the first of mortals.

 

Attempts & Yards & Y/A

Correlation with Fantasy Points: 60% / 74% / 67%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Not many big secrets hidden in these three stats, am I right? The correlation is high with fantasy points basically because fantasy points rely mostly on pure yardage, and to rack up yards you have to throw the ball (the more the better, that is). Doesn't take a genius.
  • Before getting injured (ugh) Dak Prescott was averaging a league-leading 44 pass attempts per game. Now that he's out for the season, Joe Burrow and Matt Ryan both sit at the top of the leaderboard with 41 each. Gardner Minshew II is third (40), and the only other player with a 40+ per-game attempt average.
  • Among QBs with at least 100 attempts over the season, Lamar Jackson is making it clear that Baltimore is not about to generate high passing-related numbers. Jackson has attempted the fewest passes per game so far (27), followed by Baker Mayfield (28) and Newton/Cousins (29).
  • The sample is small (three games, 73 pass attempts), but Nick Mullens wasn't bad while backing up Jimmy Garoppolo averaging 8.4 Y/A in his appearances this season. Only five other QBs are currently averaging that mark, although all of them have at least 141 pass attempts (Justin Herbert) and as many as 222 (Dak Prescott).
  • Speaking of Herbert. The battle of rookie-quarterbacks between him and Burrow is split in half: Herbert is the efficient passer (8.5 Y/A for 1,195 total yards on 141 throws) while Burrow is the volume leader (6.6 Y/A for 1,617 yards on 246 throws).
  • Tua will start his first game in Week 8, so we don't expect him to make this column at least until we revisit the quarterback NGS leaderboards in Week 12 (he won't reach enough attempts to meet the threshold just in Week 8 alone).
  • Y/A for quarterbacks with 20+ paFP/G: 7.8, 7.9 (x3), 8.4, 8.9.
  • Y/A for quarterbacks with fewer than 10 paFP/G: 5.0, 5.7 (x2), 6.1, 6.8, 6.9, 7.5, 8.4.
  • Yes, that explains the really-high 67% relationship between Y/A and paFP/G. Bank of bulky throwers, folks.
  • Now that we're into Y/A, there is another rather-high relationship between this statistic and touchdown-passing: positive 59% through six games. You might have expected this, or not, but the longer distance an attempt goes for, the higher tally of touchdowns a quarterback tends to rack up.
  • Both Deshaun Watson and Willson have the league-leading 8.9 Y/A, and they have scored 13 and 19 passing touchdowns respectively already (tied for fifth-most, and most, respectively).
  • On the other end, Daniel Jones and Darnold have just 3 passing touchdowns each (min. 130 attempts) while averaging paltry 6.1 and 5.7 Y/A marks...

 

Completion Percentage & xCOMP & COMP Above Expectation

Correlation with Fantasy Points: 59% / 26% / 56%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • The world of hypotheticals is cool, but what truly matters is what actually happens on the field. That is why the real completion percentage is the stat that matters, and why the expected rate doesn't cut a good deal for fantasy GMs.
  • That being said, the difference between both marks (CPOE) is also a very strong indicator of fantasy performance, almost on par with actual COMP%, which makes sense considering that those that "overperform" or play to higher-than-expected levels on average are the ones who more often than not put on high-octane performances.
  • As ridiculous as it sounds, after six weeks Chef Russell Wilson is the only player over 6.1 CPOE. I mean, he's at 7.7 completion percentage points over expectation, which means he's 1.6 above no. 2 Derek Carr. That 1.6 difference is the same as that between Carr and no. 7 Philip Rivers...
  • Say what you want about Carr, but he's been a beast this season--as he usually is on a yearly basis and I won't get tired of repeating. Get Carr from waivers if he's still available there, seriously. He's a QB1 in even the shallower of leagues, believe it.
  • While Wilson's 169 pass attempts are far from the league-leading Burrow's 246, they are a fairly high amount to still be putting on a massive 7.7 CPOE over five games. For context, only Kyle Allen (55 attempts) and Justin Herbert (141) have CPOE marks 4.0+ even though they have minimal and lower samples to show for it.
  • Once more, Herbert's 5.9 CPOE is way higher than Burrow's 3.6. Another W for the Chargers rookie. Burrow edges Herbert on actual/raw passes completed over expectation 9 to 8, though that's reasonable considering he's tossed 104 more balls over the year.
  • Wilson himself has completed 13 more passes than expected. Carr comes second with 11, followed by Tannehill (10) as the only three players at 10+ through W6.
  • On the negative side of things, the two of Haskins and Wentz have both missed on 10 passes expected to have ended in actual completions. No other QB has fewer than 8...
  • ...does that mean it is time to sit Wentz? Not so fast, folks. Patrick Mahomes' CPOE is a paltry -3.8 (seventh-lowest among qualifiers) but not a single soul is even thinking of benching the former reigning SB champ. The CPOE model doesn't love Mahomes because that model works with knowledge of where receivers are at to calculate pass-completion expectations. What does that mean? The model knows Mahomes is usually throwing balls to wide-open receivers, so every time he misses on them he gets ultra-negatively-impacted on the CPOE front.
  • The model isn't dumb and Wentz has been plain bad, though. Don't get it wrong and bench him for good (if you're reading this, then yes, you too, Doug).
  • Everybody could have guessed the leader in expected completion rate: mighty washed Drew Brees, at 70.6%. He's the only quarterback, in fact, over 70%+. Talk about trying to stay out of trouble...
  • Baker Mayfield, though... The Brown has tossed passes expected to be completed just 58.5% of the time, which ranks as the lowest percentage among passers with at least 100 attempts, and second-lowest (Drew Lock) among qualified QBs.
  • Kirk Cousins is the only other 100+ attempts passer below an xCOMP% of 60%.

 

That's it for today. Until we meet again next week, I hope you can crush your waiver wire, set up the best possible lineup, and get ready for another weekend full of fireworks!



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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 7 of the NFL season.

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Risers

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Since firing Bill O'Brien, the Texans have played like a completely different team, Although they fell short against the Titans last week, Deshaun Watson looks like the guy everyone drafted to be a top five fantasy quarterback. Watson now has three consecutive 300+ yard passing games and seven passing touchdowns in his last two games. Watson gets the Packers, bye, Jaguars, and Browns over the next four weeks. None of those are imposing foes.

Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

Even though A.J. Green actually had a strong performance last week, make no mistake about it, A.J. Green is done. The new WR1 in Cincinnati is Tee Higgins. With how quick fantasy managers are often willing to jump onto rookies, it's surprising to see Higgins out there in so many leagues. Higgins is averaging eight targets over his last four games and has hit double digit fantasy points in all four of them. He had his first 100 yard receiving day last week. He is only going to improve as the season goes on and looks very much like the player hopeful drafters wished A.J. Green would be.

Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Somehow, Kirk Cousins is supporting two top five fantasy receivers. Justin Jefferson already has three 100 yard receiving games and two games with 30 fantasy points. Game script obviously helped and Jefferson will always be at the mercy of Mike Zimmer's desire to never call pass plays, but the Vikings are not a good team and that will often force Zimmer's hand. Even though Stefon Diggs is thriving in Buffalo, Jefferson is proving that letting Diggs go wasn't necessarily a bad decision. Jefferson and Adam Thielen have quickly become of the best wide receiver duos in the league. Now fully entrenched as a starter, Jefferson is already a weekly must start and should only get better coming out of the bye in Week 8.

D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

There is little doubt that D'Andre Swift needs to be on this list, but we need to exercise a bit of restraint. Swift certainly looked quite good last week en route to his first 100 yard rushing day and over 25 fantasy points. However, Swift still played just 38% of the snaps. We're putting our faith in a bit of rational coaching here. The Lions drafted Swift in the second round to presumably be there primary back. Their goal certainly wasn't to hope the Football Team released a 47 year old Adrian Peterson so they can stuff the ball into his chest 20 times a game. While the AP signing made sense given Swift's preseason injury, the goal, we think, was always for Swift to take over when ready. He sure looks ready. It would be mind-numbingly stupid if Swift didn't at least earn an increased role, hopefully making him a weekly RB2 going forward.

JaMycal Hasty (RB, SF)

When Raheem Mostert was out for three weeks with a sprained MCL, it was Jerick McKinnon as a near every down back. In Week 4, McKinnon played 92% of the snaps. When Mostert went down with a high ankle sprain last week, we expected more McKinnon. That is not what happened. UDFA rookie Jamycal Hasty played 21% of the snaps, which was fewer than McKinnon's 32%, but there were long stretches where Hasty played every snap. It could just be Kyle Shanahan getting an extended look at what he has, but it wasn't like the game against the Rams was a complete blowout. Hasty looked quicker and more explosive than McKinnon and I have a sneaking suspicion that Hasty is going to be the primary back for as long as Mostert and Tevin Coleman are out, with McKinnon maintaining his role as the passing down back.

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Fallers

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

To be perfectly honest, there weren't any performances by fantasy relevant quarterbacks that truly concerned me in Week 6. Aaron Rodgers' was the worst so we at least must take some notice, but it came against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Bucs pressured Rodgers relentlessly and forced him into multiple mistakes. Rodgers had fewer fantasy points than Joe Flacco. Let that marinate for a moment. With that being said, Rodgers' next four opponents are the Texans, 49ers, Vikings, and Jaguars. He will be fine. It's just worth acknowledging that disastrous games are still in his range of outcomes.

Tight Ends

I typically like to have at least one riser and one faller at each position. The tight end position in 2020 is making that exceedingly difficult. It's just unfathomably bad. Coming into the year, it looked like things would be better because there were so many late round breakout hopefuls. The problem is none of them panned out and the earlier round tight ends are all hurt or busts. Anthony Firkser was the overall TE1 last week. George Kittle and Travis Kelce are smashing and Darren Waller has been reliable. Other than those three, you're just hoping every week. Firkser, Trey Burton, Darren Fells, Adam Shaheen, Logan Thomas, Nick Boyle, and Irv Smith were amongst the TE1s last week. Meanwhile, Tyler Higbee, Zach Ertz, T.J. Hockenson, and Evan Engram have been total busts. Noah Fant and Jonnu Smith are hurt. Mark Andrews has three TE1 games and three complete bust games. At this point, your goal should be to find someone playing snaps and running routes that has a hope of seeing a red zone target or two.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

Six weeks into the season is more than enough time to start drawing conclusions. We have a Mike Evans problem. Although Evans had four consecutive double digit fantasy point efforts sandwiched between Week 1 and Week 6, he's been far worse than that; he just happened to find the end zone in every game of the season prior to last week. Evans has 27 targets across the three games Chris Godwin missed. Evans has 10 targets across the three games Godwin played. That's a trend. That matters. Tom Brady, while still good enough to potentially win a super bowl, is not good enough to carry two WR1s and it looks like Evans is playing second fiddle to Godwin. The touchdown upside remains there, but Evans is going to be extremely volatile going forward.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

Heading into 2019, one of the biggest questions in football was whether JuJu Smith-Schuster could operate as a true WR1 with Antonio Brown gone. Unfortunately, that question was never answered in 2019 because Ben Roethlisberger went down in Week 2 and JuJu dealt with injuries throughout the season well. The question remained heading into 2020. Through six weeks, I'm ready to say JuJu is not WR1 material. Whether it's AB, Diontae Johnson, or Chase Claypool, the answer to who Roethlisberger prioritizes is simply "not JuJu." JuJu now has posted three consecutive games with five targets or fewer and his only two quality fantasy games came in games where he scored. Johnson shouldn't be out much longer and with Claypool's performance, there is now way he's just going back to a rotational role. JuJu may very well be the odd man out here as there's little doubt in my mind he's the third most talented wide receiver on the Steelers.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

There is just no way we can ignore how awful Ezekiel Elliott has played this season. The numbers aren't terrible, but fumbling five times in a season is inexcusable, let alone five times in six games, including two last week. The Cowboys once elite offense is now a joke. Andy Dalton cannot sustain the fantasy values of all three receivers, Dalton Schultz, and Elliott. The player(s) that suffer each week may not be the same, but there will be least one or two odd men out. If not for the fumbles, Zeke would have put up a respectable 12 fantasy points due in large point to Dalton's incompetence resulting in constant checkdowns to Zeke. The running back will be fine, particularly in ppr leagues, but his touchdown upside has been severely hindered. Zeke may be more RB2 than RB1 the rest of the way.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value.

