Welcome to Week 7 folks, where weather season is officially upon us.
That’s right, for the first time this season we have snow on the forecast for a NFL game. As the Kansas City Chiefs travel to take on the Denver Broncos, it will be cold. The Weather Channel current predicts Denver to be just over 20 degrees on Sunday with a 50 percent chance of snow and winds up around 10-15 mph. It’s the worst conditions we will have seen so far this year, keeping in mind it’s still only October.
So as weather starts getting worse and worse, how does it actually affect fantasy players? To start, the passing game is impacted the most in the cold, whereas rushers see the most decline in production in the pouring rain. But precipitation really doesn't make a huge difference, as wind is the element that has the strongest affect on players. Once wind gusts start reaching or exceeding 25 mph, it’s time to worry about your quarterbacks and receivers. Combining 15+ mph winds with temperatures under 35 degrees is where concern becomes a real factor.
No matter the weather, your elite players should be in the lineup. So looking at the Denver game this weekend, have no doubts about Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, etc. in your lineups. But when Mother Nature gets really bad, maybe reconsider your borderline starters for another option.
So that’s all for this week’s weather report, back to your usually scheduled Thursday fantasy preview.
- On Bye: Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings
- Covid-19 Watch: None *crosses fingers*
Ryan Tannehill vs Pittsburgh
Don’t let the daunting Pittsburgh Steelers defense scare you away from Tannehill this weekend, who has tossed seven touchdowns in his last two games. While Pittsburgh has been known for pressuring quarterbacks this season, Tannehill owns a 7:0 touchdown to interception ratio and has the No. 1 passer rating (110.5) under pressure. The Steelers defense has given up over 20 fantasy points to quarterback such as Daniel Jones, Jeff Driskel and Carson Wentz, so fire up Tannehill in this one.
Matthew Stafford at Atlanta
Stafford had a disappointing game last week, but will look to get back on track against the defense surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (29.1 PPG). Atlanta has also given up over 20 fantasy points to every quarterback they’ve played on the season. Stafford has thrown the ball at least 31 times in every game this season and should exceed that number again this week.
More Starts: Tom Brady at Las Vegas, Gardner Minshew at Los Angeles Chargers
Jared Goff vs Chicago
The Rams offense has been much better this season but a tough matchup against Chicago looms for Week 7. The Bears have held opposing quarterbacks to the fewest touchdown passes (4) and fantasy points (11.7 PPG) on the season. Only one quarterback has put up 16 fantasy points against them this season (Stafford), so keep Goff sidelined this weekend.
Jimmy Garoppolo at New England
Jimmy G has been all over the board lately, but we don't see a “revenge” game on tap for Week 7. Removing Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes from the conversation, New England has allowed just 8.1 fantasy points per game to opposing signal callers. Even including the two superstars, the Patriots are allowing just 15.6 fantasy points per game. It’s not a favorable matchup for Garoppolo this week.
More Sits: Baker Mayfield at Cincinnati, Derek Carr vs Tampa Bay
Sleeper: Kyle Allen vs Dallas
If you are desperate for a quarterback this weekend, Kyle Allen should be available in your league. He’ll get a matchup this week against the abysmal Dallas defense ranked in the bottom-12 in terms of fantasy points allowed against every single fantasy position. With Allen under center, Washington has seen an uptick in their play action usage. According to PFF, the Cowboys have allowed the fourth-highest play-action rate this season (34.1%) and surrendered the third-highest passer rating against those types of throws (144.1). Allen is a solid streamer this week in a plus-matchup.
Boston Scott vs New York Giants
With Miles Sanders out this week, Boston Scott will get first crack at leading the Eagles backfield after playing 80 percent of the snaps in the second half of last weeks game. Room on the ground could be hard to find against a stout Giants front, but Scott should be able to open things up through the air; the giants defense giving up the sixth-most receiving yards to backs this year. Scott will look to repeat his performances against the G-Men last year where he averaged 19.5 touches, two touchdowns, and 133 yards from scrimmage in two games.
David Johnson vs Green Bay
Johnson has been average this fantasy season, but he has been steady. The 28-year old has scored at least 12.3 points in four of six games and is averaging 19.5 touches per game since Houston’s coaching change. A big game seems to be coming and there’s no better time than this week against Green Bay. The Packers defense has allowed the most fantasy points to enemy rushers while allowing four of their first five opposing backs to score 19-plus fantasy points.
More Starts: Ronald Jones at Las Vegas, Devin Singletary vs New York Jets
James Robinson at Los Angeles Chargers
After taking the fantasy world by storm, Robinson has struggled on the ground the past two weeks against poor run defenses. This trend should continue this week as Los Angeles has allowed the sixth-fewest rushing yards (538) this year. He’ll need to continue to save face with work in the receiving game.
Damien Harris vs San Francisco
We mentioned last week that Harris needed to force himself into fantasy lineups with his performance, but that was not the case. After a 100-yard rushing day against Kansas City, he played just 11 snaps and saw seven touches against Denver. Now, he’ll get the 49ers defense that, despite being banged up, is allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. We need to see consistent games from Harris before placing him in lineups, so sit him down this week.
