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2017 Fantasy Football: Week 7 Fire or Flop

Which fantasy football players are likely to catch fire, and which ones might flop during Week 7?

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This is the Week 7 “Fire or Flop” series, highlighting my favorite and not-so favorite fantasy football plays of the week. I am not going to mention elite players because you will usually be starting them every week anyways (Def/ST, the exception). I will list five players from each position group (excluding K) that I feel good about each week, followed by others that I don’t. As always, my thoughts are with PPR in mind.


QUARTERBACK

FIRE

Dak Prescott @ San Francisco 49ersFantasy’s QB7 gets a matchup with the fantasy Def/ST that gives up the seventh-most fantasy points per game (19.70) to QB’s. With Ezekiel Elliott fending off his suspension another couple of weeks, Dallas’ offense is at full strength.

Matt Ryan @ New England PatriotsThis Super Bowl rematch should be a great fantasy game for both teams. Matty Ice is already going to be as determined as ever, and New England gives up the most FPPG (25.03) to QB’s.

Marcus Mariota @ Cleveland BrownsMariota is back, and after throwing for over 300 yards against the Colts on Monday Night Football in Week 6, he gets the lowly Browns in Week 7. Cleveland gives up the second-most FPPG (21.19) to QB’s. Another reason I really like Mariota is that he got WR Eric Decker very involved for the first time this year last week against the Colts. Decker put up season highs in catches (7), targets (9) and yards (88).

Alex Smith @ Oakland Raiders — “The Alex Smith Show” continues this week in an intra-division rivalry. Smith has had at least 18.0 fantasy points in every game this year, and he has hit 30.0 points three times.

Jared Goff vs. Arizona CardinalsI don’t think Goff will light up the stat sheet this week but I do think that he’ll have a productive day against Arizona. For starters, the Cardinals give up the fifth-most FPPG (20.47) to QB’s, and Goff has done well in good matchups this year. In games against the Colts, 49ers and Cowboys, Goff averages 24.04 FPPG. Having a strong run game to lean on and a handful of good pass-catchers will do him well.

FLOP

Ben Roethlisberger vs. Cincinnati BengalsDid you know that Big Ben has only surpassed 20.0 fantasy points once this year? He’s also only gone over 300 yards once — not even in the same week as the 20.0-point game. He’s not a fantasy QB you can rely on right now, especially against Cincinnati’s seventh-ranked Def/ST against QB’s (13.72 FPPG).

Eli Manning vs. Seattle SeahawksI’ll give Eli credit for getting the win in Denver last week, but he only had 11.0 fantasy points in the process. The Giants will probably need to try and bust up Seattle with the run like they did with the Broncos last week if they’re going to win. The Giants are just too banged-up at WR to count on Eli right now.


RUNNING BACK

FIRE

Mark Ingram @ Green Bay PackersIt makes total sense for the Saints to be in control of this game, and that means a strong ground game with Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The Packers give up the eighth-most (20.33) FPPG to RB’s, and now that Adrian Peterson is gone, that’s more shares for Ingram and Kamara.

Jay Ajayi vs. New York JetsUntil Week 6, it had been since Week 2 that Ajayi had a big game. With 130 yards against the Falcons last Sunday, the Dolphins might finally be getting Ajayi going again. This week, they get the Jets and their sixth-worst Def/ST against RB’s (21.45 FPPG). The Jets stifled Ajayi and Miami when they played in Week 3. The Dolphins know that they can’t let that happen again.

James White vs. Atlanta FalconsWhen the Patriots beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl eight months ago, White had a ridiculous 14 catches for 110 yards and 1 TD. Overall, he had 20 touches for 139 yards and 3 TD. New England knows that White is a huge weapon in moving the sticks — it’s why he averages 5.5 catches per game this year. Through Weeks 1-4, the Falcons allowed RB’s to catch 6.8 passes per game. I feel really good about this matchup.

Joe Mixon @ Pittsburgh SteelersSince the Bengals ditched their offensive coordinator and made Mixon the lead back in Week 3, he averages 19.0 touches for 66.7 yards per game. The Bengals are coming off of their bye week, and I would be very surprised if they don’t have a plan to attack Pittsburgh’s fifth-worst Def/ST against RB’s (21.58 FPPG) with Mixon.

Tevin Coleman @ New England Patriots — The Patriots give up the fourth-most FPPG (22.12) to RB’s, so I expect a heavy dose of both Devonta Freeman and Coleman on Sunday night. Coleman is giving fantasy owners something every week, averaging 11.2 FPPG.

FLOP

Mike Gillislee vs. Atlanta Falcons — Gillislee’s production has been a bummer lately. Falling behind in the pecking order to White and Dion Lewis, Gillislee is averaging just 3.9 FPPG over the last four weeks. Primarily looked at as the Patriots’ goal line and short-yardage back, he hasn’t scored since Week 2.


WIDE RECEIVER

FIRE

Dez Bryant @ San Francisco 49ers — Very rarely do I list Bryant as a “fire” option, but I definitely feel that way this week. Five different WR’s have scored 6 total TD’s against the 49ers, and although he didn’t score, TY Hilton put up 177 yards against them. Hilton is one of four WR’s to have a 100-yard game against them. Overall, San Francisco gives up the 11th-most FPPG (22.63) to WR’s. With the exception of Week 3 (2 targets and he still scored a TD), Bryant is being targeted 11.5 times per game.

Chris Hogan vs. Atlanta Falcons — The running theme in this game is offense, offense, offense. Hogan got blasted in the ribs last week and therefore only caught 1 pass, but before that, he’d scored 5 TD’s from Week 2-5. Tom Brady is also targeting Hogan 6.8 times per game. If Hogan plays, he’s a good fantasy option this week.

