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Target Analysis: Week 7 (2020 Fantasy Football)

Oct 28, 2020

We’ve seen it time and time again. Volume is the clearest indicator of fantasy success, as it’s rare for a player to be a fantasy football stud without the opportunity to convert touches into points. Pass-catching opportunities, especially in PPR leagues, are often a bigger determinant of fantasy success than a player’s talent or circumstances.

So, every week of this fantasy season, I will diagnose the target landscape in the NFL. Who’s seeing the highest share on a team? Who’s trending downward? And most importantly, what takeaways can we draw from this data to ultimately help you make better fantasy lineup and roster decisions?

Here is your Week 7 Target Analysis:

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Arizona Cardinals

DeAndre Hopkins 12 27 9.00 73 10.43 ⬆️
Larry Fitzgerald 8 19 6.33 37 5.29 ⬆️
Christian Kirk 8 18 6.00 32 5.33 ⬆️
Chase Edmonds 7 15 5.00 32 4.57 ⬆️
Andy Isabella 3 8 2.67 17 2.43 ⬆️
Dan Arnold 3 3 1.00 15 2.14 ⬆️

DeAndre Hopkins continues to amaze. Through seven weeks, the former Houston Texan has amassed 73 targets and is the current PPR WR1 in fantasy football. No one questioned Hopkins’ talent and ability to be a factor in the Arizona offense, but his target pace is unprecedented. Hopkins is currently on track to garner 167 targets over the course of the season, which would break his 2018 career-high of 163. In an offense that was expected to spread the ball around, Hopkins has once again become a target hog and may very well be the best fantasy wideout in 2020.

Given the game script of Arizona’s shootout with Seattle, Hopkins wasn’t the only one who found paydirt. Christian Kirk saw eight targets in this contest, catching five balls for 37 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Chase Edmonds converted all seven of his targets into catches for 87 yards. I still don’t trust Kirk to put up consistent numbers, as his fantasy value has been propelled by three touchdowns over the last two weeks. However, Edmonds could soar up fantasy rankings, as Kenyan Drake is expected to miss several weeks.

Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones 9 19 6.33 39 7.80 ⬇️
Calvin Ridley 7 24 8.00 64 9.14
Hayden Hurst 7 17 5.67 39 5.57 ⬆️
Russell Gage 7 16 5.33 43 6.14 ⬆️
Todd Gurley 3 12 4.00 20 2.86 ⬇️
Brian Hill 3 7 2.33 16 2.29 ⬆️

Maybe Atlanta just shouldn’t get leads? Atlanta has now blown three fourth-quarter leads this season, including this past week’s six-point lead with less than two minutes left in the game. Nonetheless, the Falcons were able to support multiple fantasy options in this game, with four different pass-catchers surpassing 10 PPR points. Julio Jones was the target leader in this one, as he saw nine looks and caught eight of them for 97 yards. Calvin Ridley continued his impressive 2020 campaign by catching five of seven targets for 69 yards, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion. Hayden Hurst and Russell Gage each saw seven targets and made six catches for over 50 yards.

Even though Julio Jones was hobbled a bit in this game, he’s proven that he can be a WR1 even in his tenth NFL season. He doesn’t have as much upside as in the past, especially given his struggles with staying on the field and getting in the end zone, but he still presents a consistent floor each week. Ridley is the more explosive Atlanta wide receiver and will likely score more fantasy points than Jones over the course of the season. Hayden Hurst has put together two solid performances, although his Week 6 output was primarily due to a long touchdown. Nonetheless, he’s a streamer if you are in dire straits at the position.

Buffalo Bills

Cole Beasley 12 25 8.33 49 7.00 ⬆️
Stefon Diggs 11 35 11.67 70 10.00 ⬆️
evin Singletary 5 8 2.67 29 4.14 ⬆️
Tyler Kroft 4 6 2.00 14 2.00 ⬆️
Gabe Davis 3 13 4.33 21 3.00 ⬆️
Zack Moss 3 3 1.00 7 1.75 ⬆️

Yikes, this game was ugly. The Bills offense, after scoring fewer than 20 points in their previous two matchups, looked to get back on track versus the hapless New York Jets. However, without John Brown, they struggled mightily and couldn’t get in the end zone. The Bills scored six field goals and won this game without punting; however, two receivers were targeted over ten times. Cole Beasley was Josh Allen’s preferred target as the Buffalo offense was forced to dink-and-dunk for most of the game. Beasley caught eleven passes for 112 yards, while WR1 Stefon Diggs only managed six catches for 48 yards.

Even though Beasley has had some great performances this season and has averaged over eight targets per game over his last three contests, I would sit him next week versus the New England Patriots. Even though this Bills offense is much improved from years past, Bill Belichick has typically had Buffalo’s number and will know how to limit Josh Allen. Stefon Diggs will likely be matched up against Stephon Gilmore and be taken out of the game, and I foresee a disappointing output from him in Week 8. Even though there is a lot of receiving volume to be had in Buffalo, I would recommend sitting all of your Bills players for their upcoming matchup.

