5 Burning Questions: Week 7 (2019 Fantasy Football)
Through six weeks of the season, Christian McCaffrey is on pace for 2,461 total yards (rushing and receiving) which would put him second on the all-time list for a single season, right after Chris Johnson‘s 2009 season. Unfortunately, we don’t get to watch CMC play this week, but here are my five burning questions for Week 7
Will there be another shift in the dynamic of the Packers’ backfield?
Aaron Jones’ fantasy owners likely had to pay a second or third-round price to get him, and since then, it’s been a bumpy ride. By week, Jones’ snap shares have been: 59%, 58%, 39%, 84% (Jamaal Williams got injured in the first quarter against the Eagles and the Packers didn’t have much to replace him with), 68%, and 49%. He’s had two games over 100 yards on the ground, but in the other four games, he had less than 50. What he lacked in yardage though, he’s made up for in touchdowns.
After Jones’ first big game in Week 2, Matt LaFleur said he needed to even out the touches between Jones and Williams, and he did. Then a few weeks later, right after Jones’ four touchdown outburst, he fumbles, drops a wide-open touchdown, and Williams goes on to gain 104 yards on the ground plus a receiving touchdown. Davante Adams said on Twitter this week that “our 1, 2 punch is the filthiest…” and he may be correct, but any of us who thought Jones was going to run away with a bell-cow job need to face reality. In any event, Adams, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Jimmy Graham are all dealing with injuries right now, so it’s possible we see a heavy dose of both Jones and Williams against a below-average Raiders defense
Will more work end Melvin Gordon’s struggles? Will the Chargers give him more carries?
If you took a risk on Melvin Gordon in your draft this season, you were likely relieved that he chose to end his hold out after only four weeks, but his production so far has been abysmal. In two games, Gordon has taken 20 carries four 49 yards and has not found the end zone. Gordon owners could probably have left him on their benches and gotten more points from a replacement.
Gordon says he needs more touches to find his rhythm, but will the Chargers grant that request? Austin Ekeler was given only three and five carries in the games since Gordon has been back, though he had 15 receptions two weeks ago against the Broncos and another three last week against the Steelers. It seems the Chargers believe Ekeler to be the superior receiver, and with the negative game scripts the Chargers have been facing playing from behind, he’s still received a hefty snap share (66% against the Broncos and 45% against the Steelers). The Chargers are a pass-first team. They pass the ball on 66.4% of plays which is the fourth most in the league. Unless that number comes down or they keep Gordon in on more pass plays, I don’t see his touches getting a significant boost.
Who will shine brighter when two rookie quarterbacks drafted in the top-10 square off against each other?
For the first time in their young careers, Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones, the first and sixth overall picks in the 2019 NFL draft will meet face-to-face on the field. Murray has had his ups and downs to start the season, but he’s looked more comfortable in his past two games. He just led the Cardinals to back-to-back wins (their first two of the season) and threw three touchdowns and no interceptions in those contests. Alternatively, Jones has seen mostly struggles after having the hot hand in his first career game. Against the Bucs, he threw for 336 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions, but since then, he hasn’t had a game with more touchdowns than picks, and his quarterback rating has gone down with each passing game.
The good news for both quarterbacks is that both teams have poor defenses. The Cardinals rank 29th in points given up and 30th in yards given up while the Giants rank 27th and 28th in those categories. Murray should continue his hot streak and Jones should be able to turn things back in the right direction.
Where is DeAndre Hopkins?
After piling up 111 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, DeAndre Hopkins has been MIA. He has not found the end zone in the last five weeks and hasn’t had more than 88 yards in any other game. It’s starting to feel like a breakout is imminent but still surprising that it hasn’t happened yet. The Texans offense is working fine with Deshaun Watson under center, but last week Carlos Hyde and the run game got it going, the previous week Will Fuller went nuts for three touchdowns, and the week before that the Panthers didn’t give up a passing touchdown.
It’s not like Hopkins isn’t getting any looks, He’s fifth in the league in targets and has at least five receptions in every game this season, only the big-time production we’ve come to expect from him has been absent.
With Watson playing great football, and Hopkins still getting targeted almost 10 times per game, it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out again. Hopkins owners shouldn’t be worried.
Who owns the AFC South?
The last time the Texans and the Colts took the field, they both handed the Chiefs a loss. Despite DeAndre Hopkins not producing the way we expected, the Texans offense is rolling as they rank in the top-10 in both yards and points. The Colts have played better than many expected after Andrew Luck retired just a couple weeks before the season. Jacoby Brissett has only thrown three interceptions compared to 10 touchdowns, and he’s been a more than competent game manager.
The first matchup of the season between these two teams is an important one. A win would give the Texans a commanding 2.5 game lead over the rest of the division, and they’d start the season 2-0 in divisional matchups. A Colts win would also put them at 2-0 in divisional games, and they would take a narrow divisional lead as they head into their next four games against the Broncos, Steelers, Dolphins, and Jaguars who have a combined record of 6-18.
I like the Colts to win this one at home. Before their bye, they dealt Patrick Mahomes his second-worst game of the season. They held him to 321 yards when he’s averaging over 350, and they held the Chiefs offense to a single touchdown. If they can make things as difficult for Deshaun Watson, they should be able to generate enough offense to get a win.