Welcome back for your Studs and Duds Week 7 edition!
Last week, on the TFA Podcast, we brought up the subject of whether or not the NFL was boring this year. Initial reactions were “absolutely not” all around, but as we begin to think about the quarterback match-ups we’ve seen so far, maybe boring isn’t all that far off. The NFL viewership has been down a significant amount this year, and perhaps there is something to the fact that we’re in the midst of one of the most polarizing elections we’ve seen in this country in years.
I blame it on the quarterbacks.
We’ve seen guys like Cody Kessler, Trevor Siemian, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Jacoby Brissett, Paxton Lynch and Drew Stanton start games, with Geno Smith and Landry Jones set to make their debuts this week. More-so, household names like Carson Palmer, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck have been either struggling personally, or dealing with poor situations around them. The loss of Peyton Manning to retirement certainly doesn’t help either.
This sport is built around the quarterback position, so is it really a surprise that numbers are down with this motley crew of starters and the struggles of the elite? Probably not, but I sure do hate to think of the NFL losing it’s popularity. It’s more important than ever for the young guys like Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott and future draft picks to succeed and make sure the NFL maintains it’s popularity. Fantasy football is an escape for many of us, and while I doubt the NFL will be going away anytime soon, the fact that it’s declining in any way is troubling news to me.
What do you think is behind the NFL’s viewership struggles this year?
Hit me up on Twitter (@the1andonlypz) or come chat about it during the TFA GAMEDAY Podcast this Sunday morning from 11:30AM EST to kickoff! You can even get your lineup questions answered if you’re so inclined.
Call of the Week: Week 6
The tight end position may be the hardest nut to crack when it comes to recommending stud options for this article. When Lance Kendricks pulled in that touchdown to solidify my pick last week, I let out a monster cheer! It wasn’t an amazing game by any means, but given the state of the position, a touchdown is really all you can hope for if you don’t have a weekly stud like Gronkowski or Olsen.
Fail of the Week: Week 6
How about all 3 Quarterback Stud options? I fell into the match-up heaven trap and came away empty. Carson Palmer looks older with each passing game, Russell Wilson needs a gps to find the endzone and Alex Smith wasn’t even needed with the running game dominating the whole way through. I’ll try my best to do better this week :).
Without further ado, let’s get into my studs and duds week 7 edition!
Bye Week: Cowboys, Panthers
Kirk Cousins vs. Detroit Lions
The Lions defense has allowed 20+ fantasy points to every QB they’ve faced (in leagues that reward 6 pts for touchdowns), including a 35 point performance to Case Keenum last week. I thought Cousins would struggle last week against the Eagles, and he came out with his fourth 20+ point performance of the year. I like his chances of making it to that mark again this week.
Andy Dalton vs. Cleveland Browns
The Browns defense has been awful, but in the past two weeks, they’ve been worst than awful. They’ve allowed two straight 30+ point performances and Andy Dalton is coming off two of his hottest starts of the year. I hate to continuously pick on the Browns, but Dalton is poised to light them up. Fire him up if you own him.
Marcus Mariota vs. Indianapolis Colts
Back to back 30 point performances and now a match-up vs. a Colts defensive unit that’s allowed Brian Hoyer, Blake Bortles and Brock Osweiler to score 20+ over the past three weeks. Mariota is on fire, and with his schedule of the next few weeks (Jax, SD, GB, Ind) he’s more than a one week play, he’s a must-start going forward.
Carson Wentz vs. Minnesota Vikings
A brutal game last week against a surprisingly tough Redskins defense, followed up by an even tougher match-up vs. the Vikings elite defense. Things certainly aren’t getting any easier for the rookie, and with that, he’s taken off the streaming option list, at least for now.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Buffalo Bills
Despite an impressive win last week vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tannehill still wasn’t a huge fantasy performer. In fact, in the last three weeks, he’s scored just 10 points or less. This week, he gets a Buffalo Bills unit that’s been on fire over the past four weeks, leading their unit to a 4-0 record while allowing just 1 passing touchdown to 6 interceptions.
