Tua Tagovailoa (vs Atlanta)
Tagovailoa had a fine game against the Jaguars last week even though the coaches didn’t trust him to win the game in the fourth quarter. He’ll face an equally easy to solve pass defense this week and might even get back DeVante Parker. The Dolphins also have no running game to speak of, so they will rely on Tagovailoa, at least until the game is on the line. Taylor Heinicke and Jalen Hurts have both thrown three scores against the Falcons this season and it’s only Week 7.
Jameis Winston (at Seattle)
The Saints had the bye week to get the passing game in order, and they could also get Tre’Quan Smith back this week. Taysom Hill isn’t practicing yet, so Winston may not cede any snaps or scoring opportunities to him against a weary Seahawks defense that has given up over 300 passing yards in four of six games and multiple passing touchdowns in three of six games.
Justin Fields (at Tampa Bay)
Every other team abandons the run and tries to beat the Bucs through the air, so Matt Nagy may have no choice this week but to let Justin Fields play. Even if Fields is a mess and gives up multiple turnovers, he should make hay for fantasy as a scrambler and could complete some big plays against a depleted Bucs secondary that will likely be playing with a lead. Fields has a high ceiling in this one unless Nagy proves to be more stubborn than Adam Gase.
Mac Jones (vs New York Jets)
Jones criticized himself for not being aggressive enough in the first matchup with the Jets, so he could be ready to take more shots downfield after hitting a 75-yard go-ahead score on Trevon Diggs the play after Diggs scored a go-ahead pick six on him. The Jets secondary and pass rush is ill-equipped to slow down an NFL offense, so Jones and company shouldn’t have too much resistance, it just comes down to not settling for field goals and scoring through the air instead of the ground.
J.D. McKissic (at Green Bay)
Antonio Gibson is practicing, but hasn’t been able to play a full game over the last two weeks. Even if he does at Lambeau, the hapless Washington defense is likely to put the team behind the eight ball in the second half and force the offense into pass mode, which is where J.D. McKissic resides. McKissic dominated work when Gibson was out last week, so he’s the play here with Gibson ailing, not Jaret Patterson.
A.J. Dillon (vs Washington)
Dillon has a good chance to get mop-up work against a fading Washington team, and he could easily score against a defense that has allowed multiple scores to opposing running backs in each of the last two lopsided losses. Dillon has also scored through the air recently, so there’s a chance at a bonus score with the Packers probably having an easy time of it moving the ball in this one.
Rhamondre Stevenson (vs New York Jets)
Stevenson scored last week and appeared to get himself out of the doghouse just in time for a matchup with the Jets that yielded two rushing scores to the Patriots backfield earlier this year. Stevenson also contributed in the passing game and could see his largest workload of the year if the Patriots cruise to victory like they did in the first meeting.
Kenyan Drake (vs Philadelphia)
It went largely under the radar last week, but Drake finally looked like the player the Raiders thought they were getting when they signed him to a big contract (for a running back - 2 years, 11 million guaranteed) this offseason. He scored through the air and on the ground and was used in a more logical way than he was when Jon Gruden was the head coach. The Eagles have given up multiple scores to opposing backfield in three of the last four games, and Chuba Hubbard posted a 24/101 line with five receptions for 33 yards in the one contest where the opposing backfield didn’t score.
Sony Michel (vs Detroit)
The Lions are swirling down the drain, which should give Michel a chance to get a lot of work salting this game away. The Lions have already given up 12 touchdowns to opposing backs this year, and Michel has a decent chance to score, including some latent upside if Darrell Henderson gets nicked up in this one like he has twice already this season.
Donovan Peoples-Jones (vs Denver) **Thursday**
Odell Beckham Jr may not play Thursday, and even if he does, he hasn’t been effective on a consistent basis this year. Peoples-Jones chemistry with new quarterback Case Keenum is an unknown, but Keenum flourished in the Kevin Stefanski offense in Minnesota, and he should be in tune with play action shot plays that should target Peoples-Jones.
Marquez Callaway (at Seattle)
Callaway should be the #1 wide receiver this week against a weak Seahawks pass defense. Deonte Harris is still nursing a hamstring injury coming out of the bye, and Tre’Quan Smith still has to establish chemistry with Jameis Winston. The Seahawks run defense has been absymal, so they should be focused on stopping Alvin Kamara, which will leave openings in the deep passing game for Callaway. The Seahawks have allowed a multi-touchdown game or a 100 game to an opposing receiver in every game except last week’s against the ghost of Ben Roethlisberger.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (at Los Angeles Rams)
St. Brown should be targeted a ton against the Rams in a game that the Lions will likely trail throughout. Opponents have completed at least 13 passes to opposing wide receivers in every game this year, and St. Brown is the logical target for most of those with a thin wide receiver group and the rookie running the high percentage routes out of the slot. St. Brown has at least five catches in each of the last three games.
Nico Collins (at Arizona)
Collins quietly got back on the field last week after going on injured reserve with a shoulder injury in Week 3. He posted a 4-44 line and should be a primary downfield target this week in a game against Arizona that will likely force Davis Mills to throw a lot in a catchup effort. A wide receiver has scored in every game against the Cardinals, and in half of their six games, opposing wide receivers have scored more than once.
Tyler Johnson (vs Chicago)
Johnson is a sleeper to keep in your back pocket if Antonio Brown can’t go this week. Brown has missed two practices with an ankle injury, so he’s no sure thing for Week 7. Johnson would step right into his role since Scott Miller in on injured reserve, and in limited duty Johnson has shown the ability to produce and riff with Tom Brady.
Rashod Bateman (vs Cincinnati)
Bateman got the same number of targets as Mark Andrews (6) and one more than Marquise Brown last week in his debut with the Ravens. This bodes well for the rookie’s target share going forward since he’ll only be more acclimated to NFL action in Week 7 against the Bengals. Bateman could also benefit from Lamar Jackson’s improved throwing prowess because the already thin Ravens backfield lost their de facto starter Latavius Murray last week.
Anthony Firkser (vs Kansas City)
Firkser could be forced into a big role because Julio Jones isn’t 100% and the Titans may be forced to throw more if they fall behind by more than a score against the Chiefs following a draining victory against the Bills. The Chiefs have given up a score to an opposing tight end in each of the last three weeks, and they gave up over 100 yards to Browns tight ends in the season opener.
Cole Kmet (at Tampa Bay)
Kmet is a sleeper because the Bears may have to throw more than they want to in the matchup against the Bucs. Tampa has given up a score or at least 65 receiving yards to opposing tight ends in every game this year and Kmet is clearly the top tight end in this offense, with 24 targets to Jimmy Graham’s three.
Ross Dwelley (vs Indianapolis)
Dwelley will fill in for George Kittle against the Colts, who just lost top safety Julian Blackmon to a torn achilles in practice. The Colts have given up four scores to opposing tight ends this year, and Texans tight ends just combined for a respectable 6-49 against them last week. Dwelley could also benefit from the return of Jimmy Garoppolo to the offense.
C.J. Uzomah (at Baltimore)
Uzomah isn’t a bad desperation play coming off of a game where he scored against the Lions. The Ravens have given up four scores to opposing tight ends this year, and Darren Waller had his biggest game of the year against them. Uzomah has scored three times in the last three games.