The Fantasy Footballers’ Starts of the Week for Week 7
The NFL does not want fantasy football players to be happy. This idea was my new revelation this week; with all the injuries and the ridiculous amount of bye weeks going on right now, I think that is the only logical explanation. The NFL wants fantasy players to be suffering. I guess that at least keeps it interesting. Thank goodness Andy, Mike, and Jason are here for us, right? They are going through these same struggles that we are as managers, and they are here to help everyone out there navigate this bye-pocalypse of a week. On Thursday, they brought us their patented Starts of the Week. Check the YouTube link below if you want to watch the entire episode.
There is even more goodness on our website, and to get access to it, you can join the #FootClan and become a part of our community. That gets you access to all the website has to offer, including the FootCast weekly podcast. You can also join the free Discord community. For now, though, let’s dive into the muddy waters of Week 7 and search for gold with the Fantasy Footballers’ Starts of the Week. As a reminder, these are not the obvious players you start weekly. These are the players you question whether to play or not, and the guys want to help give you confidence to play some riskier options.
Andy’s Starts of the Week
QB – Jordan Love @ DEN
Love has been a top-12 QB in three of the five weeks. He averages 19.2 fantasy points per game, ranking eighth among QBs. For perspective, that is only 0.1 points per game behind Lamar Jackson. He is getting back a truly helpful passing weapon in Aaron Jones, who, yes, plays running back, but is a possession and moving-the-sticks kind of player for the Packers. Also, he is facing Denver. They are allowing the highest completion rate ever through six games. They rank 30th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to the quarterback. Yes, Love is up and down, but in this kind of a plays matchup, with him finally having all his weapons in a game, it is a week you should be thrilled to be starting Jordan Love.
RB – Aaron Jones @ DEN
Double down on Denver. Of course, Aaron Jones plays for the Packers, but Andy isn’t saying he is confident in Green Bay being good. He is confident in how bad the Broncos are, especially against RBs. Jones is coming off the bye and should be healthy and good to go again. The Broncos rank dead last in the NFL in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs, yards per carry at 5.6, and rushing yards per game at 172. Translation: play your RBs against Denver because they cannot figure out how to stop them.
WR – Marquise (Hollywood) Brown @ SEA
Trust the process with Hollywood. Last week, he saw 11 targets, but it was disappointing because he only ended up with 34 yards. Again, trust the process, and don’t go away from a player who is seeing a target on 26% of his routes. That ranks 10th among all WRs. Regarding ranks, Brown is ninth in total targets on the season. That is too much volume to ignore, especially when he will face the 30th-ranked defense in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs in Seattle. Arizona will have to throw the ball to keep up, and that means Hollywood will be involved.
TE – Dallas Goedert vs. MIA
This game has the highest over/under on the week at 52.5 projected points. Goedert had a slow start to the season but has had some more significant weeks recently. He plays on 92% of the team’s offensive snaps and has run the second-most routes among all TEs. Since the Week 1 goose egg, he has averaged seven targets and five receptions per game. Miami ranks 27th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game allowed to TEs. If Devonta Smith misses the game, Philadelphia will need Goedert to show up and make plays. So, trust him this week.
Jason’s Starts of the Week
QB – Geno Smith vs. ARI
Geno was also Jason’s Stream of the Week on Tuesday. He thinks he is a player you need to figure out how to get in your lineup. Geno is more than a touchdown favorite at home in this game. Matchups are essential at this point in the season, and the Cardinals rank 31st in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs. They allow a first down on 39.7% of their opponents’ pass attempts, also 31st in the NFL. That’s right, the Cardinals are indeed that bad against the pass. So, if you have stashed Smith or scooped him up on waivers, feel no fear in getting him into your lineup this week.
