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In this article, we take a look at the slate of games for Week 7 in an effort to give you options that we think can help you get the most out of your lineup. We are looking to maximize your lineup by giving you a few cheaper options that can help you to get your lineup loaded up in other areas.
We give consideration to the script of each of the games to determine how these games will likely play out. We also evaluate the play of the wide receivers and tight ends and how they will match up with the defenses they will face. We also look at players that are injured, or those coming back from injury. We then target plays that we like and a few that we don’t.
With the help of our defensive guru Aaron Rudnicki, let’s take a look at players that we both like and a few that we would avoid this week.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh @ Kansas City ($4,700)
Bischoff: The Chiefs are struggling mightily to stop the pass in 2015 as they come into this game having given up 14 touchdown passes on the season. Bryant is a vertical terror and will have opportunity in this game to make big plays which gives him a real chance to get to GPP value.
Rudnicki: We saw last week what Bryant can do with the ball in his hands as he torched a very good Cardinals defense for 137 yards and 2 TD in his first game back. Now he gets to face one of the weaker defenses in the league as the Chiefs have been abused in just about every game so far. The Steelers may get Ben Roethlisberger back this week, but Landry Jones seemed to spark the passing game last week and Bryant doesn’t need great QB play to be productive.
John Brown, WR, Arizona vs. Baltimore ($5,500)
Bischoff: Brown is one of the NFL’s best vertical threats. He has shown great chemistry with Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and he went off in Week 6. This is another matchup that he should exploit as the Ravens are struggling in a big way in coverage. Make sure to check Brown’s status as he currently has a hamstring issue. If he goes, he is in line for a big game.
Rudnicki: The Ravens pass defense has been terrible, and much of the damage has come on big plays against receivers with speed. Jimmy Smith in particular is having a miserable season, and the pass rush has been much less effective without Terrell Suggs in the lineup. Brown finally blew up last week with almost 200 yards on 10 catches, and he should be in for another strong game this week.
Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans @ Indianapolis ($4,300)
Bischoff: Snead has become the main attraction at the wide receiver position for the Saints and he doesn’t require a lot of volume to produce at a level that makes him GPP worthy for your roster. Snead has been targeted 29 times in the past four weeks, catching 21 passes for 329 yards. This game has the potential to be a very high scoring affair and that makes Snead a very attractive option, and if Snead can find the end zone he’ll be a very nice option in GPP play.
Rudnicki: The Colts secondary can no longer rely on Vontae Davis to play shutdown defense on one side of the field, and the pass rush continues to struggle. Drew Brees appears to be over his early season struggles, and this game has all the makings of a shootout. While Ben Watson had a huge game a week ago, Snead has quietly emerged as the go-to WR in this offense.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington vs. Tampa Bay ($3,700)
Bischoff: The Redskins come into this game coming out of a very tough matchup last week against the Jets. Crowder has received 35 targets over the past four weeks, catching 25 passes and registering 237 yards and no touchdowns. Against an underperforming Buccaneers secondary, he looks like a nice option to get to value and more if he can get into the end zone.
Rudnicki: Crowder had a rough outing last week against the Jets (caught just 4 of 9 targets), but that’s pretty standard for any WR going against that secondary. Now he gets a much more favorable matchup against the Tampa secondary this week. Their corners have not played particularly well and they gave up 3 TDs to the Jaguars WRs in week 5.
Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets @ New England ($5,300)
Bischoff: The game script here looks good for Decker as the Patriots will likely be up in this game, forcing the Jets to sling the ball all over the place. The Jets have moved Decker around and that will get him into favorable matchups against the Patriots defense.
Rudnicki: The Jets come into this matchup with an offense that is probably playing better than anyone could have expected. They rely on a strong running game, but also have been getting some great contributions from the WRs. Decker often works out of the slot, which makes him a great target for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and one that defenses will have a hard time keying on. Assuming the Jets have to play from behind for much of the game, I think Decker could be in for a big game here.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota @ Detroit ($4,200)
Bischoff: The Lions have struggled in coverage this season, giving up a lot of catches and points to opposing wide receivers in 2015. One of the issues for the Lions is the short passing game, particularly what they give up over the middle of the field. Diggs will play a lot out of the slot in this game and he would normally draw cornerback Josh Wilson, but he is banged up and Diggs could potentially see rookie slot-corner Quandre Diggs, and that’s advantage to Minnesota’s Diggs.
Rudnicki: The Lions have been a favorable matchup for opposing WRs all year, so it looks like the breakout tour for Diggs should continue this week. The rookie has posted two impressive games in a row and looks like the playmaking WR the Vikings desperately need.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay @ Washington ($6,400)
Bischoff: If there is a secondary to target right now, it is the ultra-banged up Redskins secondary. Evans is incredibly overdue to have “that” game, and he’s finally over his injury issues. Evans is amazingly talented and it’s not a matter of if, but when. He looks like a bargain at this price as he can easily be a WR1 this week.
Rudnicki: Evans was considered a top-10 WR coming into the year but he started slow due in part to an injury, and should be as healthy as he’s been now coming off the bye week. The Washington secondary is one of the most banged up units in the league as they are already missing three starters they began the year with. The Tampa passing game has underwhelmed so far this year, but Evans is too good to be kept down for long and this looks like a perfect opportunity for him to get back on track.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego vs. Oakland ($5,000)
Bischoff: Gates has stepped back into this lineup after his four-game suspension and he hasn’t missed a beat. He is chewing up targets, not to mention opposing defenses, and that will continue this week versus the Raiders. The Raiders have just rolled over to tight ends this season and this week should be no different. Make sure to pay attention to the injury reports as Gates has shown up with a knee injury. However, it’s an easy pivot to Chargers tight end Ladarius Green of Gates misses this game.
