Welcome to Week 7’s start/sit column. Each week throughout the regular season, I will go over a few players at each major position and tell you whether you should make room in your lineup for them or pull them out of a starting spot. Players labeled “starts” are non-obvious options that either have a good matchup or are trending in the right direction, ranking higher for me than consensus this week. Players labeled “sits” are ones I have concerns about leading into the week but are in a significant amount starting lineups. This article is most helpful for those in full- or half-point PPR leagues.
As always, you should make the final call on all of your lineup decisions. This column is intended to be a piece of your research puzzle and/or a resource to highlight some specific names that may have been overlooked in my weekly rankings. Remember, the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Minnesota Vikings are on bye this week.
Without further ado, here is Start/Sit for Week 7:
START: Justin Herbert (QB - LAC)
Herbert has been sensational since taking over for Tyrod Taylor as the Chargers’ starting quarterback—both in real life and in fantasy. In his four starts, three of them have featured at least 22 fantasy points. On a per-game basis, he’s the QB8 this season. This week, he gets a juicy matchup against the Jaguars at home, a defense that ranks in the bottom 10 in the league in points allowed to fantasy quarterbacks this season. Herbert is averaging more than 35 passes per game this season. If he’s anywhere close to that against Jacksonville, he’ll return the same top-eight quarterback value in Week 7 that he’s provided fantasy managers so far in totality.
START: Ryan Tannehill (QB - TEN)
FInding a second quarterback “start” this week was tough because I try to avoid (as much as possible) unhelpful advice. You know to start Matthew Stafford against the worst-ranked defense in the NFL against fantasy quarterbacks (Atlanta). Tom Brady has a good matchup, but he started in nearly two-thirds of leagues last week, so you’re probably cool just rolling with him again. I settled on Tannehill here because he’s still available in 34% of leagues and has a tough matchup with the Steelers on tap that could scare some away. While he’s certainly not a must-start, he’s still ranked as a top-10 quarterback for me this week. Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, and even Jeff Driskel found some success against the Pittsburgh defense and Tannehill is playing at a higher level than all of them this season. He has all his wide receiver weapons healthy, is playing at home, and is averaging more than 24 fantasy points per game over the last month. I wouldn’t run away from him this week.
SIT: Jared Goff (QB - LAR)
There’s no team worse for fantasy quarterbacks to play this season than the Bears. Chicago is allowing a paltry 12.5 fantasy points per game to the position in 2020, nearly a full point less than the next closest team (Indianapolis). Goff has been pretty boom or bust this season, with three games with 24 or more fantasy points and three games with fewer than 15 points. This feels like a game that will fall in the latter category. The Rams’ offense has been a bit sluggish at home in two contests this season and didn’t look all that great in San Francisco in prime time in Week 6. There’s no need to force the issue here, as Goff barely cracks my top 20 quarterbacks for Week 7.
START: D’Andre Swift/Adrian Peterson (RBs - DET)
Was Swift’s career-best day against the Jaguars truly his breakout performance that launches him into RB2 territory for the rest of the season? His fantasy managers certainly hope so. There’s no doubt that the rookie looked like a far more explosive runner in Week 6 compared to veteran Adrian Peterson and now the duo gets to match up against the worst defense in football. The Falcons are better against the run simply because they’re the absolute worst against the pass, but they still rank in the bottom half of the league at defending fantasy running backs. I expect Swift and Peterson to both have starter-caliber performances, with a little extra emphasis on Swift to see if he can follow up his big day—and because he’ll be involved as a pass-catcher. Start everyone against Atlanta for the duration of 2020 and you’ll probably be OK.
START: James White (RB - NE)
Tragic life events and an early-season bye have some forgetting about White. But in his three games played this season, White’s 12.1 fantasy points per game rank No. 31 in the NFL among running backs. He’s averaging 7.5 catches and 14.1 FPPG over his last two games and will continue to have a featured role this week against San Francisco. White has played the majority of the Patriots’ offensive snaps in each of the last two games since his return and is proving to be a reliable check-down option for Cam Newton, who isn’t pushing the ball downfield. In full-PPR leagues, White is a reliable flex play who deserves RB2 consideration this week given bye weeks and injuries at the position.