In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New York Giants wide receivers combining for 61 receiving yards. After these types of performances, it's important to look at each of these team's coaches and their play-calling tendencies to see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for improvement in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Improvements Ahead?

These are the areas and positions that will likely improve in the coming weeks, based on the team's play-caller tendencies in the past.

 

Houston Texans Running Backs

Tim Kelly

The Houston Texans fell to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday in a 42-36 overtime thriller. One area that could improve is the team's running backs. Against the Titans, the Texans running backs combined for 23 carries, 66 rushing yards, two receptions (four targets), 14 receiving yards, and one touchdown.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 17.5 carries, 67.67 rushing yards, 2.83 receptions (4.67 targets), 25.5 receiving yards, and 0.50 touchdowns (all rushing) per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Tim Kelly, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room in his time as an offensive coordinator. Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly has had his running back room average 21.38 carries, 95.63 rushing yards, 0.50 rushing touchdowns, 4.94 targets, 28.81 receiving yards, and 0.19 receiving touchdowns per game in the 16 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season.

Based on this information, there should be some slight improvement from the Texans running backs going forward. Now would be as good time a time as any to acquire David Johnson or Duke Johnson shares in your fantasy leagues.

Fantasy players this impacts: David Johnson and Duke Johnson

 

Indianapolis Colts Running Backs (Run Game)

Frank Reich & Nick Sirianni

The Indianapolis Colts won a close game against the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday. In the game, the Colts running backs combined for 13 carries, 59 rushing yards, nine receptions, 11 targets, 82 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 24.67 carries, 94.67 rushing yards, 0.67 rushing touchdowns, 7.33 receptions (8.33 targets), 60 receiving yards, and 0.17 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what Colts head coach Frank Reich has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. Reich has had his running back room average 23.47 carries, 97.89 rushing yards, 0.61 rushing touchdowns, 7.16 targets, 42.09 receiving yards, and 0.18 receiving touchdowns per game in the 96 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 32 games that Nick Sirianni has been the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, the Colts running backs have averaged 23.34 carries, 106.66 rushing yards, 0.78 rushing touchdowns, 6.78 targets, 35 receiving yards, and 0.09 receiving touchdowns per game.

Fantasy players this impacts: Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins

 

Minnesota Vikings Running Backs

Gary Kubiak

The Minnesota Vikings lost to the previous winless Atlanta Falcons this past Sunday. In the game, the Vikings running backs combined for 13 carries, 32 rushing yards, three receptions (five targets), 11 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 25.17 carries, 126.5 rushing yards, 1.33 rushing touchdowns, 3.83 receptions (five targets), 22 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. The Vikings offensive coordinator has had his running backs combine to average 25.27 carries, 113.12 rushing yards, 0.86 rushing touchdowns, 3.55 receptions (4.92 targets), 27.83 receiving yards, and 0.10 receiving touchdowns per game in the 349 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

While Sunday's performance was disappointing, over the course of this season the Minnesota Vikings running back room is still performing on the higher end of what we would expect from Gary Kubiak's running back room.

Fantasy players this impacts: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah, and Mike Boone

 

Denver Broncos Wide Receivers

Pat Shurmur

In Sunday's 18-12 victory over the New England Patriots, the Denver Broncos wide receivers combined for six receptions on 16 targets for 133 receiving yards and no touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the wide receiver room is averaging 10.2 receptions on 18.8 targets for 153.2 receiving yards and 0.6 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, has historically gotten out of his wide receiver room. Shurmur has had his wide receivers combine to average 20.36 targets, 150.47 receiving yards, and 0.88 receiving touchdowns per game in the 169 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Pat Shurmur's past tendencies suggest there is potential for a few more targets and receiving touchdowns per game for this group. With starting quarterback Drew Lock finally back from his injury, the Broncos wide receivers appear to be on the upswing.

Fantasy players this impacts: Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler

 

New England Patriots Running Backs (Run Game)

Josh McDaniels

The Patriots running backs combined for 15 carries, 41 rushing yards, nine receptions, ten targets, 79 receiving yards, and touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the Patriots running back room is averaging 22.4 carries, 111 rushing yards, 0.60 rushing touchdowns, 6.8 receptions (8.6 targets), 55 receiving yards, and 0.20 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. Josh McDaniels has had his running backs combine to average 24.54 carries, 104.03 rushing yards, 0.87 rushing touchdowns, 7.1 targets, 44.98 receiving yards, and 0.28 receiving touchdowns per game in the 220 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Based on this information, we should expect the Patriots running backs to perform better on the ground than last Sunday. However, the season totals are right in line with what we would expect from a Josh McDaniels' running back room. There isn't much of a buy-low opportunity at the moment for this group.

Fantasy players this impacts: Damien Harris, James White, Rex Burkhead, J.J. Taylor, and Sony Michel

 

New York Giants Wide Receivers

Jason Garrett

In the New York Giants first win of the season (20-19 over the Washington Football Team), the team's wide receivers combined for five receptions on nine targets for 61 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

After this performance, on the season the New York Giants wide receiver room is averaging 10.67 receptions (16.67 targets), 128 receiving yards, and 0.50 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Giants offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Jason Garrett has had his wide receivers combine to average 11.43 receptions (18.88 targets), 160.30 receiving yards, 1.26 receiving touchdowns per game in the 208 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

This year's Giants will be one of the worst offenses directed by Jason Garrett, but there may be some improvement for this team's receivers in the coming weeks.

Fantasy players this impacts: Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate

 

Cleveland Browns Wide Receivers

Kevin Stefanski & Alex Van Pelt

The Cleveland Browns got decimated by the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing 38-7. In the game, their wide receivers combined for six receptions on 12 targets for 78 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

After this performance, the wide receiver room is averaging 9.17 receptions (14.67 targets), 123.67 receiving yards, and 0.83 receiving touchdowns per game through the first six games of the year.

Now let's compare this to what the Browns head coach, Kevin Stefanski, has historically gotten out of his wide receiver room. Kevin Stefanski has had his wide receivers combine to average 13.47 targets, 128.21 receiving yards, and 1.05 receiving touchdowns per game in the 19 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season.

In addition, in the 16 games that Alex Van Pelt had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his wide receiver room averaged 16.25 targets, 111.56 receiving yards, and 0.81 receiving touchdowns per game.

Overall, there should be better performances than last Sunday for the Cleveland Browns wide receivers, but as a group their season totals are right in line with what we would expect from this offense.

