Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 7
For a pleasant change, I don’t have to begin the Start/Sit column by apologizing for last week’s blunders.
Carlos Hyde and Terry McLaurin each put forth matchup-winning performances. The same can’t be said of Jameis Winston, who somehow threw his sixth interception on the flight home from London. Jordan Howard showed us the Jordan Howard we can all know and begrudgingly tolerate. Jimmy Graham recorded 17 yards, which was 17 more than Emmanuel Sanders.
Will regression to the mean strike in Week 7’s picks? If so, I’ll just blame it on a weekend cold and remember the good times. As usual, the cited Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) were obtained on Tuesday evening and apply to half-PPR leagues.
Start: Jared Goff (LAR) at ATL: QB7 ECR
After amassing 912 passing yards in his previous two games, Goff settled for 78 against the 49ers. He has more turnovers (nine) than touchdowns (eight) during a wildly underwhelming season that has seen his quarterback rating plummet from 101.1 to 80.8. He’s the QB19 behind Matthew Stafford, Jacoby Brissett, and Josh Allen, each of whom has already had a bye. Even at his best, he fared far better at home last season. This is where you’re probably wondering if I mean to write “Sit” next to Goff’s name. Nope. Only the Dolphins have surrendered more fantasy points (by a 0,1 margin) to quarterbacks than the Falcons. Each of their last five opponents has finished the week among the position’s top-12 scorers. Goff should at least pile up yards in a “better in fantasy than real life” game as he did against the Buccaneers and Seahawks. If he stumbles here, it’s time to move on.
Sit: Philip Rivers (LAC) at TEN: QB17 ECR
Ranking fourth in pass attempts and yards, Rivers is putting together his typical productively boring season as the QB11. Are you sure you didn’t mix up your “Start” and “Sit” sections? He also hasn’t finished a week higher than QB9, a mark he hit twice. Those were the only times he placed inside the top 12. The 37-year-old has still displayed a troubling floor when failing to toss a touchdown in losses to Detroit and Denver, so trouble could come against Tennessee. The Titans rank sixth against the pass and eighth to fantasy points against quarterbacks. Given their prodding style, this game carries Week 7’s second-lowest scoring projection behind the Saints vs. Bears. Trust the ECR here and swap out Rivers for Daniel Jones (vs. ARI), Jimmy Garoppolo (at WAS), or Gardner Minshew (at CIN).
Start: Royce Freeman (DEN) vs. KC: RB23 ECR
Playing Hyde against Kansas City worked last week, so let’s go back to the well. The Chiefs have allowed 5.2 yards per carry and aren’t looking sharp enough to anticipate a blowout win at Mile High Stadium. Look for the game script to comply enough for Denver to heavily feature both of its second-year backs. Freeman has developed a steady role, playing 32-38 snaps in each of the last four games. By reaching the high end of that range in Week 6, he out-snapped Phillip Lindsay by nine. He’s also handled a red-zone carry in all but one contest while already exceeding last year’s marks with 21 catches on 26 targets. Freeman should get plenty of work in a prime matchup.
Sit: David Montgomery (CHI) vs. NO: RB32 ECR
Despite already facing Todd Gurley, Chris Carson, Ezekiel Elliott, and Leonard Fournette, the Saints have surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. None of those aforementioned rushers reached 75 yards on the ground, a feat Montgomery has yet to accomplish. The rookie is averaging 3.3 yards per carry and 2.6 targets per game, so his ECR feels generous even if that’s the point where everyone ran out of running backs to rank.
Start: Golden Tate (NYG) vs. ARI: WR35 ECR
This seems like a fairly obvious lock, so it was a bit surprising to see the ECR treat him as no more than a low-end WR3. In his second game with the Giants, who were without just about every other skill-position player, Tate registered 102 yards and a touchdown to the Patriots. Prior to Week 6, they hadn’t permitted 100 yards or end-zone access to any wideout. Allowing 296 passing yards per game, Arizona’s defense is just a bit worse than the reigning champions. Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram could both return this Sunday, in which case Tate is still playable in a potential shootout. Big Blue, however, should take no chances with Sterling Shepard, who has already suffered two concussions this season. Tate’s ECR should rise closer to 30 if he’s established as Daniel Jones‘ top wide receiver once more.
Sit: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) vs. OAK: WR28 ECR
In two games without Davante Adams, Valdes-Scantling has caught three of six targets for 66 yards. Allen Lazard, an undrafted free agent who previously had one career reception, caught four of five targets for 65 yards during Monday night’s fourth-quarter comeback. Aaron Rodgers clearly likes Lazard, but he hasn’t developed much of a rapport with Valdes-Scantling regardless of the situation. It’d be awfully difficult to sit him against the Raiders if Adams and Geronimo Allison are both out of action. However, he also can’t maintain the benefit of the doubt without any accompanying results. Make Valdes-Scantling earn a spot in your lineup unless truly hurt by byes.
Start: Darren Waller (OAK) at GB: TE10 ECR
The Packers have only allowed 35.0 yards and 3.7 fantasy points per game to tight ends. That must be why Waller has fallen all the way to TE10 despite there being seven other tight ends — assuming Engram plays — anyone will feel comfortable starting. Last week’s four catches, five targets, and 39 yards out of a bye week all set season nadirs for Oakland’s breakout star. Everyone must need a reminder about his September; he was the TE6 through Week 4 without the assistance of a single touchdown. Even with the bye and down week, Waller’s 37 catches rank second behind Austin Hooper at the challenging position. Tough matchup aside, he’s a set-and-forget starter.
Sit: Eric Ebron (IND) vs. HOU (TE16 ECR)
It’s hard picking a tight end to sit when there aren’t even 10 good options. Regardless of which lackluster guy I select, there’s not a great alternative lurking on the waiver wire. Out of default, I’ll pick on Ebron since he was actually drafted as a starter in most instances. He’s delivered a line of one catch for eight yards twice in five tries, which is all the worse by one 47-yard touchdown representing his 2019 ceiling. The Texans, who have faced Austin Hooper and Travis Kelce in their last two games, haven’t let a tight end find pay dirt all season. At this point, gamers are better off testing Darren Fells‘ hot hand.