Start’em Sit’em Week 7
While week seven represents a continuation to the 2018 season, this week’s start’em sit’em column is the start of something new. For those who may not be aware, over the past few weeks, our very own Mike Rigz was doing great work with this column. He works hard to bring you the best possible site that Gridiron Experts has to offer yet will be stepping away from this column and continuing to manage the site as a whole. In his absence, it will be me, Michael Hauff, who will take over the start’em and sit’em duties. With introductions out of the way, let’s get down to business with assessing week seven.
Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when figuring out who to start and who to sit is addressing the bye weeks. In week seven, it will be the Seahawks, Steelers, Raiders, and Packers all having the week off. Even with all those teams being unavailable, there are still several serviceable options at your disposal.
How Do You Pick Your Starts and Sits?
I plan to use a combination of matchup tools, data, and NFL Betting Lines to pick the best start’em sit’em players to recommend to you. Here is a list of sites I’ll be relying on:
- Daily Roto – I’m using Daily Roto for Redzone data, snap counts, targets, and play calling distribution.
- The Quant Edge – TQE has a WR/CB matchup tool that’ll be perfect for WR Start/Sits.
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Rams at 49ers
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 52.4%
There is no denying that Jared Goff was one of the biggest disappointments in week six. Against the Broncos last week, for the first time since November of last season, Goff had failed to throw for a touchdown. As if that wasn’t enough, it would also be the first time since week one of this season that he didn’t throw for over 300 yards. Last week may be nothing but a blip on the radar though as the Rams are scheduled to head to Santa Clara to take on the SanFrancisco 49ers. In the final game of week six, Aaron Rodgers would throw for 425 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers defense.
On top of that, this is a defense that has allowed 14 touchdown passes and is just one of two teams to have only one interception. So on top of allowing scores, they aren’t taking the ball out of the quarterback’s hands. It is important to remember here that Goff’s last two opponent rank in the bottom half in points allowed to the position. The 49ers, allowing the fifth-most points to the position, represent a reprieve from top-tier competition. Don’t let the Cooper Kupp injury or Todd Gurley’s dominant ways scare you away, Goff will bounce back in week 7.
Bears vs. Patriots
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 12.1%
Perhaps you’re one of those guys who is up against it with bye weeks. If you are, Mitch Trubisky represents a bye week savior and a player who may finally be hitting his fantasy stride all at the same time. In week four, the Bears signal caller would shock the football world as he would throw for 354 yards and six touchdowns. Understandably skeptical, the fantasy community wanted to see Trubiksy do it again before comfortably starting him. In week six, coming out of the Bears bye, Trubisky would have another solid outing. In a losing effort against the Dolphins, Trubisky would throw for 316 yards and three touchdowns. That is now two top-five performances in Trubisky’s last two games and up next on the schedule is the New England Patriots. Against quarterbacks over the last two weeks, the Patriots have allowed 717 passing yards along with seven passing touchdowns and four interceptions. I’ll grant you, Trubisky may not be on the level of an Andrew Luck or Pat Mahomes, but I’m attributing his recent success with him getting more comfortable with Matt Nagy’s offense. Some may choose to remain skeptical on the second-year quarterback, but I’m saying that Mitch Trubisky is a top 10 quarterback this week.
Texans at Jaguars
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 63.6%
Like sharks smelling blood in the water, DeShaun Watson owners are looking to take advantage of a Jaguars team that gave up 40 points to the Cowboys in week six. The way I’m viewing this, however, is this is a Jaguars team that is looking to get right against a familiar foe. Despite that blowout last week, this is a Jaguars defense that is allowing the sixth fewest points to the quarterback position. Dak Prescott finishing week six as the second-best quarterback would be the only time this season that a quarterback opposing the Jaguars had finished in the top fifteen among quarterbacks. Watson will make his fair share of plays but in the grand scheme of things, week seven will be a week of redemption for the Jaguars defense.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
Falcons vs. Giants
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 62%
With the news that Devonta Freeman is headed to the IR, Tevin Coleman’s audition for free agency this offseason has officially begun. This week, the opponent for Coleman is a favorable one as the Falcons will welcome in a Giants defense that is allowing the eighth most points to the running back position. Coleman, who leads Falcons running backs in carries and targets, will be the main back in this offense with Ito Smith firmly behind him. With Coleman not having any notable fantasy production since week two against the Panthers, the trepidation is understandable. That being said, I say that the opportunity outweighs any concerns and much the Eagles were able to do last week, I’m banking on these Falcons running backs giving the Giants fits. Despite sharing a field with Odell Beckham and Julio Jones, running backs on both the Falcons and the Giants will be grabbing plenty of headlines on Monday night.
