Check out our fantasy football Start’em or Sit’em picks for Week 7 of the NFL season before setting all of your lineups.
After seeing another week of massively impactful injuries, this week especially to the QB position, it is time to look forward to the Week 7 matchups. With Houston and Detroit on bye this week, here are my Start’em and Sit’em candidates for Week 7.
QB Start of the Week: Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs. CLE
Marcus Mariota came back strong in Week 6 after missing the previous game with a hamstring injury. The Tennessee QB had an impressive statline versus Indianapolis last Monday night with 306 passing yards, one TD and one INT, finishing as a low-end QB1 in most formats. While Mariota has been slightly disappointing through the first six weeks of 2017 (ranking as the QB16 in most formats), he has shown in this last game that we should not be concerned about his injury going forward and he should be presumed healthy for this upcoming matchup and beyond.
In Week 7, the Titans face off against the Browns, the 31st ranked defense against the QB, and a defense that has allowed an average of 241 yards and 2 TDs to quarterbacks so far in 2017. Look for Mariota to build off of this performance and have an outstanding game this week.
QB Start’em: Tyrod Taylor (BUF) vs. TB
While the Bills have been one of the league’s worst at allowing sacks so far in 2017 (18 in five games), Tyrod Taylor has been able to improvise and maintain his fantasy relevancy in the face of pressure. Through his first five games, Taylor has been a high-end QB2 in most formats with 910 passing yards, six TDs, two INTs and 121 rushing yards on 32 rushing attempts. While his passing stats aren’t remarkable, his baseline rushing ability increases his overall fantasy production and gives Taylor a safe floor among other fantasy quarterbacks. This week, Buffalo takes on Tampa Bay, the 30th best defense against the QB and a defense that just allowed over 280 yards and 3 TDs to the Cardinals last week. Expect a well-rested Bills offense, led by Taylor, to have a big game in Week 7.
QB Start’em: Blake Bortles (JAX) vs. IND
Blake Bortles, while not the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL, is a superb fantasy football weapon in certain matchups and situations. So far in 2017, Bortles has proven that he can be relied on with 1068 yards, eight TDs and five INTs. The Jaguars have lessened the responsibilities of Bortles in the offense this season; causing him to be much more efficient than he has been in years past, which is always a positive. In this week’s matchup, look for Bortles to have a larger role in the offense and have one of his better games in 2017. He is facing a prime matchup for quarterbacks, the 29th ranked Colts defense. Along with this matchup, the possible injury to Leonard Fournette that could cause him to miss the game or at least be limited will help get the ball in Bortles’ hands. Both these factors give me the confidence to play Bortles in Week 7.
RB Start of the Week: Jay Ajayi (MIA) vs. NYJ
One of the most popular names to bring up in the “What am I supposed to do with this guy?” debate is that of Jay Ajayi. The Miami RB has been a thorough disappointment so far in 2017. Most owners had to draft him in the first or second round, and after waiting to even get to use him in the face of the suspended Week 1 game, he has not produced the same way he did in 2016. Ajayi did, however, match his best game in 2017 with 13 fantasy points in Week 6, which is a positive for anyone that traded for him recently or held onto him this season.
This week, Miami takes on the New York Jets, the 28th ranked defense against the RB. This delightful matchup should be another building block that allows Ajayi to ascend from his poor start to the season to become a quality fantasy RB. Start Ajayi in Week 7.
RB Start’em: Adrian Peterson (ARI) vs. LAR
Adrian Peterson was a part of the rare in-season trade involving a notable player last week when he was moved to Arizona for a conditional draft pick. Most analysts were skeptical as to what Peterson would do in his new desert home. What did he have left in tank after underwhelming in New Orleans? Even if he did something left, what could we expect from him running behind what has been a poor Cardinals offensive line? Peterson silenced his critics and answered these questions with his performance in Week 6, gaining 134 yards on 26 rushes and two TDs. He showed us all that his a worthy asset going forward and should be productive no matter the matchup. In Week 7, the Cardinals face off against the Rams, the 32nd ranked defense against the RB and a defense that was absolutely torched by Fournette and the Jaguar backfield last week. Expect another big game from Peterson and put him in your lineup this week.
