The Cowboys' deflating blowout loss last week was a reminder of just how vital an offensive line is to Fantasy football production. For the first three quarters, the Cowboys couldn't get a thing done because their front five was decimated by injury. The Cardinals, even without their best pass rusher, were able to attack Andy Dalton relentlessly. The lesson? Even the non-elite defenses can pressure quarterbacks if they don't have good protection. If you've got a tough lineup decision between two quarterbacks, or even two receivers or tight ends, consider comparing their offensive lines as a tiebreaker.
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All lines from William Hill Sportsbook.
The line wants us to believe: The Titans are for real. This line opened with Pittsburgh as the favorite but fell once Maurkice Pouncey and Mike Hilton missed practice on Wednesday. Tack those absences on to Devin Bush out of the middle of the Steelers defense and suddenly there's optimism the Titans can compete. I'm worried about the Titans O-line playing well with Taylor Lewan on the shelf.
TEN Tennessee • #17
Age: 32 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Tannehill's hit 21 Fantasy points in 13 of his past 16 games, but this is going to be his toughest challenge to-date as a Titan. He's missing massive left tackle Taylor Lewan in a matchup against a Steelers defense that ranks third with 94 pass rush pressures, first in fastest time to pressure quarterbacks (2.27 seconds, per Pro Football Focus) and has picked off a passer at least once in every game this year. Four quarterbacks have achieved 20 Fantasy points against the Steelers, but none have gone further than 22 points. Even with all of the Titans' clever plays and wildly good efficiency, it's tough to count on Tannehill to have another huge game.
The line wants us to believe: That these are evenly matched teams. There can't be many people who think Washington is a good team. They know about Dallas' receivers and running back and they'll figure they're the better squad. It's a trap! Washington's pass rush will be the difference in this game, but the Football Team's running backs aren't exactly terrible.
WAS Washington • #24
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
I think Washington fancies Gibson as its best do-it-all running back, but McKissic is the preferred choice on edge runs, in the two-minute drill and hurry-up offense. That may explain why McKissic has either out-snapped or barely been out-snapped by Gibson over the past four weeks. Arizona gashed Dallas on edge runs last week with Kyler Murray, then broke its run defense in a blowout win with Kenyan Drake running between the tackles. One problem: It feels unlikely Washington will be good enough to play with a huge lead -- it's more likely it is a close game or playing from behind, both of which would favor McKissic. Gibson will either need a touchdown or multiple big plays to be really helpful in Fantasy, but this is the Cowboys 31st-ranked run defense we're talking about, so there's a chance it happens. Just don't overvalue Gibson (like I have the past few weeks).
The line wants us to believe: Buffalo's last two losses don't matter because the Jets are roadkill. It's a pretty believable statement. I'm kind of shocked it's ONLY 13 points. Buffalo's defense and run game need a get-right matchup. This is it.
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
A lead rusher has had either 120 total yards or at least 60 total yards and a score in every game against the Jets this season -- except for a Bills rusher in Week 1! After missing out on the Le'Veon Bell sweepstakes and struggling with the run the past two weeks, bank on the Bills trying some new wrinkles with their running backs. This week is the perfect environment for it -- the Jets unsurprisingly give up the seventh-most Fantasy points to rushers and just traded away starting defensive tackle Steve McLendon. Game script should also favor the Bills' running backs. Believe it or not, Singletary actually has a better rushing average in his past three games (2.9) than Moss has on the season (2.6).
The line wants us to believe: The 3-2 Saints are superior to the 3-3 Panthers. This is a steep number for the Saints — they haven't beaten anyone by seven or more since Week 1, and they won't have their top two receivers. Guess what? It's designed to be that way. With the defense rested and Drew Brees ready, they're about to land a blowout win.
NO New Orleans • #10
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
We've seen Smith have moments as a part-time player and even recently as a primary outside threat, but as the real-deal No. 1 guy? Sunday will be a first against a Panthers team that plays a ton of zone coverage. Against that kind of defense, Smith's been okay (11.7 yards per catch), but not as good as when he's against man coverage (14.8 yards per atch). Drew Brees doesn't have much of a choice given his limited receiving options with Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both out. It's probable Smith will see at least six targets and not crazy to think he could see as many as 10. That's enough to make him a decent flex, particularly in PPR.
