Last updated: October 19th at 1:31am ET.
Rams @ Falcons
Team Totals: Falcons 28.5, Rams 25.5
The Rams travel cross country for Sunday’s 1pm ET game after getting pummeled by San Francisco and reaching desperation mode following three straight losses. Jared Goff has fallen into an extended funk, completing just 59.8% of his passes at 6.7 yards per attempt with a 14:15 TD-to-INT ratio over his last 14 starts after averaging 8.7 YPA on 66% completions with a 33:7 TD-to-INT ratio in the previous 14. Still, this sets up a get-right game for a Rams offense whose primary deficiency is pass protection, allowing Goff to face pressure at the NFL’s third-highest rate (43.3%). Dan Quinn’s Falcons simply don’t generate pressure, ranking dead last in sack rate (2.5%) and 26thin QB Hit Rate (11.7%). As I’ll expand on shortly, Goff is a fade-recency-bias DFS-tournament play in stacks with Cooper Kupp. … The Rams are apparently pushing Todd Gurley (quad, knee) to return for an unknown role against the Falcons. The last time we saw him, Gurley played a season-high 93% of Week 5’s offensive snaps in a Thursday night game, then couldn’t make it back on a long week. Malcom Brown missed early-week practices with an ankle injury, and Darrell Henderson flashed more explosiveness than any Rams back has all season in last Sunday’s defeat, parlaying seven touches into 49 yards against the Niners. Henderson played only 33% of the snaps and lost a fumble (charged to Goff) on a third-quarter pitch play, however. I’m not expecting to have tangible answers on this backfield’s Week 7 usage distribution until Sunday morning at soonest.
Update: The Rams listed Malcolm Brown (ankle) as doubtful on Friday. Todd Gurley (quad, knee) will play, but probably not in a full-time role after his heaviest playing time of the season led to the quad injury that cost Gurley Week 6. I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest Darrell Henderson could lead the Rams’ backfield in touches in one of the highest-projected-scoring games of the week.
Goff’s 2019 target distribution: Kupp 69; Robert Woods 51; Brandin Cooks 37; Gerald Everett 31; Gurley 22; Tyler Higbee 21; Josh Reynolds 9; Brown 3; Henderson 2. … This is a blowup spot for Kupp; Atlanta has hemorrhaged the NFL’s third-most receptions (72), fourth-most yards (887), and a league-high nine touchdowns in the slot since the start of 2018 (Sports Info Solutions). Kupp has 12 more slot targets than any other receiver in the NFL. … The Falcons’ inability to rush the passer should trickle down positively to Woods and Cooks, whose longer route depths in comparison to Kupp’s have cost them production with Goff struggling for time to set and throw deep. Woods is scoreless in the passing game this year and has been held to 70 yards or fewer in 5-of-6 games. But Falcons top CB Desmond Trufant (toe) is out again, forcing Atlanta to start raw fourth-round rookie Kendall Sheffield opposite weekly whipping boy RCB Isaiah Oliver. All told, the Falcons have allowed the NFL’s sixth-most catches (83), fourth-most yards (1,182), and second-most touchdowns (10) to wide receivers. Consider Kupp a high-end WR1, Woods an upside WR2, and Cooks a bounce-back WR2/3. … Since losing SS Keanu Neal (Achilles’), enemy tight ends have caught 19-of-23 targets (83%) for 218 yards (9.5 YPA) and three touchdowns against Atlanta over its last four games. Even with Everett coming off a two-catch, nine-yard clunker in a matchup with San Francisco where literally every Rams skill-position player flopped, Everett drew five or more targets for the third straight game and remains low-end TE1 playable in this gorgeous setting.
Matt Ryan returns home from the desert with 300-plus passing yards in seven straight games and top-eight QB1 results in four of his last five starts, including consecutive top-two outcomes against Houston and Arizona. In what projects as one of Week 7’s highest-scoring affairs, a slowdown is unlikely versus a Rams defense that lost SS John Johnson (shoulder) and LCB Aqib Talib (ribs) to I.R., traded away RCB Marcus Peters, and is hands-and-knees praying Jalen Ramsey will be ready to shadow Julio Jones after practicing for just two days with his new team. New Rams No. 2 CB Troy Hill has been torched for 30-of-46 passing (65.2%), 455 yards (9.9 YPA), and five touchdowns over the past two seasons. Ryan deserves to be a very popular DFS play. … Even if Devonta Freeman’s film doesn’t reveal the bursty jitterbug he once was, his consistent usage in a high-octane offense has rebooted Freeman into RB1 range with 16-plus touches in four straight weeks and three-plus receptions in 6-of-6 games. Freeman ranks top 12 among running backs in targets and top ten in catches, and he out-touched Ito Smith 22 to 3 on 72% of the snaps in last week’s shootout loss to Arizona. This also projects as an up-tempo, scoring-friendly affair; offenses facing the Rams are averaging the NFL’s sixth-most plays per game (66.7). Even if this week’s Freeman-Smith touch split is closer than last Sunday’s, Freeman’s season-long bankability has risen considerably, and he makes sense in DFS-tournament game stacks. Smith is a low-end flex option.
Ryan’s 2019 target distribution: Julio Jones 53; Austin Hooper 50; Mohamed Sanu 40; Calvin Ridley 38; Freeman 29; Smith 14. … Los Angeles’ best hope for containing Jones comes via Tuesday trade pickup Jalen Ramsey, who hasn’t played in a football game since September 19 and will have all of two Rams practices under his belt ahead of Sunday’s game. With so many changing secondary pieces as alluded to above, the Rams are at major risk of Week 7 coverage busts. As usual, Julio is a confidently elite WR1 play. … Season-long fantasy’s biggest steal at the tight end position, Hooper should stay hot against a Rams defense that has perfectly yielded 22 completions on 22 targets for 271 yards (12.3 YPA) and a touchdown to tight ends over the last three weeks. … Sanu is among Atlanta’s least-predictable box-score performers because he’s rarely high in Ryan’s progressions yet catches everything and is capable of delivering whenever Ryan’s early reads are covered. He’s a fine WR3/flex option based on this game’s track-meet potential. Fellow slot WRs Chris Godwin (12/172/2), Tyler Lockett (4/51/1), and Dante Pettis (3/45/0) all logged at- or above-expectation numbers against the Rams over the last three weeks. … Even amid up-and-down usage, Ridley has saved himself with touchdowns in 4-of-6 games and is the likeliest candidate to draw aforementioned Troy Hill’s leaky coverage should Ramsey chase Julio around the field. While typically a boom-bust WR2/3, this is another week where Ridley sets up nicely to boom.
Score Prediction: Falcons 35, Rams 28
Dolphins @ Bills
Team Totals: Bills 28, Dolphins 11
Update: The Dolphins reversed course on Wednesday, naming Ryan Fitzpatrick their Week 7 starter with Josh Rosen on the bench. I think there’s a legitimate chance both Miami quarterbacks could play in this game. Fitzpatrick starting over Rosen doesn’t move the needle, especially in a brutal matchup like this. The Bills are Week 7’s top D/ST play either way.
Even after benching him for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second half of last week’s loss to Washington, the Dolphins will start Josh Rosen in this brutal matchup at Buffalo, which has held Sam Darnold (QB25), Eli Manning (QB24), Andy Dalton (QB17), Tom Brady (QB29), and Marcus Mariota (QB26) to unusable fantasy results. As 5-of-5 defenses to face Miami have logged top-12 fantasy weeks – including the lowly Redskins’ top-six outcome last Sunday – we should fire up the Bills’ D/ST aggressively and fade the entirety of Miami’s passing “attack.” That extends to Week 6 target leader Mike Gesicki, small-sample touchdown scorer DeVante Parker, and promising-if-underperforming rookie Preston Williams, who did play 88% of last week’s offensive snaps despite Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson’s returns. … Although Mark Walton emerged from Week 5’s bye as Miami’s “starter,” Kenyan Drake continued to control snaps (61%), touches (16), and targets (9) and remains the Dolphins’ lone viable flex play in PPR leagues. Kalen Ballage played just enough to hurt his teammates by vulturing a goal-line score. As Buffalo has limited enemy backs to 96/394/3 (4.10 YPC) rushing and just 36.8 receiving yards per game, this is a situation to avoid where possible in a matchup in which the Fins are at serious risk of getting shut out.
4-1 Buffalo returns from its bye for a mouth-watering matchup versus Miami, which was pummeled for QB1 (Lamar Jackson), QB5 (Tom Brady), QB7 (Dak Prescott), and QB11 (Philip Rivers) fantasy outcomes in Weeks 1-4 before Case Keenum dropped two touchdown passes and no turnovers on them to key the previously-winless Redskins’ first 2019 win. This is an eruption spot for Josh Allen, who has seven top-12 results and six top-eight finishes in his last ten full games with 11 rushing TDs over his first 16 NFL starts. Allen is an auto-stack with John Brown in DFS lineups and confident QB1 in season-long leagues. The Bills’ trade of Zay Jones should work in his immediate favor; Allen targets to Jones averaged a pathetic 4.3 yards versus 7.86 yards to everyone else. Forward thinkers should note Buffalo’s Weeks 7-11 schedule sets up beautifully for Allen to go on an absolute tear, comprised of Miami at home, Philly at home, Washington at home, Cleveland on the road, then at Miami. … Out since Week 2, Devin Singletary (hamstring) should be fully recovered after the bye to face a Fins defense conceding a league-high 36 touches per game to running backs. Although OC Brian Daboll’s commitment to Frank Gore won’t end anytime soon – Gore is averaging 5.44 yards per carry over his last three games and respectably ranks 19th among 57 qualified backs in yards after contact per rush attempt (3.1) – a healthy Singletary remains the Bills’ highest-upside runner after flashing for 10.3 yards per touch in Weeks 1-2. For perspective, Alvin Kamara averaged 5.8 yards per touch last year. To project Buffalo’s Week 7 workload distribution, I’d allocate 16 touches to Singletary, 14 to Gore, and 6 to T.J. Yeldon in the best matchup this unit will face all year.
