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Inside the Matchup


Week 7

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green
10/23/20

Thursday:

NYG @ PHI


Sunday Early:

PIT @ TEN | DET @ ATL | CLE @ CIN | CAR @ NO

BUF @ NYJ | DAL @ WAS | GB @ HOU


Sunday Late:

TB @ LV | KC @ DEN | SF @ NE | JAX @ LAC | SEA @ ARI

Monday:

CHI @ LAR

Notes:
- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Giants at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: PHI -4.5
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: I believe congratulations are in order for one Daniel Jones. Last week against the Football Team, he threw a touchdown pass! Congratulations Daniel! It was his first touchdown pass since Week 1. Jones attempted just 19 passes last week and threw for an anemic 112 yards. He is far off the fantasy radar.

As for his pass catchers, well, they’ve been taking them down with him. The tight end position is a disaster this season so you probably don’t have anyone better than Evan Engram, but Engram is no more valuable than a weekly streaming option. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that the Eagles have allowed six receiving touchdowns to tight ends.

The Eagles allow just 10.3 fantasy points per game to slot receivers, so continue to leave Golden Tate out of your lineup. Darius Slayton (foot) is the top receiver for the Giants and currently ranks as the WR20 in PPR leagues and 16th in targets among all receivers. Sterling Shepard is eligible to return his week, but with the new IR rules, the Giants don’t have to activate him until a couple hours before kickoff. Even if Shepard does play, there’s no way you’re playing him without seeing what he looks like first.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: It took a couple weeks, but Devonta Freeman is officially the Giants’ workhorse. He played a season high 73% of the snaps last week and carried the ball 18 times. His efficiency will always be limited by his awful offense and his ceiling is capped by the Giants’ inability to score touchdowns, but you can do worse than a running back touching the ball 15-20 times a game. The Eagles are one of the best teams in the league at defending running backs as receivers, so don’t expect much from him in the receiving game. Freeman has a solid floor given his workload, but no Giants player has much of a ceiling. This game (T-45) projects to be one of the lowest scoring games of the week.

Value Meter:
WR3: Darius Slayton
TE1: Evan Engram (low end)
Flex: Devonta Freeman
Bench: Daniel Jones, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard

Passing Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz had fewer fantasy points than you did sitting on your couch for most of the first half last week. But in typical Wentz fashion, he volumed his way to a huge day, buoyed by a garbage time comeback attempt that was a two point play away from succeeding. Wentz has attempted at least 40 passes in four of six games this season. The bad news is he won’t need to throw that much against the Giants. The Giants allow just 15.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They’ve been a surprisingly stout defense.

The Giants arch nemesis of over a decade, DeSean Jackson, is set to return Thursday night. Jackson is always a boom or bust WR3, but he’s also liable to get hurt in the first quarter and not play the rest of the game He will start alongside Travis Fulgham, who has emerged into an every week starting option with the Eagles so banged up at receiver.

Zach Ertz is set to miss about a month and Dallas Goedert remains sidelined so Richard Rodgers will step in as the primary tight end. Yes, he is on the streaming radar because he is a tight end in the NFL set to play at least 50% of the snaps, which is really all we can ask for this season, even against a Giants defense allowing just 7.8 fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Greg Ward has seen his target count decrease for four consecutive weeks. He can be dropped. Jalen Reagor is eligible to return as well, but even if he’s activated right before gametime, you can’t trust him. I tend to err on the side of not playing guys on Thursday and there is not a single player in this game that qualifies as a must start. That does not mean to play clearly inferior players over your Eagles or Giants, but a tie should go to a Sunday player.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: The injury bug made its way to the running back position as Miles Sanders is set to be out through the Eagles’ Week 9 bye due to a knee injury. The good news is he’s expected back Week 10. The bad news is that’s three weeks without your fantasy RB1.

In place of Sanders will be Boston Scott. We last saw Scott in a feature role back in Week 1 when Sanders was held out and Scott completely flopped. He managed just 35 yards on nine carries and 19 receiving yards on two receptions. There’s reason for optimism this week, however, as Scott was the primary back in both of the Eagles games against the Giants last year and he absolutely smashed. Scott went over 100 total yards in both games and had a total of 10 receptions for 153 yards across them.

20% of the receiving yards allowed by the Giants have gone to running backs and they allow 25.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Scott isn’t necessarily a must start, but if you grabbed him off waivers or had him stashed, this is the opportunity you were looking for.

Value Meter:
QB1: Carson Wentz (low end)
RB2: Boston Scott (low end)
WR3: Travis Fulgham
TE2: Richard Rodgers (viable streamer)
Bench: DeSean Jackson, Greg Ward, Zach Ertz (ankle), Miles Sanders (knee), Jalen Reagor

Prediction: Eagles 24, Giants 17 ^ Top

Steelers @ Titans - (Swanson)
Line: TEN -1.0
Total: 51.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Ben Roethlisberger is quietly having one of his best seasons as a professional. He is on pace to set career marks in completion percentage at 69% and fewest interceptions (3.2) as he leads the Steelers to only their second 5-0 start in franchise history.

The Steelers run the ball well and boast one of the best defenses in the league, and the offense ranks 4th in the league in points per game. The problem for fantasy owners is the fact that Roethlisberger is uber-efficient, and the defense continues to limit the upside of the offense.

Big Ben is on pace for just 3769 yards and 35 touchdowns, which in this day and age of fantasy football is good but not great.

Perhaps this will be the biggest week of the season for Big Ben and the Steelers passing game, as the Titans give up the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks, and the Derrick Henry-led Titan offense could force the Steelers to throw more than usual.

Four of the five quarterbacks who have faced Tennessee finished with 250 yards and two scores, including Deshaun Watson’s 335/4 breakout game last week. I would expect a floor of 250 yards and a score for Ben this week, with a 300/3 game not out of the question.

Rookie Chase Claypool leads the Steelers wide receivers in fantasy points and trails only DK Metcalf and Calvin Ridley for the NFL lead in fantasy points per game (minimum four starts). The former Norte Dame star led all Steelers in snap percentage last week and boasts the 6th best grade of any wide receiver, according to ProFootballFocus.

Juju Smith-Schuster continues to be a disappointment for fantasy owners as the No.46 ranked wide receiver in points per game. He has yet to top 70 yards or high targets in a game, and without a two-touchdown performance against the Giants in Week 1, Smith-Schuster would be a serious drop consideration in some leagues. Smith-Schuster is also dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of practice on Wednesday.

In positive injury news for the Steelers, Diontae Johnson is not listed on the injury report and should be a full-go on Sunday.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: James Conner overcame a shaky start the season to quietly become one of the more valuable running backs in fantasy. Conner now has a touchdown in all of his previous four games and reached 100 rushing yards against Denver, Houston, and Cleveland.

From a consistency standpoint, he has been fantastic. Perhaps the one big knock would be his lack of use in the passing game. Conner has a mere 12 total catch in five games, with 83 combined yards and no receiving touchdowns. When you considered he caught 55 passes for 497 yards in 13 games back in 2018, his lack of receiving production has been somewhat of a letdown.

Although the Titans are 5-0 on the year, their defense has not been that impressive. Tennessee gives up the fifth-most points to opposing quarterbacks, the sixth-most to opposing wide receivers, and the 10th-most to opposing running backs. There is nothing about this defense that scares you from a schematic perspective, making all players on the Steelers, especially James Conner, a strong start on Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger Low-End)
RB1: James Conner (High-End)
WR1: Chase Claypool (Low-End)
WR3: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Low-End)
WR3: Diontae Johnson (High-End)
TE1: Eric Ebron (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill continues to be an excellent fantasy option for owners who bypassed quarterbacks in the early and mid-rounds of drafts this summer. He currently ranks 6th in fantasy points per game, ahead of Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, and even Lamar Jackson.

Tannehill posted to back-to-back 300-point fantasy performances against the Bills and the Texans, including a 364/4 game last week in the overtime thriller against Buffalo.

This week is going to be a much bigger challenge for Tannehill and the Titans offense. Pittsburgh gives up the 8th fewest points to opposing quarterbacks, with no opposing QB throwing more than two touchdowns in any game. The Steelers humiliated Baker Mayfield and the Browns last week to the tune of a 38-7 shellacking, and both Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz managed just two passing touchdowns while combining for three interceptions.

While this is not the best matchup for Tannehill and the passing game, there are a few things working in their favor. Stud linebacker Devin Bush, unfortunately, suffered a torn ACL last week and is out of the game, and starting cornerback Mike Hilton is questionable with a shoulder injury. It also helps that the game is being played in Tennessee and not Pittsburgh.

A huge negative for the Titans is the season-ending injury to left tackle Taylor Lewan. His absence in both the running game for Derrick Henry and the passing game as Tannehill’s blindside protector will be a massive hit for the Titans offense. Ty Sambrailo slides in as the starting left tackle, making his matchup against TJ Watt one of the most interesting one-on-one matchups to watch in this game.

