Sleepers And Busts: Week 7
Week 7 is here. It is crazy to think but after this week, half of the fantasy season will be over. We have come far enough in the season that our preseason takes are about worthless and consistent in-season trends need to be taken seriously. Situation and opportunity can still win the day though. Especially in a week where more injuries are effecting our teams and we are losing four teams to bye along with a lot of fantasy assets on their rosters. Here are the Sleepers And Busts: Week 7 edition to try and help you navigate your way to another victory.
John Brown Vs The Miami Dolphins
The Buffalo Bills are coming off their bye and they get they doormat that is the Miami Dolphins to great them. John Brown and the rest of the passing game do not have as easy of a matchup as the running backs on the team but their matchup is not exactly hard. The Dolphins are the 13th ranked team in terms of PPR (36.2) points per game allowed to wide receivers but the ninth in standard scoring (25.0).
The only reason they are this “low” is due to a lack of attempts. Teams just run them into the ground. Miami may not get thrown on a lot. They have had just the second-fewest attempts and receptions (50/77) against but when teams do throw, it is highly effective. The Dolphins have allowed the third-most touchdowns (8) through the air in the league and they have only played five games. The Oakland Raiders are the only other team to play fewer than six games and allow more than 4 passing TDs.
Receiving TDs To Wide Receivers (Tied for third-most)
Passing Yards Allowed To WRs Per Receiving TD (second-most)
Receiving TDs Per Game To WRs (fourth-most)
Yards Per Reception Allowed To WRs (fourth-most)
As you can see, despite the lack of opportunity for WRs, they seem to make the most of it. Miami is one of two teams to allow fewer than 100 yards per passing TD. One of five teams allowing more than 1.6 TDs per game and one of four teams allowing over 15 yards per reception. Here is a perfect example. Washington Redskins WR Terry McLaurin just put up 4 catches on 7 targets for 100 yards and 2 TDs.
You may view John Brown as strictly a deep ball, TD dependent threat but this year, that has not been exactly the case. He has career-highs in yards per target (10.0), yards per game (78.0), receptions per game (5.6), with his second-lowest yard per reception (13.9). There are 54 WRs with 30+ targets and 13 of these have double-digit yards per target. Brown is one of them. He has two games this season with double-digit targets and three of 8 or more. He has two games of 7 receptions and has no fewer than 4 in any game. The Bills top outside threat is sporting a career-high 71.8% catch rate which is the 18th best in 2019 and just 1 drop. Brown has a 23.4% target share and also ranked in the top-20 prior to Week 6 in all the following…
- Targets – 39 (14th, current 24th)
- Deep Targets – 9 (12th)
- Receptions – 28 (14th, current 21st)
- Yards Receiving – 390 (11th, current 21st)
- Total Airyards – 535 (10th)
The Bills WR is getting decent volume and has the ability to make his day on one play. A perfect combination to go with a matchup that allows points to efficient WRs. Is he ever going to be a top WR option? No, but, Brown certainly has a chance to give you WR2 and possibly top-15 or better WR numbers in Week 7.
Daniel Jones Vs The Arizona Cardinals
The New York Giants rookie had a great start to his career but has since cooled off (see above). Week 7 will be a chance for him to get back on track as the New York Giants welcome the Arizona Cardinals. A team that allowed a top-4 QB, RB, and TE in standard, 1/2 point, and PPR in Week 6, despite winning the game. The Giants have been pretty beaten up as of late but have a very outside chance to welcome back all three of their best weapons in Week 7. Barkley and Engram, a better chance than Shepard, per reports. The situation is nice but becomes fantastic if at least 2/3 return.
Injury Updates (per Ethan Turner)
Royce Freeman Vs The Kansas City Chiefs
You would not think that a borderline RB3 against one of the best offenses in the league would have a chance to do anything worth starting but when that top offense gives up some of the most RB production in the league, we can look a little deeper and maybe find some value. Also, when that team loses two of its defensive tackles to injury the week prior, there might just be a nice setup for that player. Royce Freeman will get this matchup in Week 7. Philip Lindsay may be getting all the glory lately but Freeman is still on the field plenty.
