Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Inside the Matchup
Week 7
10/18/18; Updated: 10/19/18

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Justin Bales



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:

NO @ BAL | DAL @ WAS | LAR @ SF | CIN @ KC



- ITM for all games will be available on Friday.
- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Broncos at Cardinals - (Caron)
Line: DEN -1.5
Total: 42.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The quarterback problems have continued in Denver this season as Case Keenum has been picked off at least once in all six of Denver’s games, for a total of eight interceptions thrown on the season. In addition, he has only thrown seven touchdown passes. Keenum has, however, thrown for two touchdowns and over 300 yards in back-to-back games against the Jets and Rams. Keenum will remain starter for now, but grumblings for backup Chad Kelly are beginning to grow. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas hasn’t seen the type of volume that many expected he would so far this season, but he’s still been a viable fantasy contributor most weeks, including each of the past two weeks where he’s been the recipient of a touchdown pass from Keenum. Emmanuel Sanders is the player who’s generating by far the most fantasy production in this Denver passing game, having already caught 40 passes for over 500 yards and two touchdowns through six games. His 54 targets put him at a pace of 144 for the season which would have put him in the top eight at the position in 2017.

Cardinals Cornerback Patrick Peterson has been excellent in coverage yet again this season, including shadowing the Vikings’ Stefon Diggs this past week and holding him to just two catches on the day. We don’t yet know which Broncos receiver Peterson will be primarily locked up with. Typically Peterson will line up against the opposing team’s top receiver who is not in the slot, but the Broncos have two outside receivers - Sanders and Thomas - who have seen practically no snaps in the slot so far this season. While Sanders has been the more productive player, there’s actually a pretty good chance that the Cardinals could still opt to line Peterson up against Thomas which would allow them to focus additional coverage on slowing down Sanders. While rookie Courtland Sutton could theoretically see less coverage against this type of defense, the truth is that he’s just not being targeted at a high enough rate to warrant much fantasy consideration at this time. Through six games, he’s averaging just five targets per game, which practically requires perfect efficiency to yield solid fantasy results.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: The Broncos’ close Week 6 loss the Rams told us some important information about the Denver backfield. Perhaps most importantly, we’re beginning to see that the carry split in neutral game script situations will likely be roughly two-thirds for Royce Freeman and one-third for Phillip Lindsay. However, given that Denver’s offense is not particularly efficient and their run blocking hasn’t opened up many holes for the backfield thus far, what’s becoming the more important role in Denver is the passing down work. Unfortunately, that adds an additional player to the mix, in running back Devontae Booker, who actually slightly out-snapped Lindsay this past week. Booker isn’t just being used as a pass protector, either. He’s caught a total of seven passes over the past two weeks to Lindsay’s nine passes. Freeman remains almost completely useless in the passing game, as he’s caught just four passes on the season. This three-headed backfield is simply not conducive to consistent and predictable fantasy production. Lindsay has been seeing enough work to produce double-digit PPR fantasy point totals in five of six games, but he’s also yet to hit 20 points in a game so far this season.

One positive thing to look at in this matchup is that the Cardinals have been awful at containing opposing running backs so far this season. They’ve given up 832 rushing yards along with 342 receiving yards to the position, along with a league-most eight rushing touchdowns. In addition, they’ve given up 24 or more fantasy points to opposing running back units in each game this season, including 114-or-more rushing yards against in all but one game. This would seem to benefit Freeman most, given that he’s still seeing the largest share of the team’s carries, but Freeman remains a dangerous play especially in PPR formats because he has not yet established a role in the passing game.

Value Meter:
RB2: Royce Freeman (standard scoring), Phillip Lindsay (PPR)
WR2: Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas
Bench: Case Keenum, Devontae Booker, Courtland Sutton, Jeff Heuerman

Passing Game Thoughts: Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen faced his toughest test yet this past week when he and the Cardinals went on the road to face a tough Vikings defense. While Rosen failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time as a starting quarterback, he did complete a career-high 68 percent of his passes along with a career high with 240 passing yards. Those numbers don’t sound great - and they’re not - but they have to be considered to be at least a move in the right direction for this Arizona offense which has been among the worst in the league so far this season. Rosen himself is among the lowest-upside starting quarterbacks for fantasy so he shouldn’t be considered as a fantasy starter in anything other than desperate situations in 2QB formats, but what we’re more worried about is how he affects the other pieces of this Arizona passing game.

It’s been awful thus far for veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald who has now failed to top 40 yards in five straight games, including every start from Rosen. While Fitzgerald did catch five passes this past week - his highest total since Week 1 - he’s still not contributing enough to be a serious fantasy option. Some of that is likely due to the hamstring and back injuries that have limited him, but it’s also likely a situation where he’s finally slowing down as a player. Of course, the poor Arizona offense as a whole isn’t helping the situation either.

The receiver who has been doing something interesting is rookie Christian Kirk who has now averaged nearly 14 PPR fantasy points per game over his past four contests. He leads the team in every receiving category other than targets where he trails Fitzgerald by four on the year, but he’s seeing more playing time with each week. Kirk is still a borderline Flex option at the moment, but he’s someone to keep an eye on as he was one of the most talented receivers in this season’s wide receiver class. With more playing time and more targets, we could see a breakout from him in the second half of the 2018 season.

Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones is the only other fantasy option in this passing game at the moment. Seals-Jones remains essentially a big play or bust option, but he has seen an average of five targets per game throughout the season which is not all that bad for a streaming tight end option. In fact, since Rosen took over as the team’s starting quarterback, Seals-Jones is second on the team in both receiving yardage and targets. Seals-Jones has his best game of the season this past week against the Vikings and could finally see some consistent fantasy production if Rosen continues to target him as he has been thus far.

The defensive matchup here against the Broncos sounds like a tough one, but the Broncos have actually taken a step back from being an elite defense to more of a slightly-above-league-average unit. They held Jared Goff and the Rams in check this past week and the Cardinals aren’t nearly that talented offensively, but the matchup itself shouldn’t be something that keeps fantasy owners away this week.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: If you’ve been searching for a player whose fantasy production is practically entirely tied to his ability to score touchdowns, look no further than Arizona running back David Johnson’s 2018 season. Johnson has seen a solid workload in most contests, having touched the ball at least 14 times in every game so far, but he’s been held to 55 or fewer rushing yards in all but one game, and he hasn’t gone over 75 rushing yards in any game. Worse yet, Johnson’s usage in the passing game is down drastically from the player we saw the last time he was healthy in 2016, as he’s caught just 17 passes in six games, including just seven receptions in the three games Rosen has started. Still, Johnson’s six total touchdowns have helped buoy an otherwise ugly fantasy output this season and he remains practically the only game in town when it comes to touches out of the Cardinals backfield.

In a matchup against a Denver run defense that has conceded a league-worst 903 yards rushing on the season, there is plenty of reason to believe that Johnson will turn things around this week and finally start giving us some yardage to go along with his touchdowns. The Broncos have been atrocious against the run over the past four weeks, giving up a whopping 188 yards rushing per game in addition to six scores on the ground to opposing running backs. The Cardinals offense isn’t likely to be explosive enough that Johnson gets that type of production, but - at least on paper - this appears to be the best matchup Johnson has faced all season. Given his large workload and the struggling Broncos defense, Johnson is back in the RB1 conversation this week.

