Fantasy Football Week 7 Sleepers: Trying to fill the Patrick Mahomes gap plus lineup and DFS options

The initial report on Patrick Mahomes is that he's going to miss at least three weeks with the right knee injury he suffered Thursday night in Denver, according to the NFL Network. With that in mind, Fantasy managers with Mahomes should start planning for a replacement option.

If there was a semblance of a silver lining to this injury, it's that it happened Thursday night, so you have a chance to beat the waiver wire prior to Week 8. You can now find someone on your roster who is expendable and stash a quarterback -- if you don't have a capable backup already.

For our waiver wire recommendations, we always look at players owned in 65 percent of leagues or less on CBS Sports, and here are the quarterbacks with the best matchups for Week 8: Sam Darnold at JAC (46 percent ownership), Gardner Minshew vs. NYJ (60 percent), Teddy Bridgewater vs. ARI (27 percent), Mason Rudolph vs. MIA (22 percent) and Ryan Tannehill vs. TB (8 percent).

Now, there are other quarterbacks who could be on your waiver wire that have great matchups as well, including Matthew Stafford vs. NYG (77 percent) and Kirk Cousins vs. WAS (74 percent), and they would be at the top of my list. But let's focus on the guys who are more likely available in most leagues.

Darnold has the chance to help you in Week 8 and beyond. He faces a Jaguars defense in Week 8 that has only allowed two quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points, but they just traded standout quarterback Jalen Ramsey to the Rams.

Darnold scored 23 Fantasy points in Week 6 against Dallas in his first game since Week 1 because of mono. He has a tough matchup in Week 7 against New England, but he has long-term appeal beyond Week 8. 

After playing the Jaguars, he gets Miami in Week 9, the Giants in Week 10, Washington in Week 11, Oakland in Week 12, Cincinnati in Week 13 and Miami again in Week 14. That's a dream schedule, and Darnold could definitely keep your Fantasy team afloat for a playoff run if you don't have Mahomes.

Minshew should have the chance to play well in Week 7 at Cincinnati, and he's scored at least 20 Fantasy points in four of six games this season. He would be facing a Jets defense in Week 8 that allows an average of 17.0 Fantasy points a game to opposing quarterbacks, pending their matchup with Tom Brady this week.

Minshew doesn't have the long-term appeal of Darnold since he plays Houston in Week 9 before a bye in Week 10. By then, Nick Foles (collarbone) could be back, and Minshew might be on the bench by Week 11.

Bridgewater is in a similar situation since he might not be starting much longer for the Saints with Drew Brees (thumb) pushing for an early return. But I expect Bridgewater to start in Week 8 against Arizona, and the Cardinals allow the third-most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks prior to Week 7.

Bridgewater plays at Chicago in Week 7, and he's scored at least 20 Fantasy points in two of four starts in place of Brees. If Bridgewater does remain the starter as expected against Arizona, he would be among my favorite streaming options to replace Mahomes as a one-week flier.

It seems like Rudolph will be the starter for the Steelers in Week 8 against Miami after Pittsburgh's bye. Rudolph suffered a concussion in Week 5 against Baltimore and was out in Week 6 against the Chargers.

A matchup against the Dolphins has been great for all quarterbacks heading into Week 7 since they allow the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Rudolph is a great streamer in Week 8, but then he faces Indianapolis in Week 9 and the Rams in Week 10.

As for Tannehill, we'll see how he does in his first start in place of Marcus Mariota in Week 7 against the Chargers. Assuming he keeps the job in Week 8, he would have a favorable matchup against Tampa Bay since the Buccaneers have allowed four quarterbacks in a row to score at least 21 Fantasy points.

Tannehill would then face Carolina in Week 9 and Kansas City in Week 10, but I would only look at Tannehill as a one-week replacement with his matchup in Week 8 against the Buccaneers.

Clearly, the hope is Mahomes is back sooner rather than later, but you should prepare now while you can. And here are some quarterbacks you can find now on the waiver wire who should be able to help you in Week 8 and potentially beyond.

Now, let's take a look at the sleepers for Week 7, as well as some DFS lineup suggestions on DraftKings and FanDuel.