Allen’s 2019 target distribution: Cole Beasley 35; John Brown 34; Dawson Knox 16; Yeldon 9; Tommy Sweeney 8; Gore 7; Singletary 6; Isaiah McKenzie 5; Duke Williams 4; Robert Foster 3. … Teams targeting the slot against Miami are 24-of-35 passing for 410 yards (11.7 YPA) and five TDs, boding well for Beasley, who runs 77% of his routes inside. Although he never feels like an upside play, Beasley is due for positive-TD regression with zero end-zone trips on 27 receptions and is an underrated PPR WR3/flex averaging a career-high 5.4 catches per game. It can only help that Beasley popped as Week 7’s No. 2 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … On pace for career highs in catches (90) and yards (1,248) with 50-plus receiving yards in 5-of-5 games, Brown warrants WR2 treatment and serious DFS-tournament discussion versus Miami. Supported by zero pass rush, Fins top CB Xavien Howard has coughed up completions on 14-of-18 targets (78%) for 162 yards (9.0 YPA) and two TDs. Howard is also questionable with a knee injury. No. 17 in the NFL in Air Yards market share (34%), Brown’s blowup potential is undeniable against a Fins secondary yielding a league-high 9.7 yards per pass attempt. … Knox’s upward trajectory continued in Buffalo’s pre-bye win over Tennessee, logging a season-high 72% snap rate, drawing a season-high five targets, and running routes on 30-of-36 Allen dropbacks (83%). Dolphins opponents are 26-of-30 passing (87%) for 338 yards (11.3 YPA) when targeting tight ends. Even as a raw rookie with just 28 combined college and pro receptions since high school, Knox is a viable Week 7 streamer with a shot at low-end TE1 value in the season’s second half. … Zay Jones’ departure opens up third-receiver snaps to McKenzie, Williams, and Foster, but Buffalo’s low-volume passing attack will struggle to support non-frontline pass catchers.
Update: Tyler Kroft (foot) practiced fully all week and appears likely to make his Bills debut against the Dolphins, lowering confidence in Dawson Knox as a Week 7 streamer.
Score Prediction: Bills 27, Dolphins 10
Jaguars @ Bengals
Team Totals: Jaguars 23.5, Bengals 20.5
Stymied at home for a season-low six points by New Orleans’ red-hot defense last week, the Jags visit Cincinnati for a much-softer draw; the Bengals permitted QB6 (Jimmy Garoppolo), QB16 (Josh Allen), QB13 (Mason Rudolph), QB6 (Kyler Murray), and QB2 (Lamar Jackson) results in their last five games while allowing a league-high 50.7 QB rushing yards per game and showing no pass-rush capability with the league’s third-fewest sacks (7) and QB hits (21). Gardner Minshew is averaging 23.8 rushing yards per start and has top-15 fantasy results in 3-of-5 games. He’s a locked-in two-quarterback-league starter with matchup-based streamer appeal, especially after the Bengals ruled out first-team CBs William Jackson (shoulder) and Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) on Tuesday. … Even as Leonard Fournette lacked Week 6 rushing efficiency, he compensated with a season-high 46 receiving yards on six catches and topped 20 touches for the fourth straight week. Enemy backs have ethered Cincinnati for 149/753/7 (5.05 YPC) rushing and 66.8 receiving yards per game. An elite RB1 again, Fournette deserves to be a popular DFS play in Sunday’s swiss-cheese matchup. Backfields facing the Bengals are averaging a whopping 31.7 touches per game.
Update: Not that he needed it, but Leonard Fournette‘s Week 7 matchup is further enhanced by the Bengals’ absences of DEs Carlos Dunlap (knee) and Carl Lawson (hamstring).
Minshew’s 2019 target distribution: Dede Westbrook 45; D.J. Chark 41; Fournette 34; Chris Conley 23; Geoff Swaim 16; Marqise Lee 3; Seth DeValve and RyQuell Armstead 2; Keelan Cole 1. … All Jaguars pass catchers were torpedoed by Minshew’s season-low 163 passing yards in Week 6; Westbrook led the team in receiving yards with a measly 53. Westbrook isn’t making big plays because he isn’t seeing big-play targets with a 6.0-yard aDOT and just 45.2 Air Yards per game. Even versus the lowly Bengals, Westbrook is a PPR-specific WR3/flex option. … Chark predictably lost his Week 6 shadow matchup with Marshon Lattimore, managing 21 scoreless yards on six targets in Lattimore’s coverage. Although no enemy wideout has reached 90 yards against the Bengals through six games, Chark is a better bet than not to rebound based on sheer talent and opportunity. Cincinnati’s inability to rush the passer should enhance Chark’s downfield separation, while only seven NFL receivers have drawn more Air Yards than Chark’s 625. Jackson and Kirkpatrick’s absences raise Chark’s ceiling into sky-high territory as one of this week’s top fade-recency-bias plays. … Conley has 73 scoreless yards on 13 targets over the last month. … The Jaguars did not hand over full-time tight end duties to Swaim in their first post-James O’Shaughnessy (ACL) game, opting instead for a Swaim-DeValve rotation. Each drew two targets in last week’s loss to the Saints. Swaim (concussion) has been ruled out for Week 7, although the Jags may maintain a tight end rotation of DeValve and rookie Josh Oliver.
Update: The seas appear to be parting for a D.J. Chark ceiling game; James O’Shaughnessy and Geoff Swaim are no longer factors, and Dede Westbrook (shoulder) is questionable to play against a Bengals defense missing both starting corners.
Andy Dalton catches a worrisome Week 7 draw behind Cincinnati’s swinging-gate offensive line against Jacksonville, which ranks No. 4 in sacks (19) and No. 7 in QB hits (38) and has held four of its last five quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB20 or worse, even without Jalen Ramsey (back). Likely to spend the entirety of Sunday’s affair under heavy duress, Dalton is a tough sell as a fantasy start even in two-quarterback leagues. … Hopefully you already sold Joe Mixon, whose big (for him) Week 5 game versus Arizona proved a predictable mirage when he was stoned for 39 scoreless yards on ten touches in last week’s loss to Baltimore, getting out-snapped 52% to 49% by Giovani Bernard. Merely the lead back in a committee on a bad offense, Mixon has devolved into flex-play range. If you’re still rostering Mixon in season-long leagues, continue to explore selling him off low.
Dalton’s Weeks 1-6 target distribution: Tyler Boyd 60; Auden Tate 36; Tyler Eifert 22; Gio 20; Mixon 19; Damion Willis 14; Alex Erickson 25; C.J. Uzomah 12; Drew Sample 4; Stanley Morgan 2. … The Ravens held Boyd to a season-low ten yards by shadowing him with top CB Marlon Humphrey in Week 6; Boyd caught one pass for one yard on four targets versus Humphrey. The Jags have faced no slot receivers of note for comparison’s sake, but Boyd’s opportunity has remained bankable with the NFL’s third-most targets. He’s still a low-end WR2 play at worst versus the Jags. … Tate benefited from the extra attention Baltimore paid to Boyd, drawing a career-high 12 targets and leading Cincinnati in receiving yards for the third time in the last four weeks. Tate put on a contested-catch clinic against the Ravens and has firmly established himself as the Bengals’ top perimeter receiver in A.J. Green’s (ankle) absence. Leading the Bengals in Air Yards (322) and actual yards (255) over the last month, Tate warrants WR3/flex treatment with an enhanced outlook after the Jags traded Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Emmanuel Sanders (5/104/0), Adam Humphries (6/93/0), D.J. Moore (6/91/0), Michael Thomas (8/89/0), Tajae Sharpe (2/70/0), Courtland Sutton (6/62/2), and DaeSean Hamilton (3/57/0) all met or beat box-score expectations against Jacksonville in the last four weeks. … Simply not a big part of the Bengals’ passing game, Eifert hasn’t played 50% of the team’s offensive snaps in a single game and should be sent to the waiver wire in season-long leagues.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 27, Bengals 17
Vikings @ Lions
Team Totals: Lions 22.5, Vikings 21.5
Kirk Cousins visits Ford Field on a two-game tear after the Vikings wisely opened up their passing attack following Week 4’s demolition in Chicago, lighting up the Giants and Eagles on 44-of-56 passing (78.6%) for 639 yards (11.4 YPA), six touchdowns, and one pick in Weeks 5-6. While Sunday’s matchup isn’t as friendly as the last two, it’s true that 4-of-5 quarterbacks to face Detroit have registered top-12 fantasy outcomes, and the Lions’ pass rush has lacked with the NFL’s sixth-fewest sacks (10) and fifth-fewest QB hits (23). After consecutive top-ten fantasy weeks, Cousins is a quality streamer whose ceiling probably isn’t quite as high as it was in the last two games for DFS purposes. … The primary reason to question Cousins’ Week 7 upside is the possibility Minnesota resumes establishing the run in what sets up as a neutral-script, low-scoring division game. Detroit’s run defense has been no great shakes – it’s so far surrendered 113/526/5 (4.65 YPC) rushing to enemy backs – and is playing on a short week after being slaughtered for 196 yards from scrimmage by Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones last Monday night. The Lions’ 64.8 receiving yards per game allowed to running backs are also third most in the league. This is a definitive smash spot for Dalvin Cook, who has 18-plus touches in 6-of-6 games. … Alexander Mattison handled a career-high 14 carries in last week’s win over Philadelphia, although eight came after Minnesota had already built a 38-20 fourth-quarter lead, and Mattison discouragingly lost a fumble on his final attempt. He has also been targeted just once in the passing game all year. Mattison is a low-floor flex option against the Lions best viewed in season-long leagues as a high-upside handcuff to Cook.
Update: Dalvin Cook‘s Week 7 matchup is enhanced by the absences of Lions DT Mike Daniels (foot) and DE Da’Shawn Hand (elbow). Cook seems likely to go particularly under-owned in DFS this week and makes for a compelling tournament play with ample floor for cash games.