Snap Counts And Opportunity
|Name||1||2||3||4||5||6||(66.16 PG)||(397 Snaps)|
As you can see above, Freeman has been on the field more than Philip Lindsay in four of six games and the last three in a row. In total, 18 more offensive snaps played on a team that has a 2 and 4 record. Generally, a negative game script means the teams pass-catching RB is in the game. Well, it will likely shock you to know Royce Freeman has the 12th most receptions (21) and the 13th most targets (26). That is 2 more receptions on the same amount of targets as Lindsay (19/26). Lindsay does have 8pts rushing compared to 66 for Freeman but they are both averaging between 4.3 and 4.7 yards per attempt rushing. Lindsay has just scored the only 4 combined TDs between the two backs.
The Kansas City Chiefs will be coming off a tough loss in Week 6 and dealing with a short week and a Thursday Night Football matchup when they head into Mile High Stadium. This can present its own difficulties for a team, let alone, one as banged up as the Chiefs. They are banged up on both sides of the line and it got worse on the defensive side in Week 6. KC might be calling up a practice squad defensive tackle to fill in.
The Chiefs are worse off now but they were not remotely good against the run prior to Week 6 either. Over the last two weeks, teams have realized if they can keep the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands by running the clock, he can not cut your pass defense to pieces. In the last two losses for Mahomes and KC, they have also not looked to have the same effectiveness as they had early in the year. 37 combined points scored in the last two weeks looks pretty sad when you remember that the Chiefs scored fewer than 28 points zero times in the first four weeks. Here are the combined rushing totals for each team the Chiefs have faced.
Week To Week Production Allowed (team totals)
- Jacksonville Jaguars – 16 attempts rushing for 89 yards rushing (5.1 Y/A), 0 TDs
- Oakland Raiders – 19 for 129 (6.8 Y/A), 0 TDs
- Baltimore Ravens – 33 for 203 (6.3 Y/A), 4 TDs
- Detroit Lions – 35 for 186 (5.3 Y/A), 0 TDs
- Indianapolis Colts – 45 for 180 (4.0), 1 TD
- Houston Texans – 41 for 192 (4.7), 3 TDs
Per Game Season Average – 31.5 attempts rushing for 163.16 yards rushing (5.18 Y/A), 1.33 TDs
- 16-game pace – 504 attempts rushing, 2610.56 yards, 21.28 TDs, 337.73 fantasy points
Weeks 3-6 Per Game Average – 38.5 attempts rushing for 190.25 yards rushing (4.94 Y/A), 2 TDs
- 16-game pace – 616 attempts rushing, 3044 yards rushing, 32 TDs, 496.4 fantasy points
Now, not all of this was done by running backs and does not include any of the passing game work for those RBs and the numbers are staggering. When talking specifically about production to running backs since that is why we are here, KC is one of six teams allowing 29.0+ PPR points to RBs and only the Los Angeles Rams have faced more attempts rushing in 2019. They are middle of the pack in terms of receiving work allowed to RBs but they have faced the 13th most targets so far. You would think these would be slightly switched around but again, teams have been able to gut the KC rush defense and in turn, keep the ball from that explosive offense on the other sideline.
In a tough divisional matchup on a short week and facing an opponent that has been a revolving door over the past four weeks for running backs, Royce Freeman could finally get you a touchdown and put up some RB 20-30 range production. In a week when you are missing Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, and James Conner, you could certainly do worse than targeting a defense that had allowed seven top-40 RB performances before they gave into the Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson duo that finished Week 6 as the RB10 and RB20 respectively (nine total top-40, six total top-20 YTD)
(Via FFStatistics Defenses App)
Joe Mixon Vs The Jacksonville Jaguars
At this point in the season, it almost seems unfair to call Joe Mixon a bust so we will be a little brief. It would be hard for anyone to make any hay in that offense and that is likely not to change in week 7 when the Bengals welcome in one of the best defenses in the league, the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bengals offensive line has been one of the worst run-blocking units in the league and Joe Mixon has paid the price.
(per Football Outsiders)
You can see above that the Bengals rushing plays as a team have been stuffed 30% of the time. Dead last. They are middle of the pack in terms of their power success but they are rarely in a position to need short-yardage power. Mixon is averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt, 42.0 yards rushing per game, and 12.3 attempts per game. Numbers uncomfortably similar to the ones he produced in his rookie season (3.5 Y/A, 44.7 Y/G, 12.7 A/G). In fact, worse than his rookie season.
Yes, cornerback Jalen Ramsey was just traded to the Los Angeles Rams but this does not tilt the scales far enough in the run game. Jacksonville has allowed 27.7 PPR points per game (seventh-most) to RBs but this is a bit deceiving. Look below at the weekly RB performances for all that scored over 2 points. One of these weeks is not like the other.
