Fantasy Football, What We Learned – Week 7

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 30: Josh Gordon #10 talks with Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 30: Josh Gordon #10 talks with Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Wild and wacky are just two words to describe this Fantasy Football week of the NFL and just like very other week, we’re here to dissect it all and get you caught up on what you need to know!

It was a fairly brutal Fantasy Football week with injuries and under performance this week. Hopefully your teams avoided the landmines that were out there and made some good start/sit decisions. We’ll have to keep an eye on the injured players for tomorrow’s waiver column, but let’s get started with unpacking all of the action from Sunday!

AFC East – Fantasy Football

New England Patriots – Win vs Chicago Bears, 38-31

No Gronk, no problem for the Patriots offense. They lost Sony Michel early to a leg injury and that’s going to need to be monitored carefully. New England could potentially seek a trade if it’s a serious injury because they’re really starting to run out of bodies at the position. It would be James White, Kenjon Barner and….well, who knows after that. The passing game really sort of ran through White, who led with 10 targets. The ball was spread out after that and Josh Gordon hit 100 yards and missed a touchdown by one yard. He remains my favorite receiver to own in this offense. Julian Edelman scored but was quiet otherwise. That’s not too much of a surprise and at least you know he’s got a safe floor every week. Chris Hogan is starting to work his way back into consideration again after a nightmare start to the season. He’s had at least four receptions for 63 yards the past two weeks. They did get two scores from their defense this week but that’s certainly not something to project. The pieces tend to rotate but the Patriots offense remains one of the best in football.

New York Jets – Loss vs Minnesota Vikings, 37-17 

It was a crazy windy day in New York but I’m not sure that was any excuse for the three picks Sam Darnold threw. He was atrocious but that should have been relatively expected against Minnesota. Granted, they haven’t been as good as we thought but they can handle a young rookie no matter the venue. Darnold might be usable in certain spots but he’s likely a cheap DFS play only. After spending all week talking about Jermaine Kearse, he saw a whopping two targets for the exact same score as me or you. That’s just the way fantasy is sometimes and no amount of research and matchups can help. Isaiah Crowell would be a much better play if Bilal Powell were to miss time with a neck injury he suffered today. Hopefully it’s not too serious and the passing game is just playing roulette right now. They’ve left a bad taste in the mouth of plenty of folks for a couple of weeks now, going back to a zero from Quincy Enunwa from before his injury.

Buffalo Bills – Loss vs Indianapolis Colts, 37-5 

It’s a shame that LeSean McCoy got hurt again because he’s the only player worth starting on this offense at just about any point. If you’re in a desperate pinch, Chris Ivory could be used but that’s pretty scary. Volume is king in fantasy and Ivory touched the ball 19 times and that is worth something. I still would have a hard time starting Ivory any week. The quarterback play is a disaster and has very little chance to improve this season. The wide receivers aren’t any better and I won’t put one bit of stock into Kelvin Benjamin having 70+ yards receiving.

Miami Dolphins – Loss vs Detroit Lions, 32-21

Even in a game that Frank Gore leaves with an injury, Kenyan Drake still barely gets double-digit touches. He only got 10 and if not for a huge 54 yard touchdown, he produced 33 total yards. I’m probably still not starting him this week but we’ll see how things develop. Brock Osweiler didn’t win someone $1,000,000 this week but he was serviceable with 239 yards and two touchdowns. That just shows how replaceable Ryan Tannehill is if it shows anything. Danny Amendola led the receiving corps and maybe that’s going to become a thing? Albert Wilson left the game early with an injury so I wouldn’t be ready to say there’s any clarity in this situation. The Dolphins passing game remains sketchy at best. 31 attempts in a game they were trailing divided by at least six players when healthy isn’t going to pay off very often.

