Start’em Sit’em Week 7
Start’em and Sit’em is back for Week 7 of the NFL season. Along with the other fine tools provided by Gridiron Experts, this article is here to help guide you to victory in your Week 7 Fantasy Football matchups. There are several matchups worth discussing and we will go through those matchups now. One friendly reminder heading into this Week 7 Start Sit article is that the Steelers, Browns, Panthers, and Buccaneers are all on their bye week.
Recapping Last Week
Once again, my start’em quarterback suggestions were on par as both Kyler Murray and Kirk Cousins finished inside the top-10 at their position. Kerryon Johnson had his fantasy day saved by a touchdown while Sony Michel was one touchdown away from a big outing. Either way, both of the second-year running backs still managed to finish inside the top-20 at the running back position. Not all is perfect though and clearly, my biggest blunder of the week was recommending that you sit Stefon Diggs who went off this week as he finished with three touchdowns and was the number one player in all of fantasy. The lastest results have me fired up to tackle Week 7 with you, so let’s get started. As always, if you any other start or sit questions that are not answered here, please feel free to reach me on twitter.
- Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
- Start percentages originate from ESPN.com
- Start options range from 0-60%
- Sit options range from 50-100%
The following are my Start’em Sit’em Week 7 recommendations:
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Cardinals @ Giants]
ESPN Start Percentage: 49.4%
This is the second week in a row that Kyler Murray is making this start’em sit’em column, and it’s with good reason. Against the Falcons, while Murray only had 32 rushing yards off of 11 carries, he did have his first game with 3-touchdown passes. For the second week in a row, the schedule is a favorable one as the Cardinals will take on a Giants team that is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. With the exception of the Washington Redskins in Week 4, every quarterback that has gone against the Giants in 2019 has finished no worse than the tenth best quarterback in fantasy. Circling back to Murray, on top of his three 300-yard passing performances, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has had unrelenting support towards his quarterback as Murray is tied for fourth in passing attempts in the NFL. While it is yet to be determined if Murray is matchup proof, that is to be determined by his young wide receivers. Against defenses like the Giants though, Murray will feast.
Bills vs. Dolphins
ESPN Start Percentage: 6.9%
While all the talk in the NFL is surrounding Kyle Allen and is undefeated streak as the Panthers quarterback, Josh Allen will be coming off of his bye week and is a prime start candidate against the Miami Dolphins. While Allen has yet to have a 300-yard performance and has had just one game with double-digit passing touchdowns, he has made up for it on the ground. In five games played this season, Allen is tied for second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. On top of that, he is second on his team in redzone carries with nine, which is where all of his three touchdowns have come from. As for the Dolphins, the winless AFC East team is one of nine teams in the NFL to allow multiple rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks. Last season, Josh Allen started both of the Bills games against the Dolphins and in those matchups, he was no worse than the second-best quarterback on the week. As a matter of fact, those two matchups against the Dolphins would be the only games in 2018 that Allen had multiple touchdown passes in a game. I get it, you do not need much explanation to warrant starting Allen against the Dolphins. Either way, Allen is a no-doubt start candidate in Week 7 and beyond.
Rams @ Falcons
ESPN Start Percentage: 37.4%
In the Rams Week 6 matchup against the 49ers, Jared Goff would be held to a career-low 78 passing yards. In his defense, that was against a 49ers team that is number one in fewest points allowed to the quarterback position. Luckily for Goff, it is one extreme to the other as the Rams will go from facing the best against quarterbacks to the worst. In Week 7, the Rams will head to Atlanta to take on a Falcons team that has been absolutely dreadful against quarterbacks. In Week 1, Kirk Cousins would go up against the Falcons and would finish as the twenty-second best quarterback on the week. That is sort of a skewed number though as Cousins had just 10 passing attempts in the game. Since that time, however, opposing quarterbacks have finished each week as a QB1. Digging even deeper into their schedule, over the last three weeks, quarterbacks opposing the Falcons have finished inside the top five in scoring at the position. Folks really shouldn’t panic too much about Goff. While he has had only three games as a QB1 this season, this is no different than last season. Goff will have trouble in tough matchups but in a cakewalk like this, the sky should be the limit for the Rams quarterback.
