Week 7 of the 2019 NFL Season is upon us. Whether you’re as thrilled as Sean Payton or as miserable as Adam Gase, it’s been an exciting year so far. By now, we’re starting to learn who we can and can’t trust on a weekly basis.
Week 7 Fantasy Football Hot Plays And Hesitations.
Daniel Jones, Giants (Vs. Cardinals)
I’m starting out with a boom or bust pick here. But I have a feeling that the Giants will have a great game on the offensive side of the football at home against Arizona. Sterling Shepard may be sidelined for a second consecutive game, but it’s probable that Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram will return to action for the Giants. The Cardinals have allowed a league-high 16 passing touchdowns on the season to go along with an average of 281.2 passing yards per game (third-worst in the NFL). They are the only team that has yet to intercept a pass from an opposing quarterback and are allowing 8.5 yards per completion (fourth-worst) and a 71% completion rate (fourth-worst). All of this adds up to a bounce-back game for Daniel Jones. Both defenses are terrible, so this one has the possibility to be a high-scoring affair. At the very least, he’s a viable streaming option.
Josh Allen, Bills (Vs. Dolphins)
Allen was a popular preseason breakout candidate but hasn’t quite met these lofty expectations yet. As the QB13 in terms of fantasy points per game, Allen has only passed for multiple touchdowns once (Week 5 against Tennessee) and hasn’t reached 50 yards on the ground in any game this season. However, is there a better cure than a matchup with the Miami Dolphins at home? The Dolphins have allowed 270.2 passing yards per game (seventh-worst), 14 passing touchdowns (tied for third-worst) and only have one interception on the year. They’ve allowed 9.7 yards per completion, worst in the league.
Unfortunately for Miami, their run defense hasn’t been much better. In five games, the Dolphins have allowed 169.6 rushing yards per game (second-worst) and seven touchdowns (tied for third-worst). This means that Allen is a good bet to do some damage through the air and on the ground. He’s available in more than half of ESPN leagues, so at the very least he’s worth strong consideration as a streaming option for the week.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (Vs. Eagles)
The overall numbers are there but hasn’t he seemed somewhat off the last few weeks? In Week 4 against the Saints, Dak passed for 223 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. In Week 5, he passed for 463 yards (on what felt like a million attempts because Dallas was down big the whole time) with two touchdowns but three interceptions. This past week, Dak passed for 277 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions against a very mediocre Jets defense.
Despite this, I think Dallas has a big bounce-back game on Sunday Night Football against the Eagles. Philadelphia has a terrible pass defense and an outstanding run defense. They’ve allowed 280.2 passing yards per game (fourth-worst) and 13 touchdowns (fifth-worst). On the flip side, the Eagles have only given up 72.8 yards per game on the ground (second-best) with four rushing scores. To me, this adds up to a struggle for Ezekiel Elliott and a big game for Dak Prescott. Last week, I picked Cousins to have a big game against Philly and he went 22-for-29 for 333 passing yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Dalvin Cook totaled 16 carries for 41 yards, albeit with a rushing score. I expect a similar result here in Dallas with Dak and Zeke. Start him.
Sam Darnold, Jets (Vs. Patriots)
Darnold was outstanding in his Week 6 return, passing for 338 yards with two touchdowns in the surprising Jet victory over the Cowboys. With the second-year pro under center, the Jets looked like a functioning offense. The Dallas pass defense had been top-10 heading into the matchup, so Darnold’s performance as QB9 for the week was impressive. However, the Iron Curtain otherwise known as the New England Patriots will visit in Week 7. The Patriots have allowed 161 passing yards per game (second-best) with only one touchdown through the air all year. Their 14 interceptions lead the NFL (nobody else even has double-digit picks) and their 25 sacks rank second. Darnold is prone to throwing interceptions and for the most part this season, the New York offensive line has been a revolving door. Look for better streaming options.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (@ Lions)
Last week, Cousins was featured as one of my “Hot Plays”, and boy did he deliver. However, this week presents a much worse matchup for the Minnesota signal-caller. The Lions are a bottom-five defense in terms of passing yards allowed per game. However, they’ve only allowed six passing touchdowns on the season, tied for the fifth-fewest in the NFL. It’s been somewhat of a “bend but don’t break” type of situation for the Detroit pass defense. Cousins is not a volume passer, he has only thrown 155 passes in six games, an average of 25.8 per contest (25th in the NFL). The Lions don’t give up many touchdowns, so this feels like a 240 yard, one touchdown performance to me. Don’t be fooled by Week 6. Start someone else.
