We were pleased with last week’s article outside of Matthew Stafford, James Cook, and Logan Thomas. Unfortunately, this week might be much trickier! We have a handful of teams on bye, and looking through the injury reports is terrifying. We’re not even sure who will suit up at this point, but we’ll try our best to navigate those waters. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the flex smash starts we love for this week!
The premise behind this article is simple. Identifying fantasy football smash plays that are on the fringe of your starting lineup. We will rarely recommend a Top 20 player at any position, but we want to help you fill those critical flex spots!
- Waiver Wire Picks
- Weekly Fantasy Football Expert Rankings
- Fantasy Football Start/Sit Advice
- Fantasy Football Trade Tools
Smash Starts for Week 7
Brock Purdy (SF) at MIN
Purdy looked “purdy” bad last week, but that’s an outlier on an otherwise clean radar. The San Fran slinger scored at least 17 fantasy points in 11 straight regular season games before that rare dud. Getting 17 fantasy points from any quarterback will helpful on such a shorthanded week, and that should be easy for Purdy to reach against the Vikings. Minnesota ranks 22nd in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks while sitting 21st in total defense. There’s also a chance Christian McCaffrey could sit, which would put even more on Purdy’s shoulders.
Aaron Jones (GB) at DEN
Fantasy managers will be nervous about starting Jones after missing most of the last four weeks, but the bye week was an excellent opportunity to get AJ healthy. This guy dropped 26 fantasy points in Week 1 as the workhorse back for the Packers and has been a Top 5 running back in the past. He’s averaging 14 fantasy points per game over the last two years, and that should be his floor in this matchup. Denver’s disastrous defense is allowing historic numbers on the ground, surrendering the most yards and fantasy points to opposing rushers this year. With all that said, if Jones is unable to go, don’t be afraid to ride AJ Dillon in the same matchup!
Brian Robinson (WAS) at NYG
Robinson is the head of this committee, and it’s hard to understand why he doesn’t get all the work. He’s scored at least 12 fantasy points in four of six games this season and regularly plays 60% of the team’s snaps. B-Rob is also getting double-digit carries and all the goal-line work, making him an excellent flex option against the Giants. New York allows 5.1 yards per carry and the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. That means all we need is 10-15 carries for Robinson to be an immense value, and that seems like a lock with the game script and role to which we’ve become accustomed.
Zach Evans (LAR) vs. PIT
This is risky, but it seems like Evans is the only guy left. Ronnie Rivers and Kyren Williams were both injured in the Week 6 win, leaving Allen as the only running back on the roster. They did decide to call up Royce Freeman and Myles Gaskin from the practice squad, but all indications point to Evans being the guy. That’s huge since this team never pulls Williams off the field, and we can’t overlook that sort of snap share if Evans steps into the role. It’s not like the Steelers are a scary matchup, surrendering 4.8 yards per carry while allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing rushers.
Terry McLaurin (WAS) at NYG
I’ve always been a massive fan of Scary Terry, and Sam Howell is finally hopping on the hype train. Since a disappointing opener, McLaurin is averaging 5.8 catches on 7.6 targets for 62 receiving yards per game. That doesn’t necessarily jump off the page, but getting double-digit targets in two of the last three outings does. That’s the stud we know and love, and it’s just a matter of time before a blow-up game happens. And the odds are much higher with a matchup against New York, currently ranked 28th in points allowed and 27th in yardage surrendered. Not to mention, McLaurin has averaged over 15 fantasy points per game against the Giants throughout his career!
Marquise Brown (ARI) at SEA
The Cardinals have a bad team, but Brown has been a bright spot. He had a rough showing in Week 6, but it’s hard to be discouraged by 11 targets. He’s got double-digit targets in four of the last five games, scoring at least 13 fantasy points in all five outings. That’s incredible from one of the guys you took at the backend of your drafts, and he should have another large target share against Seattle. The Seahawks are surrendering the fifth-most passing yards and second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts this season.
Zay Flowers (BAL) vs. DET
I rarely get excited about rookies, but Flowers looks like the real deal. Baltimore certainly believes that, rewarding him with a 28% team target share. Only the best receivers in the NFL are above 25% and it’s incredible that he’s getting this much usage in his first two months in the NFL. He’s also playing nearly every snap, scoring a career-high 14 fantasy points in Week 6. Games like that will happen frequently in this type of role, and Baltimore will have to throw with how dominant Detroit’s run defense has been.
Zach Ertz (ARI) at SEA
I hate writing up tight ends as potential fill-ins because there’s only a handful of good options in the NFL, and they’re already must-starts. With that said, Ertz has re-established his role as a target hound in this Arizona offense. Ertz is fifth among all tight ends in team target share and air yards. Those are encouraging marks, with Ertz recording at least six catches in three of six games this year. That’s a great floor in a PPR league, and it should continue against Seattle’s subpar secondary mentioned in Marquise Brown’s write-up.
Cleveland Browns D/ST (at IND)
It’s hard to understand why the Browns D/ST is sitting on so many waiver wires. This defense has been dominant, ranking fifth in points allowed this season. Their stout defensive line is a significant reason for their success, and they should have their way against a team missing their starting quarterback. Indy is 24th in points scored, with Gardner Minshew picking up three sacks and three interceptions last week. That’s why Cleveland enters this matchup as a 3.5-point favorite in a game with a 39-point total!