RB Start’em: LeGarrette Blount (PHI) vs. WAS
Back in Week 3 when the Eagles lost their play-making back Darren Sproles, many did not know how the backfield would shake out and who would end up being the most fantasy productive back. That answer in the past few weeks has been the bruising back LeGarrette Blount. He has led the team in rushes over the past three games with 44 while maintaining a hefty percentage of those carries (55% of the carries on average since Week 4) over his fellow Eagle running backs. Blount will continue his large role in the offense this week in the Eagles’ matchup versus the Redskins, a defense that has allowed 168 yards on 40 carries for two TDs in their past two games. Look for Blount to get over a dozen carries again in this matchup and have a productive Week 7.
WR Start of the Week: Demaryius Thomas (DEN) vs. LAC
One of Week 6’s leading receivers and biggest surprises was Denver WR Demaryius Thomas. Thomas has had a rough season so far, ranking as the WR31 and has only had two performances over 10 points (0.5 PPR scoring) this season. This changed in last week’s game versus the Giants, where Thomas finished with a whopping 10 receptions for 133 yards. Even more impressive is he did this all while being injured. Thomas suffered what is now being reported as a minor lower leg injury, but it caused him to have a noticeable limp in the second half. He powered through the pain and turned in a nice fantasy performance. Going forward Thomas should have a large role in the Broncos passing game, at least in the near future, with Emmanuel Sanders being ruled out for Week 7 and maybe beyond.
In Week 7, Denver takes on the Chargers, 24th ranked defense against the WR and a defense that allowed 29 points to the Bronco’s WR group in their Week 1 matchup. With Thomas being one of the only targets left in town and facing a good matchup, I expect big things from this Denver WR and expect him to be a good start this week.
WR Start’em: Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) vs. CHI
Kelvin Benjamin has been caught in a two car race to see who will be the top receiving target in Carolina now that Greg Olsen is gone. While Devin Funchess has been very productive in recent weeks based on his TD rate, Kelvin Benjamin has been the target leader for Newton in recent weeks with 19 targets since Week 5, including a 9 receptions for 99 yard performance last week. Benjamin has a solid and important role in this offense, and with Newton finally playing like his potential, Benjamin is in for some big fantasy performances. This week the Panthers faces off against the Bears, a defense that allowed over 100 yards and 21 fantasy points to the Ravens wide receivers last week. Look for Benjamin to have another great game this week and be a quality start in Week 7.
WR Start’em: Taylor Gabriel (ATL) vs. NE
In last week’s game against the Dolphins, the Falcons WR group all saw an increase in usage and efficiency, one of which included Taylor Gabriel. The big play WR has had a quiet season so far in 2017, only having one game of over five receptions so far this season. Look for Gabriel to build off of his success in this game and be a fantasy asset going forward, especially if Mohamed Sanu misses more time with his hamstring injury. In Week 7, Atlanta takes on New England, the 31st ranked defense against the WR position. Gabriel will be able to stretch the field in this delightful matchup and is due for a big day this week. Start Gabriel this week.
TE Start of the Week: Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs. BAL
After having a few rough games that included outings of less than 5 points (0.5 PPR scoring), Kyle Rudolph has developed back into a usable fantasy TE in recent weeks with 11 receptions for 92 yards and one TD in the past two weeks. While Sam Bradford has been out, Rudolph has had some problems connecting new starter Case Keenum, causing him to have some bad performances that likely lost you a matchup in 2017. The two Vikings seemed to be on the same page over the past two games and there is nothing to suspect this will change going forward. Keenum is projected to play once again this week, so look for Rudolph to build on this newfound connection.
In Week 7, the Vikings take on the Ravens, the 27th ranked defense against the TE. With chemistry finally on his side, Rudolph will be able to keep up this recent production and will be a good start this week.
