Fantasy Football: 5 Things to Watch for in Week 7
Week 6 was essentially the midway point of the regular fantasy season. We are absolutely in the make-or-break stage of fantasy seasons. The first six games have given us a window into expected performances. Pre-season draft darlings have likely broken out by now, or have shown they need a significant change ahead of them to become relevant. Now is the time to bear down and make some major changes to your team if you only have a few wins. To make the playoffs in most leagues, you’ll need a winning record, which means at least seven wins.
As mentioned last week, bye week management is crucial for this stretch of games. There is no justifiable reason to hold a second kicker or defense on your roster. You must be looking for the next waiver gem, like Saints rookie WR Tre’Quan Smith who had a monster game before the bye week and should see an increased role the rest of the season with Ted Ginn being placed on IR. In most standard leagues, I would also not advocate holding a second QB or TE unless it’s a pre-planned fill-in for your studs upcoming bye week. If their bye week has passed or is more than two weeks away, I would try to trade or drop the backups and choose to stream the replacement when needed.
Last week I also talked about the highs and lows of the kicker. How quickly things turned around for Green Bay’s Mason Crosby, who redeemed himself in Week 6 with a game-winning FG.
But that was last week. What are we looking forward to in Week 7?
Julio Jones TD Watch
I was purposely ignoring this one in my weekly column because it wasn’t something that I was genuinely watching. In fact, I was playing it off as a bit of a fluke, until now. It’s Week 7 of the NFL season and the last time Julio Jones scored a TD in a regular season game was Week 12, 2017. Here’s the real kicker; Julio Jones has just 3 redzone targets in 2018 and even more shocking is that all three came in the same Week 1 game against Philadelphia. Let that sink in: since that Week 1 contest, Julio Jones has not seen a single target inside the 20-yard line.
And yet Julio ranks 6th in WR scoring in full PPR leagues and 8th in half-PPR. He ranks 2nd in receiving yards (705) and T-5th in receptions (44). He’s averaging over 7 receptions and 117 yards per game, putting him on pace for 117 reception, 1,877 yards. That translates to 304 full PPR points, which would have seen him finish as the 3rd overall WR in 2017. WITHOUT A TD.
Point being; if the Julio owner in your league is at all panicked about the lack TDs, hit them with the “no red zone targets since Week 1” note and try and get him onto your team. Be willing to pay accordingly, because when Julio finally scores, and he will, he could finish as the top WR in 2018.
Adam Thielen: 2018’s #1 WR
The sheer volume of passes (81 targets) heading towards Adam Thielen is impressive. Nearly as impressive is his 72% catch rate, putting him in the #1 spot for Receptions (58) and yards (712, with all six games over 100 yards). His 4 TDs are tied for 3rd most in the NFL. To this point, there is no indication that any of these trends will change. His pass catching teammates are all healthy, which indicates that should anything happen to one of them, his volume might even increase.
Thielen’s current pace is an astounding 155 receptions, 1,898 yards, and 10 TDs, which amounts to 405 PPR points; almost 100 more points than the #1 WR in 2016 or 2017 and 17 more than Antonio Brown’s 2015 season. If the Falcons continue their ludicrous aversion to using Julio Jones in the red zone, there is no reason Adam Thielen isn’t the top contender for #1 overall WR in 2018.
Matt Breida is an RB1 That No One is Starting
Since the start of the season, Matt Breida has been quietly posting solid RB2 numbers. In most normal leagues, he’s ranking in at RB13 on the season. However, in every league I play in, it’s rare to see the Breida owner starting him. I have not started him once in the league where I own him. Consistently on the injury report, it’s hard to trust his playing time, especially when Coach Kyle Shanahan is taking the “Shanahan-igans” approach his father, Mike Shanahan, make so frustrating during his tenure in the NFL.
Antonio Callaway is Going to Post a Monster Game (And it Could be This Week)
I always look for outliers that stick out when looking at box scores. The one that screams “if the stars finally align” watch out. Cleveland Brown’s rookie WR Antonio Callaway is posting solid target numbers and getting a bunch of deep-down-field looks every game, but just isn’t converting. Since Week 3, he has averaged 8.5 targets. According to airyards.com, He has the 5th most air yards in the NFL since Week 3. Look at the chart below to see the whos-who list of players at the top of the Air Yards for Weeks 3-6. If his catch rate can merely approach 50%, he should accumulate some nice fantasy points.[lptw_table id=”157626″ style=”default”]
Week 7 sends some big name WRs onto their bye weeks while the Browns face off with Tampa Bay who checks in with one of the most burnable secondaries in the league. Deep-threat players like Ted Ginn and Taylor Gabriel have had big games against them, along with studs like Michael Thomas, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Julio Jones.
Callaway’s target share, air yards, and match-up all point to a situation where everything finally clicks. It’s fairly safe to assume he’s on your waiver wire, with ownership percentages of 20% on Yahoo!, 16% on ESPN and a measly 2.3% on NFL. After Week 7’s matchup with Tampa Bay, Callaway’s next three games are against Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Atlanta. Those are 4 consecutive dream matchups. He’s most definitely worthy of a roster spot and if you’re one to take the “go big or go home” approach to your flex spot, Week 7 is the week to play Antonio Callaway.
The Chargers 16 Road-Game Schedule
It’s been a running joke that the Chargers games are consistently appearing to be more like road games concerning fan attendance. However this past week it took an interesting twist. The Chargers drastically reduced their projections for ticket sales for their 2020 season to be played as a tenant in the new Rams stadium. The question is, does a playoff run change the perception of the Chargers in LA? Currently sitting at 4-2 and in the hunt for a playoff berth, the Chargers need to put a great product on the field if they intend to fill seats with powder blue instead of the visiting team’s colors.
Best of Luck in Week 7!