START EM / SIT EM: WEEK 7

START

QUARTERBACK

BAKER MAYFIELD, QB CLEVELAND BROWNS @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
17.5 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

It’s Week 7 and its pretty evident that the Bucs defense is one of the worst in the NFL. How bad?

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE 2018

  • 28.4 Fantasy Points per Game to Opposing QBs (1st)
  • 1,834 Pass Yards allowed (2nd), 16 TDs Allowed (1st)
  • 32.7 Fantasy Points per Game to Opposing Wide Receivers (2nd)
  • Ranked 29th against Tight Ends
  • Ranked 30th against Receiving Running Backs

Cleveland has 3 receivers (Landry, Callaway, Njoku) who are in the Top 15 in drops in the NFL.  Baker Mayfield continues to push the ball downfield with an ADOT of 10.2, which is the 2nd highest in the league.  His 3 skill positions are killing his coming out party by consistently dropping passes, but this should be the game where everyone gets on track. Look for all Browns skill positions to have a huge day.  This also may be the week where Nick Chubb gets some extended runs and may be a sleeper flex play.

ELI MANNING, QB NEW YORK GIANTS VS Atlanta Falcons
20.3 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

The Falcons are allowing 25.6 Fantasy Points per Game to opposing QBs this season.  They are currently ranked 21st against #1 Wide Receivers (Odell Beckham), 27th against slot receivers (Sterling Sheppard) and 26th against pass catching running backs (Saquon Barkley).  I have a hard time trusting Eli in favorable matchups due to his track record of not attacking weak secondaries, but he could be fired up after all the criticism from last week.  He is a great streaming option this week.

JOE FLACCO, QB BALTIMORE RAVENS vs. New Orleans Saints
20.3 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

The same I said above for Eli rings true for Joe Flacco; he is hard to trust even against soft defenses.  But the Ravens continue to throw the ball a ton and are 2nd in pass attempts only behind Andrew Luck and the Colts.  John Brown is 3rd in the NFL in Air Yards with 924 total air yards and Flacco’s Average Depth of Target (ADOT) is 9.3, which is the 11th highest mark in the league.

The Saints are allowing 25.1 Fantasy Points per Game to opposing QBs, which is the 3rd highest in the NFL.  Michael Crabtree is seeing heavy target volume with 55 targets, which is the 9th most among WRs and a 21% team target share.  Crabtree’s 54% catch rate is killing his value, but he may be developing a rapport with Flacco.  The Saints defense ranks dead last against #1 Wide Receivers and #2 Wide Receivers.  They are also ranked 29th in the league against pass catching running backs, so Buck Allen could be in play as a flex this week.

ANDY DALTON, QB CINCINNATI BENGALS @ Kansas City Chiefs
20.7 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Andy Dalton marches into Arrowhead Stadium for a dream matchup and potential shootout in Kansas City this weekend.  The Chiefs defense is allowing 23.4 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, which is the 5th worst in the league.  The Chiefs are currently ranked 24th against slot receivers (Tyler Boyd), 27th against Tight Ends (CJ Uzomah) and 28th against pass catching running backs (Joe Mixon).

Kendall Fuller has allowed a 121.6 QB Rating to opposing slot receivers, which is the 8th highest in the NFL.  He will line up across from Tyler Boyd, so look for a big week for Dalton and Tyler Boyd.

RUNNING BACK

JOE MIXON, RB CINCINNATI BENGALS @ Kansas City Chiefs
17.2 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Joe Mixon could be in for a massive workload and elite production this week in Arrowhead. The Kansas City Chiefs defense is allowing 29.0 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, which is 2nd in the NFL.  They are also allowing a league high 510 receiving yards to opposing running backs and currently rank 28th against pass catching running backs.  Mixon has run 80 receiving routes in only 4 games, which ranks 15th among RBs in that time frame.  He is a dual threat that is prone for a breakout this week.

KENYAN DRAKE, RB MIAMI DOLPHINS vs. Detroit Lions
6.9 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Kenyan Drake will be out for redemption this week after seeing Frank Gore run for 101 yards on 15 carries and then fumbling at the goal-line in overtime.  Drake was visibly upset and you have to think the coaching staff feels for him.

Frank Gore is an innings eater, whose sole purpose is to keep the bullpen fresh (Drake) for the rest of the season.  Drake is still outsnapping Gore 62% to 39% and his touches are increasing each week.  He has been targeted 15 times in his last 2 games, which is 2nd among RBs in that span.  He has also run 115 receiving routes this season, which is Top 20 among RBs.

