Jacksonville Jaguars @ Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert continued to impress while picking up his first career win, not just with his big arm but also with his legs, as the rookie QB took just one sack and easily led LA in rushing. Herbert’s rushing ability gives him even more fantasy upside, and he helped LAC put up nearly 40 points Sunday with unknowns Jalen Guyton, Virgil Green, and Donald Parham Jr. the recipients of TD strikes. Over the last three games (including two tough ones in Tampa Bay and New Orleans), Herbert has gotten 8.8 YPA with an 11:1 TD:TO ratio. Herbert has looked like a future star this season — he might already be one.
Keenan Allen watched teammates score all the touchdowns Sunday, but he also saw another 13 targets and should be ranked as a borderline top-five WR in PPR leagues moving forward given his workload and the QB throwing to him. Allen entered with the No. 7 WOPR on the year, which will be higher after this week … Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley somehow both busted in prime spots, as they each got 2.4 YPC and watched Joe Reed become the fourth random Chargers player to record a touchdown Sunday with a rushing score. Kelley looks like the favorite for carries, with Jackson dominating passing down work in a committee (a timeshare still with upside, thanks to Herbert) … Mike Williams’ season would’ve looked a lot different with Tyrod Taylor.
Gardner Minshew is reportedly on the verge of getting benched despite entering with a better CPAE this season than Josh Allen, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady, and it’s unclear what a move to Mike Glennon would do other than increase Jacksonville’s odds of getting Trevor Lawrence. Of course, fantasy managers with DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault may welcome a quarterback change, and the team now enters its bye week … James Robinson was easily the Jaguars’ best player on the field, and his big game came against an LA defense that entered allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Robinson will be a borderline top-five fantasy back coming out of the bye with upcoming matchups against the Texans and Packers, no matter who’s QBing in Jacksonville.
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow threw for 400+ yards while Baker Mayfield got 10.5 YPA and tossed five touchdowns despite missing Odell Beckham and Austin Hooper (and Nick Chubb) and with Jarvis Landry playing through a broken rib. Both quarterbacks benefitted from facing defenses that entered ranked last and second-to-last in Knockdown Percentage. After getting benched last week and starting slow Sunday, Mayfield responded with the best game of his career, although the loss of OBJ will make things more difficult moving forward … Gio Bernard will remain a top-15 RB in Week 8 if Joe Mixon is out, while the Bengals have a three-way committee at wide receiver (Tyler Boyd benefitted this week from facing a Cleveland defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to the slot this season) … Harrison Bryant was an intriguing prospect buried behind Austin Hooper and David Njoku in a run-first offense, but he sure looks like Cleveland’s best tight end. On National Tight End Day, the Browns got three combined touchdowns from theirs … With Beckham down and Landry dealing with a broken rib, Rashard Higgins needs to be added in all fantasy leagues.
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Football Team
Andy Dalton had no chance against Washington’s pass rush behind Dallas’ offensive line and suffered an ugly hit that knocked him out of the game. A move to Ben DiNucci wouldn’t be great news for the already sinking fantasy values of the Cowboys’ receivers (CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup were somehow shut out on seven targets Sunday) … At least Ezekiel Elliott didn’t fumble, as the NFC East is poised to finish as the worst division ever … Terry McLaurin’s nice game could’ve been bigger, but he had a touchdown overturned (by inches), and Washington only attempted 25 passes in a blowout … Antonio Gibson finished with a game-high 20 carries (eight more than Zeke) and recorded just one target in an outcome that seemed unlikely before the season … Kyle Allen isn’t just a small upgrade at quarterback for Washington, he’s a big one (WFT would be my pick to win the NFC East right now) … The Cowboys scored three points, and that was aided by a long kickoff return. In case you missed it (like I did), here’s Mike McCarthy admitting to lying about watching game tape during his hiring press conference.
Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons
Todd Gurley had the week’s craziest play, as he ran in a touchdown (failing to fall short when Detroit fully allowed him to score) to put the Falcons up four points late, only to predictably see the Lions counter with a game-winning TD drive. Gurley doesn’t help as a receiver and has surpassed 80 rushing yards just once all season, but he’s on pace to rush for 19 touchdowns anyway …. It was nice to see D’Andre Swift get an early goal-line TD, but he remains locked in a timeshare as feared … What a catch by Kenny Golladay.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
Despite missing Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and facing a Carolina secondary that had ceded the fewest YPA in the NFL, Drew Brees had a strong fantasy game, even stealing a rushing TD as Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray were both held out of the end zone in the favorable matchup … That’s back-to-back poor games from Mike Davis, and the Panthers next play Thursday night … A few days after being placed on the COVID list, Joey Slye nearly made the longest field goal in NFL history as time expired … DJ Moore made this 74-yard touchdown look easy.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
In a game that saw Josh Allen attempt 43 passes with John Brown out and against a Jets funnel defense, it was borderline shocking that Stefon Diggs failed to reach 50 receiving yards … It’s going to be hard ranking either Devin Singletary or Zack Moss as top-30 fantasy backs moving forward … Tyler Bass went 6-for-8 (!) on field goal attempts in this game, as the Jets remain the NFL’s only winless team (although they do lead the league in roughing the passer penalties, recording their seventh Sunday — no other team has more than three — because Gregg Williams) … The Jets will be 20+ point underdogs in Kansas City in Week 8.