Drew Brees QB
NO New Orleans • #9
Age: 41 • Experience: 20 yrs.
One of my criteria for starting a quarterback in 2020 is whether or not he can total at least three scores. If his talent, situation or matchup suggest he can, he's a start. Brees has one game with three scores (vs. Green Bay, Week 3). He's been a middling quarterback otherwise, rarely challenging downfield and focusing on shorter, high-percentage tosses. Losing Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders really hurts his upside, obviously. Carolina's defense doesn't have a lot of great talent but has found a way to limit all but one opposing quarterback to 16 or fewer Fantasy points. Brees should beat that, but don't expect more than 20 points.
The line wants us to believe: The Packers will struggle to bounce-back from last week. I'm buying the over — while its offense is great, Houston's defense is totally corrupted. Green Bay should absolutely play with a chip on its shoulder. I don't think the Texans are getting quite enough points at home, though. Aaron Jones should have a big game.
GB Green Bay • #85
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Last week was rough for Tonyan, but it was rough for every Packer. They had only three red-zone plays all game (one called back by a penalty). On the plus side, an 11% target share from Aaron Rodgers isn't ever a terrible thing, and there's plenty of reason to believe the tight end is actually Rodgers' second-best pass-catcher at this point. Houston's pass defense gave up over 100 yards and a touchdown to Anthony Firkser, along with double-digit Fantasy points to Eric Ebron back in Week 3. Houston's linebacking corps is a particular liability -- having Benardrick McKinney on the shelf doesn't help. Tonyan should have a good chance to find the end zone again this week.
HOU Houston • #13
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Since Bill O'Brien was fired, both Cooks and Fells have seen their numbers pop. Cooks is easy to start -- he's gone from a 16% target share in his first four games to a 29% target share in his past two. He's running sleek routes and not really challenging downfield, making him a reliable chain-mover.
Darren Fells TE
HOU Houston • #87
Age: 34 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Fells, meanwhile, has seen his snap rate explode to 86% since the coaching change. Not sharing playing time with Jordan Akins has also helped there, but Fells is moving well for a 6-foot-7, 270-pound tight end with a penchant for being a red-zone factor. The kicker is that he's running routes on effectively 80% of Deshaun Watson's dropbacks, which is a little higher than expected for a guy this big. Excitement for Fells might fade if Akins returns from a high-ankle sprain, though the Texans might prefer the bigger, stronger tight end with the better receiving average and touchdown production. Being in pass-friendly game scripts every week doesn't hurt, either.
The line wants us to believe: This will be a close, high-scoring game. Weren't the Browns a playoff darling two weeks ago? Now they're supposed to struggle against the Bengals?! Cincinnati's offense has been evolving. Its defense? Not so much. The fishy line is the total — no one should think about taking the over, which means you should. This could end up as a Fantasy bonanza with all the key players being decent.
David Njoku TE
CLE Cleveland • #85
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I can probably count on both hands the number of times Njoku has disappointed in Fantasy. I might even need two more hands. But Njoku has a primo matchup against a Bengals defense that allowed four total touchdowns to tight ends (three receiving) over the past two weeks. With Austin Hooper out, it makes sense for Njoku to get a bump in playing time over rookie Harrison Bryant. Hooper had seen 23 targets in his past three games -- Njoku should see somewhere around six. He's absolutely worth a spot start if you've been struggling at tight end.
