Sat Sep 18 9:43am ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
With Week 1 in the books, use some caution with some of the strange things we saw. Green Bay is not that bad, and New Orleans is probably not that good. Houston might have won their only game of the year, and Jacksonville might not win any. So as I look at the best offenses and worst defenses, I’ll still factor last year in some as one game doesn’t give you a good picture. . . . most of the time!
The top passing team this week should be the Los Angeles Chargers at home against Dallas, who were torched by Tom Brady and Tampa Bay last week. Justin Herbert is no Tom Brady (yet!), but should have his way against a weak Dallas secondary. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Jared Cook all have a chance to top the century mark in receiving yardage.
The Atlanta at Tampa Bay game should be a big arial show. Both teams gave up huge passing yards last week, and Tampa reciprocated to win the game. It’s doubtful that Atlanta can hold with them, but they’ll need to get a huge game from Matt Ryan to stay close.
Green Bay gets a great get well card with Detroit coming to visit. While Green Bay should be able to do whatever they want offensively, meaning Aaron Jones could run wild, I expect the Rodgers to Davante Adams show to be the feature attraction.
My other favorite for passing yards based on a bad passing defense is Teddy Bridgewater at home against Jacksonville. If Tyrod Taylor and Houston can dominate the Jags, Denver should light them up at Mile High. With Jerry Jeudy out, look for Tim Patrick, Courtland Sutton and KJ Hamler to have big days.
The tough passing defenses to stay away from if you can this week are Rams (no Carson Wentz), Steelers (no Derek Carr), Broncos (no Trevor Lawrence), Patriots (no Zach Wilson) and Bills (no Tua Tagovailoa).
Christian McCaffery is always the guy you look to be number one, and of course you play him if you have him, but he’s not a good DFS play at his high salary this week going against a Saints defense that contained Aaron Jones last week. As mentioned above, though, Jones could rebound this week and have big numbers against Detroit. The Chiefs gave up a lot of yards to Cleveland last week and are soft against the run. The question is who on Baltimore will get those yards. Lamar Jackson will probably lead the team, but Ty’Son Williams gets a chance for a big day, also.
Minnesota showed it could be run on last week, which means Kyler Murray could challenge Jackson for the most rushing yards from a quarterback this week. Chase Edmonds should lead the Cardinals rushing attack, but he’ll split time with James Conner, making both good, but not great plays.
It doesn’t get any easier this week for Tennessee’s Derrick Henry going against the Seahawks. And don’t expect a repeat performance from Houston’s Mark Ingram at Cleveland. Mike Davis and Atlanta will have tough going at Tampa Bay.
It’s not always finding the defense giving up the most passing yards. Sometimes it’s finding the weak cornerbacks, and staying away from the shutdown corners. Such was the case for Bears’ Allen Robinson with Rams Jalen Ramsey covering him last week. This week should be different for Robinson and Darnell Mooney going against a Bengal secondary that gave up 59 points to wide receivers last week. The Bears secondary wasn’t a whole lot better giving up the fifth most points to wideouts last week, so the Bengals receivers should have good days. Slot receiver Tyler Boyd should fair the best, but Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase will get theirs, too.
As mentioned above, the Lions have no way to stop Packers’ Davante Adams. As bad as the Lions were last week, they lost top defensive back Jeff Okudah, so Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdez-Scantling also could have good fantasy days.
There will be an interesting battle as Arizona takes on Minnesota. Former Cardinal Patrick Peterson tries to shut down former teammate DeAndre Hopkins. AJ Green and Christian Kirk might be the better plays. Odell Beckham Jr will miss the game, opening the door for Donovan Peoples-Jones to have a big day as Jarvis Landry will draw tighter coverage.
It could be tough going for Bills wideouts Stefan Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders as the Dolphins could shut them down. And the Colts Zach Pascal will get shadowed by Rams Jalen Ramsey.
Every week it’s going to be the same five guys - Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, George Kittle, Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson. This week the edge goes to Kelce against the Ravens defense that allowed the third most fantasy points to tight ends in Week 1. He is followed by Hockenson against the Packer defense that was fifth in points allowed. The “sleeper” picks could be Chargers Jared Cook against the Cowboys, a team that allowed the most points (29), or Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert against the 49ers, a team that was fourth in points allowed. A really, really deep sleeper would be Texans Pharaoh Brown or Jordan Akins going against the Browns, a team that was second in points allowed last week, although that probably had more to do going against Travis Kelce. And don’t forget Rob Gronkowski, who is on the same page with Tom Brady right now, going against the Falcons.
The teams that allowed the most points last week were Tennessee (take Seattle), Detroit (take Green Bay), New York Jets (take New England), Tampa Bay (take Atlanta) and Green Bay (take Detroit). So this is where Week 1 stats can be misleading. You don’t want Atlanta or Detroit.