Carolina Panthers

Robby Anderson 8 26 8.67 61 8.71 ⬆️
Curtis Samuel 6 11 3.67 29 4.83 ⬆️
D.J. Moore 5 21 7.00 53 7.57 ⬇️
Mike Davis 5 18 6.00 41 5.86 ⬆️
Ian Thomas 1 3 1.00 12 1.71
Alex Armah 1 2 0.67 3 0.43

D.J. Moore may have been tied for third on the Panthers in targets in Week 7, but he put together his best performance of the season. Moore caught four of his five targets for 93 yards and scored two receiving touchdowns; while his touchdowns didn’t come from a typical route tree (one came on a tap pass and the other came on a blown coverage), it’s a great sign to see Moore get in the end zone. He’s not the top wideout in this offense anymore, but he can be a fantasy WR2 if he can continue to make the most of his limited opportunities.

Curtis Samuel was heavily utilized in this game despite being questionable to play for most of the week. Samuel caught all six of his targets for 48 yards and added a rushing touchdown to his total. Samuel has actually been more fantasy relevant than he’s been given credit for, as he’s surpassed nine PPR points in four of his seven contests. His role is doubtful to increase, but he’s worth an add in deeper leagues as more teams start entering their bye weeks.

Chicago Bears

Darnell Mooney 7 17 5.67 37 5.29 ⬆️
Jimmy Graham 6 19 6.33 42 6.00 ⬇️
David Montgomery 5 18 6.00 33 4.71
Anthony Miller 5 12 4.00 31 4.43 ⬆️
Allen Robinson 4 29 9.67 70 10.00 ⬇️
Cordarrelle Patterson 4 8 2.67 13 1.86 ⬆️

If I could sum up the Bears offense in one word, it would be “yikes.” Mitch Trubis….oh, excuse me…Nick Foles only threw for 261 yards and tossed two interceptions despite trailing for most of the game. Even though he had a high completion percentage, Foles was unable to connect with his wideouts downfield; he instead settled for dump-offs close to the line of scrimmage that didn’t help Chicago move the ball. Rookie Darnell Mooney was the most targeted wideout on the day, but he only managed three catches for 40 yards. Meanwhile, Allen Robinson still put up a decent floor by catching all four of his targets for 70 yards.

Allen Robinson is the only Chicago pass-catcher you can be comfortable starting on a weekly basis. Nick Foles is simply not a good enough passer to support multiple fantasy assets, and Robinson is too talented to let his quarterback get in the way of his fantasy production. Graham is still an “okay” tight end streamer, but we saw Cole Kmet and Demetrius Harris get involved in Monday’s contest as well, so even he isn’t a lock to grab a majority of the tight end looks.

Cincinnati Bengals

A.J. Green 13 25 8.33 58 8.29 ⬆️
Tyler Boyd 13 27 9.00 61 8.71 ⬆️
Drew Sample 6 9 3.00 25 3.57 ⬆️
Tee Higgins 5 21 7.00 43 6.14 ⬇️
Gio Bernard 5 10 3.33 25 3.57 ⬆️
Mike Thomas 3 7 2.33 17 2.43

Just after I essentially threw in the towel  for A.J. Green’s fantasy viability, he puts up back-to-back double-digit target performances. Green caught seven of his 13 targets for 82 yards, putting up 15-plus fantasy points for the second straight week. Meanwhile, Tyler Boyd was once again heavily utilized and acted as Joe Burrow’s safety valve from the slot. Boyd saw an equal amount of targets to Green, but he instead caught 11 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Tee Higgins also continues to get involved despite a diminished target share from prior weeks; Higgins caught all five of his targets for 71 yards and a touchdown. With Joe Mixon out for this game, we saw Gio Bernard become more heavily involved in the gameplan, as he saw his highest target total since Week 3 and caught five passes for 59 yards and a score.

In the right matchup, all three Bengals wide receivers are start-worthy. Tyler Boyd is my preferred Cincinnati wideout, as he’s seen the most targets of this squad and has been the most consistent. I still prefer Tee Higgins to A.J. Green, as I think the rookie is more explosive than his veteran counterpart at this stage in their careers. Green is still a great receiver, but I seem to trust Higgins more despite being out-targeted by Green over the past two weeks. If you have Green, you will probably be inclined to start him as bye weeks start to take their toll; however, that’s not the death sentence it was earlier this season.

