What a weekend. The Jets lost to the Bills, who did not score a touchdown during the game. Meanwhile the Falcons choked another fourth-quarter lead. But such is life in the NFL.
Game of the week:
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals (34-37)
Someone must’ve made Tyler Lockett mad, because Seattle’s true No. 1 receiver had a fantasy game for the ages. His 15 reception, 200-yard game included three scores on a whopping 19 targets. It was the 14th best PPR performance by a wide receiver ever. Naturally this came courtesy of another solid outing by Russell Wilson, who threw for three touchdowns and 388 yards. He did uncharacteristically throw three interceptions, including a terrible one in the red zone that should have resulted in a pick-six if not for the tremendous effort by D.K. Metcalf.
Speaking of Metcalf, it was a quiet night by his standards. It comes with the territory when it comes to deep threats like Metcalf where more often than not, thanks to Wilson, these misses don’t happen. Lockett won’t go for 200 yards each week and a long would-be game winning touchdown was called back on a questionable holding call. Keep firing him up.
On the other side Kyler Murray was nothing short of spectacular. He took full advantage of a vulnerable Seattle defense by throwing for 360 yards and three touchdowns. More notably for those who watched the game, Murray ran the ball a season-high 14 times for 67 yards and a rushing score, a beautiful baseline that raises the floor and smashes the ceiling. He’s a top three option the rest of the way. Meanwhile Christian Kirk kept his momentum going as the opposing threat in the offense, reeling in two touchdowns on his five receptions. Play him by matchups still, but it looks like it could come together for the third year wideout.
DeAndre Hopkins did his thing. Nothing more to be said — he is just solid week-in and week-out. The backfields of both these teams will be covered a bit more below.
Player of the week
Cole Beasley (11 receptions, 112 yards)
Obviously, Lockett deserves this honor, but he already got his bit. So instead this prestigious award goes to the most underappreciated player in fantasy football — Beasley, who is currently a WR2 in all formats. He saw his highest snap count of the season this past week (82%) and delivered. He won’t shock you with a big play but death by a thousand cuts will get the job done. Beasley has seen six targets or more in every game but one — the one where he left with a foot injury. John Brown is currently missing time (knee) and Stefon Diggs got knocked around over the past couple weeks. One thing is for sure — Beasley is a reliable fantasy option every week in fantasy.
Bust of the week
Chase Claypool (1 reception, -2 yards and a fumble)
That fumble was not lost but if you play in certain formats (looking at you Sleeper), Claypool finished with a laughable -0.7 fantasy points. The dud came with the return of Diontae Johnson who, when healthy, relegated Claypool to the boom bust WR3/4 he was. Johnson did suffer an ankle injury and Claypool becomes a must-start should he miss time, but while Johnson is on the field Claypool cannot be considered a serious fantasy option. It’s worth noting that the Titans treated him as the No. 1 receiver and had Malcom Butler follow the rookie around. It comes with the territory when you play as well as you have.
Storyline to watch
How does Antonio Brown impact the fantasy options in Tampa Bay?
Hell, the storyline could be “How long does Brown last in Tampa Bay,” but I digress.
Conventional thinking would lead you to believe that an outside threat like Brown would threaten Mike Evans’ role while also siphoning volume from Chris Godwin. We know how Brown operates and he will need his targets to stay happy. We also know that Tom Brady loves Brown and was likely the sole reason he’s wearing Buccaneers colors. However, will Brown be a fantasy option himself or just a real-life asset? How much more inconsistent can Evans really be? Will the Buccaneers start utilizing three-wide receiver sets more often? Watching snap counts this weekend will be a must as Tampa Bay squares off in New York against the 1-6 Giants.
Andy Dalton (concussion)
Dalton has not gotten off on the right foot with the Cowboys and Washington’s Jon Bostic was not going to make it any easier. The linebacker delivered a dirty hit to Dalton that left him concussed, the first of his career. It puts Dalton against the clock to clear protocol prior to Sunday’s tilt against Philadelphia, a game I’d expect him to miss. In his stead seventh-round rookie Ben DeNucci or former Panther Garrett Gilbert will make the start, which hurts all fantasy options.
Kenyan Drake (ankle)
Hope you sold high last week against Dallas, because Drake is set to miss some time after slightly tearing a ligament in his ankle. The team is treating it like a high-ankle sprain, meaning the timeline should be around three-to-four weeks. The Cardinals will be on bye in Week 8, but Chase Edmonds is a must-start for as long as Drake is sidelined.