The defenses that scored the most Week 1 were Arizona, San Francisco, Washington, Carolina and Dallas. After all those stats, the team I like the most this week is Denver, playing at Jacksonville against a rookie quarterback and coach. I’m expecting two to three picks, and hopefully one returned for a pick six.
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has struggled with turnovers this season, but he will draw a favorable matchup versus the Tennessee Titans defense in Week 7. For the season, Mahomes has passed for 1,887 yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also has scored one touchdown on the ground. Despite the uptick in interceptions this season, Mahomes faces a Titans defense that is allowing close to 292 yards through the air per game and 12 touchdowns versus four interceptions on the season to QBs. This matchup is projected to be an offensive battle, and there should be plenty of opportunities for Mahomes to put up big numbers. Fantasy managers should continue to roll with Mahomes as a QB1 on Sunday.
New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith has been a dud basically all season long. In fact, Smith has 16 receptions through the first six games of the regular season. Over the last two contests, Smith has three total receptions. Fellow tight end Hunter Henry is getting a majority of the red zone chances right now. Although, Smith does have a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. Sadly, it's tough for fantasy managers to believe he'll actually be trustworthy. He'll be a desperation option for this week and should be avoided in most formats right now.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams rushed for 62 yards with a pair of touchdowns in his first start of the season in Week 6 and will look to carry that momentum into a Week 7 matchup versus the Tennessee Titans. Williams played 72% of the backfield snaps last week with Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee) on injured reserve. The Titans defense has allowed around 88 yards per game on the ground to opposing running backs this season and given up five touchdowns on the year. Williams should remain the workhorse for the Chiefs backfield and should have some opportunities in the red zone with this matchup looking like an offensive shootout on Sunday. Managers should feel confident with Williams as their RB2.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (quadriceps) hasn't practiced this week with a quad injury, but he also sat out of practice several times before Week 6 and suited up and had nine receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. Hill has proven that he doesn't need to practice to play on Sundays, and fantasy managers shouldn't have much fear at the moment of his upcoming status. As long as Hill is in uniform, he will be one of the top options at wide receiver this week against a vulnerable Titans defense. The Titans are allowing 236 yards per game to opposing wide receivers, and Hill should be able to take advantage against a weak secondary for a big day on Sunday. Both the Chiefs and Titans have had poor play from their defenses, and Hill should have plenty of opportunities to do damage in Week 7. If Hill were to miss the contest, wide receivers Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson and Josh Gordon would all see an uptick in playing time, but tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Mecole Hardman would be the top options in the passing game.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman has quietly carved out a nice role as the No. 2 wide receiver for the team and faces a juicy matchup in Week 7 versus the Tennessee Titans. The speedster will face a Titans pass defense that is allowing 236 yards per game to wide receivers this season and that should allow Hardman to have plenty of opportunities to make an impact on Sunday. For the season, Hardman has been serviceable with 26 catches for 261 yards and a touchdown. Star wide receiver Tyreek Hill (quad) has missed practice all week and if he were to miss Sunday's contest, Hardman's stock would rise significantly. Even with Hill on the field, Hardman should be considered a WR3 with upside in Week 7.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (neck) has been a limited participant in practice this week, but is fully expected to suit up for Sunday's matchup versus the Tennessee Titans. The Titans defense has been dismal as a whole this year, but their lone bright spot has been defending the tight end position. Defending against the tight end position, the Titans have only allowed 17 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns through six weeks. Despite their success against the position, Kelce is a different animal and managers should expect another TE1 performance. The Titans defense as a whole is allowing just under 300 yards per game through the air and Kelce should play a big role in what should be one of the higher scoring contests in Week 7.
Washington Football Team wide receivers Curtis Samuel (groin) and Cam Sims (hamstring) have been ruled out for Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers. Right guard Brandon Scherff (knee) will also miss another game. Samuel has been dealing with the same groin issue since June. He made his season debut in Week 4 but aggravated the injury in Week 5 and will now miss his second straight game. Fantasy managers were expecting Samuel to have a big role in Washington's offense in his first year in D.C., but he just hasn't been able to stay healthy. Terry McLaurin and Adam Humphries should continue to serve as the team's top two receivers, with rookie Dyami Brown and DeAndre Carter battling for targets as the No. 3 against Green Bay.