Cleveland Browns

Jarvis Landry 6 20 6.67 39 5.57 ⬆️
Rashard Higgins 6 11 3.67 12 1.71 ⬆️
Harrison Bryant 5 8 2.67 18 2.57 ⬆️
Kareem Hunt 4 11 3.67 22 3.14 ⬆️
David Njoku 3 7 2.33 10 2.50
Donovan Peoples-Jones
3 4 1.33 4 0.57 ⬆️

Odell Beckham only saw one target in this game before he suffered a knee injury that kept him out for the rest of the game. After undergoing an MRI, it looks as though Beckham will be out for the year. Jarvis Landry would be the immediate beneficiary from Beckham’s absence, as he finished with six targets, five catches, and 48 yards in his contest against Cincinnati. Harrison Bryant, however, was the biggest surprise in Week 6 for Cleveland; Bryant took over the role as the team’s TE1 with Austin Hooper out, and he caught four of his five targets for 56 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite being Cleveland’s No. 1 wide receiver this past week, Landry only put up a measly 9.8 PPR points. His targets may increase slightly without Beckham, but his skill set is just not properly utilized in this offense. You can continue to roster him, but I would not throw him into your starting lineup until you see that he can be heavily involved. However, I would recommend you pick up and stream Harrison Bryant. The rookie tight end has already been a red-zone threat this season, but having increased opportunity depending on the length of Hooper’s absence could make him a viable start in the desolate tight end landscape.

Dallas Cowboys

Amari Cooper 7 21 7.00 72 10.29 ⬇️
CeeDee Lamb 5 26 8.67 54 7.71 ⬇️
Dalton Schultz 4 12 4.00 40 5.71 ⬇️
Ezekiel Elliot 2 15 5.00 46 6.57 ⬇️
Michael Gallup 2 12 4.00 36 5.14 ⬇️
Tony Pollard 1 8 2.67 15 2.14 ⬇️

Look away! Please, just look away! This is, by far, the worst NFC East offensive performance this season, with Dallas putting up 142 total yards on offense and failing to score a touchdown for the first time this season. While there was hope that Andy Dalton could support one or two pass-catchers for fantasy, those have been quickly dashed following his putrid performance in Washington. Amari Cooper was the best of the bunch last Sunday, as he caught all seven of his targets for 80 yards. CeeDee Lamb had the worst outing of his young professional career, as he failed to catch any of his five targets; Michael Gallup also came up empty on his two targets.

Unless Dallas can pull off a trade for Ryan Fitzpatrick, I would be quite worried about starting any Dallas receiver. That being said, you will likely still be inclined to start Cooper and Lamb every week. Dallas should face more fantasy-friendly defenses down the line, so I believe both Cooper and Lamb will be able to put up a decent floor in easier matchups. Still, this is no longer Dak Prescott’s juggernaut offense. Close your eyes and hope the Cowboy pass-catcher you started doesn’t get blanked.

Denver Broncos

Albert Okwuegbunam
7 13 4.33 13 2.17 ⬆️
Noah Fant 7 7 2.33 34 6.80 ⬆️
Tim Patrick 4 12 4.00 33 5.50 ⬇️
Jerry Jeudy 4 9 3.00 37 6.17 ⬇️
Melvin Gordon 4 4 1.33 19 3.80 ⬆️
DaeSean Hamilton 3 4 1.33 13 2.17 ⬆️

Drew Lock finally had all of his weapons (except Courtland Sutton) at his disposal, but that didn’t help the Broncos offense in their first divisional tilt against the reigning Super Bowl champions. The Broncos only scored 16 points last Sunday, with the lone touchdowns coming on rushing attempts from Drew Lock and Melvin Gordon. The tight ends were heavily targeted in this matchup, with Albert Okwuegbunam and Noah Fant seeing seven targets apiece; the rookie out-paced the veteran in this matchup, as Okwuegbunam caught seven passes for 60 yards compared to Fant’s three catches for 38 yards. Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, and Melvin Gordon each saw four targets, but none of them accumulated over 50 receiving yards.

Right now, it’s difficult to trust any Broncos receiver. Jerry Jeudy has the most upside of this group given his threat as a deep-ball receiver, but he has not received nearly enough targets to be worth putting into your starting lineup. Noah Fant started the season on fire, but he may need some time to fully recover from his injury; if he keeps splitting tight end snaps with Obwuegbunam, his upside will be capped as a streamer.

Detroit Lions

Kenny Golladay 7 13 4.33 28 7.00 ⬆️
T.J. Hockenson 6 11 3.67 31 5.17 ⬆️
Marvin Jones 6 11 3.67 30 5.00 ⬆️
D’Andre Swift 5 9 3.00 25 4.17 ⬆️
Danny Amendola 4 6 2.00 27 4.50 ⬆️
Jamal Agnew 1 3 1.00 9 1.50 ⬇️

Multiple Detroit Lion pass-catchers finally had viable fantasy performances in the same week, and all it took was a matchup with one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Kenny Golladay led the way for Detroit, and he caught six of his seven targets for 114 yards, while his counterpart Marvin Jones finally put up a decent fantasy day with five catches for 80 yards. T.J. Hockenson salvaged his fantasy day with a game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game and ended the day with five catches for 59 yards and a score.

Golladay continues to be a must-start even though Detroit’s offense isn’t as fantasy-friendly as many had imagined it to be. He will always have the potential for these 100-yard outings, but it’s his target floor that makes him a solid start every single week. Hockenson, like so many tight ends, belongs in the “streamer” category; he’s not consistent enough to consider him a viable start every week, but given the lack of viable options on the waiver wire, it’s likely that you’ll end up starting him regardless of the matchup. Despite his 13-point performance in Week 7, I am still fine leaving Jones on the bench or waiver wire. He’s a big-play receiver in an offense that (for some reason) continues to stress running the football.