Carson Wentz, Eagles (@ Cowboys)
NOTE: I’m not necessarily saying to bench Carson Wentz. I’m saying that if you have another viable QB1 option, consider benching Carson Wentz. He’s been good this year as the QB9 from a fantasy points per game standpoint. However, I just can’t help shake the feeling that Philly gets blown out on Sunday Night Football. Dallas is hungry after their loss against the Jets, they’re still a top-half defense in terms of passing yards allowed per game and they’ve still only given up five passing touchdowns. The Eagles simply aren’t that good. The Cowboys aren’t great, especially with their injuries on the offensive line. However, I think they win big, rack up some sacks against Carson Wentz and limit him in this one.
Frank Gore, Bills (Vs Dolphins)
Rookie Devin Singletary is expected to return, but Gore is worth strong Flex consideration for this week. He goes up against a Miami run defense that has allowed 169.6 rushing yards per game (second-worst) and seven rushing scores (tied for third-worst). The Dolphins are also allowing a healthy 4.7 yards per carry. The potential timeshare isn’t ideal, but Gore has totaled double-digit carries every week, including an average of 16 from Weeks 2-5. In the two games in which he’s faced a bottom-10 run defense, Gore has 33 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Even if Singletary gets significant work, Gore is a good bet to find the end zone and rack up 13-17 carries. He’s a good option for the week.
Tevin Coleman, 49ers (@ Redskins)
After sustaining an injury in Week 1, Coleman has returned with a vengeance. In two games, he’s totaled 34 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 7, he gets a matchup against a porous Washington defense allowing 134 yards on the ground (fifth-worst). Additionally, the Redskins have allowed a healthy 4.6 yards per carry and six carries of 20 or more yards (tied for second-worst). Even with Matt Breida a threat to steal carries, Coleman should be the featured back with goal-line priority. Start him with confidence as an RB2.
Josh Jacobs, Raiders (@ Packers)
While a road game against the Packers might not inspire confidence, Green Bay has been tougher against the pass (only 239.3 passing yards per game and six passing touchdowns allowed) than the run. The Packers have allowed 124.5 rushing yards per game (tenth-worst), 4.9 yards per carry (seventh-worst) and seven touchdowns on the ground (tied for third-worst). Jacobs is coming off of an outstanding game in which he ran for 123 yards and two scores against an imposing Bears defense. He did so on 26 carries, a career-high for the rookie. Green Bay has surrendered over 30 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, so at the very least, you should be starting him at your flex.
Kerryon Johnson, Lions (Vs. Vikings)
Johnson came through with a touchdown in Week 6 but wasn’t efficient, otherwise. He only totaled 13 carries for 34 yards, his lowest rushing output of the season from both a workload and yardage standpoint. The Vikings have only allowed 91.5 rushing yards per game (ninth-fewest), 4.8 yards per carry (seventh-fewest) and one rushing score (tied with San Francisco for the fewest in the NFL). Minnesota has only allowed one running back to gain 100 or more yards in a game. Aside from a Week 4 game against a Swiss Cheese Kansas City rush defense, Johnson has averaged 15.3 carries for 40 yards across his other four games. He’s only scored two rushing touchdowns. I don’t trust him in this one.
David Montgomery, Bears (Vs. Saints)
The Saints NEVER allow running backs to go for 100 or more yards in a contest. The last time they did so was during the 1994 season. I’m exaggerating, but only slightly. Last week, the Saints held Leonard Fournette to 72 rushing yards on 20 carries. The week before, they held Ronald Jones II and Peyton Barber to 67 rushing yards on 17 carries. How about the week before that? They held Ezekiel Elliott to 35 rushing yards on 18 carries. And before that? They held Chris Carson to 52 yards on 15 carries. How about Todd Gurley? 63 yards on 16 carries. Get the picture? Montgomery’s usage has been inconsistent, to say the least, and he’s only amassed 20 or more carries once. Add in the fact that he hasn’t gotten much work out of the backfield or that he cedes some work to Tarik Cohen. I’d leave him on your bench this week.