TE Start’em: Evan Engram (NYG) vs. SEA
The rookie sensation has become not only one if the premier young pass catching tight ends in the NFL, but has also become one of the few receiving targets for the New York Giants. With serious season-ending injuries to Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and a bad but not severe injury to Sterling Shepard, Engram is the only man left standing in the Giants passing offense. As a result, Engram was peppered with targets and receptions in Week 6 with five receptions on seven targets for 82 yards and one TD. While Engram faces a tough matchup in the Seahawks (16th ranked defense against the TE), Engram’s massive target share will give him enough work to be fantasy relevant in Week 7.
TE Start’em: Jimmy Graham (SEA) vs. NYG
Jimmy Graham is a big name TE that has put up pedestrian numbers so far in 2017. He ranks as the TE21 with 21 receptions for 179 yards and one TD, being less than his usual self this season. Part of this problem stems from the offensive line being so porous, which has led to pressure on Russell Wilson, which has lead to less passing yardage and efficiency, and so on. This problem was fixed in part for Graham last time he was on the field in Week 5 with six receptions for 37 yards and one TD. This increase in production along with the week of rest bodes well for the Seahawks TE. This week, Seattle faces off against the Giants, the 32nd ranked defense against tight ends, a delightful matchup that should provide a big week for Graham.
D/ST Start of the Week: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. IND
The Jacksonville Jaguars D/ST has lived up the the preseason hype they received so far in 2017, ranking as the #1 unit in most formats in fantasy football. While their rushing defense has been very average thus far, their passing defense is elite, shutting down both quarterbacks (1st in the league against the position in fantasy), wide receivers (3rd in the league against the position in fantasy) and tight ends (21st in the league against the position but has not allowed over five receptions and 50 yards to a TE since Week 2). They are an extremely talented unit that has performed well this season. In Week 7, the Jags take on the Colts, the 31st ranked team against opposing D/ST units in 2017. Their past performance and this juicy matchup have me looking to start the Jaguars D/ST this week and expect big things from them.
QB Sit of the Week: Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. PIT
No QB in the NFL had a rougher start to their fantasy season than Andy Dalton. Dalton started Week 1 with a dismal 170 yards and five turnovers, netting owners a negative fantasy outing in many formats. While the Red Rifle has recovered in recent weeks and is now ranked as a QB2, that fowl performance has many owners cautious about trusting Dalton again. The Bengals were on bye last week, getting a much needed week of rest, but are coming back to a tough matchup for the Bengals passing offense.
This week Cincinnati faces off against Pittsburgh, the 2nd ranked defense against the QB in 2017 and a defense that slowed Alex Smith and the Chiefs to less than 250 yards passing last week. Dalton has the talent and the pedigree to be a good fantasy quarterback, but this just has not been his best year in career. His downward slope will continue this week, causing me to bench Dalton in Week 7.
QB Sit’em: Cam Newton (CAR) vs. CHI
The resurgence of Cam Newton has been one of great surprise to many fantasy owners. After three sub-par games, Newton has erupted since Week 4 with 910 passing yards, seven TDs, four INTs and 26 rushes for 115 rushing yards and two TDs. This ascent has raised Newton to a ranking as a top five QB in 2017, which is impressive given that many owners were giving up on him just a few weeks ago. While I do expect Newton to continue to be a fantasy relevant player for the rest of the season, I also expect him to struggle in this upcoming matchup. In Week 7, the Panthers take on the Bears, the 9th ranked defense against the QB this season and a defense that has allowed an average of 223 yards and less than one TD to quarterbacks when you take out the outlier Week 4 game versus Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on a Thursday night. With a tough matchup ahead and an unsustainable pace, I would look to bench Newton this week and look for better options elsewhere.
QB Sit’em: Brett Hundley (GB) vs. NO
Recently thrust into the starting role in the face of Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury, Brett Hundley is now the man in charge of one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Hundley, a third year player from UCLA, is certainly a talented player when you consider his college tape and statistics and is considered by some experts to be one of the top backup quarterbacks in the NFL. While this is surely not the way he expected to be on the field, he is now going to be the guy in Green Bay for the foreseeable future. Hundley did not do very well this past week when he filled in for Rodgers, finishing with 157 yards, one TD and three INTs; but this had more to do with his shock of being throng into action versus what kind of a player he can be. A full week of preparation will be very positive and impactful for Hundley, but unfortunately he will face a tough opponent in the Saints this week, a defense that has improved as of late and has allowed less than 15 fantasy points to the QB in the past three weeks. His new role along with the matchup have me sitting Hundley this week and keeping an eye on him for potential future matchups.
