Fantasy Football Studs and Duds – Week 7

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This “Studs & Duds” segment highlights fantasy football players who either exceeded, met, or failed to meet expectations in Week 7 of the NFL 2017 season.

This week to start off the article I want to talk about recency bias when it comes to the way we play this game. It’s half way through the regular season now and we’ve come to know a lot more about how certain offenses look and which players are considered booms or busts. Those ‘hot takes’ that can be grabbed from one or two weeks of data can now be considered a ‘trend’ after seven weeks of football games. For example, Amari Cooper on Thursday night blew up to have one of the best games of the year with 11 receptions, 210 receiving yards, and 2 TDs (not to mention 19 targets), but before that he was considered a bust. There were 5 weeks of him being invisible and if you were an owner you might have either sold or just stubbornly held him and started him only to be every more frustrated with each passing week. Either way, I’m not sure whether you did the right or wrong thing, I guess it depends on your record. That being said, what I’m here to speculate on isn’t which Amari is the real deal because that truly doesn’t matter. What matters is the perception attached to him the fantasy community now.

Wednesday before the game you could’ve gotten him for almost nothing, but try to do that now. There’s now way. His value spiked to preseason levels over night. If anything, if I owned him right now, I would be looking to cash out. You’re going to get more for him now than you could’ve dreamed of a few weeks back. I’m not saying holding him isn’t the right thing to do either, it very well could be if you’re a true Amari believer and he continues on this path. If I’m an owner now I am wondering which is more real? The five weeks of him doing nothing and being invisible, the one week of him having the game of his life, or is he really just somewhere in the middle? Sometimes even when the market is screaming ‘sell’ you just have to buck up and hold out the calls.

My point is that recency bias is huge when it comes to determining the market here. That’s why this article is so much fun for me to write and hopefully for you to read. Guys who blow up are peak market and guys who bust are bottom dwellers. Usually only for that week though. At the end of the day, you have to go with your gut and even if you do trade and make a wrong call don’t fret. Trust in the process and follow the market each and every week. It’ll usually be more right in the end. Now, let’s get to this week’s Studs and Duds…

Sunday Week 7 Studs of the Week:

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Dak Prescott, QB – DAL – 234 passing yards, 26 rushing yards, 4 total TDs…
Dak came out on a mission this week. Coming off the by week, he reminded us why the Cowboys gave Tony Romo his AARP card this summer. The expectations coming into this season has lead to a sub par record for the team, but that game script has been great for him all year. He’s a top 5 QB for me moving forward through the rest of the season. Start him regardless of match up and continue to watch the points roll in.

Zeke Elliot, RB – DAL – 147 rushing yards, 1 reception, 72 receiving yards, 3 total TDs…
Will he or won’t he be suspended this year? We don’t know. All we do know is that if he’s going to be out at all he’s leaving it all on the field. After some lack luster performances earlier in the year, he really came into his own on Sunday. Just straight up dominating the 49ers in every facet of the game. Hopefully, if you are an owner you have one or both of his back ups, but until a real judgement comes down he’s a threat to do this every single week.

Kenny Stills, WR – MIA – 6 receptions, 85 yards, 2 TDs…
One of my favorite sleeper WRs coming into the season finally showed up to his full potential this weekend dropping two tuddies on the Jets defense when it mattered most. He did the biggest amount of his damage once Matt Moore came in and replaced Jay Cutler which, if you paid any attention to him last season, shouldn’t be a surprise. In the last 6 weeks of last season, Stills was Moore’s favorite red zone target putting up a TD in 5 of those weeks. He’s one of my top waiver adds going into Thursday if Matt Moore gets a shot to steal the job.

O.J. Howard, TE – TB – 6 receptions, 98 yards, 2 TDs…
The first round draft pick continued our “Random TE Blowing Up Every Week” for the 2017 season. I’m not sure that anyone was starting him in any league as Cameron Brate had seemed to be the receiving option of choice, but he looked like a stud one Sunday. With the Bills defense queued in on all the other weapons he got wide open for a bunch of big plays. If he can show consistency in that regard it’s really going to open up the offense and help everyone. This is a great sign for the Bucs moving forward and puts in firmly on the cusp of being a TE1. Pick up and stash or feel free to use him as a bye week fill in going forward.

Chicago Bears Defense – 3 points allowed, 5 sacks, 3 turnovers, 2 TDs…
When you can win a game with what basically evens out to half of your team doing absolutely nothing you deserve to be a stud of the week. John Fox continues to treat Mitch Trubisky like he’s Tim Tebow out there and only attempted 7 passes on Sunday. It’s the classic John Fox strategy of boring the opposing team to death. Okay, okay, I’ll stop my Fox bashing to praise the defense for a game well played. They really turned it up in this one and got the Bears another improbable win. I live in Chicago and maybe I’m crazy, but with the way the defense is playing and no more Aaron Rodgers in the way I think they have a shot at the NFC North here. Keep it up and Bear Down you studs.