Matthew Stafford vs. Washington Redskins
This is a tough call for me, since Stafford has been on fire and the Redskins defense, while stout, hasn’t faced an elite signal caller since Roethlisberger in week 1. Even so, Stafford is extremely streaky, and the Redskins are red hot, having not allowed multiple passing touchdowns since week 1.
Running Back Studs
Jamaal Charles/Spencer Ware vs. New Orleans Saints
With the return of Jamaal Charles it’s been tough to decide which RB is worthy of a starting spot. Last week, both of them had solid games, with Spencer Ware coming out on top. This week, both should be safe to start again. The Saints run defense has been atrocious, letting up four 20+ point performances (ppr) over their last three games! The Falcons Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman both scored 30! Big game ahead for these two studs.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
I initially had James White here, but with the loss of Roethlisberger I find it much more likely that the Patriots go up early and pound the ball the rest of the game with Blount. It’s not like it’s a stretch anyways, Blount has scored in all but 1 game this year, and the Steelers defense just gave up 200 yards to Jay Ajayi.
Christine Michael vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are the 5th best against opposing backs in fantasy football. So, why do I have Michael as a stud? Despite their overall success, the Cardinals defense has been susceptible to big games, with LeGarrette Blount, Todd Gurley, LeSean McCoy and Carlos Hyde all having double digit fantasy performances. Plus, Michael’s been an absolute work horse for Seattle, seeing 18+ carries in each of his last three games, and turning those into three 20+ point performances in PPR leagues.
Running Back Duds
Knile Davis vs. Chicago Bears
This was a huge trade for the Packers, especially with the news that Eddie Lacy was put on IR. Davis is a serviceable runner for sure, and while I love his season long potential in Green Bay, I hate his match-up this week vs. the Chicago Bears surprisingly stout defense. Plus, he was just traded Tuesday and is in line for a huge work-load just two days later. I’m not sure I’m taking that gamble just yet.
DeAndre Washington vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding this kid, with some fantasy experts going so far as to say he’d take the job over from Murray. So far, all I see is an over-hyped back who couldn’t get it done vs. the Chargers or the Chiefs, and now gets a much tougher match-up vs. a Jaguars unit that’s giving up the 12th fewest fantasy points to RB’s this year (ppr).
Frank Gore vs. Tennessee Titans
After a great start to the season, Gore see’s a brutal uptick to his schedule in two of the next three weeks. This week he’s facing off with a Titans run defense that’s allowed just two rushers over 50 yards this year (DeAndre Washington 57 yards week 3 & Lamar Miller 82 yards week 4) and just three total touchdowns. While he’s been playing much better this season than last, for sure, I’m still not ready to anoint him an every week must-start.
Wide Receiver Studs
Mike Wallace vs. New York Jets
He’s never been the most efficient receiver, and that trend continues this year. However, in ppr formats, he’s been better than expected, with just one game under 10 fantasy points. This weeks match-up vs. a Jets unit that’s imploding and his positive track record vs. Revis make throwing him in the lineup easier than usual.
Pierre Garcon vs. Detroit Lions
He’s been the most targeted receiver over the past three weeks for the Redskins, and with Jordan Reed out last week, he got fed the rock even more. He jumped from seven targets in week 5, to eleven in week 6. With Reed expected to be out again, and a juicy match-up vs. a Lions defense that just got torched by Kenny Britt to the tune of 136 yards and 2 touchdowns, I’m loving my chances for a big day from Garcon.
Cameron Meredith vs. Green Bay Packers
Our own Kevin Steele came out and said he thought Meredith would be much more than a 1-hit wonder, and so far, he’s nailed it! Following up his 9/12 for 130 yards and a score with an 11/15 for 113 yards is exactly what owners were hoping for! This week’s match-up vs. a struggling Packers team could see him post his third straight 100 yard game as they’ve allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing WR’s this season.
Wide Receiver Duds
Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Washington Redskins
Well, that DE-escalated quickly. Over the first three weeks of the season we were looking at Marvin Jones as a possible runaway candidate for the top receiver spot in fantasy. Just three weeks later, he’s come crashing back down to earth. With just 18 targets compared to 29 over the first three weeks, it seems the Lions offense is finding new ways to get other players involved, leaving Jones owners a little worse off and a whole lot of worried. This weeks match-up doesn’t get any easier, as they face off with a Redskins defense that’s currently giving up the 8th fewest points to opposing receivers, including zero touchdowns to receivers over the past two weeks.