The team looks like they will have starting tight end Jonnu Smith for the contest after Smith was limited to 29 snaps against the Bills with an ankle injury. On a negative note, A.J. Brown missed practice on Thursday with a knee injury and is questionable. We expect Brown to play, but keep an eye on practice reports on Friday.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Long live King Henry, the player the fantasy industry continues to undervalue based on the narrative that he will break down based on heavy usage. Henry continues to defy the odds and the industry while racking up ridiculous yardage totals and stiff-arming cornerbacks into oblivion.

If you didn’t listen to fantasy experts and used an early-round pick on Henry, kudos to you. You currently own the No.3 running back in average fantasy points per game and the single most dominant force in the game over the past three weeks. Henry is on a streak with at least two touchdowns and an average of 129 rushing yards.

In a classic battle of strengths against strengths, the Steelers defense that has given up the third-fewest points goes against the beast of King Henry in a battle of unbeaten AFC powerhouses. While I would not bet on Henry getting to 100 yards, the Steelers have given up three rushing touchdowns, giving hope for a score or two on the ground for the Titans.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Tannehill (Low-End)
RB1: Derrick Henry (Elite)
WR2: A.J. Brown (Low-End)
WR4: Adam Humphries (High-End)
TE1: Jonnu Smith (Low-End)

Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Tennessee 20 ^ Top

Lions @ Falcons - (Swanson)
Line: ATL -2.5
Total: 55.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford was a DFS and streaming darling last week with what many thought would be a smash-play against the Jacksonville Jags, a team that up to that point had given up at least 20 fantasy points in each game to opposing quarterbacks.

Stafford proved to be a massive disappointment, with just 223 yards passing, including one touchdown and one interception. Stafford barely completed 60% of his passes against one of the league’s worst pass defenses, while the Lions ran wild on the Jags with three combined rushing touchdowns between D’Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson.

As we look at this matchup against the Falcons, Stafford once again has an amazing matchup that should provide fantasy points to his streaming managers. No team has given up more points to opposing quarterbacks, with Atlanta giving up a league-worst 18 passing touchdowns in six games.

Unlike Jacksonville, the Falcons are terrible against the pass but middle of the pack against running backs, leading us to believe that Stafford, Kenny Golladay, and T.J. Hockenson should have a ton of work in what could be a high-scoring game.

Eight different receivers have posted double-digit fantasy points against the Falcons, including both Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen last week. D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson combined for over 200 and a touchdown the week prior, and both CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper hit the century mark against the Falcons back in Week 2.

Stafford should be considered a solid low-end QB1, and Golladay could lead all wideouts in fantasy points this week. Marvin Jones owners could roll the dice on this game, but he is just as capable of goosing you as he is to score a touchdown.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: It might surprise fantasy managers to learn that the Lions running backs have combined to score the 8th-most fantasy points at the position. Not exactly known as a running back powerhouse over the past few years, Adrian Peterson and D’Andre Swift continue to produce.

Peterson is the starter, if by name, but Swift has been the player to own over the past two games and could be usurping the veteran soon. Swift rushed for 116 yards and a pair of scores last week after scoring a receiving touchdown the week prior.

Last week Swift received the same number of carries and Peterson, perhaps an indication of a change in role in the backfield.

The Falcons rank 18th in fantasy points allowed to running backs and have given up just two rushing touchdowns in six games. The lack of touchdown production on the ground for opposing offenses could be more of an indictment on the poor pass defense of the Falcons than the running ability of the players they have faced.

It should be noted that Alexander Mattison only managed 26 yards on 10 carries in what on paper looked like an amazing matchup. While I do think Swift and Peterson can be successful, don’t be surprised to see Stafford and the passing game do most of the heavy lifting in this game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB2: DíAndre Swift (High-End)
RB3: Adrian Peterson (Low-End)
WR1: Kenny Golladay (Elite)
WR4: Marvin Jones (High-End)
TE1:T.J. Hockenson (Mid-Range)

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan and the Falcons passing game got off the snide last week with four passing touchdowns and 371 yards in a lopsided win over the Vikings. After failing to throw a touchdown against the Packers and the Panthers, Ryan came back with a bang, hooking up with Julio Jones on a pair of scores.

Jones may not score a ton of touchdowns for fantasy owners, but there is no doubting his impact on the offense. His absence with a hamstring injury clearly affected Ryan and the other members of the offense, including Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst.

After goosing owners with zero catches on five targets against the Packers, Ridley has 14 receptions for 197 yards and a score in his last two games. Needless to say, both he and Jones are must starts in this game against a Lions defense that ranks 8th in points allowed to wide receivers.

Both No.1 and No.2 options for teams have found success against the Lions, with Anthony Miller, Andy Isabella, and Keelan Cole all posting double digits against Detroit. Number one wideouts have also been successful, as evident to DeAndre Hopkins putting up ten catches for 137 yards and Tre’Quan Smith going for 54/2 with Michael Thomas out.

The only real concern with the Falcons wide receivers is health. Julio missed practice on Wednesday because of his nagging hamstring, and Ridley was limited with an elbow injury. Both are likely to play, and you must put them in your lineup. Just be wary of another hamstring flare up for Julio, and Ridley has proven to be not as effective when Jones is out.

A big reason why the Lions have been bad against the pass is the play of their cornerbacks. Rookie Jeffrey Okudah ranks 116th out of 121 players at the position, according to PPF. Amani Oruwariye and Darryl Roberts have been a little better, but overall this is a secondary that you can take advantage of in the passing game.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley enters Week 7 with 422 rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in six games with the Falcons. His 13.0 fantasy points per game places him just behind Joe Mixon for 18th at the position, but ahead of players likely taken ahead of him in drafts like Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Kenyan Drake.

The veteran is on pace for 1125 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns, which would smash his production from his 2019 totals. The biggest knock on Gurley has been his complete lack of usage in the passing game, with just 11 catches for 58 yards and no touchdowns.

He also has not been a favorite for the graders over at ProFootballFocus, who grade Gurley as the No.32 running back out of 52 players at the position.

So he many have lost a step or two and is missing in action in the passing game. That does not mean Gurley cannot take advantage of teams like the Lions who are terrible against the run. Only the Texans, Packers, and Raiders have given up more points to opposing running backs, a unit that, despite having a defensive-minded head coach, is giving up a whopping 5.24 yards per tote and seven total touchdowns on the year.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (Low-End)
RB2: Todd Gurley (High-End)
WR1: Julio Jones (Elite)
WR1: Calvin Ridley (High-End)
TE1: Hayden Hurst (Low-End)

Prediction: Atlanta 38, Detroit 28 ^ Top

Browns @ Bengals - (Green)
Line: CLE -3.0
Total: 51.0

Passing Game Thoughts: It has been a couple of rough weeks for Baker Mayfield, who took a vicious shot to the ribs in Week 5 and then took a pounding against the Steelers last Sunday. The numbers were downright ugly: 10-for-18, 119 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs. He was pulled in the second half when the game got out of hand, but his performance was bad enough that it spawned numerous articles about his future. Mayfield will try to right the ship against the Bengals this Sunday, but given Cincinnati's struggles with the run look for a similar game plan as to what we saw in Week 2.

Back then, Mayfield threw for 219 yards and two TDs with Odell Beckham Jr. (4-74-1) leading the charge. OBJ hasn't done much since uncorking a can of whoop ass on the Cowboys back in Week 4, but he still offers midrange WR2 appeal. Jarvis Landry continues to fill a tertiary role, putting up a 64-851-0 pace through six games; that's well below the 83-1,174-6 line he posted a year ago. If you want to give Landry the benefit of the doubt you can deploy him as a flex, but benching him is justified as well. As for Mayfield, he definitely should remain on the virtual pine.

Austin Hooper (5-52-0 last week) has now topped 50 receiving yards in two straight games and has reclaimed TE1 status for Sunday. Cincinnati ranks 22nd in the NFL against the pass, allowing 252.3 yards per game, and is tied for seventh with six INTs. Cincy could be without starting CB William Jackson (head) this Sunday after he sustained a concussion in Week 6. Trae Waynes (pec) remains on IR.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Cleveland's vaunted running game ran into a brick wall last week as Kareem Hunt (ribs) was held to 40 yards on 13 carries. He came out of the matchup with the Steelers a little worse for wear as well as a rib issue caused him to be limited in practice. He should still be ready to go on Sunday against the Bengals, which allowed Hunt and Nick Chubb (knee) to run for 210 yards and three TDs back in Week 2. D'Ernest Johnson couldn't get anything going last week, but he has some flex upside if you're in need for Week 7.