The Detroit Lions defense is allowing 25.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, which is 3rd in the NFL.  This could be the game for Drake.

KERRYON JOHNSON, RB DETROIT LIONS @ Miami Dolphins
11.5 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Usage is the only factor holding Kerryon Johnson back from becoming a must start.  While his snap counts have increased every week this season, he still shares a 40% snap rate with Theo Riddick. The Miami Dolphins are allowing 24.0 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, which is 6th in the NFL.  The Lions are a pass first team, but haven’t had a bell cow running back in some time.  Johnson may be their guy.  Let’s hope they give him some run.

PEYTON BARBER, RB TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS vs Cleveland Browns
7.6 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Peyton Barber continues to get good volume, but continues to do very little with it: 69 total touches and 39 fantasy points.  He ranks 35th in Points per Opportunity and continues to be ineffective in the run and pass game.  I don’t think Ronald Jones will be a thing just yet, but Barber could be in for a decent afternoon at home this Sunday.  The Cleveland Browns defense is allowing 23.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, which is 7th in the NFL.  He is due for a big game.

WIDE RECEIVER

JARVIS LANDRY, WR CLEVELAND BROWNS @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

The Bucs are currently allowing 32.7 Fantasy Points per Game to Opposing Wide Receivers, which is the 2nd worst in the league. They are currently ranked 22nd against #1 Wide Receivers and 28th against #2 Wide Receivers.  They are also ranked 21st against Slot Receivers.

Jarvis Landry has run 73% of his snaps from the slot this season and has been targeted 42 times, which is the 3rd highest mark in the NFL from the slot. Landry also owns 660 total air yards, which is 10th most in the NFL. However, he only has 20 receptions and a 47% catch rate from the slot, which is just bad and 24th in the league.  In fact, on the season, he has 31 catches on 58 targets, for a 53% catch rate, which is 100th in the NFL.  He has never had under a 66% catch rate in his career.  Coincidently, his ADOT is 10.2, which is the same as Mayfield and is up from 8.8 in 2017 and 6.8 in 2016.

Landry has primarily been a screen guy and is used to catching passes at the line of scrimmage.  However, we have seen his average depth of target go up almost 4 yards in 2 years, which may explain the drops. This could mean only 1 of 2 things.  Either Landry is a worse receiver that we originally thought or positive regression is coming. I’m going with the positive regression, and our resident DFS expert Eric (mister clutch) agrees as Landry is one of his targets for week 7.

KEKE COUTEE, WR HOUSTON TEXANS @ Jacksonville Jaguars
7.2 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

This matchup doesn’t bode well for the Texans offense.  To start, Houston has the 2nd least efficient offensive line and they have allowed 98 total pressures this season, which is the 2nd highest mark in the league.  The Jacksonville secondary is allowing 17.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, which is best in the NFL.  We have seen in recent weeks that the Jaguars secondary can be exposed by slot receivers.  Some notable performances this season:

  • Odell Beckham, Jr WEEK 1 (36% snaps from slot) 11/111/0 = 16.5 Fantasy Points
  • Chris Hogan WEEK 2 (57% snaps from slot) 3/42/2 = 17.5 Fantasy Points
  • Cole Beasley WEEK 6 (78% snaps from slot) 9/101/2 = 26.5 Fantasy Points

Coutee has run 74% of his snaps this season from the slot and may get some work this weekend.  This is a deep desperation play and one that may not pan out, but Watson has developed a chemistry with Coutee and he could be a surprise play this week.

TYLER BOYD, WR CINCINNATI BENGALS @ Kansas City Chiefs
12.1 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

If Tyler Boyd hasn’t earned your trust yet, you shouldn’t be playing fantasy.  He has 52 total targets, which puts him in the Top 15 and is averaging 9.4 targets per game since Week 2.  Boyd is running 69% of his routes from the slot and currently possesses a 23% target share, only behind AJ Green’s 24%.  He currently has a 135.4 QB Rating when being targeted from the slot.  The Chiefs are currently ranked 24th against defending slot receivers and Boyd should be in for another big day and is still way too cheap in DFS at $6,700.

ANTONIO CALLAWAY, WR CLEVELAND BROWNS @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8.2 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Antonio Callaway has 35 targets and only 15 catches, for a 43% catch rate.  He has been targeted 30 times in his last 4 games, which is 7.5 targets per game and 17th most among WRs in that span.  His 43% catch rate ranks 112th in the league among WRs playing at least 25% offensive snaps.  He is currently ranked 12th in the NFL in AirYards and possesses a 17% team target share.