CIN Cincinnati • #25
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Any running back with 15-plus touch potential deserves serious lineup consideration, and Bernard is no exception. But if you've seen the Bengals, there's a reason why their offense ranks ninth-worst in rush yards per game: the offensive line. Both Bernard and Joe Mixon average below 2.0 yards before contact per carry, tied for 28th among qualifying running backs. Bernard only has one run this year good for over 10 yards, and eight total over the past two seasons. It's going to take either a ton of touches or an end-zone trip for him to be really good. Cleveland ranks fourth in rush yards allowed per game. That's bad. But fortunately, the Browns have allowed a running back to score in every game this year ... except one. Week 2. Against the Bengals. He's cheap enough to trust in DFS and makes the cut as a No. 2 running back, but there's risk he won't overdeliver. That's OK, we've come to expect that from Mixon already, so the dropoff shouldn't be really steep.
A.J. Green WR
CIN Cincinnati • #18
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Perhaps something clicked last week. After becoming an afterthought in the Cincinnati offense, Green saw nine second-half targets to pull his Week 6 stat line to an eyebrow-raising 8-96-0. For context, before last week he was sitting at 14-119-0 over five games. Joe Burrow remarked this week that he and Green were "on the same page." Maybe I'm crazy, but having a savvy veteran receiver as a good short- and mid-range target is optimal for a rookie quarterback. Green's in-breaking routes were on point, but his deep speed seemed a little dicey. No one should be excited to start Green this week, but 15-point potential in PPR might be back in play.
The line wants us to believe: The Falcons are back! But they're only two points better than the Lions?! I gotta tell you, this feels like a suspect line for sure. But the way Julio Jones played last week makes me think this offense can hit four touchdowns like their implied team total suggests. I'm struggling to see the Lions post more than three scores for the second week in a row on the road. If it's a trap, I'm falling into it.
DET Detroit • #32
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
I'm cautiously starting Swift. He had his best game as a pro on a career-high 17 touches last week, but it was against Jacksonville and it came playing the exact same amount of snaps (38%) as his previous game. Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told the media this week the plan is to still start Adrian Peterson and then utilize Swift and Kerryon Johnson in specific roles, adjusting as the game rolls on. Blind as that may seem, the Lions coaches should still realize that Atlanta stinks against pass-catching running backs. Five of them have registered at least four receptions against the Falcons, and each has accumulated 10-plus non-PPR points with three finding a receiving score. Swift leads all Lions rushers with 20 targets including a minimum of four in four of five games. It's scary to assume anything when it comes to the Lions run game, but the hope is Swift's touch share among running backs, which jumped to 45% coming off the bye, is for real and not a one-week thing.
Hayden Hurst TE
ATL Atlanta • #81
Age: 27 • Experience: 3 yrs.
One play made Hurst's Week 6 stats shine, a fourth-down short crossing route that the Vikings completely blew coverage on, leading to an easy 35-yard score. Otherwise he continued as a short-area option for Matt Ryan. Usable Fantasy tight ends are hard to come by, and here's one who has scored and/or found over 50 yards in four of his past five. The Lions haven't allowed a score to a tight end in their past three games, but they've seen opposing tight ends collect just eight total targets against them. They haven't been tested since Weeks 1 and 2 when Jimmy Graham and Robert Tonyan scored on them in consecutive weeks, and their aggressive man coverage may actually benefit Hurst.
The line wants us to believe: Seattle isn't that much better that Arizona. Honestly, it's probably a fair line. The Seahawks don't blow anybody out all that often and the Cardinals should continue to be feisty coming off of last week's win. Should be a thrilling, high-scoring game. Hard to find anyone to sit in this one for Fantasy purposes, but if I'm picking a side, I'd rather trust Wilson than Murray.
ARI Arizona • #13
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
In his first three games, the 14 targets thrown Kirk's way traveled a total of 69 yards down the field before the catch. In his last two games, 10 targets thrown his way traveled a total of 96 yards. It's a little sign that he's helping the Cardinals offense become more vertical, which was clearly the case when he reeled in a Kyler Murray bomb against the Cowboys on Monday. Bank on his role continuing in what's anticipated to be the second-highest scoring game of the week (56 point over/under). It helps that Seattle's pass defense still ranks dead last by a 35-yard-per-game margin.