Fantasy players this impacts: Jarvis Landry, Rashad Higgins, and Odell Beckham Jr.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Tight Ends

Randy Fichtner

The Steelers dominated the Browns last Sunday, winning 38-7. Because they were in control most of the game, they didn't need to pass much and it resulted in below-average showings from the team's pass-catchers. One group that struggled, in particular, was the Steelers tight ends, who only combined for two receptions on four targets for nine yards and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the Steelers tight end room is averaging 4.4 receptions on 6.4 targets for 42 receiving yards and 0.2 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Steelers offensive coordinator, Randy Fichtner, has traditionally gotten out of his tight end room. Fichtner has had his tight ends combine to average 6.09 targets, 47.72 receiving yards, and 0.28 receiving touchdowns per game in the 32 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Based Fichtner's previous coaching tendencies, it's likely that we see improved performances from the tight end group in the future.

Fantasy players this impacts: Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald

 

Chicago Bears Wide Receivers

Matt Nagy & Bill Lazor

The Chicago Bears won 23-16 over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, improving their record to 5-1. In the game, the Bears wide receivers combined for 12 receptions on 18 targets for 105 receiving yards and zero receiving touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season this wide receiver room is averaging 14.67 receptions (on 23.67 targets), 160.5 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Bears head coach, Matt Nagy, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Matt Nagy has had his wide receivers combine to average 18.35 targets, 145.25 receiving yards, and 0.85 receiving touchdowns per game in the 48 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 57 games that Bill Lazor had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, he had his wide receiver room average 21.47 targets, 153.37 receiving yards, and 1.19 receiving touchdowns per game.

Seeing both of these coaches' data, there are likely to be better performances from this group than last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. But keep in mind the season totals for the wide receivers as a whole are actually running on the higher side of what we'd expect out these coaches wide receiver room.

Fantasy players this impacts: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Darnell Mooney, and Cordarrelle Patterson

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Running Backs

Doug Marrone & Jay Gruden

The Jaguars got trounced by the Detroit Lions on Sunday, losing 34-16. In the game, the Jaguars running backs took 12 carries for 29 rushing yards and had seven receptions for 39 receiving yards and a touchdown through the air.

After this performance, on the season the Jaguars running back room is averaging 15.17 carries, 63.17 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing touchdowns, 6.5 receptions (on 7.5 targets), 53 receiving yards, and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now compare this to what the Jaguars head coach, Doug Marrone, has historically gotten out of his running back room. Marrone has had his running backs combine to average 23.40 carries, 94.15 rushing yards, 0.62 rushing touchdowns, 8.86 targets, 49.47 receiving yards, and 0.21 receiving touchdowns per game in the 144 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 133 games that Jay Gruden had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his running backs have combined to average 21.95 carries, 87.59 rushing yards, 0.54 rushing touchdowns, 5.27 targets, 34.65 receiving yards, and 0.16 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on this information, the Jaguars running back room appears to be performing below what we would expect, in particular on the ground. James Robinson is looking like a good player to be investing more into.

Fantasy players this impacts: James Robinson and Chris Thompson

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receivers

Bruce Arians & Byron Leftwich

The Buccaneers dominated the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers, winning 38-10. In this game, the Buccaneers wide receivers combined for eight receptions on 14 targets for 71 receiving yards and one touchdown.

After this performance, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their wide receiver room averaging 11.5 receptions on 16.67 targets for 152 receiving yards and 1.5 receiving touchdowns per game this season.

Compare this to what Tampa Bay head coach, Bruce Arians, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Arians has had his wide receivers combine to average 22.15 targets, 178.39 receiving yards, and 1.12 receiving touchdowns per game in the 240 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, across the 25 games that Byron Leftwich had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his wide receiver room averaged 21.52 targets, 186.64 receiving yards, and 1.36 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on these previous tendencies, we should expect more targets and receiving yards for the Buccaneers wide receivers in the future, and a slight regression in receiving touchdowns per a game. The Buccaneers wide receivers are a strong hold in fantasy football leagues right now.

Fantasy players this impacts: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Tyler Johnson, and Scotty Miller



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Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right?

Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift.

Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries (14), rushing yards (116), and rushing touchdowns (two). But did Swift show that he's ready to be a consistent fantasy option moving forward, or was this just an illusion?

 

Background Information

When Detroit drafted the rookie out of Georgia in the second round, it was a bit of a surprise, as they'd just recently spent some high draft capital on Kerryon Johnson. But the Lions have been fruitlessly searching for a star running back since Barry Sanders retired and injuries had already started to plague Johnson's career, so it made sense.

Then, they went ahead and signed Adrian Peterson, further complicating a backfield that wasn't expected to do much anyways because of how pass-happy the Matthew Stafford Lions have been.

But Detroit is averaging 27.6 rushing attempts per game, which puts them 16th in the NFL. Last season, they averaged 25.6 rushing attempts per game, which also ranked 16th. That's where we are in the second year of Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator. This is no longer the 2017 Lions team, which ranked 31st in rushing attempts. Things have changed in Detroit, even if the narratives around those things haven't yet.

Still, feeding multiple mouths is tough. Here's the rushing attempts and snaps for Detroit's running backs through six weeks, per Add More Funds:

Peterson has the clear edge when it comes to rushing attempts, earning 57.5 percent of carries by running backs and 48.28 percent of red zone carries. Johnson and Swift on the season have basically split the carries behind Peterson.

But things change. Johnson in the past two games has just 13.73 percent of running back carries, with Swift up to 35.29 percent. The makeup of this backfield is shifting, especially after what Swift did this week: 14 carries, 116 yards, two touchdowns.

Johnson's basically out of the picture. But, what does Week 6 really mean for Swift?

 

The Game Tape

Swift got started right away in this one, as his first carry of the game went for 54 yards. Of course, that first carry did come after Adrian Peterson had five carries, but another way to look at that would be to say that after the first series of the game where Peterson scored a touchdown, Swift outplayed and outtouched him.

Anyway, the play:

Swift finds the hole and then is off to the races, getting deep into Jaguars territory before a defensive back manages to chase him down. It's an explosive play for the rookie, who shows how he's able to get to the next level of the defense thanks to an 83rd percentile 40-time among running backs.