AFC North – Fantasy Football

Pittsburgh Steelers – Bye Week 

The biggest question for the Steelers is when the saga known as “When the Le’Veon Turns” will end and I will go on record one more time to say that this will be Lev’s backfield when he gets up to speed. There’s two options for the Steelers – use the exempt list to sit Bell for another two weeks to get into shape and cost him more money in the process. Seeing as they’re in a dogfight for the division, that somewhat seems unlikely. What is more likely is that Lev and James Conner split for a week or two before Bell takes the reigns. We’ve seen this movie before with DeAngelo Williams. He was great when Bell was hurt or suspended, Pittsburgh said they’d use both backs and then they didn’t. I will admit the situation is a bit different since Bell is done after this year but they want their best players on the field. Bell is more talented and it’s not like coach Mike Tomlin is known for his discipline.

Cincinnati Bengals – Loss vs Kansas City Chiefs, 45-10

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Bengals lost a primetime game. They were a lot down offensively other than A.J. Green and maybe C.J. Uzomah. Joe Mixon couldn’t get much going here and the game script went sideways in a hurry. Andy Dalton couldn’t even eclipse 150 yards in a great matchup. It’s just par for the course for Cincinnati and we know what they bring to the table fantasy wise. Tyler Boyd and the rest of the secondary weapons should have better days ahead of them.

Baltimore Ravens – Loss vs New Orleans Saints, 24-21

I think it should be pretty obvious but I’m not able to watch every single play from every game. What I did see in this one just confirms that Joe Flacco is not that great of a quarterback, at least in this game. While Flacco paid off for fantasy, his day could have been positively massive. He left a ton of throws on the field in the portion that I saw and that didn’t help the weapons past John Brown in this game. Smoke cleaned up with a 7/134/1 day and he’s always been the best Raven to own. The running game was stuck in neutral all day but that’s not a surprise. Despite some of their issues, New Orleans has been nasty against running backs all season. The slight good news is Alex Collins again lapped Buck Allen for touches and appears to have the lead in this committee now. It’s always a little nerve-racking because if he fumbles, things could reverse course in a hurry. It was a true bummer to see Willie Snead not make good in his #RevengeGame but between an egregious drop on his end and some missed throws from Flacco, things didn’t work out.

Cleveland Browns – Loss vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 26-23

It was another heartbreak for Cleveland and this game had fantasy owners sweating through an awful lot of it. It took forever for the offensive pieces to come through but all of Baker Mayfield, David Njoku, Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry came through. Mayfield himself is really short on some weapons but made it work with a couple touchdowns. Landry was a boss in this spot and if you didn’t get a deal done, it’s likely too late. He and Mayfield finally showed some good chemistry for a huge game for the former Dolphin. Njoku still isn’t especially safe but he plays tight end and sees work with potential for touchdowns. That makes him a top eight guy the rest fo the way.

The running game is apparently all Nick Chubb. After the Carlos Hyde trade, we thought we had a handle on the situation but weren’t sure. Well, he out-touched Duke Johnson 18-5 and got the rushing touchdown. It’s not fantasy related but I wonder if Johnson would sign that extension with Cleveland if he had to do it over again. He’s not a player that should be getting just five touches a game. Chubb might be the exact same as Hyde was. You can’t argue with the volume but he likely needs a touchdown to float his RB2 value.

AFC West – Fantasy Football

Los Angeles Chargers – Win vs Tennessee Titans, 20-19 

This game was more of the same for the Chargers. The defense has turned the corner as they wait for Joey Bosa to return to the lineup and the offense continues to be productive. Melvin Gordon missed this game but it doesn’t appear to be a serious injury. We all know how tricky they can be but the Chargers held him out as a precautionary measure, it seems. Austin Ekeler got his chance to be the main man and did receiver 17 touches but didn’t do much with it. He managed just 68 total yards in a tough matchup and didn’t find the end zone to make up the pedestrian yardage. Speaking of pedestrian, it was another ho-hum week for Keenan Allen. He’s being reliable with 5-6 receptions a week but 60-70 yards but this isn’t what we paid for. There’s not much you can do but ride it out and hope things go his way after their bye week. It stinks for the Allen owner that Mike and especially Tyrell Williams are getting the touchdowns but they also combined for just seven targets in this game. It’s going to be really hard to bank on that for either of those two. Maybe Tyrell is more on the radar for DFS after the bye.