Green Bay Packers

Davante Adams 13 23 7.67 43 10.75 ⬆️
Jamaal Williams 5 6 2.00 19 3.17 ⬆️
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 4 9 3.00 34 5.67 ⬇️
Marcedes Lewis 3 5 1.67 8 1.33 ⬆️
Robert Tonyan 2 6 2.00 20 3.33 ⬇️
Malik Taylor 2 3 1.00 4 0.67 ⬆️

We’ve already seen how this offense functioned without one of their top-two reeceivers, but last week we got a look at a gameplan without Aaron Jones. As it turns out, it should have been obvious: Force the ball to Davante Adams. Adams was virtually uncoverable in this matchup with Houston, catching all 13 of his targets for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Adams accounted for 69 percent of the Packers’ receiving yards, with only two other receivers managing more than 10 receiving yards. Jamaal Williams was the second-leading receiver for Green Bay with 37 yards on four catches, while Robert Tonyan managed 32 yards on just two catches.

Adams’ Week 7 performance was reminiscent of his dominant season opener, where he caught 14 of his 17 targets for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Adams has now scored 40-plus PPR points in two of his four starts this season; he’s clearly a WR1 and could potentially overshadow Michael Thomas’ 2019 fantasy output if he can keep up his dominant pace. With Adams back in the lineup, no other Green Bay wideout is worth a start.

Houston Texans

Randall Cobb 10 20 6.67 38 5.43 ⬆️
Brandin Cooks 9 30 10.00 51 7.29
Will Fuller 6 25 8.33 47 6.71 ⬇️
Duke Johnson 5 8 2.67 11 2.20 ⬆️
David Johnson 4 10 3.33 24 3.43 ⬆️
Kenny Stills 4 5 1.67 17 2.43 ⬆️

After we saw a breakout performance from the Texans offense in Week 6, they came crashing back down to earth in their home matchup versus the Packers. While they did score 20 points and produce several fantasy viable pass-catchers, most (if not all) of their production came in the second half when they were already trailing by three scores. Nonetheless, those points still count the same for your lineup. Randall Cobb was the most-targeted player in his revenge game against his former team, and he caught eight of his ten looks for 95 yards. Meanwhile, Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller each scored double-digit PPR points, with the former catching seven passes for 60 yards while the latter caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown.

It wasn’t pretty, but Will Fuller once again put up another high-floor fantasy day. The stigma of him being a boom-or-bust player has to come to an end, as he’s been as consistent as they come without DeAndre Hopkins siphoning targets on the opposite side of the formation. Cooks has been relatively consistent of late, so he’s FLEX-worthy if you are in need of a spot-start. However, I would not recommend rostering Cobb; this game seems to be an outlier of what has been a disappointing season for the free-agent acquisition.

Jacksonville Jaguars

D.J. Chark 7 25 8.33 41 6.83 ⬇️
James Robinson 6 17 5.67 32 4.57 ⬆️
Laviska Shenault 3 18 6.00 38 5.43 ⬇️
James O’Shaughnessy 3 7 2.33 18 2.57 ⬆️
Keelan Cole 2 17 5.67 39 5.57 ⬇️
Chris Conley 2 6 2.00 26 3.71

This game was all about James Robinson. Yes, there were rumors that Gardner Minshew could be benched if he performed poorly in this matchup. And yes, D.J. Chark has continued to command a large share of targets over the past several weeks. However, those are not the important takeaways from this game. James Robinson has proven to be a legitimate fantasy RB1 and has fully secured the pass-catching role for this backfield. Robinson saw 100 percent of the running back touches, including grabbing four of his six targets for 18 yards and an incredible receiving touchdown. While Chris Thompson being inactive certainly played a factor in Robinson receiving more opportunity, it’s clear that Robinson is the workhorse running back in the rushing and receiving game for Jacksonville.

I should probably talk about some other Jaguars instead of gushing over Robinson. Chark continues to be a focus in the passing game, having seen 21 targets in his past two contests; however, he hasn’t been able to convert his opportunity into points, as he only caught one of his seven targets for 26 yards this past week. Laviska Shenault only saw three targets, but he did manage to catch all of his looks for 44 yards and lead the team in receiving. Shenault is still a worthy FLEX-play, as his utilization continues to increase each week.

Kansas City Chiefs

Tyreek Hill 10 19 6.33 48 6.86 ⬆️
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 4 16 5.33 35 5.00
Travis Kelce 3 22 7.33 55 7.86 ⬇️
Mecole Hardman 2 6 2.00 20 2.86 ⬆️
Nick Keizer 2 4 1.33 6 0.86 ⬆️
Demarcus Robinson 1 11 3.67 22 3.14 ⬇️

Patrick Mahomes only threw one touchdown in a 27-point rout of the division rival Denver Broncos, but the Chiefs just didn’t need him to throw. Kansas City scored two touchdowns on the ground, one on defense, and one on special teams; therefore, the air attack just wasn’t a high priority. Nevertheless, Tyreek Hill managed to catch six balls for 55 yards and a touchdown off of 10 targets. Aside from Hill, no other pass-catcher scored more than eight PPR points. It’s quite odd to see such a fantasy letdown from the Chiefs, but given how complete of a team they are, it’s bound to happen.