This also helped:

Look how that offensive line creates this perfect opening for Swift, occupying all the defenders down near the line of scrimmage and allowing Swift to get past those initial defenders.

This offensive line does rank just 19th in adjusted line yards, so it's not like these holes are being opened on each play. But on this one, it worked out for the Lions and for Swift.

But see, the blocking isn't always there. There's no hole for Swift, so he has to try to bounce outside, where he comes face to face with a Jags defensive back. One-yard gain. This is a good example of how even a talented back can't turn a nothing play like this into a something play.

Okay, on to the touchdowns.

Swift's first touchdown was a one-yarder. He's able to squeeze his way into the end zone here, doing a little sideways leap to make it happen.

More important than the actual result of the play is that Swift got the ball this deep into Jaguars territory. Swift received four red zone and three money zone attempts in this game, leading the Lions. He had 50 percent of the team's red zone carries in Week 6. Over the first four games, he'd received just 9.52 percent of those red zone looks. The biggest thing about this game, in my opinion, is that the Lions were suddenly trusting Swift in the part of the field that's most conducive to fantasy scoring.

Let's quickly zoom through some other observations before ending with the final touchdown: There were a slightly concerning number of low-yardage plays, but watching the film of those, it's hard to blame Swift too much for that. Like, they ran a 2nd and 11 toss play, but the blocking never developed and Swift was caught after just a one-yard gain. I can't hate on the running back for that when the playcalling and the line were also to blame. He did manage to find a few good holes and get some solid yardage at times, though.

Anyway, the second touchdown:

Another red zone carry!

On this one, Swift makes a nice cut back inside, then is able to absorb contact and push his way into the end zone. It's another very encouraging sign for the type of work he should get going forward.

 

Fantasy Impact

So, what do we think of Swift going forward?

I'd say to be cautiously high on him.

The increased workload seems to suggest we're moving more towards an equal split between Swift and Peterson, which should offer Swift more opportunities to make big plays. But we still have to contend with the fact that Peterson is here, and that Peterson had been the main red zone back up until the last game.

Swift is unlikely to suddenly be a bellcow. Not while they have a reliable veteran like Adrian Peterson around. But he should be someone who provides RB3 fantasy value going forward, and whose ability to get involved in multiple facets of the game -- I didn't even talk about his receiving ability -- gives him upside.

Swift has rendered Kerryon Johnson irrelevant at this point, so you can go ahead and move on from Johnson in redraft. And there's a very likely scenario in 2021 where Swift is getting 75 percent of the work in this backfield, in which case he'd be a high-end RB2 play. Dynasty managers should keep that in mind.

But in redraft, he's just fine for now. He'll have good games. He'll have not-so-good games. The talent is very clearly there, but the right opportunities might not be. Yet.



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Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain.

The waiver wire will be more important in 2020 than any previous season, especially after waivers clear in most leagues. Use the players suggested here for your early-week claims but keep the rest in mind for later in the week if necessary and check our NFL news feed for the latest injury updates.

As always, the options listed at each position below are listed in order of priority to help you plan your claims accordingly. Players listed include only those rostered in approximately 50% or fewer Yahoo leagues. For a deeper look at each position, check out our separate weekly waiver wire columns at QB, RB, WR, and TE.

 

Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers - 54% rostered

Herbert's availability is limited in competitive leagues but he may have been dropped out of necessity with the unexpected bye in Week 6. He should be the top option regardless of matchup but when you add in the fact that their opponent is Jacksonville, a bottom-10 pass defense, he becomes an automatic start and top QB pickup.

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys - 32% rostered

The Boys play on Monday night, so we've yet to see how he fares in his first start filling in for Dak Prescott. He should be viewed as a high-end QB2 most weeks; the upcoming matchup with Washington in Week 7 doesn't change that. For a deeper look at Dalton's projected value in Dallas, read here.

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers - 45% rostered

Bridgewater had his worst day as a Panther in Week 6 as the Bears limited him to 216 passing yards. He went without a touchdown and was picked off twice. The matchup can be blamed, as the 5-1 Bears are now statistically the toughest defense to opposing quarterbacks. He should bounce back in New Orleans, facing his former team. The Saints allow the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders - 23% rostered

Coming off a bye, Carr gets to face a Buccaneers Defense that just made Aaron Rodgers look like an AAF outcast. Carr has been on a roll, throwing multiple touchdowns in each of the last four games with a 10-1 TD-INT rate in that span. Carr put up solid numbers against the Patriots and Chiefs, both good pass defenses, so he's safe to play in Superflex formats or as a streamer in deep leagues.

Others to consider: Daniel Jones, New York Giants (31% rostered); Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team (3% rostered)

 

Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers - 45% rostered

When we last saw the Bolts in action, Jackson was getting more touches than Joshua Kelley and saw the key snaps in the fourth quarter and on passing downs. It's still likely to be a two-man committee but Jackson has a better rushing average and should have the higher floor based on his pass-catching ability. The Chargers will face Jacksonville in Week 7 which makes him very flex-worthy.

Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles - 13% rostered

Because the Eagles needed more injuries... Miles Sanders left with a knee injury in the second half without returning. He has already been declared out for Thursday Night Football, which means Boston Scott becomes the RB1 as he was in Week 1. That was a huge letdown game for him, seeing as how he collected 54 total yards and caught only two passes. It contributed to an upset loss to Washington, their only victory of the season so far. Scott has shown nothing of value this season, averaging 3.3 yards per carry and one reception per game. Those in a bind might have no choice to pivot here, unfortunately.

D'Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns - 26% rostered

Those who added Johnson as soon as Nick Chubb went on IR have been massively disappointed. He was invisible in Week 6, running three times for three yards and dropping an easy screen pass that couldn't inspire confidence in the coaching staff. He gets a pass to some extent because the past two games, Cleveland has faced the Colts and Steelers, who were No. 2 and No. 4 respectively as far as limiting fantasy points to running backs. This coming week brings Cincinnati, a far better matchup. He doesn't need to be flexed but can be if needed.

Jeremy McNichols, Tennessee Titans - 1% rostered

Rookie Darrynton Evans has been placed on IR, so McNichols is officially the insurance policy for all of Derrick Henry's fantasy managers. He won't get much run but if, God forbid, something should happen to Henry, he becomes the hottest waiver wire pickup around. McNichols looked sharp in spare duty this week, rushing five times for 51 yards. He has no stand-alone value as of right now.