Sony Michel, Patriots (@ Jets)
Michel’s usage fluctuates significantly and he’s so hard to trust in any given week. His weekly touches have ranged anywhere from nine to 24, with very little usage in the passing game. Two of his biggest games came against two of the worst defenses in the NFL: Miami and Washington. In those two games, Michel totaled 37 carries for 174 yards and two scores. In his other four games, he’s averaging 15.8 carries for 43.5 yards and has only scored once. The Jets actually feature a surprisingly decent run defense. They’re allowing 95.8 rushing yards per game (top half) and a meager 3.5 yards per carry (tied for fourth-best). In Week 3, Michel rushed nine times for 11 yards against the Jets, though he did score a touchdown. If you want to play him as a Flex, I get it, because with how the Patriots operate, you never know if he’ll get 28 carries. But I’d hesitate before committing to him.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys (Vs. Eagles)
Last week, I featured Kirk Cousins as a hot play because the Eagles have a terrible pass defense and an outstanding run defense. What happened in that game? Dalvin Cook, fantasy royalty in 2019 ran for 41 yards on 16 carries. Kirk Cousins, he of the “10 passes thrown in Week 1” variety, passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns. That’s why I featured Dak Prescott as a hot play this week and that’s why I’m featuring Michael Gallup as a hot play here. In his first game back from injury in Week 5, Gallup caught seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown against a stout Green Bay pass defense. Both Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb are questionable to play on Sunday Night. If they’re out, it would leave a whole lot of additional targets for Gallup. Even if one or both of them play, the Philadelphia pass defense is that bad. Gallup is listed as questionable as well, but he is the only one of the trio who practiced on Wednesday and is a good bet to play. Start him with gusto.
Golden Tate, Giants (Vs. Cardinals)
I featured Tate as a hesitation last week, and I was well on my way to being right until he caught a 64-yard touchdown pass (that he bobbled two or three times) from Daniel Jones. So I’ll take the “L” on that one. Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley are likely to return this week, which may take away some targets from Tate. However, the matchup is simply too great to ignore. Arizona has allowed a whopping 281.2 passing yards per game (third-most) and a league-leading 16 passing touchdowns. Even if Tate is the No. 2 or 3 option, he’s still worth strong consideration as a Flex play against a Cardinals defense that can’t seem to stop anybody.
Robert Woods, Rams (@ Falcons)
I consider myself to be a fairly disgruntled Woods owner. In past seasons, I’ve owned Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks and always exclaimed dismay at the target share that Woods seemed to get. While the results have been more mixed this year, he’s actually averaging a career-high 8.5 targets per game. However, 15 of those targets came in Week 4 and 13 were in Week 1. In his other four games, Woods is averaging 2.5 receptions for 30.3 yards. He has yet to score a receiving touchdown on the year. Fortunately for Woods, he gets a Week 7 matchup against an Atlanta defense that has allowed 271.2 passing yards per game (sixth-worst), 8.6 yards per reception (third-worst) and 15 passing touchdowns (second-most in the NFL). Despite the struggles of Jared Goff, this game has shootout written all over it. Even in a Week 6 contest in which Goff passed for 78 yards, Woods found a way to make himself useful by rushing for a touchdown. Don’t let last week scare you. Start him if you can.
Terry McLaurin, Redskins (Vs. 49ers)
Scary Terry has been scary amazing this year. In a Week 5 matchup against the top-ranked New England secondary, McLaurin caught 3 passes for 51 yards. In his other four games, he’s totaled 20 catches for 357 yards and five touchdowns. So, why am I saying to hesitate? Well, the 49ers are the only team to already pass their win total from 2018 and that’s mostly due to their outstanding defensive play. The 49ers have given up a league-low 150.2 passing yards per game, a 53.6 completion percentage (second-lowest) and only five passing touchdowns (tied for fourth-fewest). It’s not so much that I don’t trust McLaurin, but rather, I don’t trust the Washington quarterback situation going up against San Francisco. I imagine that Terry won’t be held down totally, but I’d hesitate before locking him in as a Flex, and I certainly wouldn’t start him as a WR2.
Mike Williams, Chargers (@ Titans)
I’ve never been a big Mike Williams fan, mostly because he’s just so boom or bust. This season, he’s only caught more than three passes in a game twice and has yet to score. The Titans have a strong pass defense and have allowed only 217.3 passing yards per game (sixth-fewest) along with 6.8 yards per catch (eighth-best). Williams thrives on big plays, and Tennessee has only allowed 16 passes of 20 or more yards (tied for fourth-fewest) and two passes of 40 or more yards (tied for second-fewest). Williams is an extremely risky play in this one and is best left on your bench.
Marvin Jones Jr, Lions (Vs. Vikings)
Minnesota has a stout run defense but their pass defense ain’t too shabby either. They’ve allowed 218.8 passing yards per game (seventh-fewest) and 6.4 yards per reception (sixth-best). Jones had one big game against a terrible Eagles pass defense (six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown) but hasn’t impressed otherwise. In his other four games, he’s caught 14 passes for 193 yards and no scores. He’s too boom or bust for my liking this week.