Rudnicki: The Raiders have generally been a fantasy goldmine for opposing tight ends this year. They managed to shutout the Broncos TEs in their last game, but it’s hard to see them having any type of success against Gates this week. The one concern may be that he will be owned by just about everybody this week, as it’s rare you get an elite TE with a matchup as favorable as this one.
Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee vs. Atlanta ($3,900)
Bischoff: Walker faces the Falcons in Week 7, and this appears to be a game that will favor a player like Walker as the game wears on. I see the Falcons putting points on the boards and the Titans having to throw the ball to keep themselves in the game. This matchup looks like the kind that Walker can exploit, as the Falcons don’t defend the middle of the field or the seams very well.
Rudnicki: The Falcons just gave up a monster game to Ben Watson on Thursday night, and the weakness of their defense appears to be over the middle. MLB Paul Worrilow is not going to stay with many TEs in coverage, and even SS William Moore has been beaten rather frequently. That all points to a strong game from Walker, who had a strong outing last week and is the most reliable option in the Titans passing attack.
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland @ San Diego ($6,500)
Bischoff: Cooper will go toe-to-toe with Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett, and he’s having a phenomenal season thus far, and that’s probably an understatement. This year he has taken on the likes of Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, Bengals receiver A.J. Green and Steelers receiver Antonio Brown and he’s been a part of a secondary that held the trio to a total of eight catches for 129 yards and one touchdown. That’s total. This is not a good matchup for Cooper.
Rudnicki: The Chargers don’t get much recognition for their cornerbacks, but they have been shutting down just about every WR they have faced this year. Cooper is an exciting young talent, but this same defense gave up very little to elite WRs Randall Cobb, Antonio Brown, AJ Green, and Calvin Johnson already this year.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee vs. Atlanta ($5,200)
Bischoff: Wright does not appear to have developed the chemistry with rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota (yet) that I thought I would see, and so far he’s been a disappointment. I expected more, but to be fair, I think those expectations didn’t meet the reality of the situation which leads to that disappointment. This week he gets Atlanta at home, and this isn’t a game where I see big things coming for Wright. The Falcons are getting very good play out of their secondary and they are limiting receivers this year, and I’d expect Wright to struggle a bit this week. The outlook does change a little (in a positive way) if backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger plays for the injured Mariota, but it’s still a bad matchup.
Rudnicki: Wright has had some favorable matchups the past two weeks and failed to deliver. It seems like he’s just not on the same page with rookie QB Marcus Mariota. An injury could put Zach Mettenberger into the lineup this week, but Atlanta has only allowed 2 TDs to opposing WRs all year so this may not be a great spot for Wright to rebound.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia @ Carolina ($6,400)
Bischoff: Matthews is a victim of poor overall offensive play in Philadelphia right now, but he’s also dropping too many throws that should be converted into catches. In this full PPR format, it’s a killer as one of the primary reasons to play Matthews is because of how many passes he should be catching in this offense. The Panthers have only given up five touchdowns through the air this year, and they’ve surrendered a passer rating of 68.8, second best in the league in 2015. This just doesn’t look like the week to play Matthews.
Rudnicki: The Panthers defense is playing really well right now and figure to force quite a few punts from an Eagles offense that has not really been able to sustain any success thus far. Matthews often works out of the slot, which may keep him away from CB Josh Norman but it’s tough to feel good about Sam Bradford and the Eagles passing game in this matchup.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England vs. New York Jets ($8,200)
Bischoff: It’s a mistake to look at this matchup and think that Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis will shadow Edelman throughout this game. The Patriots do a fantastic job of moving players around to put them at a position to succeed, and they’ll do that in this game. However, it isn’t just Revis on this defense, it’s the attacking scheme and the way the Jets use their personnel that makes them a tough defense to play against. All that considered, and looking at his price, I see no reason to play Edelman this week.
Rudnicki: Edelman suffered a finger injury last week that seemed to take him out of the game, but he wasn’t listed on the injury report this week. In any event, a matchup with the Jets is generally one you want to avoid for WRs. Edelman is rather unique due to the way the Patriots use him, but the Jets defense has the corners and defensive linemen to disrupt the Patriots quick passing attack.
Crockett Gillmore, TE, Baltimore @ Arizona ($2,500)
Bischoff: Gilmore has flashed at times this season and is an underrated pass catcher and athlete playing tight end for the Ravens. It’s clear that the Ravens offense has looked completely out of sorts at times, and the problem is that they stay out of sorts far too long. Going on the road to face the Cardinals is a stiff test and I see the Ravens struggling against the talented Cardinals secondary, specifically against the safeties.
Rudnicki: The Cardinals boast one of the best and deepest collections of safeties in the league. As a result, they are generally very good at defending against opposing TEs. Gillmore returned to the lineup last week and played nearly the entire game, but he was not that effective against a weaker 49ers defense (3 catches for 30 yards).
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England vs. New York Jets ($8,100)
Bischoff: Gronkowski is the kind of player that transcends a matchup in most cases, and realistically he’s going to produce regardless of who he faces. The problem here is his price and determining if he can get to value in GPP play. To get to value he’d need 32+ points this week (something like eight catches, 120 yards and two touchdowns) and it’s tough to see that kind of production against the Jets. I see Gronkowski as a player to fade this week, and I’ll be looking for a cheaper option at tight end.
Rudnicki: Gronkowski is obviously good enough to be successful against any matchup, but the Jets figure to be one of the toughest for him. They can choose to use Darrelle Revis on him if they want to try man coverage, but chances are they will be using some form of a double team on most plays. Gronkowski scored a touchdown against the Colts but hasn’t been putting up huge numbers the past couple weeks to justify his high price, so this is probably a good week to hunt for a better value.