Only one RB has scored over 20 PPR points and just two surpassed 14 PPR points. In Week 5, the Jags allowed over 63 points to the Panthers trio of Christian McCaffrey, Reggie Bonnafon, and Alex Armah. If we take Week 5 out of the equation, Jacksonville is allowing 20.6 PPR points per game (would be ranked seventh-fewest, seventh-most if including Week 5). A massive difference of 7.1 points.
- Weeks 1-6 – 27.7 PPR Points Per Game (26th)
- Weeks 1-4,6 – 20.1 PPR Points Per Game (7th)
Mixon is talented but in nowhere near as quality a situation. This could end up a very bad day regardless of the trade with LA.
Terry McLaurin vs The San Francisco 49ers
The Washington Redskins rookie WR has not only met expectations in his first NFL campaign, but he has also blown them away. Despite some injury, McLaurin has been the most impressive and consistent of the rookies and even more impressive, with three different starting quarterbacks. Week 6 might not have as green of pastures waiting for McLaurin though as the Redskins will take on what could be one of the three best defenses in the league, the San Francisco 49ers.
- Brandin Cooks – 3 receptions/ 3 targets, 18 yards receiving, 0 TDs
- Robert Woods – 0/4, 0, 0
- Cooper Kupp – 4/6, 17, 0
- Josh Reynolds – 0/1, 0, 0
The above are the numbers of one the best WR corps in the league against the 49ers. Washington is nowhere near what the Rams put on the field each day meaning more attention can be paid to their rookie WR. San Francisco has been nearly as impressive as the New England Patriots on the defensive end because they have faced better competition. San Francisco ranks in the top-10 against each of the four fantasy positions including 30.1 per week to WRs (sixth-fewest).
Season To Date
Terry McLaurin, as you can see is averaging 1 TD per game, has zero games with fewer than 51 yards receiving, no games with fewer than 7 targets, and has caught a minimum of 3 balls in every game. Below that, you can see that he has just one game finishing outside the top 24 at the position.
(via FFStatistics Yearly Data App)
While McLaurin has four of his five career games inside the WR2 range, the San Francisco 49ers have allowed just three top-24 WR finishes and have not allowed a finish higher than WR30 since returning from their bye. You can see below that they have faced some pretty good WRs in the two games. San Francisco has proven itself a legit defense that could be a tough matchup all season. This may be a week to avoid all Redskins. Not just McLaurin.
Darren Waller @ The Green Bay Packers
Darren Waller did not come from out of nowhere, but if you say you had him ranked anywhere near your top-five tight ends coming into 2019 is likely a bold-faced lie. Despite what you thought about the situation and all the vacated targets left behind by Jared Cook, you could not have predicted this especially when you remember that they drafted the number two Sparq Score tight end, Foster Moreau, from the 2019 draft and added a perennial target monster in Antonio Brown.
Waller has an 88.1% catch rate, has 7 targets in four of five games and no fewer than 5 every week, and has produced fewer than 54 yards just once. The Raiders will take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 7 and the Pack has been pretty solid against the big guys. You can see below that they are one of the six teams in the league allowing fewer than 9.0 PPR points per game to TEs as well as one of five teams allowing fewer than 5 standard points per game. Green Bay will be at home where they always seem to be tough and Derek Carr traveling across the country in a 1:00 P.M. eastern time game has a tendency to go badly.
Waller has yet to score a TD in 2019 and the amount of volume he has received would suggest some TD regression but Green Bay has allowed just 1 TD in Week 4 to Dallas Goedert and the Philadelphia Eagles. Other than that week when both Goedert and Zach Ertz went for 9+ fantasy points, the Packers have not allowed more than 6.1 PPR points. In fantasy, you are looking for a TE1. Unless drastic circumstances or alternate scoring formats, you should never start more than one TE and the Packers have allowed just one TE1 all season. Waller is coming off a game with his fewest targets, receptions, and yards of the season and this might not be the get right game we are looking for.
Week 7, as we know by now is the halfway point in the regular season in a lot of fantasy leagues and it is an important one. With all the variance we have seen in scoring, there could be some very tight races going on. A victory now is as important as ever and you can capitalize on other teams bye weeks by grabbing a sleeper off waivers so as not to allow them to start said player. Whatever way you choose to use the information, I hope this sleeper and bust article helps you get the next checkmark in the win column on your way to the playoffs. Good luck in Week 7 everyone!