Cousins’ 2019 target distribution: Adam Thielen 38; Stefon Diggs 34; Cook 26; Kyle Rudolph 11; C.J. Ham and Bisi Johnson 9; Irv Smith 8; Ameer Abdullah 4. … Diggs’ Week 6 explosion likely frustrated Thielen owners, but Thielen has been far more consistent with 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 5-of-6 games while out-targeting and out-catching Diggs on the year. Larry Fitzgerald (8/113/1), Keenan Allen (8/98/0), Mike Williams (3/83/0), Allen Lazard (4/65/1), Mack Hollins (4/62/0), and Nelson Agholor (8/50/2) have poked enough holes in Detroit’s secondary for both Thielen and Diggs to remain locked-in WR2 plays with WR1 upside. … Diggs nearly scored four touchdowns in last week’s eruption against the Eagles, but the would-be fourth was negated by a fourth-quarter penalty. Up to No. 13 in the NFL in Air Yards, Diggs has topped 100 yards in two of the last three games. The Vikings supplemented Diggs’ Week 6 box score with rushing attempts that gained 10 and 8 yards. … Rudolph’s 36 yards were a season high in last week’s victory, but his usage didn’t change much. Rudolph has cleared 40 yards once in his last 11 games and has drawn just two red-zone targets this year, with zero inside the ten-yard line.
Matthew Stafford’s Week 7 sledding will be tougher; just 1-of-6 quarterbacks to face Mike Zimmer’s Vikings defense has logged top-12 fantasy results, while Minnesota’s ability to generate pressure has thwarted vertical passing attacks. As Zimmer’s unit ranks top ten in sacks (17) and top seven in QB hits (38), only five NFL teams that haven’t had their bye yet have conceded fewer 20-plus-yard completions (17). Since Stafford’s overall volume remains subpar – he’s 15th in pass attempts per game (34.6) and has never added rushing value – the Lions’ downfield aggressiveness has keyed his fantasy production. We can’t expect much downfield passing success here. … Zimmer’s defense has stymied enemy backs for 124/473/1 (3.81 YPC) rushing and just 33.7 receiving yards per game, also putting Kerryon Johnson in a tough spot. Fortunately, volume tends to carry far more significance than efficiency projections in fantasy outcomes, and Johnson played his second-most snaps of the season (71%) while logging 15-plus touches for the fourth time in five games in last Monday night’s loss to Green Bay. Johnson also drew a season-high four targets against the Packers. I like Johnson as a fringe RB1/2 play versus the Vikings despite the tough on-paper draw. … A favorite of OC Darrell Bevell from their time together in Seattle, J.D. McKissic came off Detroit’s Week 5 bye playing ahead of Ty Johnson with five touches on a 25% playing-time clip. Ty played just two snaps at Lambeau and can be checked off season-long stash lists.
Stafford’s 2019 target distribution: Kenny Golladay 45; Marvin Jones 29; T.J. Hockenson 25; Danny Amendola 20; Kerryon 13; Jesse James 8; McKissic 7; Logan Thomas 6; Ty Johnson 5. … Golladay has lived up to pre-season expectations and them some with over 100 yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-5 games while dominating Stafford’s targets and commanding a 33% Air Yards market share in Detroit’s passing attack. Although the Vikings have yet to allow an enemy wideout to clear 80 yards this season, Golladay’s big-play and high-volume usage renders him a matchup-agnostic WR2. Vikings top CB Xavier Rhodes has permitted 28 completions on 33 targets (85%) for 266 yards (8.1 YPA) and a touchdown six games in. … Jones has reached 60 yards in just 2-of-6 games, but I’m leaving the WR3/flex light on for him with Jones popping in Week 7’s Buy Low Air Yards Model. … Continue to ignore Amendola against a Vikings defense that has checked fellow slot WRs Mohamed Sanu (5/57/0), Nelson Agholor (4/42/0), Hunter Renfrow (3/28/0), Geronimo Allison (4/25/1), Golden Tate (3/13/0), and Anthony Miller (2/11/0). … The Vikings have yet to allow a single touchdown to a tight end this year and contained Zach Ertz (4/54/0) last week. Hockenson has gone three straight games running fewer than 20 pass routes.
Score Prediction: Vikings 23, Lions 17
Raiders @ Packers
Team Totals: Packers 26, Raiders 21
Whereas Green Bay will play this game on a short week following Monday night’s comeback win over Detroit, the Raiders visit Lambeau with a distinct rest advantage after their Week 6 bye and a major matchup edge versus the Packers’ run-soft defense. Evolving into a smashmouth team under coach Jon Gruden, Oakland ranks top ten in yards per carry (4.9) and rushing yards per game (134.4), convenient against Green Bay DC Mike Pettine’s run funnel, which enemy backs have torched for 131/644/7 (4.92 YPC) rushing. Although Josh Jacobs’ floor remains low due to his light passing-game involvement – he has just six catches in five games and scored fewer than 13 PPR points in 3-of-5 weeks – riding Jacobs gives the Raiders their best chance to win from a Week 7 matchup standpoint. Jacobs is a boom-bust RB2 play in ex-Packers assistant Gruden’s old stomping grounds. … With lowly QB21 > QB28 > QB20 > QB17 > QB25 fantasy results to date, Derek Carr is safe to ignore beyond two-quarterback leagues. The Raiders’ passing game is devoid of explosiveness, especially with Tyrell Williams (foot) on the mend.
Update: The Raiders listed RT Trent Brown (calf) as doubtful and ruled out WR Tyrell Williams (foot) on Friday, the former especially concerning against red-hot Packers edge rushers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. Green Bay enters Week 7 ranked sixth in sacks (18) and ninth in QB hits (37). Sans Williams, Oakland’s likely first-team wideouts will be Trevor Davis and Keelan Doss with Hunter Renfrow in the slot. For what it’s worth, I grabbed Davis in a deep Dynasty league this week.
Carr’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Darren Waller 42; Tyrell Williams 24; Hunter Renfrow 23; Foster Moreau 11; Jalen Richard 9; Jacobs and DeAndre Washington 8; Derek Carrier 7; Trevor Davis 4; Keelan Doss 3. … Teams targeting tight ends against the Pack are 27-of-35 for a measly 211 yards (6.03 YPA) and one touchdown. Even if Sunday’s matchup isn’t thrilling for Waller, his usage is, having played 90.1% of the Raiders’ 2019 offensive snaps and commanded a 26% target share, most among NFL tight ends. Waller’s matchup is improved by the absence of dynamic Packers FS Darnell Savage (ankle). Waller has earned every-week top-five TE1 treatment and should soon experience positive-TD regression with zero end-zone trips on the year. … Williams owns a team-high 39% Air Yards market share but still isn’t over the plantar fasciitis that sidelined him for Oakland’s pre-bye upset of the Bears. Held below 50 yards in every game since Week 1 and potentially limited if active against the Pack, Williams is a Week 7 fade. … Routes run were distributed as follows among Raiders wideouts in Week 5: Davis 26 > Renfrow 18 > Doss 14 > Marcell Ateman 11. The Raiders shamefully traded a future fifth-round pick for unsalvageable Zay Jones, who is averaging 5.3 career yards per target. Ignore Oakland pass catchers beyond Waller.
Picking it up after a painfully slow start in first-year coach Matt LaFleur’s offense, Aaron Rodgers was fantasy football’s overall QB9 in Weeks 4-6 and now draws an Oakland defense that should give him a clean pocket with the NFL’s ninth-lowest sack rate (5.0%) and seventh-lowest QB Hit Rate (11.6%). Raiders situational pass rusher Arden Key (knee) won’t play, and top-five reach Clelin Ferrell has been concerningly quiet off the edge. Even with an injury-decimated receiver corps, Rodgers is low-end QB1 playable in a plum draw at home. … Aaron Jones followed up his four-TD Week 5 eruption by losing a fumble, dropping a would-be 33-yard touchdown catch, and getting out-snapped (49%) and out-touched (15) by Jamaal Williams (53%, 18), who totaled 136 yards and a touchdown in one of the best games of Williams’ ordinarily-plodding career. While Jones will always maintain more one-for-one explosiveness, he must be downgraded into mid-range RB2 territory in what deserves to devolve into a timeshare based on Jones’ miserable play and Williams’ standout performance in Week 6. Williams has logged touch counts of 12 > 14 > 18 in his last three full games and is a high-end flex option against the Raiders.
Rodgers’ Week 6 target distribution: Jones and Geronimo Allison 7; Williams, Allen Lazard, and Jimmy Graham 5; Jake Kumerow 3; Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Darrius Shepherd, and Marcedes Lewis 2. … As Davante Adams (toe) and Allison (concussion) appear unlikely to play and Valdes-Scantling (knee/ankle) missed early-week practice time, Green Bay’s Week 7 wideout distribution is probably going to be tough to peg. Lazard was the star (4/65/1) of last Monday night’s comeback win over Detroit and earned post-game praise from Rodgers but ran only 11 routes on 23% of the snaps. Kumerow led the group in routes run (36) but commanded only three targets and has yet to clear 20 yards this year. MVS has topped 52 yards once in six games, and his Week 7 health is entirely unclear nursing multiple injuries. Shepherd committed a back-breaking goal-line drop that popped into the air and was intercepted by Lions CB Justin Coleman, the exact kind of play that could earn Shepherd a long-term stay in Rodgers’ doghouse. The Packers signed journeyman slot WR Ryan Grant on Wednesday, confirmation they are concerned about their health at wideout. Everyone is a Week 7 dart throw here. … Graham also dropped a Week 6 touchdown catch and is battling an ankle injury. His floor has been basement low throughout the year.
Update: Davante Adams (toe) was ruled out on Friday, while Geronimo Allison (concussion/chest) is doubtful and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle/knee) missed practice all week and is questionable. Players who don’t practice all week tend not to play on Sundays. If Allison and MVS can’t go against the Raiders, the Packers’ likely three-receiver set would be made up of Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard, and either Darrius Shepherd or Ryan Grant.
