Week 7 Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Start Zach Ertz & Chuba Hubbard, Sit Damien Williams & Daniel Jones
Getty Images. Pictured: Chuba Hubbard and Daniel Jones
The good news is it’s the only week this year with six teams on bye.
The bad news is you still need to find nine or so starters for this week that are playing.
There’s no shortage of matchups to avoid in Week 7: Broncos–Browns will be a slop fest, and the Panthers–Giants, Jets–Patriots, Saints–Seahawks and Colts–49ers all have sub-45 point totals, which could be tough for some fantasy players.
Below are players at each position you should definitely start, as well as others you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.
Week 7 Start ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Start
Tannehill was QB7 last season, but has seriously struggled this year. He is QB23 on a per-game basis behind Daniel Jones, Taylor Heinicke, Carson Wentz and Teddy Bridgewater. Tennessee’s offensive line woes have hurt his performance, as the unit has allowed the third-most sacks per game this year. I still believe better days are ahead for Tannehill, especially against the Chiefs’ leaky defense this week, which is allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks per game. Opposing signal-callers have finished top four or higher in four of six games this year. Consider Tannehill a mid-tier QB1 in what should be a shootout with the highest point total of the week (over/under 57).
Carr performed well in Week 6 in spite of a difficult matchup against the Broncos and significant off-field distractions. He completed 18 of 27 attempts for 341 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, finishing as QB11. He has another suboptimal matchup this week against the Eagles, who have allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards per game this year, but I’m confident he finishes within the top 12 based on the offense’s upside. You could certainly do worse than Carr as a low-end QB1 and bye-ocalpyse fill-in.
Jameis Winston, Saints at Seahawks
Winston has been a far cry from the gunslinger we knew for the first five seasons of his NFL career. His attempts have been low and he surprisingly went three games without passing for more than 148 yards. He looked strong in Week 5 against Washington and completed 15 of 30 attempts for 279 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, finishing as QB5 for the week. He will be well-rested coming off of a Week 6 bye and will face the Seahawks, who have given up the fifth-most passing yards per game this year. He should also be a serviceable streamer this week.
Wide Receivers to Start
Waddle reeled in a season-high 70 yards and two touchdowns in Week 6 against the Jaguars. He is the only wide receiver on this team that could be considered even remotely reliable with DeVante Parker and Will Fuller dealing with injuries. The Dolphins face the Falcons this week, who are giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Consider Waddle a solid WR2 play.
Courtland Sutton, Broncos at Browns
Sutton is a start for me no matter who’s at quarterback. It’s highly unlikely that Jerry Jeudy returns from injury in time for the Broncos’ Thursday night showdown against the Case Keenum-led Browns. Sutton has 25 targets, 15 catches, 214 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks playing stronger defenses than the Browns have; Cleveland is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to receivers this year and Sutton’s role as the No. 1 option in this offense remains solid.
Terry McLaurin, Washington at Green Bay
McLaurin has struggled over the last two weeks, including in a plush game against the Chiefs in Week 6. He finished as WR51 and WR64 in half PPR, but he is still WR17 through six weeks. The Washington wideout is banged up with a hamstring injury that is certainly concerning. If he starts, he should be considered a low-end WR1 with Jaire Alexander unlikely to return for this game.
Robinson has been one of the biggest busts of the year thus far. He is currently WR58 in half PPR and has yet to score more than double-digit fantasy points this season. The good news is his target share hasn’t dropped. Justin Fields did have his best game of the season last week, and the Bears play the Buccaneers’ leaky secondary this week. Tampa ranks seventh-worst against fantasy wide receivers, making Robinson and Darnell Mooney both good WR3/flex plays this week.
Kyler Murray has been playing absolutely phenonomenal football, which has benefitted all of his receivers including Kirk, who is WR26 through six weeks in half PPR. He had a strong Week 6 performance in Cleveland and caught five of eight passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. The Cardinals face the Texans this week, which should be another favorable matchup in which Kirk should be considered a WR3/flex.
Running Backs to Start
Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons at Dolphins
Patterson has been a fantastic story this season. This Year 9 breakout isn’t one I had on my bingo card and it’s been an absolute joy to watch. He was RB4 in half PPR through five weeks and will be well-rested coming off of the team’s Week 6 bye to face Miami. He’s a hybrid passer and rusher, which works well against the Dolphins, who struggle to protect against both. Consider him a low-end RB1 this week.
Chuba Hubbard, Panthers at Giants
Hubbard is a must-start once again with Christian McCaffrey now on injured reserve for at least the next two weeks. Including the game McCaffrey went down early in Week 3, Hubbard is RB17 in half PPR. He found the end zone for the first time in his career last week and should have a field day against the Giants defense, which ranks third-worst in the NFL against the run. Hubbard is a low-end RB1 this week.