SIT: Devonta Freeman (RB - NYG)
Freeman still barely cracks my top 30 running backs this week, but given the landscape at the position, you likely have at least one (if not two or three) wide receivers you like more in your flex spot this week. Freeman has been getting a ton of work on the ground—averaging more than 15 carries per game over the last three weeks—but his receiving game work has taken a recent dip and I have a strange feeling Thursday night’s game against the Eagles might be another 20-snap Dion Lewis game. The Eagles aren’t bad against the run, so you’ll likely need a touchdown or 4-5 receptions in order to get to double-digit points this week. I don’t love the odds of either happening on Thursday.
START: CeeDee Lamb (WR - DAL)
Why does Lamb make this column? Well, if you spent some time on Twitter Monday night, you saw more than a few people wondering if they should bench, trade, or even cut Lamb after how bad the Cowboys offense looked for most of their game against Arizona. Lamb ended up with 13.4 fantasy points on 10 targets when it was all said and done, but if you turned off the game in the third quarter, you might be worried about what to do this week—especially with that red “2nd” next to Lamb’s name in the matchup column. Washington has been surprisingly stingy to fantasy wide receivers (and quarterbacks) this season despite allowing 27.0 points per game. However, I’m not buying that they can stop all of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Lamb in Week 7, even with Andy Dalton at quarterback. Lamb’s upside isn’t as high as it was under Dak Prescott, but he’s still getting a ton of targets and will be a more-than-effective WR2 this week and moving forward.
START: Travis Fulgham (WR - PHI)
So remember the part above in the Freeman section about you likely having a receiver on your bench you like more? Fulgham is one of those options. The Eagles host the Giants on Thursday Night Football—the team allowing the 12th-most points to fantasy wide receivers this season. And where are all the Eagles’ targets going to go? To Fulgham, who led the team in targets in each of the past two weeks and should only continue to gobble them up with Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders both out for this matchup. Fulgham has scored three straight weeks and has a very good chance to keep that streak alive. Forget about not knowing who this guy was four weeks ago… get him in your lineup. Seriously, who else is Carson Wentz going to throw the ball to? Richard Rodgers?
SIT: Henry Ruggs III (WR - LV)
Ruggs had a monster game returning from injury two weeks ago before Las Vegas’ bye, but I really don’t like the matchup here. Tampa Bay’s defense is playing at an elite level and Ruggs has averaged fewer than four targets per game in the three games he’s played this season. While his skill set dictates that he doesn’t need a lot of targets in order to be highly productive, this isn’t the matchup to put that to the test. He can break one on any play, but there will be better weeks to take that chance. He’s not among my top-40 wide receivers this week.
START: T.J. Hockenson (TE - DET)
The hype around Hockenson is far, far more subdued this season compared to last. Despite being ranked as a TE1 last week, he was starting in fewer than half of leagues. That needs to change in dramatic fashion this week, as he’s a top-five play against the Falcons in Week 7. The Falcons allow the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season, and Hockenson has scored in three of his five games. You’d like to see more than the five targets per game he’s been averaging, but he should have no issues getting open in this matchup, nor should the Lions have any issues getting into the red zone—and subsequently targeting Hockenson. That’s obviously a great combination.
SIT: Anthony Firkser (TE - TEN)
Frisker had a monster performance after Jonnu Smith went down last week, catching eight passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. However, given his matchup with the Steelers this week—a team allowing just 8.8 fantasy points per game to the tight end position—I’m not sure I’d be running out to pick him up and start him. Tannehill has leaned on his tight ends fairly frequently in Tennessee, but he’ll also have all three of his top wide receivers active for only the second time this season. While possible, I wouldn’t count on Firkser having a major role in Week 7.