Congratulations to anyone that started Christian McCaffrey, DeShaun Watson, Aaron Jones, Will Fuller, or D.J. Chark last week. Sorry to anyone who had to face one or more of them, I feel your pain. Overall, I’m happy with the picks I made in my first column last week, although watching Breida score on the very first play of the game from 83 yardsout made my sit 49ers RBs pick look pretty bad. With how he and Coleman looked, I guess that answers the question of what their backfield will look like for the foreseeable future. Dread it, run from it, Breida szn still arrives.
Byes this week: Bears, Bills, Colts, Raiders
Start of the Week: Matt Ryan at Arizona: What a disaster this season has been for the Falcons. Their defense is bad enough to make the Titans look like the Chiefs, Matty Ice has gone ice cold until garbage time, and their run game is almost non-existent. Matt is on pace for 710 pass attempts this year, well ahead of his 608 from last year. For our fantasy purposes, these all add up to great things, depending on the opponent, of course. Matt draws Arizona this week, who ranks just ahead of the Falcons at 29th against QBs. Look for him to put up yet another 300+ yard performance in what should be a shootout.
Kyler Murray vs Atlanta: A recurring figure in the start column from last week, Murray gets another choice matchup here vs the Falcons. Everything that’s been said about the Cardinals D, can be said about the Falcons. Their rankings are extremely similar, especially against QBs where the Falcons are 30th. Murray had his best fantasy game of the year last week against the Bengals, throwing for 253 yards and rushing for 93, with 1 TD on the ground. Murray is currently the 8th ranked QB and he’s doing this with only a 2.0% touchdown rate. For perspective, the league average is 4.4%, so Murray is almost guaranteed to raise that. He’ll likely start doing so in this game.
Lamar Jackson vs Cincinnati: While it should be obvious to start Lamar Jackson, I thought it would be worth mentioning anyway as I’ve seen far too many people panicking after he posted his worst game of the year last week versus the Steelers. There’s no denying it was an ugly outing, with three interceptions and only one touchdown against a very bad Steelers team. Upon closer inspection, the Steelers D is likely one of the more underrated units currently, that just happens to have the misfortune of being tied to a very injured and anemic offense currently. Owners should be able to put their fears aside this week as Jackson goes up against a team that allowed Kyler to have his best game yet.
Daniel Jones vs Patriots: A repeat in the sit column from last week, Danny Dimes won’t be worth a cent in this matchup. It should be pretty obvious to not start him here, but this matchup is so bad, that depending on league settings, I don’t think I would even want to start him in a 2 QB or Superflex league. Add onto this that Danny will be without Saquon, Gallman, Shephard, and Engram…..ouch. Saying they are shorthanded is an understatement. I sure hope for Danny’s sake that he can make the receiving corps of Golden Tate, Cody Lattimer, Darius Slayton, and *checks notes* Cody Core work.
Jameis Winston vs Carolina ( In London): The shame is Jameis has such potential to explode, yet can just as easily implode when you need him most. He is and always has been the epitome of boom/bust from the quarterback position. Carolina is another defense that was far too underrated coming into the season. The Panthers D are producing sacks and QB hits at a rate of 27% when rushing four or fewer, which is the highest rate in the league. They also have 18 sacks on the year, which ties the Patriots (with their cupcake schedule) for first in the league. With the Panthers D being 4th against the pass and this game being in London, look elsewhere for a QB in 1 QB leagues.
Kirk Cousins vs Philadelphia: A rare appearance in a start section, Kirk showed he actually has the ability to do more than just handoff to Dalvin last week against an awful Giants secondary. Kirk threw for 306 yards and 2 touchdowns with a very efficient 22 completions on 27 attempts. The very obvious, very legitimate frustrations of Diggs and Theilen were definitely heard by Kirk as he got them more involved than ever last week. Kirk should continue to placate them for at least another week against an Eagles secondary that is only marginally better than the Giants.
Start of the Week: Mark Ingram vs Cincinnati: I guess you could say Ingram has been a bit up and down this year. His point totals so far in 0.5 PPR are: 24.70, 8.70, 34.50, 6.60, and 11.90. With the exception of week 2, Ingram has taken advantage of terrible run defenses to post his two highest scores of the season. Despite the amount of options Baltimore has, Ingram is still receiving the majority of snaps, with his highest usage of the year at 65% last week. The Bengals as a whole are completely hopeless, which should give Ingram more than enough opportunity to post another massive game this week.