Value Meter:
RB1: Kareem Hunt (inj)
WR2: Odell Beckham Jr.
Flex: Jarvis Landry
TE1: Austin Hooper
Bench: Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb (inj), D'Ernest Johnson

Passing Game Thoughts: Cincinnati jumped out to a 21-point lead over the Colts last Sunday but eventually fell, 31-27, to drop to 1-4-1 on the season. Joe Burrow passed for 313 yards in the loss, marking the fourth time in five games that he's thrown for 300 yards on more. The touchdowns have dried up, though, with just one TD pass over the past three games versus three INTs. The rookie threw for three TDs without a pick in Cincinnati's Week 2 loss to the Browns. That gives Burrow low-end QB1 potential, even if he's better off as a QB2.

It was pretty clear in Week 6 that the Bengals wanted to get A.J. Green involved with Burrow going his way 11 times, resulting in eight receptions for 86 yards. It's moved the veteran back into flex territory, but I'd still be more apt to start Tyler Boyd (5-54-0 last week) or Tee Higgins (6-125-0) this Sunday. Boyd has been the steadiest performer on the outside for Cincinnati, putting him squarely in the WR2 ranks, while Higgins has seen his usage increase tremendously over the past month, making him a WR3.

Despite a pretty good pass rush, headlined by Myles Garrett, the Browns sit 27th in the NFL against the pass (271.7 yards per game) and only four teams have allowed more TD passes this season. The safety position is a bit of a mess with Karl Joseph (hamstring) having not played since Oct. 2, Ronnie Harrison (head) just coming out of the NFL's concussion protocol and Andrew Sendejo (calf) dealing with a calf injury.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon (foot) carried the ball 18 times for 54 yards and a touchdown against a tough Colts defense in Week 6. Unfortunately, that was very much on brand for Mixon, who has averaged 3.0 yards per carry or less in four of six games this season. That includes Week 2 against Cleveland, when he gained 46 yards on 16 rushes. Cleveland currently sits fourth in the NFL against the run, just below the Colts, and provides another tough matchup for Mixon, who is a risky RB2 this weekend.

Value Meter:
QB2: Joe Burrow
RB2: Joe Mixon (inj)
WR2: Tyler Boyd
WR3: Tee Higgins
Flex: A.J. Green
Bench: Drew Sample

Prediction: Browns 31, Bengals 23 ^ Top

Panthers @ Saints - (Swanson)
Line: NO -7.5
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The first season of the Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Rhule experiment in Carolina has been surprisingly good for both real-life fans of the team and fantasy managers. While many thought the Panthers could be in contention for the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Panthers sit at 3-3 on the season and are just one game behind the NFC South-leading Tampa Bay Bucs.

For fantasy purposes, Bridgewater ranks 20th in fantasy points per game, with 1677 passing yards and six passing touchdowns. Not great, but when you consider he is averaging just .7 points per game fewer than Drew Brees, and more than Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers, Teddy Two Gloves can be thought of as a decent streaming option in the right matchup.

Not all is well in the passing game for the Panthers. Managers who drafted D.J. Moore in the third or fourth round have not received a strong return on their investment. Moore ranks 31 at the position with 8.9 fantasy points per game, with just two games of double-digit fantasy production. You can still start Moore as low-end WR2 or high-end WR3, but the hopes of him returning WR1 value may be gone.

Veteran Robby Anderson has been the best wide receiver to date on the team after signing as a free agent this offseason. Anderson has provided a nice floor of 55 yards or more, with three 100-yard games in six contests.

Only the Jets and the Patriots have scored fewer points at the tight end position. Do not consider playing a Carolina tight end any time soon.

The Saints have given up the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks this season, as injuries to their secondary and pass rush have left them vulnerable in the passing game. All four opposing quarterbacks have managed to score three touchdowns, including rookie Justin Herbert two weeks ago with four passing touchdowns and 264 yards.

While I do think the Saints will be better in pass defense with the likely return of Marshon Latimore and Janoris Jenkins, they are not generating enough pass rush, and their linebackers have struggled at times in coverage.

Bridgewater is not a great start in this matchup, but Anderson should continue to be a viable option, and Moore is always a treat to break a slant to the house.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Christian McCaffrey continues to be sidelined with a high ankle sprain that will likely force him to miss another game. The team is reportedly eying next week’s Thursday Night Football matchup against the Falcons for CMC’s return.

Veteran Mike Davis has been more than a viable fill-in for CMC and one of the better fantasy waiver wire pickups of the season. If you have Davis, you have been playing him every week with excellent returns.

This week will be another challenging matchup similar to last week’s game against the Bears. Yet as he did against the Bears and each of his previous three matchups, Davis is a threat to score a touchdown even if this is not a big yardage day.

The Saints may be getting back Michael Thomas, and their injured offensive line is getting better. New Orleans will likely have no issue scoring at on the Panthers in what could be a high scoring game. Davis may not have much success running against the tough Saints front seven, but he is going to be active in the passing game and should be in your lineup.

Value Meter:
QB2: Teddy Bridgewater (High-End)
RB2: Mike Davis (High-End)
WR2: Robby Anderson (Low-End)
WR2: D.J. Moore (Low-End)
TE2: Ian Thomas (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Saints offense has not been the same without Michael Thomas. Emmanuel Sanders has started to click with Drew Brees, and Tre’Quan Smith has flashed at times, but the absence of Thomas is a big reason why the Saints offense ranks 12 in yards per game, and the team is 3-2.

Thomas was expected to return to action this week after missing time with an ankle injury and a one-game benching for fighting with a teammate but it appears he suffered a hamstring injury during practice on Wednesday which caused him to miss practice on Thursday.

The Panthers have been far stingier to opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers than running backs so far this season. Carolina ranks fifth in points allowed to running backs, yet they give up the fourth-fewest points to opposing QBs.

Only Kyler Murray has managed to score more multiple touchdowns against the Panthers, while two opposing quarterbacks have failed to top 200 yards in their respective games.

While I anticipate that the Saints offense as a whole will be much better this week and Brees, and Sanders are worthy starters, it would not surprise us to see this be a monster game for Alvin Kamara and the Saints ground attack.

An injury to watch in this game is starting strong safety Justin Burris, who was placed on IR with a rib injury. Rookie Sam Franklin will likely start in his place and could be the victim of a few double moves by Brees. Don’t be surprised to see head coach Sean Payton take advantage of the rookie.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara leads the NFL in average fantasy points per game (CMC is first, but he has played only two games) and should have a field day at home against this Panthers defense.

The Panthers rank 5th in points allowed to opposing running backs and recently lost their best run-stopping defensive lineman to a season-ending injury. Even if Kwan Short were in this game you would love the matchup, but without Short there in the middle of the field, Kamara should top 100 total yards and a score or two.

Latavius Murray should also be considered an excellent flex play or RB2 for owners dealing with bye issues. Murray has at least ten touches in every game but one this year, including 15 carries two weeks ago against another bad run defense in the Lions.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees (Low-End)
RB1: Alvin Kamara (Elite)
RB3: Latavius Murray (High-End)
WR1: Michael Thomas (High-End)
WR3: Emmanuel Sanders (High-End)
TE1: Jared Cook (Low-End)

Prediction: New Orleans 31, Carolina 24 ^ Top

Bills at Jets - (Katz)
Line: BUF -12.5
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: After a scorching start to the 2020 season that had Josh Allen in the MVP race, he’s cooled off considerably the past two weeks, both Bills losses. In Week 5, Allen set season lows in yardage and completion percentage and then shattered both numbers with 122 yards on 52% completion percentage last week. Back in Week 1, Allen shredded the Jets for 312 yards and two touchdowns, adding a third on the ground. This is a bounce back spot for Allen and I expect him to return to his elite QB1 ways.

The Jets allow 24.7 fantasy points per game to outside wide receivers. Stefon Diggs is a strong play. Diggs has been extremely consistent this season with at least 86 yards or a touchdown in every game. John Brown was active last week, but not fully healthy and it looks like he’s going to be held out this week. That puts Gabriel Davis on the streaming radar. Davis played 100% of the snaps the last time Brown didn’t play.

It’s too bad the Bills don’t have a viable tight end because the Jets have already allowed five receiving touchdowns to the position. Tyler Kroft has been starting, but he is nowhere near the fantasy radar.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: The good news for Devin Singletary is that even with Zack Moss returning last week, Singletary played 75% of the snaps. The bad news is Singletary didn’t do much. In his last two games, he’s managed rushing lines of 10-30 and 11-25, while catching a single pass in each game. He was similarly ineffective back in Week 1 against the Jets with 53 total yards on 14 touches.