Value Meter:
RB1: David Johnson
TE1: Ricky Seals-Jones (low-end)
Flex: Christian Kirk
Bench: Josh Rosen, Larry Fitzgerald, Chase Edmonds, Chad Williams

Prediction: Cardinals 20, Broncos 17 ^ Top

Titans at Chargers (London) - (Caron)
Line: LAC -7.0
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Whether it’s the offensive system, continued issues with the elbow injury he suffered earlier this season or some other reason, the reality is that Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is playing some of the worst football of his career right now. He’s now played in five games this season but failed to eclipse even 130 yards passing in all but one of them. He’s also failed to throw a single touchdown pass in every game other than the team’s surprising win over the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles back in Week 4. While he’s still contributing a bit on the ground as a runner, Mariota’s fantasy production has simply been awful this season and that’s certainly kept his pass catchers from producing as well. Corey Davis is likely the only player in this passing game who should have any interest from fantasy owners whatsoever, but he’ll likely get the borderline impossible task of running routes against Casey Hayward. The Chargers held the wide receiver duo of Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway to just four catches for 20 total yards on 19 targets in Week 6 and it seems likely that they’ll be able to contain the Titans passing game as well. Stay away from this passing game here in Week 7.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry has out-carried Dion Lewis by (44 to 30) over the past four weeks, but the reality is that neither player has been fantasy relevant from a rushing standpoint. Neither player has scored a touchdown since Lewis did so back in Week 1 and neither has topped even 60 yards on the ground since Lewis’ Week 1 75-yard rushing day. What was once believed to be a potentially dominant running game has turned into being an ugly committee that isn’t producing enough results as a whole to be fantasy relevant, let alone as two separate players. The only way that either player has been productive at all is when the Titans have called upon Lewis to catch passes, which he has done quite well. He’s on pace for over 70 receptions on the season and while the yardage totals aren’t there, the reception numbers can at least help make Lewis a low-end Flex option in PPR formats.

Unfortunately, this duo now faces a tough task against the Chargers defense that has been dominant against opposing running backs, having only given up 50 yards on the ground to one back thus far. That back? Todd Gurley, who also scored one of only three touchdowns that the Chargers have conceded to running backs so far in 2018. If there’s any hope at all, it’s with Lewis as a pass catcher as the Chargers gave up 73 receiving yards to Duke Johnson in Week 6, 53 receiving yards to Jalen Richard in Week 5 and 51 receiving yards to Todd Gurley in Week 3.

Value Meter:
Flex: Dion Lewis (PPR only)
Bench: Marcus Mariota, Derrick Henry, Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe, Jonnu Smith

Passing Game Thoughts: He’s coming off of the weakest fantasy day he’s had all season, but even that wasn’t all bad as Philip Rivers threw for 207 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in an easy win over the Browns in Week 6. Rivers likely could’ve gone for much more if the game script had asked for it, but Los Angeles simply dominated all phases of the game and Rivers didn’t need to rack up the huge fantasy points that he had been through the first five weeks of the season. Rivers is playing at an MVP level right now and he’s spreading the ball out in typical Philip Rivers fashion. That’s made it tough to predict which receivers are going to go off on a given week, as this past week it was Tyrell Williams - who has not caught more than three passes in any game this season - who caught a paid or touchdown passes and went well over 100 yards on his three catches. Tyrell and second-year pass catcher Mike Williams are both essentially touchdown-or-bust fantasy options at this point due to lack of volume, leaving Keenan Allen as the sole pass catcher who is a must-start in most formats. Allen has been going through a bit of an early-season slump as he has done a few times throughout his career, but the volume remains high and it seems like only a matter of time before he gets back to putting up huge fantasy point totals. It’s been a little disappointing so far, but have faith - better days are yet to come, and it might start this week against the Titans.

Tennessee has given up four 100-yards receiving days to opposing wide receivers already this season and they came close to doing it again this past week when Michael Crabtree beat them for six catches, 93 yards and a touchdown. The one potential concern in this matchup for Allen is actually game script. Like this past week showed us, the Chargers are a team that will run the ball heavily when they’re up on the scoreboard and that could very well happen again this week as the Titans simply don’t look like a team that can go on the road and keep up with this high-powered Los Angeles offense. Allen is still a WR1 just given his high target share, but he’s a low-end WR1 because of the potential game script issues.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Whether the team is winning or losing, we know one player who is going to touch the ball and that is running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon has been an absolute monster this season, particularly near the goal line, and he’s already scored an impressive nine total touchdowns. He’s contributing both as a runner and as a receiver, so he’s practically game script immune. The one concern is that he’s facing a Tennessee run defense that has been quite good so far this season. While they’ve faced some of the worst running games in the league and that might be skewing the numbers a bit, the Titans have still only allowed two touchdowns to opposing running backs, both of which came this past week to Alex Collins, who they still held to just 54 rushing yards.

Another thing that’s been a bit odd is that the Titans have pretty much locked down opposing running backs in the passing game, with the exception of T.J. Yeldon back in Week 3 who caught six passes against them. Other than Yeldon, no back has caught more than three passes and none have gone over 25 yards or scored a touchdown in the receiving game. This news doesn’t bode well for backup running back Austin Ekeler who is quietly a mid-level RB2 on the season and is known for doing a lot of his damage in the receiving game. With the Titans defense playing well against opposing backs, this is probably a week to avoid Ekeler, other than as a desperation Flex play in deep PPR formats. Don’t worry about Gordon, though, as he’ll likely still see enough volume to have a high floor as well as a high ceiling.

Value Meter:
QB1: Philip Rivers
RB1: Melvin Gordon
WR1: Keenan Allen
Bench: Austin Ekeler, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams, Antonio Gates, Virgil Green

Prediction: Chargers 30, Titans 16 ^ Top

Patriots @ Bears - (Swanson)
Line: NE -2.5
Total: 49.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Tom Brady posted his second consecutive 340-yard passing game last week in a shootout 43-40 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Although Brady threw for just one passing touchdown, he added a rushing touchdown to give fantasy owners 27.2 fantasy points for the day.

Brady enters this week’s matchup against the Bears ranked as the No.16 quarterback in fantasy points per game (24.2), but he has been on fire as of late, averaging 29.3 points in last three games, including a 35-point monster performance Week 5 against the Colts.

The return of Julian Edelman to the offense after a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy has given Brady a trusted safety valve on short passes. Yet the biggest development in the New England passing game over the past few weeks is the increased involvement of Josh Gordon. The much maligned and troubled wide receiver appears to be finding a solid home with the Patriots and Brady clearly is starting to build trust with Gordon, as evident to the fact that Gordon led all Patriot receivers with nine targets against the Chiefs.

Gordon should once again be heavily active this week against Chicago, a team that allows the sixth-most points to opposing wide receivers. Six different wide receivers reached the double-digit mark in a game this season vs. the Bears, including Albert Wilson of the Dolphins, who caught six passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns last week in the surprising upset win over Chicago by Miami.

Although the Bears boast a vaunted front seven and rank 10th in total yards allowed, they are weak in the secondary and can be beaten by the pass. Look for Brady and Belichick to take advantage of that weakness by passing early and often. All New England skill position players should be considered above average plays this week aside from Chris Hogan, who has fallen outside of WR3 status with four or fewer targets in each over his last four games.

Rob Gronkowski owners wondering when Gronk will start producing Gronkonian-type numbers may have their breakout game this week against the Bears. Chicago is tied with New England and San Francisco for the most touchdowns allowed to tight ends, and Gronk enters this game on the heels of a 97-yard game last week against the Chiefs.

Another reason why Patriot skill position owners should be bullish this week is the fact that star pass rusher Khalil Mack suffered an ankle injury against the Dolphins. Mack played through the injury but he was clearly not the same player, and he could be limited for this week’s game against New England.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: For once in a long time, we have a clear grasp of how touches in the New England backfield will be distributed, with Sony Michel and James White working in tandem with clearly defined roles. Michel has been the first and second down back and has averaged 23 carries for 105 yards in his last three games, with four rushing touchdowns. Although Michel is a talented pass catching back, White is the favorite target out of the backfield and continues to be a trusted option for Brady.