Week 7 Sleepers
Week 7 Preview
Sleepers
Quarterbacks
JAC Jacksonville • #15
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CIN JAC -4 O/U 44
OPP VS QB
23rd
QB RNK
14th
OWNED
69%
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1412
RUYDS
16
TD
8
INT
4
FPTS/G
17.6
Minshew had his worst game of the season in Week 6 against New Orleans with four Fantasy points, but he should bounce back this week against the Bengals. Four of the past five quarterbacks against Cincinnati have scored at least 21 Fantasy points, and Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) is out for this game.
IND Indianapolis • #7
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs HOU IND -1 O/U 47
OPP VS QB
15th
QB RNK
19th
OWNED
59%
YTD Stats
PAYDS
674
RUYDS
3
TD
5
INT
0
FPTS/G
16
Brissett had his worst Fantasy performance in Week 5 at Kansas City in the Colts last outing before their bye. Prior to that, he had scored at least 21 Fantasy points in three games in a row. The Texans have allowed at least 22 Fantasy points to three of the past four opposing quarterbacks, and it would be great for Brissett if this game turns into a shootout.
SF San Francisco • #10
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS SF -9.5 O/U 40.5
OPP VS QB
18th
QB RNK
15th
OWNED
83%
YTD Stats
PAYDS
920
RUYDS
6
TD
7
INT
4
FPTS/G
17.3
Garoppolo hasn't exactly been a great Fantasy quarterback this season, and he only has one game with more than 20 points, which was Week 2 against the Bengals. But this should be a good outing for him against the Redskins, who have allowed four of six quarterbacks to score at least 25 Fantasy points. I'm willing to roll the dice on Garoppolo as a streamer this week.
Running backs
GB Green Bay • #30
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs OAK GB -5 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
15th
RB RNK
13th
OWNED
78%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
310
REC
5
REYDS
8
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.2
Aaron Jones should be considered a must-start running back for Week 7 against the Raiders, but Williams also has the chance to be at least a flex option this week. In the past two full games he played against Denver in Week 2 and Detroit in Week 6, Williams has at least 14 total touches in each game. He has two games in his past three full outings with at least 12 PPR points, and he could be heavily involved in the passing game with Davante Adams (toe), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle/knee) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) hurt. Against the Lions, Williams had four catches for 32 yards and a touchdown on five targets, while Jones also had four catches for 13 yards on seven targets. Williams could be great in this matchup against Oakland, especially if given a prominent role.
LAR L.A. Rams • #27
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
OPP VS RB
12th
RB RNK
32nd
OWNED
83%
RUYDS
127
REC
6
REYDS
43
TD
1
FPTS/G
5
You'll want to keep an eye on the injury report for the Rams with Todd Gurley (quad) and Malcolm Brown (ankle) both banged up. If both are out and Henderson starts then consider him a must-start Fantasy option in all leagues against the Falcons, who have allowed five running backs to either score or gain 100 total yards in the past four games.
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DAL DAL -2.5 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
28th
RB RNK
30th
OWNED
61%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
93
REC
11
REYDS
87
TD
1
FPTS/G
6.4
Sanders has picked up his production in the passing game of late with seven catches for 135 yards and a touchdown on eight targets, and he's benefitting with Darren Sproles (quad) out. The Cowboys are third in receptions allowed to running backs this year with 41 catches to the position, so Sanders is worth starting as a PPR flex this week.
ARI Arizona • #29
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYG NYG -3 O/U 50.5
OPP VS RB
21st
RB RNK
39th
OWNED
22%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
114
REC
1
REYDS
10
TD
2
FPTS/G
4.6
The Cardinals might have found something they like with Edmonds as a complementary option to David Johnson, and Edmonds has 13 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown, along with five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on six targets in his past two games. His role in the passing game could be vital since the Giants have allowed at least five receptions to running backs in each of the past four games.
NO New Orleans • #28
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Alvin Kamara (ankle) is hurt, which could put Murray in a prominent role. If Kamara is out then Murray would be a must-start running back in all leagues. And while the matchup is tough against the Bears, they just lost a key member of their defensive line with Akiem Hicks (elbow) going to injured reserve. If Kamara plays, Murray is just a low-end flex option, but Murray could be solid in all formats if he gets the chance to start in Week 7.
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Singletary is back this week after being out for the past three games with a hamstring injury. And he should return to his role as a complementary option to Frank Gore, with about 10-12 total touches. Singletary should have the chance to do damage in that role since he scored at least 11 PPR points in the two games he played, and the Dolphins allow the most Fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
Wide receivers
GB Green Bay • #13
Age: 23 • Experience: 1 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs OAK GB -5 O/U 47
OPP VS WR
18th
WR RNK
35th
OWNED
91%
YTD Stats
REC
29
TAR
36
REYDS
281
TD
1
FPTS/G
12.2