The Jets allow 29.4 fantasy points per game to running backs. This should be a rebound spot for Singletary, but his recent performance is concerning. As for Moss, it sure looks like the Bills want him to be a thing. After all, they did draft him this year. He played just 25% of the snaps last week, but given that it was his first game back from injury, an increase may be in the cards. It goes without saying that three games does not a career defining assessment make, but so far, Moss does not appear like he’s taking Singletary’s job.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (high end)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (low end)
Flex: Devin Singletary, Gabriel Davis
Bench: Zack Moss, John Brown

Passing Game Thoughts: I think the Jets are going to hold Sam Darnold out for at least another week, but the door is open for Darnold to return against the Bills. Darnold practiced in a limited fashion Wednesday and Thursday. With Dwayne Haskins no longer a starting quarterback in the NFL, it feels safe to declare that Joe Flacco is the worst starting quarterback in the NFL right now. In his two starts, extreme negative game script has resulted in 33 and 44 pass attempts. He has yet to reach 200 yards passing and has scored just 10 points across two games.

Jamison Crowder continues to be the lone bright spot on the Jets. His streak of double-digit targets and seven receptions continued, although his efficiency took a hit as he managed just 48 yards on seven receptions. We can pencil in Crowder for another 10+ targets against a Bills defense that allows 15.4 fantasy points per game to slot receivers. Unfortunately, Crowder picked up a groin injury in practice this week and was a DNP on Thursday. If he can’t get in at least a limited session on Friday, he’s not going to play Sunday.

Flacco’s second favorite target, his former Ravens teammate, Breshad Perriman, would become the primary option. He had a respectable 4-62 line last week. I guess if you’re in an extremely desperate situation, you could do worse than Perriman.

Jeff Smith still played 85% of the snaps last week with Perriman back, but saw just four targets. His moment appears to be over, but if Crowder is out, perhaps there’s some deep league appeal.

Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin are tight ends that play in the NFL, but you’d barely know that if you just looked at box scores. They’re both not fantasy options.

One thing to keep an eye on is the imminent return of rookie Denzel Mims. It’s unlikely he can do anything on this Jets team, but he’s eligible to return from IR as soon as the Jets want him to, which could be this week for all we know. You’re obviously not using him in fantasy, but he’s a name to monitor for the future.

One final note – if Darnold does end up returning, it’s definitely a boost for the offense because anyone is better than Flacco, but the Week 7 fantasy outlooks of Jets players don’t change much.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: Frank Gore played only 35% of the snaps last week, perhaps a sign of a changing of the guard in favor of rookie LaMical Perine. Although Gore still out-carried and, somehow, out-targeted Perine, no one is ever using Gore in fantasy. Perine, on the other hand, has a little juice to him and is at least worth a roster spot just to see what happens. Ty Johnson is third in the pecking order, but I’d argue he should be first. He’s the Jets most talented back, but Adam Gase wouldn’t know what to do with talent if it smacked him in the face. What I’m trying to say is avoid all Jets running backs.

Value Meter:
WR3: Jamison Crowder (if he plays)
Bench: Frank Gore, LaíMical Perine, Joe Flacco, Sam Darnold, Breshad Perriman, Jeff Smith, Chris Herndon

Prediction: Bills 34, Jets 10 ^ Top

Cowboys at Football Team - (Katz)
Line: Pk
Total: 46.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The good news is the Cowboys defense is still so bad that no matter who players quarterback, that guy will have to attempt over 50 passes. The bad news is Andy Dalton is not the 70-80% of Dak Prescott we thought he might be for fantasy purposes. Dalton was erratic, inaccurate, and occasionally downright stupid. His lone touchdown pass was a garbage time one-yarder to Amari Cooper. He needed three attempts from the goal line to even get in.

Washington’s defense has one strength – pass rush. The Cowboys offensive line, if Zack Martin remains out, literally does not have a single starter remaining and, at some spots, are down to third stringers. They have no prayer of stopping Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Dalton is going to be under pressure all game, which will lead to either turnovers or drives derailed by sacks.

We can rule out Michael Gallup as a fantasy option. His target share just isn’t high enough. Amari Cooper will be fine, but he’s clearly a full tier lower with Dalton than he was with Dak Prescott. CeeDee Lamb leads the NFL in slot rate, but the Football Team only allows 11.1 fantasy points per game to slot receivers. With that being said, his free release and short average target distance will be an advantage when Dalton has to get rid of the ball quickly do avoid being pummeled by the pass rush.

Dalton Schultz feels like the odd man out here, but Washington is vulnerable to tight ends, having surrendered 29% of their total receiving yards allowed to the position.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott was a complete disaster last week. He committed his fourth and fifth fumbles of the season, the second one resulting in him being temporarily benched for Tony Pollard (rightfully so). Zeke’s ceiling is significantly lowered due to the hit the entire offense has taken, but he has a strong PPR floor due to Dalton’s propensity to dump it off under pressure. Elliott was targeted 11 times last week and although teams target the running back position against the Football Team at just a 16% rate, Dalton is not going to have a choice when defenders are in his face in mere seconds. On the ground, Washington allows 130 rushing yards per game and has allowed eight rushing scores already. You’re obviously playing Zeke, but he’s no longer an elite RB1.

Value Meter:
RB2: Ezekiel Elliott (high end)
WR2: Amari Cooper (low end)
WR3: CeeDee Lamb
TE1: Dalton Schultz (low end)
Bench: Andy Dalton, Michael Gallup, Tony Pollard

Passing Game Thoughts: Kyle Allen was mildly competent last week in a two-yard loss to the Giants. He completed 73% of his passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns, but also turned the ball over twice. I still think we see Alex Smith sooner rather than later, but Allen earned himself at least one more start.

Terry McLaurin is no worse under Allen than he was with Dwayne Haskins. Touchdowns will be few and far between, but the receptions will be there. The Cowboys allow 28.6 fantasy points per game to outside wide receivers and they’ve allowed 11 receiving touchdowns to wide receivers this season. Dontrelle Inman has been operating as the WR2 with Steve Sims out, but Inman is not a fantasy option. Logan Thomas finally found the end zone again last week and remains a weekly streaming option given the state of the tight end position. He’s been targeted exactly four times in his last three games, but he’s good at football and is facing the league’s worst pass defense, so you can’t ask for a much better spot. It’s worth noting he did not practice Wednesday with a neck issue. If Thomas can’t play, you can ignore Jeremy Sprinkle.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: The Cowboys are also terrible at defending the run as evidenced by Kenyan Drake’s 164-yard explosion last week. The Cowboys allow 25.6 fantasy points per game to running backs. With that being said, Antonio Gibson isn’t necessarily in a smash spot this week. This is as good chance for him to score a touchdown, but he’s still ceding a ton of snaps to J.D. McKissic. Gibson played just 37% of the snaps last week and only carried the ball nine times in the first game without severe negative game script since Week 1. An encouraging fact is Gibson has seen five targets in three straight games.

Cowboys opponents only target running backs 15% of the time, but that’s more of a reflection on how much volume they allow to wide receivers than any sort of competency at defending running backs. Kyle Allen loves throwing to his running backs. He did it with Christian McCaffrey last year and he served up 11 targets between Gibson and McKissic last week. McKissic also handled eight carries and is a legitimate starting option in PPR leagues. He has at least six receptions and 40 yards in three straight games. There’s no ceiling here, but McKissic has a very respectable floor that fantasy managers should take seriously when filling in byes and injury replacements.

Value Meter:
WR2: Terry McLaurin (high end)
TE2: Logan Thomas
Flex: Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic
Bench: Kyle Allen, Dontrelle Inman

Prediction: Football Team 27, Cowboys 20 ^ Top

Packers @ Texans - (Swanson)
Line: GB -3.5
Total: 56.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers enters this Week 7 contest on the heels of one of his worst career performances. The future first ballot hall of famer burned fantasy owners with 160 passing yards and two interceptions against the Bucs. He completed just 45% of his passes and was constantly under pressure from a potent Tampa Bay front seven.

This week’s matchup against the Texans projects to be far better for Rodgers and the Green Bay passing offense. Houston ranks 18th fantasy post per game with a league-worst one interception in six games. Ryan Tannehill just torched the Texans for 364 yards and four touchdowns, and Gardner Minshew also found success against the Texans in Week 5 with 301 passing yards and two touchdowns.

A significant injury to watch is left tackle David Bakhtiari. The top-rated pass protecting tackle suffered a chest injury against the Bucs and is questionable for this matchup. Head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters he does not have any short or long term concerns with Bakhtiari’s injury, but it is something to watch, especially with JJ Watt bearing down on Rodgers.

The Texans are tied with the Browns for the third-most receiving touchdowns allowed to wide receivers in 2020.

Davante Adams delivered a disappointing 6/61/0 line in his return to action from a hamstring injury last week in Tampa Bay. Look for him to get over 10 targets in this game and fair far better for fantasy managers.