Chargers @ Titans
ESPN Start Percentage: 34.2%
This is one of those weeks in which I cannot in good faith recommend that you sit one of the quarterbacks who are being started in 50% or more of ESPN leagues. With that in mind, I’m suggesting that you continue to fade Philip Rivers in tough matchups. As useful as Philip Rivers has been to your fantasy football lineups in the past, I think the window is finally closing on the Chargers. While Rivers has had two top-ten performances so far this season, if Rivers has had a tough opponent, it has shown in his weekly fantasy numbers. So far this season, if Rivers has played against a team in the top 12 in fewest points to the position, the Chargers signal-caller has finished outside the top 15. Opposing Rivers and the Chargers this week will be the Tennessee Titans who are allowing the eleventh fewest points to quarterbacks. In two road games so far this season, Rivers has just two touchdown passes and I think unless you are in a two-quarterback league, you should be looking for better options.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
49ers @ Redskins
ESPN Start Percentage: 36.7%
While I like both 49ers running backs this week, I’m specifically pointing towards Tevin Coleman as a player that you should plug into your starting lineups. Since returning from injury, Coleman has been fantasy relevant as he has finished each of his last two games inside the top-20. On top of scoring a touchdown in each of the last two games, what is even more impressive is Coleman’s snap percentage. In his return against the Browns in Week 5, both Coleman and Matt Breida were in on 34.2% of snaps. In their matchup this past week against the Rams, Coleman wound up playing 55.1% of snaps while Breida was in on 35.9%. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that Breida is going to fade-away. The beauty of Breida is that while averaging 5.8 yards on 65 carries, Breida can make his fantasy day a relevant one with just a handful of carries. As a matter of fact, I also suggest that you start Breida. This week, the 49ers will head to our nation’s capital as they prepare to take on a Redskins defense that is currently in the top five in most fantasy points allowed to the running back position. Barring a big-time upset, the 49ers should be able to control the pace of this game do what they do best, run the ball.
Eagles @ Cowboys
ESPN Start Percentage: 38.5%
After scoring five touchdowns in his previous three games, the Minnesota Vikings were able to keep Jordan Howard in check. That being said though, it should be noted that with the Vikings allowing the ninth fewest points to the position, Howard wasn’t projected to break the proverbial fantasy bank. Don’t be afraid to plug Howard back into your fantasy lineups this week though as the Eagles will take on the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. While the Cowboys will look to stop the bleeding, their defense is currently just outside the top ten in most points allowed to the running back position. Currently, the Cowboys defense is tied with the Bengals in allowing a league-high seven rushing touchdowns. Five of those touchdowns have been scored on the Cowboys over the last two weeks, inside the redzone. This should come in handy for a player like Howard who’s all four rushing touchdowns this season have all come inside the redzone. With only two games with over 50-rushing yards this season, I think that what you are banking on when starting Howard is a touchdown. The Cowboys might finally emerge victorious on Sunday but not without allowing a touchdown or two to Howard.
Bills vs. Dolphins
ESPN Start Percentage: 15.8%
While you likely did not have to invest a lot of draft stock in Devin Singletary, his hamstring injury has been a frustrating one. Thankfully though, after not playing since Week 2 of this season, it finally looks as if the rookie running back will be on the field this Sunday when the Bills take on the winless Dolphins. In half-point formats, Singletary had more than 10 fantasy points scored in each of the first two weeks. Before being injured in that Week 2 matchup against the Giants, Singletary was already putting on a show as he had 57 yards rushing off of just six carries, and a touchdown. This is a Bills offense that last year was ninth in rushing yards per game and so for this season, they are ranked sixth. We always knew heading into this season that the Buffalo Bills were going to be a running team and that will only help the value or both Singletary and Frank Gore. On top of being a team that is going to run the ball, they are going up against a Dolphins team that is allowing the fourth-most points to opposing running backs.
