Five Burning Questions for Week 7 (2020 Fantasy Football)
This year is turning out to be a roller coaster in the NFL. Between COVID-19 scheduling changes, injuries, and just the nature of fantasy football, we have seen some interesting weeks so far. Let’s take a look at some questions to consider as we look ahead to Week 7.
1. Who Can Step Up For the Eagles on Thursday Night Football?
There is no nice way to say it. The Eagles are decimated. The two big-name starters remaining, tight end Zach Ertz and running back Miles Sanders, also fell victim to the Philadelphia injury bug on Sunday. They have been dealing with missing players like wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, offensive lineman Lane Johnson, wide receiver Jalen Reagor, and a vast number of players on their offensive line and on defense. Quarterback Carson Wentz has been targeting players such as wide receiver Travis Fulgham, rookie wide receiver John Hightower, and newly activated tight end Jason Croom.
Yet, they managed to come back against the Baltimore Ravens and nearly had a chance to take the game into overtime.
There is some light emerging for Week 7. Johnson is back in practice and is a key piece in keeping Wentz upright. Jackson is also practicing in full and will be good to go. Tight end Richard Rodgers is healthy, and tight end Dallas Goedert is eligible to play this Thursday against the New York Giants, though it’s not clear if he’ll be active.
It’s not their full staff of starters but they give Wentz more familiar and reliable options in his arsenal. Running back Boston Scott is the next man up among the Eagles running backs, and Goedert is no stranger to being involved in the offense. Whether or not the tight end is activated this week remains to be seen. Jackson, Scott, and Goedert will need to shoulder a large workload until the team can glue themselves back together.
2. What To Do With Miami Players Now That Tua Tagovailoa Is The New QB?
First, I just want to say that this news surprised me. What better way to keep the momentum going while on a winning streak than to… switch out the quarterback? To a rookie? Without even telling the team first, but learning through social media?
The way this all went down was disheartening, to say the least, and I wonder how much this will affect the overall morale of the team. They were in such a groove heading into their bye, then to suddenly have the rug pulled out from underneath them must feel like whiplash. Breaking up chemistry just seems so wrong and detrimental, but alas, I am not a head coach and I digress.
Aside from running back Myles Gaskin, I am putting all of the skill position players on the Dolphins on indefinite hold. I have no idea how rookie Tua Tagovailoa will perform in Week 8 against none other than Aaron Donald and the Rams. This stinks of being a set up for failure but if Tagovailoa can pass the test against the Rams in Week 8 and then the Cardinals in Week 9, perhaps I will feel better about evaluating the positions around him.
Either way, I am afraid this spells doom for the Dolphins who really had something special going in 2020. I hope that I am wrong.
3. Can the Cowboys Right the Ship?
Speaking of doom, the Cowboys look like a fractured shell of their old selves. Sure, most of that is recently due to quarterback Dak Prescott‘s season-ending injury. Backup quarterback Andy Dalton is no stranger to being a starter in the NFL, but he still is not the same caliber as Prescott. Their game on Monday was just plain bad. Running back Ezekiel Elliott uncharacteristically fumbled twice and was pulled on numerous snaps for the backup running back Tony Pollard and there are concerning rumors coming out of Dem Boys’ locker room.
Head coach Mike McCarthy made it clear that he wants to keep those rumblings in-house, and the statements that coaches didn’t know how to do their job, or were unprepared during practice all came anonymously. However professional McCarthy is or is not about his job, the fact remains that are some serious issues going on in Dallas.
Of course, Dalton isn’t the one allowing opposing teams to score touchdowns. The defense has been atrocious, to say the least.
Ok, so what does this mean for fantasy? It means you target defenses that are playing the Cowboys, for starters. It also means that until Dalton can get his feet underneath him, lower your expectations for the pass-catchers like wide receiver Amari Cooper, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, wide receiver Michael Gallup, and tight end Dalton Schultz. In fact, these players should be considered prime trade-for candidates while their stock is at its lowest. As I said, Dalton may not be Prescott-level, but he’s not a career backup, either. He should eventually pull it together.
Elliott will be just fine, but if he continues on a downward trajectory, he is also a trade-for candidate. The Cowboys need some time to adjust to the new regime, but the real king of Dallas, Jerry Jones, won’t suffer ineptitude. Well, unless your name is Jason Garrett, but that’s for another time.
4. Is D’Andre Swift the Back to Roster in Detroit?
The short answer here is, yes. But, I don’t write this column just to give you a short answer. Sadly, the Kerryon Johnson experiment seems to be coming to a close after the Lions signed running back Adrian Peterson. At first, it seemed Peterson was signed as a back who would come in for a few plays or be a solid backup if Johnson or Swift went down. Now, it seems Peterson is the line-from-scrimmage back with the bulk of the work at age 85. I’m kidding, he’s 35.
Peterson and rookie D’Andre Swift carried the ball 14 and 15 times respectively last week. Peterson grinded out 40 yards and a touchdown with only 2.67 yards a carry and scored 12.8 points in PPR. Swift averaged 8.29 yards per carry en route to 116 yards and two touchdowns, and also saw four targets, three receptions, and seven yards in the passing game. Johnson has only seen a handful of rush attempts each game since the season started.
The Lions have several favorable matchups including this week against the Atlanta Falcons who have allowed running backs to rush 112 times for 410 yards and two touchdowns as well giving up 46 receptions for 328 and four touchdowns to the position. They also lead the league in red zone goal-to-go with 22. That means they have allowed 22 attempts at the endzone inside the 10-yard line. This could be prime territory for running backs and touchdowns.
5. Can the Raiders Keep the Upset Alert Alive Against the Buccaneers?
To everyone’s surprise, the Raiders delivered the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss since November 10, 2019, in Week 5 with a 40-32 victory. Quarterback Derek Carr threw 22 completions for 347 yards and three touchdowns with the longest yards per attempt ever in his career at 11.19. He targeted a whopping 11 different pass-catchers in the matchup as well.
Speedster rookie Henry Ruggs was healthy and made a big impact on deep passing with 118 yards and a touchdown on two receptions. Tight end Darren Waller scored his second touchdown of the year and running back Josh Jacobs rushed 22 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chiefs were a tough opponent, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a top-ten ranked defense. They are second only to the Pittsburgh Steelers in sacks with 22 (PIT – 24) and are tied with the Ravens. They are also second in the league with blitz looks at 101, fewest passing touchdowns allowed (7), and fewest rushing yards allowed (386).
The Raiders were able to put 40 points up against the Chiefs and they will need to have another big game on offense if they stand a chance to win this game. The Raiders’ defense has allowed on average 30 points per game. Quarterback Tom Brady is getting his mojo back now that he has a healthy arsenal of pass-catchers like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and even tight end Rob Gronkowski who is going to be a headache for the Las Vegas defense. This game could be a high-flying affair if Carr and head coach Jon Gruden can scheme a gameplan around the staunch Tampa defense.
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