The Texans also rank 12th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. The Packers offense was running better when Rodgers was incorporating Robert Tonyan (ankle) in the passing game. I would not be surprised to see Tonyan score a touchdown in this matchup with the defense focusing on stopping the run game and Davante Adams on the outside.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: King Derrick Henry made the Texans look like a community college football team defense last week with 267 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans have allowed at least 100 rushing yards in all but one game this season, with CEH, James Conner, Dalvin Cook, and Henry each posting over 100 yards and a score.

You are starting Aaron Jones with confidence in this matchup, and even Jamaal Williams should garner some consideration as a flex play. I will be shocked if Jones does not get at least 100 combined yards and a score or two.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (High-End)
RB1: Aaron Jones (Elite)
WR1: Davante Adams (High-End)
WR3: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (High-End)
Flex: Jamaal Williams (Low-End)
TE1: Robert Tonyan (Mid-Range)

Passing Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson has been on fire over the last two games after starting the season off with four passing touchdowns in his first four games. Watson posted consecutive 30-point games against the Jags and the Titans, including a 335/4 game last week in the overtime loss to Tennessee.

Vegas has this game as the second-highest over/under of the week, leading us to believe that Watson will need to put up some impressive production for the Texans to keep up with a Packers offense that averaged 38 points per game before last week’s debacle in Tampa Bay.

The Packers have given up at least two passing touchdowns in all of their games save one, when Matt Ryan could not find the end zone with a map in Week 4. Watson at home should not have an issue throwing for at least two touchdowns, with one possibly going to tight end Darren Fells.

Fells has a touchdown in each of his last two games and will need to have a big game for the Texans to win this game.

If you like to buy into the revenge narrative, starting Randall Cobb against the Packers could be a sneaky play. Cobb has averaged five targets in his last five games and scored last week against the Titans. Starting corner Kevin King may be out this week, and Jaire Alexander will likely be working against Will Fuller, leaving Cobb as an interesting option against Chandon Sullivan or Josh Jackson.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: In a game in which both teams rank last and second to last in fantasy points allowed to running backs, it would not surprise us to see David Johnson have his best game of the season.

Although Johnson has not been impressive with the Texans and enters the game ranked 25th in fantasy points scored by running backs, he does have three rushing touchdowns and continues to get around 15 carries per game.

You could do worse for your No.2 RB than Johnson, who continues to see 78% of snaps despite averaging just 4.0 yards per carry.

Injuries to the Packers defense should improve the outlook for the Texans ground game. Starting defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster and strong safety Darnell Savage left last week’s game against the Bucs with injuries, and both are questionable against the Texans.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson (High-End)
RB2: David Johnson (High-End)
WR2: Will Fuller (High-End)
WR3: Brandin Cooks (High-End)
Flex: Randall Cobb (Low-End)
TE1:Darren Fells (Mid-Range)

Prediction: Green Bay 34, Houston 28 ^ Top

Buccaneers at Raiders - (Caron)
Line: TB -3.5
Total: 52.5

Passing Game Thoughts: A surprising blowout victory over the Packers led to the Buccaneers simply not needing to throw the ball much in Week 6, but quarterback Tom Brady was still able to toss a couple of touchdowns - enough to make him a decent enough fantasy play. With that said, though, there really has only been one game so far this season where the future Hall of Famer has really been a high-level scorer, as the Bucs have leaned heavily on their running game than most expected heading into the season.

Now with a healthy Chris Godwin back on the field, look for the Bucs to start to start looking toward their passing game a bit more. While he finished with just 48 yards in Week 6, Godwin owners should feel optimistic heading into this game as he caught five of the seven targets that came his way in what would’ve almost certainly been a higher volume game if the Bucs needed to throw the ball more than 27 times. Godwin should be back in fantasy lineups as at least a high-end WR2 this week.

On the outside, Mike Evans has been one of the league’s most touchdown-dependent players, having scored six times in his first five games despite catching just 22 passes. That touchdown rate was always unsustainable, but we expected that an increase in volume would lead to higher yardage days coming up. That wasn’t the case in Week 6 as the Bucs weren’t passing much and Evans saw just two targets on the day. This led to his first scoreless game of the 2020 season and a complete dud performance from a fantasy standpoint. While Evans is still capable of producing a high-end WR1 day, the lack of consistency is something that we need to keep an eye on and it’s why he should be looked at as a pretty touchdown-dependent WR2.

The Raiders have been about league average against opposing wide receivers so far this season but they haven’t faced a duo like the one they’re about to go up against here in Week 7 with Godwin and Mike Evans.

From a tight end standpoint, we’ve seen Rob Gronkowski start to look “like Gronk” again in recent weeks. He’s been targeted 14 times over the past two weeks, catching eight of those passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. He’s still a low volume option right now and someone who you’ll probably need a touchdown out of to feel happy, but now there’s at least reason to believe that he could provide some fantasy value this season.

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: It’s been the Ronald Jones show in recent weeks with Leonard Fournette still dealing with an ankle injury. The former second-round NFL Draft pick has now exceeded 100 rushing yards in three straight contests and while his passing game performances still leave quite a bit to be desired, he’s been an RB1 over that stretch and there’s really no reason to think that he won’t continue to be highly productive even now that Fournette looks like he’s going to be ready to get back on the field here in Week 7.

The Raiders have given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season, including quality fantasy days to the likes of Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel and Devin Singletary, so there’s plenty of reason to feel optimistic about Jones’ chances of producing as an RB1 again this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (low-end)
RB1: Ronald Jones (low-end)
WR2: Chris Godwin (high-end), Mike Evans
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (low-end)
Bench: Leonard Fournette, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson

Passing Game Thoughts: A Week 6 bye dropped Derek Carr down in the rankings but the Raiders quarterback has quietly performed as a low-end QB1 for fantasy purposes so far this season despite some questionable pass catching weapons and a low rushing ceiling. Carr has thrown multiple touchdown passes in all but one game so far in 2020 and he’s been able to avoid turning the ball over, having thrown just one interception thus far.

This week, though, Carr will face a Tampa Bay defense that looked excellent against a red hot Packers offense in Week 6. After allowing an early touchdown drive, the Bucs locked down Rodgers, holding him to just 160 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions on the day. It was one of the worst games of Rodgers’ eventual Hall of Fame career. He’s not going to be an exciting option in really any contest, but this is really not the week to trust Carr as a QB1 in normal fantasy leagues. He’s fine as a secondary option in a 2QB/SuperFlex league, but otherwise you’ll probably want someone who has a higher upside.

The Raiders pass catching weapons continue to be extremely difficult to trust this season. Rookie Henry Ruggs III did light up the Chiefs with 118 yards and a touchdown the last time we saw the Raiders back in Week 5, but he did it on just two catches with three targets. That’s hardly enough volume to justify trusting him as anything other than a complete boom/bust DFS option. Meanwhile, Hunter Renfrow has sort of been the opposite end of the spectrum with some (relatively) high volume games, but he’s yet to reach the 100-yard mark in any contest and he’s scored just one touchdown. He’s a low-upside option who you can probably find better options than. Nelson Agholor has sort of fit in between those two players, as he’s not seeing the high volume, but surprisingly gotten into the end zone twice in the past two games. We’ve seen enough from Agholor, though, to know that he’s unlikely to suddenly develop into someone who we want to trust in fantasy football.

That leaves us with just one player - tight end Darren Waller - who continues to dominate pretty much every aspect of the Raiders’ passing game. The tight end has reached double-digit PPR points in all but one game and he’s seen at least seven targets in all but that one game. The high volume combined with him being a physical matchup nightmare for just about any defense means that he’s someone who fantasy owners need to continue to roll out every week in their lineups. The Buccaneers haven’t been terrible against opposing tight ends this season, but they haven’t really faced a particularly difficult schedule either. Waller will be the best tight end they’ve had to defend and it seems likely that he’ll see plenty of opportunity here in Week 7.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: The carries continue to be there and he’s now had two multiple-touchdown days, but Josh Jacobs has actually been a bit of a disappointment in three out of his five games so far this season. Now he’ll face a Tampa Bay defense that has given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season.

The Buccaneers held Aaron Jones to just 15 rushing yards on 10 carries in a blowout this past week and that’s just the start. They haven’t allowed a running back to exceed 35 rushing yards against them since all the way back in Week 2 when Christian McCaffrey rushed for 59 yards against them. That was actually the best rushing performance that any back has had against the Bucs so far this season. While a few backs have had some decent pass catching days against Tampa, that’s not something that Jacobs owners should be banking on. The second-year back hasn’t caught more than four passes in any game so far this season, so it’s doubtful that he’s suddenly going to become a PPR weapon.

