Fantasy Football Week 7 Rankings Review: Matt Ryan is for real
Matt Ryan officially joins the ranks of the Fantasy elite for Week 7, Chris Towers says as he looks closer at our rankings.
Our trio of experts -- Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, and Heath Cummings -- publish their first rankings of the week every Tuesday, and Chris Towers is here to break them down for the week ahead.
1. Which of the surprise top five in-scoring QBs named "Matt" ranks highest this week?
- Jamey: Matt Ryan
- Dave: Matt Ryan
- Heath: Matt Ryan
If you were waiting for the other shoe to drop for Ryan, it would've come tumbling down over the past two weeks. However, while he didn't have a huge game against the Denver Broncos in Week 5, he was still efficient, and he followed that with a big performance against an even tougher matchup in Seattle in Week. Ryan threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns in a tough loss, giving him multiple touchdowns in five of his first six games.
He is just six touchdowns shy of his total from all of last season, while leading the NFL in yards, yards per attempt, passer rating, QB ... And, well, pretty much every relevant stat you can think of. Ryan has been a model of efficiency and with promising matchups against the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in two of the next three weeks, it's hard to see any reason to sit him at this point.
2. Which QB are you dropping if you need a streamer this week?
- Jamey: Carson Wentz
- Dave: Carson Wentz
- Heath: Brian Hoyer
Wentz had his first truly bad game in Week 6, as he finished the game against Washington with just 179 passing yards and no touchdowns -- his first game without a score. That came after Wentz threw his first interception two weeks ago, as we have seen Wentz come back to Earth a bit after his hot start.
I don't think he is being exposed, or anything, but Wentz has just been a bit less impressive since the bye, and now has to take on arguably the toughest matchup in the league in the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7. Wentz will be worth starting again at some point, but it's hard to trust him against this matchup, and you probably won't have to worry about him being picked up after this performance.
Heath is an outlier here on Hoyer, who has thrown for 300-plus yards in his four starts this season for the Chicago Bears . Week 6 was disappointing, however, as he failed to throw a touchdown in a prime matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars , breaking his string of games with at least two scores at one.
Hoyer has been pretty good overall this season even with Week 6, but he has a couple of tough matchups on the way against the Green Bay Packers and Vikings. He can still be worth starting against Green Bay, but looks a bit riskier thanks to the Thursday night start. However, even if he does manage a good performance, there's no way you will want to start him against the Vikings, so this might be the last time Hoyer is on your roster for a few weeks either way.
3. Which buy-low candidate RB is going to break out this week?
- Jamey: C.J. Anderson
- Dave: Jacquizz Rodgers
- Heath: Todd Gurley
Anderson is off to yet another slow start to the season, as he rushed for just 37 yards in Week 6 and continues to lose playing time to Devontae Booker in recent weeks. Anderson has been better than last season, when he rushed for just 2.7 yards per attempt through the first six games -- he is at 3.5 now.
Discouraged owners should take solace in the fact that Anderson averaged 6.4 yards per attempt over his final nine games last season. The concern is that Booker will continue to cut into his playing time, but Anderson has still so far held the lion's share of the work, and if he start to turn things around, there's no way he loses his job. The Texans just allowed the Colts' first 100-yard rusher since 2012, so Anderson has a chance to get going here.
For Rodgers, it's all going to come down to whether Doug Martin 's hamstring injury allows him to get back to action this week. Martin was unable to practice Monday, which is a good sign for Rodgers' value. He wasn't terribly impressive in Week 5, but it's hard to scoff at 129 yards from scrimmage, no matter how many touches he needs. If Martin remains sidelined, Rodgers has a big opportunity this week against a 49ers defense that has been absolutely gashed by opposing running backs.
Gurley owners are in a tough spot. He's pretty clearly a bust, but he's also had at least 18 touches in every game so far, which makes him essentially unbenchable. Maybe you have two running backs you feel better about than Gurley, but that seems like a pretty rare situation to come across these days, given the state of the running back position. You're just kind of stuck in limbo with Gurley, waiting for a breakout that may never come.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a buy-low opportunity, Gurley might be the perfect option. The Rams' passing game has come to life lately, which could lead to less defensive attention coming Gurley's way. He is too talented to keep averaging below 3.0 yards per carry, so this might be your chance to get in on the ground floor on Gurley before he finds his rookie year form.
4. Which sell-high RB is going to start to come back to Earth?
- Jamey: Ryan Mathews
- Dave: Terrance West
- Heath: Jordan Howard
Mathews had another solid game on a per-touch basis, but the volume just wasn't there, and it really hasn't been all season. Mathews gets a pass for injury in Week 3, but even with that, he has more than 10 touches just once since Week 1.
