Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 7
Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 7
The first Bye Week of the NFL season has concluded, seeing quite a few blowouts mixed in amidst several exhilarating overtime finishes. Big fantasy names like Antonio Gibson disappointed by finishing outside of the top-36, while back-up running backs rookie Khalil Herbert and Darrel Williams both produced RB1 finishes. Even the wide receiver landscape is wildly unstable, as Marvin Jones Jr., K.J. Osborn, A.J. Green, and Donovan Peoples-Jones all hit their ceiling in Week 6 due to game script and continuously thinning depth charts. The Cardinals remain the lone undefeated team after a dominant road win over the Browns without their head coach. At the same time, Jacksonville finally found the win column with a walk-off 53-yard kick during the early window in London.
Week 7 will send six teams to their Bye, shuttering quite a few high-octane offenses, including Buffalo, Dallas, Minnesota, and the Los Angeles Chargers, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars. With only two divisional matchups on tap, offenses will be afforded the luxury of attacking an unfamiliar defensive unit, which will allow certain players to flourish and hit their ceiling. In contrast, others will be restricted and tank below their expected production. Identifying these players ahead of schedule is key to setting winning lineups.
Here are just a few players who toe the line of being a start or a sit entering the seventh week of the season.
Darrel Williams (RB) Kansas City Chiefs
The injury to Clyde Edwards-Helaire opened up an excellent opportunity for fourth-year running back Darrel Williams against Washington in Week 6, as he winded up with a 75 percent rush share that turned into two touchdowns elevating Williams to finish as the RB6 in PPR formats. His outlook remains just as bright in Week 7 on the road against the Tennesee Titans, who have allowed 22.54 points per game to opposing running backs, ranked 19th in the league. While the Titans are pretty good against the run, Williams benefits from playing with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, who will expose the vulnerable secondary frequently and with great success in Week 7. That translates into lighter boxes for Williams to create running lanes and could result in multiple goal-line carries, which yielded a two-touchdown outing against Chase Young and the talented Washington defensive front in a blowout win this past weekend. Add in an additional four or five targets on top of 20 carries in arguably the league's most explosive offense, and Williams becomes a prime starting candidate in Week 7.
Kenyan Drake (RB) Las Vegas Raiders
An emotional week for the Las Vegas Raiders with the firing of former head coach Jon Gruden saw an inspired team arrive and control the game at Mile High Stadium to earn a great divisional win over the Denver Broncos. So what was the secret weapon the Raider deployed against one of the league's best-run defenses? Kenyan Drake. The veteran running back is still second-fiddle to Josh Jacobs, who only averaged 3.3 YPC but saw 16 carries, compared to the four carries Drake received as a change-of-pace back. Nevertheless, he still wound up ripping off 8.5 YPC and found the end zone once on an impressive 18-yard carry while hauling in a 31-yard reception for another touchdown earlier in the first half. His opportunity remains limited, but his hyper-efficient play as of late, combined with their Week 7 matchup at home against an Eagles' defense that is fifth-worst in total PPR fantasy points, surrendered to running backs this season. As teams will likely continue to form coverages and game plans to eliminate star tight end, Darren Waller, Drake could see his role increase, making him a low-end RB2 against an uncharacteristically bad Philadelphia run defense.
Jaylen Waddle (WR) Miami Dolphins
No one reaped the benefits of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's return in Week 6 than rookie wideout Jaylen Waddle, as he drew 13 targets and caught 10 of them for 70 yards and two touchdowns. He helped move the chains for a previously dormant offense under Jacoby Brissett, averaging 5.4 yards per target but was the team's lone double-digit target player in a disappointing Week 6 loss against Jacksonville in London. Week 7 will pit Waddle up against a terrible Atlanta Falcons secondary, coming off of a Bye Week and could be slow to start.
Expect Tagovailoa to continue funneling targets to his former college teammate at home, where the Dolphins will look to end their five-game losing streak. However, don't let the potential return of DeVante Parker scare you away from starting Waddle, as the veteran wideout and the rookie wideout have been able to co-exist within the top-36 when both are healthy on the field. Waddle carries WR1 potential, but expectations should be tempered a bit down to WR2 territory if he cannot replicate a two-touchdown performance, as the targets will be there once again.
Henry Ruggs III (WR) Las Vegas Raiders
After a shaky rookie season, the second-year wideout has looked much better, and he didn't waste much time in Week 6 before burning the Denver secondary for a 48-yard touchdown reception. No one for Las Vegas saw more than five targets in their 34-point win, meaning the hyper-efficiency Ruggs managed is nothing to fret about entering the team's Week 7 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. While the run defense for the Eagles is their unit's biggest weakness, Ruggs' top-end speed and improved hands will be positioned nicely with the one-two punch deployed in the Raiders' backfield. Hunter Renfrow remains ahead in season target share, but Ruggs is still third with 14.5 percent and can sneak behind the back-end of a defense concentrating on locking up Darren Waller. Ruggs' big-play ability has resulted in 445 receiving yards, which leads the team through six weeks. Derek Carr remains second in the league in total passing yards (1,946), which keeps Ruggs as a solid WR3 with WR2 upside at home against the up-tempo pace of the Eagles in Week 7.