The reality is that this is a very difficult on-paper matchup for a player like Jacobs and it’s one that he’ll likely need to get into the end zone to return RB1 value in. He’s certainly capable of scoring, even multiple times, but it’s also possible that this is another disappointing fantasy day for Jacobs owners. Add in the fact that the Raiders’ offensive line is dealing with some serious COVID concerns and he could be without some, if not all of his usual starting blockers in front of him. Jacobs is an RB2 this week in what might be the worst matchup he faces all season.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr
RB2: Josh Jacobs (high-end)
TE1: Darren Waller
Bench: Jalen Richard, Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor, Bryan Edwards, Jason Witten, Foster Moreau

Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Raiders 24 ^ Top

Chiefs at Broncos - (Caron)
Line: KC -9.5
Total: 46.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Playing at an MVP level is nothing new for Patrick Mahomes, so we shouldn’t be surprised when he’s consistently performing as a top-three fantasy quarterback. Mahomes has now thrown 15 touchdown passes with just one interception on the season and he’s also contributed at least 20 rushing yards in all but one game along with a pair of rushing touchdowns.

While Mahomes is always a QB1, it is worth noting that he hasn’t always been great when facing the Broncos specifically. Only once in five career starts against Denver has Mahomes exceeded two touchdown passes, and he’s been held to one or zero scores in three of those five games. Of course, he got hurt in one of those games and left early, so those numbers are a bit skewed, but it’s still something to think about and perhaps use as a reason to not lean heavily on him this week in DFS.

While Mahomes is a locked in starter in just about every league, so too are his top two receiving weapons, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. While Hill is still yet to reach the 100-yard mark in a game this season, he’s still been a WR1 so far due to his high touchdown rate. His lackluster Week 6 performance in a difficult matchup against the Bills marked the first time Hill failed to score a touchdown so far in 2020. High touchdown rates aren’t exactly something we should count on from a fantasy standpoint, but Hill’s track record of being an elite fantasy receiver should make us confident that he’ll remain a WR1 this week against a banged up Denver defense. Likewise, Travis Kelce continued to dominate this past week as he caught a pair of touchdowns against the Bills which helped him extend his lead on the field as the top-scoring tight end in fantasy football. Kelce has caught at least three passes and reached 50 receiving yards in every game thus far, so he’s an elite option again this week, as usual.

Week 6 was supposed to be the Mecole Hardman breakout game, but that didn’t happen. With Sammy Watkins sidelined, many expected that Hardman would see a dramatic increase in playing time, but he ended up playing fewer snaps than both Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle on his way to a zero-catch, one-target day. Robinson, meanwhile, checked in with five catches for 69 yards and appears to be a viable deep PPR Flex play as long as Watkins is out. Watkins has missed practice throughout the week again so keep an eye on his status and consider Robinson if you’re in need as long as Watkins is out.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: The most talked about backfield in fantasy football right now has to be the one in Kansas City, as the Chiefs recently acquired former fantasy football No. 1 RB, Le’Veon Bell. Bell joins a backfield thin of talent beyond rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and figured to see his first in-game action for the Chiefs here in Week 7. It remains to be seen just how useful Bell will be, but it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be less involved than Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson were through the first six games of the season.

Edwards-Helaire is coming off of a massive 26-carry, 161 rushing yard day and he’s become more active in the passing game in recent weeks after a slow start. He’s currently a top-12 back on the season, but he does have a difficult matchup here in Week 7 against a Denver defense that has given up the league’s fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Denver did give up a 100-yard rushing day to Derrick Henry back in Week 1 and a 106-yard day to James Conner in Week 2, but they’ve since held every other back they’ve faced to fewer than 55 rushing yards. Perhaps most impressively, they’ve allowed just one total touchdown to an opposing running back on the year. The Chiefs are capable of putting up big numbers in practically any game so this isn’t necessarily something that should scare you off of starting Edwards-Helaire in seasonal leagues, but it’s definitely something to consider when you’re looking for DFS options.

Bell is someone who probably should be benched in most leagues, but injuries and bye weeks sometimes make that difficult. If nothing else, he’s now in a Kansas City offense that might be the best in the league, so there’s always a chance that he sneaks into the end zone.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes (high-end)
RB1: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce (high-end)
Flex: LeíVeon Bell, Demarcus Robinson (if Watkins is out)
Bench: Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle

Passing Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners can’t have much confidence in Drew Lock heading into this week’s contest against the Chiefs. The quarterback made his return to the lineup in Week 6 after missing three weeks, but he and the whole Denver offense looked pretty bad against New England. Lock completed just 10 of his 24 pass attempts for 189 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions. Lock has played against some of the league’s better defenses thus far so it’s possible that he’s just been a victim of circumstance, but this isn’t a player we should be looking at as anything other than a low-end QB2 in two-QB leagues.

With the quarterback position struggling, it’s been difficult to find anything useful for fantasy purposes when it comes to the Denver pass catching weapons. One player who’s stepped up recently, though, has been wide receiver Tim Patrick, who has quietly turned in back-to-back 100-yard performances in games against the Jets and Patriots. Patrick has caught 10 of the 15 targets that’ve come his way over that two-week span and he’s currently looking like the better fantasy option when compared to rookie Jerry Jeudy who has made just four total catches over the past two weeks. Neither of these receivers is a particularly strong play against a Chiefs defense that held the Bills wide receivers to 12 total receptions this past week.

Tight end Noah Fant is also expected to be back this week after he missed Week 6 with an ankle injury. Fant has been a low-end TE1 so far this season despite playing in just four games so he’s someone who you’ll probably want back in your lineup.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: An illness reportedly held Melvin Gordon out of the Broncos’ Week 6 game against the Patriots, but he’s expected to be back on the field this week against the Chiefs. Gordon has been a solid RB2 so far this season and he’s seeing a high enough touches to justify putting him back in your lineup in this matchup.

The Chiefs totally shut down the Bills’ running game this past week, but they’ve had some struggles so far this season against teams like the Texans, Patriots and Chargers, who are not known as particularly great rushing offenses. They also gave up a pair of scores against Josh Jacobs back in Week 5, so this isn’t a defense that should be scaring anyone.

The real concern here is whether or not the Broncos can remain close enough on the scoreboard that they continue to rely on their running game long enough that Gordon gets a decent number of carries. If not, his ceiling will certainly be capped. Even if the Broncos do fall behind, though, Gordon is a decent enough contributor in the passing game that he should be able to rack up a number of garbage time check-down receptions - enough that he’s someone who can be considered a low-end RB2 in this game.

Phillip Lindsay, who saw a significant touch increase with Gordon out, will likely slot back in as the backup and should be avoided in fantasy lineups unless Gordon ends up missing this game as well.

Value Meter:
RB2: Melvin Gordon (low-end)
TE1: Noah Fant
Flex: Tim Patrick (PPR only)
Bench: Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, Jerry Jeudy

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Broncos 20 ^ Top

49ers at Patriots - (Katz)
Line: NE -2.0
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Jimmy Garoppolo had a much better outing last week following his clearly premature return from his high ankle sprain in Week 5. Garoppolo threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns without turning it over in a convincing victory over the Rams. Unfortunately, a road date with a Patriots defense allowing just 16.4 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, fresh off a game where they didn’t allow a touchdown, is not fantasy exciting.

Don’t necessarily fade Deebo Samuel, though, as 70% of the receiving yards allowed by the Patriots has gone to wide receivers. While the Patriots haven’t been torched by tight ends, George Kittle is the best tight in the league and an unstoppable force. You are obviously locking him into your lineups. Brandon Aiyuk remains a near every down player, but he’s caught more than three balls in a game just once this season. Kendrick Bourne remains a consistent deep league floor play. He has at least three receptions and 30 yards in every game this season, which is nothing special, but he won’t get you zero in a pinch.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: With Raheem Mostert back on IR and Tevin Coleman not yet ready to return, the 49ers will once again look to Jerick McKinnon to lead this backfield…or so we think. Back in Week 4, McKinnon played 92% of the snaps, but I have a sneaking suspicion we are going to see a lot more JaMycal Hasty this week. McKinnon remains the passing down back and in a game I expect the Patriots to win, the 49ers may have to throw a bit more, keeping McKinnon on the field, but it would not shock me if Hasty saw a 40% snap share. The Patriots have allowed just one rushing touchdown all season. The 49ers have one of the best running schemes in the league so McKinnon is almost a must start based on pure expected volume, but don’t be scared of using Hasty if you need to.

Value Meter:
WR3: Deebo Samuel
TE1: George Kittle (high end)
Flex: Jerick McKinnon, JaMycal Hasty
Bench: Jimmy Garoppolo, Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Raheem Mostert (ankle)

Passing Game Thoughts: Cam Newton scored two touchdowns last week, but neither of them were passing. He rushed for one and caught another while throwing for a measly 157 yards. You might want to pile on Newton here, but the reality is he just has nothing to work with. His receivers are never open. Julian Edelman is done. N’Keal Harry couldn’t separate from a stationary object. Damiere Byrd is solid, but when your most reliable pass catcher is Damiere Byrd, things are not going well.

