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Bill Wippert/Buffalo Bills

Week 7 Fantasy: “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down”


Be sure to check out our Week 7 rankings or get an expanded explanation for any start/sit decision with Fantasy Consigliere.

 

Quarterback

 

Thumbs Up of the Week: Josh Allen (v MIA)

He’s somehow still available in the majority of leagues, but Allen needs to be picked up and started immediately over the next few games, including this weekend against Miami. Last season, Allen averaged 33.6 fantasy points per game in two meetings versus a better Dolphins team, and he did it with a lesser supporting cast around him. I think the breakout game that we’ve been waiting for on the ground might come on Sunday, so Allen is my No. 1 quarterback for Week 7.

 

Thumbs Up: Jared Goff (@ ATL)

Goff was a “Thumbs Down” last week because of the concerns about Los Angeles being able to protect him against San Francisco’s defensive line, and the Rams were absolutely dominated up front, leading to 1.1 fantasy points in a forgettable outing. That said, Goff should be given a clean pocket against the 1-5 Falcons, who have allowed 331 passing yards per game and an 11:0 touchdown-interception ratio over the past three weeks. Don’t hesitate to get him back in lineups as a top-five play.

 

Thumbs Up: Daniel Jones (v ARI)

As previously stated, Jones looks like a mix-and-match QB1 for the rest of the season, and coming off two difficult matchups (v MIN, @ NE), he’s back into premium streaming territory. While the Cardinals will get Patrick Peterson back from his six-game suspension this week, they are still a very attackable secondary, particularly over the middle where Jones will be able to hit Evan Engram, Golden Tate, and (hopefully) Saquon Barkley.

 

Thumbs Up: Gardner Minshew (@ CIN)

Minshew was a disappointment last week, but he is primed for a bounce back against a Bengals defense that will be without starters William Jackson (shoulder) and Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) at cornerback and was already allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing passers. Ideally, Cincinnati will get A.J. Green (ankle) back on the field to potentially make it more of a back-and-forth affair, but either way, Minshew is a top-15 option.

 

Others: Jimmy Garoppolo (@ WAS), Joe Flacco (v KC)

 

Thumbs Down of the Week: Patrick Mahomes (@ DEN)

Before anyone gets too worked up about this, Mahomes remains a top-six play for Week 7, but his outlook is certainly diminished after mortal performances in three consecutive games. It’s worth noting that last year, the Broncos—despite allowing over 300 yards in both matchups—gave Kansas City some fits, and Vic Fangio now has the defense firing on all cylinders after a shaky start. Sammy Watkins (hamstring) being active would have provided a boost, but Mahomes isn’t the slam-dunk QB1 at less than 100% on a short week.

 

Thumbs Down: Aaron Rodgers (v OAK)

Rodgers made some tremendous throws last week in Green Bay’s comeback win over the Lions, but with Davante Adams (toe) out, his receivers didn’t do him many favors in what could have been a bigger night. As of today, it doesn’t sound like Adams will be ready to return, so Rodgers remains a borderline QB1 option with a capped ceiling for a road matchup against the rested (and confident) Raiders.

 

Thumbs Down: Sam Darnold (v NE)

The Jets finally took flight in Sam Darnold’s first start since the opener, and their rest-of-season outlook is much more promising with the USC product at the controls of Adam Gase’s offense. However, before the schedule lightens up down the stretch, Darnold will have to take on Bill Belichick’s suffocating secondary (1:14 touchdown-interception ratio allowed), so fantasy owners would be wise to keep him out of lineups for this week.

 

Thumbs Down: Matthew Stafford (v MIN)

In real life, Stafford has played well against Mike Zimmer’s defense throughout his career (5-5 record), but it hasn’t led to big-time fantasy numbers, as the former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 210.5 passing yards per game in ten meetings, and he’s been held to zero touchdowns in three of the past four matchups. Minnesota hasn’t been quite as stout this season, but I’d still rather target more upside like Daniel Jones or even Joe Flacco.

 

Others: Kirk Cousins (@ DET), Teddy Bridgewater (@ CHI)

 

Running Back

 

Thumbs Up of the Week: Phillip Lindsay (v KC)

Denver’s improved running game is a big reason they’ve been able to pull off back-to-back wins, and Lindsay has led the way with 30 carries for 184 yards (6.1 YPC) and two touchdowns over that span. Now, he’ll face a Kansas City defense that has a) allowed 5.2 yards per carry and eight touchdowns so far this season, and b) let Lindsay total 191 yards and two touchdowns on 35 touches in their two matchups last year. Consider the second-year back a top-12 option.

