Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire
Welcome to Week Seven, dear reader, I am Brennen Gorman and I am in charge of our On the Bubble column. These articles will focus on bubble and bench players that could make an impact this week, even if they might not make an impact every week, and on bubble and bench players that might not make an impact this week.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns [ESPN Own: 40% / Start: 13%]: Baker Mayfield has had four underwhelming games since he took over in Week Three – a Week Seven matchup against Tampa Bay is what he so desperately needs. Mayfield should see less pressure, make fewer mistakes, and throw the ball more often than he has against some tough defenses the past few weeks. There is quite a bit of risk built into this selection, but he has a trio of weapons in Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, and Duke Johnson Jr.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears [ESPN Own: 41% / Start: 15%]: Mitch Trubisky broke out in Week Four against Tampa Bay and continued his hot streak last week against Miami. Week Seven is shaping up to be another productive outing in a match destined to be a shooout against New England. The emergence of Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen has been a boon to Matt Nagy’s blossoming offense.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints [ESPN Own: 97% / 28%]: Drew Brees‘ starting percentage has slowly begun to tick upward now a week removed from New Orleans’ BYE week, but I am unsure that it should. Despite Brees’ otherwise sterling season without a turnover and average 11 touchdowns – New Orleans has only played one top-15 defense (Cleveland in Week 2). Brees has been boom or bust this season – with his two biggest booms against Tampa Bay and Atlanta, two of the league’s worst passing defenses. Baltimore is averaging 12 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season (9 if you remove Week Two). Brees is a trap in Week Seven.
Start: Running Backs
Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos [ESPN Own: 85% / Start: 50%]: Despite only getting a third of Denver’s snaps and trailing Royce Freeman in rushing attempts, Phillip Lindsay is the back to play in Week Seven against an Arizona team that trail’s only Denver in rushing yards allowed. Coupled with 5-6 targets, Lindsay is poised for a streamable week even in standard leagues.
Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts [ESPN Own: 44% / Start: 7%]: Week Six saw the return of the Mack with Marlon Mack rushing 12 times for 89 yards. Mack was expected to be the top back on the chart before missing three weeks prior and the season opener. Now healthy, Mack is in line for additional touches and faces a poor Buffalo defense. Although Buffalo looks to be a poor matchup, removing Week Three against Minnesota as an outlier (where there were only four rushing attempts), Buffalo is averaging 90.2 rushing yards to opposing backs. BUY.
Sit: Running Backs
Lamar Miller, Baltimore Ravens [ESPN Own: 90% / Start: 40%]: Lamar Miller is averaging a poor 3.7 YPC and has yet to find the end zone this season. While a touchdown is always looming, Miller’s play has been such to warrant he would not be streamer worth most weeks, nevermind against a Jacksonville defense that is out to prove it is still one of the league’s best after a Week Six trouncing by Dallas.
Start: Wide Receivers
Michael Crabtree, Indianapolis Colts [ESPN Own: 83% / Start: 43%]: Michael Crabtree has seen no fewer than eight targets since Week One and has 55 targets on the season. He is a good bet to once again get double-digit targets in Week Seven against a league-worst New Orlean’s defense. The volume will be there as should a few red-zone looks.
Antonio Callaway, Cleveland Browns [ESPN Own: 18% / Start: 3%]: In a bold selection, Antonio Callaway has a great chance of having a career game against Tampa Bay in Week Seven. Although the rookie has not produced anything substantial this season, he has averaged 8.5 targets per game over the past four weeks (10 targets twice) bringing in only 12 in that span. A match against Tampa Bay should allow Callaway to finally capitalize on that massive target share.
Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears [ESPN Own: 50% / Start: 20%]: I could not stop with two receivers this week and want to again recommend Taylor Gabriel. Gabriel is criminally underrated given his target share and past two weeks performance. Gabriel is a good bet to get 7-8 targets and a touchdown in Week Seven against New England in what is expected to be a shootout.
Sit: Wide Receivers
Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions [ESPN Own: 90% / Start: 22%]: With the emergence of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. has started to fade away in Detroit’s offense. Golladay has been targeted more in 3-1-1 of this season’s matches, punctuated by Jones’ sole reception in Week Five (granted, it was for a touchdown and he had a big gain called off). Miami’s defense has been inconsistent this year and Jones could still capitalize, but he’s a riskier player to stream.
Start: Tight Ends
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons [ESPN Own: 66% / Start: 41%]: For two consecutive weeks, Austin Hooper was the second most targeted tight end compiling 22 targets in total, more than the 15 he received in Weeks One through Four. It is a dramatic increase in usage that has caused his fantasy value to spike. Ride it while it lasts.
Sit: Tight Ends
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers [ESPN Ownership: 86% / Start: 47%]: Greg Olsen returned in Week Six to little effect. A tough matchup against Baltimore in Week Seven is not likely to help his prospects any. Olsen is a good bet to be the second or third most targeted player on Carolina’s offense, but this draw has low scoring affair written all over it.
Los Angeles Chargers D/ST [ESPN Own: 70% / Start: 43%]: Tennesee has not been able to get much started on offense despite their strong defense. Los Angeles has put up a good showing in all but two weeks (Kansas City and Los Angeles Rams) – Tennesee should be a useful stream for this unit.
New England Patriots D/ST [ESPN Own: 48% / Start: 28%]: New England’s defense has scarcely been worth a stream this year and a Week Seven matchup against a resurgent Chicago offense is a risky proposition.