Welcome to your Start/Sit for Week 7!
The Bills, 49ers, and Rams all have great matchups this week, and you should have one too if you own players from those teams.
I hope that everyone’s team did great following the Thursday game. If you want to rewind time and go back and check out my article, or too see how accurate I may or may not have been (I’m typing this as I watch the game), then I encourage you to do so.
I can’t, however, see into the future. But we can predict. We can predict how these matchups are going to go, and let me tell you; they look juicy this week. I’m including a little reminder of how I break down these players, including a new little title for certain players.
** Start of the Week **: This is my personal pick for the player I think has one of the best matchups for their position this week.
Start: These are players who have an enticing matchup, and could prove a massive asset to your fantasy team due to a vulnerability by an opposing defense or a breakout performance.
Sit: Players in this category have a poor matchup and could be rendered completely useless by game script or a digression in opportunities.
Flex Start: Players in a flex position are also usually controlled by a game script, but this opportunity benefits them (such as a WR2 receiving less attention than the WR1, thus increasing odds for a good performance).
Sleeper: For players that fly under the radar, the sleepers are potential breakouts for this particular matchup. Players that are not considered as big of a threat but have an increase in things such as targets or snap counts are ideal for this category and could surprise you for the week with a big game.
Teams on Bye this week: Steelers, Browns, Buccaneers, & Panthers
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati Bengals
** Running back Start of the Week **: Leonard Fournette (RB)
On Sunday the Jags travel to The Queen City to take on the 0-6 Bengals. Fournette is ready to feast on this terrible rush-defense, who lead the NFL with the most rushing yards allowed per game (184.5), rushing yard per attempt (5.3) and rushing touchdowns (9). Fire him up.
Chark is currently the No. 5 receiver in PPR formats and is treated to a vulnerable Bengals secondary this week. He posted just 3 for 43 against Marshon Lattimore, but should make a nice bounce-back candidate this week. At this point, he’s an every week start.
Minshew has a great opportunity to achieve the success he couldn’t find last week against this Bengals team. Cincinnati has allowed at least 21 points in every game this season, so Minshew shouldn’t find any trouble against that secondary.
Flex Start: N/A
With Westbrook not practicing, Lee day-to-day, and Conley seemingly nothing more then a field-stretching option, I wouldn’t trust any of these players do put more then a couple of points up this week. Sit ’em.
Boyd was only 3 for 10 last week, but the Jags have allowed the 8th-most fantasy points to wideouts. Additionally, they’ve also allowed the 8th most yard per game to running backs, making Mixon a great start ’em candidate as well.
Flex Start: N/A
Dalton has been bad this year and a strong secondary that is prone to turnovers is not ideal for him. Eifert has remained fantasy irrelevant and should continue to be so.
Sleeper: Auden Tate (WR)
Is this the week Tate has a break-out game? It’s an interesting take, with Jalen Ramsey now in LA and the Jags more focused on stopping Mixon and Boyd. I like him this week.
San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins
** Tight End Start of the Week **: George Kittle (TE)
Kittle is a difference-maker on the field who matches the agility and route running of a receiver with the big body and blocking capabilities of being a tight end. He’s a weekly must-start.
Jimmy G and the 49ers have been on fire, and he now gets to throw against a Redskins defense that has allowed the 3rd most passing touchdowns this season. Breida has also been among the dominant running back on the league. Leading the league in rushing yard per attempt (5.8), Breida continues to be the starter and is a trustworthy RB2.
Flex Start: Tevin Coleman (RB)
Coleman posted a nice little stat line last week with 2 receptions for 16 to go along with 18 attempts for 45 yards and a TD. He’s the clear goal-line back for his team, and is just as dangerous in the passing game as Breida is. He’s only in the flex position simply because he still cedes touches to Breida.
Sleeper: Dante Pettis (WR)
Pettis has yet to get rolling, but this game presents the best matchup of the season for far for the second-year pro to breakout.
I’ll make it easy for you. I would sit every Redskins player this week except maybe Terry McLaurin in a flex. The 49ers have allowed only 1 rushing touchdown on the season, the second-fewest points per game, the least amount of passing yards per game, and the second-least amount of yards per game.
Case Keenum will have his work cut out for him this week (you should also not play him).
