So how did Week 7 treat your fantasy teams? At least the brutal bye week is over and we can move onto the Week 8 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em suggestions. I hope you survived. I myself earned some much-needed wins, took a loss in a league in which I was undefeated, and had some stomach-punch losses of courses.
Recall that I follow the guidelines of not suggesting a start for any WR or RB who is a "consensus" RB1 or WR1 (i.e. typically a player in the top 12 for his position that week). Likewise, I will not suggest that you sit an RB or WR who is not typically in the top 30 at either position.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Las Vegas
So with all that in mind, let's take a look at some options for this week.
START These RBs
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions
Miles Sanders' pain is Kenneth's gain. The Eagles could easily split up the injured Sanders' carries between Gainwell and Boston Scott, but I think Gainwell gets the lion's share. Even if he doesn't, Gainwell has quietly provided deeper flex production.
Gainwell has three games this year with nine or more total touches, and he's scored at least 11 PPR points each time. Detroit is fifth in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, including giving up six total touchdowns to the position in the past four games. They have allowed 12 total scores to RBs this year, the most in the league. Take the gains with the young Kenneth.
D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Do you realize that Swift is currently the overall RB6 in PPR scoring? He's scored a TD in each of his last three games. He has yet to hit the century mark in rushing or receiving this season, but the Eagles have given up 931 rushing yards so far, fourth-worst in the league.
The Eagles have also allowed the fifth-most receptions to opposing running backs. Call it a hunch, but I think Swift gets at least 100 yards and a touchdown this weekend.
SIT These RBs
Cordarelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers
Leonard Fournette, Patterson, and Khalil Herbert are all ranked within close proximity to each other this week. Of the three I like Patterson the least. The reason is simple: Carolina is giving up the fewest fantasy points to RBs this year. The extremely valuable Patterson has the worst matchup of pretty much any RB this week.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Odds are if you have Chubb, you should start him as you likely don't have a better option. And he'll be okay this week. But I've seen him ranked in the top 10 nearly everywhere whereas I am viewing him more as a top-20, RB2 type.
Here's why. For one, I like the aforementioned Swift, Joe Mixon, and even James Robinson slightly better than Chubb this week. Pittsburgh is allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs, but conversely allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs. We might actually see more passes from Cleveland than expected. Finally, I'm not sure if the emergence of D'Ernest Johnson last week eats into Chubb's workload as well, especially with him coming back from a calf injury.
Chubb should be started. But treat him like an RB2, not an RB1 this week.
START These WRs
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos vs. Washington Football Team
Yes, it is Jeudy's first game off of the IR. And the prudent move would be to wait a week. Yet I'd make the aggressive play, but it is far from reckless. Recall that he had six catches for 72 yards before getting injured in Week 1 this season. And last year, which was his rookie season, he averaged 16 yards per catch and that was with a lesser quarterback. Given that Washington has given up the second-most fantasy points to WRs, I'm willing to take a chance.
Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams at Houston Texans
Shallow-leaguers can ignore my Jefferson recommendation as he's not even in my top 40 this week. However, I love him as a WR3 in my deeper leagues. Jefferson is coming off a week where he saw the most targets and posted his highest snap share percentage (94 percent). And he made it count, hitting paydirt for his third touchdown of the season.
And since the Texans are in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed per game, I expect Matthew Stafford to feast. Sure, Cooper Kupp will outproduce Jefferson, but Kupp is the most valuable WR in fantasy right now. Jefferson might be the best WR3.
SIT These WRs
Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Waddle is leading the Dolphins in receptions, targets, and snaps. But don't be fooled. Waddle might be Miami's top receiver at some point, but not yet. DeVante Parker is still the team's No. 1 WR. He was surpassed in the aforementioned stats after missing Weeks 5 and 6. The Dolphins were on a bye last week and Parker is expected to play on Sunday.
But even if Parker doesn't play, I don't like Waddle this week. Tight end Mike Gesicki is coming on and he had a better game than Waddle last week. But I don't like any of the Miami pass catchers this week. For starters, Miami has an implied point total of 18 points. That's not good. Secondly, Buffalo has allowed the fewest touchdown passes and the fewest passing yards. Waddle is not worth it.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys (SNF)
We know Justin Jefferson is the No. 1 for Minnesota, so it's not a poor assumption to delegate Thielen to WR2 numbers. Thielen also has the Cowboys on tap, which is not a great matchup. They are right around the middle of the league in TD catches allowed.
But what also has me concerned is that despite 13 targets last week, Thielen still is seeing less than 34 percent of all WR targets. Last week also was the first time he had more than 100 yards since Week 11 last year. That's a long time. It was a bit of a sigh of relief for those who have him on their roster, but if I had Thielen on one of my teams, I'd still be worried about this week.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.