RB – Jerome Ford vs. IND
Did you forget about the significant waiver pick-up from Week 2? Ford has been slightly overlooked since earlier in the season but has been good. He averages 14.5 fantasy points per game and has been a top-24 running back for three of his five weeks. We know the Browns want to run the ball as they rank fifth in rush rate per game with 33 attempts. Meanwhile, the Colts rank 23rd in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs, which includes the most rushing touchdowns given up this year. This matchup is good for Ford against an exploitable defense from the RB position.
WR – Puka Nacua vs. PIT
Last week has shaken many people up, but don’t be afraid of Puka. Before last week, his fantasy finishes were WR9, WR5, WR36, WR4, and WR11. Before last week, he was one of three WRs to score nine or more fantasy points in every game. The others on the list are Stefon Diggs and Keenan Allen. Of course, the fear is Cooper Kupp being back and taking over as the main target on the team. Last week, Puka saw 33% of the targets on 96% of the team’s snaps. At the same time, the team didn’t have to throw the ball very much to wallop Arizona. Yes, he had a down game. Every receiver does! That is why only three guys had put up nine or more points each week, not because that is hard to do, but because WRs are inconsistent weekly. I wouldn’t expect another down performance in Week 7. The Steelers rank dead last in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs. So, quit being afraid and put Puka in your lineup.
TE – Pat Freiermuth @ LAR
We know that the talent of the Muth is good. He has had flashes where he is a big part of the offense and can put up good fantasy numbers. He was becoming more of a focal point for the offense before his injury in Week Four, and now he returns against the 31st-ranked defense in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs. The Rams have been a team we have targeted all year for TE matchups. If the Muth is healthy and the team cuts him to run routes, and he gets targets, he could put up great numbers for your fantasy squads.
Mike’s Starts of the Week
QB – Russell Wilson vs. GB
Get out your steel underpants because this is gross! Russell Wilson is currently the QB11 on the season and has not been the biggest issue for the Broncos this year. This game is currently one of only three games that has an over-under of 45 or more points. Added to that is the fact that this matchup is one that Russ himself can exploit. Wilson ranks first among all QBs in fantasy points per dropback against zone coverage. The Packers run zone on 80% of their defensive snaps. This week might be the week Sean Payton gets the team figured out, and the offense clicks. If so, Russ could be a great play this week. If he doesn’t, he should still be a top-10 guy.
RB – Isiah Pacheco vs. LAC
Pacheco is doing what everyone dreamed CEH would do: get opportunities and turn them into good fantasy finishes. Pacheco has been a top-15 RB in four straight weeks, averaging 20 opportunities per game. That is fantastic for an offense that most believe can only become more productive. The last three Chargers vs. Chiefs games have averaged 54 points per game. If that kind of scoring is going on, Pacheco will be a part of it. Stay in the flames with him, and know he could score and be a great guy for your lineup.
WR – Wan’Dale Robinson vs. WSH
Since returning from injury, Robinson has seen five, six, six, and eight targets. He is seeing a target on 25.8% of his routes this season, which is top-12 at the WR position. The Giants view him as the starting slot WR for the team, and his competition is seeing less and less time as he gets healthier and healthier. We haven’t had an explosive game from him yet, but the more he gets worked in, the more likely one will happen. The Commanders allow the fourth most passing yards per game and rank 31st in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs. The matchup is there for Robinson to exploit. Robinson could be in for a fine day if the offense can get anything going.
TE – Michael Mayer @ CHI
The rookie tight end is being worked into the Raiders’ plans finally. His snaps have increased since the start of the season from 47% to 51%, 66%, and 81% last week. With the higher snap usage, he had seen more targets, again culminating the previous week when he was the TE5 with six targets, for which he caught five for 75 yards, leading the team. He was one of the most solid prospects coming into the draft out of Notre Dame and checking every box as a prospect. Working him in was slow, but now he has the team’s trust, and it looks like he can become something special for the position, especially against Chicago, who allow a top-12 TE performance 66% of the time. He seems to have taken over as the team’s TE, and with Hoyer likely starting this week, Mayer could be in line for lots of short targets that can accumulate into a big game.