Week 7 Target Analysis (2019 Fantasy Football)
Week 7 of the NFL season had some unusually bad offensive performances, as rain on the East Coast impacted some of the passing numbers around the league. There were six teams that scored 10 points or less and that has a very negative impact on fantasy owners that take for granted that most NFL teams will find a way to score at least 20 points most weeks.
The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers led the way with 42 points scored this week, but the Packers and Vikings each only had one receiver with more than 100 yards as both offenses spread the wealth around their entire roster. It was a week where no receiver topped the 150-yard mark and only three receivers/tight ends scored multiple touchdowns. If you had guessed those players would be Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones, Indianapolis Colts WR Zach Pascal, and Oakland Raiders TE Darren Waller; you should be doing more with your ESP than playing fantasy football.
Here is a look at how all of the NFL teams distributed the ball this week. If you want to see the targets for all of the players, check out Fantasy Pros Most Targeted Players.
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the game on the road against the New York Giants. That early lead allowed them to take the air out of the ball in rainy conditions. QB Kyler Murray had only 21 pass attempts and 104 passing yards and RB Chase Edmonds dominated the day on the ground with 27 rushing attempts for 126 yards and three rushing touchdowns. That meant no wide receiver had more than five targets or 30 yards receiving.
I think a fair question to ask is whether the 36-year old WR Larry Fitzgerald is struggling without WR Christian Kirk there to take the pressure off him or if he is hitting a wall at 36-years old. I would not judge him on his one catch for 12 yards in a game where the entire offense was grounded, but he also has not scored a touchdown in his last four games nor has he had a 100-yard game in his last five games. The Cardinals travel to New Orleans in Week 8. The Saints are 19th against fantasy wide receivers over the last five weeks.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons did not have a 100-yard receiver this week and TE Austin Hooper scored the only touchdowns, so there was not much fantasy production in a 37-10 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. There is some good fantasy news in Atlanta and there is some bad fantasy news going forward.
The good news is that the Falcons have a ton of talent at the wide receiver and tight end position. WR Julio Jones, WR Calvin Ridley, and TE Austin Hooper are arguably the best starting trio at those positions in the NFL. That meant that when WR Mohamed Sanu would have a double-digit target game, that was often at the expense of one of those superior players. Sanu was traded at the deadline to the New England Patriots and Sanu’s targets can be given to their best players and help raise their fantasy floor, especially Ridley.
The bad news is that QB Matt Ryan is dealing with an ankle sprain and if he cannot go this week, none of this matters until he returns. QB Matt Schaub is not a reliable quarterback option at this point in his career and everyone is a bust option against the Seahawks if Schaub is under center.
Baltimore Ravens: The passing game has really tanked in the last three games. QB Lamar Jackson has 161, 236, and 143 yards passing in his last three games. He had one touchdown and three picks against the Pittsburgh Steelers and he has not thrown a touchdown or a pick in the last two games. He is among the most productive fantasy players in the NFL, but that is due to 47 rushing attempts for 338 yards and two rushing touchdowns. I question the sustainability of a quarterback running 14-20 times per game, that is a recipe for an injured quarterback.
TE Mark Andrews is the only consistently viable option in this passing game and an injured WR Marquise Brown could carve out a role again when healthy. He will hopefully return to action after their bye week. The Ravens have a bye in Week 8 before they return to play at home against the New England Patriots.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills had a dream matchup at home against the Miami Dolphins and their passing offense still gave them only 202 yards passing, two passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. WR John Brown led the way with six targets, five receptions, 83 yards, and one touchdown. WR Cole Beasley chipped in with six targets, three receptions, 16 yards, and one touchdown. Nobody else had more than 30 yards receiving or a touchdown in this game. This has basically been the case most of the season. Brown has consistent WR3 value, Beasley can have a sneaky game here and there and nobody else really has much consistent fantasy value.
TE Dawson Knox was showing some promise but crashed and burned in this good matchup with only two receptions for 22 yards on five targets. The Bills have another good fantasy matchup playing the struggling Philadelphia Eagles defense at home this week, but they are probably not going to put up a ton of numbers in the passing game.
Carolina Panthers: The Carolina Panthers had their bye this week and they are going to have a decision to make soon. QB Cam Newton has 182 touchdown passes in 125 games for the Panthers. He has won the regular-season MVP award back in 2015 and he has been selected to three Pro Bowls in his nine-year career. He has not played since Week 2 because of a Lisfranc injury to his foot. Before that game, he had a QB rating of 71.0 in two games and the Panthers lost both of their games. QB Kyle Allen has won four games in relief and his QB rating is 106.6. The Panthers will not rush Newton back if they are winning and Allen faces the tough San Francisco 49ers defense this week.