Derrick Henry at Denver : I’ve never been big on Derrick Henry, especially when I play in PPR leagues where backs who don’t catch passes are far less useful. Henry has proven me wrong so far this year, having never scored less than 11 pts and scoring in all but 1 game. That’s a great consistency that owners hope to be able to rely on moving forward. The only worrisome part is that touchdowns are among the hardest things to predict each week, but against Denver’s beat up defense, Henry should have plenty of room to run and provide a solid floor regardless of touchdowns. Taylor Lewan working his way back into the lineup after suspension only helps as well.
Kerryon Johnson at Green Bay: Coming off of their bye week, the Lions take on division rival Green Bay. Since releasing C.J. Anderson, Kerryon has seen his snap percentage climb from 57 and 54, to 75 and 70%. This is a great sign for Kerryon owners as one of his biggest knocks, besides injury, was usage. Green Bay comes in ranked 14th against the pass and 26th against the run. Look for the Lions to exploit this weakness in a way the Cowboys regret not doing last week.
Ronald Jones II/Peyton Barber vs Carolina (In London): Who is starting for the Bucs at running back? Who will get the most playing time? The real question, for this week at least, is who cares? Place your bets as to who will get the most work in this running back carousel that rivals the Eagles as far as running back committees go, but my best is it doesn’t matter. Regardless of who you think gets the most playing time, they aren’t worth it in this matchup.
Jordan Howard at Minnesota: “It’s that damn Howard, he’s so hot right now.” -Miles Sanders owners. Well, well, well. If it isn’t the running back I dropped in a super deep league after his 3 points and 22% snaprate week 2. What? I’m not salty or anything, I swear. Jokes aside, it’s hard to ignore the hype around Howard after his 31 point explosion against the Packers, followed up by 12 more, including his 5th touchdown of the year vs the Jets. On top of this, Sproles is out, which prompted Doug Peterson to make a vague statement about Howard filling in for some of those snaps. The problem is, he’s still in a timeshare with Sanders and this game does not work in his favor at all. Going on the road vs a Minnesota D that has only allowed 1 RB over 100 yards on the year and his team likely playing from behind, means that Howard isn’t likely to get the opportunity needed for him to be relevant this week. In fact, if possible, I would recommend trying to sell him before his schedule gets absolutely brutal for the next 6 weeks, including a bye.
Carlos Hyde at Kansas City: I actually hate this recommendation for various reasons. Being a Chiefs fan, I watched him look awful in the pre-season, only to be cut and somehow come back to life with the Texans. Hyde has been anything but spectacular thus far, averaging only 62 yards per game, one of which was a 19 yard effort saved by a touchdown. For whatever reason, Bill O’ Brien sees it fit to give the ball to Hyde as much as possible with 2 games of 20+ rushing attempts and 10 being his lowest. I’m not entirely sure why they spent a 3rd rounded on Duke Johnson if they planned on playing Hyde for around 60% of snaps. Another thing I hate to admit, is that the Chiefs run defense is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Here’s a fun little graph, courtesy of Football Outsiders, which also supports Kerryon against Green Bay as a great play.
Add onto this that starting defensive tackles Xavier Williams and Chris Jones are both out for this game and words cannot describe how badly this could go for the Chiefs D.
*Side note* Should David Johnson be unable to go due to his back injury, Chase Edmonds becomes a must-start for this week as a low-end RB2/Flex play.
Start of the Week: Will Fuller at Kansas City: Oh, hey there Will, nice of you to join us! After sort of just existing for the first four weeks, Fuller went off for 49.70 points in week 5. In one game, he nearly doubled his 26.3 combined points from those 4 weeks combined and went from WR 58 to WR9. Look for him to continue his hot streak vs the horrid Chiefs D in what could easily be the highest scoring game of the week.
Adam Thielen vs Eagles: It seems that Kirk is good on putting his money where his mouth is. After publicly apologizing to Thielen for not involving him and playing poorly, Kirk came through for his close friend, giving him 8 targets that went for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns on 7 receptions. Thielen gets another easy matchup against an awful Eagles secondary at home. Maybe the Vikings should have Kirk apologize to his receivers before every game. Then again, it could just be the awful defenses they’re playing recently.