You are still starting Hill, Kelce, and Edwards-Helaire every week. One or two of those players might be a let-down next week, especially since the Chiefs are 21-point favorites versus the New York Jets. Still, there’s no justifiable cause to bench any of them unless your roster is stacked to the brim. Both Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson disappointed this week, and they should likely be benched next week since they won’t need to be involved to beat New York.

Las Vegas Raiders

Darren Waller 9 16 5.33 56 9.33 ⬆️
Nelson Agholor 9 11 3.67 20 3.33 ⬆️
Hunter Renfrow 6 7 2.33 29 4.83 ⬆️
Josh Jacobs 4 7 2.33 24 4.00 ⬆️
Henry Ruggs 3 6 2.00 14 3.50 ⬆️
Devontae Booker 2 3 1.00 7 1.17 ⬆️

Nelson Agholor has reinvented himself in Las Vegas. After being known for his drops in Philadelphia, he’s become a reliable deep-threat alongside Henry Ruggs who has been making incredible catches this season. He’s not worth rostering, but I thought I’d mention it given how maligned he has been throughout his career. Darren Waller is the target hog in this offense, and he will continue to be the main option in the passing game. Waller led the team in catches on the day, grabbing six balls for 50 yards and a touchdown. Aside from Agholor and Waller, no other pass-catcher caught more than three passes or accumulated more than 50 receiving yards.

Darren Waller is still the only reliable fantasy pass-catcher for Las Vegas. Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholor are highly risky deep threats, whose value will be derived from big gains on few targets. Hunter Renfrow has only been viable for fantasy in two games this season, but he’s very hit-or-miss from the slot. I would only roster Ruggs, as he’s been the most explosive and dynamic of all of the Las Vegas receivers. Still, he’s only worth starting if you need a hail mary from the FLEX spot.

Los Angeles Chargers

Keenan Allen 13 15 5.00 64 10.67 ⬆️
Hunter Henry 7 15 5.00 41 6.83 ⬆️
Justin Jackson 6 12 4.00 14 4.67 ⬆️
Joshua Kelley 5 6 2.00 14 2.33 ⬆️
Mike Williams 3 11 3.67 25 5.00 ⬆️
Jalen Guyton 3 6 2.00 13 2.17 ⬆️

Keenan Allen continues to impress in his first season without Philip Rivers as his quarterback. Allen is averaging over 10 targets per game in 2020 and is currently a top-10 fantasy wide receiver. Against an abysmal Jaguars passing defense, Allen caught 10 passes for 125 yards off 13 targets. He has been the most consistent and reliable Chargers fantasy asset regardless of the quarterback or game-script. Hunter Henry is runner-up for that honor, as he’s averaged nearly seven targets per game this season; the veteran tight end only caught three of his seven targets in this matchup, totaling just 23 yards.

Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry are must-starts (at their respective positions) each week. With rookie Justin Hebert playing lights out this season, both will continue to be heavily involved and receive a heavy dose of targets. Both Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson were heavily involved in the receiving game, with the running backs combining for 11 targets, 10 catches, and 67 receiving yards. Both running backs are low-end RB3s that are worth a start if you are needy at that position.

Los Angeles Rams

Josh Reynolds 8 17 5.67 29 4.14 ⬆️
Cooper Kupp 6 23 7.67 51 7.29 ⬇️
Robert Woods 5 20 6.67 46 6.57 ⬇️
Gerald Everett 5 13 4.33 18 2.57 ⬆️
Johnny Mundt 3 3 1.00 4 0.57 ⬆️
Darrell Henderson 2 6 2.00 13 1.86 ⬆️

The Rams manhandled the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, so this target total is going to look deflated compared to their normal output. Los Angeles led Chicago for the entirety of the second half and did not attempt a pass in the fourth quarter. This caused their big-name players, like Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, to disappoint those who needed them (and I would be one of those people). Kupp managed to corral six passes for 43 yards, while Woods caught just three of his five targets for 22 yards. The big winner in this game was someone nobody had started; Josh Reynolds led the team in targets and fantasy points, catching four balls for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Despite how frustrated you may be with the Rams offense, you are still starting Woods and Kupp every week. The most disappointing part of this performance was not their output entirely, but it’s that the circumstances for their success were heightened with Tyler Higbee’s absence. Nonetheless, Woods and Kupp should hopefully have a bounce-back game against Miami in Week 8.