Chris Carson (foot)
The Seattle running back suffered a midfoot sprain and is currently week-to-week, although Carson will do his best to avoid time. He’s a tough player that has played through injuries before, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he suits up in an important divisional tilt against San Francisco. However, expectations should be for the bruiser to miss this week at the minimum, which sets up Carlos Hyde for fantasy success. It’s worth noting that Hyde is dealing with hamstring issues himself that likely sidelined him for the last few drives, and backup Travis Homer picked up a knee contusion in Sunday’s game. Should EVERYONE miss time, fourth-round rookie DeeJay Dallas will handle the brunt of the work as #LetRussCook continues.
Jeff Wilson (ankle)
The 49ers running back had a huge game against the Patriots, scoring three rushing touchdowns against a defense that had only allowed one the entire year. But Wilson is set to miss time with a high ankle sprain. As mentioned, it should be a three-to-four-week timetable that could linger beyond. He is set to join starter Raheem Mostert on the IR. In his stead, Jerick McKinnon, Tevin Coleman (who will likely return next week from his knee sprain) and JaMycal Hasty will lead the way in a game of “Guess what Shanahan is thinking.”
Devonta Freeman (ankle)
The severity isn’t clear, but the veteran did not return to the game after suffering the injury in the third quarter. The Giants won’t practice until Thursday as they play on Monday, so this is a situation to watch. Should Freeman miss time, Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis will combine for one of the worst duos in the league.
Phillip Lindsay (concussion)
As with any concussion, time will tell. Lindsay is, at the very least, questionable for Sunday’s game against the Chargers. The undrafted star has been great when he’s on the field, although he’s only appeared in three games this season. Melvin Gordon will be a must-start in a revenge game against Los Angeles.
Odell Beckham Jr. (ACL)
Absolutely devastating. Beckham tore his ACL while making a tackle on a Baker Mayfield interception — you could not make this up. Beckham will miss the rest of the season. Rashard Higgins will step into the deep-threat role Beckham held, although rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones will certainly factor in. The former is the one to target on the waiver wire.
Deebo Samuel (hamstring)
Samuel’s injury history is piling up from his time at college, and it might be time to start considering selling in dynasty formats. But for short term prospects Samuel is set to miss Week 8 and should be considered very questionable for Week 9. Brandon Aiyuk becomes a WR2/FLEX option while every other wide receiver should still be off the fantasy radar.
DeSean Jackson (ankle)
A whole bunch of high ankle sprains plagued the league in Week 7 but at least Jackson’s injury has a clear decision attached to him — let him go. In all formats Jackson should be dropped unless you have an open IR spot that won’t be used. The 33-year-old wide receiver has failed to show any sort of dominance we have come to expect from Jackson and it’s unlikely that he will put it together anytime soon. Jackson will likely be released by the Eagles in the offseason as the franchise is up against the salary cap.
Allen Robinson (concussion)
With any concussion, time will tell. Officials forced Robinson off the field after a helmet-to-helmet hit and Robinson did not return, which could have simply been due to the score that left the Bears with little chance of winning. As such, Robinson has not officially entered the league’s concussion protocol yet. Watch out.
Tim Patrick (hamstring)
The Broncos wide receiver is day-to-day with a hamstring injury. It’s something to monitor after a string of good games from Patrick, who has stepped up in lieu of Courtland Sutton’s torn ACL. Should Patrick miss time, first-round rookie Jerry Jeudy’s volume should be more secure.
Chris Godwin (finger)
Godwin apparently fractured his finger. Who knew? With that in mind Godwin is set to miss next week against the Giants, but could still return in Week 10. Time will tell. In the meantime, Brown and Evans will serve as go-to options with Scotty Miller manning the slot. Consider him a DFS flier after a blow-up game.
N’Keal Harry (head)
Nothing went right for the Patriots. Harry’s injury makes him a drop candidate in redrafts, even if the issue isn’t severe. The quarterback play just has not been good enough and Harry has yet to show a true glimpse of what made him a first-round pick in 2019. Damiere Byrd becomes an interesting name to target if Harry is out.
Diontae Johnson (ankle)
It’s a minor ankle sprain, something Johnson should be able to play through or recover from before Sunday’s game. But given Johnson’s inability to stay healthy this season it is worth noting down, especially when it is directly tied to Claypool’s value. If Johnson is healthy, he is worth a play as the No. 1 receiver in Pittsburgh (he is, don’t look at me like that) even against a stout Ravens defense.
A final trio of quick hitters
- Le’Veon Bell’s debut was solid, if unspectacular. Expectations should’ve been tempered out of the gate but as I’ve mentioned, this is still Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s backfield. That will not change as long as the rookie is playing as well as he has.
- Offensive Rookie of the Year will be one of the closer races in recent years between Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow. Both have played extremely well but only one can come away with the award. Burrow may have had the early advantage, but Herbert’s deep throws are really something to be excited about.
- The trade deadline is nearing. Losing teams are looking to sell. Evan Engram is one I’ve seen floated around in trade talks, who would certainly benefit from a change of scenery.