The Eagles have leaned more heavily on Darren Sproles than Mathews this season, and Mathews played just one more snap than Wendell Smallwood in Week 6. Touchdowns have helped Mathews remain Fantasy relevant, but he just isn't getting enough work lately to keep it up. With Minnesota on the schedule in Week 7, it is going to be awfully hard for him to be worth starting on this workload.
Touches and snaps have not been hard for West to come by, as he has at least 11 in each game, including 61 total over his last three games since becoming the starter. He struggled a bit in Week 6, averaging 3.8 YPC, but a pair of touchdowns and an increased workload in the passing game covered up for that a bit. That might be a tough balance to strike yet again in Week 7, against what is still a tough New York Jets ' running defense when they aren't facing David Johnson .
West has impressed over the past three games, but the next two weeks -- he has a bye in Week 8 -- may make him tough to rely on. If you could trade West right now, it might be your best opportunity.
Howard's story sounds a lot like West's. He has been outrageously productive since becoming the starter, but showed some cracks in the armor in Week 6. He was held to just 34 yards on 15 carries, though a rushing touchdown helped cover up for that a bit. Other Fantasy owners still see a solid game, with nine Fantasy points in standard scoring from a guy who has averaged nearly 90 rushing yards per game since becoming the starter.
Howard's role looks assured, but he has a tough schedule coming up, with the Packers, Vikings and Buccaneers on the way over the next four weeks -- with a Week 9 bye, to boot. Howard's value may never again be as high as it is right now.
5. Which must-start WR has you most worried this week?
- Jamey: DeAndre Hopkins
- Dave: DeAndre Hopkins
- Heath: Antonio Brown
Hopkins is an obvious choice, given his quarterback situation. Brock Osweiler did attempt to force feed him targets in Week 6, but even that didn't go well. They connected on nine of 15 passes, but Hopkins ended up with just 71 yards. That brings his total for the last four games to a whopping 187 yards. He just isn't a must-start receiver at this point, and especially not against this Broncos' defense.
Brown played four games without Ben Roethlisberger last season, which could give us a view of what the immediate future without Roethlisberger might be like. Brown's Fantasy owners have to hope it isn't indicative, because Brown had just one game with double-digit Fantasy points, while averaging only 58.8 receivers yards per game.
Brown should still be worth starting -- he can turn any play into a score on his own -- but you're certainly not likely to get top-three WR production from him with Landry Jones under center. Let's just hope Roethlsiberger is back after the bye, and it turns into just a one-week issue.
6. Which WR outside of the top-25 in scoring this year is about to turn it around?
- Jamey: Alshon Jeffery
- Dave: Doug Baldwin
- Heath: Jeremy Maclin
There may be no player in the NFL more due for a touchdown than Jeffery, who has 29 receptions for 487 yards without a score through six games. In the first four seasons of his career, Jeffery averaged one touchdown every 10.5 receptions, and it's not like the Bears haven't been scoring. They just haven't been going Jeffery's way. Whatever the reason for it, it's an unsustainable pace, and Jeffery has played better than his Fantasy production would indicate.
Baldwin isn't quite as due as Jeffery. He scored twice in the first two games of the season, but he's lagging well behind last year's pace. That despite averaging more targets, yards and catches per game than he did a year ago. Baldwin was never going to keep up last year's pace, but it's hard to view someone on pace for 1,200 yards as a disappointment. The only issue might be a tough matchup in Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals , however, Baldwin does get the New Orleans Saints in Week 8. It might be worth buying in now, just to get in ahead of the crowd.
Maclin hasn't caught a touchdown since Week 1, and his production on the whole has gone down since a surprisingly productive first season in Kansas City that saw him score eight touchdowns on a team that rarely throws the ball. That volume has hurt him this season, as he is on pace for fewer yards, targets and receptions than last season, with just one touchdown through five games.
The Kansas City Chiefs remain committed to the running game, but they might need to lean on Maclin a bit more often than usual in Week 7, because they could find themselves in a shootout with the Saints' miserable defense. And then he follows that up with games against the Colts and Jaguars, so this could be a nice run Maclin is about to go on.
7. Who is the best streaming TE for Week 7?
- Jamey: Jack Doyle
- Dave: Jack Doyle
- Heath: Jack Doyle
Doyle has become the Dwyane Allen spoiler tight end in Indianapolis, hauling in three touchdowns in the first six games. He has just one game with more than five targets, so you aren't going to get much volume from him, but Andrew Luck has shown he will look Doyle's way in the red zone. That makes him a prototypical streaming tight end, especially in a Colts' offense that often plays with two tight ends on the field. He'll be out there; Luck just has to find him in the right spot to make it pay off.
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