Calvin Ridley at Arizona: Doing his best Will Fuller impression, Ridley has been all or nothing so far this season. Most recently, Ridley went for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. Most importantly though, aside from his awful 1 target game vs Indianapolis, Ridley has been targeted at least 6 times per game. With the amount the Falcons are forced to throw, he should continue to see more targets while playing near 80% of the snaps against the Cardinals in a game that could rival Kansas City vs Houston as for total points scored.
Marvin Jones at Green Bay: Jones has had some big games vs Green Bay in the past, but don’t go chasing waterfalls, I mean uh don’t go chasing past performances. While they aren’t the greatest, Green Bay has vastly improved their defense against the pass. Kevin King and Jaire Alexander are playing incredibly well together, so I wouldn’t expect much from the Detroit receivers in this game on the road.
Courtland Sutton vs Tennessee: Sutton has been one of the biggest surprises of 2019. Plenty of analysts have talked about the positives in his game, but even then, many thought the Denver offense with Joe “Elite” Flacco wouldn’t be able to support his talent. His talent has gotten him further than almost anyone would have expected so far, with him coming in as the #10 ranked WR on the year. Sutton likely falls back down to earth for this week as he faces a Titans D that haven’t allowed a 100 yard receiver yet this year.
Terry McLaurin at Miami: Little known fact, Scary Terry actually describes the situation he finds himself in with this team. Gruden is gone, the front office isn’t equipped to manage anything, and three awful options for quarterbacks. What a dire supporting cast this is for Terry. It’s honestly a miracle that he was able to manage 3 catches for 51 yards against the Patriots with Colt McCoy throwing him the ball. To make matters worse, interim head coach Bill Callahan has already gone full “old coach” telling the press that he wants to run the ball more. Despite all of this, Terry gets the best matchup possible against the Dolphins this week. In what may possibly be the worst game of all time, where the real winner is whoever loses in order to increase their #1 pick chance, we can only hope Miami is bad enough to help Terry overcome everything around him trying to hold him down.
Austin Hooper vs Arizona: For whatever reason, even when he has time to throw, Matt Ryan seems to just default to check down to Hooper whenever possible. Even though Eifert broke the streak of start all tight ends vs Arizona, it wasn’t entirely his fault as Dalton missed him for a touchdown which is a recurring theme. Hooper draws the best matchup possible here, giving him about the most upside possible for tight ends this week.
Gerald Everett: Much like Jordan Howard, Everett went from stud to dud in weeks 4 and 5. While his targets and snap% have increased substantially, his week 4 performance was against a near bottom-ranked Bucs pass D, in a game where Goff attempted 68 passes. His week 5 game took 11 targets which won’t happen every week. The biggest problem though, is that San Francisco’s defense has looked great from top to bottom. They’ve allowed an average of 3 pts per week to tight ends and only 1 touchdown on the year. One may argue that the 49ers’ opponents have all been terrible, which is definitely true, but if you have other options this week, I would rather not be the one to test if they’re for real until we know more. Everett should have better days ahead.
Cowboys at Jets
Chargers vs Steelers
Panthers vs Bucs (In London)
Saints at Jaguars
Rams vs 49ers
Jaguars vs Saints
Eagles at Vikings
Packers vs Lions
NFL Week 7 start em’ sit em’
Welcome to week 7 of start em’ sit em’. Hopefully you were able to make it here without being flagged for illegal use of hands to the face. Sorry Lions fans. Maybe some positive changes will come from this, but I’ll believe it when I see it. We’ll unfortunately have to make due without some of the top players this week, so let’s see what we can do.
Byes this week: Browns, Bucs, Panther, Steelers
Start of the Week: Kyler Murray at Giants: As noted in last week’s article, Kyler was sitting at one of the league’s lowest touchdown rates at 2%, making him a prime candidate for positive regression. With 3 touchdowns against the Falcons, he made a big step forward. Now sitting at QB7 on the year, Kyler looks to continue his streak with a great matchup against the lowly Giants secondary.
Josh Allen vs Miami: A consideration for the start of the week, Josh Allen gets the best matchup in all of football, the Miami Dolphins. Playing against the Dolphins is enough reason to start anyone, but Josh Allen has had a great start to the year, outside of his 3 interceptions and apparent deathwish running up the middle vs the Patriots. This game has plenty of potential to be his best of the season.
