As we look to close the book on Week 7 of the fantasy football season, let’s stop and take a moment of refection first. Let’s look back and see who had an outstanding fantasy game that helped propel your team to victory. And of course let’s look back in anger at those players you were depending on that simply let you down.
Here are Week 7’s fantasy studs and duds.
Tom Brady, NE (vs. NYJ) – 29.7 fantasy points
Technically this should go to Kirk Cousins, who scored 30.18 fantasy points, but Cousins' is ineligible to be a stud since he’s only owned in 7 percent of Yahoo! leagues. So this week’s stud is a guy who has been doing this all season.
So much for that vaunted New York Jets defense and all those pundits out there suggesting that Todd Bowles’ unit would stymie Brady and completely shut down Rob Gronkowski leading to the Patriots' first loss of the season. Instead Brady threw for 315 yards, two touchdowns and he even had an ultra-rare rushing touchdown.
Lamar Miller, MIA (vs. HOU) – 35.6 FP
It’s amazing what a new coach and a new offensive philosophy can do to a player. Miller was averaging about nine carries per game when Joe Philbin was his head coach and now in the last two weeks he’s seen his touches double and he’s responded with 17.8 fantasy points last week and an outstanding 35.6 this week thanks to 175 rushing yards and one touchdown and 61 receiving yards with another touchdown. Miller has firmly established himself as a RB1 moving forward.
Todd Gurley, STL (vs. CLE) – 28.3 FP
Everyone one and their grandma knew that Gurley was going to have a huge game against the Cleveland Browns and their rush defense that had given up the third-most fantasy points heading into Week 7. Gurley sure didn’t disappoint, rushing for 128 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Is Gurley now the best running back in football? He’s definitely in the discussion.
T.Y. Hilton, IND (vs. NO) – 27 FP
Do you hear that sound? That huge exhale? That’s all the Hilton owners taking a huge sigh of relief as he finally had the game that his fantasy owners have been waiting for. What’s amazing is that he only caught four passes out of 15 targets for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Imagine the numbers that Hilton could have put up if he and Andrew Luck were able to connect just a few more times?
Mike Evans, TB (vs. WAS) – 22.4 FP
That other huge exhale is from all of the Evans owners who also were waiting for Evans to break out in a big way. Evans finally looks like he’s 100 percent healthy and now has the full confidence of Jameis Winston. On Sunday, Evans had eight catches for 164 yards and one touchdown and moving forward you can expect more of the same.
Jordan Reed, WAS (vs. TB) – 19.2 FP
If you didn’t give up on Reed because of his latest concussion, kept him on your bench until he was healthy enough to play and actually started him this week, well played. Reed was good to go against the Buccaneers and instantly re-established himself as Kirk Cousins’ favorite target. Reed caught 11 passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns and is now an elite TE1 moving forward, even though he is as risky as they come because of his injury history.
Eli Manning, NYG (vs. DAL) – 6.4 FP
This distinction also could have gone to Colin Kaepernick, who put up a pathetic 4.96 fantasy points on Thursday night against Seattle, but Kaepernick is only 50 percent owned, while Manning is 94 percent owned. It’s not as if Manning had a tough matchup on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, but he just couldn’t get anything going and couldn’t get into rhythm with his receivers. Manning threw for only 170 yards, with zero touchdowns and miraculously enough, zero interceptions. He was just a waste of space out there, fantasy-wise.
Alfred Morris, WAS (vs. TB) – 0.7 FP
You were smart and had Morris on the bench right? Right? It’s true that the Redskins found themselves in a huge hole early in their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had to rely on Kirk Cousins to get them back into the game. But when Morris got his opportunities, he did nothing with them, finishing with six yards on five carries. That’s pathetic for someone who you probably drafted in the third round of your and now might consider dropping.
Rashad Jennings, NYG (vs. DAL) – 0.9 FP
It looks like the Giants' backfield is another one that you probably want to avoid moving forward. Jennings hasn’t had a great season to being with, but he had just 19 yards rushing on five carries in the Giants' win over the Cowboys on Sunday. What makes things worse is that Jennings was out-touched by Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen. You might want to consider permanently moving Jennings to your bench for the time being.
Jordan Matthews, PHI (vs. CAR) – 1.4 FP
What an awful game by Matthews. One of those sure-fire breakout candidates heading into the season, Matthews has seen his production plummet since Week 1 and against the Panthers, he hit an all-time low. Somehow he stills gets his targets, drawing seven on Sunday night. He caught three of those for 14 yards, but with his two brutal first-half drops, he played himself out of the game plan for that game and may have done so to some degree moving forward as well.
Golden Tate, DET (vs. MIN) – 1.4 FP
By the way Tate is playing this year you might forget that he had 99 catches for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns last season (most of which was thanks to Calvin Johnson not playing). This season Tate has yet to score more than 10 fantasy points in a game and caught a measly two passes for 14 yards on Sunday against the Vikings. That’s with Matthew Stafford playing a lot better. Take extreme caution moving forward if you are going to put Tate in your starting lineup.
Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. SF) – 3.1 FP
You just can’t trust Graham week to week. He doesn’t have a real place in the Seahawks' offense and is more likely to be a dud than a stud in any game. Want proof? In Week 6 Graham scored 14 fantasy points thanks to 140 yards receiving. Even though he didn’t score a touchdown it was by far his most productive game as a Seahawk. Fast-forward to this week and what does Graham do for an encore? He scores 3.1 fantasy points thanks to two catches for 31 yards. Time to jump off the Graham bandwagon... again.
— 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.