More Sits: Le’Veon Bell at Denver, Devonta Freeman at Philadelphia
Sleeper: Chargers Running Backs vs Jacksonville
With Austin Ekeler out, the Chargers have committed to a two-back approach. Coming off a bye, Los Angeles gets a Jacksonville defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs over the past four weeks. Both Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley should see their fair share of work, but Jackson out-snapped Kelley (59.2% to 26.7%) in Week 5. Even if Jackson is the lead back and sees work through the air, Kelley will be involved as an early-down runner and hopefully gets the goal-line work. Last week, Jacksonville gave up a combined 40.1 points to the duo of D’Andre Swift (27.3 points) and Adrian Peterson (12.8), so both backs are viable options in this matchup.
Terry McLaurin vs Dallas
As we mentioned with Kyle Allen, Dallas has struggled against play-action this season as Washington has increased their usage of late. McLaurin has seen the most targets out of play action this year (17), so the big plays should be there. Dallas has been awful against receivers this year, as seven receivers have scored at least 13.8 fantasy points against them.
Jamison Crowder vs Buffalo
Crowder has been a target machine since returning from injury, averaging 11 targets per game in his last three contests. He’s gone over 100-yards in three of his four games this season and now welcomes a Buffalo defense allowing the third-most completions to slot wide receivers this season. Look for Crowder to stay hot in Week 7.
More Starts: Tyler Boyd vs Cleveland, Henry Ruggs III vs Tampa Bay
Deebo Samuel at New England
Samuel had his best game of the season last week, hauling in six passes for 66 yards and a score. Don’t expect a repeat effort however against this tough Patriots secondary. New England hasn’t allowed a single receiver to reach 12 fantasy points this season. He’ll likely see Stephon Gilmore in this one to make matters even worse. Leave him on your bench.
Emmanuel Sanders vs Carolina
Sanders finally broke out before the Saints Week 6 bye, but now has to deal with Michael Thomas being back in action. His targets will decrease as he falls back into his slot role he played in Week 1. Carolina has given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to receivers and just over four catches per game to slot receivers on the year.
More Sits: Robert Woods vs Chicago, Michael Gallup at Washington
Sleeper: Christian Kirk at Seattle
After a slow start, Kirk has now put up consecutive stat-lines of 5-78 and 2-86-2 while scoring double digit fantasy points in three straight games. He took advantage of the putrid Jet and Cowboy defenses in his last two games and will look to do the same against the Seahawks defense this week. Kirk has run 84 percent of his routes outside, where Seattle is surrendering a league-high 165 yards and the most fantasy points to receivers. Kirk is a strong flex option this week.
Austin Hooper at Cincinnati
Hooper has seen steady production as of late, hauling in five catches per game the last three weeks. Over those three games, he is sixth in points among tight ends while trailing only George Kittle and Travis Kelce in targets. This week he has a strong matchup against a Cincinnati defense that has given up the third-most yards and sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this year.
T.J. Hockenson at Atlanta
Hockenson has a chance for a monster game against Atlanta. He has been held under 20 yards the last two weeks, but saved the day with a touchdown in both. Now, he’ll get an Atlanta defense that hasn't faced a single top 20 tight end on the year, but has allowed a league-high seven touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to the position on the year. In five games, the Falcons have allowed three tight ends to score more than 21 points. Get Hockenson in your lineups for this potential shootout.
More Starts: Jimmy Graham at Los Angeles Rams, Dalton Schultz at Washington
George Kittle at New England
Okay, I know, you aren't sitting George Kittle this weekend. Him and Travis Kelce are undeniably the top two tight ends in football and fantasy. BUT, be cautious about him this weekend against New England. We know Bill Belichick likes to take away the opposition’s best player and after hearing him compliment Kittle all week, that is where he will focus. Kelce himself managed only three catches against the Patriots, which he turned into 70-yards. All tight ends New England have faced have combined for 130 yards, none securing more than three catches. They will do anything they can to stop Kittle this week, so buyer beware.
Jonnu Smith vs Pittsburgh
Smith has been a pleasant surprise at the position this year, but left last week’s game after just one catch with an ankle injury. He’s been limited in practice this week, but even if he suits up he should left on fantasy benches. Despite most likely being limited, he’ll get a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed only 20 catches to tight ends on the year.
More Sits: Darren Fells vs Green Bay
Sleeper: Ian Thomas at New Orleans
If you are desperate for a tight end this week, you should be able to find Thomas sitting in free agency. He has just six catches for 39 yards and a score this year, as Carolina has barely featured their tight ends in the passing game. However, this is the week they should start to feature Thomas, as New Orleans has given up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. It’s a shot in the dark, but we do call them sleepers for a reason.
Patriots Play of the Week
We are back picking Edelman this week after he failed us last week in a plus-matchup. He’s clearly bothered by a knee injury, but is still commanding a 30 percent target share when Cam Newton is under center. He has another good matchup in the slot this week against San Francisco, who has allowed the fourth-highest QBR (120.4) and third-highest touchdown percentage (10.3%) to receivers in the slot this year, according to PFF. Josh McDaniels said this week he needs to “do a better job” getting him involved, so we’ll look for a bounce back effort in this contest.
That is all for this week’s preview. If you have any additional questions regarding your lineup, specific players, or strategies going forward leave a comment below or reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines. As always, I’m rooting for you.