Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: All you need to know to win in Week 7

  • Fantasy football, baseball and college basketball contributor.
  • Author of book, “Yes, It’s Hot in Here.”

So much changes from week to week around the NFL, and we’re here to make sure you’re on top of it all heading into Week 7 of the 2022 NFL season.

The weekly fantasy football cheat sheet provides a rundown of the best tips from all the fantasy football content that ESPN has posted over the past seven days. You’ll find answers to the biggest start/sit questions of the week and other pertinent matchup advice from our team, including Field Yates, Mike Clay, Eric Karabell, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Matt Bowen, Seth Walder, Al Zeidenfeld, Eric Moody, Liz Loza, Daniel Dopp, DJ Gallo and ESPN Insiders Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, plus all of NFL Nation. It’s all the best advice in one handy article.

Here’s what our experts are saying about Week 7 in the NFL:

Fallout from the Christian McCaffrey trade

In a move that seemingly came out of nowhere, the Carolina Panthers have traded their top-tier running back to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a heaping of draft picks. Deals involving superstars so rarely happen in the middle of a season, so fantasy managers might not know how to react. Here’s how some of our fantasy experts think things might fall out in the wake of this seismic swap.

  • How will McCaffrey fit into the 49ers’ offense? “This should be relatively seamless for McCaffrey, who has plenty of experience operating in an outside zone-heavy scheme and brings the type of versatility that will allow Shanahan to mix and match him with the team’s skill-position options. And make no mistake, while McCaffrey will be the team’s No. 1 option at running back, Shanahan will use him in the pass game plenty and create more headaches for defenses, who now have to keep track of him and the likes of receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle.” — Nick Wagoner

  • What about the RBs currently in San Francisco? “This deal absolutely crushes the value of Jeff Wilson Jr. (and eventually Elijah Mitchell), but with McCaffrey needing to get up to speed on a new playbook, Wilson has one more week left as a fantasy starter. Wilson had reeled off four straight top-25 fantasy outings prior to last week’s 25-yard dud. He had seen 15-plus touches in all four of those strong games but was limited to only seven against Atlanta. He has a good matchup this week against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the fifth-most RB fantasy points, as well as the most targets, catches and receiving yards.” – Clay

  • Clay also believes that, at least for Week 7, there’s a lot of fantasy value to be found with 49ers receivers. As he notes, the Chiefs have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to WRs, including the fourth most to the perimeter and third most to the slot. That means Aiyuk, Samuel and Jauan Jennings should win the battle against Kansas City’s Rashad Fenton, L’Jarius Sneed and Jaylen Watson.

  • Eric Karabell remains optimistic that McCaffrey will maintain his status among the fantasy elite … when he plays, that is. “Still a great player, but still a guy who missed 23 of 33 games the past two seasons. Great job, Panthers. Good luck, 49ers. I don’t see McCaffrey’s value changing much. More receptions, fewer rushing attempts now, but always the worry for fantasy managers that he’ll miss games, and it’s legitimate worry. I’d try to deal him away in fantasy, too, and by the way, don’t cut Wilson yet.”

  • Eric Moody believes that “D’Onta Foreman will lead the Panthers’ committee ultimately, but Chuba Hubbard will be involved as well. Carolina signed Foreman as a free agent from the Titans earlier this year. The Panthers didn’t seem to be completely sold on Hubbard’s 10-game stint as starter last year when McCaffrey missed time. While McCaffrey was out, Hubbard rushed for 514 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. Additionally, he caught 19 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Filling in for Derrick Henry when he suffered a foot injury in Week 8 last season, Foreman had success with the Titans. He finished the season with 133 rushing attempts for 566 yards and three touchdowns, as well as nine receptions for 123 yards. Hubbard (96.5%) and Foreman (95.8%) are available in a high percentage of ESPN leagues. Both are on the flex radar for a Carolina offense that ranks last in the NFL in total yards per game.”

Looking for the latest injury news leading up to kickoff? Check out all of the Week 7 inactives here.