The good news for Newton is the 49ers allow the second most fantasy points per game via rushing to opposing quarterbacks. The Patriots are in a prime bounce back spot at home after an embarrassing loss facing a team primed for a letdown off a big home win. This is a great get right spot for Newton, but you really can’t rely on any of his pass catchers to go along with him.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: James White remains the most valuable member of this backfield. He led the team with 54% of the snaps last week. Despite carrying the ball 17 times in Week 4, Damien Harris was relegated to just 21% of the snaps last week. The Patriots should experience positive game script, but the 49ers allow just 16.3 fantasy points per game to the running back position. Most of those points should go to White, particularly in the passing game. Rex Burkhead remains ahead of Harris in the pecking order and Harris is not a factor out of the backfield. You can’t trust anyone other than White here.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton (mid-range)
RB2: James White (low end)
Bench: Julian Edelman, Damiere Byrd, NíKeal Harry, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris

Prediction: Patriots 27, 49ers 23 ^ Top

Jaguars at Chargers - (Caron)
Line: LAC -8.0
Total: 49.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Jaguars might still be one of the worst teams in the league, but quarterback Gardner Minshew has at least made them somewhat entertaining. The Jaguars have dropped five straight games since their surprising Week 1 victory over the Colts, but Minshew has now attempted at least 40 passes in all five of those losses, including three 300-yard games and he has reached at least 243 yards in every contest. It’s not always pretty, but the fact that Jacksonville is as bad as they are defensively has and will likely continue to lead to heavy passing volume days for the offense.

In Week 7, Minshew and the Jags head on the road to face a Chargers defense that has been terrible against opposing passing games this season. They’ve faced a very difficult schedule including players like Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, but they’ve given up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Minshew should be considered a low-end QB1 this week given the matchup.

What’s been difficult to figure out so far in 2020 is exactly what the Jaguars are doing with their receivers. We’ve seen nice games from D.J. Chark, rookie Laviska Sheanult and even Keelan Cole, but these players just aren’t producing consistently. Surprisingly, it’s probably been Cole who’s been the most reliable player as he’s seen at least five targets in every game this season, whereas Shenault and Chark have each had multiple games where they’ve failed to reach five targets. Both Shenault (hamstring) and Chark (ankle) are dealing with injuries and while they’re expected to be on the field this week, it could lead to some additional work for Cole who could be a sneaky PPR Flex option in deep leagues in this matchup. Meanwhile, Chark has fallen down to be more of a WR3 for the time being until we see more consistency from him and Shenault should himself be nothing more than a Flex/WR3 in PPR leagues.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Significant negative game scripts can oftentimes lead to disappointing fantasy days for running backs, but we’ve now seen a large enough sample size from James Robinson to be fairly confident that he’s going to be a useful fantasy asset even in games where the Jaguars fall behind multiple scores. Robinson, who’s exceeded all expectations that fantasy owners had for him heading into the 2020 season, is currently a mid-level RB1 on the season and he’s scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in every game thus far.

A road game against a good Los Angeles run defense isn’t exactly a recipe for fantasy excellence, but the Chargers have given up solid fantasy days to Alvin Kamara, Ronald Jones and Mike Davis in three straight contests, so there’s enough there to be confident in putting Robinson in your lineup as a low-end RB1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Gardner Minshew (low-end)
RB1: James Robinson (low-end)
WR3: D.J. Chark
Flex: Laviska Shenault, Keelan Cole (PPR only)
Bench: Chris Thompson, Chris Conley, Tyler Eifert

Passing Game Thoughts: Back-to-back high-level fantasy performances have rookie Justin Herbert’s fantasy stock on the rise. Now he gets to face a Jacksonville defense that has been bad against opposing quarterbacks despite playing a fairly easy opening schedule. Herbert now has to vault into the QB1 conversation for this matchup given the bye week situation and that should mean a potential for some nice fantasy production from his pass catchers, particularly wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, as well as tight end Hunter Henry.

A back injury knocked Allen out of the Chargers’ Week 5 game against the Saints, but he had already scored a touchdown and he’s otherwise been a solid fantasy contributor so far this season. He’s has scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in all but one game. He’s a viable low-end WR1 this week, but probably more of a high-end WR2.

Williams is always a boom or bust type of player, but we saw the “boom” in Week 5 when he absolutely destroyed the Saints for 109 yards and two touchdowns on five catches. He had produced under 20 receiving yards in his two starts prior to that game, however, so it’s difficult to trust Williams on a week-to-week basis. If there’s a game to consider him in, though, it might just be this one against a bad Jaguars defense.

Tight end Hunter Henry finally got into the end zone for the first time this season when we last saw him. The lack of end zone production and an early bye week has meant that Henry isn’t currently a TE1, but he’s been one of the more reliable non-elite options so far this season, having caught at least four passes in all but one game thus far. The Jaguars have already given up five touchdowns to opposing tight ends so far this season, including at least one per game in all but one game. Henry is a solid TE1 this week.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: With Austin Ekeler still out, the Chargers will continue to deploy the duo of Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley to lead their backfield. Most believed that the rookie, Kelley, would be the biggest beneficiary of the Ekeler injury, but it was actually Jackson who was by far the more useful player in the one game we’ve seen them in. Jackson carried the ball 15 times to Kelley’s 11, but he also caught five passes to Kelley’s one. He also out-snapped Kelley by a rate of 42 to 25. While this doesn’t necessarily give us the full picture given that it was only one game, it does tell us that Jackson is ahead right now both as a runner and as a pass catcher, so that should give us some confidence heading into a great home matchup against the Jaguars.

Jacksonville has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season, including three straight 100-plus-yard rushing days to opposing backfields. They got beaten up by Adrian Peterson and D’Andre Swift this past week to the tune of 156 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.

Needless to say, this is a great matchup and one that should make Jackson an RB2 option. Those in need of a Flex player this week might also consider looking at Kelley, especially in standard scoring leagues or those which reward touchdowns at a higher-than-normal rate.

Value Meter:
QB1: Justin Herbert (low-end)
RB2: Justin Jackson
WR2: Keenan Allen
TE1: Hunter Henry
Flex: Mike Williams, Joshua Kelley (non-PPR only)
Bench: Jalen Guyton

Prediction: Chargers 27, Jaguars 20 ^ Top

Seahawks at Cardinals - (Caron)
Line: SEA -3.5
Total: 56.0

Passing Game Thoughts: A Week 6 bye might’ve been the only thing that could’ve stopped this red hot Seattle passing game, but Russell Wilson and the guys are back here in Week 7 for what is an important divisional road game in Arizona. It’s important enough that they have flexed the game to Sunday evening, so be aware of this when making lineup decisions.

Wilson is currently on pace to throw a record-breaking 60 touchdown passes this season and his consolidated target distribution has allowed both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to perform as WR1s so far this season. Lockett is coming off of back-to-back subpar performances, but these players have been must-starts every week.

That won’t change here in Week 7 despite a matchup against a Cardinals defense that has been surprisingly good against opposing passing games this season. Arizona has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks thus far, but those numbers are likely skewed by their competition. Arizona has played the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo, Dwayne Haskins, Teddy Bridgewater, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton. The only real high-level fantasy quarterback they’ve faced thus far has been Matthew Stafford, who threw for 270 yards and a pair of scores against them. Wilson is easily the best quarterback that the Cardinals have faced and fantasy owners shouldn’t be worried about putting him, Metcalf and Lockett into their lineups this week.

One somewhat surprising development this season that’s worth keeping an eye on is that the Cardinals have been much better against opposing tight ends than they were in 2019 when they were by far and away the worst defense in the league against the position. Arizona is currently the 10th-best defense against tight ends in points per game and they’ve actually been successful in essentially shutting down the likes of George Kittle (he did get injured in this game), T.J. Hockenson, Chris Herndon and Dalton Schultz. While this alone doesn’t mean that the Cardinals have suddenly become a must-avoid situation for tight ends, it does mean that they’re no longer the go-to target for tight end streaming. Keep Greg Olsen on your bench in this one.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: Game script and a shift in offensive philosophy have done some interesting things for running back Chris Carson this season. While he hasn’t exceeded 17 rush attempts in any game yet this season, Carson has been surprisingly much more involved in the passing game. He’s already caught 21 passes in 2020 which puts him on pace for an impressive 67 which would crush his previous career high of 47. The increased passing game usage has made Carson a much better fantasy contributor in PPR formats, but he hasn’t been quite as valuable in standard leagues.

