Against the league's worst defense vs. tight ends, Engram is a TE1 for Week 7
With four teams on bye and a lot of key players missing practice time this week, fantasy owners are likely a little bit concerned about someone on their roster. It's getting to be the point of the season where fantasy owners may feel more comfortable making a starting lineup. The players fall into place. Or, the players that are healthy and not on a bye are the ones in their lineup. Either way, be sure to follow the practice reports and grab a handcuff when 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: Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay
Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars face the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7, and the Bengals have allowed each opposing quarterback to post at least one touchdown so far this season. Minshew is coming off a tough game against New Orleans, but the Bengals are a much easier matchup for him. Not counting the Saints game, he has at least 200 yards in each game. He has two touchdowns in each game except the Saints game and the Houston game, where he only had one. He’s not going to give fantasy owners 40-plus points, but he should exceed his No. 11 ranking.
Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers
The Redskins give up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Coleman is back after dealing with a high ankle sprain, and he has regained his role as the No. 1 running back. Raheem Mostert is banged up, so it will just be Matt Breida sharing carries with Coleman. He has scored a touchdown in each game since he returned from injury. He's ranked No. 19 for Week 7 but is an RB2.
Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers
Lazard, an undrafted rookie, was with the Packers in the preseason, was cut before the regular season, and finally made his NFL debut in Week 6 when all of the other wide receivers were injured. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison were injured mid-game and Davante Adams was already out with turf toe. Lazard had five targets and caught four of them for 65 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers was looking for him, and while it is likely that at least two of the three Packers wide receiver will be out again, Lazard (who is barely ranked) will likely make a fantasy impact this week.
D.J. Chark Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chark looked great in Week 5, but then he faced the New Orleans Saints in Week 6. He had three receptions for 43 yards in a brutal outing for fantasy owners. The Bengals defense that he'll face in Week 7 is also tough, but he likely won't see the kind of coverage that he saw from Marshon Lattimore. Fantasy owners also should keep an eye on Dede Westbrook. He showed up on Thursday's injury report with a shoulder injury and did not practice. If he's out or limited, that opens up more targets for Chark. He's ranked No. 17 and is a WR2.
Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants
Engram is practicing in full after missing Week 6 with a knee injury. The Giants face the Arizona Cardinals, who are one of the worst teams in the league at defending against tight ends. They have allowed tight ends to score seven touchdowns and three different ones have finished with 100-plus receiving yards. Engram is ranked No. 14, but he's a clear TE1 this week.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers and Davante Adams had a connection. Adams is likely going to miss this game with turf toe. Rodgers found Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison. Neither of those wide receivers has practiced this week. Without his top three options, Rodgers is not going to reach his No. 7 ranking this week. While he will likely use Allen Lazard, Jimmy Graham, and his running backs to move the ball, it's not quite the same.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
In Week 6, Mixon had eight carries for 10 yards. It's been a disappointing season for him, with only one touchdown (receiving). He has three games with under 40 total yards from scrimmage and only one game with more than 100. The matchup against Jacksonville is a good one, but the problem is, if the Bengals fall behind (which is likely, given that they haven't won a game yet), they will abandon the run and focus on their passing game. Mixon is ranked No. 18 but is barely an RB2.
Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
Bell scored his first rushing touchdown in Week 6, and now he faces the New England Patriots in Week 7. The Patriots give up the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. This may be because their defense is one of the best in the league, but it also may be because the Patriots usually have a lead and opposing teams are throwing the ball, not running it. Either way, Bell is ranked No. 11 and this is going to be a tough game for him. He's a low RB2.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
In Week 1, Hopkins had 111 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners that took him in the first round felt vindicated. In the five weeks that followed, he didn't find the end zone again. He hasn't had more than 88 yards. The Texans have been using their tight ends, Darren Fells and Jordan Atkins, and it has taken away from Hopkins, especially in the red zone. Hopkins still is getting the targets – he had 12 in Week 6 and hasn't had fewer than seven in a game yet – but he's not scoring. One of these weeks, he'll have another game like Week 1, but as the No. 5 wide receiver this week, he's likely to disappoint.
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons face the Los Angeles Rams, who are middle-of-the-road in defending against tight ends. They did just allow George Kittle to get over 100 receiving yards, but Hooper isn't used in the same way as Hooper. The Falcons have had games where Hooper isn't used until late in the game when the Falcons need to catch up. It is possible that they actually have a lead in this one (have you seen the way the Rams have been playing?), which does not bode well for Hooper. He's ranked No. 6 and while it's possible he scores a touchdown, he's a low TE1/high TE2.
Full Disclosure from Week 6
5 Up (1/5 correct)
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys (Ranked: 12, actual: 13)
Matt Breida, RB, Francisco 49ers (Ranked: 25, actual: 33)
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars (Ranked: 41, actual: 37)
Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins (Ranked: 29, actual: 2)
Gerald Everett, TE, Rams (Ranked: 13, actual: 39)
5 Down (4/5 correct)
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers (Ranked: 16, actual: 19)
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals (Ranked: 19, actual: 43)
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos (Ranked: 18, actual: 12)
Will Fuller, WR, Texans (Ranked: 22, actual: 44)
O.J. Howard, TE, Buccaneers (Ranked: 11, actual: 20)
— 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.