Michel’s run of averaging over 100 yards and a touchdown may come to an end this week against a Bears team that allows the second-fewest points to opposing running backs. Chicago has yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season and only Frank Gore, the ageless one, has reached the century mark in a game. Michel is still worth a start and a goal line carry for a touchdown is still a possibility, but the blueprint for beating the Bears is clearly via the air and Brady will likely lean more on White this game than usual.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (High-End))
RB1: Sony Michel (Low-End)
WR2: Josh Gordon (Low-End)
WR2: Julian Edelman (Low-End)
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (Elite)
Flex: James White (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: It may surprise fantasy owners to learn that Mitchell Trubisky enters this week’s game against the Patriots ranked as the No. 11 fantasy quarterback, ahead of Deshaun Watson, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, and his opponent in the contest, Tom Brady. Trubisky has been white-hot as of late, with nine touchdowns and 670 passing yards in his last two games, including a career-high six passing touchdown performance Week 4 at home against the Buccaneers.

On paper, it appears as though Trubisky is in line for another big performance against a New England team that ranks seventh in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Blake Bortles, Andrew Luck, and Patrick Mahomes each scored 30 or more fantasy points and threw for over 350 against the Patriots this year. A positive game script created by the likelihood of Tom Brady and the New England offense taking advantage of a subpar Chicago secondary should also help Trubisky post impressive numbers.

The emergence of Taylor Gabriel as a viable third receiving option in the passing game has been an important factor for Trubisky’s success. Over the past three games, only Adam Thielen and Davante Adams have averaged more fantasy points than Gabriel, who has caught all 12 of his targets from Weeks 4 through 6 for 214 yards and two touchdowns.

Although he has not been the beneficiary of the type of volume that owners expected, tight end Trey Burton has been a consistent fantasy asset over the past four games with three touchdowns. Burton should find success this week against the Pats, a team that is tied with the Bears and the 49ers for the most touchdowns allowed to the tight end position.

Assuming that Stephon Gilmore will primarily line up against Allen Robinson on the outside, look for head coach Matt Nagy to take a page out of the Chiefs’ playbook and challenge Eric Rowe will deep shots to Gabriel. Gabriel is not the same dynamic player of Tyreek Hill’s caliber, but he does have excellent speed and Rowe has struggled this season against fast wide receivers.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Head coach Matt Nagy could not stop praising Jordan Howard this offseason, including how well Howard had progressed as a pass catching threat out of the backfield. Those constant words of encouragement and the promise of an improved offense overall vaulted Howard into the second round of drafts.

As the No. 34 ranked running back in points per game and with only one game of 20 or more carries, Howard has been one of the biggest running back busts this season. After catching five passes for 25 yards and three for 33 in the first two games, Howard has just one reception in his last three games combined and just one rushing touchdown on the season.

Look for Howard’s struggles to continue this week against a defensive unit that has not allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 1. Teams have found success passing to their running backs out of the backfield and not so much running, making Cohen the more attractive play against the Patriots.

With 40.5 fantasy points over his last two games, including 23.4 against the Bucs Week 4, Tarik Cohen has emerged as the running back to own in Chicago and the player that clearly fits Nagy’s scheme. Cohen ranks fifth in receptions by running backs over the past three games, and should once again be very active in what could be a high scoring game on Sunday afternoon.

Value Meter:
QB1: Mitchell Trubisky (Low-End)
RB2: Tarik Cohen (Low-End)
RB2: Jordan Howard (Low-End)
WR2: Allen Robinson (High-End)
WR2: Taylor Gabriel (Low-End)
TE1: Trey Burton (Low-End)

Prediction: Patriots 28, Bears 21 ^ Top

Bills at Colts - (Bales)
Line: IND -7.5
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: There is no one of value in the Buffalo passing attack. Derek Anderson will draw the start at quarterback with an injury to Josh Allen forcing him to miss this game. Zay Jones has been their best receiver, but he is not a fantasy viable option averaging less than three catches per game. Indianapolis has struggled against the pass, but this is not a spot to play Jones or Kelvin Benjamin against them. All of Buffalo’s quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends can be avoided.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy has been playing better over his last two games, totaling 202 yards on 45 touches. He’s finally seeing a big workload, and he has scored double-digit fantasy points in each of his last two games. Indianapolis is allowing 106.8 rushing yards per game this season, but they are only allowing 3.7 yards per carry. Buffalo will likely be losing this game early on, limiting McCoy’s carries, but he can still contribute in the passing game, as well. If you’re in a pinch, McCoy can be considered as a flex option.

Value Meter:
Flex: LeSean McCoy (low-end)
Bench: Derek Anderson, Zay Jones, Kelvin Benjamin, Charles Clay

Passing Game Thoughts: Andrew Luck has taken his game to the next level over the last three weeks, and he finally looks fully healthy. In those games, he’s averaging 376.7 passing yards and 3.7 passing touchdowns on 54.7 attempts per game. His air yards have increased in each week, as well. Buffalo has performed well against the pass, allowing only 219 passing yards per game, but teams generally are running out the clock against them in the second half of games. Since the Colts do not have a running attack to lean on, Luck could see 40+ attempts again this week.

The Colts receivers depend on the health of T.Y. Hilton. If he is starting, he immediately slides in as a top fantasy option. Hilton was limited in practice Thursday but it appears he will be active this week. If he’s out again, Chester Rogers continues to make a consistent option. In his last three games, Rogers is averaging 6.7 receptions for 68.7 yards and 0.3 touchdowns on 10.7 targets per game. Ryan Grant and Zach Pascal would also lose targets, but neither of those players should be considered. Jack Doyle is doubtful again this week, making Eric Ebron one of the best tight end options on the slate. In four games without Doyle, Ebron is averaging a 5.8 / 62.3 / 1.0 line on 10.8 targets per game.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: Marlon Mack returned last week, stealing all fantasy value away from Jordan Wilkins. Nyheim Hines also saw significantly less work, while Robert Turbin only saw a few carries. Buffalo is allowing only 3.8 yards per carry this season, although they have allowed five rushing touchdowns. Still, this is a muddy backfield, and there likely isn’t enough volume for any of these backs to make an impact this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Andrew Luck (mid-range)
WR2: T.Y. Hilton (if he plays)
WR2: Chester Rogers (if Hilton is out)
TE1: Eric Ebron (high-end)
Bench: Marlon Mack

Prediction: Colts 24, Bills 10 ^ Top

Texans at Jaguars - (Bales)
Line: JAX -4.5
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Jacksonville Jaguars have featured the best pass defense in the NFL this season. They’re allowing only 188 passing yards per game, while giving up only five touchdowns. Deshaun Watson is a special player, but we saw all his faults last week. He’s willing to make risky throws and takes too many sacks. This should be a low scoring game, and Watson may struggle to find open receivers against the best secondary in the NFL.

DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller will spend the majority of the game against Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, who are two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Hopkins has proven to be relatively matchup proof, while Fuller is coming off two inferior games and has struggled since Keke Coutee entered the lineup. Coutee gets the best matchup of the trio, as Jacksonville has struggled at times against the slot this season. In three games, he has totaled 20 receptions for 193 yards and one touchdown on 27 targets. This game should be close and low scoring throughout, making it difficult to trust the majority of this offense.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Jacksonville has struggled against the run at times, allowing 118.7 rushing yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry. Lamar Miller has been a bit of a workhorse for Houston this season, but he has struggled to find consistent success. He hasn’t topped 50 rushing yards in his last three games and isn’t a vital player in the passing game. He typically sees 15-18 touches per game making him a weekly consideration but he should be avoided in this matchup.

Value Meter:
QB2: Deshaun Watson (low end)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (low end)
WR3: Will Fuller (high risk)
WR3: Keke Coutee (high risk)
Bench: Lamar Miller

Passing Game Thoughts: Blake Bortles has looked outstanding against the Texans when he is playing them in Jacksonville. Through four matchups, he’s averaging 281.8 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per game. While this is a new team, Bortles simply could have tremendous confidence at home against a division rival. Houston has only allowed 246 passing yards per game this season, but they have also allowed 13 touchdowns and a 99.7 quarterback rating. This game could also stay close, leading to Bortles attempting 30+ passes.