Score Prediction: Packers 24, Raiders 21
Texans @ Colts
Totals: Colts 24.5, Texans 23.5
Up to 4-2 after last week’s thrilling upset win at Arrowhead, the Texans visit Lucas Oil Stadium to face a Colts defense that is fresh off its bye and has contained Deshaun Watson in consecutive meetings, holding him to last Week 14’s QB17 result and a miserable Wild Card playoff game wherein Watson went 29-of-49 (59.2%) for 235 yards (4.8 YPA), one touchdown, and one pick. Indy got back top pass rusher Jabaal Sheard (knee) before the bye, and MLB Darius Leonard (concussion) returns this week. While this matchup isn’t a cakewalk, Watson’s to-date production has been far too dynamic to lower expectations; he banked Week 6’s overall QB3 result against the Chiefs despite four touchdown drops, while the Texans allowed zero sacks for the second straight week. Outscoring Patrick Mahomes by two points per game, Watson is up to fantasy’s No. 3 quarterback on the year and always warrants DFS-tournament consideration based on his sky-high ceiling. He has top-four fantasy scores in 4-of-6 starts. … Coach Bill O’Brien stayed committed to Carlos Hyde as the Texans’ Week 6 feature back even after a first-quarter lost fumble, forcing a season-high 27 touches onto Hyde’s plate, which he parlayed into 130 yards and a touchdown against Kansas City’s tissue-soft defense. Albeit without Leonard for most of the year, the Colts have generously conceded 93/438/2 (4.71 YPC) rushing to enemy backs and give Hyde RB2/flex playability, albeit with a low floor based on his lack of passing-game usage. Hyde has one target or fewer in 5-of-6 games. … Change-up back Duke Johnson hasn’t topped 10 touches since Week 1.
Update: While Indianapolis is getting a few key defenders back, DC Matt Eberflus‘ unit remains without FS Malik Hooker (knee) and won’t have underrated slot CB Kenny Moore (knee), while top CB Pierre Desir (hamstring) and pass rusher Justin Houston (calf) will be game-time decisions. Deshaun Watson confidently remains an elite QB1 play.
Watson’s Weeks 1-6 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 56; Will Fuller 48; Darren Fells 20; Jordan Akins 18; Johnson and Keke Coutee 17; Kenny Stills 14; Hyde 8. … Hopkins dropped a would-be walk-in touchdown and managed 55 scoreless yards in last week’s win, although he again dominated targets (12) and remained a PPR asset with a season-high nine catches. Even without a ceiling game since Week 1, Hopkins’ floor has stayed high with five-plus catches in all six games. The Colts’ zone defense did keep him under wraps in each of these clubs’ last two meetings (5/37/0 > 4/36/1). … Fuller led Houston in Week 6 Air Yards (155) but dropped three potential TDs and is up to six drops on the year. Colts DC Matt Eberflus’ Cover 2 zone is specifically designed to stamp out long passing plays that are Fuller’s bread and butter, downgrading him from high-upside WR2 to risky WR3/flex. … Stills (hamstring) is due back to rotate with Coutee in the slot. Even with Stills on the shelf the last two weeks, Coutee played fewer than half of Houston’s offensive snaps. … Akins and Fells ran the same number of Week 6 routes, but Fells out-targeted and outscored Akins for the second straight game. Although there is virtually no separation between their fantasy outlooks from a usage standpoint, both are stream-able against a Colts defense that entered its bye allowing the NFL’s fifth-most catches (6.4) and yards (66.8) per game to tight ends.
The Colts come off their bye with Jacoby Brissett having posted top-12 fantasy scores in three of his last four starts to face a Texans defense that has surrendered top-12 QB1 results in 5-of-6 games and is dealing with hamstring injuries to top CBs Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby. Especially promising for Brissett’s Week 7 streamer viability is T.Y. Hilton’s return to full health; Brissett is an incredible 24-of-29 (83%) for 232 yards (8.0 YPA) and four touchdowns when targeting Hilton this year. The Texans’ red-hot offense could easily force Colts coach Frank Reich to call plays more aggressively, which would raise Brissett’s box-score ceiling. … Indy’s open date was also opportune for Marlon Mack, who battled early-season ankle and calf injuries but was the driving force behind Week 5’s upset of the Chiefs with a career-high 32 touches for 148 yards. The true centerpiece of Reich’s offense in neutral game scripts, Mack is averaging 21.2 touches with seven TDs over Indy’s last ten games, including playoffs. He’s locked onto the RB1/2 fringe against a Texans defense allowing 140.3 total yards per game to running backs.
Brissett’s 2019 target distribution: Hilton 29; Nyheim Hines 21; Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle 20; Parris Campbell 13; Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal, and Deon Cain 12; Mack 9; Mo Alie-Cox 6; Jordan Wilkins 2. … In charge of the Texans’ defense since 2014, DC Romeo Crennel has rarely had answers for Hilton, whose last six receiving lines against Houston are 5/85/0 > 9/199/0 > 4/115/0 > 3/14/0 > 5/175/2 > 9/115/1. In his career, T.Y. also averages 11.1 more yards with a 5.8% higher touchdown probability in home games. This year, Crennel’s secondary has coughed up at- or above-expectation wide receiver lines to Keenan Allen (13/183/2), Michael Thomas (10/123/0), Ted Ginn (7/101/0), Calvin Ridley (5/88/1), Tyreek Hill (5/80/2), Chris Conley (4/73/0), and D.J. Chark (7/55/1). Joseph and Roby’s hamstring problems further elevate Hilton’s Week 7 outlook. … A predictable fantasy dud, Ebron has yet to clear 50 yards or top five targets in a 2019 game. He’s a touchdown-or-bust streamer with a goose-egg floor. … Even while playing 71% of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps – Ebron is at 41% — Doyle has also failed to clear 50 yards in a rotation that cancels out both Colts tight ends for fantasy purposes. … Albeit with Campbell (abdomen) sidelined in Week 5 against the Chiefs, Pascal operated as the Colts’ No. 2 receiver with Cain No. 3 and Rogers No. 4. Colts non-Hilton pass catchers remain fantasy fades.
Score Prediction: Colts 27, Texans 24
Cardinals @ Giants
Team Totals: Giants 26, Cardinals 23
The Cards visit The Meadowlands on fire after back-to-back wins over Cincinnati and Atlanta, improving to 2-3-1 to draw the 2-4 Giants, who’ve yielded top-ten fantasy results to 5-of-6 quarterbacks faced. Kyler Murray has shown a high floor with top-18 finishes in 6-of-6 starts and an increasingly high ceiling after consecutive top-six weeks. Christian Kirk’s (ankle) expected return, Murray’s aggressive scrambling – he’s averaging 55.3 rushing yards over the last month – and this cake matchup should lock Murray into season-long lineups and render him a must-play in DFS-tournament stacks with David Johnson and/or Larry Fitzgerald. Upgrading from Mike McCoy to Kliff Kingsbury, this year’s Cardinals are averaging 11.1 more offensive plays per game with massive bumps in yards per play (4.3 to 5.6) and points per drive (1.09 to 1.97). … Quietly emerging as the NFL’s premier rushing attack, the Cardinals should trample a Giants team that was pounded for 125/601/3 (4.81 YPC) rushing by enemy backs in its last five games. The G-Men have also surrendered the league’s fourth-most receiving yards to running backs (58.2). Even as Johnson’s Week 6 snaps were slightly cut (75%) due to back stiffness, he handled 17-plus touches for the fifth time in six games and scored twice, including a sensational 14-yard receiving TD. No. 2 back Chase Edmonds totaled 77 yards and also hit pay dirt but only logged seven touches on a 29% playing-time clip. Johnson is an elite RB1 play in this plum draw. Edmonds is an intriguing flex option.
Update: Coach Kliff Kingsbury labeled David Johnson (ankle/back) a game-time decision after Johnson practiced in limited fashion on Thursday and Friday. That’s actually more than Johnson did last week, and he went on to effectively handle lead-back duties against the Falcons. Still, Johnson’s continued health questions serve as a reminder of Chase Edmonds‘ flex-play upside in a plum matchup against the G-Men.
Murray’s 2019 targets: Fitz 52; David Johnson 41; Christian Kirk 36; KeeSean Johnson 31; Damiere Byrd 20; Edmonds 11; Charles Clay 9; Trent Sherfield 8; Maxx Williams 7; Pharoh Cooper 6; Andy Isabella 0. … Even as Fitzgerald’s early-season big plays have disappeared, he’s shown one of PPR fantasy’s highest floors with five or more grabs in 6-of-6 games. This is another gorgeous draw; Fitz runs 94% of his routes inside, and opponents are 30-of-40 passing (75%) for 418 yards (10.5 YPA) and three TDs when targeting the Giants’ slot coverage. Julian Edelman was latest to torment it (9/113/0) last Thursday night. … Based on matchup and his pre-injury usage, Kirk warrants immediate reinsertion into PPR lineups against the Giants; Kirk runs over 80% of his routes inside and averaged nearly 11 targets per game in Weeks 1-3. Kirk is also popping in this week’s Buy Low Air Yards Model. … KeeSean Johnson, Byrd, and Sherfield continue to operate as decoys on the outside; Johnson is scoreless on the season and has yet to clear 50 yards, while Byrd drew just two targets in his Week 6 return from a hamstring injury. … Isabella was not targeted on a career-high 17% snap rate last week.
Update: Coach Kliff Kingsbury deemed Christian Kirk (ankle) a game-time decision on Friday, after Kirk turned in three straight limited practices. In Kirk’s absence, the Cardinals have used fewer four-wideout sets and more two-tight end packages featuring Maxx Williams, who would become a relatively interesting TE1 streamer should Kirk sit again. Williams played a season-high 58% of last week’s offensive snaps, catching 3-of-3 targets for 34 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons.
