Top Fantasy Football Performers: Bears Shine in Fantasy, Disappoint in Real Life and More from NFL Week 7
Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10).
- Week 7 featured several high-scoring games and several big blowouts.
- Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky posted great numbers in a losing effort against the Patriots.
- Came Newton shined in fantasy behind a strong fourth quarter comeback.
The American dream is different for everybody, but 12-plus hours of NFL football in a single Sunday is pretty hard to beat.
This week’s action featured an abundance of tilting touchdowns from the likes of Ronald Jones, Curtis Samuel and Michael Roberts; NFC East-themed thrillers between the Panthers-Eagles and Cowboys-Redskins; and continued excellence from the Rams’ and Patriots’ respective high-scoring offenses.
The following four players were the brightest Week 7 stars at their respective positions.
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Fantasy Quarterback of the Day: Mitchell Trubisky
It hasn’t always been aesthetically pleasing, but the Bears’ second-year quarterback has put up numbers in bunches in recent weeks. Trubisky completed 26-of-50 passes (52%) for 333 yards (6.7 Y/A) with two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Patriots. He also added 81 yards and a score on just six carries.
Trubisky has thrown 11 touchdowns over his past three games after totaling just nine scores through the air in his first 15 career games. Still, it’s been Trubisky’s rushing ability that has separated himself as a fantasy quarterback this season:
The Bears’ offense features Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel as field-stretching weapons that open up the middle for Allen Robinson and Trey Burton. Toss in the services of Jordan Howard along with a more-than-competent offensive line and it’s easy to see why many predicted a second-year leap for Trubisky.
Last year’s No. 2 overall pick still needs to show that he can consistently beat defenses from the pocket, but Trubisky’s dual-threat ability gives him an above-average weekly fantasy floor and high ceiling. Next week’s home date against the Jets’ banged-up secondary will be another matchup to target.
Fantasy Running Back of the Day: Marlon Mack
Todd Gurley was technically the afternoon’s overall RB1 thanks to another three-touchdown day, but we’ll go ahead and highlight a lesser-known back considering Gurley was owned in a whopping 58.3% of lineups in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker.
The Colts hyped up their 2017 fourth-round pick all offseason, with owner Jim Isray even predicting Mack could approach 1,500 yards as the offense’s featured back.
The second-year back certainly looked the part Sunday against the Bills, converting a career-high 19 carries into 126 yards and a touchdown. Mack also caught two passes for 33 yards and another touchdown.
The Colts were without short-yardage back Robert Turbin (shoulder), but they’re poised to move forward with Mack as their starter entering a cozy Week 8 matchup against the Raiders.
- Mack: 37 snaps, 19 carries, 3 targets
- Nyheim Hines: 17 snaps, 5 carries, 2 targets
- Jordan Wilkins: 15 snaps, 6 carries, 1 target
The only question for Mack’s fantasy value is whether Andrew Luck can save some of the touchdowns for the ground game: Luck has thrown for 15 touchdowns in his last four games.
Fantasy Wide Receiver of the Day: John Brown
Brown entered Sunday’s matchup against the Saints’ leaky secondary as one of the league’s top-deep threats with a league-high average target depth of 22.3 yards. Brown caught all seven of his targets for 134 yards and a touchdown Sunday, demonstrating electric ability with the ball in his hands:
Targets in the Ravens offense will likely continue to be evenly distributed among Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead, but Smokey has clearly emerged as the team’s most dangerous weapon. Brown joins DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones as the league’s only players with more than 1,000 air yards.
Up next is a Panthers defense that has routinely asked cornerback James Bradberry to travel with the opponent’s No. 1 receiver.
Every Receiver James Bradberry has Shadowed in 2017
- Week 2: Julio Jones 5 receptions-64 yards-0 TD (9 targets)
- Week 3: AJ Green 5-58-0 (8)
- Week 5: Odell Beckham Jr. 8-131-1 (14)
- Week 6: Josh Doctson 3-20-0 (5)
- Week 7: Alshon Jeffery 7-88-1 (10)
Fantasy Tight End of the Day: Trey Burton
Trubisky’s No. 1 target on Sunday was one of several key upgrades the Bears made on offense in the offseason. Burton converted 11 targets into a sterling 9-126-1 line against a Patriots defense that has also allowed big performances to Eric Ebron (9-105-2) and Travis Kelce (5-61-0).
Tarik Cohen (8-69-1) led the Bears with 12 targets, as Trubisky was largely unable to get anything going with the team’s wide receivers.
