NFL Fantasy Start/Sit: Week 7, 2020
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Week 7 is here, and with it comes more 2020 weirdness in the NFL. The week got off to an interesting start when the Dolphins, winners of 3 of their last 4 (including a 24-0 performance against the Jets) announced they are benching starter Ryan Fitzpatrick despite a 3-3 start to the season where he’s thrown for 1,535 yards, 10 TDs to 7 INTs and a QB rating of 95.0. Then on Thursday, news broke that the Las Vegas Raiders’ entire offensive line was put on the reserve/COVID list. And during TNF later that day, Daniel Jones broke an 80-yard run, proved he can run faster than Lamar Jackson, and became a trending topic on Twitter all on a single play.
But the strange headlines didn’t stop there – the news of the week came Friday evening when it was announced that Antonio Brown had signed a one-year deal to join Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 31-year old will be coming off league-mandated suspension in two weeks, and assuming he passes COVID-19 protocols, will be eligible to suit up for the Buccs in Week 9 against the Saints.
It’s been a crazy week so far, and we’ve still got 13 games to play. With the Ravens, Colts, Vikings, and Dolphins on bye, along with another slew of injuries, you might be a little spooked by your roster this week. Let’s get into some starts and sits to help you out with that.
START: Gardner Minshew, Jaguars
It’s strange to type, but Minshew has been the picture of consistency this year. He has finished QB13 or better in 5 of his 6 starts, with his lone dud coming on Thursday Night Football in a game without his #1 option DJ Chark.
Chark is expected to be out there this week, along with other receiving weapons Lavishka Shenault and Keelan Cole. All 3 receivers have looked impressive so far this year, none more than Cole, who is the WR20 in half-point PPR this season thus far. The Jags get the Chargers and their 30th ranked defense against opposing fantasy QBs this week. The Chargers are favored by 7.5 points, meaning Vegas is expecting a healthy dose of the Jags playing from behind. With the Chargers giving up an average of 23.75 fantasy points to opposing QBs, and with a healthy offense behind him, I’d expect 20+ points from Minshew.
Honorable mentions: Matthew Stafford (at Falcons), Justin Herbert (vs. Jaguars)
SIT: Drew Brees, Saints
Brees has been a less-than-impressive streaming option so far this year, sitting at QB22 on the season and failing to hit 16 fantasy points in 3 of his 5 starts. Despite coming off a bye, the Saints come limping into Week 7, with Michael Thomas (ankle/hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (reserve/COVID list) both out, along with center Nick Easton (concussion). They are also facing the Carolina Panthers and their surprisingly stout defense, who rank 4th against fantasy QBs and are giving up only 13.9 fantasy points to the position. Brees has struggled to throw the ball downfield this year, and without Thomas, I’d expect that trend to continue this week. Brees is a low-end QB2.
Honorable mentions: Andy Dalton (at Washington), Jared Goff (vs. Bears)
START: Todd Gurley, Falcons
Gurley has been a difficult back to rank this year. Despite getting the lion’s share of opportunities in the Falcon’s offense, including 99 carries in 6 games (7th among RBs), he ranks as the RB14 in half-point PPR. With the state of the RB position in fantasy, however, opportunity is king, and with Gurley averaging 16.5 carries and almost a touchdown/game, the opportunities are there. Gurley also gets an awesome matchup against the Lions this week, who rank 27th against RBs and are giving up an average of 30 fantasy points to the position. While I don't expect him to match the 23 touches he got last week against the Vikings, he likely won’t need it to land in the top 12 at the position.
Honorable mentions: Antonio Gibson (vs. Cowboys), Latavius Murray (vs. Panthers)
SIT: Josh Jacobs, Raiders
Jacobs has been solid for fantasy owners so far this year, ranking as the RB12 in half-point PPR despite coming off a bye in Week 6.
Similarly to the Saints though, the Raiders are coming out of their bye seemingly more banged up than last week, with the entire starting offensive line being put on the reserve/COVID list this week. With the Raiders at home, I’d expect all but LT Trent Brown to play despite not practicing to finish the week. Couple that with a matchup against a tough Buccaneers defense (11th against fantasy RBs this season), and you can see why I have Jacobs as a mid-range RB2 this week. While you likely can’t afford to sit Jacobs, temper your expectations.
Honorable mentions: Phillip Lindsay (vs. Chiefs), Joshua Kelley (vs. Jaguars)
START: Robby Anderson, Panthers
Robby Anderson is really coming into his own with Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers this season, coming into week 7 as the WR6 despite only scoring 1 TD so far.
He has reached 99 yards or more in 4 of his 6 games and ranks 7th in targets among WRs while catching an impressive 78.4% of those balls. While I’d expect his catch rate to drop over the course of the season, he should be started with confidence this week. DJ Moore is projected to match up with CB Marcus Lattimore of the Saints in this one, and with the rest of the Saints secondary pretty banged up, expect Robby Anderson to continue his impressive start.
Honorable mentions: Terry McLaurin (vs. Cowboys), Tee Higgins (vs. Browns)
SIT: Mike Evans, Buccaneers
Mike Evans comes into the week as the WR18, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from watching his tape. Evans has struggled to get separation downfield this year and hasn’t looked fully healthy. He’s also heavily reliant on TDs, scoring on 6 of his 23 receptions so far this season. In the 3 games where Evans, Godwin, and Gronk are on the field, Evans is proving to be an afterthought for Brady – he’s seen a total of 10 targets in those games. Expect that trend to continue this week. Evans is a mid/low-end WR2 this week.
Honorable mentions: Jerry Jeudy (vs. Chiefs), Michael Gallup (at Washington)
START: Hunter Henry, Chargers
TE has been a difficult position to predict so far this year outside the big 4 of Kelce, Kittle, Andrews, and Waller, but Henry has been a serviceable option, averaging 8.5 fantasy points per game in his 5 games thus far.
He also has a consistent role in the reenergized Chargers offense, totaling at least 7 targets in all but one of those games. Despite the targets Henry has only found the endzone once – I would look for that to change against a Jags defense allowing 5.4 fantasy points to opposing TEs.
Honorable mentions: TJ Hockenson (at Falcons), Jared Cook (vs. Panthers)
SIT: Tyler Higbee, Rams
Higbee has largely been a disappointment so far this season, scoring less than 7.2 half-point PPR points in all but one game this year (his 3 TD performance against the Eagles in week 2). He is averaging 3.5 targets per game in an inconsistent offense that has been limited to 17 points or less in 3 of their 6 games so far. He has missed practice all week, and while he’s expected to play on Monday night, he’s too TD reliant to be trusted in your lineups. Avoid him this week.
Honorable mentions: Dalton Schultz (at Washington), Jonnu Smith (vs. Steelers)