Week six of fantasy football is over, and thankfully so. This week of NFL football had more than it’s fair share of oddities and strange occurrences. Most notably, Brock Osweiler again beat the Chicago Bears. The Green Bay Packers struggled against a San Francisco 49ers team led by C.J. Beathard. In that same game, Alfred Morris logged zero carries for zero yards in a game where he was expected to be the primary back, at least until the last possible moment.
Ladies and gentleman, fantasy football sometimes cannot be explained. All of the time, effort, number-crunching, and that one last cup of coffee consumed by writers and analysts could not predict some of the things that occur on game day. Just ask anyone who happened to have had Albert Wilson sitting on their bench on Sunday.
That being said, let’s move into Week Seven and take a look at players that are in prime spots to be fantasy relevant this weekend. These articles typically follow a “start your studs” mentality. Therefore, we are looking for mid-range players that have an opportunity to exceed their normal scoring output.
Fantasy Football Week Seven Starts and Sits Featuring David Johnson
Joe Flacco vs. New Orleans Saints
This feels dirty to say, much less print. However, Joe Flacco has been fantasy relevant for his 2018 campaign. He’s already had two games of over 300 passing yards; which is two more than he had all of last season. He’s thrown nine touchdowns to only four interceptions. And he’s facing a New Orleans Saints defense that is allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Flacco has the best wide receiving corps around him that he’s had for the last several years.
Let’s face it, Flacco is no longer the F-word for fantasy football lineups. In a game where Drew Brees is still expected to put up points, expect Flacco to continue to air it out. While he’s not the recommended start in single quarterback leagues with better options, he’s a fine streaming candidate for bye weeks and a solid start in two-quarterback/superflex leagues.
Baker Mayfield vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Since taking over as the starter, Baker Mayfield has energized this new-look Browns offense. He has struggled with some rookie mistakes in some tougher matchups. This week is an opportunity for him to break out.
The Buccaneers are allowing the most points to opposing quarterbacks through the first six weeks. In fact, no opposing quarterback thus far has thrown for less than 300 yards against them. Mitchell Trubisky lit them up for six touchdowns, and the only quarterback that’s thrown for less than three scores was Nick Foles. Mayfield is a good start in most formats including a sneaky play in DFS lineups this week.
Deshaun Watson vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Deshaun Watson logged four consecutive games of 300-yards passing. Until last week, against a middle-of-the-pack Buffalo Bills defense. Watson has shown serious flashes of the quarterback we saw from last season. Now, he’s dealing with a chest injury, and facing a top-ranked pass defense from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Watson maintains a safer floor than some quarterbacks due to his rushing ability. However, against a stout defense, better options should be considered.
Starts: Running Backs
David Johnson vs. Denver Broncos
Fantasy owners were heartbroken last season when the dual-threat phenom David Johnson went down with what ended up being a season-ending injury. That did not deter enthusiasts, fans, and previous owners from drafting where we remember him finishing in his 2016 season.
Thus far, touchdowns have salvaged his fantasy output on a near-weekly basis. Johnson has been disappointing to owners that have drafted him high and traded for pennies on the dollar in multiple leagues. At this point, it’s difficult to lay all the blame on Johnson because we’ve seen how dynamic a player he can be. However, behind a porous line, with poor coaching and little threat in the receiving end of the game; his stat-line has finished below expectation.
Sometimes, talent simply wins out and Johnson is very talented. He’s now heading into his juiciest matchup of the season against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos defense has an excellent pass rush, so it’s difficult to expect big things from him in that regard. However, the Broncos are susceptible to the rushing attack. They’ve been gashed for 526 rushing yards in the last two games.
Owners can roll Johnson out with smiles on their faces this week.
Kerryon Johnson vs. Miami Dolphins
The NFL has too many teams that seem reluctant to allow their brightest stars to lead the way. The Detroit Lions qualify this statement with their continued use of LeGarrette Blount in the ground game. New head coach Matt Patricia has continued to roll him out despite statistical proof that he’s been ineffective this season in comparison to Kerryon Johnson.
Thus far, Blount has 47 rushing attempts for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson has 50 attempts for 286 yards and one score.
It’s difficult to predict how Patricia plans on utilizing this backfield moving forward. However, despite the split, Johnson remains the better talent and will be more productive with his carries. Assuming Blount doesn’t again vulture the goal-line work, Johnson should be primed for a good outing. The Dolphins are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. The smarter Patricia is, the more Johnson will flourish.
Sits: Running Backs
Alex Collins vs. New Orleans Saints
It’s strange to predict one player from a team as a great start in a matchup, and also say another player in the same game is a sit candidate. Despite Flacco and his receiving corps’ great matchup, this is not a good one for Alex Collins. Collins has struggled with productivity and fumbles throughout his career.
This is not a good matchup for a fumble-prone running back. The Saints, while susceptible through the air, have been solid against the rush. They only allowed 44 yards to Saquon Barkley, and have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. Collins is a sit this week.
Starts: Wide Receivers
Josh Gordon vs. Chicago Bears
Last week he saw a team-high nine targets. While he only turned them into five receptions for 42 yards, volume remains king. The fantasy world is waiting for that big fantasy game from Gordon, and this week could be that opportunity. The Bears defense has been more stingy against the run than the pass. If the Bears look to shut down Rob Gronkowski, expect a productive week from Gordon.
There are very few good things to say about the New York Giants offense other than Saquon Barkley. Even Odell Beckham Jr. has struggled to produce despite his recent affinity for publicly speaking about his team. However, Beckham Jr. remains a stud that should be started on a week-to-week basis. Shepard is averaging just over seven targets-per-contest. This may be a matchup he can exploit if Eli Manning can stay upright.
The Falcons defense is depleted due to injury and currently allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers. While Evan Engram‘s possible return this week could eat into those targets, Shepard enters this week in a good spot for steady volume and an opportunity to take advantage of a gaping defense. Shepard is a WR3 with good upside this week.
Sits: Wide Receiver
Demaryius Thomas vs. Arizona Cardinals
Demaryius Thomas has not been the steady, low-end WR1 we’ve come to expect this season. He seems slower in his routes and less favored in coverage from an erratic Case Keenum. Thomas has been drawing the top-coverage from defenses and could see a lot of Patrick Peterson this week. The Cardinals are allowing the third-fewest points to receivers this season. Thomas has had some good games this season, but this doesn’t look like it will be one of them. Thomas should land in the risky WR2/3 category this week with limited upside.