By Cole Banker and Chris Blake
As we turn the page to week 7, here is our list of players to be confident in and be skeptical of. To clarify, when we say we “love” a player, we mean that we expect him to outperform his projections for that week, and the opposite for players we “hate.” We are using PPR scoring when we refer to players’ rankings. Enjoy.
Quarterbacks we love this week
Cole: Josh Allen (BUF) vs. Miami
Allen on the love list has much more to do with Miami’s sieve of a defense than his arm. The Dolphins are giving opponent quarterbacks a league worst 24.8 fantasy points a game, and Allen’s dual-threat ability should allow him plenty of opportunities, even if the Bills start to run away with this one. It’s also worth noting that Allen has been quietly solid to start the year, finishing with no less than 16 points in games in which he played all four quarters, and it’s safe to expect a big afternoon from Allen off the bye week.
Chris: Jared Goff (LAR) @ Atlanta
Goff was brutal last week, but I`ll make excuses for him. The San Francisco defense is good. No, really good. The 49ers have given up the least passing yards on a per game basis this year. Furthermore, San Francisco has only allowed 12.8 points per game, second only to New England. Things change in week 7 however, as Goff and the Rams face one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Atlanta is giving up the sixth most passing yards per game, including 340 yards through the air last week against Arizona. Additionally, the only team allowing more points per game this season is the tanking Miami Dolphins. Goff should also get a trusted weapon back this week in Todd Gurley II, who, even though he is not producing at levels anywhere near last year, is still a consistent offensive threat.
Quarterbacks we hate this week
Cole: Carson Wentz (PHI) @ Dallas
Wentz has improved in consistency from 2018 but still lacks the ability to have a big breakout game. Averaging a modest 19.1 points per game, Wentz has been a reliable option but has yet to play a defense like Dallas, who is holding opposing quarterbacks to just 13 points a game. Philadelphia has shown a strong will to establish the run game by feeding Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard early and often, and with the primary deep threat DeSean Jackson out again, Wentz will have one less downfield weapon to work with Sunday night.
Chris: Philip Rivers (LAC) @ Tennessee
Rivers, along with the Chargers, has been underwhelming this year. The North Carolina State product has seen a dip in his numbers, throwing for just nine touchdowns and turning the ball over eight times through six games this season. The Chargers` signal caller has been inconsistent, scoring under 15 fantasy points three times this year, and producing over 19 points an equal number of times. I think this week will fall into the first category, as the Titans have allowed just 217.3 passing yards per game and 15.3 points per game. In a cross-country road matchup, I expect the Chargers` offense to continue to struggle this week.
Running backs we love this week
Cole: Josh Jacobs (OAK) vs. Green Bay
Jacobs finally had the breakout game we’d been waiting for last week against a stout Chicago Bears’ defense, a game in which he logged 26 carries for 123 yards and two scores. It looks like Jacobs is starting to get the volume he needs to be an impactful runner, which is great news for fantasy owners. The Packers, although possessing a stingy secondary, are very vulnerable to the running game, so expect John Gruden to lean heavily on Jacobs to try to expose the weak link in the defense.
Chris: Tevin Coleman (SF) @ Washington
Forbes has San Francisco as 9.5 point road favorites in this game, forecasting a lopsided victory for the 49ers, and a heavy workload for Tevin Coleman. Coleman has been solid since returning from injury, as he has reclaimed the starting running back job from Matt Breida. Kyle Shanahan has long been praised for his schemes to open up easy lanes for his running backs, and it has shown this season: the 49ers have rushed for the second most yards per game in 2019, trailing only Baltimore. Additionally, Washington`s defense has been dreadful in every aspect of the game this year. With Coleman healthy and back to getting consistent touches, including seven red zone looks last week, expect him to shine on Sunday.
Running backs we hate this week
Cole: Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray (NO) @ Chicago
It’s looking more and more likely that Alvin Kamara will not suit up for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field, so Kamara owners may be forced to go with Latavius Murray. Unless you are forced to, be advised to stay away from Murray this week. It is yet to be known how he will handle being the team’s primary back, and without the passing threat of Drew Brees, Kamara has been limited to 16 points or less in all but one game since the injury. The Bears rank in the middle of the pack in defending the run, a considerable step down from last year, but expect them to be ready for the Saints’ rushing attack on Sunday.
Chris: Le`Veon Bell (NYJ) vs. New England
While Sam Darnold`s return to the offense should boost Bell`s fantasy numbers for the rest of the season, the familiar opponent the Jets face on Monday night will likely put that off for another week. Bell will have to try and overcome Bill Belichick and the Patriots in prime-time. New England is known for taking away the opposing team`s top offensive weapon, and who better to target than one of the top running backs in the league. Listen, I`m not saying sit Le`Veon Bell, you have to start him every week that he is healthy, but temper your expectations for this week. Bell`s rushing yards per game and rushing yards per attempt against New England are below his career averages. Additionally, he has only one total touchdown against the Patriots in four career games.