Dede Westbrook (38), Keelan Cole (39), and Donte Moncrief (39) have split targets throughout the season. Westbrook has been the most efficient with them, while Moncrief has flashed the most upside. It’s difficult to predict who will garner the most targets this week, but Westbrook is the safest option, followed by Cole then Moncrief. James O’Shaughnessy (hip) is questionable, but if he is able to suit up, he will draw the start at tight end. He has seen 10 targets over the last two weeks, but he’s likely best avoided because of his current injury.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette is moving closer to doubtful this week, leaving T.J. Yeldon (ankle) to draw another start. He wasn’t used very much last week (11 touches) in a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but he had seen 18+ touches in each of his two previous games Through six games, Yeldon is averaging 49.8 rushing yards and 0.2 rushing touchdowns on 11.2 carries per game. He’s also averaging a 4.2 / 37.2 / 0.5 line on 6.3 targets per game. Houston has looked outstanding against the run this season, but Yeldon is a versatile running back, who can score fantasy points through the air.

Value Meter:
QB2: Blake Bortles (high-end)
RB2: T.J. Yeldon
Flex: Dede Westbrook
Flex: Keelan Cole

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Texans 14 ^ Top

Lions at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: DET -3.0
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford and arguably the league’s best receiving trio are coming out of a bye for a road date with scrappy Dolphins squad that just gave up 316 yards and three touchdowns to Mitchell Trubisky. Despite the lofty numbers from the Bears last week, the Dolphins still rank top 10 against opponents’ top three WRs and TE. Even so, you are not benching Kenny Golladay, who has at least four catches and 74 yards or a touchdown in every game this season. He was the third Lions receiver drafted, but is without question their WR1. The same goes for Golden Tate, who leads this team in targets with 51. Marvin Jones is the biggest question mark as he is the third option in the passing game and the one most likely to face off against Xavien Howard.

The Dolphins have more interceptions (11) than passing touchdowns allowed (9), but do allow 276 passing yards per game. This is a good, not great matchup for Stafford where you are fine starting him, but don’t be afraid to bypass him for some favorable streaming options like Baker Mayfield or Andy Dalton.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: For reasons that will continue to evade everyone except Matt Patricia, LeGarrette Blount is not only rostered by an NFL team, but handling important carries. Blount’s two goal line carries are two more than the vastly superior Kerryon Johnson, whose fantasy upside is capped by Blount stealing touchdowns and Theo Riddick stealing passing down work. Johnson actually leads all RBs in catch rate at 86.7%, but so far, has commanded just a 42.2% opportunity share. The Dolphins were destroyed by Tarik Cohen through the air last week (7-90-1) and are now allowing 64.5 receiving yards per game to RBs. The Lions are the seventh most pass heavy team in the league with 64.4% of their plays passes. Johnson is the only member of this running game you can start with the hopes that they involve him in the receiving game out of the backfield. With Riddick not practicing Wednesday and Thursday out of the bye, he may very well miss this game, which would be huge for Johnson’s upside.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (low end)
RB2: Kerryon Johnson (low end)
WR1: Kenny Golladay (low end)
WR2: Golden Tate (low end)
WR3: Marvin Jones
Bench: LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill was a surprise inactive last week, which wasn’t even the biggest surprise for the Dolphins quarterbacks. That award goes to Brock Osweiler, throwing for 380 yards and three touchdowns (and two interceptions) en route to a comeback overtime win over the Bears. With Tannehill still not physically capable of throwing at practice, the Dolphins announced that Brocksteady is going to get at least one more start. Osweiler attempted 44 passes last week and threw 20 of them to Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson. You need not concern yourself with any other Dolphins wide receiver. Amendola’s game has always been predicated on volume, but Wilson is a splash play waiting to happen, which makes him very intriguing on a week where so many relevant wide receivers are on bye.

The Lions have only allowed 222 passing yards per game, but rank at the bottom of the league in defending opposing WRs. They’ve allowed 73.5 yards per game to opposing WR1s, which, right now, looks to be Wilson. I think he’s a sneaky good start this week.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: In the past four seasons, Frank Gore has just five 100-yard rushing games. One of them was last week and he did it on just 15 carries, posting his highest single game ypc effort since Week 4 of 2013. Gore excelled while Kenyan Drake almost fumbled away the game at the goal line. One of the most important moments of the game was the first play after Cody Parkey missed the game winning field goal where Adam Gase immediately put the ball right back in Drake’s hands as a vote of confidence in the kid. Even though Gore out-rushed Drake, once again, Drake dominated snaps 63%-38%. Drake now has 17 targets over the last two games, which is an important development, as it appears to be a deliberate effort to use him more through the air. The Lions are allowing 52.1 receiving yards per game to opposing RBs. Gore comes with a higher floor, but a much lower ceiling. Don’t sour on Drake just yet.

Value Meter:
Flex: Albert Wilson, Kenyan Drake
Bench: Brock Osweiler, Danny Amendola, Kenny Stills, Frank Gore

Prediction: Lions 26, Dolphins 24 ^ Top

Vikings at Jets - (Katz)
Line: MIN -3.5
Total: 46.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins had a solid outing last week with 233 passing yards, a passing TD, and a rushing TD. The real story for the Vikings is Adam Thielen’s record setting sixth consecutive 100-yard game to start the season. I feel like every week the best WR duo oscillates between Thielen/Diggs and Antonio Brown/JuJu Smith-Schuster. Diggs is coming off a down week, which we know happens with No.2 wide receivers. Sometimes, the big dog hogs all of the pie.

The Jets had a ton of trouble with the Colts medley of WR3s and 4s last week and allow 272 passing yards per game. Thielen will probably go over 100 yards yet again and Diggs is poised for a bounce back performance. The Jets are a below average pass defense, struggle against the TE and could be without DBs Trumaine Johnson (quad) and Buster Skrine (concussion). Perhaps Kyle Rudolph, who has been solid, yet unspectacular this year, can find the end zone this week.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: It is shaping up to be a lost season for Dalvin Cook. He practiced in full on Wednesday, which normally would put him on track to return to the starting lineup Sunday against a Jets defense allowing 4.3 yards per carry. However, Cook left practice early on Thursday and was listed as DNP. It is unclear if this was planned, precautionary, or a setback with his hamstring. Regardless, it’s not good for Cook’s prospects of playing this week. If Cook sits, it will be Latavius Murray, who dominated snaps and carries last week with 155 yards and a touchdown on 24 totes. Murray had been dreadful up until last week, but it is clear that he in line for heavy volume whenever Cook is out as long as game script permits. I wouldn’t go chasing last week’s numbers with either Cook or Murray. With how poorly the Vikings have run blocked (they are seventh worst in adjusted line yards), I would temper expectations.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins (low end)
WR1: Adam Thielen (elite)
WR2: Stefon Diggs (high end)
TE1: Kyle Rudolph (low end)
Flex: Latavius Murray (only if Cook sits)
Bench: Dalvin Cook

Passing Game Thoughts: Jets fans have to be encouraged by Sam Darnold’s Week 6 performance. He is still game managing more than not, but he’s at least shown flashes. Darnold attempted 30 passes and completed an impressive 24 of them for 280 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He did so without his top weapon, Quincy Enunwa, who departed early with an ankle injury. Jermaine Kearse stepped up with 94 yards on nine receptions. Surprisingly, Robby Anderson remained little used, seeing just five targets. He also appeared on the injury report Wednesday with a hamstring problem. The sleeper here might be Terrelle Pryor, who caught five of six targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. Of course, as fate would have it, Pryor showed up on the injury report Wednesday with a groin issue. If he cannot get in at least a limited practice by Friday, he’s not going to play. That might force Kearse into relevance as a de facto target hog.

