The start of week 7 puts us slightly under halfway through the fantasy regular season. It’s usually at this point in the fantasy season that you need to take a long, hard look at your squad and what kind of goals are realistic for you. Obviously, those in keeper/dynasty leagues will be approaching this view differently than those in redraft. In redraft, if you are sitting on four or five losses already, you need to be perfect from here on out. Your playoffs start this week because if you lose, that might be it for your fantasy year. As such, you can’t afford to wait on potential. You need the maximum amount of points every single week and if that means that you need to cut someone you are high on because that potential hasn’t materialized into what you had thought, then you need to make that move for surer points in your lineup. Those sitting on three or four wins are doing ok but you can’t take your foot off of the gas. Keep scouring the waiver wire for help to bolster your roster to stay on the same path. Finally, those fortunate enough to be sitting on five or six wins are in very good shape. Don’t think that because you are 5-1 or 6-0 that you shouldn’t make any moves at all. In my opinion, utilize your bench in trade offers to weaker teams who are desperate to shake something up. Targeting an injured player scheduled to return later in the year or a player with a better schedule down the stretch are moves that could bring you closer to a championship.
Week 7 sees another four teams on bye with Carolina, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh all receiving the week off. Make adjustments accordingly.
It was a pretty good showing for recommendations from last week’s column. AJ Johnson led the way with 9 total tackles and 1.5 sacks on 87% usage in Denver’s shutout win over the Titans. Troy Reeder was very good with 10 total tackles for the Rams in a losing effort against the 49ers. I don’t feel great about his continued usage though as he only received 62% of the snaps. Devin White returned to the Buccaneers’ lineup in London against the Panthers. He scored 9 total tackles to lead his team while playing every snap but one. I’d be comfortable rolling him out on a weekly basis after that showing. The Chiefs recommendations I had were a mild disappointment. Damien Wilson and Ben Niemann both had the highest usage of Chiefs’ linebackers at 87% and 98% respectively and their statlines of 5 and 6 total tackles aren’t awful but I had hoped for a better score than what I got. Darron Lee factored into 8 total tackles on 49% usage, frustrating owners that got some Chiefs into their lineup.
Rashaan Evans / Wesley Woodyard TEN LB – 3-4 ILB Value: LB2 – LB3
Jayon Brown owners endured a single solo tackle statline against the Broncos on Sunday as the third year pro out of UCLA played only three snaps before leaving the game with a groin injury. Wesley Woodyard came off of the bench in fulltime capacity and logged a respectable 6 total tackles and a sack. Second year pro Rashaan Evans also saw his snaps elevated to fulltime and responded with 10 total tackles. If Brown cannot go in week 7 against the Chargers, I’m looking to get Evans into my lineup in shallow leagues and I’m picking up Woodyard in deeper leagues. Evans has more appeal in tackle-heavy leagues whereas Woodyard has historically carried some big play appeal. Woodyard’s relegation to a reserve role in the first few weeks of the season should see his ownership levels very low. On top of that, the Chargers have allowed an average of 25.3 fantasy points per game to non-rush linebackers who play fulltime snaps.
Najee Goode JAC LB – 4-3 WLB Value: LB3 – flex
Career special teamer Najee Goode had only 79 total defensive tackles over his seven plus years in the NFL prior to this week but he drew the start at weakside linebacker for the Jaguars over rookie Quincy Williams against the Saints. Goode turned that opportunity into 6 total tackles, a PD and a sack on 95% usage. The Bengals in week 7 are not a great matchup for Goode and the Jaguars truth be told but any fulltime linebacker is worth an add. I don’t think that Goode holds this job forever as the Jaguars are very unlikely to give up on a third round pick that they knew would need a little work but for now, Goode is the starter. He is a LB3/flex play for you if the matchup is good.
Alec Ogletree / David Mayo NYG LB Value: LB2 – LB3
Alec Ogletree returned from a hamstring injury on Thursday against the Patriots after missing the Giants’ two previous games. Ogletree played every snap but one and logged 12 total tackles along with a sack. Both he and week 5 recommendation David Mayo looked pretty good for a large portion of that game against the Patriots. Mayo had another great game with 12 total tackles and a half sack on 71% usage. The Cardinals face the Giants in week 7 and have been a surprisingly positive matchup for opposing linebackers, averaging 27.8 fantasy points per game to non-rush fulltime linebackers in the 2019 season. If Ogletree can stay healthy, he remains an excellent option in tackle-heavy and balanced leagues. Mayo would be a matchup dependent option as he is likely to be between 60-90% usage with Ogletree assuming a fulltime role.