Other RB alternatives

It’s quite possible that before you got wind of the McCaffrey deal, both of the new lead-back options from Carolina had already been snatched off your league’s waiver wire. That doesn’t mean you can’t find some alternative options to potentially replace the expected loss of production from Jeff Wilson Jr. in some of the other NFL backfields whose situations are still a bit murky. Our NFL Nation team takes a look.

  • Are we safe to cut ties with Antonio Gibson, or was the second-half touch count (10 for Brian Robinson Jr., 8 for Gibson) enough to warrant a fantasy roster spot? “Ron Rivera said the second half is how he envisions the ideal splits for them; Gibson gave them a boost and provides a change of pace. But Robinson will still be the primary ball carrier — for now. Their offense struggles so much on third down that it’s hard to always get that ideal split, which means that Gibson’s touches will vary game to game. The hard part with Robinson is that it’s not like he’s had any great games, even in preseason. He’s had tough runs and is physical, but there’s still more to learn with him as well.” — John Keim

  • After an impressive showing by Deon Jackson (121 total yards, TD), should fantasy managers worry about Jonathan Taylor’s elite role being there for him when he returns? “Jackson was surprisingly good on Sunday, but Taylor’s rare home run ability likely trumps whatever potential Jackson possesses right now. It’s up to the Colts to get some consistency in their run blocking to allow Taylor to get on track. But is Jackson deserving of some limited playing time in the future? That’s a very fair question.” — Stephen Holder

  • Do you think either running back in the Ravens’ offense can be fantasy viable on a consistent basis? “No. For the second straight season, the Ravens’ backfield is too difficult to predict. Baltimore had been extra cautious with J.K. Dobbins, and he didn’t play the entire second half Sunday because his surgically repaired knee tightened up. (Note: Dobbins has now been placed on IR.) Kenyan Drake earned some more playing time after breaking three runs over 20 yards, but it could soon be an even more crowded backfield. Gus Edwards (knee) and Justice Hill (hamstring) are expected to be ready to play again soon.” — Jamison Hensley

  • Caleb Huntley out-touched Tyler Allgeier despite playing 12 fewer snaps. Who is the RB1 in Atlanta, or is it a hot-hand thing that will be maddening to fantasy managers? “It’s going to be a running back by committee at least until Cordarrelle Patterson returns from injured reserve — and maybe longer than that. The short answer is to expect a timeshare from Allgeier and Huntley with some work for Avery Williams as well. The immediate question would be how Damien Williams could fit in if the team is able to bring him back off injured reserve, but even with Williams it’ll be committee work. The good news for fantasy? The Falcons really, really want to run the ball, so even in a committee, Atlanta’s offense could offer enough work for two backs to truly thrive.” — Michael Rothstein

How quickly will the Cowboys return to normal?

It looks like the days of a Cooper Rush-led offense in Dallas are finally in the rear-view mirror as Dak Prescott is ready to resume his position as the team’s quarterback. What should be be expecting in Week 7 from the Cowboys’ offense, both from Prescott himself, as well as the rest of the players anxious to see their leader back in the huddle?

  • “What a spot this is for Prescott, who was injured all the way back in Week 1 and missed five games as a result of it. Prescott is a bona fide fantasy star — he finished as QB7 last season — and returns against a Lions team that has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. Couple that with the fact that Prescott now has a getting-healthier Michael Gallup to throw to, and he’s my QB5 for this week.” — Yates

  • “Prescott gets a gift matchup with the Detroit Lions, and a top-five ranking by ESPN. Again, some of this is about who is missing, and the matchup. Prescott isn’t really on any hot seat, of course, but if he scores only 10 fantasy points in his return from his thumb injury, won’t we be wary heading into Week 8?” — Karabell

  • Seth Walder says to downgrade both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott against the Lions: “No team in football runs man coverage as often as the Lions, who run it at a 62% rate. That’s not ideal for the Cowboys’ running back duo from a receptions standpoint, though the Lions’ defense is so weak that there should be plenty of scoring opportunity for all the Cowboys’ viable fantasy players.”

