Ten Things We Learned in Week 7 (Fantasy Football)
Week 7 was brutal for many fantasy managers dealing with injuries and the “byepocalypse” or “byemageddon”. Fantasy managers likely had a hard time even building a starting lineup due to a lack of options. Hopefully, if the craziness impacted you, you made it through with a win anyways. Let’s look at some of the storylines that happened in Week 7 for those players who actually had a game this week.
1. A.J. Brown Back on Track
After a couple of weeks of dealing with injuries and some bad Chipotle, A.J. Brown seems to have gotten back to normal in Week 7, catching 8-of-9 targets for 133 yards and a touchdown. Brown dominated the team’s target share, getting 33.3% of the targets. Julio Jones only had a 14.8% target share, and this is the second week in a row that Brown has had more targets than Jones. As long as Brown can stay healthy and maybe stay away from Chipotle, he should get back to producing WR1 type numbers for fantasy teams.
2. The Bengals are Legit
The Bengals took on the Ravens in Week 7 and dominated the game, winning 41-17. The Bengals are now 5-2 on the season and currently sit atop the AFC North Division. The Bengals have started 5-2 five times since 1990, with the last time being 2013, and made the playoffs each year. Before Week 7, the Bengals hadn’t beaten anybody notable, but the dominant victory over the Ravens was a statement game.
The Bengals offense, led by quarterback Joe Burrow, has taken a step forward this season. As of writing this article, Joe Burrow is sixth in the NFL in passing yards. The addition of Ja’Marr Chase has opened the offense up. Chase is currently second in the NFL in receiving yards despite having 21 fewer receptions than receiving yardage leader Cooper Kupp. Chase is on pace to have an even better rookie season than Justin Jefferson and has more receiving yards than any other wide receiver in their first seven games in NFL history. We are witnessing something special!
3. Kyle Pitts Will Make History
After a somewhat slow start to his rookie campaign, Kyle Pitts has caught fire in the last couple of weeks. In Week 7, Pitts caught 7-of-8 targets for 163 yards and made several spectacular catches along the way. Pitts’ 163 receiving yards are the most by a rookie tight end in a game since 1985. Pitts’ was going rather early in fantasy drafts for a rookie tight end, but it looks like that will pay off for those that took the risk. The concern of Pitts was the history of low production for rookie tight ends and the fact that he would have to have the best season for a rookie tight end ever to live up to his ADP. He is on pace to do just that. So far, Evan Engram has the best fantasy season ever for a rookie tight end, scoring 141.6 points in half-point PPR formats. Pitts is averaging 11.4 points per game, and if we set that to a 16 game pace to compare to Engram, then Pitts is set to score 182.4 points. Pitts has done all of this and has only scored one touchdown so far in 2021. The Falcons utilize Pitts all over the field, and he continues to win routes out wide. Barring any injury, Pitts will make history.
4. D’Andre Swift is Having a Kamara-Esque Season
D’Andre Swift currently has 391 yards receiving through seven games in 2021. If we look at that historically, Swift would be 13th in receiving yards through a season’s first seven games for a running back since 2000. The player who is one spot ahead of Swift on this list is Alvin Kamara, in his 2018 season, when he had 393 receiving yards. While Swift isn’t the best running back between the tackles, he is fantasy gold due to his receiving ability and how the Lions are utilizing him. Being on a bad team doesn’t seem to matter, and it actually benefits Swift in garbage time and comeback situations.
5. Cooper Kupp‘s Historic 7 Game Stretch
I might as well leave a spot in this article every single week for Cooper Kupp. He is continuously dominating and staying in the biggest storylines of each week. In Week 7, Kupp caught 10-of-13 targets for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Kupp has now caught two touchdowns in 4-of-7 games this year. He leads the NFL in receptions (56), receiving yards (809), and receiving touchdowns (9). Historically, Kupp has scored the most PPR fantasy points ever among all wide receivers in the first seven games of a season, scoring 190.4 points. The Rams clearly want Kupp to get the ball, and it’s going to be interesting to see how long this dominance can continue.
6. Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson Continue to Struggle
The Panthers suffered a brutal loss to the New York Giants in Week 7. Sam Darnold is back to his old ways and is playing awful football. Darnold only completed 16-of-25 passing attempts for 111 yards and threw an interception. Darnold’s early-season fantasy success was due to five rushing touchdowns in the first five games. Darnold isn’t the only issue, though, as Robby Anderson has struggled as well. This connection just cannot get anything going. Anderson has only caught 18-of-49 targets, resulting in a 36.7% catch percentage.
7. Zach Ertz is Already Making an Impact
Zach Ertz made his debut for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 and made an immediate impact. Ertz caught 3-of-5 targets for 66 yards and a touchdown. Ertz could have had a more significant day, but there was a play where Ertz and Kyler Murray were not on the same page. Once the chemistry builds up, it’s possible that Ertz can be a viable weekly option for fantasy football for those struggling to fill their tight-end position.
8. Allen Robinson is Droppable
The Bears as a whole have been a nightmare, and that has unfortunately led to a drastic drop in production for the team’s best offensive weapon, Allen Robinson. The debate on whether Robinson is droppable or not now favors more towards that he is. Matt Nagy is on the hot seat and may lose his job any week now. Even if that happens, Justin Fields looks lost and just flat-out bad, so a coaching change may not do anything for Robinson. Fields still has a lot of time to grow and get better, but fantasy managers may not be able to wait for that to happen to have confidence in Robinson. The best thing to do would be to try and trade him to anybody who still believes in him, even if it’s for an injured player that could make an impact later on in the season. If Robinson is just nothing more than a roster clogger and fantasy managers have no luck in trading, then Robinson is droppable.
9. Khalil Herbert is a Good Running Back
The lone bright spot in the Chicago Bears offense recently has been rookie running back Khalil Herbert. Herbert took over as the starter after David Montgomery was injured and Damien Williams was placed on the Covid list. In Week 7, Herbert ran for 100 yards against the Buccaneers’ stout run defense. He also caught 5-of-5 targets for 33 yards. JJ Zachariason pointed out on Twitter that Herbert was just the third running back to rush for 100 yards against the Bucs since the end of the 2018 season. Herbert should be a solid play going forward, at least until Montgomery returns, even with the Bears’ offensive woes.
A side note for those who play in dynasty leagues is that you may want to trade for Herbert, especially when Montgomery returns and Herbert’s value decreases. Herbert looks like a good running back, and there is no guarantee that the Bears will re-sign Montgomery when his contract is up at the end of next season.
10. Mac Jones is the Best Rookie QB So Far
Mac Jones was the fifth quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he is arguably playing the best football out of the quarterbacks selected before him. Jones had the best game of his young career yet in Week 7, throwing for 307 yards and two touchdowns. He seems to be a perfect fit for the Patriots’ offense and should only get better moving forward. Jones’ play is good news for the Patriots’ weapons as well. Jones should also be a strong contender for Rookie of the Year, given the position he plays. If you are in a dynasty league, you may want to check his availability. He should be a long-term starter, and although he doesn’t offer rushing upside like the others, he looks like he will be a legit quarterback.