Can you really trust Deshaun Watson this week against the Seahawks?
It was feast or famine for fantasy quarterbacks in week 7. Big names like Russell Wilson, Derek Car and Dak Prescott produced major fantasy numbers, while Cam Newton and Marcus Mariota were really bad.
We have one injury with Carson Palmer, but even though he is leading the league in pass attempts (for now), he wasn’t offering his fantasy owners that much production. But for those who did have Palmer on their team, don’t expect Drew Stanton to replace him, even with six teams on bye this week. Look elsewhere.
And with six teams on bye this week, the QB and defense/special teams (DST) pools are a little more diluted than usual. So which ones should you trust this week?
Good Calls for Week 7...
Start Russell Wilson (26.36 fantasy points) – Wilson is the entire Seahawks offense at this point.
I warned you about starting Cam Newton (7.44 FP). Even though he has had a few good games, he just doesn’t have it this year.
Bad Calls for Week 7...
Start Marcus Mariota (8.92 FP) – How Mariota couldn’t get anything going against a terrible Browns defense is mind boggling.
Sit Jameis Winston (23.36 FP) – Winston went into Buffalo, bum shoulder and all and threw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns.ââ
Teams on bye: Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee
START THESE QBS...
Carson Wentz, PHI (vs. SF)
The 49ers are being scored on at will, and Wentz is coming into his own with a high-octane offense that can score from just about anywhere. We saw a precursor of this game as Dallas and Dak Prescott destroyed the 49ers 40-10, and then Wentz marched up and down the field against Washington on Monday night, throwing four touchdowns in the process. He should score more points for you at home in a cushy matchup. Bask in his glory.
Philip Rivers, SD (at NE)
The Patriots were handing out points to opposing offenses like never before, then Bill Belichick got desperate and called in the fog machines during the Super Bowl rematch against the Falcons Sunday night, and things got better. Conspiracies aside, you should be picking on the Patriots whenever you can, and Rivers should be a top-eight play this week with some nice upside. If he can look sharp and spread the ball around against Denver, he’s going to eat at a buffet of points against New England.
Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. IND)
Things are getting desperate with the bye weeks and injuries, so now we have to consider Dalton, who, like usual, has been up and down all season. He should take advantage of a Colts defense that behind only the Patriots in passing yards allowed, and the Colts just lost their first-round pick, safety Malik Hooker for the season. Besides, A.J. Green might get a second squeaky wheel game, which means good things for Dalton.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Josh McCown, NYJ (vs. ATL)
Every NFL season is weird in its own way, and this year, we have McCown, who could be the savior for some QB-need owners, especially those in deeper leagues. Over the last four weeks, McCown has been a top-10 fantasy QB. A lot of that is thanks to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but wide receivers Jeremy Kerley and Jermaine Kearse have been solid as well. McCown should be a top-12 option against the weak Falcons D at home.
SIT THESE QBs...
Deshaun Watson, HOU (at SEA)
It’s going to be painful, benching the studly Watson, but if you have him, and you aren’t an unlucky Rodgers/Palmer or any other underwhelming QB owner, you may want to look to your backup. Watson will play in Seattle against a top-four passing defense. Unless you simply have no other option, this might be a good week to give the rookie a break.
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. PIT)
The Steelers’ offense has been wonky, but their defense has been consistent all year. They currently are giving up 172.2 passing yards per gamer, and they’re getting to the quarterback often with the second-highest sack total in the league. Stafford’s been sacked 17 times in the last three games alone.
Derek Carr, OAK (at BUF)
His still-healing back didn’t seem to hinder him against the Chiefs last Thursday as he threw 52 times for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns (and even had a questionable QB keeper called), but quarterbacks playing in Buffalo have had a tough time if their name isn’t Jameis Winston. Bye weeks are awful, but consider Andy Dalton or Philip Rivers if you have them. You probably already have a solid backup QB after Carr got hurt. Put him to use.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. NYJ)
Ryan was the first QB unable to record at least 300 passing yards against the Patriots all year, and the former MVP has posted only two fantasy weeks inside the top 15 (9th in Week 1, 15th last week). With all the bye weeks, Ryan might finish in the top 15 this week, but look for the Falcons to rely heavily on Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman this week.
START THESE DSTs...
Minnesota Vikings (vs. CLE, London)
This is kind of an easy one, but until the Browns get their act together, you can do your best to stream DSTs against them all season. The Vikings are strong against the run and feature one of the league’s’ best shutdown corners and they get to face a team that has been struggling all season (all decade really) and is now without their best offensive lineman.
Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DEN, Mon.)
Yes, the Chiefs’ defense was terrible last week, scoring minus-one fantasy points, but keep this DST active this week against Denver. Believe it or not, the last two DSTs to face the Broncos combined to score a ridiculous 47 fantasy points. Trevor Siemian has four giveaways in that time, too.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Los Angeles Chargers (at NE)
The upside with points for sacks is strong here with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram wreaking havoc all year, but facing a Patriots team that seems to finally be clicking and looking like the Patriots most people have grown to hate, you can look elsewhere this week as the potential for a blowout looms large.
Carolina Panthers (at TB)
The Panthers’ D was good last week, finishing with 11 fantasy points in a loss to the Bears. But, you should bench them this week in a difficult matchup against the Buccaneers. Just one DST has had more than seven fantasy points against Tampa Bay, and three have finished with four or fewer.
— 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.