As we turn the page on Week 7 of the NFL season, your beloved team that you root for may be out of playoff contention. As a Bills fan, maybe that is why I have such a passion for fantasy football, no 15 year droughts. We can decide our own fate rather than screaming at your set on Sundays when your down 24 points to the Jaguars. With roughly half of the fantasy football regular season wrapped up, you should be pretty well cognizant of maneuvers you need to make to clinch a playoff berth, or moves needed to bolster a nice lengthy run in the postseason. With that being said we will break down this week in football and what lies ahead.
Week 8 Byes: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Washington
Week 7 MVP’s
Jarvis Landry- In a game that seemed as if it were over before it even started, at least some of your Dolphins got to eat before all was said and done. It is not a surprise to see Lamar Miller have back-to-back great games, as new HC Dan Campbell eluded to getting back to the run game. Two weeks ago, Landry actually salvaged his fantasy day by scoring a 22-yard rushing touchdown, but this week it was through the air. Since the game was such a blowout, Landry only saw five targets, but reeled them all in, finishing with a 5/83/2 stat line. This week, Landry will take on the Patriots Thursday night, and with New England’s propensity to try and smother any given team’s number one target, this may be a week you temper expectations somewhat.
Mike Evans- As foreshadowed in last week’s article, Evans finally had his breakout performance of 2015 that his fantasy owners so patiently waited for. He came an offensive pass interference away from having an absolute monstrous two-touchdown day; He still finished with a reputable 8/164/1 performance. Evans did receive some extra run in this game due to the respective knee injuries of fellow starter Vincent Jackson and third receiver Louis Murphy. Consistency and availability have hampered Evans concreting himself as a WR1 for fantasy purposes, and we will see if he can maintain this production heading to Atlanta this week.
Week 7 Busts
Larry Fitzgerald- When I wrote up John Brown and Michael Floyd last week, I specifically left out Fitz as you were going to start him no matter the matchup, especially in the most advantageous one imaginable. Everything aligned for Fitz to have a grand day: worst secondary in the league, extremely hot quarterback play, playing at home in a dome, and he is the team’s number one target. Well, all of these accommodations were primed up for Fitz to go off, and he finished with a 3/39/0 stat line. There are two factors to note here with Fitzgerald for the rest of the season; First off, he started off at such a high unsustainable level, that some regression was obviously due. Secondly, John Brown and Michael Floyd are getting healthier and taking some of the targets away that Fitzgerald was seeing early on. Regardless, he will still have some big games ahead, just not at the rate he began the season with.
Odell Beckham Jr.- Beckham has looked pretty ordinary the past two weeks, and maybe not coincidentally as he has been playing through a bum hamstring. After not recording a catch in the second half two weeks ago against Philadelphia, the slump carried over finishing with a 4/35/0 performance against the Cowboys. If we can take any positives out of this performance, it is that Eli Manning and the pass catchers as a whole put up a dud of a showing, finishing with zero touchdowns on 170 yards. So it is not like one of the other receivers had a big day and Beckham was phased out, but you sure would like to see a better performance out of a receiver you likely drafted with your first or second pick. The Giants will take on the Saints this week, with a chance to get back on track. Even though Beckham will face one of the emerging corners in the NFL, Devlin Breaux, I expect him to get loose here and there, just as T.Y Hilton did this past week.
Alshon Jeffery- Before the Bears bye week in Week 7, Jeffery reminded owners why he was such a hot commodity for fantasy purposes this summer. He torched the Lions to the tune of 8/147/1 in his return from injury. Jeffery will face off with another division foe who he has owned in the past, in the Minnesota Vikings. Over his last three games against them he has totaled 25/418/3. Do not worry, I am here to save you of all the hard work. That on average would work out to approximately 8/139/1 per contest versus the Vikings his last three times out.
