How has the start of the season treated you? Regardless of your record, this year has been more chaotic than any other. Week 7 will present its own set of challenges. Whether you’re looking to stay undefeated, jockeying for position in the fantasy playoff race, or fighting back after a rough start, this column is for you. Let’s take a look at some players flying under the radar who are sneaky starts in Week 7 (please note, all players below are currently starting in fewer than 20% of leagues):
Joe Burrow (QB - CIN)
Touchdowns have been tough to come by over the last couple of weeks for Burrow, who had zero combined passing touchdowns and two picks against the Ravens and Colts on the road. However, he salvaged his fantasy day with a rushing touchdown in Week 6 and returns home to face off against the Browns this week. Cleveland is a slightly favorable matchup for fantasy quarterbacks and Burrow should have the opportunity to throw for 300 yards for the fifth time in his last six games. The issue won’t be his passing yards, but how many touchdowns he scores. Burrow averaged 2.25 per game (passing and rushing) over his first four starts before getting just one total in his last two. Burrow threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns the last time these two teams met and the Browns are allowing 2.17 passing touchdowns per game as a defense. Home cooking should help Burrow get back on track. If he throws two touchdowns, he’ll be a QB1 in Week 7.
Latavius Murray (RB - NO)
The same logic applies here as it did leading into Week 4 when Murray made this “Sneaky Starts” list. Murray sees plenty of weekly action alongside Alvin Kamara, and in elite matchups, he can spike into startable territory. He had a huge game in Detroit in Week 4 and has another great matchup against the Panthers at home this week. The Panthers are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season, and both Murray and Kamara should feast. To put it simply, Murray is averaging 11.6 touches per game this season and the Panthers are allowing 1.11 PPR fantasy points per touch to running backs this season. That math comes out to 12.9 fantasy points for Murray if all the averages hold. You could do a whole lot worse.
J.D. McKissic (RB - WSH)
We’re almost there... almost to the point where McKissic isn’t eligible for this list anymore. Maybe McKissic will be starting in more than 20% of leagues and rostered in more than half after yet another potential double-digit performance in Week 7. McKissic continues to have a significant role alongside rookie Antonio Gibson in Washington’s backfield. He had 14 touches last week and is averaging 9.2 per game over the last five weeks. He’s averaging 11.63 fantasy points per game over the last three weeks, and I’m not exactly worried about the Dallas defense containing anybody. McKissic is a great full-PPR fill-in back for bye weeks and injuries and needs to be rostered in far more leagues.
Justin Jackson (RB - LAC)
I don’t think Jackson’s Week 5 performance was a fluke, so don’t forget about him coming off a bye. Jackson looked far more explosive than rookie Joshua Kelley two weeks ago against the Saints, and performed fairly admirably as a fill-in at times over the last couple of seasons when Melvin Gordon sat out. The Jaguars have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, and seem to get gashed each week. Sure, Jackson will lose some touches to Kelley, but don’t be surprised if Jackson outsnaps and out-touches the rookie for the second game in a row on Sunday. Jackson is a top-30 running back this week.
Adam Humphries (WR - TEN)
The matchup against the Steelers isn’t great, but Humphries continues to be productive whenever he’s been on the field this season. He’s averaging 13.3 fantasy points per game this season, which is right in the middle of a grouping that includes D.J. Moore, Cooper Kupp, and DeVante Parker. With so much of Pittsburgh’s focus on the phenomenal A.J. Brown and returning Corey Davis, Humphries should be able to own the middle of the field—especially with Jonnu Smith likely out. He’s failed to score double-digit fantasy points in only one of his four games this season. He’s a low-end WR3 this week.
Mike Williams (WR - LAC)
Only rostered in about half of leagues, this is a reminder to get Williams either on your team or potentially in a flex spot this week. He’s coming off a season-best five-catch, 109-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Saints and has a better matchup this week coming out of a bye against the Jaguars. The two touchdowns aren’t likely to repeat this week, but five catches for 100-plus yards are very much in Williams’ wheelhouse. Like Humphries, Williams is a WR3 this week and should be considered for a flex spot.
Christian Kirk (WR - ARI)
Kirk and Kyler Murray are starting to develop some more chemistry this season, and there’s no better matchup for the duo to have this week. The Cardinals host a Seahawks team giving up an average of 59.6 fantasy points per game to receivers this season, a whopping 12.2 points more PER GAME than the next worst defense (Minnesota). Murray should be able to sling it all over the field, and Kirk is averaging 15.4 fantasy points and one touchdown per game over the last three weeks since returning from injury. He is very much in WR3 consideration this week and could pop for another 20-plus point game.
John Brown (WR - BUF)
Hear me out. Brown has been banged up and just put up a goose egg on Monday night. But before his ailments, he was a big part of Buffalo’s offense in Weeks 1 and 2 and dating back to last season. The Bills also play the Jets this week. Everything about this matchup feels like a get-right game for Buffalo and I think Josh Allen and Co. put on a show. There’s risk here, but Brown had 6/70/1 on 10 targets against New York in Week 1 and it’s not far-fetched to believe he can do it again in Week 7.
Darren Fells (TE - HOU)
When you’re bargain bin hunting for tight ends, the only question you should ask yourself is what are the odds of that player scoring a touchdown. With three touchdowns in his last five games, Fells gives you as good of a chance to hit paydirt as any widely available tight end. He had a season-high six catches on seven targets last week, and while that’s not what I’m predicting this Sunday, he’s worth a dart throw to see if one of his 2-3 catches will be in the end zone. The Packers struggled to contain Rob Gronkowski last week and weren’t anything special against Hayden Hurst the week before their bye. Fells is worth a look if you’re desperate.
Albert Okwuegbunam (TE - DEN)
Okwuegbunam is a complete dart throw, but there’s some logic behind it. You can read all about Drew Lock’s connection with the tight end dating back to college, and how the two could have a goal-to-go connection moving forward here. Okwuegbunam got six targets in his first career game, catching two passes for 45 yards. If Noah Fant is out or limited, I would not be shocked to see Lock and Okwuegbunam hook up a handful of times in this game, and maybe once in the end zone.