RB Christian McCaffrey is always a lock to put up numbers, but it will be a tough matchup for the other skill position players in this offense. It remains to be seen if the Panthers go with Newton when he is healthy or if they keep riding the hot hand of Allen.
Chicago Bears: This statistic tells you everything you need to know about the Bears. They targeted RB Tarik Cohen 12 times in the passing game and he responded with nine receptions for 19 yards. QB Mitchell Trubisky had 54 passing attempts and only 251 yards and two touchdowns. WR Allen Robinson led the way with 16 targets, 10 receptions, 87 yards, and one touchdown. The other touchdown went to WR Javon Wims, who now has six receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown on the season. This offense is struggling to produce anything significant in the passing game. Robinson has been a safe option for most weeks, everyone has a floor located on or near the ground level. The Bears play at home against a struggling Los Angeles Chargers team in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals: The killer for the Bengals offense was turnovers. They lost the turnover battle 4-0 at home to a bad Jaguars team. WR Alex Erickson led the way with 14 targets, eight receptions, 137 yards, and no touchdowns. WR Tyler Boyd added 14 targets, five receptions, and 55 yards. RB Joe Mixon had the only receiving touchdown of the game and Dalton added a rushing touchdown. We see a Bengals offense that lacks a star player in the passing game with WR A.J. Green still recovering from an ankle injury. With a horrible offensive line and no elite playmaker in the passing game, they struggle to score points most weeks. They will have another tough game in London against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns are coming off a Week 7 bye and they need to hit the reset button on a season that was supposed to see them contend for a playoff spot and instead has seen them stumble to just two wins in their first six games. The big problem has been a passing game that ranks 30th in passing touchdowns and 32nd interceptions. WR Odell Beckham Jr. has only 29 receptions for 436 yards and one touchdown and WR Jarvis Landry has only 25 receptions for 439 yards and no touchdowns. Nobody else is averaging more than 30.00 yards per game receiving and they now play at the New England Patriots, which is the best defense in the NFL. This team figures to be frustrated again this week in a road matchup where fantasy points will be tough to tally in the passing game.
Dallas Cowboys: There really was not much need for the Dallas Cowboys to throw the ball in a game they led 27-7 at the half. They ran the ball 36 times and passed it only 27 times. The only touchdown went to TE Blake Jarwin on a one-yard touchdown throw and WR Amari Cooper was the only viable fantasy receiver with five receptions for 106 yards and no touchdowns. Nobody else on the team had more than 40 yards receiving. This is a reminder that the Cowboys can win a game by 27 points and do next to nothing in the passing game. This offense is still about featuring RB Ezekiel Elliott and nobody else other than Cooper really lived up to expectations in a game against a struggling Eagles secondary. The Cowboys have a bye this week before facing the New York Giants on the road in Week 9.
Denver Broncos: Denver did not do much in the passing game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which is a normal development for them. QB Joe Flacco had 213 yards passing, but he was also sacked eight times and he lost 72 yards. WR Courtland Sutton had eight targets, six receptions, and 82 yards receiving. WR Emanuel Sanders added six targets, five receptions, 60 yards, and no touchdowns. No other player had more than 35 yards receiving. Sutton and Sanders are two very good receivers that have their upside capped by a bad quarterback situation. No other player has consistent value in the passing game.
A big change going forward is that Sanders was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. That opens the door for Sutton to be the lead receiver every week and it could open the door for WR Tim Patrick when he returns from IR and WR DaeSean Hamilton until Patrick comes back. However, any receiver will have to deal with the obstacle of having Flacco at quarterback. The Broncos travel to Indianapolis this week for a tough matchup with the Colts.
Detroit Lions: The Lions had one of the more bizarre games of the week. QB Matthew Stafford had 364 yards and four passing touchdowns, but his normal best wide receiver had only two targets, one reception, and 21 yards. WR Kenny Golladay had absolutely no role in this offense, as WR Danny Amendola and WR Marvin Jones had the bulk of the targets. Amendola had 11 targets, eight receptions, 105 yards, and no touchdowns. Jones added 13 targets, 10 receptions, 93 yards, and four receiving touchdowns. Jones is the definition of a boom/bust player. He is someone that can have games like this or he can have two receptions for 17 yards like he had last week at Green Bay. Both seem like an outlier game and Golladay should return to the featured wide receiver role in Week 8 against the New York Giants. Jones should continue to have fantasy value, but not four touchdowns per game.
