It’s Week 7 of the fantasy football season and now the bye weeks are in full swing. With four teams (Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh Seattle) on bye this week that means fantasy owners are dealing with a wide receiver/tight end talent pool that does not include Antonio Brown, Davante Adams, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Doug Baldwin, Amari Cooper, Jimmy Graham, Jared Cook, Tyler Lockett, etc.
That's a lot of big-name wide receivers and tight ends that will need to be replaced. So who should you consider starting in their place?
Before we get into the Week 7 start/sit advice for WRs and TEs let's see how Week 6 went.
Good Calls for Week 6...
Start Tyler Boyd (18.2 FP) – Boyd is turning into a solid fantasy WR2 as he keeps getting tons of targets each week.
Start Austin Hooper (13.1 FP) – Hooper is starting to become a TE1 as the season progresses.
Sit Keelan Cole (2.1 FP) – Until Blake Bortles improves, you really can’t start any Jaguars WRs.
Bad Calls for Week 6...
Start Josh Gordon (4.2 FP) – The opportunities were there against the Chiefs, as Gordon led the Patriots with nine targets, but he and Brady just aren’t on the same page yet.
Sit David Njoku (11.5 FP) – It looks like Njoku might be Baker Mayfield’s favorite target, making him a must-start the rest of the season.
Teams on bye: Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle
START THESE WRs...
Josh Gordon, NE (at CHI)
Gordon appears on the verge of a huge fantasy game and it could happen this week against the Bears. His targets have risen in each of his three weeks with the Patriots, and he just had nine against Kansas City, converting those into five catches for 42 yards. He was on the field for 63 of 78 offensive snaps, and should get the chance to make some plays down the field against Chicago. The Bears have allowed seven receivers to either score or gain at least 90 receiving yards against them in just five games, and Gordon could have his best game of the season in this matchup.
Alshon Jeffery, PHI (vs. CAR)
Jeffery has made a big impact since returning from offseason shoulder surgery. After a quiet game against the Vikings, Jeffery responded with eight catches, 74 yards and two touchdowns versus the Giants last Thursday night. He now has three scores in his last three games. Jeffery should continue to stay hot when he faces a Panthers defense that's allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to receivers. He's a strong WR2.
Michael Crabtree, BAL (vs. NO)
Crabtree is on the cusp of WR2 territory in 12-team formats, but he deserves to be a must-start here in Week 7. Crabtree is seeing steady volume in a Baltimore offense that has struggled to get Alex Collins and the ground game going while Joe Flacco has embraced the air-it-out philosophy of 2018. Crabtree’s 142 air yards were sixth out of all wide receivers last week and the Saints are either at or near the top (depending on league scoring) in fantasy points allowed to the position.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Taylor Gabriel, CHI (vs. NE)
Gabriel has topped 100 yards in Chicago’s last two games, so he heads into Sunday's matchup against New England with momentum. The Patriots are notorious for trying to take away an opponent’s top weapon (sometimes it doesn’t work, like last week against Tyreek Hill), but Gabriel should benefit from any additional attention paid to Allen Robinson, Trey Burton or Tarik Cohen. The Patriots are one of nine teams to allow nine or more TDs to WRs while the Vegas over/under sits at a healthy 50.
SIT THESE WRs...
Corey Davis, TEN (vs. LAC, London)
Davis is one of the last wide receivers standing for the Titans, but his fantasy values is rapidly declining because the offensive can't protect Marcus Mariota. Last week, Mariota was sacked more times (11) than he had completions (10), which is why Davis finished with just one catch against the Ravens. This is what you can expect from Davis and the Titans' offense. It’s true that the Chiefs and the Rams have taken turns torching the Chargers' secondary, but the Bills, 49ers, Raiders and Browns all failed to produce a 100-yard receiver against this unit. Davis had one great game back in Week 4 but hasn’t topped 6.5 standard fantasy points in his other five contests.
Keelan Cole, JAC (vs. HOU)
Cole has only one decent fantasy game this season and has been largely non-existent otherwise. It seemed he was heading in the right direction when he got 10 targets two weeks ago, but he was back to five last week, catching four of them for 41 yards. Cole, Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief are essentially on equal footing in Jacksonville’s offense, but it’s hard to trust any of them as anything more than a WR3 or WR4 with the way Blake Bortles is playing right now.