The Vikings have one of the better defenses in the league. Even though they’ve allowed 10 passing touchdowns this season and 267 yards per game, five of those touchdowns and 465 of those yards came against the Rams. The Jets may look to rein in Darnold in this one.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Isaiah Crowell followed up his 200-yard outburst with a paltry 40 yards on 13 carries. Bilal Powell wasn’t much better with 59 yards on 16 carries without a single reception. The Vikings are footballoutsiders’ schedule adjusted worst defense against RBs through the air so this game projects more favorably for Powell. The Vikings allow just 3.9 yards per carry and haven’t allowed a rush longer than 16 yards all season. I would avoid both Jets RBs, but if you need one, go with Powell. That statement only applies if both of them play. Crowell did not practice Wednesday or Thursday so if he can’t at least get in a limited session on Friday, Powell becomes far more interesting if he’s going to command a 70% snap share.

Value Meter:
Flex: Bilal Powell (low end RB if Crowell sits), Isaiah Crowell, Jermaine Kearse (if Pryor or Anderson sits)
Bench: Sam Darnold, Quincy Enunwa (ankle), Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor

Prediction: Vikings 20, Jets 17 ^ Top

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

Passing Game Thoughts: Cam Newton has been remarkably consistent to start the 2018 season. He has multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games while adding three to four fantasy points per game on the ground. Greg Olsen’s return last week did not seem to hurt Devin Funchess as the latter put up 74 yards and a score on five receptions. Olsen almost certainly returned too soon from his broken foot, but given that this is likely his last year, he has no reason not to gamble on an early return. Olsen played 98% of the offensive snaps so even though he had a lackluster 4-48 performance; he’s locked in as a TE1.

It is difficult to take anything away from the Eagles’ impressive defensive performance last week as it was against the Giants’ embarrassing quarterback. They’ve allowed just eight passing touchdowns this season and forced a turnover in all but one game this season. It’s not an ideal matchup on the road for the Panthers, but not challenging enough where you would go out of your way to bench Newton, McCaffrey, Funchess or Olsen.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: The Panthers don’t have a true running game. Even though they have a 56% - 44% pass-run ratio, 45 of those runs have been from Newton. Christian McCaffrey already has three games with 10 or fewer rushing attempts, but he’s still touched the ball at least 15 times in every game and his 66 total yards last week is his season low. CMac makes his money in the passing game and is on pace for over 110 targets this season.

The Eagles are coming off a game where they allowed 99 yards to Saquon Barkley through the air and also allowed 66 yards receiving to Dion Lewis. The Eagles have been about average defending pass catching RBs, but they’ve only faced two high level receiving backs and have struggled against both. McCaffrey is primed to once again earn his keep through the air.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton (mid-range)
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (mid-range)
WR3: Devin Funchess
TE1: Greg Olsen (low end)
Bench: D.J. Moore

Passing Game Thoughts: With every passing week, Carson Wentz looks better and better. In a game the Eagles dominated wire to wire last week, Wentz attempted a solid 36 passes, completing 26 of them for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Alshon Jeffery looks all the way back from the various injuries that have hindered his ability. Nelson Agholor led the team with 91 receiving yards, but he only caught three passes. His value has taken a huge hit since Wentz took over and Jeffery returned.

The Panthers have allowed nine passing touchdowns this season and allow 256 passing yards per game. Interestingly, they have been incredibly proficient at shutting down opponents’ WR1 while completely incapable of stopping the WR2. They also rank in the bottom third against opposing TEs. I wouldn’t shy away from Jeffery and Zach Ertz is always an elite TE1 play, having seen double digit targets in every game this season before last week where he saw nine, but perhaps this could be a rare Agholor week for the Eagles. Jordan Matthews has also looked good, but he’s not playing nearly enough snaps (37% last week) to warrant fantasy consideration.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Darren Sproles’ return would throw a huge wrench into what is a surprisingly clear Eagles backfield situation but he missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. Wendell Smallwood is the lead back and Corey Clement is the second man in the committee. Smallwood was on the field for 62% of the snaps last week compared to 37% for Clement, but it was Clement that found the end zone. Smallwood will come with the higher weekly floor and Clement with the higher ceiling. For what it’s worth, I thought Clement looked like the better player. Either way, both are weekly flex options for the desperate, but neither should be considered a strong play even against a Panthers defense allowing 4.6 yards per carry.

Value Meter:
QB1: Carson Wentz (low end)
WR2: Alshon Jeffery (low end)
WR3: Nelson Agholor
TE1: Zach Ertz (high end)
Flex: Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement
Bench: Jordan Matthews

Prediction: Panthers 24, Eagles 23 ^ Top

Browns at Bucs - (Bales)
Line: TB -3.5
Total: 50.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently allowing a league-high 356 passing yards per game. They have also allowed a league-high 16 passing touchdowns with a 129.5 quarterback rating, while recording a league-low one interception. Baker Mayfield has struggled at times this season, but he’s averaging 43.3 pass attempts per start. He has also turned those attempts into 291.7 yards and 1.3 passing touchdowns per start. His touchdown rate has been his main issue, but no team has allowed more passing touchdowns in the NFL this season than Tampa Bay.

Jarvis Landry has been struggling with Mayfield at quarterback, but the volume is not an issue. He’s averaging only a 3.7 / 38.0 / 0.3 line over his last three games, but he is averaging 10.3 targets per game over that span. Antonio Callaway is in a similar situation with slightly less volume. In three starts with Mayfield, he has seen 21 targets, turning them into eight receptions for 85 yards. Rashard Higgins looks doubtful to play this week, opening the door for Damion Ratley, who caught six of eight targets for 82 yards last week. Tampa Bay has also featured one of the worst defenses in the NFL against tight ends, and David Njoku has broken out over his last two games. In those games, he has totaled 13 receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown on 22 targets. He’ll be a focal point of the offense in an elite matchup this week.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: While Tampa Bay features one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, they feature one of the best run defenses. They rank in the top-five in yards per carry (3.8) and yards per game (84.2). Carlos Hyde has been a volume and touchdown dependent runner, who has seen less than 20 touches and no touchdowns in each of his last two games. He could also see negative game script, as Tampa Bay is projected to win, leaving Mayfield to throw 40+ times again. Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb are talented backs but simply aren’t seeing enough touches to make an impact in fantasy.

Value Meter:
QB2: Baker Mayfield (high-end)
WR1: Jarvis Landry (mid-range)
WR3: Antonio Callaway
TE1: David Njoku (high-end)
Bench: Carlos Hyde

Passing Game Thoughts: Jameis Winston looked outstanding in his first start of the season, throwing for 395 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions on 41 attempts against a weak Atlanta Falcons defense. He gets another decent matchup this week against the Cleveland Browns, who rank as a slightly below average defense against the pass, allowing 268 passing yards per game. They have only allowed nine passing touchdowns, though, while also recording nine interceptions. Winston could see his ceiling capped if the Bucs run in the fourth quarter to close out the game.

At this point, we may need to temper expectations on Mike Evans. In two games with Winston (one start), Evans has totaled 10 receptions for 117 yards after totaling 23 receptions for 367 yards and three touchdowns in his first three games. He’s also expected to be shadowed by Denzel Ward, who has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL this season. DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin continue to make great secondary receivers, as Jackson is a big play threat, while Godwin a threat in the red zone. Overall, Jackson is averaging a 4.2 / 100.2 / 0.6 line on 6.2 targets per game, while Godwin is averaging a 4.2 / 49.8 / 0.8 line on the same 6.2 targets per game. Adam Humphries has also found success since the return of Winston, but he is not a fantasy option at this point. Cameron Brate scored a touchdown last week, but he only saw one target with O.J. Howard in the offense. Howard totaled four receptions for 62 yards and one touchdown on four targets, although he is still giving up snaps to Brate.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: Cleveland has struggled against the run, allowing 138.2 rushing yards per game, while also allowing seven touchdowns on the ground this season. Furthermore, they have allowed their opponents to record 4.7 yards per carry this season. Peyton Barber has struggled this season, but he’s worth consideration in this matchup. Last week, he totaled 106 yards and one touchdown on 17 touches, but that was his first fantasy relevant week of the season. He’s a bit of a boom or bust option.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jameis Winston (mid-range)
WR2: Mike Evans
WR2: DeSean Jackson (mid-range)
WR3: Chris Godwin (mid-range)
TE1: O.J. Howard (low end)
Flex: Peyton Barber (high risk)

Prediction: Bucs 28, Browns 27 ^ Top

Saints @ Ravens - (Swanson)
Line: BAL -2.5
Total: 49.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Saints showcases the league’s top-ranked offense in points per game against the league’s No.1 defense, as Drew Brees and the potent New Orleans offense heads to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the top ranked Baltimore defense that allows just 12.8 points per game.