The line wants us to believe: The Chargers are capable of blowing out anyone. This is the Jaguars we're talking about, complete with a depleted defense and an offense that's been pretty inconsistent. The Chargers, rested off the bye, should play well enough to win. I expect the run game to help L.A. a lot, and the return of Melvin Ingram and Justin Jones on the D-line should create a couple of turnovers. Gardner Minshew has a bad ball rate of 21.5% over his past two games.
D.J. Chark WR
JAC Jacksonville • #17
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fourteen targets last week were nice, but turning them into only 45 yards is a cruel kind of magic trick. Gardner Minshew was off on a couple of throws and the timing was off on a couple of others. It's a little tough to believe Minshew will be on point against an L.A. pass rush that will get back Melvin Ingram to pair with Joey Bosa. Nonetheless, the hope is Chark keeps up the high target share he had last week (32%) and gets fed throws following some gripes this week about not getting the ball enough. The Chargers have given up at least 12 non-PPR/19 PPR points to 4 of 5 receivers with seven-plus targets this season. That's a reasonable total to expect for Chark.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #22
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
With 94 total yards, a 63% touch share among Chargers running backs and five receptions in the last game, it would be stunning if Jackson wasn't the lead back in a very juicy matchup against the Jaguars. Look, the Lions' running backs scored three times on the Jaguars last week. That should be enough to convince you that Jackson's a must-start, but in case it's not, the Jags rank fifth-worst both in Fantasy points allowed to running backs (24.0 per game) and rushing yards allowed (143.8 per game). Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen praised Jackson for not just his shiftiness but his power running at New Orleans, then said of teammate Joshua Kelley that he's "continuing to improve." The matchup will be even better if the Chargers offensive line has some of its starters back.
The line wants us to believe: The Pats loss last week was an aberration. The reality is that Bill Belichick's teams rarely lose two straight at home. Maybe that changes with Cam Newton under center, but I'd expect a resilient effort from the Pats. San Francisco might have too many injuries to deal with after an impressive win in the national spotlight last week.
SF San Francisco • #38
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
Something weird is going on. Earlier this week Kyle Shanahan claimed Jerick McKinnon was tired after replacing Raheem Mostert last week, and that's why he put JaMycal Hasty into the game. Really? McKinnon played 23 snaps, seven more than the previous game but 44 fewer than in his Week 4 start! Maybe Shanahan is covering for McKinnon being hurt? Or maybe McKinnon wasn't really having a good game, and Hasty did flash some good speed. Guess what? It's tough to expect any one 49ers running back to do well against the Patriots. They yielded over 100 yards to Phillip Lindsay last week, the first 100-yard rusher allowed since Week 15 of last season. Even with the 49ers run game typically good regardless of the opponent, there's a very real chance Hasty, McKinnon and Jeff Wilson (that's right there could be three of them) split the workload. McKinnon is the one to start in PPR if you had to choose one.
The line wants us to believe: This will be another Chiefs blowout. It's a tough sell given the Broncos' defensive exploits this season. Vic Fangio won't exactly roll over — if anything he'll zone blitz a little more often than other defenses might. The Broncos offense moved the ball pretty well against the Patriots last week. It's too many points, I think it'll be a close game.
Tim Patrick WR
DEN Denver • #81
Age: 27 • Experience: 3 yrs.
What can I say about Patrick that 101 yards against the Patriots pass defense doesn't already tell you? He's big, strong, fast, and clearly the No. 1 target in the Broncos offense. I love the way he makes contested catches. Rolling in hot with 14-plus PPR/10-plus non-PPR points in each of his past three games, he faces a Chiefs pass defense that gave up multiple scores to receivers in Weeks 5 and 6. He'd most definitely have better numbers if Drew Lock were more accurate, but at least Lock isn't afraid to chuck it deep to Patrick a few times per game in hopes of his receiver winning 50-50 balls.
The line wants us to believe: The Raiders' big win over the Chiefs shouldn't be forgotten. If Las Vegas is missing pieces of its starting O-line and it's defensive secondary, this game might not be close and 3.5 points isn't enough. Six might not be enough. Expect the Buccaneers defense and run game to be a big part of their victory plan.