- Allen Robinson: 1-4-0 TD (5 targets)
- Taylor Gabriel: 3-26-0 (4)
- Anthony Miller: 2-35-0 (7)
- Kevin White: 2-64-0 (2)
The Patriots boast three of PFF’s top-30 cornerbacks — Jason McCourty (No. 7), Stephon Gilmore (No. 10) and Jonathan Jones (No. 28) — so it’s not overly surprising the passing game flowed through Burton and Cohen.
Still, there are plenty of competent weapons in the Bears’ ever-evolving passing attack, so expect some week-to-week volatility here moving forward.
Is the Blake Bortles Era Over?
The Jaguars took another step toward irrelevance Sunday, losing 20-7 at home against the Texans in a game that was never close. Bortles was benched shortly after halftime, as the B.O.A.T lost two fumbles and led the offense to four punts in six drives.
Cody Kessler didn’t inspire a ton of confidence in relief, completing 21-of-30 passes (70%) for 156 yards (5.2 Y/A) with a touchdown and an interception.
The former third-round pick was winless in eight starts during his rookie season with Hue Jackson and the Browns in 2016, but averaged an impressive 7.23 adjusted yards per attempt — the eighth-highest mark among all rookie quarterbacks (minimum eight starts) since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.
The offense will begin integrating recently acquired Carlos Hyde alongside T.J. Yeldon next week against the Eagles. Whoever winds up under center will have their hands full facing the league’s No. 1 defense in pressures per dropback.
Captain Comeback Cam Newton
The Panthers were seemingly finished, down 17-0 entering the fourth quarter in Philadelphia … and then Newton took over:
- Newton in 1st-3rd quarters: 9-for-17 ( 53% cmp) | 68 yards (4 Y/A) | 0 TD, 0 INT
- Newton in 4th quarter: 16-for-22 (73% cmp) | 201 yards (9.1 Y/A) | 2 TDs, 0 INT
Newton threw an 18-yard touchdown to Devin Funchess and later completed a go-ahead 1-yard score to Greg Olsen with just 1:22 remaining for the winner. The Panthers’ franchise quarterback has thrown multiple touchdowns in five consecutive games and leads all quarterbacks with 257 rushing yards on the season.
Next week’s home matchup against the Ravens could be the team’s toughest game yet.
Adam Thielen Keeps Making History
Thielen joins Michael Irvin, Demaryius Thomas and Calvin Johnson as the only receivers with at least seven consecutive games with 100-plus receiving yards over the past 50 seasons.
The early-season chemistry between Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ No. 1 receiver has consistently produced video game-esque box scores:
- Week 1: 6 receptions-102 yards-0 TD (12 targets)
- Week 2: 12-131-1 (13)
- Week 3: 14-105-0 (19)
- Week 4: 8-135-1 (12)
- Week 5: 7-116-1 (10)
- Week 6: 11-123-1 (13)
- Week 7: 9-110-1 (10)
Thielen’s early-season dominance hasn’t helped Stefon Diggs’ weekly consistency, as he’s gained just 33 receiving yards in each of the past two weeks. Of course, Diggs’ 8-33-0 line on 14 targets indicates he’s hardly been exiled from the offense. A breakout looms.
Next week’s matchup against the Saints could produce a shadow matchup for Diggs with stud cornerback Marshon Lattimore. This would leave Thielen to run the majority of his routes against P.J. Williams and Ken Crawley, PFF’s 105th and 99th-ranked cornerbacks entering Sunday among 108 qualified corners.
New-Look Backfields in Cleveland and Detroit
The Browns and Lions each featured previously unseen committee backfields due to the respective absences of Carlos Hyde (traded to the Jaguars) and Theo Riddick (knee).
The former team largely replaced Hyde’s production directly with second-rounder Nick Chubb, who converted 18 carries into 80 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Duke Johnson frustratingly saw just five combined rushes and targets though he played his usual amount of snaps:
Kerryon Johnson easily led the way for the Lions, gaining 158 scoreless yards on 19 rush attempts to go along with 21 yards through the air. Still, LeGarrette Blount scored a touchdown and stole 10 carries despite playing just 21 snaps compared to Johnson’s 38. Ameer Abdullah was a non-factor and played just seven total snaps.
Both backfields could be a bit more volatile than fantasy owners would like moving forward, but Chubb and Johnson are the backs to own in Cleveland and Detroit, respectively.
Hurt in Battle and Returning Soldiers
Week 7 presented plenty of key injuries on both sides of the ball. We won’t know more about Week 8 availability until later in the week, but the following skill-position players will certainly be worth monitoring:
- Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (hamstring)
- Texans WR Keke Coutee (hamstring)
- Bills RB LeSean McCoy (concussion)
- Dolphins WR Kenny Stills (undisclosed)
- Dolphins WR Albert Wilson (hip/leg)
- Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee)
- Colts TE Erik Swoope (knee)
- Jets RB Bilal Powell (neck)