Kansas City Chiefs – Win vs Cincinnati Bengals, 45-10

In all honesty, there’s nothing to really take from this one. The Chiefs are a machine. Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in fantasy and he’s distributing the ball everywhere. Any piece of the Chiefs offense can win you a matchup any given week and the trio of Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are fantasy elite. Lock them in except for the bye week and keep on moving. Sammy Watkins is a nice flex just about every week as well.

Denver Broncos – Win vs Arizona Cardinals, 45-10

The Denver defense showed up and score two touchdowns off interceptions, Emmanuel Sanders was throwing touchdown passes and Phillip Lindsay might actually get the workload he’s earned. Other than that, it was a drubbing in the desert. You should be starting Sanders basically every single week and now that Royce Freeman might miss some time, Lindsay feels much safer. Devontae Booker isn’t a good back at all and I hope Denver doesn’t try to split this too much. Lindsay is the superior back by about every measure and deserves the work. Keep an eye on Demaryius Thomas. That’s another player who’s popped up in the trade rumor mill. If he gets dealt, it will be a race to get Courtland Sutton off the waiver wire. He’s flashed in limited opportunity and if you have a burner spot after the waivers run this week, he’s worth a stash. Case Keenum still stinks and the Broncos didn’t need much from him in this game.

Oakland Raiders -Bye Week 

The only question for this team is if Amari Cooper is a Raider for much longer. The trade winds are swirling and if they’ll trade Khalil Mack, you can bet they won’t hesitate to send Cooper out the door if they get an offer they like.

AFC South Fantasy Football

Jacksonville Jaguars – Loss vs Houston Texans, 20-7 

Things have gone off the rails in Jacksonville after their big win against the Patriots. They benched Blake Bortles in this game and played Cody Kessler instead in the second half. I suppose it’s at least possible that move may bleed into next week. He wasn’t that big of an improvement but the Jaguars might be looking to send a message to this team. T.J. Yeldon continues to be better through the air than on the ground but he’s getting 15 or so touches and is scoring for the most point. That’s all you can ask for from a back that was likely just a waiver wire add. The receiving corps showed again this week why they can’t be predicted. D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole and Yeldon all had seven targets behind Donte Moncrief and his team leading 10. Good luck trying to predict that, especially if there’s a quarterback change. Yeldon is really the only sure-fire starter from this team and even the defense has been a little sub par.

Houston Texans – Win vs Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-7

Lamar Miller ran for 100 yards everyone. The impossible has happened and it’s possible that could be a weak spot for the Jaguars. I’m still not too excited about him and am holding onto D’Onta Foreman wherever I can. Deshaun Watson was just a guy but that’s not surprising because A. the Jags still have a good secondary and B. Watson is really banged up right now. He didn’t even travel with the team to Jacksonville, instead going on a bu to protect his injured chest/ribs. Watson is playing through a ton right now and they now have a short week. Keke Coutee re-aggravated his hamstring injury so Will Fuller is a better start this week. He and Hopkins along with Watson are still the only players I feel great about starting.

Tennessee Titans – Loss vs Los Angeles Chargers, 20-19 

If I told you I had any clue how to size up this Titans offense, I’d be lying through my teeth. Marcus Mariota still isn’t doing enough to warrant consideration until things become more consistent. Maybe the bye will help him get fully healthy. I think Corey Davis has the talent but he’s had exactly one great game so far. The schedule isn’t the worst but you can’t feel good starting him right now, even with byes coming the next couple of weeks. I’m not falling for Tajae Sharpe since he had 15 targets coming into this game and Taywan Taylor hasn’t done anything either. Realistically, you can really only start Dion Lewis and hope he has enough touches to pay off. This was one of those games with 155 yards on 19 total touches but even that’s volatile at best. This offense just ins’t clicking well enough at this point to help you out.