Elijah Mitchell, 49ers vs. Colts
Mitchell didn’t necessarily blow the doors off in his Week 5 return from dealing with a shoulder injury. He saw nine carries for 43 yards and caught both of his targets for 19 yards, finishing as RB40 in half PPR. What he does have going for him is Kyle Shanahan seems to hate Trey Sermon, who saw just one carry all game. Mitchell has a somewhat difficult matchup this week against the Colts, but should perform well in light of volume alone. He is a locked-in RB2 this week.
J.D. McKissic, Washington at Packers
McKissic had another good game in Week 6 and benefitted from Antonio Gibson exiting early. He saw eight carries for 45 yards and caught eight of 10 targets for 65 yards, finishing as RB17 in half PPR. Gibson’s status is questionable heading into Week 7 in Green Bay. If he sits out, McKissic will have high-end RB2 value, and if he plays, expect McKissic to still produce as a flex, especially given his safe floor with rushing.
Michael Carter, Jets at Patriots
Carter appears to have taken over this backfield for now over Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman. He saw 10 carries for 38 yards and scored for the second game in a row and caught three passes for 20 yards in Week 5. I anticipate this week will be difficult for Zach Wilson and the passing game, which likely spells more carries for the running backs. Carter is a high-end RB3/flex play this week.
Tight Ends to Start
Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington at Packers
The popular waiver wire pickup delivered in the Football Team’s plush Week 6 matchup against the Chiefs. He caught four of six targets for 48 yards and a touchdown and finished as TE6 in half PPR. Tight end is basically a crapshoot at this point, though I like Seals-Jones’ situation with Logan Thomas out. He is getting the targets and has a solid matchup against the Packers this week.
Zach Ertz, Cardinals vs. Texans
Zach Ertz is free from the Eagles’ two-man tight end committee and should get a huge boost by joining the Cardinals. For one, the team is better coached and has an infinitely better passer in Kyler Murray over Jalen Hurts. He faces Houston, which should be a cupcake matchup and immediately vaults him into TE1 territory.
Hunter Henry, Patriots vs. Jets
Henry saw just two targets in Week 6 but scored for the third game in a row. He has finished as a top-12 tight end in each of the last three games and faces the Jets this week, who have given up the tenth-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. He is a solid top-12 play in Week 7.
Defenses to Start
Saints Defense at Seahawks
The Saints have been sneaky good this year on defense and have finished top two in two weeks this year. This should be a fantastic matchup for them opposite a Geno Smith-led Seahawks team that seriously struggled against the Steelers last week. New Orleans is a top play in Week 7.
Packers Defense vs. Washington
The Packers defense doesn’t have the “wow factor” that other teams do, especially with star cornerback Jaire Alexander still on injured reserve. They have been consistent, however, scoring exactly seven points in each of the last four games. Green Bay faces Washington’s anemic offense this week, which should be a moderate- to low-scoring affair and present some takeaway opportunities from Taylor Heinicke.
Week 7 Sit ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Sit
Daniel Jones, Giants vs. Panthers
Jones has been a complete dud for fantasy in each of the last two weeks. He scored five fantasy points in Week 5 and seven fantasy points in Week 6, finishing as QB34 and QB28 (with four teams on bye), respectively. Remind me how many teams play in the NFL? In theory, it should be an okay matchup for the Giants, as the Panthers were just lit up by Kirk Cousins last week for 373 yards and three touchdowns, but I have next to no faith in Jones as a viable starter in one-quarterback leagues, even with six teams on bye.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington at Green Bay
Heinicke has struggled of late and has finished as QB25 and QB24 in Weeks 5 and 6. He was unable to capitalize on a positive matchup in Week 6 against the Chiefs and surprisingly saw zero rushing attempts in the game. His rushing abilities were a major component of what made him an attractive QB play in previous weeks. Washington could fall behind fast against the Packers in a game that isn’t expected to be particularly close (Packers -8.5). He is a QB2 with downside this week.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers vs. Colts
It appears Garoppolo will get the start this week with rookie Trey Lance dealing with a knee injury he suffered before the 49ers’ Week 6 bye. It may be tempting to start Garoppolo in this spot, especially against the Colts’ exploitable secondary, but I would definitely temper expectations. He has yet to finish inside the top 12 in any start this year and is a low-upside QB2 in Week 7.
Wide Receivers to Sit
Kadarius Toney, Giants vs. Panthers
Toney is banged up with an ankle injury and there’s a good chance he actually sits this game out. Regardless, he isn’t an attractive play this week against Carolina’s pass defense, which has allowed the second-fewest passing yards this year. His workload will also take a hit now that Sterling Shepard is back and seems to not have missed a step at all. Shepard was peppered with targets (14) in Week 6 in his return and should be considered the No. 1 option in this lackluster offense.
Corey Davis, Jets at Patriots
Davis will be well-rested coming off of the Jets’ Week 6 bye only to be met by the rookie quarterback kryptonite, Bill Belichick. To say Gang Green’s Zach Wilson struggled in his first meeting against New England would be a vast understatement: The rookie threw zero touchdowns and four interceptions in an embarrassing meltdown in the Meadowlands. Davis scored just two fantasy points in half PPR in the game and will likely struggle in their second meeting this week. Consider him a risky WR3 with a near-zero floor.