Sterling Shepard (WR) New York Giants
The New York Giants might only have one win this season, but their offense has looked better and been one of the more entertaining units to watch. While rookie wideout Kadarius Toney has emerged as a legitimate wideout in his last few weeks, the return of Sterling Shepard in Week 6 reminded us that Daniel Jones had established another level of comfort and chemistry with the sixth-year wideout. A whopping 14 targets were funneled Shepard's way in a one-sided blowout against the Los Angeles Rams last week, so a few of these were undoubtedly due to negative game script. Yet, Shepard remains a favorite target within the Giants offense, as he has seen at least nine targets in three of the four games he's played in this season.
Sterling Shepard is averaging 8.7 receptions and 94.3 receiving yards per game in the three games he's started and finished this year— Frank Stampfl (@Roto_Frank) October 17, 2021
The once undefeated Carolina Panthers have lost three consecutive games and will travel up to the Meadowlands to face the Giants in Week 7. The Panthers defense is coming off of allowing the most fantasy points per game scored by wide receivers, as Minnesota's wide receiving corps combined for 66.9 PPR points in Week 6, meaning Jones will continue to air it out against an increasingly vulnerable Carolina defense. Shepard hasn't seen the end zone since Week 1 and is due to hit paydirt on what projects to be a heavy workload in Week 7.
Michael Pittman Jr. (WR) Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts throttled the Houston Texans in Week 6, which saw Carson Wentz only find Michael Pittman Jr. twice for 35 yards on just three targets. Wentz attempted only 20 passes and completed 11, so the opportunity was minimal for all of the Colts' wide receiving corps. Third-year wideout Parris Campbell secured a 51-yard touchdown on a deep ball that reportedly left him out for the foreseeable future. The unfortunate injury to the oft-injured wideout leaves increased opportunity for Pittman, as Campbell saw six targets in Week 5. Zach Pascal has scored three touchdowns to lead Indianapolis wide receivers, but Pittman averages 9.27 yards per target, nearly three yards more than Pascal while doubling the number of air yards (79.8) per game. He will continue to be the WR1 in a conservative offense tapping into the full potential of second-year running back Jonathan Taylor, allowing Pittman to experience burst or bust games. In a Week 7 primetime road matchup against a 49ers defense that should be well-rested off of their Bye Week, Pittman will likely face Emmanuel Moseley, who leads the team in pass deflections and could pose a difficult matchup. This is not enough to warrant sitting Pittman, who outpaces Pascal in nearly every metric except for touchdowns, which makes him a solid floor-play as a WR3 against the 49ers in Week 7.
Dallas Goedert (TE) Philadelphia Eagles
At last, fantasy managers can unleash the full potential of Dallas Goedert. He is currently the TE16 in PPR formats. He draws 12 fewer targets than his former teammate, Zach Ertz, who was traded away to the Arizona Cardinals hours after Philadelphia's loss to Tampa Bay. Goedert missed Week 6 on the league's Reserve/COVID-19 list, but when he was last on the field in Week 5, Ertz doubled his target share despite playing eight percent fewer snaps. Goedert is a talented tight end that can dominate when given the opportunities, which will now flow in abundance with Jalen Hurts' preference for targeting the tight end position. In a Week 7 road contest against the Las Vegas Raiders, expect Goedert to be leaned on heavily, as the Raiders' defense has surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. The Eagles defense is one of the worst in the league, giving up 144 points to opponents, ranking 11th through six weeks. This means that Nick Sirianni will likely deploy more pass-centric schemes and RPOs, opening up the field for Goedert to continue producing an impressive 14.4 yards per reception. He is just outside of the top-five tight ends to consider in Week 7, making him a solid TE1 to confidently roll out in starting lineups.
Ryan Tannehill (QB) Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill's season has suffered more lumps than the start to his previous two seasons, where the veteran quarterback won Comeback Player of the Year and led the Titans to a postseason berth and the AFC Championship game in 2019. He also fared nicely in 2020, but 2021 has seen the Titans struggle collectively, losing unexpectedly to the New York Jets and falling flat in their opener against a talented Arizona Cardinals team. Six touchdowns and three interceptions show just how limited his passing opportunities have been without Arthur Smith calling the plays. An 89.54 passer rating ranks Tannehill 26th behind rookie Mac Jones and Teddy Bridgewater. With all of these statistics seemingly creating the case for sitting Tannehill against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, it would be foolish to do so. The Chiefs have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score the second-highest amount of fantasy points throughout the season, as their defense is a shell of its former self. There is virtually no way the Titans 32nd ranked pass defense will be able to hold Patrick Mahomes from connecting with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, meaning Tannehill will be airing it out at least 40 times for the third game this season. Treat him as a fringe-QB1 in Week 7, especially with the return of talented wide receiver Julio Jones.