This week Carson faces a Cardinals defense that has held every running back they’ve faced to fewer than 85 yards on the ground. In addition, they haven’t allowed a running back to exceed 31 receiving yards since Week 1. They’ve faced a fairly lackluster list of running backs so it’s not particularly surprising that they’ve performed fairly well, but they did contain Ezekiel Elliott this past week.

Carson has to be considered a borderline RB1/2 here, but he’s a very safe player with one of the highest floors at the position.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
RB1: Chris Carson (low-end)
WR1: DK Metcalf
WR2: Tyler Lockett
Bench: Carlos Hyde, Travis Homer, David Moore, Greg Olsen, Will Dissly

Passing Game Thoughts: Currently the top-scoring fantasy quarterback (because Russell Wilson already had his bye), Kyler Murray has been dominant this season, having exceeded 21 fantasy points in every game so far this season. Murray only completed nine passes in Week 6 against the Cowboys but he still put up a monster game as he threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns, along with 74 rushing yards and another touchdown. This type of game just goes to show that Murray is practically game script independent as he can produce top-end fantasy games even when his team is up multiple scores throughout most of the game.

This week he gets an excellent matchup against the Seahawks, who currently check in as the second-worst fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks. They’ve already given up three games of over 395 passing yards. They also gave up a multi-touchdown rushing day to Cam Newton back in Week 2. Needless to say, Murray remains a must-start elite option at quarterback.

The real question in the Arizona passing game right now is their wide receiver group. DeAndre Hopkins is dealing with an ankle injury that has kept him out of practice throughout the week and he’s now at risk of not suiting up for this game. Hopkins has battled through injuries in the past and been active on game day, but fantasy owners will need to pay close attention to this situation and give themselves additional options as this game is happening on Sunday night. If he does play, of course, he’s a must-start against this awful Seattle secondary.

Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald would obviously see a significant boost if Hopkins is unable to go, but the lack of volume they’re seeing is certainly a concern for fantasy purposes. Fitzgerald hasn’t exceeded 50 yards in any game this season and he’s yet to find the end zone so he’s really not a fantasy option in anything but the deepest of leagues even if Hopkins is inactive. Kirk had a nice game this past week as he scored twice, but he only caught those two passes and he was only targeted three times. Keep both of these players on your bench for now.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: The Kenyan Drake blow-up game finally happened this past week and fantasy owners have to be ecstatic that their first or second round pick is paying dividends. It took a long late-game touchdown run in a blowout win over the Cowboys to get Drake to his first 100-yard game of the season, but it still counts just the same.

This week, though, the Cardinals face a significantly more difficult run defense as they host the Seahawks. Seattle did get run over by the Vikings duo of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison back in Week 5, but they’ve otherwise been excellent against opposing running games, having held every other back they’ve faced to fewer than 60 rushing yards.

There was some concern early in the season that Chase Edmonds was taking over the backfield, but that has not been the case in recent weeks, with Edmonds having touched the ball just 14 total times in his past two games. Drake, meanwhile, has 39 touches over the same timeframe, ensuring that he is the primary back in Arizona. It’s true that Edmonds continues to get a higher usage in the passing game, but neither player is contributing enough in that aspect to be valuable on that ability alone. For now, Drake should be looked at as a solid RB2 given his high usage in this Arizona offense.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray (high-end)
RB2: Kenyan Drake
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
Flex: Christian Kirk (if Hopkins is out)
Bench: Chase Edmonds, Larry Fitzgerald, Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Cardinals 24 ^ Top

Bears at Rams - (Caron)
Line: LAR -6.0
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The low-upside Chicago passing game continues to be a frustrating one for really any player other than wide receiver Allen Robinson. Robinson hasn’t provided a truly gigantic performance yet this season, but he’s been one of the most reliable WR1s in all of fantasy football - and he’s done it with some less-than-quality quarterback play. Robinson’s continued success is a testament to his borderline elite ability as a player and his willingness to do what he needs to in order to create separation and give his quarterback a go-to option on every play.

Robinson has been targeted at least nine times in every game this season and could end up leading the entire league in targets this season if he stays on that pace. That sort of volume is practically unprecedented in a low-volume passing game like this, but it’s something that doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon. Because of that, fantasy owners should be ready to slot him in as a WR1 for fantasy in really any matchup. He’ll likely see plenty of attention from cornerback Jalen Ramsey this week, but Ramsey has been somewhat beatable this season. Don’t shy away from Robinson and his gigantic target share in this matchup.

Tight end Jimmy Graham is the only other player in the passing game who has really any fantasy value at the moment. He’s been targeted at least five times in all but one game so far this season and he’s scored four times, so he’s a touchdown-dependent, low-end TE1.

Avoid every other Bears wide receiver for now. The volume just isn’t there for more than one mouth to feed in the Chicago passing game.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: Second-year back David Montgomery was on the “avoid” list for just about every expert in the industry heading into 2020 and his 3.7 yards per carry average has proven that to be wise thus far. Montgomery has, however, been quite a bit more active in the passing game as of late, including a seven-catch performance this past week against the Panthers.

Montgomery now faces a Rams defense that ranks in the top 12 in fantasy points per game given up to opposing running backs so far in 2020. They have played against some fairly mediocre backfields, but they’re yet to give up a 100-yard rushing day to any running back. Even worse, they’ve only given up one total touchdown to a running back since Ezekiel Elliott scored twice against them back in Week 1.

With Tarik Cohen on IR, there’s practically no competition for Montgomery in this backfield. This is a matchup that Montgomery owners should be fairly concerned about but he’s someone who needs to be owned, and probably started as at least a Flex, in pretty much every league.

Value Meter:
RB2: David Montgomery (low-end)
WR1: Allen Robinson
TE1: Jimmy Graham (low-end)
Bench: Darnell Mooney, Anthony Miller

Passing Game Thoughts: He doesn’t have a great weekly ceiling given that he’s only exceeded 32 pass attempts once so far this season, but Jared Goff remains one of the more reliable QB2s in fantasy football. The Rams quarterback has scored double-digit fantasy points in every game this season while exceeding 20 points in half of his games. He’ll face his toughest matchup this week as he and the Rams host the Bears, however, so this is probably not the time to start Goff unless you’re in a tough bye week situation.

The players in this passing offense who fantasy owners should be and are most excited about are the top two pass catching weapons, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Recent seasons have seen Woods, Kupp and Brandin Cooks get practically all of the targets in this offense so the target share that Woods and Kupp have an opportunity for is even greater now that Cooks is out of the picture. They’ve both been solid WR2s most weeks this season and that’s kind of what we’ve expected out of them.

Their matchup this week against the Bears is a tough one, however, as Chicago has given up the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. What’s interesting to note, however, is that they’ve actually had some stumbles defending the possession-type receivers that look more like Cooper Kupp. Both Kupp and Woods remain WR2s for fantasy purposes this week given their high target shares, but don’t expect a huge explosion game from either player.

Tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett have continued to vulture one another’s opportunities this season and Higbee is beginning to look like a real bust given his ADP from the summer. Higbee is now dealing with a hand injury that has kept him out of practice throughout the week and he’s becoming less and less likely to start Monday night. If he’s unable to play then Everett’s usage should see a significant spike - enough that he becomes a viable low-end TE1. Unfortunately fantasy owners will likely have to get notice of Higbee’s absence well in advance of the game in order to take advantage of Everett, given that this is a Monday night game. Higbee owners might want to consider picking up Everett, however, as a short-term “hand-cuff” for their tight end this week.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: The LA backfield continues to be a confusing one. Head coach Sean McVay told reporters that rookie Cam Akers was the team’s “most efficient runner” in Week 5 and all but promised that he’d be more involved in Week 6...then Akers saw the field for just one snap and didn’t touch the ball a single time against the 49ers. Instead, it was and seemingly will continue to be the Darrell Henderson show as the second-year back rushed for 88 yards on 14 carries. Henderson is practically non-existent in the receiving game, but he’s been effective enough as a runner that he’s still sitting as a low-level RB2 on the season.

Henderson now faces a Chicago defense that has done a great job of limiting pass catching from opposing running backs, but that has struggled at times to contain them on the ground. They’ve given up 50 rushing yards to six different backs on the season and given their own offensive woes, it seems unlikely that Henderson will be game scripted out of a heavy workload on Monday night. Look for Henderson to get between 15 to 20 carries on the ground which makes him a decent RB2 option even in what isn’t a particularly great matchup against a good overall defense.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers need to remain on fantasy benches for the time being. We just don’t have enough proof that either player is going to be utilized as anything more than an occasional change-of-pace back, so they really need a Henderson injury to have any fantasy viability right now.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jared Goff
RB2: Darrell Henderson
WR2: Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods
TE1: Gerald Everett (if Higbee is out)
Bench: Malcolm Brown, Cam Akers, Josh Reynolds, Van Jefferson, Tyler Higbee

Prediction: Rams 24, Bears 20 ^ Top