Week 7 NFL Confidence Plays | Fantasy Football 2021

Life imitates art more often than not. It’s something I’ve learned more and more throughout my time as a writer.

When I write a story, many of the characters concocted have some semblance of a friend or acquaintance. Why? One of the oldest Golden Rules of writing — write what you know. I think I’ve experienced enough throughout my life to craft an endless array of stories. On the flip side, it also helps me help those that I’m closest with. That is both a blessing and a curse.

Sometimes, I find myself trying to help someone that says they want or need help. But actions always speak louder than words.

Someone can tell you that they want your help until they are blue in the face. Then, when that help is presented to them, and they choose not to take it, it’s no longer your problem. That has always been a tough realization for me. I want to help everyone. When my friends hurt, I hurt. I’m empathic that way, and it’s not healthy. At all.

The same becomes true as a fantasy football analyst. We do what we do because we want to help people win their weeks, their league, and as much money in this sport as possible. And that’s awesome. But all too often, people come to us when they’re in the weeds and only paint half the picture for us to be able to save them. And if we can’t, they get mad at us and tell us we suck. Which, sure, is their prerogative. Doesn’t make it hurt any less.

Many of us let it affect us when we’re unable to help someone effectively. We start second-guessing our place here and our process, wondering where we screwed up. It’s okay to have some missteps. We’re human. It’s also okay to understand that not everything is our fault and that we did the best we could with the information given to us.

I’m writing this today because I want people to understand that I will always try to help them. If I make a bad call, I will own it and attempt to do better the next time around. Every relationship is a two-way street. We work in unison to better ourselves and the company we keep.

Last week was another mixed bag of results. I had my best week of Plays, getting 11 of 16 correct. But, on the flip side, I had my worst week of Fades — only six out of 16 correct. Still sitting above .500 on the year, but I can do better.

A quick reminder of what Play and Fade mean: Play simply means players that I love based on matchups and my expectation that they’ll finish with more points than projected. Fade indicates players that I think will underperform their projections/consensus weekly rankings. It doesn’t mean I’m outright benching them, but I’m likely not rushing to put them in any DFS lineups either. Onto Week 7.

Play

QB Ryan Tannehill (TEN) vs. KC – As a consensus top-10 fantasy QB this offseason, Ryan Tannehill has all of one weekly finish inside the Top 20. That’s not good. His QB7 finish in Week 3 against the Colts actually lends some hope to his matchup this week against the Chiefs. See, the Colts have allowed the 8th-most fantasy points per game to QBs on the season. That shows Tannehill can take advantage of a great matchup while regressing to more of a streaming option at QB this year. The Chiefs have allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points to QBs through six weeks, so wheels up in Nashville this weekend!

Other QBs with good matchupsSam Darnold (CAR) at NYG and Matt Ryan (ATL) at MIA

RB Darrell Henderson (LAR) vs. DET – I mean, the Rams play Detroit. We all know Matthew Stafford is likely to be the QB1 this week in a display of ultimate revenge, but don’t sleep on Darrell Henderson. The Lions have been shredded by RBs this year, allowing on average a rushing and a receiving touchdown to them in each game. They’ve allowed two 100-yard games in the last three weeks, and CIN’s Joe Mixon was six yards away from making it three in a row. So Henderson is essentially a must-start at this point when he’s healthy. So sue me for going for an easy win.

RB Miles Sanders (PHI) at LV – If this week isn’t it, it’s just not going to happen. HC Nick Sirianni will have had ten days by the time Sunday’s game rolls around to figure out that Miles Sanders needs to touch the football at least 18 times a game. The Bucs are the best run defense in the league, and Miles Sanders averaged almost 5 yards per carry against them. This year, Las Vegas has allowed the 9th-most rushing yards and average over a touchdown to RBs. All Sirianni has to do is commit to Sanders, but he’s acting like a freshman in college who just wants to play the field and see what else is out there. Grow up, bro. Grow up.

Other RBs with good matchups: Josh Jacobs (LV) vs. PHI, Chuba Hubbard (CAR) at NYG), and Rhamondre Stevenson (NE) vs. NYJ

WR D.J. Moore (CAR) at NYG – D.J. Moore has finished as the WR49 & WR38 in the last two weeks. Considering he was the WR4 overall over the first four weeks of the season, he’s been a letdown these previous two weeks. But all that changes this week against the Giants. The Giants’ defense has given up a whopping 82 points the last two weeks, including 575 yards through the air. They’re giving up the 10th most fantasy points to WRs, and the Panthers are in desperate need of course correction after a 3-0 start that sees them currently on a three-game losing streak. Do you know how you do that without your best player active? You get the ball in the hands of your second-best player. D.J. Moore is going off this week.

WR Jaylen Waddle (MIA) vs. ATL – One of the few bright spots of the putrid Dolphins offense has been rookie receiver, Jaylen Waddle. In dealing with a five-game losing streak and witnessing their defense imitate a kitchen strainer, Miami has had no choice but to throw the football to keep up. Waddle has two of his last four games with 10+ targets and 10+ receptions. He set a career-high in receiving yards in a game last week (70) and scored twice in London. They play a Falcons defense that has allowed 54 points their previous two games and allowed three touchdowns out of the slot. Waddle runs over 70% of his routes from the slot. Waddle should be a solid WR2 this week with upside if Atlanta’s offense gets going and Garbage Time becomes necessary.