  • That opinion isn’t universal, though. Dan Graziano expects a second strong game in a row for Elliott. “The Lions’ defense has been extremely vulnerable to both the run and the pass this year, allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs [behind only Houston]. I’m thinking the Cowboys (A) might want to ease Prescott back into action after five weeks on the shelf and (B) feel good about the way the run game — and the offense in general — has operated without Prescott. I think both Zeke and Pollard are good plays here this week.

  • When it comes to DFS play, Al Zeidenfeld is happy to back WR CeeDee Lamb. “Lamb is still priced as though Rush is going to be his quarterback, and should be easily $500-$700 higher on DraftKings. The Lions are allowing opposing wide receivers an 11.6-yard aDOT, the fifth-highest number in the league. This is on top of Detroit allowing a league-high 6.5 yards per play. Lamb’s volume never waned under Rush, although it was predictably less efficient than in games Prescott played. This week, we should see sustained volume with greater efficiency — and better fantasy output — all for only $6,600 on DraftKings.”

Quick hits, starts and sits

  • “Courtland Sutton’s 25.9% seasonal target share ranks 17th in the league, but Russell Wilson’s struggles to date have nevertheless capped Sutton’s production. He’s the WR19 thus far (80.6 PPR fantasy points), is coming off an awful, 3.4 points on three targets Week 6 facing an above-average matchup, and now gets a much tougher assignment against a strong-starting Jets defense. Thanks in large part to cornerback Sauce Gardner (minus-11.2 Targeted EPA), the Jets have limited Diontae Johnson, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Ja’Marr Chase to a combined 35.2 PPR fantasy points on 25 targets the past four weeks combined.” — Cockcroft

  • “Jets rookie Breece Hall has now posted back-to-back games of at least 20 PPR points. I’d like to see more usage for Hall in the pass game given his formation flexibility, but he’s in the RB1 mix for the Week 7 game against the Broncos.” — Bowen

  • “Colts rookie TE Jelani Woods continues his momentum. Woods’ scoring prowess — with three TD catches in his past four games — makes him an attractive upside play, but look deeper at the Colts’ offense and his role in it. From Week 4 to Week 6, Woods’ snap count rose from 15 to 23 to 31 in last week’s win over Jacksonville, which felt like a breakthrough. Expect the Colts to foster quarterback Matt Ryan’s connection with rookies Woods and Alec Pierce moving forward.” — Fowler

  • “In his first game action since Week 1, Wan’Dale Robinson caught 3 of 4 targets for 37 yards, which included a red zone touchdown. It was a schemed concept there, out of a bunch set, to get the rookie loose in the flat. Plus, with the Giants still working through injuries at the WR position, I like Robinson in the Week 7 matchup against the Jaguars as a slot target for Jones.” — Bowen

  • “A.J. Terrell has shadowed, at least part time, in all six games this season, so it’s likely he’ll follow Ja’Marr Chase this week. We shouldn’t be too concerned, however, as Terrell has allowed a league-high six TDs as well as the third-most fantasy points in coverage. Atlanta has, in turn, allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. It’s possible the Falcons simply play sides or put the 6-foot-2 Terrell on 6-foot-4 Tee Higgins, leaving 5-foot-11 Casey Hayward to cover the 6-foot Chase. Either way, Atlanta’s pass defense hasn’t been good enough to warrant concern here.” — Clay

  • “Justin Fields has now logged back-to-back games with at least 17 fantasy points. We are seeing more deep throws. And his physical traits as a runner — on second-reaction plays — are boosting his overall fantasy profile. But I pushed Fields down in the ranks this week thanks to the matchup against a Patriots defense that is playing really good football.” — Bowen

  • “It seems silly to question Ravens Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, but this week’s signing of DeSean Jackson doesn’t happen if they are healthy and getting open. By the way: Don’t add Jackson to your teams.” — Karabell

Source: Read Full Article