Green Bay Packers: QB Aaron Rodgers had his best game of the season with 429 yards passing and five passing touchdowns on just 31 pass attempts. Five different Packers had a touchdown reception, nobody had more than four receptions, and nobody had less than two receptions. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the way with 133 yards receiving and a 74-yard touchdown reception. TE Jimmy Graham was second on the team in yardage with 65 yards receiving and RB Jamaal Williams was eighth in receiving yards with 26 yards receiving. The way this team survived without WR Davante Adams for a third straight game was distributing the ball equally to many different options. This was a complete team effort with nobody really dominating the game, but nobody laying an egg either. They have a great matchup at Kansas City in Week 8, who will be without QB Patrick Mahomes.
Houston Texans: WR Will Fuller is expected to miss several weeks with a hamstring injury, which means that WR DeAndre Hopkins will be carrying more of the load the next few weeks and there is an opportunity for WR Kenny Stills to have WR3 value. He had four receptions on five targets for 105 yards as their deep threat in the offense. This passing offense has not been able to support three receivers for most of the season and WR Keke Coutee is the next receiver in line with Fuller out for the foreseeable future. Coutee will see some looks in the short passing game, but Stills is the player with more upside. The Texans host the Oakland Raiders in Week 8 at home.
Indianapolis Colts: Colts QB Jacoby Brissett had a breakout game at home against the Houston Texans with 326 yards passing and four passing touchdowns. The usual suspects had big games. WR T.Y. Hilton had 11 targets, six receptions, 74 yards, and one touchdown. TE Eric Ebron added four receptions on five targets for 70 yards and one touchdown. There was one surprise though, WR Zach Pascal had seven targets, six receptions, 106 yards, and two touchdowns. Pascal had only seven receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown headed into the game. Pascal benefited from WR Parris Campbell not being active and he could see a bigger role, but there is a lot of volatility to his production on an offense that does take the air out of the ball some weeks. The Colts host the Denver Broncos in Week 8, who allow the second-fewest points to fantasy wide receivers.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Their passing offense did not do a ton in Cincinnati, but it was enough for WR Dede Westbrook to tally six receptions for 103 yards. WR D.J. Chark was not very dominant with just four targets, three receptions, and 53 yards. WR Keelan Cole had the only receiving touchdown and that was from the 2-yard line. The Jaguars offense does enough some week for Chark and Westbrook to have big fantasy days, but everybody else is a very volatile play. The Jaguars host the New York Jets this week.
Kansas City Chiefs: It is going to be a new world for the Chiefs until QB Patrick Mahomes returns from a knee injury. I would compare this situation to the New Orleans Saints playing with a veteran backup quarterback. Two star players remain fantasy viable and the rest of the team is worthless in terms of fantasy production. WR Tyreek Hill can score on any play and he remains a solid WR2 to WR3 option with QB Matt Moore behind center. TE Travis Kelce is the best tight end in football and he should still have fantasy value. Nobody else has much hope of doing anything in the passing game with Moore behind center. The Chiefs lucked out with Mahomes not being lost for the season, but their offense is no longer a juggernaut without the 2018 MVP. They had a tough home game against the Green Bay Packers defense in Week 8.
Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers have one of the most stagnant running games in the NFL and they are often playing from behind. That is a recipe for putting up some big passing numbers, which did happen this week. QB Philip Rivers had 329 yards and two passing touchdowns, but RB Austin Ekeler was the star with eight targets, seven receptions, 118 yards, and one touchdown. TE Hunter Henry added six receptions for 97 yards, which means that WR Keenan Allen had another low-scoring game with just four receptions for 61 yards. The Chargers travel to Chicago in Week 8 and even though the Chargers have been putting up numbers in the passing game, Ekeler and Henry are the safest options behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Allen is their most talented player, but it has not been showing in the box score in recent weeks.