Daniel Jones vs Arizona: I have to admit, Danny Dimes was a lot better overall vs the Patriots than I expected from a fantasy perspective. Obviously for the actual game, things were terrible for him, but considering he was missing almost his entire supporting cast, scoring a touchdown and ending the night in double digits is a pretty incredible feat. Danny gets the relief of a much better matchup vs the Cardinals, making him a much easier choice this week.
Sam Darnold vs Patriots: I know we all love what we saw from Darnold in his first game back from mono, but unfortunately he has the worst matchup possible this week vs the Patriots. If he’s available though, he is a great stash as his schedule is incredibly favorable after this week.
Tom Brady at Jets: If feels as though my entire life has been Tom Brady performing at a high level on a football field. This year has been no exception, aside from a terrible performance against the Bills in Buffalo. Tom did his best to make my recommendation of playing him last week look bad, until he took matters into his own hands and ran for 2 touchdowns. (Fun fact: Those 2 rushing touchdowns put him ahead of Mack, Gore, Montgomery, Conner, McCoy, Fournette, Carson, Kamara, David Johnson, and Adrian Peterson for rushing touchdowns on the year with a total of 3) While the Jets D isn’t as good as the Bills, they should be able to limit Brady enough on the road to make him a lesser option this week.
Jared Goff at Falcons: I’ve made my feelings about on Goff known, especially when he’s played on the road. I’ve seen him referred to as “Mitchell Trubisky in a good situation”, which is quite an apt description. Saying he’s struggled this year would be an understatement, especially after he threw for only 78 yards vs the 49ers. Luckily for Goff and those who have him, he draws the Falcons this week. As the great Steve Smith said, the Falcons are the “get right team” for opposing quarterbacks. Look for Goff to get back on track this week.
Start of the Week: Philip Lindsay vs Chiefs: Normally I wouldn’t want to recommend players in Thursday night games. Everything about these games leads to more bad than good, but there’s no denying that the Chiefs’ run D is almost non-existent. They were ranked last among non-Dolphins teams against the run before losing both starting Dlineman to injury, the game is in Denver, and the Chiefs are coming off of back to back losses. After the Colts showed the rest of the league the blueprint to beat the Chiefs by running all game, expect teams to continue to exploit that weakness.
Frank Gore/Devin Singletary vs Miami : At this point in the season, we start to get a better idea of who teams are and developing trends. One of those being to start almost anyone possible against the Dolphins. The immortal Gore meets the incompetent Dolphins in what should be a great day for any Bills player that touches the ball. As of writing this, I’m not sure of Singletar’s availability. If he is able to go, Gore should be considered an RB2/flex, with Singletary a solid flex with upside.
Josh Jacobs at Green Bay: Well, here’s a guy I was wrong about coming into the season. I got too caught up in what I thought his surrounding cast would be, while not taking opportunity into account as much as I should have. Jacobs is part of a dying breed of workhorse RBs, which in and of itself makes a RB highly likely to be valuable. The fact that the Raiders Oline has performed much better than most expected and we have ourselves at best a weekly starter, but at worst a very high upside, matchup-dependant starter. Although the Packers D seemed to have improved their defensive woes vs RBs against the Lions, Jacobs is likely to find success against them. If he plays as well against the Packers as he did against the Bears, maybe he can crown himself the King of the (NFC) North.
Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray at Bears: I should start with the obvious, that if you have Kamara, you’re almost certainly playing him. The problem though is, he is clearly injured right now with both his ankle and knee giving him problems. If you’re lucky enough to have a very deep running back group, especially if you have others with incredible matchups this week, I wouldn’t blame you for looking towards one of them this week. Add to it that this is an awful matchup and things aren’t looking great for Kamara or Murray this week. Regardless of if Kamara is able to play or not, I would definitely not play Murray this week unless you have no other option.
David Montgomery vs New Orleans: This one hurts me, as I traded for Montgomery before the Raiders game, hoping we would finally see him live up to expectations. He did get a touchdown, but other than that, he’s not looking great. While he has gotten 67, 69(nice), and 52% of the snaps the past three weeks, he hasn’t been able to get it going yet. He should hopefully have better days ahead, this likely isn’t one of them against an underrated Saints rush D. For now, he’s just a volume-based flex option.