RB Sit of the Week: Jordan Howard (CHI) vs. CAR
Jordan Howard is another RB that belongs in the “What am I supposed to do with this guy?” debate. His usage was very much in question after playing second fiddle to Tarik Cohen in the first two games (Cohen had 30.1 fantasy points compared to Howard’s 14.8 in 0.5 PPR formats through those two games). While Howard did bounce back to his 2016 form and is currently ranked as the RB7, it still seems that the Bears coaches don’t fully trust Howard to be the workhouse back he was last season.
In Week 7, the Bears face the Panthers, the 5th ranked defense against the RB. This will be a hard matchup for the Bears offense and it should be a rough day for Howard and the other Bears running backs. While Howard could still potentially see enough rushes to give him a decent fantasy floor, I would look to bench Howard this week and would find better options on your team this week.
RB Sit’em: Ty Montgomery (GB) vs. NO
Ty Montgomery came back to action last week versus Minnesota after taking the Week 5 matchup off due to his broken rib injury. While Montgomery was able to make it back onto the field, he was not very productive on it. He was limited to only 20 snaps and was not efficient with that workload, only getting 28 yards on 10 rushes and one catch for three yards. There were many factors to why this was a bust performance for the otherwise studly RB, but the most troubling of those was the Rodgers injury and Aaron Jones’ usage. Rodgers is obviously a key member to the Packers offense and is responsible for keeping it running smoothly. With Hundley now in charge, who knows if his target share will stay the same or what his fantasy outlook is going forward. Even more worrisome is the emergence of RB Aaron Jones. Jones did very well taking over for Montgomery in Weeks 4 and 5, and was presumed to have a role in the offense going forward. He has continued to make an impact, getting double digit carries in each game he has played in. With Jones continuing to be a part of the offense, uncertainty at the QB position, along with a bad matchup versus the Saints (the 19th ranked defense against the RB and a defense that has allowed less than 100 yards in all but one of their games in 2017), I am benching Montgomery this week and waiting for him to get healthier and his role in the offense back.
RB Sit’em: Orleans Darkwa (NYG) vs. SEA
The surprise RB of Week 6 was most certainly Orleans Darkwa. Darkwa was not projected by many to be the main RB used by the Giants before this game and was facing the 1st ranked rushing defense of the Denver Broncos. Darkwa definitely showed us by getting 117 yards on 21 rushes in that game, finishing as the RB15 for the week. While Darkwa has shown he is a talented back and could very well continue to be a fantasy relevant back in 2017, this upcoming matchup is just as, if not tougher, than the previous one. In Week 7, the Giants face off against the Seahawks, the 7th ranked defense against the RB that has also had an extra week to prepare for the New York offense. Darkwa will stumble in this game and should be keep on the bench this week.
WR Sit of the Week: T.Y. Hilton (IND) vs. JAX
This explosive Indianapolis WR has sputtered out of the gate so far in 2017. While T.Y. Hilton has had two games this season that have been outstanding and probably won his owners their matchup (24.8 points in Week 3 and 21.2 points in Week 5 in 0.5 PPR scoring), he has otherwise been downright unusable in his other matchups. It is not all Hilton’s fault however, he is truly at the mercy of his QB play. Andrew Luck is still out of the lineup, meaning Jacoby Brissett has been leading the charge for most of the season. These two have not had the same connection as he did with Luck, which is to be expected, but many owners expected his talent to be able to overwhelm his bad QB play. That has not been the case so far in 2017, and it seems like Hilton is in this rut until Luck comes back.
In Week 7, the Colts face off against the Jaguars, the 1st ranked defense against the WR position. This reduced role in the offense, along with a tough matchup that will likely come with a day being shadowed by Jalen Ramsey, has me sitting Hilton this week.