New England Patriots

Jakobi Meyers 6 6 2.00 7 1.17 ⬆️
Rex Burkhead 4 4 1.33 21 3.50 ⬆️
Julian Edelman 3 9 3.00 39 6.50 ⬇️
Damiere Byrd 2 6 2.00 28 4.67 ⬇️
N’Keal Harry 2 4 1.33 32 5.33
James White 1 10 3.33 21 5.25 ⬇️

Last week, I said that you couldn’t start any New England Patriot for the foreseeable future. The sentiment rang true this week, as the Patriots offense was absolutely putrid in their home tilt versus San Francisco. Jakobi Meyers led the team in targets — he saw six looks and caught four of them for 60 yards. Julian Edelman continues to be one of the most disappointing fantasy players this season, as he’s averaged three targets per game over his last three contests and just caught one pass for 13 yards in this matchup. Even James White, who exploded for nine targets in Week 6, only managed one pass-catching opportunity in Week 7.

You simply cannot trust any New England Patriot. This offense is struggling mightily and can’t seem to find an identity with Cam Newton. After starting the season red hot behind a power rushing attack, this offense has devolved and forces Newton to make throws of which he is not capable. You can keep Edelman or White on your bench if you want for depth purposes, but you will never feel comfortable inserting them into your lineup.

New Orleans Saints

Marquez Callaway 10 16 5.33 17 2.83 ⬆️
Alvin Kamara 8 18 6.00 53 8.83 ⬆️
Deonte Harris 5 5 1.67 16 2.67 ⬆️
Tre’Quan Smith 4 7 2.33 25 4.17 ⬆️
Jared Cook 4 7 2.33 22 4.40 ⬆️
Latavius Murray 1 3 1.00 9 1.50 ⬆️

Without Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in the starting lineup, the Saints were forced to start Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, and Marquez Callaway at wide receiver. Still, it doesn’t appear as though that affected the New Orleans offense, as all three wideouts put up decent fantasy performances. Callaway led the team in targets, seeing 10 looks and catching eight balls for 75 yards. Tre’Quan Smith caught four passes for 54 yards, while Deonte Harris managed four catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. Despite not having their top two wideouts, the ancillary pieces rebounded nicely in a division win over the Carolina Panthers.

I failed to mention Alvin Kamara’s stat line, but do I really have to at this point? If you aren’t starting the fantasy RB1 at this point in the season, you must really not want to win. Of the three wideouts mentioned above, I feel Callaway is your best bet at a decent floor. He was heavily targeted and made some nice plays after the catch. Smith and Harris are worth a bench add in deeper leagues, but you shouldn’t feel confident starting them by any means.

New York Giants

Evan Engram 9 14 4.67 44 7.33 ⬆️
Sterling Shepard 8 8 2.67 18 6.00 ⬆️
Wayne Gallman 5 7 2.33 11 1.57 ⬆️
Darius Slayton 4 19 6.33 48 6.86
Golden Tate 2 8 2.67 26 4.33 ⬆️
Devonta Freeman 1 6 2.00 10 2.00 ⬇️

Evan Engram not only failed to seal the game for the Giants by dropping a game-winning first-down catch, but he also disappointed (again) despite his numerous opportunities. The much-maligned tight end saw nine targets but only caught six passes for 46 yards. While that stat line is decent for most streaming tight ends, Engram was expected to be better. Without Saquon Barkley out for the year, Engram should have been heavily relied upon by his sophomore quarterback and capitalized on his incredible athleticism to force mismatches in coverage. Instead, he’s been mediocre at best and one of the most disappointing fantasy tight ends in 2020.

Sterling Shepard made a return to the lineup in Week 7, and he caught six passes for 59 yards and a touchdown; it was great to see such heavy involvement from the veteran, but he’s still not worth a roster spot due to the number of weapons with which he has to contend. Fantasy managers would’ve loved Darius Slayton to even put up half of Shepard’s production, but the boom-or-bust sophomore receiver was a huge letdown in a plus matchup. He managed just two catches for 23 yards. You would have to be desperate to start any Giants pass-catchers next week versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New York Jets

Braxton Berrios 7 11 3.67 26 3.71 ⬆️
Denzel Mims 7 7 2.33 7 1.00 ⬆️
La’Mical Perine 3 6 2.00 8 1.14
Breshad Perriman 2 10 3.33 17 4.25 ⬇️
Jeff Smith 1 16 5.33 25 6.25 ⬇️
Chris Herndon 1 4 1.33 23 3.29 ⬆️

For a whole 30 minutes of football, the Jets offense actually looked competent. Without Jamison Crowder, Sam Darnold was able to move the ball on the Buffalo defense relatively well in the first half, and New York scored 10 points while heavily targeting Braxton Berrios and Denzel Mims. Unfortunately, the Jets offense came back down to Earth in the second half where they netted just four total yards. Nonetheless, there was one bright spot for New York that I can actually talk about without sarcasm.

Rookie Denzel Mims made his first start of the season, catching four of his seven targets for 42 yards. That’s not an amazing stat-line by any means, but it was a nice sign to see the rookie get involved early and often. He’s worth a bench spot in deeper leagues, as he’ll likely maintain the starting outside receiver role for the rest of the season. With a matchup on the road versus the reigning Super Bowl champions on the horizon, however, you shouldn’t even consider putting a New York Jet in your lineup.