With 13 total touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 1658 passing yards, Brees at age 39 shows no signs of slowing down and enters Week 7 as the No.3 ranked quarterback in fantasy behind Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan. The future first-ballot hall of fame player owns three games of at least 30 fantasy points, highlighted by the 44.5 point outburst the Week 3 shootout against Atlanta.

The one subpar performance for Brees this season game of the road in an outdoor game against the Giants, where Brees threw for just 217 yards and no touchdowns while completing only 56.4% of his passes. Historically, Brees has not fared as well outdoors compared to playing in a dome, with a QB rating nearly seven points lower on grass than on turf.

The Ravens present the most challenging matchup to date for Brees and the Saints as the top-ranked defense with regards to fewest points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Although Baltimore’s stats are somewhat skewed with cupcake matchups against Josh Allen and the Bills in a rainstorm and a home game against the Case Keenum and the underperforming Bronco passing attack, only Andy Dalton of the Bengals managed to throw for more than one passing touchdown against Baltimore in 2018.

The Ravens enter the game with high confidence after shutting out the Titans in Tennessee 21-0, while limiting Marcus Mariota to just 117 passing yards on 10 of 15 passing. Brees will more than likely fare better than that this week, but owners expecting a big multi-touchdown game may be disappointed.

After a torrid start that had him on pace to crush the NFL’s all-time record for most catches and targets, Michael Thomas came crashing back down to Earth with eight catches for 111 yards and no scores on just nine targets during the previous two games. Thomas has not scored a touchdown since Week 3, and he will likely see a significant amount of coverage from Jimmy Smith, the top Raven cornerback who missed the first four games of the season on suspension. On a positive note for Thomas, the Ravens have allowed four receiving touchdowns in six games to No.1 wide receivers, including three touchdowns against A.J. Green and the Bengals.

Starting cornerback Brandon Carr and second string CB Anthony Levine are questionable for Sunday’s game with knee and hamstring injuries. If both players are out and Marlon Humphrey or Cyrus Jones are forced to start at left cornerback, look for Brees and head coach Sean Payton to focus their attention on that side of the pass defense with rookie Tre’Quan Smith.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Speaking of crashing down to Earth, Alvin Kamara owners were left scratching their heads in disbelief after the stud second-year running back received just nine total touches in a game against the Redskins in which the Saints scored 43 points and had minimal difficulty moving the ball.

Kamara’s lack of touches was a result of the Saints getting Mark Ingram back and the fact that Kamara was nursing a leg injury. Both players will be active and will get work against the Ravens, but Kamara owners will need to get accustomed to their star running back returning to a range of around 15 to 20 total touches each game, similar to what Kamara received last season in his rookie campaign.

The Ravens present a difficult matchup for both running backs, as Baltimore allows the fewest points in the season to opposing tailbacks. No player has reached 100 yards on the ground vs. the Ravens, and only Royce Freeman has scored a touchdown and reached doubled digit fantasy points.

In addition to limiting opposing RBs in the ground game, Baltimore allows the fewest receiving yards and the second-fewest catches out of the backfield to running backs. Despite this fact, the Saints will look to challenge the Ravens with designed plays for Kamara in the receiving game, testing the coverage skills of linebackers Patrick Onwausor and C.J. Mosley.

Value Meter:
QB2: Drew Brees (High-End)
RB1: Alvin Kamara (Low-End)
RB2: Mark Ingram (Low-End)
WR2: Michael Thomas (High-End)
WR4: Tre’Quan Smith (Low-End)
TE2: Ben Watson (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Joe Flacco continues to be an unsexy but viable streaming option, with three games of no fewer than 24 fantasy points. Although he currently ranks as the No.21 quarterback in fantasy points per game (21.4), he is averaging more points per game than Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, and Case Keenum.

In a week with Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Wilson on bye, streaming Flacco at home against a Saints team that allows the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks is not the worst option. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Ryan each topped 40 fantasy points against the New Orleans this season, while Tyrod Taylor, Eli Manning, and Alex Smith all managed to score at least 17 points this season as well.

Flacco and the wide receiving trio of Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead will be active on Sunday, as teams have found far more success passing the ball than running it against the Saints. Assuming that Marcus Lattimore will be lined up on the outside against Crabtree, look for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to dial up plays against Ken Crawley with Brown and Snead. Crawley has allowed the highest quarterback rating for opposing QBs targeting him on routes and Flacco will continue the trend set by the league up to this point.

I don’t typically buy into the revenge-game narrative, but Snead is worth a flyer as a No.3 or flex play this week against his old team. Snead saw a season-high 10 targets last week against the Titans and should be active again this week against the Saints.

An interesting fact in this game is that the Ravens allow the fewest second-half points to opponents and the Saints have scored the most second-half points in the league. Drew Brees has started slowly in more than a few games this year but may find it tough to continue that trend against the Ravens on Sunday.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Alex Collins continues to get very little love in the fantasy community and is widely considered a bust despite the fact that he is on pace to average more fantasy points per game than last season and has already scored five total touchdowns in six games. Although his usage is not quite as expected and Buck Allen (or Gus Edwards last week) is still active, Collins continues to be a viable RB2 option in 12-team leagues.

Although Collins isn’t as bad as one may think, the matchup for the Ravens against the Saints does not bode well for running backs, as New Orleans allows the fifth-fewest points per game this year. Opposing running backs have averaged a paltry 2.78 yards per carry, and only Carlos Hyde and Kapri Bibbs have reached the end zone on the ground.

Another thing that could work against Collins this week is the chance of a negative game script created by Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense. The Ravens boast the league’s best defense and allow the fewest points per game, but they have not faced an offense like the Saints, and the Saints have had two weeks to prepare for the game off of the bye.

Despite the threat of negative game script and the stout Saints ground game, the lack of great starting options at running back will likely force owners to play Collins. Expectations should be tempered, but a rushing touchdown is not out of the realm of possible outcomes.

Value Meter:
QB2: Joe Flacco (High-End)
RB2: Alex Collins (Low-End)
WR2: John Brown (High-End)
WR2: Michael Crabtree (Low-End)
WR4: Willie Snead (High-End)
TE3: Nick Boyle (Low-End)

Prediction: Ravens 24, Saints 23 ^ Top

Cowboys at Redskins - (Katz)
Line: WAS -1.0
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott is coming off his best performance of the season where the Cowboys ripped the Jaguars for 40 points. Despite the offensive outburst, Prescott still failed to reach 200 yards passing for the fourth time this season. His day was bolstered by his best rushing effort of his career with 82 yards on 11 carries. If the Cowboys were competent enough to run more read options and RPOs, Prescott might be able to sustain some value. But we already know that isn’t the case. Prescott has averaged just 183 passing yards per game against the Redskins over his career and scored five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing). Somehow, the Cowboys have won all four games. Prescott will likely be down Tavon Austin this week, but does it really matter? Cole Beasley exploded out of nowhere last week for 9-101-2 which is unlikely to happen again. The Redskins have struggled a bit against slot receivers and Beasley is certainly the only member of this passing attack to concern yourself with. Even so, the Cowboys offense remains a hard fade in fantasy.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott continues to produce regardless of how the rest of the offense performs. He is coming off his third 100-yard rushing performance of the season. The Redskins are allowing 4.1 yards per carry to opposing rushers, but somehow haven’t given up a single rush longer than 18 yards. Zeke is a decent bet to break that mark this week and one of the safest weekly options at the position. Hopefully, the Cowboys can get him more involved in the passing game after he caught just one ball for 11 yards last week. The Redskins allow 44.4 receiving yards to running backs per game.

