Kickoff: Sunday, October 24th at 4:25 PM ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Betting Odds: HOU +17.5, 47.5 total via Oddsshark
Davis Mills (Sit)
Is Tyrod Taylor healthy yet? First-year quarterbacks almost always struggle when thrown into the fire, and Davis Mills is no exception. The rookie is averaging less than 10 fantasy points over his first four starts. This week’s match-up should mean more trouble for Mills. The Cardinals have allowed the sixth-fewest passing yards this year.
Mark Ingram (Start-able Low-end Flex), David Johnson (Lower-end Flex), Phillip Lindsay (Sit)
It seems like Mark Ingram is the most valuable back in Houston right now, but that isn’t saying much. The veteran is averaging 17 rush attempts per game over the past two weeks, but it hasn’t amounted to much fantasy production. Unfortunately, the Texans’ offense can’t create scoring opportunities for Ingram. This week shouldn’t be any better. Ingram should struggle when the Texans inevitably fall behind early. Mark is barely a low-end Flex play, and that’s only the case because so many teams are on BYE this week. I would avoid this backfield if you can afford to, but I wouldn’t blame anybody who had to play Ingram due to the BYE-pocalypse. He at least has a reliable workload.
To make matters worse, David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay are averaging a combined 9.3 carries a game through the first six weeks of the 2021 season. That’s a small slice of the pie for two backs. Neither has enough consistent output to trust in fantasy lineups, though Johnson has a bit more value in PPR leagues because of his higher target share. Truly desperate fantasy managers may need to consider David if they don’t have many options this week, but I wouldn’t expect much. Johnson’s ceiling is somewhere around 11 or 12 points, and his floor is as low as they come.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Brandin Cooks (Start, WR2), Nico Collins (Sit), Chris Conley (Sit), Danny Amendola (Sit), Jordan Akins (Sit), Pharaoh Brown (Sit)
Just when fantasy managers began to worry after two single-digit performances in a row, Brandin Cooks showed up with a great bounce-back game last week (even though the Texans continue to struggle). Cooks doing well despite his team’s lack of success is encouraging, especially with a game against the high-powered Arizona offense coming up. The Texans are HUGE underdogs this week, and they will likely fall behind quickly, forcing them to throw the ball. Cooks saw 13 targets last week, the second-most he’s received this year. Brandin should be capable of a WR2 performance with plenty of garbage-time production against the Cardinals.
Nico Collins missed a month because of a shoulder injury but seemed to have a pretty important role (for a rookie) in his return last week. Collins saw six targets and could be trending in the right direction, but he’s no more than a bench stash in deeper leagues for now. Collins could be taking targets from Chris Conley because the latter saw only two passes last week. Either way, neither of these players is dependable enough to trust in fantasy lineups.
To make matters more confusing, veteran Danny Amendola could be back soon. He was practicing last week, but I wouldn’t roll the dice on Amendola in his first week back if he does suit up.
Tight ends Jordan Akins and Pharaoh Brown are eating into each other’s production, rendering both useless for fantasy purposes.
Kyler Murray (Start, QB1)
There isn’t much to say here. Kyler Murray is the overall fantasy QB4 on the season heading into Week 7, and the Cardinals are favored by more than two touchdowns against the Texans. Houston is allowing the eleventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, so Murray should be set for another QB1 performance this week.
Chase Edmonds (Start, RB2), James Conner (Start, RB2)
It almost feels wrong to list both of these backs in RB2 territory this week, but the BYE-pocalypse is officially upon us. Chase Edmonds’ touches have gone down over the past three games (likely because of his nagging shoulder injury) and he hasn’t found the end zone once this year, but the targets (and PPR value) are still there. Meanwhile, James Conner has scored five touchdowns in 2021, saw increased attempts over the past two weeks, and ran with solid efficiency last week. Considering the BYE-week woes and Edmonds’ limited workload, both of these backs should be must-starts in Week 7. Houston is allowing the second-most rushing yards per game this year, and the Cardinals should create an early lead. Both Conner and Edmonds should both be capable of an RB2 finish this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DeAndre Hopkins (Start, WR1), Christian Kirk (Start, Flex), AJ Green (Low-end Flex), Rondale Moore (Low-end Flex), Zach Ertz (Start, Low-end TE1)
DeAndre Hopkins is averaging 20.6 fantasy points and 1.5 touchdowns per game over the past two weeks, so it seems like the elite receiver has bounced back to solid fantasy production. The Texans are in the middle of the league in passing yards allowed per game, so there should be enough for “Nuk” to work with this week. Fire up your elite wide receiver with confidence.
This high-powered, high-efficiency offense makes predicting the fantasy output for the rest of the Cardinals’ receivers difficult. Murray spread the ball out between five different targets last week alone. I’m ranking Christian Kirk a bit higher than AJ Green and Rondale Moore mainly because the former saw eight targets, caught a touchdown pass last week, and is arguably still the second-best receiver in Arizona. Realistically, any one of these three wide-outs is capable of respectable fantasy output, but the trouble is predicting who will have the better stat line at the end of the day. It’s essentially a weekly dart throw. I like Green a bit more than Rondale mainly because AJ has more touchdown production (three in the first six weeks of the season) and a more consistent target share (six targets in all but one game), but both deserve Flex consideration this week.
Zach Ertz will play his first game for Arizona after getting traded from the Eagles last week. As I mentioned before, there is a crowded room of talented pass catchers to compete with, but Ertz should be in line for a better fantasy opportunity than he had in Philly, where he was splitting work with Goedert. Zach is easily the most valuable tight end on this team, and he should be in line for a low-end TE1 performance so long as he receives a healthy target share from Murray. The Texans have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this year.
-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse)