Fantasy managers need to be prepared for a big bye week in Week 7. With six teams on a bye, it may be difficult to find players that you feel comfortable starting. Many players also are missing practice during the week, and it is hard to say if it is a maintenance day or if there is an injury.
Because of injuries to other players, sometimes guys on the waiver wire (or your bench) may see a boost in value. Also, after six weeks of football, fantasy managers can look at matchups and see who has a good one and who should be avoided, if possible.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, Pittsburgh
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons
Tagovailoa played in Week 6 after missing three weeks with a rib injury. In London, he had 329 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. It’s odd the Dolphins don’t have a bye following a trip across the pond, but instead they are hosting Atlanta on Sunday. The Falcons have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Tagovailoa is ranked No. 14 and if he can shake off the jet lag, he should exceed that.
J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team at Green Bay Packers
Antonio Gibson is banged up, but he should play. However, McKissic has had a bigger role over the last week. He had 10 targets, the most in a game this season so far. He’s more involved in the passing game, and Washington just might be in need of points in Week 7. He has two touchdowns this season (one rushing, one receiving), but in PPR formats he should exceed his No. 28 ranking.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers
Pittman is ranked No. 28, but that is contingent on T.Y. Hilton’s status. Hilton has an injured quad and is questionable for this week. If he were to sit, Pittman would rise in the rankings. The best-case scenario for Hilton is that he plays, but he still figures to be limited, so even then Pittman should be able to take advantage of the situation. It is a tough matchup against a 49ers team coming off of a bye, but Pittman should be able to find some success.
Marquez Callaway, WR, New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (MNF)
Callaway had a season-high eight targets in Week 5, before the Saints bye. His main competition for targets was Deonte Harris, who left the Week 5 game with a hamstring injury. When the Saints returned to practice this week, Harris was not practicing, which does not bode well for his Week 7 activity. Even though Tre’Quan Smith was activated from the I.R. and likely will play, Callaway has established a rapport with Jameis Winston and this is his opportunity to excel. He’s ranked No. 37 and should exceed that.
Zach Ertz, TE, Arizona Cardinals vs. Houston Texans
Ertz looks to make his debut as a member of the Cardinals in Week 7. While he hasn’t had a ton of time to learn the offense, Arizona will likely devise some plays to make sure Ertz gets involved. Another weapon, especially in the red zone, for Kyler Murray is always a good thing. The Cardinals also face the Texans, who are giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Ertz is ranked No. 13, but don’t be surprised if he finds the end zone and does better than that.
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers
Jones has a decent matchup against the Panthers in Week 7, but the problem is he has no offense to support him. Saquon Barkley is still out, and his receiving corps is diminished. Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay are likely out. Darius Slayton and Sterling Shephard are questionable and dealing with injuries themselves. They will likely try to play, but it is going to be tough for Jones. He’s ranked No. 17, but it may be a tough game for him.
Sony Michel, RB, Los Angeles Rams vs. Detroit Lions
Darrell Henderson is making his presence known in Los Angeles. He had two touchdowns in Week 6, and he’s had a touchdown in four of the five games he’s played this season. He’s had more than 75 rushing yards in the past three weeks. All of this means that Michel isn’t needed as Henderson can be trusted as a No. 1 running back. Michel is ranked No. 37, but he isn’t getting enough work to warrant that ranking (and he's missed practice time with a shoulder injury).
Latavius Murray, RB, Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Murray injured his ankle in Week 6 after scoring a touchdown, and he is questionable heading into this week. If he does play, his No. 36 ranking is a bit high. The Ravens also have Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell (and Ty'Son Williams is still on the roster too) to carry the load, as all three veterans found the end zone in Week 6. Since they don’t commit to a single back, with Murray injured, it seems that they’ll give Freeman more carries, with Bell backing him up. Keep Murray on your bench if possible.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons
Parker went to London in Week 6, but did not play. He’s set to return in Week 7, but it’s going to be hard for fantasy managers to trust him. He’s ranked No. 46 but coming off both a shoulder and a hamstring injury, Parker may not be even close to 100 percent. It seems that the Dolphins want to have him out there in a good matchup against the Falcons, but he’s likely not going to see his full complement of snaps. He’s ranked No. 46 but for this week, should finish below that.
Jonnu Smith, TE, New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Even though the Patriots are playing the Jets, it’s hard to trust Smith for fantasy, even in a two-tight end league. Smith is ranked No. 16, but he had one reception for nine yards last week. He hasn’t had more than 40 yards since Week 1. He has one touchdown on the year and has yet to have more than six targets. Smith just isn’t being used enough to warrant being on most fantasy rosters.
Full Disclosure for Week 6
Up (4/5 correct)
- Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams (Ranked: 10, Actual: 5)
- Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings (Ranked: 20, Actual: 8)
- Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions (Ranked: 49, Actual: 45)
- James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (Ranked: 80, Actual: 94)
- Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team (Ranked: 13, Actual: 6)
Down (3/5 correct)
- Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders (Ranked: 16, Actual: 10)
- AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers (Ranked: 29, Actual: 40)
- A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans (Ranked: 14, Actual: 20)
- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins (Ranked: 29, Actual: 4)
- Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers (Ranked: 15, Actual: 36)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.