One-third of the NFL season has passed, and we enter Week 7 with the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos kicking off on Thursday Night Football. To this point, you’ve likely got a solid grasp on your team, though the matchups should ultimately decide who has a better chance to produce.
Jared Goff — and the entirety of the Rams’ offense — are coming off a horrific Week 6 performance, scoring only seven points. Goff struggled mightily, scoring only 1.12 fantasy points in the contest, but his opponent in Week 7 is incredibly favorable. The Falcons are bad, very bad, actually. They rank 31st in pass defense DVOA and 30th in yards-per-pass attempt (YPA) allowed.
Even though he isn’t good in real life, Josh Allen has become a viable starting option in fantasy football, especially when he’s playing the Dolphins. The Dolphins’ pass defense is dead last in both DVOA and YPA allowed. Coming off a bye week, Allen has a chance to lead the league in points at quarterback in Week 7.
After being sidelined for four weeks, Sam Darnold returned in a big way in Week 6, accumulating 19.62 fantasy points, which was good for 9th among all quarterbacks. This week, Darnold gets the vaunted Patriots defense, which ranks 2nd in pass defense DVOA and 1st in YPA allowed. As exciting as Darnold is, it makes sense to leave him on the bench in Week 7.
Derek Carr has not been a viable option in 2019, and that won’t change with the Raiders traveling to play the Green Bay Packers in Week 7. The Packers are 5th in defensive DVOA, 13th in YPA allowed, and Carr is missing his top weapon in Tyrell Williams.
The 2019 season has proven to be a nightmare for the Bengals and Joe Mixon, as he’s ranked 31st among all running backs, and that’s certainly not what you wanted when you spent a top-14 pick on him. Mixon gets the Jaguars this week, which rank dead last in run defense DVOA and 31st in yards-per-carry allowed (5.2 YPC). If Mixon can’t put together a strong week, his season will have mounted into a complete failure.
Denver Broncos RB’s Phillip Lindsay/Royce Freeman versus Kansas City Chiefs
The timeshare between Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman is certainly annoying to deal with, yet both runners have remained productive in 2019, particularly Lindsay. Lindsay carries more upside as he’s scored four touchdowns versus Freeman’s zero, but both have a cupcake run defense in the Chiefs on TNF. The Chiefs are ranked 31st in run defense DVOA and 30th in YPC allowed.
Other potential starts: Frank Gore versus Miami Dolphins, Carlos Hyde versus Indianapolis Colts
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman versus Los Angeles Rams
After a slow start, Devonta Freeman has rebounded with four strong weeks, and his best performance coming in Week 6 when Freeman scored 26.80 points against the Arizona Cardinals. This week, the matchup is much tougher as the Rams are ranked 5th in run defense DVOA and 4th in YPC allowed. The Rams’ front-seven just stifled the 49ers’ rushing attack which was the best ground game in the league prior to Week 6.
New England Patriots RB Sony Michel versus New York Jets
Sony Michel hasn’t performed well in real life nor in fantasy football in 2019, and it won’t get any easier in Week 7 as the Patriots draw the tough Jets defense. The Jets are ranked 9th in run defense DVOA and 5th in YPC allowed. Michel has yet to run for over 100 yards, has only played in 50% of snaps or higher one single time this season (last week), and offers nearly no upside as a pass-catching option.
Other potential sits: Adrian Peterson versus San Francisco 49ers, LeSean McCoy versus Denver Broncos
Buffalo Bills WR John Brown versus Miami Dolphins
The entire Bills’ offense could be fielded on your fantasy teams, and John “Smokey” Brown falls is no exception. Brown has scored double-digit points in every game except Week 3, routinely plays in 80%+ snaps, and faces the worst pass defense by all metrics in the Dolphins.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR’s D.J. Chark/Dede Westbrook versus Cincinnati Bengals
D.J. Chark should pretty much be an automatic start for you at this point, but I also like his running mate in Dede Westbrook this week. Usually, suggesting two receivers from one team seems ludicrous, yet, I’m going to do so. The Bengals’ starting cornerbacks in Dre’ Kirkpatrick and William Jackson are both sidelined due to injury, in addition to the Bengals already being ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA and 29th in YPA allowed.