Philadelphia Eagles

Travis Fulgham 11 34 11.33 37 5.29 ⬆️
Richard Rodgers 8 12 4.00 18 2.57 ⬆️
Greg Ward 6 14 4.67 40 5.71 ⬆️
Boston Scott 5 9 3.00 15 2.14 ⬆️
DeSean Jackson 5 5 1.67 25 6.25 ⬆️
John Hightower 2 12 4.00 21 3.00 ⬇️

That’s it. I have seen enough. Travis Fulgham is a legitimate NFL player and fantasy asset so long as the Eagles wide receiver corps remains at less than full strength. Fulgham had his third straight game with double-digit targets — he got 11, and he caught five of them for 73 yards. Even though he only scored 12.3 PPR points, he was clearly Wentz’s favorite target and was getting open constantly. He’s a great FLEX play for the foreseeable future and has top-12 upside next week versus the worst defense in the NFL.

DeSean Jackson finally returned to his first live action since Week 3, and he started the game hot. He was heavily targeted on the first drive, but he ultimately became less involved as the game went on; Jackson finished with five targets, three catches for 34 yards, and one rush for 12 yards. With Jackson out for the rest of the season and rookie Jalen Reagor coming in to take his place, the Eagles will continue to be a turnstile for fantasy pass-catchers that you can’t really trust (outside of the newly crowned Travis Fulgham).

Pittsburgh Steelers

Diontae Johnson 15 16 5.33 41 8.20 ⬆️
JuJu Smith-Schuster 14 23 7.67 42 7.00 ⬆️
Eric Ebron 8 18 6.00 32 5.33 ⬆️
James Conner 5 9 3.00 20 3.33 ⬆️
Ray-Ray McCloud 2 6 2.00 6 1.00 ⬆️
Vance McDonald 2 3 1.00 9 1.50 ⬆️

Just when everybody started to buy into the hype on Chase Claypool and give up on JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled out an Uno Reverse Card and completely flipped the fantasy script. Chase Claypool only saw one target last Sunday, which he caught for a loss of two yards. James Washington suffered a similar fate, failing to catch his lone target. Meanwhile, Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson combined for 29 targets in Week 7. Johnson once again proved to be Pittsburgh’s target leader, catching nine of his fifteen looks for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Smith-Schuster caught the same number of balls for five more yards, but he failed to score. Eric Ebron, oddly enough, became the third-most targeted pass-catcher on the day, seeing eight looks and catching six balls for 50 yards.

Diontae Johnson, when healthy, is the safest wide receiver on the Steelers; he’s consistently been Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite target and has an extraordinary knack to get into the end zone. So long as Johnson and Smith-Schuster are healthy, Claypool and Washington will be vying for limited targets and struggle to stay relevant. I still love Claypool in dynasty league formats, but it will be difficult to trust the rookie wideout unless Johnson or Smith-Schuster miss time.

San Francisco 49ers

George Kittle 7 25 8.33 45 9.00 ⬇️
Brandon Aiyuk 7 16 5.33 32 5.33 ⬆️
Deebo Samuel 5 19 6.33 22 5.50 ⬇️
Kyle Juszczyk 2 5 1.67 13 1.86
Jeff Wilson 2 3 1.00 7 1.00 ⬆️
Kendrick Bourne 1 8 2.67 30 4.29 ⬇️

These 49ers skill position players are so dynamic with the ball in their hands. George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel are continually used across the formation and are given opportunities to create in open space. Brandon Aiyuk was the leading receiver on the day, and he caught six of his seven targets for 115 yards, while his sophomore counterpart Deebo Samuel caught five passes for 65 yards. George Kittle didn’t explode as he had in weeks’ past, but he still managed to catch five passes for 55 yards. Aside from the Big-3 in San Francisco, no other pass-catcher was startable in this game (on either side).

With Deebo Samuel expected to miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury, Brandon Aiyuk is a high-upside WR2 for his upcoming shootouts against the Seahawks and the Packers. He’s already shown he has a similar skill-set to Deebo Samuel, and I can imagine Kyle Shanahan is going to need to heavily incorporate Aiyuk given the lack of viable pass-catchers behind him on the depth chart. Start him with confidence going forward. George Kittle is obviously an auto-start every week, but I would not be shocked for him to see an even greater uptick without Samuel in the lineup.

Seattle Seahawks

Tyler Lockett 20 25 8.33 58 9.67 ⬆️
D.K. Metcalf 5 16 5.33 44 7.33 ⬆️
Will Dissly 4 5 1.67 12 2.00 ⬆️
Carlos Hyde 4 4 1.33 7 1.75 ⬆️
David Moore 3 6 2.00 17 2.83 ⬆️
Greg Olsen 3 4 1.33 22 3.67 ⬆️

Tyler Lockett flipped a switch in Week 7 and single-handedly won his fantasy managers their Week 7 matchups. Lockett saw a season-high (for any player) 20 targets against Arizona, which he leveraged into 15 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Lockett was always a great WR2 asset, but he had been playing second-fiddle to D.K. Metcalf for most of the season. Now, he finally broke out for a huge game as Arizona focused their efforts on limiting Metcalf instead of Lockett. 