Back from a mini-bye following their Thursday night blowout loss to the Patriots, the G-Men draw an exciting bounce-back opportunity against a porous Arizona defense traveling cross country for a 1pm ET game. Cardinals DC Vance Joseph’ unit has conceded top-12 quarterback scores in 5-of-6 weeks with a picturesque 16:0 TD-to-INT ratio against while permitting the NFL’s second-most QB rushing yards per game (26.7), helpful based on Daniel Jones’ dual-threat capability. Particularly with much of his arsenal back, Jones is worthy of QB1 streamer and DFS-tournament discussion in the most-favorable matchup he’ll catch this year. As offenses facing the Cards are averaging the league’s seventh-most plays per game (65.8), Giants box-score opportunity should spike in this plus draw. … Even as Saquon Barkley’s (high ankle sprain) recovery progressed quicker than expected, the Giants played his return safe rather than sorry. That means Barkley’s workload should be all systems go in a game that can springboard New York to 3-4 and back into the NFC playoff race. All told, Joseph’s defense is hemorrhaging 140.2 total yards per game enemy backs. Barkley owners shouldn’t hesitate to tee him up as a top-five RB1. … As the Giants cut Jonathan Hilliman and expect Wayne Gallman back from his concussion, Gallman should remain rostered in all season-long leagues in case Barkley suffers a setback with his high ankle sprain.
Jones’ 2019 target distribution: Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram 27; Darius Slayton 20; Golden Tate 15; Rhett Ellison 14; Wayne Gallman 9; Barkley and Bennie Fowler 5; Jonathan Hilliman 4; Elijaa Penny 3; Cody Latimer 2. … Shepard is expected to miss at least one more game as he recovers from his second concussion in the last two months. … With Patrick Peterson off suspension to erase the perimeter, this game sets up perfectly for Engram; fellow TEs T.J. Hockenson (6/131/1), Austin Hooper (8/117/1), Mark Andrews (8/112/1), Greg Olsen (6/75/2), and Will Dissly (7/57/1) have all smashed the Cards. Popping as Week 7’s No. 1 buy-low tight end in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model, Engram arguably has the highest TE1 ceiling on this week’s slate. … Even after Patriots CBs J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore stole his Week 6 lunch money, rookie Slayton deserves a permanent role in New York’s three-receiver sets. Slayton leads the Giants in Air Yards (364) in Jones’ four starts and adds a 4.39 speed element his wideout teammates lack. Slayton is still a boom-bust WR4 in season-long leagues against Arizona as New York’s likeliest candidate for Peterson’s outside coverage. … 31-year-old Tate showed he still has gas in the tank by whipping previously-impenetrable Patriots slot CB Jonathan Jones for last week’s 64-yard catch-and-run score. Tate ran 88% of his routes inside, where Arizona has allowed completions on 38-of-51 targets (75%) for 460 yards (9.0 YPA) and six touchdowns. Although Barkley and Engram’s returns threaten Tate’s target share, he is a quality matchup-driven WR3 play.
Score Prediction: Giants 28, Cardinals 27
49ers @ Redskins
Team Totals: 49ers 26, Redskins 16
While undefeated San Francisco’s defense has understandably earned most to-date plaudits, this is a potential blowup spot for Kyle Shanahan’s offense in an epic Week 7 revenge game against a Redskins franchise that fired him and his father in December of 2013. Kyle can best set this into motion by imposing his will via San Francisco’s dominant rushing attack paced by Tevin Coleman, whose touch counts are 16 and 20 since the 49ers’ Week 5 bye. Pinpointed as Shanahan’s preferred goal-line back, Coleman has hit pay dirt in consecutive games and out-snapped Matt Breida 56% to 35% in last week’s rout of the Rams. Even after missing time with a high ankle sprain, Coleman has ten red-zone touches to Breida’s two. Coleman is an upside RB2 in this plum draw; Washington has been touched up for an unimposing 148/633/4 (4.28 YPC) rushing line and the NFL’s second-most receptions per game (7.0) by enemy backs. … Despite Breida’s superior per-touch efficiency, Shanahan appears to fancy Coleman as a true lead back and Breida as an explosive change of pace who operates best on limited usage. Breida still handled 17 touches and a season-high four targets in last week’s win over the Rams and remains RB2/flex playable, even if Coleman is a better one-for-one option. It very much helps that this backfield has been reduced from a three- to two-man ordeal; Raheem Mostert played just seven snaps in L.A. and will likely resume focusing on special teams. … Jimmy Garoppolo warrants Shanahan-narrative-based Week 7 streamer consideration but has finished above QB16 just once in five 2019 starts, operating as a game manager on a defense- and running game-based 49ers team. It does help that Washington’s sieve-like pass defense has coughed up top-13 fantasy quarterback scores in 4-of-6 games while ranking a sub-par 18th in sack rate (6.1%) and 23rd in QB Hit Rate (13.4%), suggesting Jimmy G’s pocket should be clean.
Jimmy G’s 2019 target distribution: George Kittle 37; Deebo Samuel 22; Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin 15; Breida 12; Kendrick Bourne 10; Richie James 8; Coleman and Mostert 6. … Kittle shook off last week’s groin scare to play 83% of San Francisco’s snaps and turn in his season-best game (8/103/0). Washington has allowed the NFL’s ninth-most catches (31) and tenth-most yards to tight ends (337). … Even with James weeded out, the 49ers maintained a four-man WRBC against the Rams; Samuel led the unit in routes run (28) but Pettis drew the most targets (6) and gained the most yards (45). In a low-volume passing attack, this is a situation to continue to avoid in season-long leagues. Pettis would still be my pick if forced to choose between him, Samuel, Goodwin, and Bourne. Pettis’ snaps have increased in three straight weeks (42% > 63% > 71%), and he was unluckily tackled twice inside the five-yard line in last Sunday’s victory. Pettis also ran a team-high 55% of his routes inside, where Washington has been torched for 44 completions on 52 slot targets (85%) for 451 yards (8.7 YPA) and four touchdowns.
Update: The 49ers ruled out Deebo Samuel (groin) on Friday, further increasing Dante Pettis‘ DFS-tournament appeal.
The Redskins will stick with Case Keenum after his two Week 6 touchdown passes versus Miami keyed Washington’s first 2019 win, albeit now to face a far-tougher foe. Fired-up 49ers DC Robert Saleh’s defense has permitted lowly fantasy scores of QB30 (Jameis Winston), QB10 (Andy Dalton), QB24 (Mason Rudolph), QB32 (Baker Mayfield), and QB28 (Jared Goff) while ranking No. 3 in sack rate (10%) and No. 2 in QB Hit Rate (18.8%). Keenum is a weak two-quarterback-league play. San Francisco is on pace to allow the NFL’s fewest passing yards since 1982. … Adrian Peterson showed he remains capable of beating up on cupcakes by parlaying season highs in snaps (63%) and touches (25) into 136 yards versus the Fins. But the 49ers are the opposite – enemy backs have just 87/346/0 (3.98 YPC) rushing against them – and A.P. still ran only seven routes and drew two targets. Peterson goes from rock-solid RB2 play to low-floor flex option downgrading matchups from Miami to San Francisco. Living in backfields, the 49ers have tackles for loss on 30.8% of enemy run plays, third most in the league. … This should theoretically set up as a Chris Thompson game, yet San Francisco has yielded a league-low 24.2 receiving yards per game to running backs, and interim coach Bill Callahan’s run-game devotion suggests he’ll keep smashing Peterson into brick walls even if the Skins fall behind. On Tuesday, Callahan revealed Thompson is dealing with turf toe, putting his Week 7 availability in doubt. Wendell Smallwood is next in line for passing-down/change-up work behind Peterson.
Update: Chris Thompson (turf toe) was indeed ruled out on Friday and could be facing a multi-week absence. Wendell Smallwood is the next man up behind Adrian Peterson and should be rostered in deep PPR leagues.
Keenum’s 2019 target distribution: Terry McLaurin 31; Thompson 28; Trey Quinn 27; Paul Richardson 24; Vernon Davis 17; Jeremy Sprinkle 9; Peterson 7; Wendell Smallwood, Kelvin Harmon, and Steven Sims 3. … Although San Francisco has allowed the NFL’s ninth-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers, McLaurin’s usage and obvious rapport with Keenum give him a shot at true matchup-proof scoring ability. 49ers RCB Ahkello Withersoon (ankle) is out for one more week, while McLaurin’s stat lines in Keenum’s four full games are 5/125/1 > 5/62/1 > 6/70/1 > 4/100/2. Isolating just those weeks, McLaurin ranks second in the NFL in Air Yards market share (49%). … Quinn hasn’t reached 40 yards in a single 2019 game and has drawn exactly four targets in three straight weeks. … After goose egging on four targets in a beautiful Week 6 matchup with Miami, Richardson now has 50 yards or fewer in 11-of-13 games as a Redskin. … Teams targeting tight ends against San Francisco are 19-of-29 passing for an anemic 121 yards (4.2 YPA) and one touchdown. They held white-hot Gerald Everett to nine scoreless yards on five targets last week. Even in a revenge game, Davis is little more than a desperate streamer.
Update: Vernon Davis (concussion) was ruled out again, giving Jeremy Sprinkle yet another start.
Score Prediction: 49ers 33, Redskins 13
Chargers @ Titans
Team Totals: Titans 21, Chargers 19
Following a beyond-embarrassing Sunday night home loss to Pittsburgh, the Chargers visit Nashville to face a Titans defense that is the clear-cut strength of its team, having yielded the NFL’s fifth-fewest points while holding its last four quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB25 (Joe Flacco), QB13 (Josh Allen), QB16 (Matt Ryan), and QB18 (Gardner Minshew) and yielding 6.8 yards per pass attempt on the year, the league’s eighth-lowest clip. Yet to exhibit 2019 upside without a fantasy outcome above QB9, Philip Rivers is a weak streamer but fine two-quarterback-league start with top-14 results in 4-of-6 games. … The good news for Los Angeles’ ground attack is Tennessee’s vulnerability in said area; Mike Vrabel’s defense has been touched up for 117/518/3 (4.43 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s sixth-most receptions per game (6.7) by enemy backs. The bad news is Chargers coach Anthony Lynn insists on force feeding extremely-inefficient Melvin Gordon, whose to-date rushing attempts and targets have generated just 2.77 yards per play and one first down among 31 intended touches (3%). Gordon’s playing time rose from 46% in Week 5 to 60% in Week 6, and he out-touched Austin Ekeler 11 to 8. Both Chargers backs are dicey Week 7 RB2/flex plays as timeshare members in a projected low-scoring game.