Ravens vs. Saints
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 65%
Last Sunday, in a matchup against the Tennessee Titans, Alex Collins would finish the week just outside the top ten at his position. That rank was due in large part to his two rushing touchdowns. The issue with Collins is without those rushing scores, he is a bit of a fantasy nightmare. He has yet to top 70 yards rushing in a game and has been non-existent in the passing game. Those lackluster numbers and a week seven matchup against the Saints has me doubting Collins. The Saints are currently allowing the fewest rushing yards to the running back position and are allowing the third-fewest points. The Ravens are going up against Drew Brees who is a far cry from Marcus Mariota. Sacks will not come in bunches like they did in week six and this game script will venture away from Alex Collins.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
Patriots at Bears
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 33.1%
Since his trade from the Browns to the Patriots in September, people have been waiting for Josh Gordon to hit his stride. After playing 81% of the Patriots offensive snaps and being targeted nine times this past week, the time may be now. In week seven, it will be the Patriots heading to Chicago to take on a Bears team that is allowing the eighteenth most points to the position. I get it, eighteenth most points against the position isn’t exactly intimidating. Picking Gordon though has so much more to do with his momentum and his Tom Brady. If his increased playing time, targets, and quarterback doesn’t get you excited, how about his head coach’s optimism. This week when speaking to the media, Bill Belichick had stated that Gordon’s “role is expanding weekly”. We have all said that if Gordon could stay on the straight and narrow, he has the potential to be elite. We may finally start to see that potential come to fruition, again.
Saints at Ravens
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 31.1%
Crabtree ended a four-game touchdown drought last week after catching the first score of the game against the Titans. Despite the slump, Crabtree’s target share has been strong and Flacco does trust him. This week the 4-2 Ravens faceoff against a 4-1 Saints team coming off a bye. While they may be rested, the Saints secondary hasn’t been great this season, ranking 30th in defensive passing yards against. The Ravens are favored in this contest by 2.5, and the over /under is 49. I like Crabtree in this game and think this game could be high scoring. Start the Crab
Dolphins vs. Lions
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 3%
Ok, yes… there are currently only 3% of fantasy owners starting Wilson this week, but that’s because waiver claims haven’t been processed yet. Once they do this number should shoot up much higher.
After compiling 155 yards and two touchdowns off of six receptions against the Bears, I’m suggesting that you sit Albert Wilson. Following his strong outing in week six, Wilson and the Dolphins will take on the Detroit Lions. The Lions, who are coming off of their bye, are allowing the fewest points to the wide receiver position. They are also the only team in football thus far to allow fewer than fifty receptions to the position. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that they are also allowing the fewest yards to the position. No matter who is at quarterback for the Dolphins, I find it hard to believe that Wilson will be able to replicate his week six performance. I’m expecting Dolphins’ tight ends and wide receivers to have minimal fantasy value this weekend. If there is serious production out Miami skilled positions, it will be the running backs.
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Browns at Buccaneers
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 39%
Since Baker Mayfield took over at quarterback for the Browns, David Njoku has been one of the most targeted players in Cleveland. In two out of the last three weeks, the former Miami Hurricane has seen ten or more targets. Those targets have really paid off for Njoku owners, especially last week against the Chargers as the tight end would score his first touchdown since December of last year. Funny enough, that touchdown last season also came against the Chargers. In week seven, the Browns will head to Tampa Bay to take on a Buccaneers team that is allowing the second most points to the position. Most recently, it was the Falcons’ Austin Hooper who dominated the Buccaneers defense as he tallied nine receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. Njoku supporters have been waiting for the tight end to be a consistent fantasy option. With Baker Mayfield under center, it is safe to say that the targets will continue.
Chargers vs. Titans
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 11%
For years, as the Chargers have found production, Antonio Gates was always one of the biggest beneficiaries. Times though have most certainly changed for the future hall of fame pass catcher. So far this season, Gates has had just ten receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, you’re not in a position to start Gates as I’m predicting it will be more of the same in week seven. This week the Chargers tight ends will have to deal with a Titans defense that is allowing the second-fewest points to the position. A big part of that ranking is that the Titans are just one of five teams that have yet to allow a touchdown to the position. Not only are they not allowing touchdowns, but they’re also giving up just 9.3 yards per catch. Even in his best days, this would be a tough matchup for Gates.
Start’em Sit’em Defenses
Lions at Dolphins
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 1%
Things started a bit rocky for Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions. Following a victory against the Packers and then a bye week, things have now settled down. The Lions will return to action this week against the Dolphins. Currently, the Lions are allowing the third fewest points to both the quarterback and wide receiver positions. I just can’t envision the Dolphins having the offensive output that they did last week.
Bears vs. Patriots
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 85%
The addition of Khalil Mack has undoubtedly paid huge dividends for the Bears. That being said, I think it would best serve you to find a better option this weekend against a Patriots team that starting to really click offensively. I want to make it abundantly clear that I’m not advising you to drop the Bears. If you have an open bench spot or a player you could afford to drop, you could always pick up a streaming defense for one week. After what happened to the Bears against the Dolphins, I’m finding it hard to label them matchup proof.
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