Tom Brady QB
TB Tampa Bay • #12
Age: 43 • Experience: 21 year
I think Brady can be good, but I'm not sure if he can be great. I'm also not sure if he'll need to be great in order for the Bucs to win. His receivers aren't at 100% and he's handing off to one of the league's hottest running backs in Ronald Jones. Considering that the Raiders run defense is tied for eighth in yards per carry allowed (4.8) and tied for first in rushing touchdowns allowed (10), it wouldn't be surprising in the least to see the Bucs try to hammer the Raiders with the run. If Las Vegas can respond against the Bucs defense, then this could be a shoot-out and Brady could score three times. If Las Vegas can't, then Brady may end up with a stat line similar to what we've seen in Weeks 5 and 6, not 3 and 4.
The line wants us to believe: The Rams are the better team, even after a loss. No one is giving the Bears any respect, but the truth is their defense has played better than expected. Los Angeles' offense hasn't consistently clicked, and Jared Goff is always suspect against teams with strong pass rushes. The Rams may win, but not by seven or more.
LAR L.A. Rams • #27
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
At this point it's pretty clear that Henderson is the Rams' best running back. He's more explosive than Malcolm Brown, more experienced than Cam Akers, and he's trusted near the goal line (he had a touchdown nullified by a penalty last week and would have scored from a yard out on another drive if his tight ends blocked better). He's led Rams runners in snaps for consecutive weeks and notched his fourth game this year with at least 50% of the running back touches (and second with more than 70%). The Bears have allowed 100 rush yards and/or a touchdown to a running back in all but one game this season. It's a good defensive front, but not one that should be feared to shut down a run game on the road for the second week in a row.
The line wants us to believe: The Eagles should eke out a close win. Public perception is that the Giants stink, but they've actually played in three straight competitive games. It feels like a trick line — I can't imagine many people are putting their dough on Daniel Jones, but the Eagles are getting healthier at receiver and in the secondary and hopefully right tackle Lane Johnson makes a difference. The Eagles haven't won a game by a lot yet this year -- this might be the week.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #31
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Freeman clearly has the Giants' coaches confidence, landing a season-high 73% of the snaps and 19 of 20 of all touches to running backs last week. He'll need those touches to compile stats because his offensive line is horrid. The Eagles may rank 21st in run defense, but they have held running backs to 3.2 yards per carry on the season, second-best in the league. They've also allowed a score to a rusher in all but one game this season (Cincy), and that's probably what Freeman will need to find 10-plus Fantasy points. It's that plus the expected workload of 15 touches that might keep Freeman as a low-end No. 2 running back in non-PPR, but more of a flex in PPR.
Evan Engram TE
NYG N.Y. Giants • #88
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
It's really hard to reliably start Engram. Sure, the matchup is terrific -- the Eagles have allowed at least one score to a tight end in 4 of 6 games, but with five total targets, Engram hasn't been featured as a big-time tight end over the past two weeks. I don't know what's worse -- that defenses aren't double-teaming him, or that he's getting open but isn't getting the ball because Daniel Jones is constantly under siege (and not always accurate when he's not). Think any of that'll change against an Eagles defense ranked third in total pressures? It's a risk to start Engram, even though the numbers say Philly has given up the fourth-most Fantasy points to tight ends.
Boston Scott RB
PHI Philadelphia • #35
Age: 25 • Experience: 2 yrs.
When Miles Sanders was out back in Week 1, Scott led the Eagles run game with a 56% snap rate and a 55% touch share (11 touches) in what wound up being an embarrassing loss to lowly Washington. We can wish for more, but it feels likely he'll stick around that range this week. His two best games have come against the Giants, posting 17-plus non-PPR points each time. They happen to be his only career games with 10-plus carries. Excellent history is cool, but the Giants run defense actually has the fifth-highest grade from Pro Football Focus this season and has the front seven to penetrate and corral the Eagles' run game. Scott should only be used if you've got running back issues because of byes and injuries.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 7 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big-time last season.