Indianapolis Colts – Win vs Buffalo Bills, 37-5

What a weird day for Andrew Luck. He didn’t cross 160 yards passing but threw four touchdown passes so nobody is complaining about that type of day. He found T.Y Hilton twice in the end zone, which was fortunate for anyone who played Hilton off injury. He only had 25 yards other than touchdowns so he was somewhat bailed out. We all know what Luck is capable of but the major story is Marlon Mack. 21 touches, 159 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns is a monster day for anyone and Mack has emerged as the running back in Indy. Hopefully he’s on your roster already because as long as he’s healthy, he’s a firm RB2 with this usage. It was a quiet day for Eric Ebron but it’s pretty hard to complain given his production so far this year. As long as Jack Doyle remains out, Ebron is locked every week.

NFC East Fantasy Football

Philadelphia Eagles – Loss vs New Orleans Saints, 21-17

Things might not be going right for real life Philly fans but their passing game is on fire for fantasy football. If Travis Kelce isn’t the best tight end in football, Zach Ertz is. He’s just a monster with Carson Wentz and had a big day with 132 yards on nine receptions. He’s just a wide receiver that happens to play tight end. Alshon Jeffery hasn’t missed a step since his return and scored yet again to go along with his 88 yards. The downside is the running backs are really a carousel now. All of Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement and Josh Adams are involved. The split went 11-10-4 with those three players and it’s going to be like finding a needle in the haystack for starting options every week. This is exactly why I didn’t fall all over myself when Jay Ajayi went down for the year. It’s what Doug Pederson does and considering Darren Sproles could be on his way back, it’s not going to get any better either.

New York Giants – TBD

The Giants play on Monday night and Saquon Barkley is likely going to go bonkers in this spot. With his skill set, there’s not a better match-up for him in the league. We’ll see how Odell Beckham bounces back from his sub par game last week in a great spot on his end as well. The Giants offensive line might even be able to block in this one.

Washington Redskins – Win vs Dallas Cowboys, 20-17 

Adrian Peterson just keeps on being a fantasy asset. I didn’t really think that was going to happen this year and some of that has to do with Chris Thompson not being in the lineup the past couple weeks. That’s not to take anything away from Peterson who was only missing a touchdown in this one to have big day. That was patched to some extent by Kapri Bibbs but he only had six touches. I don’t think he’s viable for fantasy even if Thompson is out. The passing game is still far too average to want a piece of. Alex Smith hasn’t recaptured his form from last year and the Redskins don’t have any receivers worth a start really at any point. Even Jordan Reed is becoming tougher to feel good about, despite being a tight end. Five of six games are 55 yards or less and he hasn’t scored since Week 1. When Smith is only attempting 25 passes and there’s no explosive element to that facet, it’s an easy fade.

Dallas Cowboys –  Loss vs Washington Redskins, 20-17

If you faced Ezekiel Elliott, be thankful that you got him on one of his worst games ever. 42 total yards isn’t going to happen very often and it was the ….passing attack that carried the Cowboys? That’s weird to type but that’s the way it was this week. Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley all got involved this week with at least three receptions or 56 yards. That’s two weeks in a row that Dak Prescott has been really good for fantasy. I’m still very hesitant to attach much significance to it but we’ll see what happens next week. I have a feeling this week owed a lot to the fact that Zeke was a total non-factor.

NFC North Fantasy Football

Green Bay Packers – Bye Week

Will Mike McCarthy finally wise up and play Aaron Jones or will we continue to have a terrible for fantasy three-headed committee coming out of the bye? That’s really the only major question, while we also await the status of Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb this week. They’ve been missing in action but hopefully the bye has cured their issues.