Lazard could have an increased role for the Packers in Week 7 against Oakland if Adams, Valdes-Scantling and Allison are out. In Week 6 against Detroit, Lazard stepped up down the stretch with four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown on five targets. We'll see if any of the Packers' top receivers are healthy, but Lazard could be needed against the Raiders as a valuable asset for Aaron Rodgers. It also helps that Oakland allows the fifth-most Fantasy points to opposing receivers this year.
BUF Buffalo • #10
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
OPP VS WR
12th
WR RNK
35th
OWNED
39%
REC
27
TAR
39
REYDS
267
TD
0
FPTS/G
10.8
Beasley is averaging 10.8 PPR points per game for the season, but he has three games with at least 12 PPR points on the year. This week, he's facing a Dolphins defense that allows the sixth-most Fantasy points to opposing receivers, and Miami has allowed nine touchdowns to receivers this year. Dolphins standout cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) missed last week's game against Washington, which would be good news for all of Buffalo's receivers, especially John Brown and Beasley. I like Beasley as a No. 3 PPR receiver this week.
CIN Cincinnati • #19
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs JAC JAC -4 O/U 44
OPP VS WR
20th
WR RNK
NR
OWNED
19%
YTD Stats
REC
14
TAR
26
REYDS
131
TD
0
FPTS/G
5.4
Tate just had his best game of the season in Week 6 at Baltimore with five catches for 91 yards on 12 targets. He has now scored at least 11 PPR points in three of his past four games, and it doesn't appear like A.J. Green (ankle) will return in Week 7 against Jacksonville. I plan on using Tate as a high-end No. 3 receiver in all leagues against the Jaguars, who no longer have Ramsey on their roster.
NE New England • #13
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYJ NE -9.5 O/U 44
OPP VS WR
31st
WR RNK
43rd
OWNED
11%
YTD Stats
REC
14
TAR
24
REYDS
170
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.3
We're waiting to find out if Dorsett will play this week against the Jets, but it looks likely he'll be out there. And with Josh Gordon (knee) banged up, the Patriots could lean on Dorsett, who had at least 18 PPR points in two of his first three games. One of those games was in Week 3 against the Jets, when Dorsett had six catches for 53 yards and a touchdown on seven targets, so hopefully the hamstring injury that sidelined him in Week 6 isn't a problem.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #86
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Slayton saw a season-high eight targets in Week 6 at New England in the first game without Sterling Shepard (concussion), and he's scored at least 11 PPR points in two of his past four outings. With Shepard likely out again in Week 7 against the Cardinals, Slayton should have the chance for a big role in a prime matchup. He's worth using as a potential No. 3 receiver, and the Cardinals have allowed five touchdowns to receivers in the past four games. Now, Patrick Peterson is back from his six-game suspension, but I expect him to focus more on Golden Tate and not Slayton, allowing him the chance for a quality outing.
TEN Tennessee • #10
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Humphries should benefit with Tannehill starting for Mariota given Tannehill's track record of leaning on his slot receivers. With Corey Davis and A.J. Brown not being dominant outside options, Tannehill could use Humphries as a valuable weapon in the middle of the field. He just matched his season high in catches in Week 6 at Denver with six, and that could be something to build on, especially against the Chargers. Humphries is worth using in three-receiver PPR leagues this week.
SF San Francisco • #18
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS SF -10 O/U 40
OPP VS WR
28th
WR RNK
45th
OWNED
25%
YTD Stats
REC
9
TAR
15
REYDS
83
TD
1
FPTS/G
4.4
Pettis is starting to see his playing time rise, and he just had a season-high six targets in Week 6 at the Rams. With Deebo Samuel (groin) hurt, his targets could be up even more, and Pettis has a great matchup in Week 7 at Washington. The Redskins allow the seventh-most Fantasy points to opposing receivers, so Pettis is worth using in all three-receiver leagues this week.
Tight ends
HOU Houston • #87
Age: 33 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ IND IND -1 O/U 47
OPP VS TE
30th
TE RNK
16th
OWNED
28%
YTD Stats
REC
18
TAR
26
REYDS
223
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.8
The Texans want to get their tight ends more involved, and it's shown over the past two weeks, especially for Fells. He has nine targets in his past two games for eight catches, 89 yards and two touchdowns. He has a good matchup in Week 7 against the Colts, who have allowed at least 11 PPR points to Austin Hooper, Foster Moreau, Darren Waller and Travis Kelce in their past three games. Fells is a great streaming option for Week 7.
BUF Buffalo • #88
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIA BUF -17 O/U 41
OPP VS TE
15th
TE RNK
21st
OWNED
6%
YTD Stats
REC
13
TAR
16
REYDS
122
TD
2
FPTS/G
9
Knox had a bad game in Week 5 at Tennessee with three PPR points, but he averaged 11.5 PPR points in his previous two outings and has been averaging four targets per game in his past four games. His matchup in Week 7 against Miami is favorable just because the Dolphins are bad, but they have only allowed one touchdown to a tight end this season. Still, I'd use Knox as a streamer for Week 7 just because of his matchup with Miami.
LAR L.A. Rams • #81
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL LAR -3 O/U 54.5
OPP VS TE
26th
TE RNK
17th
OWNED
41%
YTD Stats
REC
12
TAR
15
REYDS
60
TD
0
FPTS/G
3
All the Rams had a bad game in Week 6 against San Francisco, so you can disregard Everett's poor stat line with two catches for 9 yards on five targets. He was actually second on the team in targets behind Cooper Kupp, so he should still continue to be involved in the offense, and this is a good matchup against the Falcons, who have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends in the past two games.
Week 4 Preview
DFS LINEUPS

