Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 7 Matchups to Consider
Week 7 of the fantasy season marks the midway point to the playoffs! It’s time to take a look at the Ballers’ rankings for the week and see what matchups may need more insight prior to setting your lineup.
As always, I want to know what matchups are making you scratch your head. Leave a comment here or find me on Twitter: @KurtKnowsBest.
Dak Prescott (DAL) vs Detroit
The Cowboys are expecting to get their starting QB back after missing five weeks with a thumb injury. There’s plenty of concern with Dak’s return but there should be optimism that the Cowboys’ offense can continue to take steps forward, especially in the passing game. Cooper Rush led Dallas to wins on the field, but he never surpassed 250 passing yards in a game, limiting the ceiling for players like CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz.
Dak couldn’t get a better matchup to start things back up, taking on a Detroit defense that’s currently giving up the most points to fantasy QBs. The Lions’ defense has given up a top-10 QB performance in four out of five games played this season.
The Ballers each have Dak inside their top-6 QBs in his return to the starting lineup. Fantasy managers that stashed Dak should feel comfortable putting him in their lineups this week.
Marcus Mariota (ATL) at Cincinnati
Is it pretty? No. Is it comfortable? Absolutely not. However, somehow, Marcus Mariota has managed back-to-back top-10 QB finishes against the likes of Tampa Bay and San Francisco. Would you believe me if I told you he’s thrown the ball a combined 39 times in those two weeks? Better believe it.
None of the Ballers believe in the trend continuing this week, but Andy and Mike have Mariota at QB16 just outside their starting QB range.
The Falcons face a third-straight stiff test against a Bengals defense that has been hot and cold so far this season, but isn’t giving up many points to opposing QBs in fantasy. In Week 5, Cincinnati’s defense held Lamar Jackson, another dual-threat QB like Mariota, to just 232 total yards and a QB15 finish. The heavy bye week may force some fantasy managers to look Mariota’s way, and I think his rushing upside gives you a baseline that may be worth riding the hot hand.
Aaron Jones (GB) at Washington
The season has not been what fantasy managers who spent a high draft pick on Aaron Jones envisioned. That’s part of the reason Rob Wilson lists Jones as a “Buy Low” candidate this week. Jones has only finished inside the top-24 RBs once this season despite seeing over 60% of snaps on the year.
The Commanders’ defense presents a great opportunity for the Packers’ offense to get back on track. Of course, so did the Jets last week. Washington’s defense is giving up the 8th most rushing yards per game, so fantasy managers should expect to see plenty of Jones and AJ Dillon leading the Packers to take control.
Andy, Mike, and Jason are split on Jones’ outlook this week. Mike has Jones the highest, putting him as an RB1 and 12 overall on the week. Jason is the lowest for Week 7, putting Jones at RB17. During the heavy bye week, fantasy managers should definitely have Jones in their lineup, but another finish outside the top-24 may cause the panic alarms to sound.
Kenyan Drake (BAL) vs Cleveland
Kenyan Drake was presented with an opportunity and made the absolute most of it, finishing as the RB5 in Week 6. The fantasy community has always known the opportunity for an elite RB option alongside Lamar Jackson was a possibility, but numerous injuries for the Ravens have kept it from consistently playing out on the field.
As Nate Henry notes in this week’s Snap Count Observations, Week 6 was the second-straight week that Drake saw more snaps than starter J.K. Dobbins. The Ballers are all cautious with Drake in their rankings though, with all three putting him outside their top-24 RBs for Week 7.
A great matchup with a terrible run defense in Cleveland should reward fantasy managers brave enough to roll the dice with Drake again this week. The Browns’ defense has given up a league-high 11 rushing TDs so far this season. If you grabbed Drake, I’d be willing to put him in as a FLEX play this week.
Travis Etienne Jr (JAX) vs NY Giants
It seems the backfield takeover in Jacksonville is nearly complete. Travis Etienne saw double-digit carries for the second-straight week and, more importantly, out-produced James Robinson in rushing production both weeks with the same or fewer carries.