Wide receivers we love this week
Cole: Michael Gallup (DAL) vs. Philadelphia
Gallup has been an integral part of the Cowboys’ receiving core when active, even more so when paired up with Amari Cooper, who returns from injury this week. Cooper attracts much more attention from the defense and should open it more free looks for Gallup. Philadelphia is coming into week 7 with the worst passing defense in the league, yielding a league-leading 46 points per game to opposing wide receivers and leaving plenty to go around in the Dallas receiving core. Dallas is sure to take to the air early and often against such an exploitable secondary, so expect a big day from every pass-catcher in a Cowboys uniform.
Chris: Calvin Ridley (ATL) vs. Los Angeles Rams
After shipping off Marcus Peters to Baltimore and placing Aquib Talib on injured reserve, the Rams suddenly find themselves thin at cornerback. The addition of Jalen Ramsey cannot be overlooked, but it may in fact help Ridley this week. If Ramsey plays, he will likely shadow Julio Jones, leaving Ridley to see plenty of targets from Matt Ryan. Ridley has had a solid sophomore campaign – on pace for 66 catches and 10 touchdowns – and has carved out a nice role in an Atlanta offense that has hardly been the cause for their disappointing record. In addition, Forbes has this matchup as the highest point total of the week, so expect plenty of opportunities in the passing game for Ridley.
Wide receivers we hate this week
Cole: Allen Robinson (CHI) vs. New Orleans
Robinson has seen his fair share of looks from Trubisky in his progression to becoming Chicago’s no. 1 wide receiver, and he finally cashed in on them two weeks ago in a two touchdown effort against the Raiders. He’ll have a much tougher test this week, however, against a Marhson Lattimore-led Saints’ secondary that ranks in the top 10 once again in passing defense. You never know what you’re going to get from Trubisky either, who will be in his first game back from an ugly shoulder injury. Expect a significant step back in what should be a run-heavy, low scoring game with an over/under of a week-low 38.5 total points.
Chris: Terry McLaurin (WSH) vs. San Francisco
McLaurin has been exceptional this season, however, he is not matchup-proof in just his rookie season in the NFL. As noted earlier, San Francisco currently flexes the best pass defense on a yards per game basis in the NFL, and is allowing just 12.8 points per game. On the other side of the coin, Washington`s offense is nowhere near elite. Additionally, Washington`s interim head coach, Bill Callahan, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of running the football, likely limiting McLaurin`s targets for the foreseeable future. Still without the services of Trent Williams, Washington`s offensive line will be overrun by the 49ers front seven, further limiting any hope for offensive production from Washington in this contest.
Tight ends we love this week
Cole: Hunter Henry (LAC) @ Tennessee
Many forgot about Hunter Henry after a week 1 injury that left him on the sideline for the next five weeks. However, Henry burst back onto the fantasy scene last Sunday night with a position-leading 30 points in a losing effort to Pittsburgh. When in the lineup, Henry has shown that he is a top option in the usually-effective Chargers’ offense. Tennessee ranks in the middle of the pack in defending tight ends, so there leaves an opportunity for Henry to build off of his big night a week ago.
Chris: Jimmy Graham (GB) vs. Oakland
The 32-year-old tight end has found himself a solid role in the Packers offense this season. Graham is tied for the second most red zone looks behind only Aaron Jones on the Packers. Furthermore, Graham has seen 17 targets in the past three weeks combined. The Raiders, who have allowed the sixth-most points to opposing fantasy tight ends this season, present a favorable matchup for Graham this Sunday. Graham has a chance to put up top eight numbers this week at the tight end position.
Tight ends we hate this week
Cole: Eric Ebron (IND) vs. Houston
Ebron has been a major letdown after a big 2018, entering week 7 ranked 23rd in tight ends and with catch rate of just 45%. He is essentially a touchdown-dependant option, and he only has two of those so far. Houston has been impressive in stopping opposing tight ends, allowing just seven points a game, so don’t expect much from Ebron or his partner Jack Doyle in Sunday’s matchup in Indy.
Chris: Jared Cook (NO) @ Chicago
Cook has produced in recent weeks for fantasy owners with touchdowns in each of New Orleans` past two games, however, that trend likely ends this week against Chicago. While their offense has struggled, the Bears boast another elite defense in 2019. Teddy Bridgewater and Co. will have their work cut out for them, as Chicago is allowing just 13.8 points per game this year. While it is still a small sample size, Bridgewater`s quarterback rating is a full 14 points lower on the road this year. I think this is a low scoring game, as both offenses struggle to move the ball, relying mostly on field goals to put up points. This is an issue for Cook, considering his recent production has been largely touchdown dependent: he has not gathered more than 41 receiving yards in a single game this season.
Defenses to stream
Cole: Jacksonville Jaguars (@ CIN)
Chris: Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA)
Defenses to avoid
Cole: LA Rams (@ Atlanta)
Chris: Seattle Seahawks (vs. BAL)
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org