Detroit Lions – Win vs Miami Dolphins, 32-21

Kerryon Johnson touched the football 21 times today and rolled up 179 total yards. Any discussion of using LeGarrette Blount should be long in the rear view mirror. However, it’s likely not going to be. Blount was still used as the goal line back and that’s going to cap Johnson to a major extent. He can only do so much for your fantasy squad yardage wise. I don’t know who Michael Roberts is but he destroyed the day of any Detroit receiver, catching both of Matthew Stafford‘s touchdown passes. No, he’s not worth an add because he has four targets on the entire season. Three have gone for touchdowns. Detroit only had the ball for 26 minutes and called more runs than passes by a 31-26 ratio. It’s almost impossible to float value for all three Lions receivers on just 26 attempts and I wouldn’t be too worried about the quiet game from this group. There’s no change to Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay or Marvin Jones. I don’t think Detroit will be so effective in the run game every week.

Chicago Bears – Loss vs New England Patriots, 38-31 

We’ve seen it plenty of times before but Mitchell Trubisky had a questionable day at best for real life football but had a monster day in fantasy. He only completed right about 50 percent of his passes and looked scattershot through a lot of the game. Even with the flaws, he got 14 points alone from rushing production. Add onto that his 300+ passing yards and two touchdowns, you get a huge day. The running back duo was quiet on the ground but Tarik Cohen made his bones through the passing game yet again. He scored and caught eight passes and that should continue to make him as safe as possible in a time share. He’s lethal in space. Trey Burton was the star today with  9/126/1 line and it was disappointing to see Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel turn nine targets into a combined four receptions and 30 yards. That’s the concern with a quarterback that is up and down like Trubisky has been. Perhaps Robinson was a little more hurt than they let on but to see Gabriel dud was very surprising.

Minnesota Vikings – Win vs New York Jets, 37-17 

You know who doesn’t care what kind of weather he plays in? Adam Thielen. This guy is just on some kind of heater right now as he made it seven games straight with 100 yards receiving. He was a monster again with 9/110/1 on 10 targets. He’s flat-out unstoppable, there’s just no other way to view it right now. Stefon Diggs had a rough day with 14 targets to lead the team but just 33 yards on eight receptions. When you tacked on a -7 rushing yard day and it wasn’t a day to remember for Diggs. I’m not sure Kyle Rudolph is a starter anymore. He’s really become a secondary target in this offense and with the Thielen/Diggs combo, there’s not enough meat on the bone right now.

It was a little surprising to see Latavius Murray get just 15 carries with the wind in this game but he made it pay off with two touchdowns. Sure, he only rolled up 69 yards but you know what you’ll get as long as Dalvin Cook remains sidelined. There’s no telling how much longer that will be either. It was pretty much business as usual for the Vikes this week.

NFC West Fantasy Football

Arizona Cardinals – Loss vs Arizona Cardinals, 45-10 

The game could not have gone much worse in a single game sense. However, the “bright side” is it got offensive coordinator Mike McCoy fired. I’m not trying to be callous since coaches have families and it does stink for the real life perspective. The flip side of that is he was wildly underperforming at his job and had no business holding onto his post. I have no idea if Byron Leftwich is going to be any better in his first stint as a coordinator. I do feel pretty confident that things can’t get much worse for David Johnson. He will continue to be the only offensive piece I feel decent starting every week until we see at least a game or two with Leftwich at the helm.

Seattle Seahawks – Bye Week

Will Russell Wilson start running again after the bye? Will he ever throw 35 passes in a game again? These are the biggest questions and the only positive movement in the passing game is the involvement of Doug Baldwin. He looked back to himself in London but this looks like a low-volume passing attack. It’s not terribly interesting past Wilson and Baldwin. The running game looks like it could be frustrating as well with Chris Carson, Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny being involved.

Los Angeles Rams – Win vs San Francisco 49ers, 39-10

Todd Gurley is a cheat code in fantasy. He “only” racked up 86 total yards and two touchdowns. I mean, what a slacker. Dude can’t even hit 100 tail yards. In all seriousness, the man is a fantasy monster. I don’t know how you fade him in daily and you have to almost feel defeated if you draw him in seasonal. The offense didn’t have the best day ever and perhaps they did feel the absence of Cooper Kupp a little bit. Of course, they still hung near 40 points so they weren’t exactly suffering here. It was just a day that was quiet for yardage. They spread the ball around a lot more than normal and they also let Malcolm Brown run a lot more due to the scoreboard. There’s no major news from this squad, other than they’re the best team in the NFL.

