Thumbs Up of the Week: Ryan Tannehill (v KC)
There is always concern about Derrick Henry’s dominance leading to disappointing production for Tannehill through the air, but one week isn’t enough to suddenly view Kansas City’s defense as anything less than a dream matchup. Through six weeks, the Chiefs have allowed the third-most yards per attempt in the league (8.4, which trails only Detroit and Jacksonville), so Tannehill—who can also do damage with his legs—should be started as a midrange QB1 for a probable shootout.
Thumbs Up: Matt Ryan (@ MIA)
Ryan has thrown for 289.3 yards per game with an 8:0 touchdown-interception ratio since Atlanta’s 0-2 start, and the offense is headed in the right direction under Arthur Smith with Cordarrelle Patterson, Calvin Ridley, and Kyle Pitts being a featured trio. Xavien Howard (shoulder/groin) and Byron Jones (Achilles/groin) potentially missing another game would leave Miami very vulnerable on the backend, and Matty Ice should continue playing good football coming out of the bye. I have him as a top-ten option.
Thumbs Up: Jameis Winston (@ SEA)
New Orleans has had a low-volume passing attack to start the season, but the hope is Winston—averaging 14.0 completions and 23.2 attempts per game—will begin to let it fly more coming out of the bye. Aside from finally getting Tre’Quan Smith (hamstring), Jameis gets a great matchup versus a Seattle defense that has struggled mightily in 2021 with the fifth-most passing yards per game allowed (292.3). He’s a low-end QB1 with six teams on a bye.
Thumbs Up: Case Keenum (v DEN)
You probably don’t need to consider Keenum in a one-quarterback league, but I think he will have a nice game on Thursday night in place of Baker Mayfield (shoulder), and the veteran is a top-20 option for Superflex formats. While the offensive line keeping him upright against Von Miller is a concern, Keenum might be able to connect with Odell Beckham Jr. on some chunk plays, and he should also accurately get the ball to Demetric Felton out of the backfield.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Justin Fields (@ TB)
As you’ll see later, I have some hope for the Chicago pass-catchers this week versus Tampa Bay, but there is also downside for Fields—and it’s possible the Bucs get to him like we saw in the rookie’s first start when Cleveland sacked him nine times. Fields only had 174 yards, one touchdown, and one interception at home last week against a depleted Green Bay secondary, and I would hold off on adding him to the QB1 ranks over more reliable veteran options.
Thumbs Down: Carson Wentz (@ SF)
Indianapolis has played much better football as of late, but on Sunday night, they’ll be tasked with taking on a rested San Francisco team, and it looks like weather might be a factor. Wentz will already be without Parris Campbell (foot), and T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) could be out, too, which would obviously lower the explosiveness of the Colts. Also, it’s worth noting that Wentz has been limited to 202.0 passing yards per game with a 3:2 touchdown-interception ratio in two career matchups versus the Niners.
Thumbs Down: Sam Darnold (@ NYG)
It’s amazing that Carolina even went to overtime last week with Darnold completing just 17-of-41 passes, but Matt Rhule has said their offensive identity will shift more towards the running game as they try to snap their three-game skid, and less volume isn’t usually a positive for a quarterback’s numbers. Darnold has seven turnovers since the 3-0 start for the Panthers, and he doesn’t make the QB1 ranks for me in Week 7.
Thumbs Down: Teddy Bridgewater (@ CLE)
Thursday Night Football can be very unpredictable—and the Cleveland defense has not at all lived up to expectations—but Bridgewater is banged up for a short week, and Broncos-Browns being a 14-10 game wouldn’t be a surprise. Similar to the aforementioned Sam Darnold, turnovers have started to pile up for Bridgewater with four interceptions and a lost fumble over the past two weeks. I’d look elsewhere in one-quarterback leagues.
Thumbs Up of the Week: Damien Harris (v NYJ)
Harris rebounded from a lost fumble in Week 5 to have arguably his best game as a pro last week against Dallas—rushing 18 times for 101 yards and a score in an unfortunate overtime loss. Now, he’ll take on a New York team that is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, and I expect Harris will best his 16-carry, 62-yard day (boosted by a 26-yard touchdown) from the first matchup in Week 2. View him as a borderline RB1/RB2 in season-long leagues and a strong DFS play.
Thumbs Up: Miles Sanders (@ LV)
Fan reaction and late-game success on the ground versus Tampa Bay has me thinking Nick Sirianni will potentially go overboard with running the ball this week, but those with Sanders wouldn’t have any complaints if that turns out to be the case. At worst, Sanders appears primed for the workload he saw in the opener (15 carries, four receptions), and the aggressive defense of Las Vegas could play right into Philadelphia’s hands with a cutback and/or misdirection opportunity. Sanders is a high-upside RB2.
