Week 7 was a tough one fantasy-wise. With four teams on bye, plus injuries and surprise inactives (Dion Lewis, Jeremy Maclin, Antonio Gates…), just getting through the week was key. As always, the week raised some questions and answered some others.
What do you make of the Dolphins' offense?
On Sunday, Miami led Houston 44-0, at halftime. This is the same Dolphins team that scored 65 points in the first FOUR games of the season. Since the bye, they've scored 82 in two games and look like an entirely different team. The defense has stepped up, and so has the offense. Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller put on a clinic on Sunday. Tannehill was 18-for-19 with 282 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Miller had 14 carries for 175 yards and a rushing touchdown, three receptions for 61 yards and a receiving touchdown… all in the first half.
Tannehill spread the ball around, targeting eight different pass catchers (although Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker did not make the box score). Jarvis Landry was the leading receiver, catching all five of his targets for 83 yards and a touchdown.
The Dolphins play the Patriots on Thursday night, and Chris Ivory did have a tough time running on the Patriots, so Miller should have a tougher time in Week 8, but he's on the RB1 radar now that the Dolphins are utilizing him as they should. Tannehill returns to the QB1 conversation for Thursday's matchup. This is the Dolphins team that fantasy experts predicted would happen this season. Buy into the Dolphins. It just took four weeks, a bye and some coaching changes to get there.
What do Arian Foster's fantasy owners do now?
While it is up for debate why Foster was still in the game when he got injured, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. Foster tore his Achilles tendon, ending his short-lived 2015 season. For fantasy owners, it's now back to the Houston running back drawing board.
Alfred Blue (18 percent owned), Chris Polk (one percent owned) and Jonathan Grimes (less than one percent owned) are going to take over the Houston backfield and unfortunately for fantasy owners, none are great options.
Blue is the best option of the bunch, but in the four games he played when Foster didn't play (or was limited), he only rushed for 204 yards and one touchdown. Those numbers are largely inflated by his Week 3, 31-carry, 139-yard performance. In those same four games, Polk had 92 yards and a touchdown. Grimes was more involved in the receiving game, but his 11 receptions for 61 yards over three games aren't worth running to the waiver wire for.
At this point, fantasy owners in redraft leagues can drop Foster and pick up Blue, or any other promising lottery ticket on the waiver wire. Blue isn't worth spending a large percentage of FAAB dollars on, however.
Are we going to see Ben Roethlisberger back in Week 8?
While fantasy owners of Antonio Brown did finally get some points in Week 7 (6/124/0), they are still eagerly awaiting the return of Roethlisberger. He was given a questionable status heading into Week 7, and while it was very doubtful that he would play, it does leave the door open for a Week 8 return.
Roethlisberger's plan is to practice this week, and see if he can get through the week without setbacks. Odds are that he is on the field on Sunday when the Steelers take on the Bengals. He immediately steps back in as a QB1, and Brown regains solid WR1 status.
If Big Ben does return it will be interesting to see how the targets are divided between Brown and Martavis Bryant. In (less than) two games with Landry Jones, Bryant has three touchdowns. Will Roethlisberger look to Bryant the same way and will this take away from Brown's value? It's hard to say. However, the Steelers need their No. 1 QB back (and so do Brown's fantasy owners).
More Burning Questions
Is Colin Kaepernick going to be benched?
Will Tyrod Taylor be back after Buffalo's bye?
Did we just see T.J. Yeldon's best game of the year (on most fantasy benches)?
Can you trust any Redskins running back?
How about any Lions running back?
Has Jameis Winston finally connected with Mike Evans?
What happened to the Atlanta offense?
Why won't the Titans get Dorial Green-Beckham involved?
Is Charcandrick West going to be the lead back in Kansas City?
How did Gary Barnidge get to be fantasy relevant?
Will Todd Gurley end the year as a top-5 fantasy running back?
What happened to the Chargers?
Has Darren McFadden been rejuvenated?
Why isn't Sam Bradford better?
Why don't the Eagles give Ryan Mathews the ball more?
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.