San Francisco 49ers – Loss vs Los Angeles Rams, 39-10 

When C.J. Beathard went to sleep last night, he likely saw Aaron Donald running right at him. Donald was a destructive force in this game, sacking Beathard for times and having two more tackles for a loss. The only member of the passing game that was unscathed was George Kittle. He went for 90+ yards and a touchdown and Marquise Goodwin faded right back to fantasy obscurity after his big game in Green Bay. Shocking considering the rest of his season, I know but you simply can’t start him. The backfield might be a bit of a mess here too. Matt Breida is the best player but he can’t stop getting hurt in the middle of the game. He fumbled in this one and was a total drag on fantasy scores. Alfred Morris picked up nine carries to seven for Raheem Mostert so coach Kyle Shanahan was telling the truth about Morris still being involved This unit is just ravaged by injuries and Kittle is the only every week starter.

NFC South Fantasy Football

Carolina Panthers – Win vs Philadelphia Eagles, 21-17 

It was a very  long wait(as anyone who played him in DFS would tell you) but Cam Newton turned on the jets in the fourth quarter en route to a great fantasy day. He got his required 40+ rushing yards and then threw for two touchdowns and 269 yards. Very quickly, he made owners happy after he made them sweat for three quarters. Devin Funchess has been not bothered much at all with the return of Greg Olsen to the lineup. You have to wonder how healthy Olsen even is right now because he’s been very mediocre in the two games since he came back. Funchess isn’t typically efficient nor will he post gobs of yards but he’s quietly a pretty solid touchdown guy. This was a second straight game where Christian McCaffrey didn’t do much. I’m thinking that’s more of a bump in the road than anything to panic about but it would be really nice to see him get more than 13 touches in a game. That’s not great for any back, let alone one that is relied upon so heavily.

More from FanSided

New Orleans Saints – Win vs Baltimore Ravens, 24-23

It may not have been a Drew Brees game that we all know and love but it wasn’t terrible either. 212 yards and two touchdowns is perfectly fine on the road in a very tough matchup, even for a fantasy stud like Brees. Michael Thomas got back to what he does best and that’s pumping out yards and scoring touchdowns. What was interesting from this game is the fact that Tre’Quan Smith tied for the second most targets with Ben Watson. Cameron Meredith did not see one solidarity target and Smith seems to have settled into the “Ted Ginn” role. That’s valuable in this offense and he’ll be a popular waiver wire option this week. The running game came back to what the split will probably look like the rest of the way. Alvin Kamara saw 19 touches to Mark Ingram‘s 14 and that makes sense. There’s no debate who the better player is. The Saints remain an elite fantasy offense to be a part of.

Atlanta Falcons – TBD

The Falcons play Monday night and really we just want to see how the running back split between Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith continues to develop. They’re going to be the main two cogs in the backfield with Devonta Freeman out of action and the passing game is pretty self-explanatory at this point.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Win vs Cleveland Browns, 26-23

This wasn’t the best game for Jameis passing wise, but it helps when you score a rushing touchdown and add 55 yards on top of that. The interceptions are likely always going to be a thing with Winston but the weapons around him are way too good to ignore. The trio of receivers seemingly could be turning into a duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. DeSean Jackson did see almost the same amount of targets as Godwin but didn’t produce quite as much. In fairness, he did get two rush attempts so it’s not like he’s uninvolved. I would just prefer Godwin. I want to see what the snaps turned out to be for Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber. A week after Jones got 18 percent of the snaps, he carried the ball six times and got a reception. Most importantly, he got the touchdown over Barber this week. It’s a spot we’ll need to keep an eye on. O.J. Howard is the clear tight end to own from this squad. He saw nine targets to four for Cameron Brate.

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