Week 7 fantasy football start 'em or sit 'em

Start

Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants (vs. ARI)

This one couldn’t be any easier — Engram is your No. 1 no-brainer must-start play of the week. He leads all tight ends in expected fantasy points per game (15.6) and targets per game (9.6), and ranks third in fantasy points per game (16.6). Meanwhile, Arizona has given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends — a staggering 24.7, 6.6 more than the next-closest defense, and more than twice as much as the league average rate. There are only seven instances of a tight end reaching at least 25.0 fantasy points in any game this year, and Arizona has been responsible for four of them. Engram should be the next tight end to join that list.

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA)

Allen averages 24.8 fantasy points per game across his last 11 games. For perspective, Patrick Mahomes averages 23.8 over that same span. If we exclude Allen’s two games against New England over this stretch, he’s hit at least 19.0 fantasy points each week, averaging 27.0 fantasy points per game. He’s also especially beat up on bad defenses throughout his career, averaging 29.2 fantasy points per game across five career games against bottom-10 fantasy defenses. In all other games, he averages just 16.5 fantasy points per game. This week, he gets a matchup that couldn’t be any better, especially for him. Miami ranks dead-last in fantasy points allowed per dropback, opposing passer rating, and pressure rate.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (@ CIN)

Among running backs, Fournette ranks second in snaps (365), third in carries (115), and sixth in targets (35). He ranks second among all players in XFP per game (18.7), but just ninth in actual fantasy points per game (18.2). This is partly due to a tough schedule to start the year, and with unideal gamescript, but that should begin to change, and starting with this week’s matchup against the Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, and by a wide margin (47% more than the league average rate). They rank third-worst in yards allowed per carry (5.06), and second-worst in both rushing and receiving fantasy points allowed. As 3.0-point favorites in a dream matchup, Fournette should be valued as a top-three option this week.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts (vs. HOU)


Hilton comes out of the bye fully healthy and ranking eighth in fantasy points per game (17.8). In 15 career games against Houston, Hilton averages a staggering 103.2 yards and 19.6 fantasy points per game. The odds look good for a similar type of performance this week. Houston is giving up the second-most fantasy points to right wide receivers and the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers on short passes. That’s ideal for Hilton, who primarily lines up to Jacoby Brissett’s right and has scored 63% of his fantasy points on short passes.

Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots (@ NYJ)

Quietly, Edelman is seeing high-end WR1 volume, ranking fifth among wide receivers in XFP per game (16.9). With Rex Burkhead, Josh Gordon, and Phillip Dorsett all banged up, volume should be good again this week, and given the matchup, he should be able to do a lot with it. The Jets rank bottom-seven in schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game allowed to WR1s. They rank bottom-seven in fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers on short passes. And they rank bottom-10 in fantasy points per game allowed to slot wide receivers. When Edelman played the Jets in Week 3, he saw 10 targets and totaled 19.2 fantasy points, and in just two quarters of action (before exiting with an injury).


Sit

Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Everything about this matchup is brutal for Anderson. New England’s secondary has seen the most deep passes this year, but they’ve allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points on deep passes. Keep in mind, 44% of Anderson’s fantasy points have come on deep passes. Per our WR/CB matchup chart, Anderson will also draw shadow coverage from potentially the league’s best cornerback — Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore has helped hold Anderson under 25 yards in each of their last four meetings. He’s an easy bench this week.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings (@ DET)

Through the first four weeks of the season, Cousins averaged 11.3 fantasy points per game. Over the last two weeks, he averages 24.4 fantasy points per game. This week, against the Lions, I’d expect a performance closer in line to what we saw from him to start the season. Detroit ranks 12th-best in schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, but they rank eighth-worst in yards allowed per carry. This smells like another Dalvin Cook game.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears (vs. NO)

If Montgomery couldn’t get it done against Washington or Oakland, there’s little reason to think he can do much of anything this week. Montgomery ranks just 37th in fantasy points per game (10.1), and third-worst in yards per carry (3.26). Meanwhile, for the second-straight season, the Saints rank top-six in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs.

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