Carlos Hyde at Colts: A repeat sleeper recommendation from last week that I still hate just as much as before, I can run, but I can’t Hyde (you’re welcome for the very unoriginal team name). For whatever reason, Bill O’ Brien is determined to make Carlos Hyde a thing, despite him being the epitome of the “just a guy” moniker. I guess I can’t entirely fault Bill when it seems to be working well enough for them. The Colts are nowhere near as poor against the run as the Chiefs are, but Hyde is seeing plenty of volume with 21 and 26 rushes the last two weeks respectively. If volume is king in fantasy, then Carlos Hyde will be the king of volume based RB2s this week.
Start of the Week: John Brown vs Dolphins: Just in case you forgot over the past few minutes, don’t forget to start anyone you can vs the Dolphins. John Brown is currently the Kyler Murray of wide receivers. For the amount of production he’s had, he should have more touchdowns than what he’s currently scored. With an average of almost 7 targets per game, he is the clear number 1 WR for Buffalo, making him an easy start in this matchup.
Larry Fitzgerald at Giants: This may be the oldest list of recommended players of all time. Between Brady, Hyde, Fitz, and Gore we could have a retirement home all-star team in a few years. Fitz is another candidate for positive touchdown regression, having only scored two on the season despite his production in a very pass heavy offense. The Giants couldn’t cover *checks notes* Gunner Olszewski last week, so there’s no chance they can cover Fitz and the rest of the Arizona receivers.
Golden Tate vs Cardinals: In his first game back from “accidentally” consuming a banned substance, Golden Tate showed his big-play ability when he scored a 64-yard touchdown against the vaunted Patriots D. While he was helped by almost the entire Giants offense inactive due to injuries, he still put on an impressive performance, especially considering it was his first game back against arguably the league’s best D. This week, he gets a much better matchup vs the Cardinals D that makes sure to be on the field as little as possible as opponents fly by them. Patrick Peterson does make his debut in this game, but Tate should avoid him by playing in the slot.
Terry McLaurin vs 49ers: Remember how Goff only threw for 78 yards vs the 49ers? While I have been very critical of Goff and rightfully so, the bigger story here is it’s time to take the 49ers D seriously. After they completely shut down the Rams offense in LA, they have shown that they rival the Patriots and Bears for the title of best defense in the league. I love scary Terry, but the only thing scarier than the future of the Redskins future is Terry’s matchup in this game. Terry has gone above and beyond anyone’s expectations. He’ll see better days, but it’s best to avoid him in this game.
Allen Robinson vs Saints: Amari Cooper. D.J. Chark. Mike Evans. These are all names I recall, but I couldn’t seem to find them the past 3 weeks after Marshon Lattimore erased them all. These are their stats vs Lattimore: Coooper: 5 catches for 48 yards, Evans: 0 catches, Chark: 3 catches for 43 yards. The fact that Lattimore is doing this vs such great receivers, leads me to believe that until proven otherwise, we can’t hope to play any receivers against him, no matter how good they are. Robinson is having a great year, reminding us all who he was before his ACL tear, but unfortunately this won’t be the game for him to showcase much.
Michael Gallup vs Eagles: If the falcons are the get right team for QBs, then the Eagles are the same for receivers. Gallup has more than lived up to preseason hype about his abilities and offseason progression so far. One problem with Gallup though, is he’s produced when serving as the WR2, with Cooper taking on the opponent’s top CB. When Cooper left with a quad contusion last week, Gallup ended with his worst game of the year. Reports show Cooper is unlikely to play, meaning Gallup will have to show he is capable of taking on the WR1 role. While he has struggled at doing so, the Eagles should serve as an easy way for him to make it happen.
Hunter Henry at Titans: Whatever Hunter Henry’s injury actually was, he came back faster than most expected and seemed to have not missed a beat 8 catch, 100 yard, 2 TD performance against the Steelers. While the Chargers offense is reeling currently and not doing much of anything, Henry seemed to be the lone bright spot. The Titans D is great overall, but susceptible to tight ends, making Henry a great start this week.
Jared Cook at Bears: Cook finally came back to life the past 2 weeks with his first double digit efforts of the year. Unfortunately, he draws the Bears D in Chicago, which makes him unlikely to repeat the production of the past 2 weeks, and fall back into his single digit scoring from early in the season. I know the tight end position is especially brutal, so if possible I would look to see if lesser-owned tight ends such as Knox or Fant are available to stream in his place this week.
Bills at Dolphins
49ers at Washington
Packers vs Raiders
Titans vs Chargers
Jets vs Patriots
Vikings at Lions
Texans at Colts
Ravens at Seahawks