La'Mical Perine, New York Jets - 18% rostered

In a logical world, the rookie would have a golden opportunity to showcase his skills and take over a significant portion of the backfield work now that RB1 Le'Veon Bell has been released. Unfortunately, we live in a world where Adam Gase is still the head coach of the Jets, he hates all running backs (and good players), so Perine saw fewer touches and snaps than 37-year-old Frank Gore. It didn't matter that the game was out of hand in the first quarter and no reason not to see what Perine could do with an extended workload. Only consider Perine once there are real rumblings that Gase might be on his way out.

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens - 3% rostered

The bye week comes at a perfect time for the Ravens but not so much for fantasy managers. Mark Ingram left early with an ankle injury and didn't return, which could clear up this situation and turn it into a two-man split between J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards rather than a three-man RBBC. With an extra week to rest, it should be back to status quo which means none of the three are more than desperation RB3 plays any given week. Too bad because Edwards saw most of the carries in this game and could be a reliable starter, especially in standard leagues. For now, he's just a speculative add for Week 8.

JaMycal Hasty, San Francisco 49ers - 1% rostered

Another Raheem Mostert injury forced Hasty into action on Sunday night. Had Jeff Wilson been active, Hasty might not have seen the field. He wasn't overly impressive, gathering 37 yards on nine carries with nothing in the passing game. Monitor the injury report to see if Mostert and/or Wilson are pegged to miss more time before making a claim for Hasty.

Others to consider: Frank Gore, New York Jets (31% rostered); Duke Johnson, Houston Texans (25% rostered); Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (15% rostered); J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team (11% rostered)

 

Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers - 49% rostered

I know, he's not available in your league. If you read this column last week and didn't add him, you're clearly not taking my advice anyway. He's technically (inexplicably) under half-rostered across Yahoo leagues, so it provides me an opportunity to expand on his involvement in this offense. In Week 6, Claypool tied for the team lead in receptions (four), led the team in yardage (74), and was second in targets (four). Not outstanding numbers but add in a rushing touchdown and you have the makings of a solid day considering the Steelers didn't really need to pass throughout the second half. He's not just a must-add anywhere he's available, he is entering must-start territory.

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers - 45% rostered

After a quiet start to the season that included a zero in Week 4, Williams came up huge in Week 5 with 109 yards and two touchdowns. Keenan Allen is expected back for the upcoming matchup with the Jaguars but there will be plenty of targets to go around and a favorable matchup to boot.

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles - 31% rostered

While Fulgham predictably didn't put up the type of game he did last week, he came away with 75 yards on six catches and a jump-ball touchdown that saved his fantasy day. The most encouraging stat is his 10 targets which tied Zach Ertz for the team lead. Ertz won't be on the field for another 3-4 weeks due to an ankle injury suffered in-game. It's hard to tell whether DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffery has a realistic shot at returning but it's reasonable to assume they won't see much action even if they do take the field. Fulgham is flex-worthy in the right circumstances as long as you don't expect a monster game each time out. The Giants have only allowed one 100-yard receiver this season, which was CeeDee Lamb in Week 5. No other WR has reached 75 yards against them. Add now and use as needed to patch holes in your lineup.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos - 10% rostered

Make that back-to-back 100-yard games for Patrick, who is easily outproducing first-round pick Jerry Jeudy. Patrick went for 113 yards in a tough matchup with the Patriots while Jeudy had just 32 yards. In fact, no other wide receiver even registered a catch for Denver. Patrick is the lead target on this team and a WR3 candidate in standard leagues.

Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders - 47% rostered

The week off should help Ruggs get closer to full health but the matchup with Tampa Bay makes him a stash rather than a streamer. Tampa's defense is for real and CB Jamel Dean has become a breakout star in his second season. Ruggs can be added wherever WR depth is needed but don't count on much in the short term.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars - 46% rostered

His steady, predictable climb in target share took an unpredictable nosedive in Week 6. Shenault was targeted seven times but took a backseat to Keelan Cole (nine targets) and D.J. Chark (14 targets) and was even less productive, catching three passes for 10 yards. Chalk it up to a bad game and keep him on the streaming radar.

Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars - 29% rostered

The biggest beneficiary of D.J. Chark being less than healthy was Cole, who went for 143 yards on six catches. This was his first true "boom" game of the year. Cole's previous high was 58 yards back in Week 2. He won't go off most weeks but he's getting the touchdowns that Shenault isn't and could be a factor if Chark still isn't 100%.

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons - 29% rostered

For the first time in four games, Gage caught more than two passes and went over 30 yards in a game. In fact, his 65-yard total in Week 6 is more than the previous three games combined. Maybe a coaching change is what Atlanta needed to get going. The matchup remains favorable again, as the Detroit Lions come to town.

Breshad Perriman, New York Jets - 8% rostered

He's back and looks good, even if his team is hard to watch. Perriman finished second on the team in targets with eight, behind only Jamison Crowder. Four catches for 62 yards isn't game-breaking but once Sam Darnold returns, there is enough big-play ability to make Perriman relevant.

Marcus Johnson, Indianapolis Colts - 0% rostered

This week's "who went off?" award goes to Johnson, who finished with five receptions for 108 yards. He wasn't on the active roster for the first three weeks of the season and has now done something no other Colts receiver had done yet - go for 100 yards in a game. They have a bye in Week 7 so don't get too excited. Stash him in deep leagues if you have the space but don't get your hopes up for consistent production. This is still a run-first offense.

Others to consider: Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (39% rostered); Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins (25% rostered); James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (10% rostered)

 

Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options

Darren Fells, Houston Texans - 5% rostered

With Jordan Akins out the past two games, Fells has scored in each and contributed 57 and 85 yards respectively. That'll play at tight end, especially for those who have been without Noah Fant and now may be without Zach Ertz. The Packers had been one of the tougher defenses versus the tight end but they didn't stop much of anything against Tampa Bay, including Gronk. Fells has the edge over Firkser because he has been more consistent both this season and over the last couple of seasons.

Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans - 0% rostered

Jonnu Smith was this year's breakout performer at tight end, going for 221 yards and five TD in the first four games. Seeing him leave early in Week 6 with an ankle injury is frustrating enough but especially after witnessing what his replacement did. Somehow, Firkser went for eight receptions and 113 yards with a touchdown, making him the top-scoring fantasy TE of the week so far. He had a grand total of 498 yards in his two-and-a-half-year career thus far, so it's hard to imagine that he suddenly becomes this year's version of Tyler Higbee. Still, this offense is clicking on all cylinders and Firkser makes a smart streamer if Smith, currently listed as questionable for Week 7, doesn't suit up.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings - 9% rostered

The bye week for Minnesota makes this a stash only recommendation but one that should get some attention for the remainder of the year. Smith was a complete non-factor for the first month, catching a total of two passes for 14 yards over the first four games. Forget that ever happened - Smith has four receptions in each of the last two games, going over 50 yards each time. Just like it took a couple of weeks for Gary Kubiak to figure out how to use Justin Jefferson, he seems to now have figured out how to use his young tight end. Smith is a talented receiver on an offense bereft of WR depth which makes him fantasy relevant in good matchups the rest of the way.

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team - 15% rostered

After a hiatus, Thomas re-emerged onto the scene with 42 yards and a touchdown in Week 6. He also played on 63 snaps with the next-closest tight end, Jeremy Sprinkle, in on just 11 snaps. Thomas' upside with Kyle Allen isn't much higher than it was with Dwayne Haskins, nor is he suddenly a desirable weekly option. He is streamable in Week 7 since his opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, is one of the least effective at defending the tight end.

Richard Rodgers, Philadelphia Eagles - 0% rostered

It's unclear what Zach Ertz did to anger the gods but his disappointing season has gotten worse. He left the game against Baltimore early with an ankle injury and will be out for at least three weeks. Although it was Jason Croom getting the touchdown in his place, it was his only catch of the day and it came on the only offensive snap in which he appeared. The veteran Rodgers caught three passes for 31 yards and will see the majority of TE snaps and targets for the time being. There isn't much upside but he can be used as an Ertz replacement if no better options are available.

Adam Shaheen, Miami Dolphins - 0% rostered

Is Shaheen the new Gesicki? No, because Mike Gesicki is still there and is pretty good when the ball is actually thrown his way. Shaheen has a touchdown catch in consecutive games, though, so he is at least a factor in this offense that is thin at the receiver position. The Fins are off next week so just keep him in the back of your mind in case you need a desperation streamer or Gesicki finds a way to get hurt on his week off.

Others to consider: Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks (21% rostered); Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals (4% rostered)

 

Team Defense - Waiver Wire Options

Philadelphia Eagles Defense - 30% rostered

The past two games have been miserable for Philly's defense, which explains their low rostered rate. The Ravens scored 30 a week after the Steelers put up 38 on this unit. They shouldn't have as much trouble with the Giants, who remain one of the lowest-scoring offenses in the NFL. One thing that has been consistent with the Philadelphia defense has been sacks. They came into Week 6 third in sacks and now have 21 on the season. Daniel Jones has no problem taking a sack, or turning the ball over for that matter. For leagues that reward sacks more so than turnovers, this is the unit to target.

Cincinnati Bengals Defense - 3% rostered

For leagues where turnovers matter most, this embattled Cincy DST could come through. The Bengals have picked off a pass in five straight games and will get the Browns in Week 7. If Baker Mayfield is healthy enough to play, that might be a good thing for the defense. He was picked twice by the Steelers and didn't look right all game, clearly bothered by his rib injury.



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FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In case you were not aware, several fantasy sports platforms are switching from FAAB to FAB in 2020, and RotoBaller will make that change as well.

As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will go for. Each league values players differently and will continue to do so. These values are here to provide a baseline or priority order to understand roughly how much you should be looking to spend on a particular player. Specific needs are always reasonable cause for a manual override.

Week 6 saw many backup players score TDs and a few key players got hurt, but I think most of us will take this for 2020. Another four-team bye week cometh, as BAL, IND, MIA, and MIN take a break. With that in mind, here are my median FAB bid ranges and adds heading into Week 7, with Yahoo rostership rates from Monday night.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Quarterbacks

Let me say very quickly, if Justin Herbert (55% rostered), Gardner Minshew II (52%) or Teddy Bridgewater (45%) are available then I’d target them first. I’d be firing around 8-10% of my FAB at Herbert if I really needed a QB, with roughly 2-4% at Minshew and Bridgewater.

Derek Carr (QB, LV) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

23% rostered

Carr and the Raiders enjoyed a bye-week vacation after handing the Chiefs their first loss of 2020 in Week 5. The matchup is a tough one against a stout Tampa Bay defense that just held Aaron Rodgers to peanuts but had yielded 290 yards and three TDs to Justin Herbert in Week 4. There’s some opportunity for Carr to step up with Darren Waller and big-play machine Henry Ruggs III.

Kyle Allen (QB, WAS) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

3% rostered

This is a pure desperation matchup play as Allen and the Washington Football Team draw a downward Dallas defense. Without a steady RB stable to run over the Cowboys’ front seven, Allen and his receivers (including his WR-esque RBs) will look for holes. Dallas has allowed 13 passing touchdowns with zero interceptions generated since Week 1, leaving a window or two for Allen to perform. Not well enough to win the game, but to have a good fantasy day.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Running Backs

Boston Scott (RB, PHI) - FAB Bid: 25-30%

14% rostered

Scott has disappointed with minimal usage in 2020 but the stars may be aligning here for Week 7. The Eagles are on a short week and Miles Sanders is expected to miss 1-2 games, so Scott’s the next man up. Despite poor results thus far in 2020, we can’t forget that he put up 138 total yards and three TDs against the Giants in Week 17 last season after torching them for 128 yards and a score in Week 8. I know it’s a different year and the Eagles are injured, but Scott has been a capable runner and receiver for Philly. I expect Corey Clement to work in some but Scott is a top-24 RB for Week 7 and worth an add.

J.D. McKissic (RB, WAS) - FAB Bid: 5-6%

12% rostered

We were told Antonio Gibson would receive more work so what happens? McKissic touches the ball 14 times for 84 total yards in a green-light matchup against the Giants. Classic. He may be heavily involved as a receiver against Dallas in a game that could see 60 total points. I know the Cowboys just crapped themselves on MNF but hopefully, they put up more of a fight with another week to get situated. Either way, you start RBs against Dallas.