WR Sit’em: Tyreek Hill (KC) vs. OAK
Tyreek Hill was a WR that was held in check in Week 6. The Steelers defense did a good job of corralling him and Travis Kelce throughout the game. Hill finished with five receptions for 34 yards and one rush for -9 yards. Hill has continued to live by his reputation this season, massive big play potential that can win you a week but risks putting together dud games like last week. He has had a solid season overall in 2017, ranking as the WR10 in 0.5 PPR formats, but his up-and-down nature has given many owners worries about just what kind of production you will get from him on a weekly basis. This week Kansas City takes on Oakland, the 7th ranked defense against the WR position. With this negative matchup, expect another down week from Hill and keep him on your bench this week.
WR Sit’em: John Brown (ARI) vs. LAR
John Brown seems to be healthy once again and has reestablished his role in the Cardinal’s offense. After an offseason of treatments for his newly discovered Sickle Cell Trait disorder, Brown had a poor start to the 2017 season with 12.4 fantasy points combined in Weeks 1 and 4 and two missed games in Weeks 2 and 3. After finally being active in Week 5, Brown has had two straight games of over 9 fantasy points, including two straight games with TDs. Brown’s current TD streak is unsustainable, which is the only real thing that has keep him fantasy relevant. This improbable role along with the tough matchup against the Rams, the 6th ranked defense against the WR, has me benching Brown this week and beyond.
TE Sit of the Week: Jack Doyle (IND) vs. JAX
In the murky position that is the fantasy TE, Jack Doyle has shown the potential to some owners that he can be one of the few stable weekly starts. However, Doyle has not quite come to his potential, only having two games over 10 points in 0.5 PPR formats. While he did suffer an injury in Week 4 which caused him to miss Week 5, Doyle has not been able to put together enough consistent fantasy production to be relied on week-to-week.
This week, Indianapolis takes on Jacksonville, the 21st ranked defense against the TE but has not allowed over five receptions and 50 yards to a TE since Week 2. The Jaguars defense will have a heyday against the lesser Colts offense, and Doyle will suffer from this situation. Bench Doyle this week.
TE Sit’em: Martellus Bennett (GB) vs. NO
At a starting rate of 42.8%, Martellus Bennett is one of the top 10 most started tight ends in fantasy football. But, if you look at Bennett’s production, he has not been someone worthy of being started that much, especially on a weekly basis. His best week was a seven point performance in Week 2, but outside of that he has not matched that performance at all this season. His lack of fantasy production, along with this tough matchup against the Saints (a defense that has allowed an average of 5.4 fantasy points to tight ends since Week 3) has me keeping Bennett on the bench this week and beyond.
TE Sit’em: Jason Witten (DAL) vs. SF
Jason Witten is once again a top 10 TE for fantasy football. He has 27 receptions on 38 targets for 229 yards and two TDs, ranking as the TE7. While this whole body of work is impressive, Witten’s consistency has been very poor. He had two great games in Weeks 1 and 2, getting over 36 fantasy points (0.5 PPR scoring) in those matchups, but immediately followed it up with less than three points in the next two games. Witten slightly redeemed himself with an 8.1 performance in the Cowboy’s last game, but Witten still seems like an unreliable asset. This week, Dallas takes on San Francisco, the 1st ranked defense against the TE position and a defense that held Jordan Reed to less than six points last week. Bench Witten this week and look for better options out there.
D/ST Sit of the Week: Philadelphia Eagles vs. WAS
The Philadelphia Eagles took advantage of turnover-happy Cam Newton in Week 6, getting three INTs off of fluky deflected passes. With those turnovers, the Eagles D/ST turned in a positive game and benefited anyone that started them that week. That has been a synopsis of the Eagles D/ST unit in 2017, the have been solid enough to get you some points from that position (12th ranked unit in fantasy football) but have not really had any big games that have wowed their owners. In Week 7, the Eagles face off against the Redskins, an elite offense that seems to have gathered their footing. While the Eagles D/ST may have been the unit you have relied on this season, I would sit them this week and look for a better option on the waivers.