Odell Beckham Jr., Browns vs. Broncos
Beckham is banged up with a shoulder injury that may keep him out of this game entirely. Even if he plays, he’s not an attractive start opposite Case Keenum, who is subbing in for Baker Mayfield (dealing with a non-throwing shoulder injury of his own). Weather is also expected to be a factor in this game with high winds and rain. Beckham is a definitive sit for me.
Boyd has had three solid games and three bad games this year. Two of his good games came with Tee Higgins sidelined in Weeks 3 and 4. He has since fallen off a cliff and finished as WR74 and WR100 in the last two weeks in half PPR. Boyd is borderline droppable at this point in light of his low volume and low upside.
Robby Anderson, Panthers at Giants
I, for one, refuse to fall for the Robby Anderson honey pot. It’s definitely going to be tempting to start him against the Giants and after he was targeted a whopping 11 times last week and scored a touchdown — his first since Week 1. Unfortunately he caught just three of those 11 targets, which has been a theme this year. He has an abysmal 37.5% catch rate which ranks third-worst in the NFL right now among pass-catchers. Consider him a low-upside WR4 this week.
Running Backs to Sit
Damien Williams, Bears at Buccaneers
Williams performed very well in his last two games, finishing as RB20 in each week with David Montgomery sidelined for most of that time. He missed Week 6 after testing positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the reserve list. There’s a looming chance Williams will not be activated in time for the Bears’ Week 7 game and even if he is, it’s a brutal matchup against the Buccaneers, who are allowing a NFL-low 54.8 rushing yards per game. Toss in the fact that Khalil Herbert looked good last week and Williams will likely split work with him, he’s an easy sit for me.
Trey Sermon, 49ers vs. Colts
The real question is, why is Sermon still on your team? He had every opportunity to take hold of this backfield while Elijah Mitchell was out with a shoulder injury and failed to do so. When Mitchell returned in Week 5, Sermon saw just one carry for seven yards. He is droppable at this point. Requiem en terra pax, Sermon season.
Williams’ workload has gone down significantly over the course of the season. He saw a whopping nine targets in Week 1 and has seen nine targets total since. He also saw a season-low four attempts last week and finished with one fantasy point in half PPR. The Lions face the Rams this week, which won’t be a good matchup for the running backs, as Detroit could fall behind very quickly in this one. Williams is a low-floor dart throw for Week 7.
Devonta Freeman, Ravens vs. Bengals
Freeman made it into the end zone in Week 6 for the first time all year and posted his best game as a member of the Ravens. Some of that had to do with Latavius Murray getting injured in the game, which resulted in more carries and scoring opportunities for Freeman and Le’Veon Bell. Freeman is a passable desperation play this week with six teams on bye, though I’d rather have nothing to do with this backfield all together. Cincinnati’s run defense has also actually been quite solid this year, allowing the eighth-fewest rushing yards per game.
Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles at Raiders
Gainwell started the year quite strong against Atlanta and finished as RB20. His workload has declined over time, however, and he saw zero carries in a brutal Week 6 matchup against Tampa. He isn’t seeing nearly the volume necessary to be a viable starter, even in a good matchup against the Raiders.
Tight Ends to Sit
Robert Tonyan, Packers vs. Washington
I am once again asking why you are considering starting Tonyan at all. I understand he was drafted as a top-12 tight end, but it’s past due to cut ties. He disappointed once again in Week 6, posting his fifth week of two or fewer fantasy points in half PPR. It’s a nice matchup against Washington’s exploitable defense, but he simply isn’t getting anything near the volume needed to be a reliable starter.
Evan Engram, Giants vs. Panthers
Engram has had ample opportunities with much of the Giants’ wide receiver corps banged up, but hasn’t done much with it. He has yet to score a touchdown and faces the Panthers this week, who will be a tough matchup for Daniel Jones et al. He’s also banged up with a calf injury and did not practice on Thursday. It’s a hard pass for me in Week 7, even in light of the limited bye week options.
Mo Alie-Cox, Colts at 49ers
Alie-Cox scored for the third time in three games last week as the Colts made swift work of the Texans. He did that on just one catch, however, and isn’t seeing the necessary volume to be a viable starter, especially if T.Y. Hilton plays. This offense is simply too low volume to sustain multiple fantasy-relevant players.
Defenses to Sit
Washington Defense at Packers
Washington’s defense has been very exploitable this season for opposing offenses, but has been somewhat serviceable in the right matchups as a streamer. That said, I do not trust them against the Packers, who have given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to team defenses.
Bears Defense at Buccaneers
The Bears are 12.5-point underdogs in this game, which has a point total of 47, giving the Buccaneers an implied total of well over 30 points. It isn’t going to be pretty against one of the top offenses in the NFL that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing team defenses. This game that could very easily get away from the Bears; they are an automatic sit for me this week.