JaMycal Hasty (RB, SF) - FAB Bid: 1-3%

0% rostered

Hasty looked like San Francisco’s best back after Raheem Mostert left with an ankle injury. This was Mostert’s first game back and reinjury risk is always possible, while Jerick McKinnon simply didn’t run well (and was barely used in Week 5). I don’t see how we can put Hasty above McKinnon off one game (and I don’t think anyone is) but Mostert’s most likely joining Tevin Coleman on the IR. McKinnon is solid but not a workhorse. Perhaps Hasty has more to offer than simple dynasty upside in 2020.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Wide Receivers

Here’s hoping you got Chase Claypool (49% rostered as of Monday night), who should be a top priority if available. I want to be sure Mike Williams (45%) is healthy but ditto him. And if DeSean Jackson (24%) is active for a game against the Giants, you try to play him because he simply hates them.

Travis Fulgham (WR, PHI) - FAB Bid: 8-10%

31% rostered

Fulgham has scored in three straight games alongside 50-plus yards and a whopping 23 combined targets in his last two. I recognize Fulgham’s week was largely fueled by a rather goofy fadeaway from Carson Wentz on 4th and 9 from the 18, but Fulgham had the perfect timing and positioning to bring it down. It wasn’t the only time Wentz simply tossed it high to Fulgham, and that trust could lead to more big games against NYG and DAL these next two weeks. He’s shown enough now to remain involved even as Jalen Reagor, Alshon Jeffery, and DeSean Jackson work their way back, though his floor will likely be quite low once that occurs.

Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG) - FAB Bid: 10-12%

29% rostered

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge said that Shepard’s Week 7 status may “come down to a pregame workout” ahead of their Thursday night game against Philadelphia. The short week stunts his chances but NYG is in need of reinforcements as Darius Slayton is dinged (but likely to play) and C.J. Board suffered a frightful injury on Sunday. Even if he’s unavailable for Week 7, he could knock on the top-30 WR door often whenever he does return.

Corey Davis (WR, TEN) - FAB Bid: 8-10%

26% rostered

The Titans activated Davis from the COVID-19 list on Monday as he joins up with Ryan Tannehill’s top-10 status. He and A.J. Brown both saw eight targets in Week 1 (their only game together thus far) as the Titans prepare for an uphill battle against Pittsburgh’s defense. Davis had at least 69 yards or a touchdown in his first three games  Don’t be shocked if he doesn’t pop in the return but note that Week 8 against Cincinnati could yield fun times.

Tim Patrick (WR, DEN) - FAB Bid: 5-8%

18% rostered

Patrick’s now surpassed 100 yards in two straight games and has a nice 4-43-1 line in the game before those. We can’t expect this to continue once K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant come back, but Denver should also need to throw a lot in Week 7 against Kansas City’s juggernaut offense. Patrick has earned your consideration, but if you haven’t played him by now then the window for prime results has likely closed.

Demarcus Robinson (WR, KC) - FAB Bid: 3-6%

1% rostered

Robinson led Kansas City wideouts with six targets and 69 yards in their sloppy win over Buffalo. The execution wasn’t sloppy, but the rain was coming down and led to a run-heavy attack. But it was great to see Robinson step up with Sammy Watkins out unless you had the catchless Mecole Hardman. This doesn’t cement him as the No. 2 -- far from it -- but it shows he’s capable and trusted enough to have that within range.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Tight Ends

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI) - FAB Bid: 10-15%

41% rostered

Goedert is eligible to return from the injured reserve in Week 7, but we may not see him until Week 8. Keep an eye on his availability and practice reports this week, especially with Zach Ertz out for roughly a month. Goedert would still be a solid pickup even if Ertz were healthy, but Philly’s many injuries leave ample opportunity for Goedert to step into whenever he’s ready. He’d be a weekly top-10 play given the state of TEs in 2020. This is an add worth erring on the "week too early" side.



Darren Fells (TE, HOU) - FAB Bid: 4-5%

5% rostered

Fells exploded for 6-85-1 on a season-high seven targets in a tight loss to Tennessee in Week 6. It was his second straight strong game (and the second straight game without Jordan Akins active). He’ll slide back to low-end TE2 territory if Akins is active for Week 7 against Green Bay, but stands tall as a top-12 option if Akins is out. Who knew Houston's offense had such potential? It's almost like some mysterious shroud was limiting them this whole time.

Irv Smith Jr. (TE, MIN) - FAB Bid: 3-5%

9% rostered

Big Irv has caught 4-of-5 targets in consecutive weeks now, with 64 yards in Week 5 and 55 yards (and a two-point conversion) in Week 6. The Week 7 bye may leave him available in most formats and temper the waiver appetite but two weeks is a pattern in the football world. With Smith Jr. overtaking Kyle Rudolph, we may have a top-16 TE option come Week 8’s date with the Packers.

Trey Burton (TE, IND) - FAB Bid: 3-5%

20% rostered

Burton scored a one-yard TD as the QB in the Wildcat formation and then added a receiving TD alongside 58 yards on four catches. That makes three consecutive games with at least five targets as Indianapolis hits their bye week, but we must note Mo Alie-Cox was out. Philip Rivers loves having a reliable, athletic TE and Burton could be the guy, but we’ll need to see how much work he gets when he, Jack Doyle, and Alie-Cox are all active.

Anthony Firkser (TE, TEN) - FAB Bid: 0-1% 

1% rostered

Firkser feasted against Houston in Week 6, catching 8-of-9 targets for 113 yards and a touchdown. Jonnu Smith missed a chunk of the game with a reported minor knee sprain and is questionable for Week 7, so monitor Smith’s practice reports and add Firkser in deeper leagues should Jonnu miss the (bad) matchup against Pittsburgh.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Defense/Special Teams

Philadelphia Eagles Defense (vs NYG) - 31% rostered - FAB Bid: 3-5%

Los Angeles Chargers Defense (vs. JAX) - 29% - FAB Bid: 1-2%

Cleveland Browns Defense (at CIN) - 24% - FAB Bid: 0-1%

Apologies, my time is a bit thin this Monday but just know that squaring off against the Giants, Jaguars, and Bengals is typically a plus move for streaming. The Giants and Jags both have implied team totals of roughly 20 points per early Vegas lines, which is low. I don't love Cleveland being on the road but it's a get-right spot for them against a rookie QB who may be forced to take risks late.



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Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:

More Waiver Wire Adds and Pickups