Delanie Walker, Titans (Vs. Chargers)
He’s been pretty useless the last few weeks, totaling 5 catches for 57 yards with no touchdowns. However, Ryan Tannehill will be starting for the Titans and he completed over 80% of his passes in relief of Marcus Mariota last week. The Chargers have a solid pass defense, but I expect the Titans to go with a more pass-happy approach this week. It’s more of a gut feeling, but I think Walker has a good game and is a decent bet to score. I wouldn’t start him over a Travis Kelce, but start Walker over any options on the waiver wire.
Darren Waller, Raiders (@ Packers)
As mentioned, the Packers have a strong pass defense. However, Tyrell Williams may not play and from a sheer volume perspective, Waller should be a strong play this week. He hasn’t scored but is still the TE7 heading into Week 7 due to a remarkably consistent output. He’s failed to reach double-digit points in PPR scoring only once. Waller is averaging more than seven catches per game and is a must-start in my view due to his outstanding floor.
Jared Cook, Saints (Vs. Bears)
Cook has scored two weeks in a row and has provided a measure of stability at the position, totaling seven catches for 78 yards combined. However, I don’t love the matchup for the Saints on the road. New Orleans has mostly been winning through the strength of their defense and I see this being another low-scoring matchup for Who Dat Nation. While certain Saints such as Michael Thomas are matchup-proof, Cook is not. I don’t see more than a few catches for the former Raider in this one. He’s somewhat touchdown-dependent and the Bears have only given up four passing touchdowns in 2019 (tied for third-fewest). There are safer options out there.
Jimmy Graham, Packers (Vs. Raiders)
I don’t have too much to say about this one. Graham has put up 30.1 PPR points in Weeks 1 and 4, and 10.8 combined points across his other four games. The Raiders have a generous pass defense but given Graham’s instability, I’d look elsewhere. Aaron Rodgers, while having an outstanding year, is having a middling year from a fantasy perspective. If you need a streaming option, start elsewhere.
Buffalo Bills (Vs. Dolphins)
This one may seem obvious, but the Bills are only the tenth-ranked D/ST heading into Week 7. However, the Dolphins possess the worst offense in the NFL and the game is in Buffalo. They’re arguably the top D/ST play for the week against a Miami offense that has scored four touchdowns in five games. Start them!
San Francisco 49ers, (@ Redskins)
Again, another one that might seem obvious but the 49ers are still somehow available in roughly 20% of ESPN leagues. So, if they’re available in your league, pick them up and start them against a lousy Washington squad. The 49ers are the second-ranked D/ST heading into Week 7 and just held Jared Goff to 78 passing yards. Roll with them against the Redskins.
Jacksonville Jaguars (@ Bengals)
This is not the Jacksonville defense of old. Additionally, they just traded away Jalen Ramsey. However, an inviting matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals looms this week. The Jaguars have played well against less than stellar offenses such as the Titans and shorthanded Saints. The Bengals are prone to turning the football over and the Jags are available in about 25% of leagues. They’re a solid streaming option.
Seahawks (Vs. Ravens)
The Seahawks have been decent on the defensive side of the football. They’re the 13th-ranked fantasy D/ST heading into Week 7. However, a matchup with the Baltimore Ravens doesn’t inspire much confidence. The Seahawks are bottom-10 in terms of passing yards allowed per game and have given up the second-most rushing scores (eight). I see a big game coming for Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram II, and Co. Seattle may squeak out a win thanks to an offense that can match Baltimore, but I’m not confident in the defense. From a fantasy perspective, the Seahawk D/ST has had strong games against Cincinnati, Arizona, and Cleveland. They’ve performed poorly against New Orleans and the Rams. I’d look for better options elsewhere.
New York Jets, (Vs. Patriots)
Before you laugh, the Jets are actually the No. 9 D/ST from a fantasy points per game perspective. They’ve done this with a schedule that featured solid offenses in New England, Philadelphia, and Dallas. In Week 3 against New England, the Jets’ defense racked up two turnovers and two touchdowns. However, I don’t like them in this contest. The run defense is pretty reliable and is a decent bet to limit Sony Michel. However, I think Brady will tear them apart. They’re rostered in less than 10% of ESPN leagues, but if you need a streaming option and were looking at their overall scoring numbers, don’t get suckered in.
Philadelphia Eagles (@ Cowboys)
They’re rostered in about half of ESPN leagues and are actually the No.9 D/ST in fantasy scoring heading into Week 7. But, this is largely due to a Week 5 performance against the Jets in which they allowed six points, totaled three turnovers and scored two touchdowns. The Eagles have proven an inability to play well against good, or even decent offenses. A road matchup against a hungry Cowboys squad is no recipe for success. Their pass defense is terrible and the run defense will have its hands full with Zeke. Don’t start them.