Stefon Diggs– Sticking with the same matchup here, Diggs will face off against a porous Chicago defense in Week 8. Diggs has quickly become Teddy’s favorite target and has Mike Wallace playing second fiddle in the passing attack. With the high usage rate of Adrian Peterson, it was expected that only one pass catcher in this offense to see relevant production. Over the past two games, Diggs has seen team highs in both targets (28) and receptions (19), totaling for 237 yards and a score. Expect Diggs to stay top 20 at the position for Week 8 against a team susceptible to all sorts of yardage and big plays.
Jeremy Maclin- Maclin was kept out of his Week 7 contest versus the Steelers due to lingering concussion effects, despite practicing the Friday before the game. It seemed prime for Travis Kelce to see a boatload of targets in Maclin’s absence, but it seems Andy Reid and Alex Smith are only willing to give Maclin double-digit targets. The Chiefs will head across the pond and face off with the Lions in London this Sunday. Maclin is expected to return this week, and has a juicy matchup upon himself. The Lions’ are surrounding the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts. If you are thinking about slotting Maclin back into your starting squad, this would be a good matchup to do so.
Randall Cobb- Although the Packers are coming off of their bye, it is against one of the toughest matchups for an opposing offense, against the stout Broncos. This also comes at a time where we have seen Cobb’s numbers decline over the past few games. Denver has held Jeremy Maclin, Steve Smith, Calvin Johnson, and Amari Cooper to under eight fantasy points this season. If you have other alternatives, I would advise you to look elsewhere.
Amari Cooper- Cooper was a fantasy superstar last week, but can he put up monster numbers against Darrelle Revis? Well, No. 1 wide receivers have not fared well against Revis and the Jets. In fact, New York has surrendered just 240 yards to their opponent’s top wideout all season. Oh, No. 1 wideouts have also scored just once against them.
T.Y Hilton- Hilton is coming off a monster performance last week, but the threat of an upcoming matchup with Josh Norman makes him a real risk. The Panthers have been one of the most formidable pass defenses in the league this year, allowing just 22 catches, 228 yards, and zero touchdowns to the opposition’s No. 1 wide receivers this season. If it were not for Delvin Breaux falling on both of Hilton’s touchdown receptions this past weekend, he would have been featured on this week’s busts list, and in this matchup he may find himself there next time around.
There really is slim pickings on the waiver wire from a wide receiver stand point aside from players mentioned in past articles. Obviously, if Diggs is still available on the wire, you go grab him now. If one of your league mates dropped Davante Adams in the wake of his injury, you can scoop him up and see if he re-acclimates himself to the offense, although he has a tough matchup with the Broncos this week. Rishard Matthews still seems to be Tannehill’s second favorite target behind Landry, so if he is still floating around out there and you need help, he can be grabbed as well.
Nate Washington- The Texans’ were already forced to throw the football quite a bit with their defensive struggles and always playing from behind. Now that Arian Foster went down with a season ending achilles injury, they will be forced to chuck it even more. We know the lion’s share will go to Hopkins on a week-to-week basis, but there is room for two WR to put up worthy numbers in this offense due to volume. With Cecil Shorts sidelined in Week 7, Nate Washington went off to the tune of 9/127/2. Now that will probably mark his high point mark for the season. If Shorts continues to miss time with injury, Washington is worth an add.
Robert Woods- Here is another player listed more out of necessity, than talent. With the Bills decimated at WR with Watkins out and Harvin questioning retirement, this opens the door for Woods to be the top dog in the offense. Against the Jags in London, Woods finished with a solid 9/84/1. The Bills were forced to get away from their game plan of ground and pound, so this may be his high point for the season as well. Nevertheless, if the Bills remain unhealthy at the WR position, Woods is worth an add.
Bold Predicitons for Week 8
Brandon Marhsall explodes against the Raiders, finishing with a 8/145/2 performance.
After showing some promise, Brandin Cooks flops against the Giants with 3/41/0.
Michael Floyd finds the end zone for a third straight game, in a daily-double fashion 4/45/2.
Super Bold: in a showdown of undefeated teams, the Packers and Broncos finish the game with zero touchdowns to wide receivers.
If you have any tough lineup decisions, trade offers, or waiver questions.
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