DraftKings

QB - Matt Ryan ($6,300) vs. LAR
RB - Dalvin Cook ($8,000) at DET
RB - Leonard Fournette ($7,000) at CIN
WR - Auden Tate ($4,500) vs. JAC
WR - Adam Humphries ($3,400) vs. LAC
WR - Allen Lazard ($3,000) vs. OAK
TE - Austin Hooper ($5,300) vs. LAR
FLEX - David Johnson ($7,800) at NYG
DST - Bills ($4,300) vs. MIA

There are a lot of cheap receivers you can use on DraftKings this week under $5,000 who I expect to be productive. The three I went with here are Tate, Humphries and Lazard, but I also like D.K. Metcalf ($4,800), Cole Beasley ($4,700), Mohamed Sanu ($4,600), Dante Pettis ($4,100), Darrius Slayton ($4,100), Duke Williams ($4,100) and Zay Jones ($3,100).

It's risky to use three of these guys in one lineup, but this allows you to play a top-tier quarterback like Ryan and three stud running backs in Cook, Fournette and Johnson. I stacked Ryan with Hooper, and I was able to afford the No. 1 DST with the Bills.

If any of those receivers hit, and the stud players perform as expected, then I should be in great shape.

FanDuel

QB - Jared Goff ($7,800) at ATL
RB - Dalvin Cook ($8,300) at DET
RB - Latavius Murray ($5,300) at CHI
WR - Cooper Kupp ($7,800) at ATL
WR - T.Y. Hilton ($7,600) vs. HOU
WR - Will Fuller ($6,300) at IND
TE - Evan Engram ($6,800) vs. ARI
FLEX - Allen Lazard ($4,500) vs. OAK
DST - Bills ($5,500) vs. MIA

The two cheaper options I went with here are Lazard and Murray, who I expect to start for the Saints with Alvin Kamara (ankle) likely out. I don't love the matchup for Murray at Chicago, but his role in the passing game should help his total yards, with Kamara catching at least six passes in three of the past four games.

I'm stacking Goff with Kupp, and I expect the Rams to have a big bounce-back game at Atlanta this week. Hilton has dominated the Texans in his career, and he has three touchdowns and four games with at least 100 receiving yards in his past five meetings with Houston.

Fuller dropped three potential touchdowns last week at Kansas City, but he has 25 targets in his past two games and should remain heavily involved at the Colts. And Engram faces a Cardinals defense that allows the most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends, making him almost a must play where possible.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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