As if this season hasn’t been wild enough, while writing this week’s article, Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers! Wow! The 49ers traded away four picks in total, ranging from the 2nd to a 5th rounder. My initial reaction is that, obviously, McCaffrey’s value goes up. But, also, this 49er backfield, which has suffered a ton of injuries over the last 5-6 years, is now in line to receive one of the more injury-riddled running backs of the last three seasons. I truly wish CMC and his fantasy managers all the luck in the world. I am excited to see how this one turns out.
For my Confidence Plays this week, it is simple; I have got to be better. Last week I went 1-6 on the PLAYS and 5-1 on the FADES. A .500 record won’t cut it. I will be better, and we will get this ship turned around.
As I will do every week for this article, I am using the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings to bring you, players, in ranges where the start/sit conundrums exist. Your RB2, WR3, and FLEX positions. Here are the ranges in which I will try to live when writing this column each week:
QB ECR: 10-20 | RB ECR: 20-40 | WR ECR: 20-40 | TE ECR: 10-20
With that, I will bring you my confidence plays and fades for this week. Again, my goal here is to give you plays and fades beyond just your obvious studs & duds. Good luck!
Week 7 Fantasy Football Start Em, Sit Em
QB Tua Tagovailoa ECR QB#11, vs PIT
Tua may be the most intriguing player for me this season. I admit I was a skeptic coming into 2022. But after he tossed six touchdowns in Week 2 on his way to over 50 points in fantasy, I was all in on Tua, his wide receivers, and this offense coached by Mike McDaniel. What’s happened since then? Only back-to-back concussions by Tua on a short week and him not seeing the field since Week 4. This is a risky spot coming back from injury, but I trust the system, I trust his stud wide receivers, and I love the matchup. Pittsburgh is allowing the seventh-most points to quarterbacks in fantasy.
RB Travis Etienne ECR RB#23, vs NYG
Etienne now has 10 or more carries in three of his last four games and 10+ PPR fantasy points in those contests as well. He is doing that while sharing the backfield with James Robinson, but Etienne has been more efficient. Etienne has yet to be used as the receiver we imagined he could be and therefore has not hit his ceiling quite yet. This should be the week. The Giants have surrendered just under 13 half-PPR points to lead running backs over the last three weeks on average. Etienne is in a solid spot to produce.
RB Melvin Gordon ECR RB#32, vs NYJ
The most tweeted one-liner this week? How could Melvin Gordon steal touches from Javonte Williams and yet cede touches to Latavius Murray? Gordon appeared to be benched on Monday night and only saw three touches in the Broncos’ loss to the Chargers. He followed that up by liking tweets about being traded or being better than Latavius Murray. So how on Earth can I suggest that you start him?
Well, on Tuesday, after head coach Nathaniel Hackett said he and Gordon had a great talk, Hackett named him the Week 7 starter. I know this is a risky suggestion for a “confidence play,” but I am all in on Melvin this week. Call it a “squeaky wheel” narrative or the fact that the Broncos will need to lean on the run with Russ dinged up and facing a tough Jets secondary, but I am in on Melvin this week.
WR Brandon Aiyuk ECR WR#23 vs KC
Aiyuk seems to be warming up, as he has consistently seen more snaps than Deebo every week now. He is also coming off his best game of the season, racking up 11 targets and catching eight of them for 83 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Falcons. Pair all of that with the Chiefs allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers in 2022, and Aiyuk is a strong start in Week 7.
WR Terry McLaurin ECR WR#26 vs GB
As much as this sounds wild, I think we have come full circle on Taylor Heinicke being better for Terry McLaurin than Carson Wentz, even though we spent all offseason saying the opposite. Last season McLaurin was the WR25 in most formats. He caught over 75 balls and gained over 1050 yards. More importantly to my Week 7 take, with Heinicke at QB last year, McLaurin averaged over 7.5 targets per game. This year he is averaging just around six. Last season against this same Green Bay secondary, McLaurin, with Heinicke as his QB, caught 7 of 12 targets for 122 receiving yards and a touchdown. This may be the last time, but I am doubling down on Scary Terry during spooky season.
TE Pat Freiermuth ECR TE#12 at MIA
As I write this, Friermuth has been cleared from the concussion protocol. He returns to an offense in which he has seen seven or more targets in three of his four full games. He also comes back into a plus matchup against a Dolphins defense that has allowed the 11th-most points to the tight end position this season. I am trusting Pat this week.
If you’re looking for a few more players you can throw in your DFS lineups, check out Austin’s DFS Academy!
QB Trevor Lawrence ECR QB#12, vs NYG
For me, this is pretty straightforward. The Giants are 5-1 and have had chaotic games every single week. They have an improved defense run by Wink Martindale that has hurt opposing quarterbacks in fantasy football. Trevor Lawrence has been good against bottom-half defense but poor against top-half units this year. While I do agree that T-Law is a solid streaming option week to week, this is not his spot.
RB Najee Harris ECR RB#20, at MIA
If you roster Najee Harris, you certainly don’t need me telling you that he has not performed up to expectations. The narrative coming into last week was that he was “fully healthy” and removing the metal plate from inside his shoe. Even after ditching the extra weight, Harris only saw 69 (nice!) percent of the snaps last week and only managed 3 yards per carry. Miami also projects as the big favorite at home, and I could see Najee getting scripted out of this one. Beware of starting Harris this week.
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire ECR RB#22, at SF
Regression has finally come rearing its ugly head for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He has failed to exceed 50% snap share in any game this season and now has failed to break seven PPR fantasy points in back-to-back games. Additionally, San Francisco is the toughest matchup to face in all of fantasy for opposing running backs. CEH is in for a long day, and so are you if you consider starting him in Week 7.
WR Curtis Samuel ECR WR#30 vs GB
Curtis was one of my favorite waiver wire adds in so many of my leagues this year. He started incredibly hot, garnering 30 targets, catching 22 of them for 181 yards and two scores in his first three contests. Since then? Samuel has averaged just 38.5 receiving yards and has yet to hit pay dirt since Week 2. I think the big plays are going to be limited for Washington, and as I said above, I firmly believe it will be Terry McLaurin who benefits from what little production this passing attack has.
WR Jerry Jeudy ECR WR#31 vs NYJ
Jerry Jeudy is one of the hardest wide receivers to trust this week in fantasy football. Not only is the matchup a bit daunting with the Baby Jets cornerbacks playing so well, but Jeudy’s quarterback is struggling and nursing shoulder and hamstring injuries as well as a bruised ego. Jeudy has yet to catch more than four balls in any game this season and only has over three receptions twice. You can do better than Jeudy this week.
TE Mike Gesicki ECR TE#16 vs PIT
This is your friendly reminder that you do not get Mike Gesicki’s points from the last two weeks, so don’t chase them! Gesicki has failed to reach five points or more in PPR formats in four of the five previous games before last week against the Vikings. The matchup is not ideal, even with Tua returning. The Steelers’ defense can stop the tight end but nothing else. Mike Gesicki will crash back down to Earth this week.
Good luck this week. If you need some advice replacing some of Travy’s Fades, we have Ryan’s Streams of the Week to help you get that Week 7 win!