Rivers’ Week 6 target distribution: Mike Williams 10; Hunter Henry 9; Keenan Allen 6; Gordon, Ekeler, and Travis Benjamin 4; Virgil Green and Jason Moore 2; Geremy Davis 1. … Williams checks in as this week’s No. 1 buy-low receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model with a league-high 347 Air Yards over the past two weeks. Williams has lacked efficiency throughout his career, and the Titans have yielded the NFL’s eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers, so Williams is purely an opportunity-based WR3 play in this suboptimal draw. … Albeit fueled by comeback mode, Henry’s Week 6 usage was incredibly encouraging. Henry’s 37 routes run were his most since Week 4 of 2016, and he looked crisp and athletic making big plays in the red zone and up the seams. As Tennessee has allowed the NFL’s seventh-most fantasy points per game to tight ends, Henry should be locked into lineups as a top-six TE1. … Allen’s monster Weeks 1-3 put a Weeks 4-6 bullseye on his back, but Henry and Williams’ productivity should assist his inevitable resurgence. This is no pushover matchup – Titans slot CB Logan Ryan’s passer rating allowed is a paltry 64.2 – but Allen’s positional diversity will keep him on the move. Ultimately, Allen is a fade-recency-bias and fade-matchup fringe WR1/2 play who needs the Chargers’ coaches to deprioritize inefficient Gordon touches that are coming at Allen’s expense. It certainly can’t hurt that Allen joins Williams in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 7 Air Yards Buy Low Model. Allen also spoke up about the Chargers’ dysfunctional offense this week, giving him some squeaky-wheel potential.
After four losses in the last five weeks, the Titans will take their chances with Marcus Mariota clone Ryan Tannehill to manage games for the foreseeable future. Even if Tannehill proves an upgrade on his often-sacked predecessor, it probably won’t show up on Week 7’s stat sheet; Tennessee ranks 31st in pass attempts per game (29.2), and 4-of-6 quarterbacks to face the Chargers have logged fantasy finishes of QB18 or worse. … Derrick Henry is an exciting bounce-back bet coming off last week’s season-worst game at Denver; the Chargers have been trampled for 143/654/4 (4.57 YPC) rushing by enemy backs, while Henry has 100-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in seven straight home games dating back to last year. Even in last week’s negative-script 16-0 loss to Denver, Henry out-touched Dion Lewis 16 to 4. This is shaping up as one of 2019’s best opportunities to play Henry in DFS tournaments.
Update: Derrick Henry‘s Week 7 outlook is further enhanced by the absence of three of the Chargers’ four defensive line starters; LE Melvin Ingram (hamstring) was listed as doubtful on Friday, and first-team DTs Justin Jones (shoulder) and Brandon Mebane (knee) were both ruled out. On FanDuel, I plan to make Henry one of my highest-owned players this week.
Tannehill’s 2019 target distribution: Corey Davis and Adam Humphries 4; Lewis, Delanie Walker, and A.J. Brown 2; Anthony Firkser and Jonnu Smith 1. … Davis has cleared 50 yards once in his last 11 games with one touchdown during that span. In an extremely low-volume passing game that probably won’t change much quarterbacked by Tannehill, Davis is a WR4 play at best against a Bolts defense permitting the NFL’s sixth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. … Humphries’ ceiling is nonexistent, but at least he’s asserted himself as a consistent factor in three-wideout sets with 24 targets in Tennessee’s last four games. He’s a PPR-specific desperation play against the Chargers, whose slot corner is All-Pro Desmond King. … Albeit fueled by point-chasing mode in Tennessee’s 16-0 loss, Walker retook primary tight end duties from Smith against the Broncos, commanding six targets after drawing four combined in Weeks 4-5. I just really want no part of this passing game. … Brown is an excellent prospect in a miserable situation. He will pop up for sporadic productive weeks this season, but they’ll be impossible to predict.
Score Prediction: Titans 21, Chargers 20
Saints @ Bears
Team Totals: Bears 21, Saints 18
While Teddy Bridgewater deserves partial credit for his team’s 4-0 record sans Drew Brees, the buck will in all likelihood stop at Soldier Field against a Bears defense that erased its first five opponents for QB23 (Aaron Rodgers), QB17 (Joe Flacco), QB21 (Case Keenum), QB25 (Kirk Cousins), and QB25 (Derek Carr) fantasy results before its Week 6 bye. A top-20 quarterback in just 4-of-5 appearances this year, Bridgewater is a low-end two-QB-league play in this probable low-scoring affair. … Alvin Kamara logged a season-low 59% of New Orleans’ Week 6 snaps, afterwards revealing he “tweaked” a knee following his in-practice ankle scare. Kamara’s snaps were already trending down over the prior month (88% > 79% > 68% > 59%), and Brees’ injury has all but zapped his touchdown upside. Chicago’s defense has stoned enemy backs for 112/392/4 (3.50 YPC) rushing but is giving up 58.6 receiving yards to Kamara’s position. Kamara is a volatile fringe RB1/2 play in The Windy City. Tuesday reports referred to Kamara’s injury as a “high-ankle-type issue,” ominous phrasing for a running back who so relies on cuts, jukes, and open-field elusiveness and burst. … Another Kamara concern is Latavius Murray’s Week 6 efficiency in an enhanced role; Latavius parlayed his 11 touches into 79 yards on a year-high 42% of the Saints’ offensive snaps. Particularly with Kamara’s health shy of 100%, Murray’s productivity could encourage coach Sean Payton to deploy him more at Kamara’s expense.
Update: Alvin Kamara (knee/ankle) was ruled out on Friday, setting up Latavius Murray for full-time feature back usage at Soldier Field. While this matchup is imposing on paper, it’s worth remembering Chicago got throttled by Oakland’s rushing attack in Week 5 in London, and the Bears will not have up-front difference-maker DT Akiem Hicks (elbow, I.R.). Murray should get a ton of work. For forward thinkers in deep leagues, the Saints’ No. 3 back is Dwayne Washington, and their No. 4 is Zach Zenner. I might throw a cheap bid at Washington in a few large-bench high-stakes leagues before Sunday’s game.
Bridgewater’s 2019 target distribution: Michael Thomas 51; Kamara 31; Jared Cook 22; Ted Ginn 18; Josh Hill 11; Murray 7; Taysom Hill 4; Tre’Quan Smith 2. … Stefon Diggs (7/108/0), Emmanuel Sanders (11/98/1), Paul Richardson (8/83/1), and Terry McLaurin (6/70/1) each showed over Chicago’s last four games that the Bears’ biggest defensive vulnerability is its secondary, where slot CB Buster Skrine is easy to beat and top CB Kyle Fuller is having a down year. With 89-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 6-of-6 games, Thomas has remained a true model of consistency despite New Orleans’ quarterback downgrade and regularly goes low owned in DFS tournaments. A true volume monster, Thomas leads the NFL in catches (53) and target share (32%). … Cook has stayed afloat with touchdown catches in consecutive weeks but hasn’t cleared 41 yards in a single 2019 game, while fellow TEs Darren Waller (4/39/0), Noah Fant (4/33/0), Jimmy Graham (3/30/1), Vernon Davis (2/30/0), and Kyle Rudolph (1/12/0) have all gotten little going against the Bears. … Ginn hasn’t topped 36 yards since Week 1.
Update: Jared Cook (ankle) was ruled out on Friday, combining with Alvin Kamara‘s absence to further solidify Michael Thomas‘ league-high target share and boost Thomas’ DFS-tournament appeal in a week where his ownership figures to be low. The Saints’ Nos. 2 and 3 tight ends are Josh Hill and Brian Parker.
The Bears come off their bye with Mitchell Trubisky back from his non-throwing shoulder injury to face a Saints defense that stymied previously-hot Dak Prescott (QB24), Jameis Winston (QB14), and Gardner Minshew (QB26) consecutively in Weeks 4-6, thriving since DT Sheldon Rankins (Achilles’) rejoined the lineup and Marshon Lattimore began shutting down every No. 1 wideout in sight. Even as Trubisky’s rushing ability is arguably his best trait, he’s averaged just 12.9 rushing yards over his last 12 starts compared to 30.8 in his previous 12. Trubisky’s reduced running correlates directly with last year’s shoulder injury, suggesting we shouldn’t anticipate a resurgence following his latest. With no fantasy results above QB13 through four starts and Lattimore virtually certain to chase Allen Robinson, Trubisky is a low-end two-quarterback-league option against the Saints. … Chicago’s pre-bye London loss to the Raiders was catastrophic for everyone but Robinson; the Bears ran a season-low 51 plays and were destroyed 35 to 25 in time of possession. While the Bears’ offensive line hasn’t created lanes – they’re 25th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards run-blocking metric – David Montgomery is averaging 17.8 touches over Chicago’s last four games, good enough for RB2/flex treatment even in a so-far inefficient rushing attack. Against Oakland, Montgomery was hurt by Matt Nagy’s unsuccessful attempt to feature Tarik Cohen on a season-high ten touches, catering to short-area QB Chase Daniel. Whereas Cohen has been featured in Daniel’s 2018-2019 starts, Montgomery has seen more work with Trubisky.