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Giants
Must Start: David Johnson (RB)
As long as he’s carrying the workload like he has been, Johnson should stay in your lineups. An exploitable Giants defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to the running back position should be a great play for Johnson, assuming he’s in for the game. If he is out, grab Chase Edmunds and plug him in.
Kurray has been dynamic in his rookie year, and get a defense that has give up the 6th-most points to QBs. Fitzgerald has been quiet the past few weeks, but has opportunity again New York. He should put up terrific numbers with Christian Kirk still practicing in a limited fashion and his status for Sunday in doubt.
Flex Start: If Kirk is in, play him here. Be mindful of the injury report and monitor his status leading up to kickoff.
Sit: KeeSean Johnson (WR)
Even with Kirk on the sidelines for the past few outings, Johnson has failed to make much of an impact. This is an enticing matchup, but he just hasn’t produced enough to be considered an option of any kind.
Barkley practiced in full this week, and looks locked to play Sunday. You should play him if you have him. Engram was also a full participant and is a must-play as well. Both of these players are elite must-starts at their position.
Start: Daniel Jones (QB)
He’s had a terrible past two weeks but gets the most quarterback-friendly defense in the league. The Giants have allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league (16) and make him a fun streaming candidate for the week.
Flex Start: Golden Tate (WR)
Tate’s ceiling will take a hit with Engram and Barkley back, but he will still contribute against a poor Cardinals defense. Shepard may be out once more, giving Tate the obvious nod as the team’s No. 1 wideout.
Sit: Darius Slayton (WR)
The return of Engram of Barkley means a digression in targets and opportunities for Slayton, even in a match like this.
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts
Watson led an incredible victory over the Chiefs last week, and it doesn’t get much easier against the stout Colts defense. Watson is a playmaker though, and should be able to create plays well enough. Hopkins has yet to wow in a game since his standout Week 1 performance, but is talented and explosive enough to be left in the starting column.
Flex Start: Will Fuller V (WR)
We all know that Fuller’s Week 5 was an outlier, but he’s still a vertical threat and dangerous in the open field. The Colts are a lockdown defense, but they don’t have the speed to keep up with and Fuller if he gets loose.
The Colts have allowed 3 rushing TDs this season, an area that Hyde and Johnson are dependent upon. Keep them benched this week.
Sleeper: Darren Fells (TE)
Fells is a great streaming option this week. The Colts are very generous to tight ends, giving up the 3rd-most points to the position.
Brissett and the holds come off the bye against a middle of the pack Houston team in terms of defense. They’ve allowed the 5th-most points to the QB position and 11 touchdowns through the air. Marlon Mack will also receive his usual workload after a week off and full practices. Hilton should be peppered with targets plenty throughout this matchup, as the Texans have allowed the 9th-most points to wideouts.
Flex Start: N/A
Houston is among the best in the league in shutting down tight ends, giving up only 7.2 points per game on average and zero touchdowns to the position.
Oakland Raiders @ Green Bay Packers
Jacobs and Waller return from a bye week to a tough matchup against Green Bay. The Pack has been dominant against the pass but are vulnerable to the run, allowing 4.9 yards per carry and 7 rushing touchdowns on the year. They’ve also allowed the 4th-most points per game to running backs (29.2). Waller is also in a good spot with Tyrell Williams likely out. He’ll dominate most of the passing targets and should be in great spot for success, especially in PPR formats.
Flex Start: N/A
Sit: Derek Carr (QB), Tyrell Williams (WR)
The Packers have one of the lowest pass completion percentages in the league (57.9%), making playing a QB against them a terrible idea. Williams is also dealing with a case of plantar fasciitis, making him doubtful to play this week.
Start: Aaron Rodgers (QB)
These Aarons are the only starts I feel comfortable rolling out as most of the receiving options are still injured and/or practicing in a limited fashion. The Raiders allow 263.6 passing yards per game (11th-most), which is encouraging for a QB still finding his groove in a new offense.
As bad as he was last week, I still believe in Aaron Jones. The Raiders are a tough rushing matchup (3.7 ypc), but Jones has huge upside. Williams is encouraging too, but Jones has a higher ceiling. Both do damage in the passing game, and I see them as even plays this week.
None of these guys practiced Thursday, which is not an encouraging sign. Obviously if Adams is in, you play him. You can calmly bench these other guys regardless, though.
