We’re only six weeks into the 2022 season, and it’s already become bizarro world for quarterbacks.
Retreads Geno Smith and Marcus Mariota are getting a chance to replace franchise legends – and have the same win-loss record as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. P.J. Walker is the starter in Carolina after two former No. 1 overall picks fought it out in training camp prior to suffering injuries. Jacoby Brissett is holding down the fort in Cleveland.
Cooper Rush is 4-1 replacing Dak Prescott in Dallas. Miami has started three different quarterbacks the last three weeks and all three have been injured. Bailey Zappe is creating a QB controversy in New England. Mitch Trubisky won, lost and then regained his starting job in Pittsburgh. The Trey Lance era was derailed after five quarters.
At a time when franchise quarterbacks are at a premium for fantasy owners, a lot of teams are playing without them – and we’re only a third of the way through the season.
Here is the Week 7 Fantasy Football Market Report:
Fantasy Football Risers
Seattle Seahawks RB Ken Walker – Walker was a chic fantasy pick, because it seemed clear the Seahawks viewed him as the next big thing. However, Rashaad Penny didn’t give up his starting job without a fight. In the first four games, Penny had 49 rushes as opposed to just 15 for Walker. But Penny went down with a season-ending leg injury, and Walker has responded. In the last two games, he has rushed 29 times for 185 yards and two touchdowns and looks to be “the man” moving forward.
Cleveland Browns WR Amari Cooper – Cooper turned in a quiet start with the Browns, catching just three passes for 17 yards in his Cleveland debut. But in the five games since, he has caught 28 passes for 331 yards, has a pair of 100-yard games, and has scored a touchdown in four of those games. He has quickly become the go-to Browns receiver – targeted 19 times more than any other receiver on the team.
New England Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson – The Patriots don’t tend to not stick with the same featured back for long. That may change if Stevenson has anything to say about it. Damien Harris was the leading rusher in each of the Patriots first four games before suffering a hamstring injury in Week 5. In two games since, Stevenson has rushed 44 times for 237 yards and two touchdowns and has looked dominant doing it – staking his claim to be considered for the starting job.
Indianapolis Colts WR Alec Pierce – Pierce was a second-round pick in this year’s draft and was slowly worked into the offense. However, in his last three games, he had 80 and 81 receiving yards in two of them and caught the game-winning touchdown Sunday. He’s still flying a little under the radar, but his role in the Colts offense is clearly expanding.
Arizona Cardinals WR Robbie Anderson – When is it good to get in a dust-up with a coach? When it’s Anderson. Mired in Carolina where things have gone from bad to worse, Anderson found himself in a sideline argument with wide receivers coach Joe Dailey and was traded to the Cardinals Monday. Not only does he get away from the Panthers’ dumpster fire, he comes to an Arizona team that will use him often as a downfield weapon with Marquise Brown (foot) out roughly six weeks.
Fantasy Football Fallers
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers – The two-time defending MVP isn’t going to make it three in a row this year. Over the previous three years (49 games), Rodgers and the Packers had lost just 10 games. They’re 3-3 now and haven’t beaten a team with a record over .500. Rodgers hasn’t thrown more than two TD passes in any outing, has no rushing touchdowns, and is averaging just 234 yards passing a game. It’s hard to bench him in fantasy leagues, but it’s an option.
Los Angeles Rams RB Cam Akers – Akers has butted heads with Sean McVay this season and was a healthy scratch Sunday – listed out for “personal reasons.” The Rams are taking calls for trade offers for the third-year pro. Unlike Robbie Anderson (see above), Akers had a good thing going in Los Angeles with the defending champs. Now, he’s in limbo waiting to pack his bags and move somewhere else with no guarantee he will be in a better situation.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson – Three weeks into the season, Jackson appeared on his way to a second MVP trophy. He had thrown for 749 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 243 yards and two more TDs. In the last three games, Jackson has thrown for 528 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 208 yards with no TDs. While it isn’t a reason for fantasy owners to panic, the Ravens are a team that is difficult to get a handle on, because they can look so good at times and so bad at others inside the same game.
Washington Commanders WR Terry McLaurin – He has been productive – catching more than 150 passes for 2,200 yards over the last two seasons – but it just hasn’t clicked this season. Through six games, he has caught 22 passes for 367 yards, and his only touchdown came in Week 1. He’s one of the few Commanders in fantasy lineup and NFL means “Not For Long” if things don’t change.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris – One of Harris’ prime fantasy selling points is that he’s a one-man show among Steelers running backs. He has almost four times the number of carries (83) than the next guy on the list (Jaylen Warren with 21), but his rushing totals through six games are 23, 49, 56, 74, 20 and 42. A premium fantasy draft pick, he has been a weekly disappointment, and those who chose him likely don’t have adequate depth to bench Harris, which is a worst-case scenario.