Fantasy Football Week 7: Baker Mayfield's big chance and eight things to know
Baker Mayfield and Eli Manning are among the players with outstanding Week 7 matchups. But can they deliver?
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Baker Mayfield gets his best shot yet at Fantasy success.
For all the hype surrounding Mayfield, the Fantasy results have been disappointing. He's made three starts and has yet to top 20 Fantasy points despite attempting at least 41 passes in all three games. Mayfield is one of just two quarterbacks in the NFL who have made at least three starts and not reached 20 Fantasy points in a game. That includes an overtime game against the Raiders.
The Raiders are terrible defensively, but they aren't as bad as Tampa Bay, Mayfield's opponent this week. The Bucs have allowed a league-worst 355 passing yards per game and 16 touchdowns through the air on the season. They also just fired their defensive coordinator.
This is a start of a great stretch of schedule for Mayfield, but I'm going to have to see it before I start him. I do believe he has a bright future, but I'm not sure he has the talent at receiver to be a great Fantasy option as a rookie. If you want to add Mayfield as a bench quarterback this week, it makes sense. I'm just not ready to trust him in one-quarterback leagues.
No one likes old running backs. They break down. They're ineffective. We just spent a summer calling LeSean McCoy a bust because he was turning 30. So how are Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore still doing what they're doing?
Peterson, in particular, has been Chris Thompson will be back to help shoulder the load. I'm starting Peterson either way, but if Thompson is out, I'll have Peterson in my top-15 running backs.. He is playing hurt and taking the lion's share of the work at running back for Washington. The Redskins will be in a slugfest this week against the Cowboys, and we aren't sure if
Gore has a more traditional old-back role. He shares the load with Kenyan Drake and handles the ground-and-pound work. But he just ran for 101 yards on 15 carries against a good Bears defense and now he faces a Lions team that is giving up 5.3 yards per carry. Gore is more of a flex than a must-start, but he's still on the waiver wire in some leagues.
Listen, you're not benching Brees, Alvin Kamara, or Michael Thomas. At least I don't think you are. But you need to manage expectations. The Saints have only played one game outdoors this year, and it was against a much easier challenge than the one they'll face in Baltimore. The Ravens rank first in yards (270) and points (12.8) allowed per game. They have only allowed 4.4 yards per play. This is a tall task.
I would bench Brees for Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton, but I can't get away from Kamara or Thomas. The interesting name is Mark Ingram. The Saints went run-heavy in their first road game of the season, but it's really hard to imagine they can run the ball between the tackles against this defense. This feels more like a Kamara game where they use his speed on the edges to try to slow down the Ravens pass rush. Ingram is more of a flex for me than a must-start running back.
DeAndre Hopkins faces Jacksonville, but that may not matter.
It would be tempting to look at Hopkins matchup this week and think you need to bench him. That would be a mistake. Shutdown corners are only shutdown corners if the opposing quarterback stops throwing to the guy they're covering. I would not expect Deshaun Watson will stop throwing to Hopkins. He faced Jacksonville twice last year and had 29 targets. He caught less than half of them, but he scored double-digit Fantasy points in non-PPR in both games.
While you should stick with Hopkins, you can comfortably bench any other Texan. Watson is beat up and struggling. Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue are sharing work against a bad matchup. The Texans defense is the only other starting option on this team this week.
Be careful with the committees in Detroit and Philadelphia.
There are so many running back committees in football that's it's almost become the rule, not the exception. But there are a couple this week that are especially dangerous.
First we have the Philadelphia Eagles in their third game of the year without Jay Ajayi. The first two have gone very poorly for those of us who try to predict these things. Corey Clement is my favorite option in this backfield, but Wendell Smallwood isn't far behind. The safest play is to consider both of these guys flex plays and count anything extra you get as a bonus.
The Lions are equally challenging, even if their roles are better defined. Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount share the rushing work, with Theo RIddick in on most passing downs. There are a few problems with this. For one, Johnson is far more talented than the other two and the only back we want to start ... but it's hard without a lot of third-down or goalline work. Second, it's hard to forecast game script in a game between the Lions and Dolphins. Nothing would surprise me. Johnson remains no better than a flex until the Lions stop wasting carries on Blount.
We've had one and a half games of Jameis Winston under center for Tampa Bay and two games of Julian Edelman in the Patriots offense. That means we have about a third as much information about target share in those offenses as the rest of the NFL. It's scary when it comes to projecting Week 7, but it also gives us some very interesting things to watch this week.
- How much of a bump do Edelman and Rob Gronkowski get from their usage over the past two games?
- Is Josh Gordon the No. 1 receiver on the Patriots?
- Is Winston going to spread the ball around too much for Mike Evans to be a No. 1 receiver?
- Has O.J. Howard surpassed Cameron Brate for good?
Start all your Bengals.
This should go without saying, but I want to make sure you really get it. The Chiefs have given up the fifth-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks. You should start Andy Dalton over Brees. They've given up the second-most points to tight ends. You should start C.J. Uzomah over Kyle Rudolph. They've only given up the 15th-most points to receivers, but Tyler Boyd is awesome and you should start him over Alshon Jeffery.
Again, start your Bengals.
This one is tougher because Manning is bad, but I'm not sure it matters in Atlanta. There have been three games played in Atlanta this year. The visiting team has scored 24, 43 and 37 points. They've topped 400 total yards in all three games. So yes, I'm giving Manning one last run as a streamer. I would start him over Watson, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford.
You're obviously starting Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley, but Sterling Shepard is going to be downgraded if Evan Engram plays. With Engram, treat Shepard like a low-end No. 3 receiver. Without Engram, Shepard is close to a must-start.
Who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 7? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 5 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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