Sleeper: Allen Lazard (WR)
How could he not be a sleeper candidate? With all the major receiving options hurt, Lazard earned himself a nice stat line last week (4-65-1). Aaron Rodgers likes him, but most importantly he trusts him. If you need a plug-in flex play this week who’s under the radar in most leagues, it’s the Lazard King.
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions
Must Start: Dalvin Cook (RB)
Cook has been a monster for fantasy this season, averaging 5.4 yards per carry and is the No. 2 running back in fantasy. He gets a Lion defense that is allowing the 3rd-most points to backs and the 6th-most rushing yards per game (133.8).
Cousins has been on fire the past couple of weeks, passing for 639 yards and 6 touchdowns, and gets himself against a weak Detroit pass defense that allows the 5th-most passing yards a game (280). Thielen and Diggs are arguably the most dangerous WR duo in the league, and should have themselves a nice game. Thielen is a target machine, while Diggs is a big-play receiver.
Flex Start: N/A
A tough matchup for the Vikings is no easy thing to trust, but Johnson and Golladay are both the top options for their team. Johnson is a bell-cow that should get plenty of work despite a disappointing 3.3 ypc, and Golladay is a set it and forget it talent that demands plenty of targets.
Flex Start: N/A
Stafford struggled last week, and another game this week against a Vikings pass defense that allows the 7th-fewest passing yards per game. Jones has been too inconsistent to be constantly trusted in lineups. Hockenson has been banged up and not effective since Week 1 of the season, and I would continue to bench him here.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
It’s also not pretty for the Fins in this game. The Bills have allowed the 3rd-fewest passing yards and 7th-fewest rushing yards per game. The Dolphins really don’t have the playmakers to make a difference in this game. There’s no player for the dolphins I would want to roll out in this match. Expect Fitzpatrick to be benched at the half if he performs poorly.
** Quarterback Start of the Week **: Josh Allen (QB)
Maybe it’s just the fact that I have a $50 bet on Allen finishing as a Top-5 QB, but this is one of the best matchups of the season for him to put huge numbers. The Fins give up the 2nd-most points to quarterbacks and the most points per game (36). Not to mention Allen is dangerous on the ground (3 rushing TDs on the season), he’s in a prime position to wreck havoc on your opponents.
Start: Frank Gore (RB)
With Singletary returning from a hamstring injury, Gore remains the top back in Buffalo (alliteration is fun). Miami gives up the 2nd-most rushing yard per game and the 2nd-most points to running backs (35).
Flex Start: Devin Singletary (RB)
He’s a decent option to roll out after missing every game since Week 2. He logged in full practices the past couple of weeks, which is encouraging. He’s a nice flex alongside starting Gore if you own one or the other.
Sit: John Brown (WR)
He’s still practicing in a limited fashion. His status for Sunday is questionable.
Beasley is a PPR maniac and could demand many targets against this weak defense, especially if Brown misses. Knox is also an interesting streaming option, as the Fins have allowed the 4th-most points to the position.
LA Rams @ Atlanta Falcons
** Wide Receiver Start of the Week **: Cooper Kupp (WR)
After a let-down last week, Kupp bounces back against the pass-poor Falcons defense that is allowing the 4th-most points to wideouts (43). He’s been the most successful wideout for the Rams this year and should be considered their No. 1. He’s a WR1 every week.
Goff had a God-awful game last week, and actually scored negative points depending on your format. He gets the Falcons, who allow the 6th-most passing yard per game to quarterbacks and the 3rd-highest completion percentage (71.4%). He’s a great bounce-back candidate. Woods caught no passes last week but gets himself this Falcons pass defense to improve his season standings upon.
Gurley is in this week as well, but temper expectations. Keep Darrell Henderson ready in case pre-game warmups show a change of faith.
Flex Start: Brandin Cooks (WR)
Cooks is a big-play, boom-or-bust wideout so far this season. His high-highs are week winning, but just as devastating are his low-lows. He has a good opportunity this week.
Everett is too up and down and is not a guaranteed member of the pass attack, as the season has shown (despite a nice matchup). Brown isn’t practicing at all.
Sleeper: Darrell Henderson (RB)
If Gurley is ultimately held out, plug in Darrell Henderson. He was the primary receiving back last week in their loss to SF and is a nice rookie stash as well.