Speaking of Metcalf, his best highlight came from running down an interception as opposed to making any offensive plays. Patrick Peterson did an outstanding job covering the sophomore receiver, limiting him to two catches for 23 yards on five targets despite having to guard him for five full quarters. Metcalf is still an auto-start every week, but he’s finally proven that he can’t be superhuman every single week. Nonetheless, if you have either Lockett or Metcalf in your lineup going forward, you should be ecstatic. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin 9 16 5.33 29 7.25 ⬆️
Scotty Miller 9 11 3.67 32 4.57 ⬆️
Rob Gronkowski 8 22 7.33 36 5.14
Leonard Fournette 7 7 2.33 15 3.00 ⬆️
Mike Evans 2 13 4.33 39 5.57
Ronald Jones 2 9 3.00 27 3.86

All week on Twitter, I have heard about the demise of Mike Evans’ fantasy value. After two consecutive outputs of single-digit PPR points, fantasy managers are ready to ship off Evans for the likes of Travis Fulgham or Cole Beasley. However, to anyone that’s been paying attention to these articles, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Mike Evans’ value was never propelled by targets or heavy receiving volume; he has always been touchdown-dependent. He has typically been a good bet to grab a touchdown, as he’s been a main focus inside the ten-yard line. However, with the re-emergence of Rob Gronkowski and the success of the running game, Evans is losing his most valuable fantasy quality.

Now with Antonio Brown coming to town, this entire wide receiving corps has a murky outlook. Chris Godwin will probably be the most reliable fantasy asset week-to-week by virtue of his position, but it’s going to be hard to trust any Tampa Bay pass-catcher. Evans and Gronkowski are heavily touchdown-dependent, Miller will likely lose significant snaps once Brown arrives in Week 9, and the running backs will continue to rotate every other game. It’s too late to sell any Tampa Bay wideout at this point, so you are better off holding them and hoping they find relevance.

Tennessee Titans

Corey Davis 10 10 3.33 29 7.25 ⬆️
A.J. Brown 8 24 8.00 32 8.00 ⬆️
Jonnu Smith 4 13 4.33 33 5.50 ⬆️
Adam Humphries 3 9 3.00 29 5.80 ⬇️
Anthony Firkser 2 16 5.33 22 3.67 ⬇️
Derrick Henry 2 9 3.00 17 2.83 ⬇️

In a difficult matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, A.J. Brown proved to be a fantasy WR1 regardless of the matchup. Yes, most of his production came on a 73-yard touchdown in which Brown out-ran the entire defense; however, the fact that Brown was able to be so productive despite being the only viable pass-catching weapon on this offense is a testament to his talent. When I say Brown was the only viable Titan receiver, I don’t mean to dismiss Jonnu Smith. However, the upstart tight end was a complete non-factor in Week 7. Smith caught just one of his four targets for nine yards. This was Smith’s second straight game with one or fewer catches.

Despite a poor stretch from Smith, he’s still an auto-start at the tight end position. Smith is arguably a top-five fantasy tight end and will likely improve as he gets healthier. A.J. Brown is also an auto-start every week, as he’s been phenomenal since returning from his early-season injury. Aside from those two players, you are taking a risk on the inconsistent Corey Davis and Adam Humphries, who I don’t want sniffing my starting lineup.

Washington Football Team

Terry McLaurin 11 30 10.00 69 9.86 ⬇️
Logan Thomas 4 12 4.00 40 5.71
J.D. McKissic 2 16 5.33 33 4.71 ⬇️
Antonio Gibson 1 11 3.67 23 3.29 ⬇️
Cam Sims 1 2 0.67 4 0.57
Jeremy Sprinkle 1 2 0.67 2 0.29 ⬆️

If you play the Dallas defense, you are bound to have a great offensive performance. The Washington Football team scored 22 points in the first half and was able to do whatever they wanted against a putrid Cowboys back-end. Despite this game being mostly dominated on the ground, Terry McLaurin was able to see 11 targets and grab seven balls for 90 yards and a touchdown. Logan Thomas was also able to grab a score off of four catches for 60 yards, finishing as a top-12 tight end in Week 7.

The Football Team didn’t need to throw to beat the Dallas Cowboys, but you shouldn’t have really expected anyone other than McLaurin to dominate. The Washington staff has proven that they want to split the backfield receiving between J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson, so the rookie running back will have to make his due on the ground for the foreseeable future. Thomas may have scored for the second consecutive week, but he only has 12 targets over the past three weeks. He’s just not involved enough to be considered a streamer, so I would be okay sending him to the waiver wire in favor of a higher upside option.

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Dan Ambrosino is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive and follow him @AmbrosinoNFL.

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