Defensive Lineman Plays
Sack hunters will be pleased with Matt Ioannidis‘ one sack performance on 64% usage but most fantasy owners hoped for a couple tackles to go along with it against the Dolphins. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Jonathan Allen was the big producer in that game with 3 total tackles, 2 sacks and a PD on 49% usage. Jonathan Bullard logged two tackles on 55% snaps which was far from expectations but then again, that game against the Falcons didn’t really go according to expectations either. Finding startable defensive linemen at this stage of the fantasy season becomes incredibly difficult.
Jerry Hughes BUF DE – 4-3 DE Value: DL1 – DL2
Jerry Hughes got out of the gate well against the Bengals with 1.5 sacks but hasn’t logged a sack since. Hughes is a high volume defensive end with a history of decent sack production against opponents with weaker pass protection. Well, the Dolphins are the third most sacked team in the league with an average of 4.6 sacks given up per game. I don’t think that the Bills will be contributing to lower the average in week 7 either. The game is in Buffalo and the Bills are coming off of a bye week. This one might be ugly. Hughes is the most fantasy worthy defensive lineman that the Bills have so I’m starting him in all formats. Ed Oliver is a darkhorse play that I might be able to talk myself into in DT-required leagues but otherwise, I’m probably sticking with Hughes over Shaq Lawson and Trent Murphy.
Josh Allen / Yannick Ngakoue JAC DE – 4-3 DE Value: DL1 – DL2
At just under 4 sacks per game, the Bengals pass protection woes are alomst as bad as the Dolphins. Jacksonville is a touch team to protect your quarterback against if you do have decent pass protection much less the line that Cincinnati has fielded much of this year. Calais Campbell is an obvious play but is unlikely to be available in most formats. But rookie Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue might be. Allen is coming around with his third sack this year coming in week 6. His usage has between 58% and 92% in every game this year. Ngakoue logged his first two sacks of the year against the Panthers a couple weeks ago. His usage has been between 65% and 89% all year. While neither are a sure bet, I like both of them for an owner who is fishing for big plays.
Defensive Back Plays
It was a bit of a rough week for defensive back recommendations this week. Deionte Thompson was not intended to be an impact player this week. His 2 solo tackles on 52% usage against the Falcons isn’t very inspiring as he still continues to split snaps with Jalen Thompson but I expect him to win that job fulltime soon enough. Houston safeties were very hit and miss. Tashaun Gipson was a great option with 5 total tackles and an interception against the Chiefs on fulltime usage. Justin Reid also played every snap but only managed 2 total tackles which is a bit of a head-scratcher given the how the game played out. Jahleel Addae‘s usage was cut drastically as the Texans played much more base defense than I would have expected.
Reshad Jones MIA S – 4-3 SS Value: DB1 – DB2
After last year being the odd man out in a three safety rotation with TJ McDonald and Minkah Fitzpatrick, Reshad Jones finds himself as the sole survivor in Miami. Jones has a storied history of DB1 production in IDP circles so it is a bit odd having him as a recommendation in a free agent report but here we are. Jones’ start to the season was spotted with Fitzpatrick getting top billing for safety time, then an ankle injury sidelined him for a few games. But in Jones’ last two contests, he has amassed 17 total tackles and a PD. Between the injury and his low volumes of snaps previous to Fitzpatrick’s trade, Jones is unowned in more IDP leagues than he should be. Miami is going to see plenty of runs against in the near future and Jones will be in on many of those tackles. Grab him and start him. He is almost matchup proof as long as he stays healthy and gets the snap count.
Taylor Rapp LAR S – 3-4 SS Value: DB1 – DB2
Every down strong safety John Johnson left the Rams’ week 6 game against the 49ers with a shoulder injury and didn’t return. 2019 second round pick Taylor Rapp out of Washington has seen the field in three safety packages but hasn’t been fantasy relevant thus far given his usage. If Johnson cannot go on Sunday against the Falcons, then Rapp would likely assume a fulltime role with all of the opportunity afforded to a Rams strong safety. The Falcons have been one of the best matchups for opposing safeties so far in 2019 so the matchup doesn’t get much better either. This recommendation also assumes that Eric Weddle is already owned. If that isn’t the case, then grab Weddle and start him as well.
Clayton Geathers IND S – 4-3 SS Value: DB2 – DB3
After getting the week off to recuperate from a concussion that kept him out of week 5 against the Chiefs, Clayton Geathers has cleared protocol and figures to get into the lineup against the Texans in week 7. Geathers has played above 80% of the snaps in every game that he has been healthy in. The Texans have afforded 13.8 fantasy points per game to opposing strong safeties on average in 2019. Geathers has a plus matchup this week and should be good to go. Plug him in if you are struggling with injuries or bye weeks.