Jacksonville hosts a Giants’ defense that’s only allowing 18 fantasy points to opposing fantasy RBs per game and has only allowed two rushing TDs so far this season. Etienne hasn’t found the end zone at all, so there’s a chance he could disappoint this week.
Jason is the only one of the guys to have Etienne inside his top-24, ranking him as the RB22 on the week. I’d be cautious with starting Etienne, but fantasy managers may not have a choice due to the large number of players missing Week 7.
Chris Godwin (TB) at Carolina
As frustrated as Tom Brady was last week, Chris Godwin seemed to be a bright spot for the Tampa Bay offense. Godwin posted his first finish inside the top-24 WRs on the season and did it without getting into the end zone. What’s even more encouraging, Matt DiSorbo’s Stats and Expectation Trends article for Week 7 has Godwin listed as one of the underachieving receivers from last week, so there could be more to come for Godwin.
The Ballers believe the production from Godwin will continue this week against Carolina. Andy, Mike, and Jason have Godwin as the consensus WR13.
The Panthers’ defense has given up a top-20 fantasy WR in three of the last four games. Fantasy managers can confidently play Godwin again this week and expect similar results.
Wan’Dale Robinson (NYG) at Jacksonville
The long-awaited re-debut for rookie Wan’Dale Robinson was an extremely encouraging outing. Robinson finished with just 37 yards but did get into the end zone against the Ravens. Marvin Elequin notes in his Dynasty Report for Week 7 that Robinson led the Giants in target share, despite only playing 23% of snaps.
Jacksonville’s defense is fresh off giving up two top-24 WR performances in Week 6, so Robinson and the Giants’ passing game should have the opportunity to put up an even better fantasy day, assuming he sees the field more.
None of the Ballers have Robinson ranked inside the playable range, but fantasy managers trying to navigate the bye week or injuries should have some confidence putting Robinson as a FLEX play.
Brandon Aiyuk (SF) vs Kansas City
A completely nuclear day for Brandon Aiyuk had fantasy managers celebrating in Week 6. Aiyuk finished as the WR3 on the week, the highest single-week finish of his career. The game script was a huge factor in Aiyuk’s performance, with the 49ers down multiple scores early in the game against Atlanta.
AJ Passman notes in the Targets Per Route Run article this week that both Aiyuk and teammate Deebo Samuel each ranked inside the top-12 seeing targets based on their involvement. This is a trend that could continue into Week 7 as San Francisco hosts a Kansas City offense that will force their passing attempts to possibly be north of 40 again.
All three of the Ballers have Aiyuk inside their top-24. Fantasy managers should ride the hot streak for another game and then maybe look to pivot as the 49ers’ schedule toughens down the stretch.
Daniel Bellinger (NYG) at Jacksonville
Another Giants rookie that’s making an argument to be in fantasy lineups on the regular is Daniel Bellinger, who’s been a top-12 TE in back-to-back weeks. Bellinger’s snap percentage has increased every week, peaking in Week 6 at 94%.
Andy, Mike, and Jason don’t have complete confidence in Bellinger just yet, still ranking him outside of the top-12 TEs, but the shallow TE field needs a good weekly dice throw. Bellinger is the type of risk you’re willing to take at TE since both of his TDs have come inside the red zone, and a TD is all it takes sometimes to be happy with what you’re getting from your starter in the position.
Mike Gesicki (MIA) vs Pittsburgh
An overall TE1 performance is enough to make fantasy managers put a player into their lineups, but a 20-point week will convince managers there’s no reason to look elsewhere for a long while. Gesicki’s two TDs in Week 6 are enough to make fantasy managers want to continue including him in their lineups just because they know the ceiling is that high.
Lauren Carpenter notes in the Waiver Wire article for this week that Gesicki was still available in over half of leagues, so it’s likely he can help a bye-week-ridden team. However, the Ballers’ rankings show they’re split on Gesicki. Andy and Mike have him inside their top-12, but Jason lists him as the TE18.
Tua Tagovailoa is expected to start again at QB for the Dolphins on Sunday, so the passing attempts should continue to be there for Miami’s offense. The matchup isn’t ideal though since the Steelers’ defense has only given up 10 or more points to opposing fantasy TEs once this season.