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Start ‘em and Sit ‘em: Fantasy Plays for week 7

A look at some key fantasy guys to play and avoid this week in fantasy football

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday Night Game:

Denver Broncos:

With multiple QBs on bye this week you might be looking for a streaming option this week. While not the best potential option, Keenum should have a solid floor in a game versus a struggling Cardinals secondary. Keenum is coming off back-to-back 300 yard and 2 TD weeks. He doesn’t have the upside for a monster game in this match-up but he should be solid.

Emmanuel Sanders is the top receiving option, but Demaryius Thomas is definitely playable here. If you are really desperate at WR Courtland Sutton is getting 5-6 targets a game and is starting to put up solid numbers. If he spikes a TD he could be a solid streamer. At RB Phillip Lindsay is the better option, but they use both runningbacks making it tough to feel confident in one.

Arizona Cardinals:

David Johnson is finally getting some better usage and is at least showing some fantasy value to pay off his 1st round status in season long. This is a great match-up for Johnson as he’s playing at home on a short week versus a Broncos defense that has been really bad this year versus the run.

Josh Rosen isn’t a playable option in any fantasy format, but he does at least make some of his pass catchers relevant. Christian Kirk is coming off back-to-back solid games and should be in line for 7-10 targets including a couple deeper shots. Larry Fitzgerald is having a rough year, but I could see him as a decent option this week. He’s coming off an 8 target week and is finally healthy. If you need a cheap TE to stream Ricky Seals Jones is in play, though it’s a limited upside option.


Start ‘em:

Andy Dalton:

-Among non-traditional top tier QBs, Dalton is definitely my favorite of the week. He’s had a number of strong weeks this year and faces a Chiefs defense that has some serious holes in the secondary. This is a high scoring game and the Bengals are likely going to need to keep throwing all game.

Baker Mayfield:

-No defense is better to target for passers than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have been picked apart throughout the year and Mayfield has shown some real big play ability early in his career. Mayfield has had some bad luck in terms of drops so far this year, but even with some questionable weapons it’s tough to ignore the potential for a blow-up game for Mayfield.

Mitch Trubisky:

-Trubisky started off the season slow, but now has back-to-back big time passing weeks. He has another strong match-up this week as the Patriots have really struggled to defend the pass this year. With this game potentially being higher scoring, this could be another big week for Trubisky.


-This week has a number of bad QBs in great match-ups. Guys like Eli Manning, Brock Osweiler, C.J. Beathard, Blake Bortles and Joe Flacco all have fantastic on paper match-ups and probably one or two will be pretty good in fantasy this week. It’s just tough to really feel confident about any of them. Of this list Beathard and Flacco are the ones that intrigue me the most.

Guys to Avoid:

-There are some top QBs in tough spots, but I’m not looking to avoid them. The starters that I do have no real interest in are DeShaun Watson, Dak Prescott, Alex Smith and Marcus Mariota. Watson has shown some fantasy value this year, but I don’t like him going on the road vs a Jags defense that will likely be looking to reestablish their level of dominance. Smith and Dak face each other in what will likely be a low volume game for both. As for Mariota outside of the one game versus the Eagles he’s looked really bad this year.

Running backs:

Start ‘em:

LeSean McCoy:

-It’s been a tough fantasy year for McCoy this season as the Bills struggle at QB and lack of receiving weapons is crowding the box for him. Game script also isn’t likely to favor him either, but the Bills have started to use him better the past few weeks. In what is a tough week for running back, this is a solid match-up in a game that Buffalo could keep close for a couple of quarters.

Kenyan Drake:

-Now this is for PPR only, but Drake is putting up solid usage and numbers the past couple of weeks and if he finds his way into the end zone you will be very happy with your decision to play him. He’s unlikely to crack 100 yards on the ground, but combined he will get close if not go over. Add in 4-6 catches and maybe a TD and you could have a high teen-to-low 20’s fantasy points week.

Kerryon Johnson:

-Johnson is seeing his usage ramp up some and I think this is a good match-up for the Lions rookie. I expect to see him get more and more involved in the offense and the Dolphins are much worse against the run than the pass.

Marlon Mack:

-Mack came back this past week and had a really nice day. With the Colts at home facing a struggling Bills team they have a real shot for a win and a positive overall game script for their running game. For a cheap streamer Mack makes a lot of sense.