Los Angeles Rams: It was a strange game because the Rams scored 37 points, but their leading receiver was WR Robert Woods with seven targets, five receptions, 80 yards, and no touchdowns. WR Brandin Cooks added 59 yards, TE Gerald Everett had 50 yards and one touchdown, and WR Cooper Kupp had six receptions for 50 yards. RB Todd Gurley scored the other touchdown in the passing game on his only catch for 13 yards. It was a good scoring day for the Rams and while none of their playmakers were complete busts, nobody had a monster game in a great matchup. The Rams have another good matchup this week in London against the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins had a season-high 272 yards passing and 21 points scored, yet they still lost by a score of 31-21. Most teams would not consider that an offensive explosion, but that has been how bad that offense has been this year. There still was not a ton of fantasy production in the passing game. WR Preston Williams had eight targets, six receptions, and 82 yards receiving. WR DeVante Parker had 10 targets, five receptions, and 55 yards with the team’s only receiving touchdown. Those two can have WR3 moments in fantasy, but neither was able to top 100-yards receiving in Week 7. Nobody else is worth owning in the passing game and even these receivers have a low floor on the worst team in the NFL. They have a very tough road game at a Pittsburgh Steelers D that has been playing better since acquiring former Dolphins S Minkah Fitzpatrick in a trade earlier this year.
Minnesota Vikings: WR Adam Thielen is unlikely to play this week on a Thursday Night Game with a hamstring injury against one of the worst teams in the NFL. That opens the door for WR Stefon Diggs to dominate one of the worst secondary units in the NFL and WR Bisi Johnson could have an expanded role, as he had four receptions for 40 yards and one touchdown last week. Another player that could play an expanded role is TE Irv Smith Jr. He had five receptions for 60 yards and if QB Kirk Cousins is going to throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns every week, there is suddenly a ton of fantasy opportunities in an offense that was stagnant when it came to passing the ball in September.
New England Patriots: QB Tom Brady did not have to put up big passing numbers in a 33-0 road win over the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. Brady had only 249 yards passing and one passing touchdown on a night where the Patriots ran the ball 34 times for 74 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns, all by RB Sony Michel. No player had more than 60-yards receiving in this game and the only passing touchdown went to WR Phillip Dorsett. That was a big reason why they traded a second-round pick for former Atlanta Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu. The Patriots have not been dominant in the passing game without WR Antonio Brown (waived after Week 2) and without injured WR Josh Gordon. Sanu gives them a slot wide receiver to take some pressure off WR Julian Edelman. The Patriots host the Cleveland Browns in Week 8, who are coming off their bye week.
New Orleans Saints: QB Drew Brees is set to resume throwing this week and the likely scenario is that he misses again this week, rests on the Week 9 bye, and returns in Week 10 against the Atlanta Falcons. Once he returns, there will be a lot more fantasy points to be scored in the passing game. The Saints only care about the wins and the losses, but the numbers do not lie. WR Michael Thomas had 11 targets, nine receptions, and 131 yards. No other wide receiver finished with over 50 yards receiving. TE Josh Hill did score a touchdown filling in for the injured TE Jared Cook. The other receiving touchdown was scored by backup QB Taysom Hill. The Saints host a hot Arizona Cardinals team that has won their last three games against teams that have three combined wins on the season.
New York Giants: The Giants had to play in some rain against the Arizona Cardinals, but QB Daniel Jones should have been able to do more than 223 yards and one touchdown pass. He had eight sacks and the Giants never established a rhythm in the passing game as they lost 27-21 at home. TE Evan Engram was one of the most disappointing fantasy plays of the season. In a dream matchup against the worst tight end defense in the league, he had only five targets, one reception, and six yards. Rain can make it difficult to throw the ball, but this was a disheartening performance. WR Golden Tate was the only player that had significant yardage with 80 yards and TE Rhett Ellison scored the only touchdown. The Giants have a tough matchup at the Detroit Lions in Week 8.
New York Jets: The good news for the Jets is they do not play the Patriots the rest of the season. WR Demaryius Thomas led the way with three receptions for 42 yards in a 33-0 shutout at home. That was better than any player had the last time these teams played, as WR Braxton Berrios led the way in that game with two receptions for 29 yards. This is one of the more unstable passing offenses in the NFL and they were no match for the Patriots defense on Monday Night Football. They travel to Jacksonville and WR Robby Anderson and WR Jamison Crowder should have bigger roles this week. Even by Jets standards, this was a horrific game and it will probably be the lowest point of their 2019 season that appears to be headed toward another losing season.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders were without WR Tyrell Williams and that led to TE Darren Waller having a monster game. Waller had eight targets, seven receptions, 126 yards, and two receiving touchdowns. Nobody else had more than 55 yards receiving and only TE Foster Moreau found the end zone. QB Derek Carr finished with 293 yards and three passing touchdowns, but his team was blown off the field and Waller continues to be the star of their passing game. Williams has enough upside to be a WR3 when healthy, but nobody else has really stepped up to the plate. The Raiders have nine touchdown passes this year, but Waller and Williams have combined for six of those nine touchdowns and the only other wide receiver with a touchdown is WR J.J. Nelson. Moreau has the other two touchdowns in the passing game. The Raiders stay on the road this week facing the Houston Texans.