Michael Floyd vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks defense certainly looked exposed last week vs. the Falcons, giving up two touchdowns to opposing receivers for the first time this year, after only allowing one total touchdown in their four games prior. The Cardinals passing attack, not quite the same story. They’ve struggled, with David Johnson being their lone offensive bright spot in their recent success. Floyd himself is seemingly being phased out, receiving just 5 targets over the past two games, pulling in 2 receptions for 22 yards and a score. I think the Seahawks come into this game hungry, looking to bounce back from an embarrassing week 6. That spells trouble for Floyd.
DeAndre Hopkins vs. Denver Broncos
Certainly never thought I’d have Hopkins on this list as a dud, of all things. Osweiler just isn’t getting it done, and the Broncos defense is. If you think that Broncos defensive unit doesn’t want to get after him, you’re crazy. Hopkins has been heavily targeted this year, with 57 targets on the season already, but that’s amounted to just 31 receptions for 354 yards and 3 scores. That’s WR2 status. I think the Broncos defense gets after Brock, giving him little time to throw and completely shutting down this passing game this week.
Tight End Studs
Gary Barnidge vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Nice to see the Browns on the other side of the coin here! This may seem reactionary to the Bengals defense getting shredded by the Patriots TE’s last week, and I’ll admit, that definitely has something to do with it. However, Barnidge has quietly put up solid fantasy numbers and has received less than 5 targets just once, back in week 1. He’s yet to see the endzone though, which makes this week’s match-up vs a Bengals unit that’s allowed 4 touchdowns to TE’s this year so enticing.
Cameron Brate vs. San Francisco 49ers
Vincent Jackson has been put on IR, opening up opportunities for youngsters Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries to get more involved. Brate suffered from a down week just before the bye, probably leading to heavy drop numbers last week. The two games prior to that, he pulled in 10 of 18 targets for over 100 yards and 2 scores. The 49ers have allowed 4 double digit fantasy performances to TE’s this year (ppr) and are looking like a nice match-up for a guy who’s likely on your free agent wire.
Coby Fleener vs. Kansas City Chiefs
It looks like the Saints are doing everything in their power to get Fleener the ball, even giving him a rushing TD! While the Chiefs defense looks like it’s been stout vs. the TE, the numbers are a bit deceiving. The best TE they’ve faced this year was Antonio Gates in week 1, and since then? Stephen Anderson, Braedon Bowman, Jesse James and Clive Walford. With the Saints showing more faith in him and his rapport with Brees growing, I love Fleener to continue producing this week.
Tight End Duds
Julius Thomas vs. Oakland Raiders
Kevin picked the Raiders D/ST as a surprise start this week on the Podcast, and part of me agrees. The Jaguars offense has looked horrendous, and while the Raiders defense is certainly susceptible to big performances from opposing TE’s, I dont’ have any faith in Bortles getting it done this week. Thomas hasn’t done much since blowing up in the first two weeks either, pulling in just 4 of 9 targets for 41 yards in his last two starts.
Zach Ertz vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing TE and overall have been rock solid against the position. Greg Olsen enjoyed the best performance against them, with 6 receptions for 64 yards back in week 3. Ertz hasn’t been very involved since coming back either, receiving just six targets the past two weeks. He pulled in 5 of them for just 59 yards.
Zach Miller vs. Green Bay Packers
It’s impossible to sit Miller this week, especially considering how little TE options there are. He could find it tough to get anything going this week vs. a Packers defense has been pretty solid against the position. They’ve allowed just 6 receptions for 79 yards over their last two games and haven’t allowed a score to the position since week 2.
That’s all for your Studs and Duds Week 7 edition!
Whether you agree or disagree, reach out on Twitter @the1andonlypz and let’s discuss! As always, enjoy another week of great football action, and best of luck to you in your fantasy match-ups!