Patriots @ Jets
ESPN Start Percentage: 60.3%
As per usual, in five games played this season, James White has just sixteen carries on the season. Anyone who has an ounce of fantasy knowledge would know that the value of owning White is his ability to excel in the passing game. That might be a problem in Week 7 when the Patriots head to MetLife Stadium to take on the Jets. While White was unable to play in the Patriots matchup with the Jets earlier this season, the Jets defense is one of 11 teams to not allow a receiving touchdown to the running backs position. In that previous matchup with the Jets, while White was unavailable, it was Rex Burkhead who would have haul in six receptions for just 22 yards. Even when White has been available this season, his fantasy scoring hasn’t been all that great. In White’s five games played this season, he has yet to finish inside the top 20. If you happen to be in full-point formats and are in a bind, perhaps you can roll the dice. Any other format though, I believe that with Sam Darnold, this Jets team is playing with a new attitude.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
Jets vs. Patriots
ESPN Start Percentage: 8.4%
As previously stated, the return of Sam Darnold had the Jets playing with a new attitude against the Dallas Cowboys. This couldn’t have been more evident to the 8.4% of people in ESPN leagues that started Robby Anderson. After tallying 131 receiving yards through his first four games of the season, with Darnold back, Anderson would finish as a top-1o wide receiver in Week 6. In that matchup, the Jets pass-catcher would haul in five receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. The state of Massachusetts would be quick to snap back at this recommendation and say that the Patriots are wicked good against wide receivers and while that might be true, while the Patriots are currently allowing the sixth-fewest points to wide receivers, the Cowboys, the Jets Week 6 opponent are allowing the eleventh fewest points. Last week, the Giants would finally crack the Patriots secondary as the Patriots allowed a receiving touchdown to Golden Tate. In seven career games against the Patriots, Anderson has had 15 receptions for 169 receiving yards and no touchdowns. I’m calling for Anderson to have his first touchdown against the Patriots this weekend and he should be doing it in your starting lineups.
Cowboys vs. Eagles
ESPN Starting Percentage: 44.9%
Headed into the Cowboys matchup against the Jets, Michael Gallup was a name that was whispered around as a player that could take your fantasy lineups to victory lane. For that 44.9% of ESPN fantasy players, it was a real kick in the pants as Gallup would finish the week with just four receptions for 48 yards. While I cannot blame you for being hesitant to buy-back in on the second-year receiver, I urge you to reconsider that as the Cowboys will prepare to right several wrongs against the Philadelphia Eagles. For starters, there is the quad injury to Amari Cooper and even though he is on track to play, I find it hard to believe that we will get serious fantasy production from the injured Cooper. For a player that is second among Cowboys wide receivers in targets, one would have to imagine that Gallup is in store for an even larger workload. Then there are the Eagles who are allowing the more points to the wide receiver position than any other team in the NFL. In fact, over the last three weeks, the Eagles have allowed four receivers to finish inside the top fifteen at the position. The Cowboys might be down, but they are not out. I’m expecting the Cowboys to bounce back and I expect it to be behind a strong game from Michael Gallup.
Bengals vs. Jaguars
ESPN Start Percentage: 64.7%
One of the biggest things you need to do in fantasy is to keep an open mind and that theory was tested this week with Tyler Boyd and me. Earlier in the week, I had Boyd as a sit option against the incoming Jacksonville Jaguars. Over the course of the week, I have grown to like Boyd more and more in this week’s matchup and it has gotten to the point that I have decided to flip the script and change Boyd from a sit option to a start. One of the big things that I had noticed along the way was Boyd’s home and road splits in 2019. So far this season, the Bengals have had four road games and just two home games. In those games, Boyd has 20 receptions each at home and on the road. In those four road games, off of 20 receptions, Boyd has 171 yards receiving and no touchdowns. Even in half-point formats, that averages out to some pretty bad numbers. In those two home games, off of 20 receptions, Boyd has 245 yards receiving and a touchdown. Digging deeper, this is not just a 2019 trend as Boyd’s career home and road splits is noticeable as well. In his career, Boyd has 146 receiving yards and seven touchdowns more at home than he does on the road. Opposing the Bengals this week is the Jaguars who are just outside the top-12 in most points allowed to the position.
Cowboys vs. Eagles
ESPN Start Percentage: 60.4%
After not practicing on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, it had looked as if Amari Cooper would be unable to suit-up for the Cowboys divisional matchup against the Eagles this week. Even on top of n0t practicing, with the Cowboys being on bye in Week 8 and Cooper barely being able to walk, the logical thing seemed to be that Cooper would rest now and through the Cowboys bye week. Well, that logic went out the window on Friday of this week as the Fort Worth-Star Telegram had reported that now, Amari Cooper is expected to suit against an Eagles defense that is number one in most fantasy points allowed to the wide receiver position. As tempting as that might seem, you walked into this week expecting Cooper not to play and chances are that you prepared for that. I’m wondering if this is more about the Cowboys using Cooper as a decoy than anything else. Let’s not forget that the reports earlier in the week had suggested that Cooper was in “terrible pain”. The other thing that bothers me about using Cooper this week is the fact that the Cowboys and the Eagles are this week’s Sunday Night Football matchup. That likely means that the players that you picked up to prepare for Cooper being out will likely have already played. This will likely put you in a serious bind for a replacement unless you have a Cowboys, Eagles, Jets, or Patriots player on your bench. Hold on to Cooper on your bench until the Cowboys Week 9 matchup at the Giants.