 

Thumbs Up: Jordan Howard (@ DAL)

The Eagles seemed to figure things out offensively in Week 4 when they fed Howard against the Packers, but since then, it’s been downhill, as their starting running back has zero targets and gets pulled before he’s able to wear down the opponent. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I’d imagine Doug Pederson—after declaring they would beat Dallas—knows he needs to feature Howard on Sunday night to come out on top in a huge NFC East clash, especially after two losses last year in which Philly backs averaged just 12.0 rushing attempts per game.

 

Thumbs Up: Frank Gore (v MIA)

Miami’s run defense hasn’t been terrible this season in large part thanks to first-round pick Christian Wilkins’ play at defensive tackle, but they’ve still allowed the second-most rushing yards per game (169.6), and it would be a surprise if Buffalo didn’t play with a lead on Sunday. Gore should be ready for a heavy workload coming off the bye, so look for him to at least pick up where he left off with 60+ rushing yards in four consecutive games. The 36-year-old is a solid low-end RB2/FLEX option.

 

Thumbs Up: Damien Williams (@ DEN)

This is a definite risk considering he saw just two touches in Week 6, but Williams made the most of them with a six-yard rush and a 14-yard touchdown reception, and importantly, his snap count (38%) actually increased from his return two weeks ago (22%), which could be a sign that they’re working him back into the flow of things. The Chiefs don’t have time to mess around coming off back-to-back home losses, so look for them to keep it simple by getting Williams the ball—a formula that worked down the stretch in 2018.

 

Others: Sony Michel (@ NYJ), Royce Freeman (v KC)

 

Thumbs Down of the Week: Kerryon Johnson (v MIN)

A touchdown saved Johnson last week, but his usage was disappointing coming off the bye, as he saw just 13 carries against one of the worst run defenses in the league after handling 24.0 touches per game in Week 3 and Week 4. The Vikings remain stout up front, and they held Kerryon to 15 touches for 44 scoreless yards as a rookie. Unless the Lions get him the ball out in space more (and they should) or he finds the end zone again, Johnson will likely have a sub-par fantasy day.

 

Thumbs Down: Aaron Jones (v OAK)

The schedule hasn’t done Jones any favors, but he’s been extremely touchdown dependent so far this year. Through six weeks, Green Bay’s starter been held below 50 rushing yards four times, and we saw the low point on Monday night when he lost a fumble and dropped a touchdown to end up on the wrong side of a backfield split with Jamaal Williams. The contending Raiders will come out fired up at home to stop the run, and Jones is probably being overvalued by those ranking him as an RB1.

 

Thumbs Down: Adrian Peterson (v SF)

Before totaling 136 yards on 25 touches last week, Peterson had averaged 2.6 yards per touch through his first four games, and it might be optimistic to view him as anything more than a decent FLEX play before we see him perform against someone other than the Dolphins. This week, the San Francisco defensive line should dominate once again, and Peterson may not have a positive game script against the undefeated 49ers.

 

Thumbs Down: Le’Veon Bell (v NE)

Sam Darnold wasn’t at quarterback, but in the first matchup against New England this season, Bell was held to just 63 scoreless yards on 22 touches, and you can be sure that Bill Belichick will make sure New York’s top player doesn’t beat them in the rematch. In five games to start his Jets tenure, Bell is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry and 6.0 yards per reception. He’s more of an RB2 this week before the schedule lightens up.

 

Others: Austin Ekeler (@ TEN), LeSean McCoy (@ DEN)

 

Wide Receiver

 

Thumbs Up of the Week: Michael Gallup (v PHI)

It sounds like Amari Cooper (quad) won’t suit up on Sunday night, so Gallup will get a chance to explode against an Eagles secondary that has struggled all year and will have the spotlight on them after the front office missed out on Jalen Ramsey. Before the Cowboys were outclassed by the Jets last week, Gallup had gone for lines for 7/158, 6/68, and 7/113/1 to start the season. I have the 23-year-old as a midrange WR1 if Cooper sits.

 

Thumbs Up: Robert Woods (@ ATL)

A rushing touchdown thankfully saved his day, but Woods was held without a catch against the Niners in Week 6, so fantasy owners may be souring on him along with the rest of the LA offense—which would be a mistake. The Falcons haven’t been able to cover anyone on the backend so far this season, and there’s no reason to believe they will suddenly improve in coverage or generate a consistent pass rush. If Atlanta can turn this into a full-blown shootout, Woods should go off.

 

Thumbs Up: John Brown (v MIA)

Miami has already allowed big games to speedsters Marquise Brown (4/147/2) and Terry McLaurin (4/100/2) this season, and “Smokey” should be next as the Bills look to get the passing attack going out of the bye. Brown hasn’t had a 100-yard performance since the opener, but he’s shown a stable floor with 55 to 75 yards in every game since, and he may not have to deal with top corner Xavien Howard (knee), who hasn’t been a shutdown force this year anyway. Get Brown in lineups.