Philadelphia Eagles: QB Carson Wentz was terrible on Sunday Night Football as the only player to have more than 40-yards receiving was TE Dallas Goedert. He finished with four targets, four receptions, 69 yards, and one touchdown. Wentz has failed to throw for 200 yards in three of his last four games and he has only four touchdown throws in his last three games. This offense is just not clicking right now and things bottomed out in Dallas. They have a tough matchup in Buffalo, a defense that is fourth against fantasy wide receivers and second against fantasy tight ends. It might be another slow week for the Eagles passing offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers had a much-needed bye in Week 7, which should allow QB Mason Rudolph to return this week in a dream matchup against the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers have had a hard time in the deep passing game this season. Their offense has relied heavily on the running backs both running the ball and catching balls out of the backfield. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers have averaged just 22.1 fantasy points per game, which is 28th in the NFL. Miami is just 24th against fantasy wide receivers and they have one of the worst defenses in the league. I do not think the Steelers throw the ball well enough to warrant streaming deep into the depth chart. However, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and WR Diontae Johnson could be solid fantasy options in a great matchup.
San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers did not throw the ball much in a 9-0 win at Washington. The combination of their running game producing 137 yards on 39 carries and Washington throwing the ball only 12 times allowed them to take the air out of the ball in a rainstorm at Washington. QB Jimmy Garoppolo had only 21 pass attempts for 151 yards and WR Kendrick Bourne led the way with three receptions for 69 yards. The only player that was targeted more was TE George Kittle with five targets. However, he had only three receptions for 38 yards.
The lack of production at wide receiver is a big reason they traded for Denver Broncos WR Emanuel Sanders. They are going to need to throw the ball in order for him to put up numbers, but he may be able to fill the void that has been left by the 49ers young receivers not being able to step up and be productive players so far this year. WR Dante Pettis was supposed to be that player and he was held to one target and no receptions in this game. The 49ers are going to be a run-oriented team that relies on the defense, but they do need some production in the passing game and Sanders may end up giving them that jolt on offense. They host the Carolina Panthers coming off the bye week in Week 8.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks did not do much in the passing game this week at home against the Baltimore Ravens, as WR Tyler Lockett led the way with seven targets, five receptions, 61 yards receiving, and one touchdown. WR DK Metcalf led the team in nine targets, but he had only four receptions for 53 yards. WR Jaron Brown had a second straight surprisingly solid game with six targets, three receptions, and 60 yards. He may be carving out a role with TE Will Dissly out for the season. The Seahawks hit the road this week to play the Atlanta Falcons porous defense. There could be lots of fantasy viable Seahawks in that game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay is coming off their bye week and it will be interesting to see if they can turn around their season in Tennessee. The bright spot for their offense has been WR Chris Godwin. He has 55 targets, 43 receptions, 662 yards, and six touchdowns in just six games. Nobody else has been a very consistent player in this offense. WR Mike Evans was held without a catch in Week 5 and three of his four touchdowns came in one game against the New York Giants. TE O.J. Howard has barely been able to record a few receptions most weeks this season. They need to find a way to involve Evans and Howard more without taking touches away from Godwin. The Titans will be a tough matchup in Week 8, they are fifth against fantasy receivers this year.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans looked good passing the ball with QB Ryan Tannehill behind center. He targeted WR Corey Davis and WR A.J. Brown the most and both were productive. Davis had seven targets, six receptions, 80 yards, and one touchdown. Brown had eight targets, six receptions, and 64 yards. They play a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed the third-most points to fantasy receivers. Tannehill’s 312 yards and two touchdowns give him something to build on for this week and it is a very good matchup at home. Davis and Brown could both be WR3 plays with upside if this offense can build on its Week 7 success.
Washington Redskins: Washington threw the ball only 12 times on Sunday, which was the fewest pass attempts by a Washington offense since 1990. The field was just atrocious, with it functioning more like a flooded sandpit than a football field. WR Trey Quinn led the way with three targets, two receptions, and 30 yards. One thing that is clear is that interim head coach Bill Callahan is going to be more committed to the running game than former head coach Jay Gruden. It creates an incredibly low floor, but this game is probably an outlier with just 12 pass attempts. The combination of bad weather, a bad field, and a close game allowed Washington to almost completely take the air out of the football. They have a very tough matchup on Thursday Night Football at the Minnesota Vikings. They will almost certainly throw the ball more, but I question if they will be more productive.