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry is finally coming around and putting together some successful games. He has found the end zone in three straight games heading into this favorable matchup against the New York Jets. A defense that has allowed the tenth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Henry isn't the most reliable option, but is certainly trending in the right direction. Fantasy managers should consider Henry on the low-end TE1 radar for this Week 7 matchup.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has seen 52 targets over the first six games of the season. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones appears to have found a favorite target in Meyers. Thus far, Meyers has hauled in at least four receptions in every game this season. He'll head into a plus matchup against the New York Jets defense in Week 7. A defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. The targets should be there, so Meyers should be a high-end WR3 for this game.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (shin) is listed as questionable for Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers on the final injury report. Gibson missed Wednesday's practice but has gotten in work the last two days, making it likely that he suits up as Washington's primary running back this Sunday. However, it's understandable to be skeptical about his workload after he carried the ball a season-low 10 times for 44 yards in the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The 23-year-old should be considered more of an RB2 this weekend, with pass-catching back J.D. McKissic potentially seeing a healthy amount of touches to spell Gibson in a game where Washington could be forced to play catch-up.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne salvaged his fantasy value last week with a 75-yard touchdown. Sadly, fantasy managers cannot expect Bourne to do this on weekly basis. His fantasy value has been inconsistent this season and that's unlikely to change. Luckily for him, Bourne heads into a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that has struggled to contain anyone this season. Fantasy managers shouldn't get too excited as Bourne is a boom-or-bust deep league option for this contest.
Baltimore Ravens running back Latavius Murray (ankle) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (thigh) didn't practice again on Friday and are unlikely to be available in Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Watkins is set to miss his second straight game. With Murray likely sidelined, the Ravens will likely split the running back touches between veterans Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell, with Ty'Son Williams serving as the No. 3. Freeman and Bell both found the end zone last week, but they will be low-ceiling RB3/flex options in deeper leagues against Cincy. First-round rookie receiver Rashod Bateman caught four of six targets for 29 yards in his season debut in Week 6 and should slowly see his role increase behind Marquise Brown, especially now that Watkins is injured.
New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor has struggled to do much damage since the season opener. In fact, Agholor has three receptions or less in every game since Week 1. He'll get a Jets defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. Despite a favorable matchup, it's unlikely that Agholor succeeds here. He was expected to be the deep threat for this offense, but quarterback Mac Jones rarely takes deep shots. Agholor should be on the bench for this game even with a plus matchup.
The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain expects Chicago Bears rookie running back Khalil Herbert, not Damien Williams, to be the first one off the bench to spell David Montgomery (knee) when he returns from his injury. Herbert has been great in the last two games and has shown plenty of versatility in the backfield. Williams, who remains on the COVID-19 list, could play more of a niche role as a pass-catcher on third downs once this backfield is completely healthy. With both Montgomery and Williams out in Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers, Herbert had 19 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown and added two catches for 15 yards. There's a chance Williams won't be cleared by Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which would make Herbert at least an RB3/flex option for fantasy managers again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (lung, ribs) are out for the Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears. Neither player has practiced all week. The Bucs will also be without linebacker Lavonte David (ankle) and cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring). With Brown out, Mike Davis and Chris Godwin will have higher ceilings against Chicago, with Tyler Johnson likely stepping into the No. 3 receiver role for quarterback Tom Brady. Gronk will miss his fourth straight game. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate will continue to split the tight end snaps in his absence. Howard had six catches for 49 yards and his first touchdown in Week 6 and is the better touchdown-dependent TE2 bye-week filler this weekend.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf), who missed practice on Thursday, will return to practice on Friday, according to head coach Joe Judge. Engram apparently suffered a setback on Thursday, but it doesn't appear to be too serious, and he should have a decent chance at playing on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The 27-year-old has only 14 catches on 21 targets for 127 yards and no touchdowns through four games this year, but he could be one of the top targets against Carolina with wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (ankle) likely out and with Sterling Shepard (hamstring) suffering a setback on Thursday. With bye weeks hitting fantasy managers hard in Week 8, Engram has low-end TE1 appeal as a streamer if he's active.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson has seen an increased role in the offense over the last two weeks. The loss of James White (hip) has opened up more chances for Stevenson. Sadly, he hasn't seen much success on the ground with only 23 yards in each of the last two games. Luckily for Stevenson, he'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that has struggled to stop any back all season long. There isn't much upside here because Damien Harris is healthy and should get a bulk of the carries. Stevenson should be viewed as a deep league desperation option here.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has only produced two multi-touchdown games through the first six games of the season. The rookie quarterback has not exceeded 275 passing yards in a single game since the season opener. Despite that, Jones will get an excellent matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. There isn't a ton of fantasy value here, but Jones could have some streaming appeal for QB needy fantasy managers in Week 7.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (illness) said on his Twitter account that his body continues to reject any food he eats as he tries to get past a bout of food poisoning that had him questionable to play last Monday night in Week 6. Brown didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and could draw another questionable tag in Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs. It's been a rough week for the 24-year-old, and he looked to be under the weather in the first half of Monday's game before exploding for seven catches on nine targets for 91 yards in the second half. We ultimately expect him to play this Sunday in an excellent matchup against the Chiefs. As long as Brown is active, he needs to remain in all fantasy lineups.
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris is coming off his best rushing performance of the season. Last week, Harris rushed for 101 yards on 18 carries and found the end zone for the second straight week. The hope is that he'll be able to carry that momentum into the Week 7 matchup with the New York Jets. A defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Fantasy managers should feel comfortable with Harris as a RB2 for this week.