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Chargers @ Titans
ESPN Start Percentage: 57.9%
One of the pleasant surprises coming out of last week was the return of Hunter Henry. The Chargers tight end didn’t just return, he kicked down the door with eight receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That performance had Henry as not only the number one tight end on the week, it was the best single-game performance of any tight end this season. Needless to say, Hunter Henry is back. Up next for Henry and the Chargers is a matchup against the Tennessee Titans. So far this season, the Titans are allowing the eighth-most points to tight ends. That is also a consistent ranking as opposing tight ends have finished inside the top-12 at the position in five out of the six weeks this season. While I feel like Philip Rivers’s fantasy dominance might be behind him, there is no doubt that when healthy, Henry will be one of the more targeted Chargers. He was the second most targeted Chargers player this past week and when Henry was healthy in Week 1, he was the third most targeted.
Giants vs. Cardinals
ESPN Start Percentage: 56.9%
Truth be told, I was waiting to see how Evan Engram would progress through the week of practice before adding him to this column. As of Wednesday, Engram was practicing with the Giants in full as the team prepares to welcome in the Arizona Cardinals. If you have been paying attention to fantasy at all, you would be well aware that the Cardinals defense has been a fantastic matchup for the tight end position. Six weeks into this season, the Cardinals have allowed seven touchdowns to the position with is almost double the amount of the second-highest mark. With the exception of the Bengals in Week 5, every tight end that has faced the Cardinals has finished the week no-worse than the third-best tight on the week. As long as Engram continues to practice in full for the rest of the week, do not question utilizing Evan Engram in Week 7.
Colts vs. Texans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 4.9%
Rinse and repeat, between bye weeks and starting percentages, I have no players being started in 50% of ESPN leagues that I can advise you to sit. With that in mind, I will look the way of Colts tight end, Eric Ebron who likely has a starting percentage as low as it is since he is coming off of a bye week. This week, Ebron and the Colts will take a Houston Texans team that is allowing the sixth-fewest points to tight ends. The Texans are one of five teams that have yet to allow a touchdown to tight ends and have held tight ends like Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen from finishing inside the top-12. The regression has been evident from 2018 till now as he has just nine receptions on the year and only two touchdowns to show for it. To be it into perspective, at this point last season, Ebron was sitting with six touchdowns. I would recommend staying away from all Colts tight ends this weekend.
Start’em Sit’em Defense
49ers @ Redskins
ESPN Starting Percentage: 40.0%
Perhaps, people were afraid to start the 49ers DST against the Rams. While that is somewhat understandable, this column had suggested that you start the 49ers and they wound up finishing tied as the seventh-best DST on the week. They were able to have such a strong finish as they had four sacks and one fumble recovery. Since their Week 4 bye, the 49ers have not finished outside of the top 10 in DST scoring and I do not think that will change when the 49ers head to Washington to take on the Redskins. In Weeks 3 through 5, the DST opposing the Redskins has finished inside the top ten in weekly scoring. Headed into Week 7, the 49ers DST is in the top in sacks, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns. The question should not be if you should start the 49ers this weekend. The real question should be, why haven’t you done it already.
Chargers @ Titans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 80.1%
Last week, with the Pittsburgh Steelers starting a third-string quarterback, the Chargers starting percentage shot up drastically. For those who took the bait on the Chargers in Week 6, they did not receive the returns that they were hoping for. The Chargers DST wound up finishing the week outside the top-20 in DST scoring. It’s important in fantasy to not always look at opposing teams injuries, but to look at how a DST is performing all year long. Every other week this season, the Chargers are finishing well outside the top 10 in DST scoring. They are not consistent enough to stay at a starting percentage of 80%. This week the Chargers will be headed to Tennessee to take on the Titans. Some of you might think that this is a good opportunity for the Chargers offense to shine, but so was last week. There are several other DST teams that you should be using in Week 7, perhaps the previously mentioned 49ers that are being started in half the leagues that the Chargers are. It should be a no-brainer, the Chargers are not consistent enough, find a better path to victory.