Michael Crabtree vs. Kansas City ChiefsWith Derek Carr back under center, it was business as usual for Crabtree, catching 6-of-10 targets for 52 yards and 1 TD. Kansas City gives up the second-most FPPG (28.12) to WR’s, and we all know that Amari Cooper hasn’t been doing well.

Davante Adams vs. New Orleans SaintsThe loss of Aaron Rodgers will obviously affect all of Green Bay’s offensive players from a fantasy perspective, but if they do their jobs, then Brett Hundley will have good players to throw to. Adams was targeted by Hundley 10 times last week and caught a TD. I don’t want to completely cast Green Bay’s WR’s aside yet.

Rishard Matthews @ Cleveland Browns — Matthews hasn’t been super productive so far this year, but who on Tennessee’s offense has? Matthews gets a good matchup this week against Cleveland, who is surrendering 19.93 FPPG to WR’s. To be honest, this is more of a pick that I just have a good feeling about than anything else.

FLOP

T.Y. Hilton vs. Jacksonville JaguarsHilton has been feast in good matchups (total of 14 catches on 19 targets for 330 yards and 1 TD against CLE and SF) and famine in bad ones (total of 6 catches on 13 targets for 87 yards and 0 TD against LAR and SEA). There were also two other good matchups where he didn’t do much, totaling 5 catches on 9 targets for 68 yards and 0 TD against ARI and TEN. This is an awful matchup, as Jacksonville gives up the second-fewest FPPG (13.53) to WR’s.


TIGHT END

FIRE

Jimmy Graham @ New York GiantsA good rule of thumb is to start most TE’s against the Giants Def/ST. They give up 13.87 FPPG to the position, most in the league. Graham has gotten more involved in the Seattle offense the last few weeks, totaling 17 catches on 25 targets for 170 yards and 1 TD.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins @ Miami DolphinsSeferian-Jenkins has done well in all four games this year. He is averaging 5.8 catches (7.3 targets) for 38.0 yards and has scored a TD each of the last two weeks. He’s becoming a must-start.

Evan Engram vs. Seattle Seahawks — Just a rookie going into his seventh game, Engram is already fantasy’s TE5. He’s averaging 4.0 catches (6.8 targets) for 47.0 yards and has scored 2 TD. With the Giants’ WR group depleted by injury, Engram is becoming the focal point of New York’s passing game.

Hunter Henry vs. Denver BroncosIt looks like the Chargers are working out the kinks in terms of getting Henry the ball. He had 0 targets in Weeks 1 and 3, but he averaged 10.83 FPPG in the other four games. The Broncos give up the sixth-most FPPG (10.26) to TE’s.

George Kittle vs. Dallas Cowboys — Kittle has been a pleasant surprise, and a favorite of 49ers QB’s. In the last two weeks, he has 11 catches (17 targets) for 129 yards and 1 TD. Steve Andress of 4-for-4 Football also had a great stat this week, stating that Rob Gronkowski is the only NFL TE with more red-zone targets than Kittle.

FLOP

Benjamin Watson @ Minnesota VikingsI’m just grossed out by the Ravens offense at this point. Even though Watson has been one of their only consistent performers this year (4.8 catches on 5.8 targets for 35.2 yards and 1 total TD in the last five weeks), I don’t see it going well against this athletic group of Vikings LB’s and S’s this week.


DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

FIRE

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis ColtsJacksonville’s defense leads the league in sacks (23), takeaways (16) and defensive TD’s (4). The Colts offense has been sacked the fourth-most (19), has the sixth-most turnovers (9) and are tied for the most turnovers returned for TD’s (4).

Seattle Seahawks @ New York Giants — Whether it comes in sacks and takeaways, yards and points allowed or a combination of all of it, the Seahawks Def/ST is a really good play this week. The Giants are ranked 23rd in YPG (316.3), 29th in PPG (17.5) and have an even TO differential. Things aren’t in their favor this week.

Carolina Panthers @ Chicago BearsWhile Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky has played well for a rookie since becoming the starter two weeks ago, he is showing more flash plays than playing 60 minutes of clean football. So far, he has thrown 1 interception and has fumbled 3 times. He’s also completing just 48.8% of his passes and averaging 120.5 passing YPG. Advantage: Carolina.

Buffalo Bills vs. Tampa Bay BuccaneersWhile Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston (shoulder) is probably going to play this week, this is a bad matchup. The Bills Def/ST hasn’t scored less than 9.0 fantasy points yet this year, and that includes a 17.0-point game against the Falcons.

New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers — Hundley will obviously be better-prepared this week than he was last week when he tossed 3 interceptions, but the Saints Def/ST has been on one lately. They forced Matthew Stafford into a complete and utter meltdown last week, sacking him 5 times, forcing 5 takeaways and returning three for TD’s. In the two games prior, the Saints Def/ST scored an average of 18.5 FPPG. Even if Hundley’s not a mess, New Orleans can force him into mistakes.

FLOP

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders — This Raiders offense isn’t going to be this bland forever, is it? In general, Carr takes care of the ball decently well (4 TO’s so far) and completes a high percentage of passes (68.3%). This should be a pretty good game, and I don’t see Kansas City smothering the Raiders.

Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams A matchup against Goff and Todd Gurley isn’t great for the Cardinals. On average, Def/ST’s score the fourth-fewest FPPG (4.50) when facing the Rams. The Cardinals Def/ST is near the bottom in FPPG against QB’s (28th), WR’s (30th) and TE’s (23rd).


Have any fantasy football questions? Jake puts out a fantasy Q&A video on Facebook Live every week where he answers your questions. Drop him your questions on his Facebook page here.