Matt Ryan has thrown 7 touchdowns the past 2 weeks and almost 700 yards and is on a hot streak of fantasy goodness. The Rams are solid on the pass defense (especially with the trade of Jalen Ramsey), but Ryan’s high passing volume is too good to not play.
Julio Jones is always a big play, and his history ion playing through injury is a good indicator for his Sunday status. Freeman rushed 19 times for 88 yards and caught 3 passes for 30 and 2. His upward trend continues. Hooper is the No. 1 fantasy Tight End and is one of Ryan’s biggest targets, making him a great play as well.
Flex Start: Calvin Ridley (WR)
Ridley has seen 6 targets in every game except Week 3, and has 4 touchdowns in 6 games. He sets himself up to have a decent game with too many options in the passing game for the Rams to focus on.
Sit: Mohamed Sanu (WR)
He’s fallen behind Ridley and now Hooper as a cog in the target machine, and shouldn’t be trusted to put up even decent numbers this week. He’s not worth a flex.
LA Chargers @ Tennessee Titans
Gordon is off to a slow start, but his carries are on the rise after last week’s outing. He’s still an RB2 with Ekeler in the mix, but should have plenty of opportunity with a modest Titans rush defense to challenge him. Henry is that big body touchdown target, but even if last week was an outlier, he’s still in a good position to make an impact as the biggest red zone target for Rivers.
Ekeler’s opportunities have shrunk as expected, but they are still there this week. He might play more of a change-of-pace roll against a stingy Titans D. Allen meanwhile has been on a downward spiral, and though I don’t think that will continue, this week is a challenge as well. He’s enough of a game changer to keep him in your lineup (as he should be); just temper expectations.
Stream other options before you settle on Rivers (the Titans are allowing about 15 points a game and 6.2 yards per attempt). Williams is also too touchdown dependent and his injury history thus far holds him to a bench spot yet again.
Start: Derrick Henry (RB)
The lone start for this week is the workhorse. Henry is a powerful runner, and is dangerous if he gets into open territory (that Bolts secondary is still banged up). Ignore his 3.7 ypa as his usage will overshadow whatever his efficiency output will be.
Flex Start: Delanie Walker (TE)
I have him here, but I’m slightly worried. Walker gets a new QB in Ryan Tannehill, and is practicing in a limited fashion, but his sheer target share is enough to keep him slotted in this week.
A new QB makes every up-in-the-air player less fun to look at this week. If Tannehill balls out, then this standing might change for next week. For now, I don’t trust any of these players.
Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks
The fantasy explosion from Jackson this year is due in part to his ability to limit his turnovers as well as his confidence in the pocket. The ‘Hawks are middle of the pack in terms of pass defense, but are vulnerable to the run. They’ve allowed 8 rushing touchdowns (tied for 2nd-most in the NFL…with the Ravens), making Ingram and a rushing QB like Lamar a fun play.
Seattle has also allowed the 4th-most points to Tight Ends and make a boom-boom player like Andrews a great start for the week as well.
Flex Start: N/A
Sit: Marquise Brown (WR)
Brown didn’t practice Friday again and most likely won’t play. Don’t drop him, but don’t play him.
My fantasy QB MVP is a must-start in a career year for the QB. Is this the best team he’s had? The Seahawks took a hit losing red-zone target Will Dissly to a torn achilles, but Wilson is still dangerous with his legs (3 rush TDs this season) and throws against a defense that allows the 8th-most passing yards per game (269.5).
Carson has gotten his fumbling under control, and is a beast out of the backfield. The ravens have allowed 8 rushing touchdowns on the year. I love Carson this week (as I have every week).
Start: Tyler Lockett (WR)
Lockett may draw coverage from the recently traded over and signed Marcus Peters, but his opportunity is unbelievable (as always) with the absence of Dissly. Wilson trusts him, so do I.
Flex Start: N/A
Sleeper: D.K. Metcalf (WR)
Metcalf could surprise as a big body downfield, and could draw attention from Wilson as a red zone option alongside Lockett.
New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears
Start: Michael Thomas (WR)
Thomas is the only Saint as I write this that I trust. Bears are tough on wideouts, but Thomas is leads all wide receivers in receptions (53) and is still a trusted WR1.