Peyton Barber:

-Barber finally had a good week last week, and he has another solid match-up this week as the Browns have had some struggles versus the run. I’m still not 100% sold on Barber long term as a starter, but this is a good week to take a shot at him.

Guys to Avoid:

Titans Running backs:

-This Titans offense is simply a mess right now. With serious questions surrounding Mariota’s health and effectiveness the rest of the Titans offense has ground to a halt. Going on the road to face the Chargers does not seem like a great option for these running backs. Just avoid this situation until things start to change.

Ravens Running backs:

-The Ravens have seen some productive weeks from their backs this year, but they do split the work making it tough to love either option to begin with. On top of that the Saints have been excellent versus the run this year, making it unlikely either back can go off. Maybe Collins spikes 2 TDs again or Allen gets 1 TD and has 5-7 catches, but neither option is something you want to bet on.

Carlos Hyde:

-On paper this is a good match-up as the Bucs have struggled all year defensively, but it’s tough to get excited about Hyde this week. His effectiveness has been really poor the last few weeks and his passing game usage has evaporated. Though risky I’d probably rather play Duke Johnson this week among Cleveland backs.

Tevin Coleman:

-There is no reason why Coleman shouldn’t have a bigger role in this Falcons offense, but right now it’s not there. With Freeman being injured you would expect a bigger share of usage to flow Coleman’s way, but that hasn’t happened yet. He has only cracked 15 carries once this year (16) and only seen more than 3 targets in a game once as well (4). The usage just isn’t there and the Falcons aren’t giving him a lot of RZ looks.

Sony Michel:

-Tough to avoid a running back coming off a three week stretch of over 300 yards and 4 TDs, but this doesn’t seem like a Michel week this week. The Bears have been better versus the run this year, and Michel has almost zero passing game involvement. Odds are he’s not coming close to 100 yards this week, so unless he has another 2 TD game you are probably going to be disappointed in his production.

Wide Receivers:

Start ‘em:

Josh Gordon:

-Gordon didn’t have the eruption game last week, but he did tie for the lead in targets and routes run. There continues to be a lot of talk of involving him more in the offense so expect a big game soon from him. This feels like a good week as the Bears pass defense does have holes that can be exploited if Brady gets time in the pocket.

Ravens receivers:

-Early in the year it was just John Brown making plays, but the past two weeks both Willie Snead and Michael Crabtree have stepped up. Now all three receivers have a chance for a strong day and all are in play versus a Saints team that has a number of concerns in their secondary.

Devin Funchess:

-Funchess is starting to be used like a featured weapon in this offense and is a good bet for 7-10 targets including a couple Red Zone looks. The Eagles passing defense has struggled this year, so Funchess could make the most out of his looks this week.

David Njoku:

-I don’t typically mention TE’s, but after Jarvis Landry, Njoku is the best Browns weapon to target this week against the Bucs. Njoku is starting to see more and more involvement with Mayfield at QB and should see 7-10 targets. Tight ends have had a couple strong games versus the Buccaneers so look for that to continue this week.

Taylor Gabriel:

-Gabriel now has back-to-back 100 yard weeks and is clearly more involved in this Bears offense. He has big play ability and is facing off versus a Patriots secondary who got burnt by a similar type receiver in Tyreek Hill a week ago.

Players to Avoid:

Titans receivers:

-Similar to the running back situation you just can’t trust anyone in this offense given the struggles at QB. Corey Davis would be in play if I had any faith here, but right now it is just not worth it.

Albert Wilson:

-Wilson is coming off a big game and it’s possible that versus a highly questionable Lions secondary he has another good outing, I just wouldn’t bet on it. The targets in this offense are being spread around and it’s been a low volume offense overall. I also don’t feel confident in banking on Osweiler having another good fantasy game.

Cole Beasley:

-Beasley is another receiver coming off a big game who is likely to have a big let down spot. Dallas is going on the road, facing a Redskins defense that has really only struggled versus Drew Brees this season. It’s likely a slow paced game and Beasley shouldn’t come anywhere close to 100 yards and 2 TDs in this spot.

Will Fuller:

-While Fuller is always dangerous, this just isn’t a good week to target him as the Texans go on the road versus the Jaguars. Jacksonville has some weaknesses on defense this year, but they are still pretty good at defending outside receivers.