Trubisky’s 2019 target distribution: Allen Robinson 27; Cohen 19; Taylor Gabriel 14; Montgomery 8; Trey Burton and Mike Davis 7; Adam Shaheen and Anthony Miller 6; Cordarrelle Patterson 5; Javon Wims 3. … Lattimore checked Amari Cooper (5/48/0), Mike Evans (0/0), and D.J. Chark (3/43/0) in the Saints’ last three games. One way for Robinson to escape Lattimore’s coverage would be for Nagy to shuffle him into the slot, where Robinson has already run 43% of his 2019 routes. Lattimore has covered the slot on just 2% of his snaps this year. Nevertheless, Robinson should be downgraded into high-volatility WR3 range amid suspect quarterback play in a tough draw. … Gabriel caught three touchdown passes in Week 3 at Washington, then missed two games with a concussion. He’s gone 15 straight games without topping 75 yards. In Week 7’s second-lowest-totaled affair, it’s difficult to get excited about Gabriel’s upside. … Burton has topped 40 yards in 3-of-20 games with the Bears and has one touchdown over his last 12 appearances. … Albeit with Chase Daniel at the controls, Miller showed pre-bye Week 5 signs of life with season highs in snaps (77%), routes run (34), and targets (7) against the Raiders. Miller runs 80% of his routes in the slot, where the Saints have been drilled by Tyler Lockett (11/154/1), Chris Godwin (7/125/2), Cooper Kupp (5/120/0), and Kenny Stills (3/37/1). Based on his plus matchup and inclining usage, Miller is a deep sleeper for an above-expectation Week 7 game.
Score Prediction: Bears 17, Saints 16
Seahawks @ Ravens
Team Totals: Seahawks 27, Ravens 23.5
Fresh off a Week 6 win at Cincinnati wherein he became the NFL’s first-ever quarterback to pass for over 200 yards (236) and run for over 100 (152) in the same game, Lamar Jackson visits CenturyLink Field to face a beatable Seattle defense that’s permitted top-16 quarterback results in 5-of-6 games including top-12 finishes to Andy Dalton, Kyler Murray, Jared Goff, and Baker Mayfield while ranking 28th in the NFL in sack rate (4.2%) and dead last in QB Hit Rate (7.9%). All told, quarterbacks facing Pete Carroll’s team have been high-floor, high-ceiling plays, nicely aligning with Jackson’s 2019 results; he’s been a top-ten QB1 in 5-of-6 starts. Since Baltimore’s defense has taken a huge step back, this game offers legit shootout potential, raising Jackson’s DFS appeal in a prospective track meet. Through six games, Jackson is on pace (1,227) to shatter Michael Vick’s quarterback rushing-yardage record (1,039). … Even as OC Greg Roman worked in Gus Edwards for six touches and Justice Hill for five in last week’s romp over Cincinnati, Mark Ingram kept a lead-back stranglehold with 15 touches and three targets, his second most of the year. Seattle has served up an unimposing 100/429/6 (4.29 YPC) rushing line and 50.8 receiving yards per game to enemy backs, boding well for Ingram as a still largely touchdown-reliant RB2. Ingram has overcome his TD dependency with an NFL-high eight carries inside the five-yard line.
Jackson’s 2019 target distribution: Mark Andrews 46; Marquise Brown 39; Willie Snead 20; Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst 16; Ingram 12; Miles Boykin and Seth Roberts 11; Hill 7; Edwards and Chris Moore 4. … Andrews predictably carried Baltimore’s passing game in Brown’s Week 6 absence and is up to No. 3 among tight ends in Air Yards (435) behind only Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. Gerald Everett (7/136/0), C.J. Uzomah (4/66/0), Ricky Seals Jones (3/47/1), Tyler Higbee (3/47/0), and Vance McDonald (7/38/2) have all beaten box-score expectations against Seattle, which is allowing the NFL’s fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends. … Should Brown return from the ankle injury coach John Harbaugh has made sound non-serious, he’ll also encounter a plus draw; Seattle’s pass-rush deficiency has added pressure to an already shaky secondary that’s been beaten up by John Ross (7/158/2), Cooper Kupp (9/117/1), Odell Beckham (6/101/0), JuJu Smith-Schuster (5/84/0), Tyler Boyd (8/60/0), and Michael Thomas (5/54/1). Only ten teams have allowed more catches to receivers than the Seahawks, and when healthy Brown has accounted for 47% of Baltimore’s wideout receptions. He’ll be a boom-bust WR2 play if active. … All ancillary pass catchers continue to lack fantasy value in Baltimore’s low-volume passing attack.
Update: Marquise Brown (ankle) missed each day of practice again and appears unlikely to play against the Seahawks, even as coach John Harbaugh left the door open Friday for Brown to suit up. If Brown sits for the second straight week, Mark Andrews remains the primary beneficiary. The Ravens simply don’t force targets to any of their other pass catchers. The Ravens could also dial up more Lamar Jackson rushing attempts, an approach they successfully took in last week’s win over the Bengals.
The 5-1 Seahawks return home from last Sunday’s comeback win at Cleveland to face an exploitable Ravens defense that ranks bottom ten in sacks (11) and yards per pass attempt allowed (8.1), suggesting DC Wink Martindale’s unit will struggle to take advantage of Seattle’s pass-protection weaknesses. Also ailing mightily in the secondary, Baltimore will once again miss top CB Jimmy Smith (knee), without whom they’ve allowed 291.2 passing yards per game. The Ravens also lost SS Tony Jefferson fill-in DeShon Elliott to a year-ending knee injury one week after Jefferson tore his ACL. Tuesday’s acquisition of (overrated) CB Marcus Peters from the Rams may help Baltimore in the long run, but probably not in Peters’ first game with the team. My to-date MVP pick, Russell Wilson has top-five QB1 scores in four of his last five starts and ranks No. 2 among quarterbacks in fantasy points this year. As we’ll expand upon soon, this is another green-light spot to stack Wilson with Tyler Lockett in DFS tournaments. … Seattle’s coaching staff reinforced its devotion to Chris Carson by feeding him 28 touches against the Browns, which Carson parlayed into his third straight game above 120 total yards on a 79% playing-time clip, his second highest of the year. Even despite his early-season ball-security woes, Carson has 18-plus touches in 5-of-6 games and three or more catches in 4-of-6, significantly raising Carson’s PPR floor. As the Ravens have coughed up 76/387/6 (5.09 YPC) rushing to enemy backs in their last four games, Carson is a shoo-in RB1 play as a home-favorite every-down back.
Wilson’s Weeks 1-6 target distribution: Tyler Lockett 41; D.K. Metcalf 31; Will Dissly 26; Carson 21; Jaron Brown 18; C.J. Prosise 16; David Moore 10; Luke Willson and Malik Turner 6; Rashaad Penny 3. … Even as Lockett lost a Week 6 fourth-quarter TD when replay review ruled him down at the one-yard line, he logged 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown for the eighth time in his last nine games and has been among fantasy’s most-reliable WR2s with weekly WR1 upside. Lockett runs 70% of his routes in the slot, where Jarvis Landry (8/167/0), Christian Kirk (6/114/0), Larry Fitzgerald (5/104/0), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (7/75/1) scored big against Baltimore over the last five weeks. … Metcalf has cleared 60 yards and/or scored a touchdown in 5-of-6 games, his downfall being Seattle’s limited pass volume on just 5.2 targets per game. Metcalf’s underrated consistency keeps him in every-week WR3/flex range, enhanced in Week 7 should Ravens top CB Marlon Humphrey chase Lockett into the slot. Humphrey did so to Tyler Boyd last week and held him to ten scoreless yards on seven targets. … Dissly’s Achilles’ tear will force Seattle to turn to a combination of Willson and Jacob Hollister at tight end; Willson played 69% of last week’s offensive snaps and Hollister 36%. While Willson is the preferred add in tight end-premium leagues, don’t be surprised if Seattle goes tight end shopping before the trade deadline.
Score Prediction: Seahawks 28, Ravens 27
Eagles @ Cowboys
Team Totals: Cowboys 26, Eagles 23
As far as consistency goes, Carson Wentz belongs in fantasy’s first tier with top-12 results in 5-of-6 starts and now catches a beat-up Dallas defense likely missing two of its top-three cornerbacks (Byron Jones, Anthony Brown) due to hamstring injuries. The Cowboys have also struggled to generate pass rush, ranking 22nd in sack rate (19.4%) and 21st in QB Hit Rate (14%), all of which came to a Week 6 head when Sam Darnold lit Kris Richard and Rod Marinelli’s defense on fire for 10.6 yards per attempt and a pair of scores in the Jets’ 24-22 upset win. Wentz’s high-floor to-date performance combined with this matchup against Dallas’ increasingly-vulnerable defense keeps him squarely in the QB1 crosshairs and DFS viable in stacks with Zach Ertz. … Even amid continued run-game struggles, Miles Sanders has settled in as the Eagles’ primary passing-game back, well earned based on Sanders’ pass-blocking prowess and receiving skills. The Cowboys’ zone defense has given up the NFL’s fourth-most running back receptions per game (6.8), while timeshare partner Jordan Howard hasn’t so much as drawn a target since Week 4. With at least 49 receiving yards in three of the last four weeks, Sanders is an underrated flex play in PPR leagues. … Howard remained the Eagles’ clear-cut primary back in last week’s loss to Minnesota, playing a year-high 63% of Philly’s offensive snaps and handling 13 or more touches for the third straight game. Dallas has surrendered an unimposing 109/486/7 (4.46 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. Howard’s floor is still scary low due to his lack of receiving usage, and he will likely need a short TD to pay fantasy dividends.
Update: Friday reports indicated Cowboys RCB Byron Jones (hamstring) will indeed try to play, albeit probably well short of 100%. The only Dallas defensive back not expected to play is slot CB Anthony Brown, for whom the Cowboys have a solid backup in Jourdan Lewis.