Sunday Week 7 Duds of the Week:

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Marcus Mariota, QB – TEN – 203 passing yards, 8 rushing yards, 0 TDs…
Believe it or not, the stats actually look better than I thought they would after the way Mariota played in this one. He was just straight up not there. I’m sure his hamstring must not be healed the whole way cause it’s affecting every portion of his game. He can’t be the running threat that makes him so dangerous and a his accuracy was very poor. Hopefully they can turn it around or let him heal all the way because this isn’t going to cut it. If he was my starter in a 10-12 team league I’d be looking for another short term option until we see something more from him.

Demaryius Thomas, WR – DEN – 2 receptions, 9 yards…
The entire Denver offense has been absent from the football field the last two weeks, but at least DT was still getting his. Now? Not the case. Historically, DT has had the safest floor in fantasy of any WR in the past few season. He was always a lock for at least 5 receptions an 65 yards even on the worst of occasions. This week though he let everyone down. I’m sure he’ll bounce back soon, but when there is no threat on the other side with Manny Sanders being out and the running game can’t get going, now we know that he isn’t going to necessarily carry the load. I will say though that if his owner is selling, I’m willing to buy.

Adrian Peterson, RB – ARZ – 21 rushing yards, 1 reception, 12 yards receiving…
Turns out that All Day was who we thought he was coming into his Arizona stint. Just one week after everyone tried to declare that AP was “BACK!” he goes out and put’s up some numbers from his Saints days. Now going into the bye week, losing Carson Palmer to a broken arm, and seemingly bad game scripts ahead, he’s someone who I do not want as a starter. Hopefully, you were smart and sold him to some sucker after his break out against the Bucs Swiss cheese of a defense. If not, coming off the bye they do get the 49ers so I’d call him a flex in that one. Either way, this guy is looking cooked. DUD.

Austin Hooper, TE – ATL – 1 reception, 6 yards…
Hooper isn’t a guy who you’ve been depending on every single week, but when he’s facing a New England Patriots defense that has been giving up passing yards like crazy, you’d expect him do something. Anything. This was unacceptable. This whole offense has been disappointing this year with the loss of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan having a much larger impact than most people anticipated. Hooper was hyped to break out and he’s made some good plays along the way, but his volume has been supremely low. He’s been waiver fodder for a while now, but if you picked him expecting that to change, I’d put him right back where you found him. He will now be known as Austin Pooper until further notice.

Green Bay Packers Passing Offense – 79 yards, 12 completions…
Mike McCarthy got angry last week when a reporter asked him about possibly bringing in Colin Kaepernick, I wonder how he feels this week. Probably the same because he’s stubborn, but it’s going to cost him it seems. Hundley was lost out there and every Packers player of note suffered the consequences. Losing Aaron Rodgers is having huge effects on a lot of once very quality fantasy commodities. Hopefully, for all of us who are invested in this offense, they can turn it around. Going forward I don’t think things will be as rough as they were this last Sunday so if you’re inclined to do so this is the cheapest you’ll ever be able to get into this offense. Inquire about the players in your league, but also do it with caution. Don’t give up much. It could be trash going forward.

Bonus Monday Night Studs and Duds Predictions:

Stud: Terrell Pryor, WR – WAS – 6 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD…
Kirk Cousins is having a great year, his WRs on the other hand have been invisible most of the way. I’m thinking that changes tonight. Terrell Pryor went viral and moved up draft charts this summer with some highlight catches in practice and that stuff has to translate at some point here. It’s only a matter of time before he uses his tall frame and speed to have a break out game. Philly corners are very beatable so for me this is a now or never game for him. I’m betting talent wins out here though.

Dud: Alshon Jeffery, WR – PHI – 3 receptions, 32 yards, 0 TDs…
The Eagles WR is going to come up short tonight in a match up Josh Norman. Wentz has been playing at an MVP level and is going to spread the ball around to other target like Agholor, Ertz, and even Smallwood out of the backfield. Norman is back to his shut down ways so I’m not expecting much from Alshon tonight. If you’ve got him and no other option you have to fire him up, but I’m not confident.

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Frank grew up in the swamps of Florida, but moved to the ice dungeon known as Chicago back in 2013. He’s become a huge fan of the Bears, polish sausages and giardiniera. He hosts of the ‘Calling It Now’ Fantasy Football Podcast which you can find on both iTunes and Soundcloud. You can follow him on Twitter: @TheFrankCalhoun to yell at him about why he’s wrong about all his takes on fantasy football.