Other WRs with good matchups: Brandin Cooks (HOU) at ARI, Darnell Mooney (CHI) at TB, and Marquez Callaway (NO) at SEA

TE Dallas Goedert (PHI) at LV – Zach Ertz was finally traded this past week, leaving Dallas Goedert as the guy at TE in Philadelphia now. Goedert returns from COVID/IR in what should be a juicy matchup against the Raiders. Considering the Raiders practice against one of the best TEs in football every day, it’s shocking that they have allowed the 6th-most fantasy points to TEs. Despite Philly’s woes in play-calling, they have no issue targeting the TE position. A total of 50 targets have gone to Goedert and the now-departed Ertz out of 208 pass attempts. The Raiders have allowed the 2nd-most targets and 2nd-most receptions to TEs this year. Goedert should be an easy top-5 TE this week.

Other TEs with good matchups: Ricky Seals-Jones (WAS) at GB and Cole Kmet (CHI) at TB

Fade

QB Joe Burrow (CIN) at BAL – In a week when four top-10 fantasy QBs are on a bye, it’s probably not wise to fade the QB11 on the year. But in a battle for the top of the AFC North, the young Cincinnati Bengals are going to find out if they are for real. And it all starts with Joe Burrow. With this game in Baltimore, I won’t (and neither should you) be surprised if Joe Burrow tries too hard and the Ravens exert their dominance. Burrow had two turnovers in his first game against the Ravens last year (his 5th career start) and has seven INTs through six games this year. He has only one game over 300 passing yards this year and two with more than two passing TDs. Baltimore has allowed more than two passing TDs only once in 2021. So there’s reason for concern with the young, inexperienced QB in a big divisional matchup. You likely don’t have a better option, but this is a scenario where I’d be trying to build the rest of my roster with maximum upside.

Other QBs with bad matchups: Mac Jones (NE) vs. NYJ and Taylor Heinicke (WAS) at GB

RB Alex Collins/Rashaad Penny (SEA) vs. NO – Against the league’s 2nd-best run defense, what’s worse — starting a guy dealing with a hip injury (Alex Collins) or a guy fresh off of Injured Reserve (Rashaad Penny)? I didn’t expect Collins to have the type of game he had last week against the Steelers, so you may have to start him if he ends up playing out of necessity. But this matchup does nothing to instill confidence in Collins or Penny, whichever of the two does end up starting.

RB Khalil Herbert (CHI) vs. TB – For two consecutive weeks, I’ve been forced to wonder how the hell Khalil Herbert fell to the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The dude has looked great running the football. With Damien Williams still uncertain for Week 7 (he missed Week 6 after being placed on COVID/IR late in the week), it stands to reason Herbert has earned himself a healthy role in the Bears offense while David Montgomery remains out of the lineup. But look, you don’t run on Tampa Bay. They allow the fewest rushing yards per game (54.8) and the 9th-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Tampa has been beaten through the air, allowing the 2nd-most receptions to RBs, and tied for the 3rd-most receiving touchdowns allowed to RBs. With Williams out of the lineup last week, Fields looked to Cole Kmet (5 targets) over the RB position (3 targets). That severely limits Herbert’s ceiling this week.

Other RBs with bad matchups: Elijah Mitchell (SF) vs. IND, Mark Ingram (HOU) at ARI, and Devontae Booker (NYG) vs. CAR

WR D.K. Metcalf (SEA) vs. NO – Does anyone really trust Geno Smith? Fading D.K. Metcalf is never wise, and he did finish as a top-36 WR last week. But Marshon Lattimore has decided 2021 will be a year he actually plays like an elite corner. He’s kept Davante Adams and Terry McLaurin in check, so it’s not out of the question for Smith and the offense to look more towards Tyler Lockett this week to exploit a defense that gives up a lot of chunk plays.

WR Michael Pittman Jr. (IND) at SF – Last week showed that when TY Hilton is on the field, he’s still the lead dog. Pittman had been a target hog to begin the year, with 39 targets between Weeks 2-5. The return of Hilton saw Pittman garner a grand total of three targets. Three! Hilton left last week’s game early, and there’s a chance he misses this week, and we get ten targets for Pittman, and I look like a dumb ass. San Francisco has been middle of the road against WRs and allows only 12.6 receptions a game to WRs. As a result, this could be a game where Carson Wentz and the Colts need to get the RBs and TEs more involved in the passing game. Not a lot of upside for Pittman this week, especially if Hilton is active.

Other WRs with bad matchups: Tee Higgins (CIN) at BAL, Robby Anderson (CAR) at NYG, and Bryan Edwards (LV) vs. PHI

TE Rob Gronkowski (TB) vs. CHI – Look, someone has to land on the Fade list. And while a healthy Gronk is a no-doubt starter no matter the matchup, I’m not sure Gronk is that healthy. Rib injuries get re-injured very easily with just the right hit. That makes Gronk if he’s deemed active, a risky play in my mind. If he’s unable to go, I don’t love O.J. Howard either, seeing as how the Bears have allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points to TEs.

Other TEs with bad matchups: Gerald Everett (SEA) vs. NO and Mo Alie-Cox (IND) at SF

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