The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 7 (Fantasy Football)
Welcome to Week 7 of the Start/Sit series, where we’ll discuss your most commonly asked “Who should I start?” questions for the week.
The projections between any two players on your roster may appear similar, but this “simple” choice could be the difference between your team’s victory or defeat. Luckily, the Fantasy Footballers have created an amazing Start/Sit tool to easily compare any two (or more) players with insight from the Ballers themselves, and trust me — it’s a precious asset that will help you make these crucial lineup decisions that could ultimately lead you to your #FootClanTitle.
In this article, you’ll find your most popular Start/Sit questions of the week, along with the Ballers’ projections and my personal opinions on the matter. Please note that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated as news breaks, so make sure you check out the tool for yourself to catch any last-second changes.
So, without further ado, let’s kick things off with the biggest Start/Sit questions for Week 7:
These three dudes dominated the Start/Sit searches this week, so I decided to group them all together. If we go by the projections and the Ballers’ rankings, then rookie Luke Musgrave wins this hands down. This is despite not having scored yet and maxing out at only 50 yards in a game, which happened in the season opener. His best fantasy week was when he notched 7.9 fantasy points a month ago; this was followed by a near goose egg (1-1-0 from one target), although he left that game early due to a head injury.
However, Musgrave is now fresh off a bye, and his coaching staff could decide to further utilize their up-and-coming star in what Vegas projects to be a close matchup in Denver…which also happens to be the easiest defense for opposing TEs in both regular AND schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed. He’s still averaging 69% of snaps and nearly five targets per game, which surprisingly includes the aforementioned concussion game. If we remove that game, he’d be the TE8 in expected fantasy points. Sure, it’s a lot of caveats, but in a tough bye week in a desolate TE landscape, we’ll take what we can get.
Logan Thomas was a major disappointment last week, but I still have faith in the old man. He’s still constantly on the field (averaging 71% snaps) but has the worst matchup of this group. Conversely, the Muth has a great matchup but has never seen more than four targets in a game this year, and though the bye week theory could suggest that he’d see an increase in work, that might prove difficult with notorious target hog Diontae Johnson back in the mix.
I love Sam Howell this week. He’s now had three QB1 finishes after six weeks, which is surprisingly three more than Matthew Stafford has had. Howell’s also fresh off a three-TD showcase, something Stafford has yet to accomplish this season.
55 seconds of fun Sam Howell throws pic.twitter.com/Qhk6h1ACuv
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 10, 2023
He’s also very capable of absolutely pooping his big boy pants, as evidenced by his 0.6-point blunder against the Bills where he threw four interceptions and took nine sacks. Speaking of which, Howell leads the league in sacks taken and is already averaging a whopping 5.7 sacks per game, making the Giants D/ST a great DFS play.
While Howell is boom or bust, Stafford has been the definition of floor-play consistency, averaging 14.4 fantasy points per game and never exceeding ±3 points from that number. He’s averaging exactly one TD per week with his arms, while any yardage gained from his legs should be considered an unexpected treat. But Stafford’s the unanimous favorite over Howell because (a) he’s at home, (b) his team’s expected to score more points and they’ll likely need to rely on the passing game since their top two RBs are hurt, and (c) because they have a much better matchup for QBs. On that last point, it may seem like both of their opponents are similarly middling in difficulty, but their schedule-adjusted rankings paint a much different story as the Steelers rank 21st against opposing QBs while the Giants rank 10th.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a classic 3+ TD game from Stafford this week, though I totally get it if anyone wants to stay in the flames with Howell.
Zack Moss (IND) or Zach Evans (LAR)?
It’s the Zack/Zach stack attack! The crew is completely divided on this one, with Andy and Jason heavily favoring Zack Moss, while the Hitman dons his steel underpants with rookie Zach Evans. Moss should continue to siphon his once-elite workload to the one true starter, Jonathan Taylor, though the split may end up looking more like the Falcons’ frustrating timeshare between Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. Not only will he probably see less work, he’ll have to make the most of it against a formidable Browns defensive front. But at least we know he’s capable of producing outstanding numbers when given the chance.
On the other hand, the Rams’ backfield is a jumbled Mad Libs of forgotten names. The only upside lies with Zach Evans, who is presumed to be the incumbent starter. However, I’m very worried about Darrell Henderson spoiling the party as he’s the experienced veteran who may be favored over the hyped rookie with poor draft capital, a la Keaontay Ingram over Emari Demercado last week for Arizona. He’s also the only one who truly understands Sean McVay’s system. I would recommend stashing Evans and starting Moss for now.
Look, I get the temptation to start Rhamondre Stevenson after he finally showed signs of life last week with his schedule lightened up, but he’s still a risky play so long as the Patriots’ offense remains one of the worst — if not, THE worst — in the league. New Englanders assumed the worst was over once Matt Patricia packed his bags, only to find themselves in a worse nightmare under Bill O’Brien’s playcalling. The Bills can certainly be run against with Matt Milano out for the season, so Stevenson is a viable play this week (especially with the bye-pocalypse), but the game could easily get out of hand as the Patriots are one of the biggest projected underdogs on the slate, limiting his potential workload due to negative game script. Making matters worse is Ezekiel Elliott stealing looks.
Jerome Ford has been somewhat of a waiver wire hero who has also dealt with a tough schedule that is now abating. He should do great this week, though he’ll also have to share the backfield with Kareem Hunt. It was frustrating for Ford managers to see Hunt find the end zone from three red zone carries in their upset win over the 49ers last week, which is more red zone attempts than Ford has had all season (one). Hopefully, this changes in Week 7 against the Colts’ exposable defense, whether it’s on the ground or through the air.
George Pickens eeks out the win over Gabe Davis for all three Ballers, though it’s close. Here’s the thing, though. Bill Belichick loves to scheme against his opponents’ WR1s, which allows the other wideouts to feast against their preoccupied secondary.
This is a remarkable split in the "Defense vs. Types of Receivers" numbers.#Patriots are No. 1 against WR1.
Then they are 30th vs WR2, 32nd vs WR Other, 29th vs TE, and 24th vs RB.
WR1 yds vs. Patriots
Brown PHI 79
Hill MIA 40
Wilson NYJ 48
Lamb DAL 36
Olave NO 12
Adams LV 29
— Aaron Schatz 🏈 (@ASchatzNFL) October 19, 2023
This methodology is nothing new for Belichick, and we can expect the same to happen this Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Unfortunately, the Bills’ lead receiver Stefon Diggs historically destroys the Patriots (averages 94.8 yards and a TD against NE), while Davis typically struggles (averages 23.4 yards and 0.4 TDS). Perhaps Belichick just wants to take away their deep-threat playmaker? Either way, you’re banking on a splash play or two from Davis, which he’s been more than capable of pulling off thus far this season.
Pickens has been a volatile option yet averages more targets per game than Davis (eight vs. five). But with Diontae Johnson returning, we can expect a heavy decrease in looks, making him tough to trust — especially against the Rams’ shutdown coverage. Unless the weather gets out of hand (or if Johnson isn’t ready to play), I’d personally rather roll the dice with Davis.