Green Bay Packers @ Houston Texans
Aaron Rodgers wasn’t too worried about missing his star left tackle or Aaron Jones (or Allen Lazard), as he played catch all day with Davante Adams against a seemingly disinterested Houston defense. Adams is far and away the #1 at his position, unlike any other fantasy player right now … Jamaal Williams came close to scoring a couple of other touchdowns and should be treated as a top-12 RB as long as Jones is sidelined, while Deshaun Watson has thrown for 300 yards in four straight games, and all Texans were robbed of garbage fantasy stats after the team miraculously recovered a late onside kick only to see David Johnson lose a fumble. Imagine trading DeAndre Hopkins for Johnson’s corpse and contract … I apologize for recommending Marquez Valdes-Scantling. It won’t happen again.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans
In just the sixth matchup since the merger between two undefeated teams with at least five wins, the Steelers won as Stephen Gostkowski missed a late FG attempt. Considering the differences in defenses and missing Taylor Lewan (and Derrick Henry getting just 3.8 YPC), Ryan Tannehill had another impressive game (aided by this sick play by A.J. Brown) … Diontae Johnson saw a whopping 15 targets, scored two touchdowns, and left injured, so we got the full experience. I’ll rank Johnson as a top-15 WR when active, but he’s proving to be one of the most injury-prone players in the league … James Conner dominated work but once again frustrated, as he had a touchdown called back and then dropped a walk-in score, only to watch Benny Snell get the goal-line TD on the next play.
San Francisco 49ers @ New England Patriots
Former Patriots quarterbacks entered just 1-7 against Bill Belichick, but Jimmy Garoppolo and company returned to New England and handed the coach the largest home loss of his career. The 49ers were down to their third-string center and fourth/fifth-string running backs and have too many injuries to list on defense, yet San Francisco outgained New England 301-59 yards at halftime and didn’t have to punt until three minutes were left in the game … The Patriots committed their first penalty on offense with Cam Newton all season, as they were clearly shook during Wes Welker’s revenge game … The 49ers somehow scored 33 points in New England despite Jimmy G finishing with a 0:2 TD:INT ratio (and presumptive RB1 Jerick McKinnon finishing with negative yardage), as Jeff Wilson was fantasy’s RB1 in Week 7 despite leaving early with an injury (and appearing in approximately zero starting fantasy lineups). With McKinnon looking like toast after the 49ers worked him hard in Week 4 and every other back injured, JaMycal Hasty is next up in San Francisco’s highly productive backfield, making him a fantasy RB2 type for now (and obvious must-add in all fantasy leagues).
Brandon Aiyuk continues to impress, and he’d become very interesting in fantasy terms should Deebo Samuel miss time with his latest injury, especially with the team’s running backs so banged up and an extremely difficult upcoming schedule that should require plenty of throwing … Newton isn’t getting much help, but he’s looked bad since Week 2 (when he shredded a Seattle defense that looks less impressive in hindsight), and the only question about his benching Sunday was if it was going to come sooner. He’s a huge question mark who doesn’t belong anywhere near fantasy lineups right now … After starting last season 10-1, the Patriots have gone 4-9 since … George Kittle now has the most catches over the first 50 games in San Francisco franchise history (and remember, Jerry Rice played for the Niners).
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
Patrick Mahomes got 7.8 YPA in freezing weather against a tough defense, but his fantasy stats suffered thanks to Kansas City scoring touchdowns via a pick-six and a kick return (Chad Henne even stole a TD run late in the blowout) … Clyde Edwards-Helaire split work with Le’Veon Bell more than expected, but at least the rookie scored for the first time since Week 1 (while also dropping yet another touchdown). The defense and special teams touchdowns limited the number of plays for Kansas City on Sunday … Mecole Hardman ran fewer routes than Byron Pringle last week, yet he somehow led the Chiefs in receiving yards Sunday on just two targets (eight fewer than Tyreek Hill). Meanwhile, Nick Keizer had more yards and touchdowns than Travis Kelce. I doubt Keizer permanently replaces him though … Harrison Butker has five missed extra points this season, while Melvin Gordon lost two fumbles Sunday, highlighted by this disastrous failed flea-flicker attempt. Still, Gordon’s value would see a significant boost should Phillip Lindsay (concussion) miss time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Las Vegas Raiders
Tom Brady’s strong season at age 43 looks even more incredible considering Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski have all failed to live up to fantasy expectations, and he gets Antonio Brown now (Mike Evans is clearly hurt). With Tampa Bay’s defense, the Bucs have to be considered one of the few Super Bowl favorites right now … Ronald Jones’ snaps decreased after he committed another drop, so Leonard Fournette (who nearly turned a catch into an interception but dominated passing down work nevertheless and finished with a much better YPC) appears likely to be a major part of this backfield committee moving forward … Considering Las Vegas’ offensive line situation and opponent, Derek Carr (7.9 YPA) played well yet again, and he quietly ranks #4 in CPAE this season (Joe Burrow is #3!).
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals
The NFL certainly isn’t upset they moved this game to primetime, as the Cardinals won a 37-34 thriller that didn’t see them hold a lead until 20 seconds were left in overtime (after rookie Isaiah Simmons recorded Russell Wilson’s third pick of the night). Wilson and Kyler Murray lived up to the hype with big games, as both even led their teams in rushing Sunday night. Wilson is now tied for the most TD passes (22) through six games in NFL history … Tyler Lockett had one of the biggest games you’ll ever see with 20 targets for 200 yards and three touchdowns, while DK Metcalf provided the highlight of the night — with a tackle.
Chris Carson left early with a foot injury, and if he’s going to miss time, Carlos Hyde (10% rostered in Yahoo) would become a must-start as Seattle’s lead back … Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake was carted to the locker room with a towel over his head, so Chase Edmonds looks like a top-10 PPR fantasy back moving forward, with legit top-five upside. Trade for him if others don’t agree.