Baker was known for his accuracy in college and Todd Haley will find a way to get the ball in Callaway’s hands.  With the amount of volume he is seeing as a rookie and if he can simply catch the ball, it is only a matter of time before this kid explodes.

JOHN BROWN / MICHAEL CRABTREE, QB BALTIMORE RAVENS vs. New Orleans Saints
10.6 / 11.0 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

The New Orleans Saints defense is allowing 36.3 fantasy points per game to opposing Wide Receivers this season, which is the most in the league. John Brown is 3rd in the NFL in Air Yards with 924 total air yards. Michael Crabtree is seeing heavy target volume with 55 targets, which is the 9th most among WRs and a 21% team target share.

Crabtree’s 54% catch rate has hindered his production, but it appears he is developing a rapport with Flacco.  The Saints defense ranks dead last against #1 Wide Receivers and #2 Wide Receivers and both receivers should feast this week.        

TIGHT END

DAVID NJOKU, TE CLEVELAND BROWNS @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11.6 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

The Tampa Bay Bucs defense is currently ranked 29th against opposing Tight Ends. They are allowing 13.3 fantasy points per game to opposing Tes, which is the worst the NFL. David Njoku has run 225 receiving routes this season, which is 4th most in the leagues among Tight Ends.

While Njoku has been targeted 41 times, he has only hauled in 27 passes for a 66% catch rate and 28th in the league among Tight Ends.  He leads his team in targets in his last 3 games, with 30 total targets and has become Baker Mayfield’s go to.  Njoku is developing right in front of our eyes and may be an elite option by season’s end.  Keep him in your lineup, and I’m not the only one telling you this. Mark Lee lists Njoku as one of his sleeper picks for week 7.

SIT

QUARTERBACK

DREW BREES, QB NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ Baltimore Ravens
18.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

The Baltimore Ravens defense is very good, only allowing 12.3 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, which is the 2nd best mark in the NFL.  Alvin Kamara is always a threat catching passes out of the backfield, but they have held opposing QBs in check this season.

Michael Thomas’ Average Depth of Target (ADOT) is only 7.4 yards, which is the 5th lowest among qualified receivers.  While he is being heavily targeted this season, I believe negative regression may be coming for Thomas and his fantasy production is unsustainable with such a low ADOT.  If you can afford to sit Brees this week, I would go with other options.

JAMEIS WINSTON, QB TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS vs. Cleveland Browns
24.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

The Cleveland Browns have been pretty solid against the pass this season, allowing only 14.6 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, which is the 4th best in the NFL.  While Winston is coming off a massive game last week, I think he may struggle in this one.  Look for Winston to be held in check.

RUNNING BACK

ALVIN KAMARA / MARK INGRAM, RB NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ Baltimore Ravens
15.5 / 10.1 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

Again, the Ravens defense is good.  They are only allowing 9.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, which is a league best mark.  They are also only allowing 112 total receiving yards to pass catching running backs, which is also best in the league.  They have only allowed 1 rushing TD to opposing running backs and 0 TDs to pass catching running backs.  Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram both may struggle in this one, so don’t be surprised.

SONY MICHEL / JAMES WHITE, RB NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ Chicago Bears
12.3 / 12.0 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

The Chicago Bears defense is only allowing 9.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, which ranks 1st throughout the NFL.  They are also only allowing 128 receiving yards to running backs, which is 3rd in the NFL.  The Bears are yet to allow a rushing TD to opposing RBs and have only allowed 1 TD to pass catching running backs.  Both James White and Sony Michel may have a hard time finding space and Tom Brady will resort to the pass quite often.

WIDE RECEIVER

DEANDRE HOPKINS / WILL FULLER, WR HOUSTON TEXANS @ Jacksonville Jaguars
13.4 / 7.5 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS

I told you why Keke Coutee is a great play as a flex option this week.  These 2 receivers should be benched if you can.  The Jaguars are allowing 17.8 fantasy points per game to opposing WRs, which is 1st in the NFL.  Their best cover corner Jalen Ramsey is banged up and they just came off an embarrassing loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but this Jaguars defense should be fired up after last week.  You may want to bench both players.

 

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Matt Bishop

Written by 

Matt Bishop is a graduate of Rider University and currently works as a Project Manager for an Electrical Supply Distributor. He lives in North NJ with his wife and 2 children and is a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies fan. He has been playing Fantasy Football since 1997 and Fantasy Baseball since 2003. He recently discovered Fangraphs and his obsession for baseball metrics and how they can be used to draft a championship caliber team.

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