Thumbs Up: AJ Dillon (v WAS)
September wasn’t a good start for Dillon after I thought he would have standalone FLEX value, but October has been a different story, and the bruising runner has had yardage totals of 97, 79, and 59 in three games this month. There is no reason to believe Green Bay will go away from him, so Dillon—at home in a game the Packers should handle—is a low-end RB2/FLEX option with six teams on a bye. I currently have him as my RB24.
Thumbs Up: Mike Davis (@ MIA)
Cordarrelle Patterson remains a must-start coming off the bye, but I also think Davis can be a top-20 play in an excellent matchup. While the breakout for Patterson has deservedly drawn headlines, Davis has quietly handled 15+ touches in every outing so far this season, and Miami is allowing 26.5 fantasy points per game to opposing runners (third-most in the NFL). There should be room for both backs to contribute on a top-heavy offense.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Alex Collins (v NO)
Collins was much better in Sunday’s night loss to the Steelers (20 carries for 101 yards and one touchdown) than he was the previous week (15 carries for 47 yards), but the Saints aren’t an opponent to build momentum against—especially at less than 100% with a hip injury. The return of Rashaad Penny (calf) only adds to the concern about Collins’ outlook in Week 7, so if he doesn’t get in a full practice by the end of the week, fantasy owners with options might be better off benching him.
Thumbs Down: D’Ernest Johnson (v DEN)
The only other time Johnson saw extended action for the Browns came last year against Dallas when he rushed 13 times for 95 yards (after Nick Chubb went down with a knee injury), and Cleveland’s backup runner displayed an impressive combination of vision and patience. The matchup won’t be as favorable on Thursday night, though, and Johnson is getting a bit overvalued in my opinion (for example, ESPN has him projected for 13.7 fantasy points in 0.5 PPR leagues, which puts him as the RB12). Look for him to be a FLEX option splitting work with Demetric Felton.
Thumbs Down: Mark Ingram (@ ARI)
Ingram actually saw 18 carries last week in a 31-3 loss to Indy, but do you feel good about trusting a Houston running back against the undefeated Cardinals? I doubt the 31-year-old sees 20 touches in back-to-back weeks, and the floor—like we saw twice already this season—is him barely topping a handful of carries. I’d rather roll with a committee member in a better offense and with a better matchup.
Thumbs Down: Bears RBs (@ TB)
Khalil Herbert was tremendous for the Bears in Week 6, and the rookie has handled 19.0 touches in two games since David Montgomery (knee) went down. However, Tampa Bay remains the worst matchup imaginable for a running back, so both Herbert and Damien Williams (who missed last week on the COVID-19 list) are difficult sells in the starting lineup on Sunday because the floor and ceiling are both too low.
Thumbs Up of the Week: A.J. Brown (v KC)
I hope that Brown’s performance in the second half of Monday night’s win over the Bills is enough to make him a fixture in lineups, but as explained in this week’s episode of The Fantasy Consigliere Podcast, many have been too harsh with their complaints about him—based on a six-week sample size—rather than remembering that he’s a superstar-level talent. I’m not at all worried about a one-catch performance in the 2019 regular season matchup versus Kansas City, and Brown is my WR5 for Week 7.
Thumbs Up: Allen Robinson (@ TB)
This season has been a struggle for Robinson in terms of production, but the Bears at least dialed up a couple of deep shots for him last week—one just happened to be intercepted on what Justin Fields thought was a free play, and the other was unfortunately a would-be, walk-in touchdown that wasn’t thrown to him. I’m still unconvinced that Fields and Andy Dalton are an improvement over Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, but last year, Robinson caught ten passes for 90 yards in a win over the Bucs; I’m giving him another shot to return WR2 value.
Thumbs Up: Henry Ruggs III (v PHI)
The breakout for Ruggs hasn’t been talked about because he was picked by the Raiders and not viewed as an analytics darling, but the second-year speedster is already up to 445 receiving yards through six games—and the efficiency numbers have been phenomenal with 22.3 yards per reception and 13.9 yards per target. Philadelphia’s long-standing issues covering deep threats (including an 11/186/3 line allowed to Tyreek Hill) could set Ruggs up for another big game. I have him as a top-25 option.