Other potential starts: Robert Woods versus Atlanta Falcons, Michael Gallup versus Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins WR Terry McLaurin versus San Francisco 49ers
Benching Terry McLaurin at this point seems like insanity, but the 49ers’ defense is that good. This isn’t a knock on McLaurin, it’s the fear of watching a defensive line devour Case Keenum’s soul, forcing him into a lot of terrible decisions and hurried passes. The 49ers are 1st in pass defense DVOA and 2nd in YPA allowed. This doesn’t even take into account the mismatch in the trenches.
New York Jets WR Robby Anderson versus New England Patriots
Robby Anderson blew up in Week 6, scoring 23.50 points and proving that he and Sam Darnold could be a terrific duo for the remainder of the season. The issue is the matchup, because the Patriots are going to do everything needed to minimize the impact from Anderson, and that could include the coverage of superstar cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots are ranked 2nd in pass defense DVOA and 1st in YPA allowed.
Other potential sits: Marvin Jones versus Minnesota Vikings, Demarcus Robinson versus Denver Broncos
Hunter Henry returned from injury in a big way, scoring 30.00 points in Week 6. The Titans defense actually ranks well, though the talent and opportunity for Hunter supersede the matchup. The Chargers are lacking an offensive line which can block for ample amounts of time, forcing Phillip Rivers to throw quickly, usually to a shorter option (such as a tight end).
Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett versus Atlanta Falcons
Gerald Everett put up a 2.9-point stinker in Week 6, but some of that can be attributed to Jared Goff as he missed a wide open Everett down the right sidelines for a potential 50-yard touchdown. Everett — who doesn’t get a ton of opportunities — is one of the most athletic and explosive tight ends in the league, and gets an awesome matchup this week against the horrific pass defense of the Falcons.
Other potential starts: Noah Fant versus Kansas City Chiefs
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki versus Buffalo Bills
Mike Gesicki seen a season-high in targets and snaps in Week 6, though the matchup against the Bills is brutal, and nobody on the Dolphins’ offense can be trusted. The juggling at quarterback won’t help, as Ryan Fitzpatrick has once again been named the starter.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook versus Chicago Bears
Coming off two successful weeks, Jared Cook is a sit in Week 7 as he is completely touchdown dependent, and the matchup against the Bears — who’re ranked 6th in pass defense DVOA and 7th in YPA allowed — is very tough.
Other potential sits: T.J. Hockenson versus Minnesota Vikings, Trey Burton versus New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers versus Washington Redskins
The 49ers are the 2nd-highest scoring defense in the league with 70 points, and get an easy matchup against the Redskins. The Redskins are averaging 15 points-per-game and have a mistake-prone quarterback.
Buffalo Bills versus Miami Dolphins
The Bills are below average as a fantasy football defense, ranking 19th with 39 points on the season, but they get the best matchup of the week against the divisional rival Dolphins. This contest should include plenty of mistakes on the Dolphins’ part.
Other potential starts: Green Bay Packers versus Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots versus New York Jets
Philadelphia Eagles versus Dallas Cowboys
Benching a top-10 defense is never easy, and though the Eagles might be able to force Dak Prescott into a mistake or two, the Cowboys always play them tough, and have come out on top more often than not recently. The Eagles’ secondary (particularly CB) is putrid, giving the Cowboys all the opportunities needed to put together a strong bounce-back performance.
Denver Broncos versus Kansas City Chiefs
The Broncos are a strong defense, particularly as a pass defense as they rank 7th in pass defense DVOA. The issue? Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Chiefs’ offense. The Broncos played the Chiefs well in 2018, but I’d never have the guts to bet against the Chiefs’ offense.