Value Meter:
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (high end)
Bench: Dak Prescott, Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Geoff Swaim

Passing Game Thoughts: Alex Smith threw two touchdowns last week but only threw for 163 yards. His touchdowns went to Paul Richardson and Vernon Davis, neither of whom are fantasy options. Jamison Crowder was out last week and looks poised to miss another game while Richardson’s prospects of playing seem grim as well. If they can’t go, Smith could be looking at a starting trio of Maurice Harris, Josh Doctson, and Brian Quick. Yikes. You’d think this would mean something for Jordan Reed, but you’d be mistaken. Reed provides no edge at the TE position and is just another guy. Reed bounced back from seeing just two targets the week before to seeing nine last week but only turned in 36 yards. Reed hasn’t scored since Week 1 and hasn’t exceeded 65 receiving yards in a game. Lump him in with every other non Gronk/Kelce/Ertz TE in football.

The Cowboys have allowed just seven passing touchdowns this season and are allowing only 225 passing yards per game. Part of that has to do with their pace of play, which is the fourth slowest in the league. You don’t need to be involved with the Redskins passing attack this week.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson continues to alternate strong performances with stinkers. Last week was a strong one with 97 yards on 17 carries. Of course, that’s not particularly useful for fantasy purposes since he did not find the end zone and doesn’t catch passes. Chris Thompson was limited at practice all week and ultimately did not play due to a rib issue. He is still practicing on a limited basis, placing his status firmly up in the air. If he plays, he is the preferred option given the lack of weapons in this passing game. In his three full games, CT saw target counts of 7, 14, and 8. He should be in lineups if he plays. Kapri Bibbs inherited some of Thompson’s snaps, but he doesn’t belong anywhere near fantasy rosters in even the deepest of formats. If Thompson sits, it’s Peterson or no one against a Dallas defense allowing just 3.5 yards per carry.

Value Meter:
RB2: Chris Thompson (if he plays)
RB2: Adrian Peterson (low end)
TE1: Jordan Reed (low end)
Bench: Alex Smith, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder

Prediction: Cowboys 19, Redskins 17 ^ Top

Rams at 49ers - (Caron)
Line: LAR -9.5
Total: 52.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Rams got the win on the road against a solid Denver defense, but Jared Goff did struggle in Week 6, failing to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since Week 5 of the 2017 season. Goff completed just 50 percent of his passes and threw an interception, reminding us that he probably isn’t quite the player that the Sean McVay offense has painted him as. Still, if that’s the worst that it gets, Goff is still an excellent fantasy option in good matchups like the one he’ll face against the 49ers here in Week 7.

San Francisco has been awful against opposing quarterbacks, having already conceded 14 passing touchdowns while only intercepting one pass through six games. They’ve given up three 300-plus yard passing performances, five multiple-touchdown passing days and Aaron Rodgers just lit them up for 425 yards this past week. Goff didn’t start the Week 17 matchup against the 49ers in Week 17 of the 2017 season, but he did throw for 292 yards and three scores when these teams met in Week 3 of the 2017 season. Needless to say, the 49ers do not look equipped to slow down this high-powered Los Angeles passing attack.

With Cooper Kupp out for an extended period of time, the Rams will likely lean even more heavily on Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, who are both playing well. Cooks should be recovered from the concussion that he suffered in Week 5 and is a strong play against this weak San Francisco secondary. Woods is the sole receiver of the trio that has been fully healthy all season and he’s turned that into WR1 fantasy production, including three 100-yard receiving days over his past four contests. Both players are WR1s in this matchup.

The other receiver to keep an eye on is Josh Reynolds. Reynolds is an athletic specimen who has upside now that he’s getting playing time with Kupp out. The Rams system utilizes three wide receivers on almost every snap, and it’s typically the same three receivers, which could very well mean that Reynolds ends up playing around 90 percent of the Rams’ offensive snaps. He won’t likely see the target share that Cooks or Woods do, but he’s a big-bodied player who could see some work near the goal line and he’s a sneaky, low-priced DFS tournament option if nothing else.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley again checks in as one of, if not the top option on the entire board this week as he’ll be up against a San Francisco run defense that he destroyed for 149 total yards and three touchdowns in his lone start against them in 2017. Gurley is on a dominant tear to start the season. He’s scored at least one touchdown in every game, including five over his past two games, and he’s coming off of a 200-yard rushing day against the Broncos in Week 6. The Rams look like they could run away with this game, which would likely mean plenty of fantasy production for Gurley even if he ends up resting late in the game. Malcolm Brown could end up seeing some work if the score gets out of hand, but he doesn’t see enough work in non-blowouts to make him a viable fantasy option.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff
RB1: Todd Gurley
WR1: Robert Woods (low-end), Brandin Cooks
Bench: Malcolm Brown, Josh Reynolds, Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee

Passing Game Thoughts: It hasn’t always been pretty, but it’s hard to argue that C.J. Beathard has been bad from a fantasy standpoint since taking over the starting role for the 49ers in Week 4. Beathard has thrown two touchdowns in all three of his starts while averaging nearly 300 yards per game through the air. He’s also thrown five interceptions and fumbled twice during that span, but the fantasy point totals have still been there. While Beathard himself is a tough player to trust, the nice thing is that he’s actually been getting the ball to his top weapons, specifically George Kittle and Marquise Goodwin. Kittle has averaged nearly 80 receiving yards per game with Beathard behind center and Goodwin just had a 126-yard, two touchdown performance against the Packers this past week. Goodwin is still very much a boom-or-bust Flex play, but Kittle is a mid-level TE1 right now given the wasteland that is the position. Pierre Garcon is the only other player in this passing game who has much fantasy value at all, but he’s not seeing enough volume to be anything other than a low-ceiling Flex option who should probably be avoided in a matchup like the one he’ll face against the Rams, who have done a good job of locking up opposing possession-style receivers.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: Most reports indicated that Matt Breida would miss Week 6’s game against the Packers, but the young running back gutted it out and ended up leading the backfield in snaps. He carried the ball a season-high 14 times, which he converted for 61 yards and a touchdown. While his usage in the check-down passing game hasn’t been quite what we had hoped when Beathard took over as quarterback, Breida is still giving fantasy owners lower-double-digit PPR fantasy production on a weekly basis. Meanwhile, backup Alfred Morris appears to have been surpassed on the depth chart by journeyman Raheem Mostert, who ended up leading the team with 87 rushing yards on 12 carries. Morris played just one snap on the night and can now safely be dropped across the board in fantasy. While Mostert is likely still behind Breida on the depth chart, we do have to be concerned a bit that he looked far more explosive than Morris has this season and that could end up eating into Breida’s touches.

Mostert is someone who can be picked up and stored in deep leagues, but he shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups against a team like Los Angeles who could get out to an early lead and essentially completely erase any rushing attack the 49ers have. Breida himself is only a low-end RB2 this week as he, too, could end up being game scripted out of a high workload.