Flex Start: Latavius Murray (RB)
With Kamara’s practice absences, Murray is the heir apparent. He’s been irrelevant for fantasy this season but may be the starter if Kamara is out, which I expect him to be. The Bears are tough on the run (3.4 ypc), but his usage should give him opportunity for decent flex numbers.
The Bears are tough on the pass (only 4 touchdowns through the air), and an make life miserable for Bridgewater this week. Kamara and Cook haven’t been practicing this week, which does not bode well for their Sunday status. Kamara should be played if he’s in, but I doubt he will.
Flex Start: Tarik Cohen (RB)
Tarik the Dinosaur Hunter is finding himself as my lone pick from the Bears this week. he’s a change of pace back that could draw some easy screen passes from Chase Daniel, but won’t make much of an impact in the rushing. He’s a good bye week play if you need him.
Doesn’t matter what QB plays, neither should be played. The Saints are 10th in offensive yards per game, and possess a shut-down corner in Marshon Lattimore. I don’t like many players from the Bears for this game.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Carson Wentz continues a great season against a Dallas team that has dropped three in a row. The Cowboys are middling in terms of defense, and an above-average offense from the Eagles should be enough to generate points for all three of these guys. Dallas has also allowed the 9th-most points to the Tight End position, making Ertz great for a bounce back.
Dallas is eight in the NFL with 7 rushing touchdowns on the season, allowing the chances for a great game from either Howard or Sanders. Howard is still the one, and is the more likely to produce of the two.
Sit: DeSean Jackson (WR)
He’s still not practicing with the team and thus is not rolling out on your roster.
Sleeper: Dallas Goedert (TE)
Not too many stats here, I just like his chances to score. Doug Peterson could get creative against this weak tight end defense team. Same with my Royce Freeman pick from Thursday, I like his chances to score.
Dak gets himself a friendly matchup this week. The Eagles have let quarterbacks throw the 5th most touchdown passes (13) and the 4th-most passing yards per game (280).
Amari Cooper exited early last week, but should be played if he’s in Sunday (despite being questionable). Philly is tougher on the run (3.3 yards per carry), but Zeke’s workload is more then enough to still be an RB1.
Flex Start: N/A
Sit: Jason Witten (TE)
He won’t goose you, but his split reps with Blake Jarwin doesn’t encourage a big game.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Brady and the Pats travel to MetLife Stadium to challenge the Jets at home, and it’s looking juicy. Brady has been feasting on opposing defenses this year, and the vampire will continue in Round 2, this time against Darnold.
The Jets are also guilty of giving up on receivers, giving up an average of 36.5 points per game. That makes Edelman and White (who plays in the slot and has more receptions then carries this year) great plays for the week.
Flex Start: Sony Michel (WR)
Michel hasn’t lived up to to his expectations or his draft stock this season, but this week he gets the Jets once more. The Pats are most likely without Burkhead for this meeting, which is great for Michel’s touchdown dependent ceiling.
Burkhead has been limited in practice and is so hit-and-miss with fantasy already, you can’t trust him. Gordon and Izzo sustained injuries this past week, and are doubtful for this matchup. Dorsett just has demanded enough attention to fantasy relevant.
Sleeper: Ben Watson (TE)
With Izzo out due to a concussion suffered in practice, Watson is a vet who’s been in the Patriots system before. With a lack of trusted targets, Watson could quietly put together a nice line.
Start: Le’Veon Bell (RB)
My only start for this team is the Bell Cow. The Pats are allowing the fewest points per game, the fewest offensive yards per game, and only 2 rushing touchdowns through 6 weeks. He’s a start because he’s a difference maker, and will get the work. He’s a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside this week.
Flex Start: N/A
The Pats allow the lowest pass completion in the NFL (53.3%) and the lowest yards per pass attempt (4.6). They’ve allowed only one passing touchdown (1st in the league) and lead the league with 16 turnovers. Don’t count on any of these jets to make an impact.
That being said, fire up your Patriots D/ST.
Zach Hargis is a writer for Dynasty Football Digest. He enjoys playing the drums, doing voice impressions, and quoting The Office. If any of those things interest you, he welcomes you to follow him on Twitter @ZachFFDrummer and to check out his personal interests on Instagram @zakktastic.