Thumbs Up: Tre’Quan Smith (@ SEA)
If you need to dig a little deeper, Smith—set to make his season debut after dealing with a significant hamstring injury—provides plenty of upside and has ready-made chemistry with Jameis Winston. In the summer, Smith notably said his quarterback told him “don’t stop running” when it comes to taking vertical shots, so it sounds like the Saints will open up the passing attack some if the Winston-Smith combination has any say in the matter. There might not be a more overlooked fantasy option than Smith entering Week 7.
Others: DeVante Parker (v ATL), Mecole Hardman (@ TEN)
Thumbs Down of the Week: Tyler Boyd (@ BAL)
The bye weeks will keep Boyd in play as a potential FLEX option, but he’s been very quiet in four outings with Tee Higgins in the lineup (4.2 targets and 34.0 yards per game with zero touchdowns), and his outlook is really capped on an offense centered around Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, and Higgins. For this week in particular, Boyd has combined for 14 receptions, 115 yards, and zero touchdowns over the past four matchups versus Baltimore, so a standout performance doesn’t seem likely.
Thumbs Down: Tyler Lockett (v NO)
Lockett is tough to rank this week because his last game versus the Saints was a blowup (11/154/1), but it came with Russell Wilson at quarterback, and their rare chemistry being impossible to replicate is the reason the dynamic wideout was here last week, too. Unless we see New Orleans lose him in a busted coverage, Lockett could again fall short of expectations as fantasy owners await the return of Wilson.
Thumbs Down: Jamison Crowder (@ NE)
The amount of teams on a bye makes it difficult to strongly advise against players this week, but Crowder has been held to yardage totals of 50, 25, 26, 26, and 31 in five career matchups versus New England, and it might be a good idea for the Jets to give younger guys—namely second-round pick Elijah Moore—a chance to be featured coming off the bye. It’s a small sample size through just two games this season, but Crowder is averaging 7.7 yards per reception and 5.7 yards per target.
Thumbs Down: Patriots WRs (v NYJ)
The Patriots are going to stick to the running game this weekend, there isn’t a ton of upside through the air based on the first matchup versus New York—Jakobi Meyers had 38 scoreless yards, Nelson Agholor had 21 scoreless yards, and Kendrick Bourne had ten scoreless yards. Mac Jones has played great to begin his career, but the spread-it-out attack isn’t open enough for the wideouts to carry significant upside right now.
Others: Corey Davis (@ NE), Robby Anderson (@ NYG)
Thumbs Up of the Week: Noah Fant (@ CLE)
Tight end appears to be in quality shape despite all the teams on a bye, and Fant is one of nine options that I believe has a case to be ranked in the top five. The Browns won’t have rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle) on Thursday night, so Fant—who was clearly frustrated against the Raiders before coming alive late to finish as the week’s top scorer at the position—gets a good opportunity to build on the 9/97/1 line.
Thumbs Up: David Njoku (v DEN)
I know I said it would be a potential slugfest, but I also like Njoku for the TNF matchup considering the state of Cleveland’s offense. The talented tight end saw only two targets last week following a 149-yard, one-touchdown outing in a shootout loss to the Chargers, and the best two offensive games for the Browns have come when Njoku has been a factor; they need to get him going again without Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (calf).
Thumbs Up: Jimmy Graham (@ TB)
Similar to O.J. Howard last week (who paid off with a touchdown), this is a just-a-feeling selection, but Graham found the end zone in last year’s matchup versus the Bucs, and I think Chicago might dial up his number again after making a highlight block in Week 6. He’s worth a dart throw in deeper leagues.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Zach Ertz (v HOU)
Ertz should eventually be a TE1 play in Arizona, but I’d hold off on slotting him into lineups considering all the weapons Kyler Murray has at his disposal. Plus, the Cardinals have another game coming up quickly next Thursday night versus the Packers for a huge NFC clash, and it makes sense to hold off on unleashing Ertz—who just played on a short week—until then.
Thumbs Down: Mo Alie-Cox (@ SF)
With seven receptions, 120 yards, and three scores over the past three weeks, Alie-Cox is drawing streaming consideration in Week 7, but I’m avoiding him in a difficult matchup. Since allowing a big game to T.J. Hockenson in the opener, San Francisco has allowed fantasy point totals of 4.5. 2.0, 1.5, and 1.9 in 0.5 PPR leagues over their past four games.
Thumbs Down: Gerald Everett (v NO)
New Orleans is also a brutal matchup for tight ends, and Everett isn’t a big enough factor in scoring territory or seeing enough targets—with 12 through four games—to have a high likelihood of overcoming it. The recent stint on the COVID-19 list may be a factor, but Everett (48%) was behind Will Dissly (72%) for playing time in Week 6.