Value Meter:
RB2: Matt Breida
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Marquise Goodwin
Bench: C.J. Beathard, Raheem Mostert, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon, Trent Taylor, Dante Pettis

Prediction: Rams 35, 49ers 20 ^ Top

Bengals at Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: KC -5.5
Total: 58.0

Passing Game Thoughts: He’s been one of the best streaming options in fantasy through the first half the season and there’s plenty of reason to go back to the well again this week with Andy Dalton as he faces a Kansas City secondary that has been an absolute sieve in giving up fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The Chiefs have given up an absurd average of 357 yards through the air per game. While they’ve only given up two passing touchdowns over their past two games, that’s more luck than it is skill, as they’ve still given up 80 total points over those games, including two rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks Tom Brady and Blake Bortles. While they have done a decent job, forcing six interceptions on the season, there’s plenty of reason to be excited about the Bengals passing attack in what should be a great matchup.

The two main pass catchers we should be looking at are A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. Green is not surprising to see performing as a WR1 and he continues to provide steady fantasy production, particularly in PPR formats, as he’s been targeted no fewer than eight times in any game this season. But Boyd is a breakout slot receiver who himself is averaging nearly eight targets per game and has already scored four touchdowns along with two 100-yard receiving days. The Chiefs gave up a touchdown to slot receiver Julian Edelman in Week 6 which adds to the reasons to start Boyd as a WR2 this week, and obviously Green should continue to be trusted as a WR1.

Two other players who could have some fantasy value in this matchup are wide receiver John Ross and tight end C.J. Uzomah. Ross has been predictably big play-dependent, but he did score against both the Colts and Falcons who also have weak secondaries. If this game becomes a shootout, or if the Bengals fall behind as many believe they will, we could see Ross get a number of deep targets. Like Tyreek Hill on the opposite side of the field, Ross only needs to convert one of those to make his fantasy day. Uzomah is a player who has some interesting upside in this contest largely due to the potential game script. The Chiefs continue to be in shootouts and that has led to opposing tight ends having some nice fantasy days against them. Kansas City has given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends on the season and with both Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft out, Uzomah becomes interesting. He caught six passes for 54 yards this past week against the Steelers and he’s a sneaky bye week fill-in this week if you’re needy at the position.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: While the Chiefs have been terrible against opposing quarterbacks this season, they’ve been equally bad, if not worse against opposing running backs. They’re giving up an average of 108 rushing yards and 85 receiving yards per game to opposing backs, and they’ve already given up nine total touchdowns to the position.

This should be music to the ears of Joe Mixon’s fantasy owners as the second-year back has been producing huge numbers in the games he’s played so far this season, both as a runner and as a receiver. With Giovani Bernard looking like he’s not going to be healthy enough to suit up this week, Mixon should be in line for another big workload in what should be a high-scoring game. He may not have the brand equity of some of the perceived elite running backs, but Mixon is on that next tier and certainly has the upside to have a huge fantasy day here in Week 7.

Value Meter:
QB1: Andy Dalton
RB1: Joe Mixon
WR1: A.J. Green
WR2: Tyler Boyd
TE1: C.J. Uzomah
Bench: Giovani Bernard, John Ross

Passing Game Thoughts: He’s now thrown four interceptions over his past two games, so the fantasy train has to be coming to an end for Patrick Mahomes, right? Not so fast. Mahomes has now thrown for over 300 yards in five straight contests while averaging three touchdowns per game. Not only that, but he’s added two touchdowns on the ground. As the top-scoring player in fantasy football, he’s truly doing it all, and everyone in this Kansas City offense is benefiting from it. Primarily it’s been wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce who’ve been doing big damage so far. Hill had slumped a bit in Weeks 3 through 5, failing to exceed 61 receiving yards in any of those games while scoring zero touchdowns, but he bounced back in a huge way against the Patriots this past week, catching seven passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Kelce, meanwhile, continues to produce high-end TE1 numbers, including three 100-yard performances - something that is almost unheard of this season at the position.

Both Kelce and Hill are in great situations again this week as the Bengals have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season and they’ve given up four 100-yard receiving days to opposing wide receivers in just their past three games. Those struggles in the secondary could also mean good things for wide receiver Sammy Watkins who has struggled a bit over the past three weeks. Watkins is still a boom-or-bust Flex play, but this looks like a shootout on paper and that often benefits more than just one wide receiver on a team.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: With only 10 touches on the ground in the Week 6 shootout loss to the Patriots, Kareem Hunt’s fantasy production could have very easily been ugly if he didn’t see a somewhat surprising uptick in passing game usage. Hunt had only caught five passes through the first five weeks of the season, but added an additional five receptions in Week 6, which he took for 105 yards and a touchdown, giving him his best PPR fantasy day of the season thus far.

This week he’ll get a Cincinnati defense that just gave up a 111-yard, two touchdown day to James Conner in Week 6. The Bengals haven’t been good against opposing running games and they really haven’t played against very strong backfields, either. In addition to Conner, the only other high-end fantasy back they’ve faced this season has been Christian McCaffrey, who gashed them for 184 yards on the ground.

The danger with Hunt continues to be that Andy Reid’s usage of running backs can wildly fluctuate from week to week, but this looks like a game where he should see around 15 touches, which gives him a decent opportunity for yardage and a touchdown, thus making him a mid-level RB1 for fantasy.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB1: Kareem Hunt
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Flex: Sammy Watkins
Bench: Chris Conley, Spencer Ware

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Bengals 28 ^ Top

Giants at Falcons - (Bales)
Line: ATL -4.0
Total: 54.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Atlanta Falcons have featured one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL this season, allowing 296 yards per game. They have also allowed a league-high 16 passing touchdowns. Eli Manning has struggled in nearly every game, though, making it difficult to trust him. Still, he has 35+ attempts in five of his six games, and he could see that number again especially if the Falcons take the lead early as expected.

Odell Beckham Jr. has been his favorite target this season, posting 45 receptions for 506 yards and two touchdowns on 69 targets. He has seen double-digit targets in five of his six games, and that should be the case again this week. Sterling Shepard has seen an extended role recently, but that could be reduced with Evan Engram expected to return to the field. Still, Shepard should see seven or more targets, and he has been an efficient receiver for the majority of his career. Engram found success in one of his two healthy games, and tight end has been a black hole this season. He should immediately be forced into targets, making him one of the top tight end options on the week.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley has been one of the most consistent running backs in the NFL. He’s averaging 135.2 total yards and 1.0 touchdown on 20.7 touches (6.7 receptions) per game. Atlanta is allowing 121.3 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry this season. They have also allowed eight rushing touchdowns through six games. Regardless of the game script, Barkley will make an elite running back option.

Value Meter:
QB2: Eli Manning (low-end)
RB1: Saquon Barkley (elite)
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr. (low-end)
WR2: Sterling Shepard (low-end)
TE1: Evan Engram

Passing Game Thoughts: The New York Giants have performed well against the pass, but that likely will not matter in Atlanta. Matt Ryan and company have performed at an elite level at home, as Ryan is averaging 355 passing yards and 3.3 passing touchdowns per game in Atlanta. He has also added 48 yards and two touchdowns on the ground through four home games.

Julio Jones has been an elite option for the Falcons this season, as he’s averaging 7.3 receptions for 118.0 yards on 11.5 targets per game. He has yet to find the end zone, but Jones should see positive touchdown regression as the season progresses. Mohamed Sanu (hip) and Calvin Ridley (ankle) are both questionable, but both are viable options if they are playing with Ridley being the higher upside option of the duo. If they are out, Austin Hooper should see a bigger role in the offense. He has seen 22 targets over his last two games, totaling 18 receptions for 148 yards and one touchdown.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: Devonta Freeman has been placed on IR, leaving Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith to split carries. They’re in a timeshare that can be avoided, even in a plus matchup. Coleman does come with some appeal, as the Falcons could see positive game script this week, but they will likely feature a pass heavy attack and the Falcons running backs are not primary options in the pass game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan
WR1: Julio Jones (high-end)
WR2: Mohamed Sanu (low-end)
WR3: Calvin Ridley (high risk)
TE1: Austin Hooper (low-end)
Bench: Tevin Coleman, Ito Smith

Prediction: Falcons 31, Giants 24 ^ Top