By BRANDON C. WILLIAMS, RotoExperts
Week 7 of the fantasy football season will hinge on the health of two WR1-caliber pass-catchers along with an opportunity for a Super Bowl quarterback to redeem himself.
The week also presents one of the league's best backs facing the worst run defense in both reality and fantasy, and how one trade will make an already productive TE a bigger threat than the receivers surrounding him.
START: Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Yes, Goff comes off perhaps the worst game of his brief career. However, he gets to redeem himself against a Falcons defense that is third-worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing passers and one that has given up a combined 766 yards and eight touchdown passes the past two weeks. If Todd Gurley is out again, then expect Goff to have a green light to tee off on Atlanta's defense.
SIT: Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: Tennessee is 10th-best in fantasy when it comes to stopping opposing quarterbacks and average an interception per game. Rivers has thrown four interceptions the past two games and could also find himself and the Chargers offense thrown off because of the Titans' slow and deliberate style when they have the ball. That means Rivers could see his streak of at least 20 completions come to an end if he's on the sideline watching Titans RB Derrick Henry chewing up time.
START: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars: In perhaps the most ideal matchup in Week 7, Fournette — who leads the league in rushing yards after contact per rush — meets the Bengals, who have allowed 193.3 total yards per game against opposing runners. Fournette is on pace for 1,557 rushing yards this season and could exceeded his season-high of 225 that he ripped off in Week 5 against the Broncos. One thing is certain: Fournette will improve upon the one rushing touchdown he currently has so far this season.
SIT: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Jets: At this point of the season, draft positioning is secondary. That's why it should be easy to sit Bell, who has just one rushing touchdown and averages just 3 yards per carry. Well, that and the fact the Jets meet a Patriots run defense that allows just 73.7 yards per game and only two touchdowns. Bell could make up for it with his pass catching, but his fantasy owners are on a fool's errand by plugging him in the lineup.
START: Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys: Gallup averages nine targets per game and has improved his catching percentage from 48.5 percent last year to 66.7 percent this season. He'll take on an Eagles defense that's among the worst in fantasy football. Only the Giants allow more than Philly's 202.3 yards per game to opposing receivers, and there's every reason to feel good about Gallup continuing the struggles of Eagles defensive backs.
SIT: Demarcus Robinson, WR, Chiefs: Tyreek Hill's return last week puts Robinson on the fantasy outs. Robinson failed to grab any of his four targets against the Texans and it's unlikely he gets more than a target or two against the Broncos, who are the league's toughest fantasy defense against wide receivers.
START: Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens: Fifth in targets among all tight ends, Andrews' 410 yards are third behind only Travis Kelce (497) and Austin Hooper (480). Andrews will get his chance to exploit a Seahawks defensive unit that is the fourth-worst in stopping opposing TEs.
SIT: Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers: He was almost an afterthought with WR Davante Adams sidelined the past two games, drawing only eight targets. Even if Adams misses a third straight game, Graham will have to fight for targets with the group of pass-catchers Aaron Rodgers will have available to exploit Oakland's 22nd-ranked pass defense.
START: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Fitzgerald has averaged just 52.5 yards per game in his past four after averaging 108.5 yards in his first two games. The Giants and their 31st-ranked pass defense will change that. New York allows 302 yards per game to opposing receivers while also allowing 13.5 yards per catch. Count on Fitzgerald and QB Kyler Murray to put up big numbers.
SIT: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: With little support from his ground game, Dalton's numbers have declined since opening the season with 729 yards the first two weeks of the season. Since Week 2, Dalton has just three touchdowns with four interceptions and yards per attempt that continues to drop. He's also been sacked 22 times this season, making him a tempting target for the Jaguars' pass rush.
START: Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles: This should be the week Howard finally exceeds 15 carries. A bigger workload increases Howard's chances to score off a Cowboys defense that has given up a league-high seven rushing touchdowns. The emergence of Miles Sanders as a pass-catching threat should not keep Howard from being a strong red zone option.
SIT: Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins: With each game, Drake appears to be less of an option. Kalen Ballage has goal line/short yardage touches locked up while Mark Walton pushes Drake closer to being a third-down back. Regardless of his status, don't count on Drake to manage much against the Bills, who are fifth overall in fewest rushing yards allowed.
START: Josh Allen, QB, Bills: It's not only his rushing ability that makes Allen a good play against the Dolphins and their 31st-ranked fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks. Miami has allowed 14 touchdown passes and a league-high 13.7 yards per catch allowed. If Allen has a healthy John Brown lined up outside, he will get his share of downfield strikes while Cole Beasley and Duke Williams dominate the intermediate routes.
SIT: D.J. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks: The loss of TE Will Dissly should open Metcalf for more targets, but he's produced a mediocre 51.6 percent catch rate. The Ravens have struggled against the pass at times but have allowed just six touchdown passes this season. DFSers should not be fooled into stacking neither offense in a game that will be lower scoring than projected.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com
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