Jamaal Williams (RB) Detroit Lions
The targets have virtually dried up for Jamaal Williams, as the Lions' offense sputters forward with poor play from its quarterback, Jared Goff. After being peppered with nine targets in Week 1, Williams has ceded nearly all passing work to D'Andre Swift, Detroit's leading reception leader with 34 catches for 295 yards and a touchdown, only 16 yards less than tight end T.J. Hockenson. This all builds the case for not only sitting Williams but dropping him, as his lack of usage in the passing attack prevents the running back from returning any significant value. He is averaging an impressive 4.3 YPC on only six fewer carries than Swift. However, the offense is almost always playing catch-up due to a terrible defense. Goff has yet to attempt fewer than 30 passes in any game this season, including 42 attempts in a decisive loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Emotions will be heightened in a reunion of two quarterbacks who swapped places in Week 7, as the Lions travel to SoFi stadium to play Matthew Stafford and the red-hot Los Angeles Rams. Their defense has only allowed 121 points, tied for ninth-fewest, meaning the likelihood of handing the ball off to Williams in goal-line scenarios is slim to none. Sit Williams in favor of Tony Pollard or Kenyan Drake if you're forced to start a back-up running back in Week 7.
Jakobi Meyers (WR) New England Patriots
Some players can command a high target share and still fail to produce week-winning plays. This is the case with Jakobi Meyers, who once again saw 30 percent of the team's targets in a thrilling 35-29 overtime loss against solid Dallas Cowboys defense in Week 6. Unfortunately, new England's offense isn't the most appealing for fantasy, as Meyers has seen his targets collapse into half of the double-digit totals he saw in Week 3 and Week 4. He's only averaged above 7.3 yards per target once this season and continues to struggle to find the end zone; getting in only to have a holding penalty negate his first career touchdown in Week 6. Whether Meyers is cursed or the Patriots' offense is that passive and run-centric, his matchup against an underrated New York Jets secondary is less than ideal. Meyers should be benched in Week 7 in a divisional matchup at home against the second-best defense against opposing wideouts and may warrant benching for the foreseeable future until he can consistently outscore his floor.
Robby Anderson (WR) Carolina Panthers
One of the most dismaying statistics from Week 6 is Robby Anderson, who only managed to haul in three receptions for 11 yards on an 11 target outing. He preserved his poor play with a touchdown reception, but the increased targets did little to improve the spiraling play of the streaky wideout. Sam Darnold also looks like an increasing liability under center after a hot 3-0 start, making it challenging to trust Anderson in the WR3 conversation entering a brutal road contest against the New York Giants. The Giants defense has given up the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers in PPR formats, but this is not enough to justify starting Anderson in Week 7. He has under 190 yards on 40 targets and has not seen more than 4.3 yards per target since Week 2, a red flag that places Anderson squarely on the bench. However, suppose any fantasy managers are desperate for a wide receiver that still carries some name value. In that case, Anderson is a decent prospect to consider, as he is quickly losing what little value he appeared to have after signing a two-year extension this offseason.
Jonnu Smith (TE) New England Patriots
Jonnu Smith has seen only three fewer targets than Hunter Henry this season. Yet, Henry is drawing all of the valuable downfield targets, scoring three touchdowns and averaging 8.6 yards per target versus the meager 5 yards that Smith is averaging through six games. He is sometimes deployed as a ball carrier, but he has a lower reception rate than Henry by nearly 15 percent, which spells trouble for the bulking tight end against an aggressive Jets defense in Week 7. If Smith were the only tight end New England signed as a splash acquisition this offseason; his value would be considerably higher. Henry's presence and talent as a downfield receiver have drawn much more interest from rookie quarterback Mac Jones, seen in the 40.6 air yards that Henry averages per game compared to Smith's 20.6 yards. Somehow, Smith has doubled the number of end zone targets (6) but loses the snap percentage battle, ceding nearly 17 percent to Henry. The Patriots don't have the most explosive offense. Therefore, being the TE2 on underneath routes is not an attractive start in Week 7, particularly against a familiar divisional foe in the New York Jets.
Joe Burrow (QB) Cincinnati Bengals
It might be odd to fade a quarterback who has yet to throw less than two touchdowns in any game for an underrated Cincinnati Bengals team that sits at 4-2 entering a huge divisional road matchup against the 5-1 Baltimore Ravens in Week 7. Justin Herbert was virtually shut down by the Ravens defense in Week 6, allowing just 11 PPR points to the talented second-year quarterback. In a hostile environment against a familiar divisional foe, Burrow will have his work cut out. Players like Calais Campbell, Justin Houston, Marlon Humphrey, and Tyus Bowser are just a few of the high-caliber defenders that will limit Burrow's ability to operate behind a sub-par Cincinnati offensive line. Burrow has thrown multiple interceptions against Green Bay and Chicago and has yet to find the end zone using his legs, a big incentive when drafted in later rounds as a low-end QB1. He is a high-end QB2 most weeks but should sit Week 7 in favor of Derek Carr or Ryan Tannehill.
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Matt is an avid writer and enjoys analyzing the game within the game that is fantasy sports. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his fiancé and three pets, which typically involves some type of outdoor exercise or adventure. He likes to read, listen to Podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the fantasy sports industry. Pat McAfee is a massive inspiration to Matt, along with his parents and friends. He is guilty of ordering the same menu item at restaurants.