Wentz’s Weeks 2-6 target distribution: Zach Ertz 47; Nelson Agholor 34; Alshon Jeffery 29; Mack Hollins 20; Sanders 16; Dallas Goedert 15; J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 7; Howard 6; Darren Sproles 5. … The Cowboys used Byron Jones (hamstring) to shadow Ertz last Week 14, holding him to 5/38/0 receiving on eight targets. As Jones appears unlikely to play in Sunday night’s rematch, Ertz’s 2018 Week 10 result against Dallas (14/145/2) is more notable. This year, tight ends facing the Cowboys have caught 31-of-40 targets (78%) for 311 yards (7.8 YPA) and two touchdowns. This is a blowup spot for Ertz. … Agholor’s receiving lines since Alshon came back from his calf injury three games ago are 0/0 > 1/20/0 > 4/42/0. Dallas’ expected absence of slot CB Anthony Brown (hamstring) gives Agholor hope on one-game DFS slates. … Jeffery’s target counts since returning are 9 > 8 > 12, and he has four TDs in four appearances this year. Plus-sized Jones’ (6’1/199) absence will make life easier on Jeffery, who warrants confident WR2 treatment in season-long leagues. … The Eagles embraced two-tight end 12-personnel in their last two games, hurting Hollins but benefiting Goedert, whose eight targets in last week’s loss to the Vikings were a career high. I personally am streaming Goedert in several season-long leagues this week; the Cowboys are allowing the NFL’s fifth-most receptions and sixth-most yards per game to tight ends.
Update: I waited as long as I possibly could on Thursday night to write up this game due to so many unclarified injury situations. We finally received some clarification on Friday, but not until after I’d written up the Cowboys’ side. Friday reports indicate the Cowboys will indeed have WR Amari Cooper (quad), LT Tyron Smith (ankle), RT La’El Collins (MCL), and WR Randall Cobb (back) against the Eagles, rendering much of what was written here irrelevant. If these reports prove correct, I am starting Cooper with relative confidence in one of the best matchups he’ll catch all year, and raising Dak Prescott‘s box-score projection with both of his tackles, No. 1 wideout, and trusty slot receiver back.
All signs point to Dak Prescott playing Week 7 without LT Tyron Smith (ankle) and RT Le’El Collins (MCL) as well as Amari Cooper (quad). Over the past two seasons, Prescott has averaged 1.3 fewer yards per pass attempt, 87.6 fewer yards, and 5.5 fewer fantasy points per game without Cooper. Even against an Eagles defense has yielded top-eight results to 4-of-6 quarterbacks faced, Prescott is a volatile QB1 play with a shorthanded supporting cast. … Ezekiel Elliott has touch counts of 25 > 21 > 24 > 14 > 33 over his last five games ahead of facing a stout Philly defense that has limited enemy backs to 115/343/3 (2.98 YPC) rushing but yielded the NFL’s eighth-most catches per game (6.0) to Zeke’s position. His two 2018 touches/yardage/TD counts versus Eagles DC Jim Schwartz’s defense were 25/187/2 and 40/192/0. Despite the tough draw, no running back’s volume ceiling is higher than Elliott’s on Week 7’s slate.
Prescott’s Week 6 target distribution: Michael Gallup and Jason Witten 7; Zeke, Cedrick Wilson, and Tavon Austin 6; Blake Jarwin 4; Cooper 2; Dalton Schultz 1. … Gallup turned in his career-worst game in last week’s loss to the Jets – he committed three blatant drops and fell below 50 yards for the first time since last Week 15 – but Gallup’s bounce-back potential is sky high considering Cooper’s status. Six different wideouts have 100-plus-yard games against Philly’s near-nonexistent secondary; all told, enemy receivers have averaged 202.3 yards per game versus the Eagles, the NFL’s third-highest clip. … Witten is a strong streamer after taking over as a comfort-zone weapon for Dak following Cooper’s injury, parlaying a season-high seven targets into five catches for 57 yards. Witten’s playing time has risen in four straight weeks (51% > 79% > 83% > 88%). … Whereas Devin Smith is Gallup’s direct backup, Boise State alum Wilson sits right behind Amari. As Cooper (quad) left last week’s game early, Wilson played 61% of Dallas’ snaps and turned six targets into five catches for 46 yards. Especially against a bad Philly secondary, Wilson will be a prime DFS one-game-slate sleeper should Cooper sit. … Randall Cobb popped in this week’s Air Yards Buy Low Model but missed Week 6 with a back injury and is in doubt for Week 7. If Cobb sits again, Austin will be a one-game DFS-slate option at slot receiver against the Eagles.
Score Prediction: Eagles 27, Cowboys 24
Patriots @ Jets
Team Totals: Patriots 27, Jets 17
The banged-up Patriots stand to benefit from generous Weeks 6-to-7 rest, visiting the Jets on Monday night following last Thursday’s rout of the Giants. Although his on-field play has been shaky behind a patchwork line, Tom Brady visits The Meadowlands with top-14 fantasy results in 5-of-6 starts, including four top-seven finishes. Even amid game-tape ups and downs, I like Brady as a high-floor, high-ceiling start against the Jets. Brady’s outlook is enhanced by Sam Darnold’s return, giving this game much more high-scoring potential than had Gang Green sacrificed Luke Falk again. … Sony Michel was frustratingly vultured at the goal line three times against the G-Men – twice by Brady and once by Brandon Bolden – yet Michel’s usage was otherwise promising, establishing season highs in snaps (51%), carries (22), and touches (24) and drawing three targets for the second straight game. I’m not convinced Bolden and Brady’s goal-line scores were more than a blip; Michel leads the AFC in carries inside the ten (13), and his other usage metrics are trending up with 17-plus touches in four of the Patriots’ last five games. With New England installed as ten-point favorites, Michel is set up for another RB2-level workload and RB1 upside should his goal-line usage bounce back. … With Rex Burkhead (foot) still on the mend, James White logged double-digit touches for the second straight week against the Giants and has drawn nine-plus targets in three consecutive games. White’s Week 6 fantasy score would have been far stronger had he not lost a receiving touchdown on replay review. One way for the Patriots to counteract Jets DC Gregg Williams’ high-blitz frequency would be to dial up screens to White, who ranks fourth among NFL backs in receptions (31). Assuming Burkhead sits again, White will be a high-floor RB2/flex play in PPR leagues based on matchup and usage. White is also tied for the league lead in red-zone targets (9) yet has just one end-zone trip on the year, suggesting he is due for some positive-touchdown regression.
Brady’s 2019 target distribution: Julian Edelman 56; White 39; Josh Gordon 36; Phillip Dorsett 23; Burkhead 18; Jakobi Meyers and Ryan Izzo 9; Michel 7; Bolden and Matt LaCosse 6; Gunner Olszewski 3. … Edelman went to town on the Jets’ slot coverage in Week 3 (7/62/1), only to leave with a second-quarter chest injury. Now all systems go, Edelman is an easy WR1 start with injuries and talent shortages throughout the Patriots’ pass-catcher corps. … Gordon suffered a painful knee injury against the Giants that figures to sideline him in The Meadowlands after he missed practice all week. … Dorsett (hamstring) is due back after missing Week 6 to operate as New England’s primary outside receiver. Jets boundary CBs Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts have combined to permit 42 completions on 59 targets (71%) for 472 yards (8.0 YPA) and three touchdowns, giving Dorsett sneaky Monday night breakout potential. He also happens to be popping in this week’s Buy Low Air Yards Model. … With Dorsett inactive and Gordon bowing out early in last week’s win, Meyers ran the second-most routes among Patriots receivers (56) behind Edelman and figures to draw the Week 7 start should Gordon not play. Meyers has efficiently caught 8-of-10 targets for 120 yards on the season and went a perfect 4-of-4 for 54 against the G-Men, arguably earning more run even if Gordon were in. Meyers makes for an intriguing one-game DFS sleeper in this plus draw. If Gordon sits, rookie return man Olszewski would stand in as New England’s fourth receiver. … Tight ends are even more of a crapshoot with LaCosse (knee) back on the shelf and Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson added to the depth chart. Izzo is playing a ton of snaps but has nine targets in six games and was diagnosed with a concussion during the week. It sounds like it’ll be the Watson and Tomlinson show against the Jets.
While Sam Darnold’s Week 6 return excitingly resurrected Gang Green’s passing game versus Dallas, the Patriots pose a much tougher challenge in primetime with Jets LT Kelvin Beachum (ankle) in danger of sitting and LG Kelechi Osemele (shoulder) definitely out. New England leads the NFL in sack rate (10.6%) and QB Hit Rate (20.9%) and is allowing the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in the league. On the backend, the Patriots can lock down Jets passing-game difference-maker Robby Anderson with Stephon Gilmore, and Chris Herndon (hamstring) still isn’t back. After the public sees Adam Gase’s offense likely struggle on Monday night’s national stage, it will be time to buy low on Jets skill players. Their Weeks 9-16 schedule is cake (@ MIA, vs. NYG, @ WAS, vs. OAK, @ CIN, vs. MIA, @ BAL, vs. PIT). … Positive game script actually worked against Le’Veon Bell in last week’s upset win; he still played 80% of New York’s offensive snaps but drew a season-low one target as the Jets nursed their lead and ran only 54 plays to Dallas’ 75. As Gang Green is a ten-point dog on Monday night, Bell should revert to negative script in a game where his box-score production figures to strongly hinge on the passing game. The Patriots lead the NFL in tackle-for-loss rate (34.9%) and have limited enemy backs to 93/320/0 (3.44 YPC) rushing.
Darnold’s 2019 target distribution: Jamison Crowder 26; Robby Anderson 15; Le’Veon 10; Ryan Griffin 7; Demaryius Thomas 4; Ty Montgomery 3. … Crowder’s target counts are 17 and 9 in Darnold’s two starts, and he is popping in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 7 Air Yards Buy Low Model. Especially in PPR leagues, Crowder should be teed up as a confident WR3 play. Bill Belichick would undoubtedly love to take Anderson and Le’Veon away in exchange for forcing Darnold to pepper Crowder with innocuous checkdowns underneath. … Anderson’s receiving lines in last year’s two Gilmore meetings were 2/22/0 and 3/24/0. This year, Gilmore has permitted 266 scoreless yards on 42 targets (6.3 YPA). Anderson is a low-floor WR3 Hail Mary play in this matchup but should have an immediate buy-low window after this. … Thomas is playable on one-game DFS slates in something of a revenge game for him; the Patriots cut Demaryius, re-signed him, then traded him to the Jets before the season. … Griffin has played 91% of Gang Green’s offensive snaps in Herndon’s absence. He’s a touchdown-or-bust one-game DFS option.
Score Prediction: Patriots 21, Jets 13