Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 7

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Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Early Fantasy Lineup Advice for Matchups of Week 7
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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Injuries, uncertainty and bye weeks will continue to be fantasy storylines in Week 7. The Cleveland Browns, for example, will be without running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on Thursday night. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is also out, while Denver Broncos signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater is on the injury report for Thursday Night football.

    Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers will all be on bye.

    This will inevitably lead to some tough lineup decisions and a lot of secondary options in starting slots. Here, we’ll dive into some of the best and worst plays of Week 7 that don’t involve must-start players—like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Derrick Henry. We’ll be looking specifically at players rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues, according to FantasyPros.

    These picks are based on factors like projected role, past production and matchup. All picks are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring. 

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Start ‘Em

    Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans

    Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

    Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Atlanta Falcons

    Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers

    Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

    Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

    Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

    Sit’ Em

    Taylor Heinicke, QB, Washington football Team

    Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers

    Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears

    Alex Collins, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

    Corey Davis, WR, New York Jets

    Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been anything but a reliable fantasy option in 2021. After throwing 33 touchdowns with just seven interceptions last year, Tannehill is on pace for just 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.

    Three of Tannehill’s touchdowns came in one game, and he’s had two outings without a scoring strike.

    However, this could be the week that Tannehill finally turns it around. He has a healthy A.J. Brown at receiver, and while Julio Jones suffered a hamstring injury in Week 6, there’s a chance he’ll play in Week 7.

    “We’re just going to take it day by day,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said, per Ben Arthur of the Tennessean.

    Most importantly, Tannehill is going up against a poor Kansas City Chiefs defense in what is likely to be a shootout. Only the Washington football Team has surrendered more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than Kansas City.

    Several good quarterbacks are on bye this week. Tannehill is a solid start in a pinch.

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    With starting back David Montgomery on injured reserve, the Chicago Bears have turned to the combo of Damien Williams and rookie sixth-round pick Khalil Herbert.

    Williams got the start in Week 5, but he was inactive and on the reserve/covid-19 list last week. Herbert got the start in Week 6 and shined. He finished with 97 rushing yards, two receptions, 15 receiving yards and a touchdown. 

    However, managers shouldn’t be eager to start Herbert based on one game. Williams may return in Week 7, and the Bears have a brutal ground-game matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Tampa has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Tampa also ranks first in rushing yards allowed and second in yards per attempt allowed. There’s a little PPR upside here, but not enough to start Herbert—especially if Williams is activated.

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Atlanta Falcons runner/receiver Cordarrelle Patterson isn’t a fantasy must-start just yet, but he’s getting close. Now labeled a running back in most fantasy leagues, the longtime return star has emerged as a key cog in Atlanta’s offense.

    “[Coach Arthur] Smith has found a unique role for Patterson that has him thriving,” Scott Bair of the team’s official website wrote. “Let’s be honest here. Cordarrelle has been awesome.”

    Patterson has been awesome in fantasy because of his stellar floor. He’s seen at least six carries and five receptions in each of his last four games. He’s a better option in PPR leagues than in standard, but either way, Patterson is going to see opportunities. Those opportunities can lead to huge fantasy outings.

    In Week 4, Patterson hauled in three touchdown receptions. In Week 5, he had 54 rushing yards, 60 receiving yards and seven catches. Coming out of the bye, Patterson has the potential for another huge day.

    Patterson and the Falcons face the Miami Dolphins, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Usually, a No. 1 receiver—even those on bad teams—is worth a start in fantasy. However, that’s not the case with New York Jets wideout Corey Davis this week.

    Davis leads the Jets in receptions (20) receiving yards (302) and receiving touchdowns (3). However, he faces a tough matchup against a New England Team that will be prepared to shut him down.

    The problem with being a No. 1 receiver against the Patriots is that New England coach Bill Belichick generally does his best to take away top weapons. Elite receivers can overcome, of course, and New England has allowed the 17th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers.

    However, Davis is not quite on the level of CeeDee Lamb or Mike Evans.

    When Davis last faced the Patriots—in Week 2—he caught just two passes for eight yards. That marked one of three games in which Davis has had fewer than 50 receiving yards.

    Davis should at least reach double-digit yards in this one, but against a Patriots defense prepared to slow him down, there isn’t a ton of upside here. Even managers light on available receivers should consider other options.

    *Fantasy points against from FantasyPros.

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