Arguably, the most frustrating thing in fantasy football is seeing someone in your starting lineup struggle that week. Therefore, the logic behind this article is simple – identify fantasy football lineup landmines.
These are players you’re leaning towards starting this week but could end up being a landmine that blows up and destroys your starting lineup, potentially costing you your matchup.
Brace yourself and take cover. These six players could blow up in your face this week.
Fantasy Football Lineup Landmines: Week 7
Kirk Cousins has played well this season. He is the QB8, averaging 18.1 fantasy points per game. However, the veteran has struggled over the past few weeks. Cousins averaged three passing touchdowns and 23.6 fantasy points per game over the first three weeks this year. Unfortunately, those numbers have dropped to 1.7 passing touchdowns and 12.7 fantasy points per game the past three weeks, scoring under 10 fantasy points twice. Furthermore, Cousins had only 181 passing yards, one touchdown and 8.7 fantasy points in his first game without Justin Jefferson, despite an appealing matchup against the Chicago Bears.
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off their first loss of the year and will be determined to get back on track with a statement win this week. The 49ers have held quarterbacks to only 9.9 fantasy points per game, the third-fewest in the NFL. Quarterbacks have thrown one or fewer touchdowns in all but one game against San Francisco this season. Cousins has struggled in prime-time games in his career. He faces the 49ers on Monday night without his top weapon. The veteran won’t be a top-15 quarterback in Week 7.
Indianapolis might have the best one-two punch at running back in the NFL this season. Zack Moss is the RB6, averaging 19.3 half-point PPR fantasy points per game despite missing Week 1. Meanwhile, Jonathan Taylor has only played two games this year but has been a superstar his entire career when healthy. However, the Colts offense struggled last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. They averaged only 2.6 rushing yards per attempt in the loss, despite the Jaguars surrendering 3.9 yards per rushing attempt over the first four weeks.
Unfortunately, this week’s matchup couldn’t be worse for Moss and Taylor. While the Cleveland Browns have struggled offensively this year, their defense has been outstanding. The Browns have held running backs to only 14 fantasy points per game, the sixth-fewest in the NFL. Last week, they held Christian McCaffrey to 3.9 yards per rushing attempt and 12.7 fantasy points. While he left the game early with an injury, McCaffrey averaged only 0.39 fantasy points per rushing attempt. By comparison, the superstar averaged 0.94 fantasy points per rushing attempt before the matchup against Cleveland. It’s going to be a long day for the Colts’ backfield.
Fantasy managers had high hopes for Rachaad White this season. The second-year player had 73 rushing yards, a touchdown and 18.8 half-point PPR fantasy points in Week 2. However, he has only 120 rushing yards, 20.3 fantasy points and zero touchdowns since that performance. Unfortunately, White hasn’t played a meaningful role in the passing game. The former Arizona State star has averaged 19.6 receiving yards per game this season, totaling 30 or fewer yards in every contest. He struggled against a talented run defense last week and will again in Week 7.
The Atlanta Falcons had a below-average run defense last year. However, they have been much better in 2023. The Falcons have held running backs to 83.2 rushing yards and 13 fantasy points per game this season, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. Furthermore, they have been outstanding over the past three weeks, holding running backs to only 66 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per rushing attempt. Last week, Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson Jr. both lucked out with a receiving touchdown against the Falcons. White won’t be anywhere near as lucky against the division rivals.
The former USC star was outstanding in Week 1, totaling eight receptions on 11 targets of 97 receiving yards, a touchdown, and a season-high 19.7 half-point PPR fantasy points. While his target volume has mostly remained the same, Michael Pittman Jr.’s fantasy production has decreased. From Week 2 through Week 5, the veteran averaged only 8.4 fantasy points per game, scoring fewer than 9.7 in all but one contest. He had a bounce-back performance last week, totaling nine receptions for 109 receiving yards and 15.4 fantasy points.
However, Pittman has a tough schedule over the next few weeks, starting on Sunday. He faces off against Denzel Ward and the Cleveland Browns’ shutdown defense in Week 7. The Browns have surrendered only 14.3 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, the fewest in the NFL. They have held wide receivers to under 95 receiving yards in over half their matchups this season, including against teams with superstar quarterbacks like Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson. Furthermore, Cleveland hasn’t given up more than nine receptions to the position all year. After seeing Gardner Minshew struggle against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts’ passing attack will be a disaster against the Browns.
Many were surprised to see Mike Evans start the year on fire. The star receiver averaged 5.7 receptions on 9.3 targets for 99 receiving yards, one touchdown and 18.7 half-point PPR fantasy points per game over the first three weeks. He was the WR5 during that span, behind Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen, Jefferson and Davante Adams. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been the same since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 4. Evans had a team-high 10 targets last week against the Detroit Lions but only scored 6.9 fantasy points despite the fantasy-friendly matchup.
Meanwhile, the veteran will face A.J. Terrell and the Atlanta Falcons defense in Week 7. The Falcons have held wide receivers to only 22.4 fantasy points per game this season, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. Furthermore, they have surrendered only two receiving touchdowns to the position over the past month. According to Fantasy Points Data, Atlanta has given up the sixth-lowest catchable target rate this season. According to PFF, Terrell has allowed only 58.6% of the targets thrown his way to be completed this year. Evans is in for a long day against the star cornerback.
George Pickens has played well with Diontae Johnson out of the lineup. Over the past four games, the second-year receiver has averaged 14.5 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. However, he has been inconsistent in those four contests, scoring 20 or more twice but under 9.6 fantasy points in the other two matchups. Furthermore, Pickens needed a massive target share to put up fantasy points. He had 10 targets in his two games with 20 or more fantasy points this season. By comparison, Pickens has averaged only 5.1 targets and 8.1 fantasy points per game with Johnson playing in his career.
Unfortunately for the second-year receiver, the veteran will return this week after missing four games with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams have shut down opposing wide receivers this year despite trading away Jalen Ramsey in the offseason. The Rams have held wide receivers to only 21.4 fantasy points per game, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. They have surrendered only one receiving touchdown to wide receivers this season (back in Week 1), the fewest in the league. If Pickens doesn’t see 10 targets again this week, the former Bulldog will disappoint fantasy players.