Albert Wilson, MIA (vs. DET)
Don't do it. Don’t chase players no one had on their fantasy team after one big game. Wilson had a huge game last week, to the tune of 155 yards and two touchdowns. He even had nine targets. However, a closer look at his targets show two screens that resulted in long touchdowns against a Bears defense that was gassed. You can't count on that on a consistent basis. Wilson is not a downfield target who can separate. He's more of a player who hovers near the line of scrimmage and tries to take screen passes to the house. That's not sustainable in fantasy football, so there's little reason to trust that kind of production weekly.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Allen Robinson, CHI (vs. NE)
The Patriots' defense is not the pushover it was early in the season, Tyreek Hill’s three-score outburst Sunday night notwithstanding. Nothing against Robinson but he doesn’t have Hill’s kind of speed to break down coverages. Speaking of which, if Mitchell Trubisky wants to go to Robinson as his primary target, you can believe Bill Belichick will take him away. Robinson also has missed some practice time this week with a groin injury so that is something to pay attention the rest of this week.
START THESE TEs...
Austin Hooper, ATL (vs. NYG, Mon.)
The Falcons’ running game has underperformed so far, which has made Matt Ryan into a weekly top-five fantasy QB and all Atlanta pass catchers into legitimate weapons. The Giants’ defense against TEs was terrible last season, and while they’ve fared much better in 2018, they’ve still given up between 35-65 yards to five different tight ends in their last four games, including a 7-43-1 line to Zach Ertz last Thursday. Hooper has seen an eye-popping 22 targets over the last two weeks, posting respective lines of 9-77-0 and 9-71-1 in the process. Follow the targets!
David Njoku, CLE (at TB)
It’s hard to tell when you can play Njoku, who scored for the first time this season last week. But the Buccaneers are giving up the most fantasy points to tight ends and have allowed a TD to the position in three straight games.
C.J. Uzomah, CIN (at KC)
With Tyler Eifert out for the year and Tyler Kroft likely headed for season-ending surgery, Uzomah is the only show in town at tight end on one of the NFL's better offenses. Uzomah posted season highs in targets (7), receptions (6) and yards (54) last week. He's a strong streaming option and in the TE1 discussion, especially with Jimmy Graham, Jared Cook and Vance McDonald all on bye.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Charles Clay, BUF (at IND)
Clay caught four passes last week against the Texans but they totaled just 20 yards. However, with the Bills' quarterback situation a mess thanks to Josh Allen's injury, the team is turning to veteran Derek Anderson. The change under center could benefit Clay, who is in a nice matchup against a Colts defense that's conceding the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.
SIT THESE TEs...
Greg Olsen, CAR (at PHI)
Outside of one broken play yielded to Tampa Bay’s O.J. Howard back in Week 2, the Eagles have been stout against tight ends this season. Eric Ebron saw 11 targets in Week 3 and only managed 33 scoreless yards. Olsen did see seven targets while playing 98 percent of the snaps in his first game back, but Philly’s defense is a monster at home. You’re better off playing guys like Cameron Brate or C.J. Uzomah or even James O’Shaughnessy (see above). Just because his name is Greg Olsen and he was once a top-three fantasy tight end doesn’t mean you should start him this week.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (at NYJ)
The tight end position is so weak, you're likely not sitting a guy like Rudolph very often. However, depending on your options you may want to leave Rudolph on the bench. The Jets have done a good job against TEs thus far. Only one (Eric Ebron) has topped three receptions and 36 yards against the Jets and New York has surrendered just three touchdowns to the position, and two of those came last week against the Colts. On paper, Rudolph has a very unappealing matchup.
Antonio Gates, LAC (vs. TEN, London)
Times have most certainly changed for the future Hall of Famer. So far this season, Gates has had just 10 receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, you're not in a position where you have to start Gates but with three solid TEs on bye, you never know. This week Gates will have to deal with a Titans defense that is allowing the second-fewest points to the position. A big part of that is Tennessee has yet to surrender a TD to a TE to go along with 9.3 yards per catch.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
George Kittle, SF (vs. LAR)
Kittle has been the 49ers' leading receiver this year, but he could struggle to find the end zone in Week 7 when he faces a Rams defense that's yet to allow an opposing tight end to score.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.
(Top photo by David Silverman, courtesy of www.patriots.com)