 

Thumbs Up: Phillip Dorsett (@ NYJ)

Another deep threat that is being overlooked, Dorsett caught six-of-seven targets for 53 yards and a touchdown against the Jets in Week 3, and he should have a full-time role with Josh Gordon (knee) looking highly questionable for Monday Night Football. In two weeks with at least 80% of the snaps played this year, Dorsett has averaged 19.5 fantasy points per game. I have the former first-round pick ranked as a low-end WR2.

 

Others: Tyler Boyd (v JAX), Golden Tate (v ARI)

 

Thumbs Down of the Week: Stefon Diggs (@ DET)

Fantasy owners and “experts” alike are way too reactionary based on what happened in the previous week, and Diggs is the perfect example. He was our “Thumbs Up of the Week” and a top-20 option for Week 6 in a blowup spot versus the Eagles, but everyone who wasn’t in on the party last week are overcompensating by viewing him as a WR2 against Detroit, who held him to two receptions for ten yards and a touchdown in last year’s lone meeting. I would be surprised if the Vikings didn’t go back to a conservative, ball-control offense—thus lowering Diggs’ fantasy value.

 

Thumbs Down: Kenny Golladay (v MIN)

In three career games against Minnesota, Golladay has caught 11-of-23 targets for 165 yards and zero touchdowns—with his worst performance coming last December when he hauled in just six-of-15 targets for 58 yards. We just saw Alshon Jeffery (10/76/1) have success in the matchup versus Mike Zimmer’s defense, but I don’t think Matthew Stafford will lock onto Golladay like Carson Wentz did because of the lack of success doing so 2018 (and the fact that he has more weapons at his disposal). Golladay remains a top-25 option, but you might be able to play someone else if you’re loaded at receiver.

 

Thumbs Down: Terry McLaurin (v SF)

While McLaurin has been white hot to start his career, you always want to play a guy for what he’s going to do, not what he’s already done. By just looking at the numbers, one might think that the rookie can keep it going because the 49ers previously allowed a 4/112/1 line to Bengals speedster John Ross in Week 2, but a large chunk of that production came on a 66-yard touchdown reception in garbage time. McLaurin is going to have a dud eventually.

 

Thumbs Down: Robby Anderson (v NE)

Anderson has caught 15 passes for 169 yards against the Patriots… in seven career matchups. Play him at your own risk.

 

Others: Allen Robinson (v NO), Marquise Brown (@ SEA)

 

Tight End

 

Thumbs Up of the Week: Gerald Everett (@ ATL)

Everett was a major disappointment last week, but it was a burn-the-tape game for the entire LA offense, and fantasy owners might as well go back to the well for a probable shootout against the Falcons. You could do a lot worse than a guy that’s seen at least five targets in each of the past three games for an offense that’s scored 27+ points in four-of-six weeks to start the year.

 

Thumbs Up: Noah Fant (v KC)

Fant also disappointed last week in a cupcake matchup against Tennessee, but the game simply turned into a low-scoring brawl—which likely won’t be the case on Thursday night when the Chiefs come to town. Kansas City has allowed at least five receptions to opposing tight ends in every game, and Fant’s statistical upside is waiting to be unlocked for Denver.

 

Thumbs Up: Jimmy Graham (v OAK)

The absence of Davante Adams (toe) was supposed to create more scoring opportunities for Graham, but he’s struggled to take advantage with just five receptions for 58 scoreless yards in two games. Still, the Packers may be without all three of Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle; though he returned on Monday night), and Geronimo Allison (concussion/chest)—potentially setting up Graham for a larger role.

 

Others: Jason Witten (v PHI)

 

Thumbs Down of the Week: Trey Burton (v NO)

I gave thought to eliminating this section altogether after listing no one at tight end for a “Thumbs Down” last week because the position is so shallow, but you can consider it week-to-week for now. Perhaps an early bye will have Burton healthier and more ready to contribute, but he’s been held to 20 or fewer yards in all four appearances this season.

 

Thumbs Down: Vernon Davis (v SF)

It would be awesome to see Davis have a big day in what will likely be his final game against his former team, but the Niners—who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends—don’t seem like a group that will be at all sentimental. Davis isn’t a recommended TE2.

 

Thumbs Down: Benjamin Watson (@ NYJ)

Watson is back in the fold after re-signing with the Patriots, but fantasy owners should probably wait to see what kind of role he has (or if he’s even active) for a Monday night game to close out Week 7. The last thing you need is for Watson—needing only a couple of points—to come up short.

 

Others: Kyle Rudolph (@ DET)

 

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