Week 7 has the most fantasy relevant collection of players on bye that we will see all season. Four of the top five scorers this season (Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs) will be absent as the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles all have the week off. The silver lining here is that after Week 7, all of these studs will be available the rest of the way as you make your title run. Whether you have players on these teams or not, my list below of players that I love and hate for Week 7 should help you make difficult lineup decisions.
Sometimes you don’t have many choices as the bench options on your roster become scarce. If you do have options, though, I believe what I have to say about these players that I love and hate will help put you in a position to win your week. My track record, thus far, is pretty spot on as I continue to hold myself accountable, review each list every week on Twitter (@Colin_McT) and improve week-to-week! Let’s take a look at who deserves to start and who you should considering sitting this week.
Players I Love and Hate in Week 7 of the 2022 Season
Love: Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts
Matt Ryan and the Colts will look to carry their momentum from a Week 6 divisional win over the Jacksonville Jaguars into Tennessee in Week 7. These two teams will rematch after the Titans got the best of the Colts in Week 4. Prior to last week’s outburst, Week 4 was Ryan’s best fantasy performance of 2022 thus far having thrown for 356 yards and two touchdowns.
While taking on the Titans on the road coming off of their bye will be difficult, we’re here to chase Ryan’s volume as a passer for fantasy football purposes. The Colts are running the third-most plays per game. Furthermore, Matt Ryan is second in pass attempts amongst all quarterbacks this season. Last week’s 58 attempts are an outlier, but even removing that from his 253 total attempts still has Ryan throwing nearly 40 times per game.
Matt Ryan has a formidable group of pass catchers in Michael Pittman, Paris Campbell, Alec Pierce, and a handful of talented tight ends. If Jonathan Taylor is healthy enough to return at running back, that will only boost the efficiency of the offense and increase Ryan’s ability to move the ball.
I especially love that the Titans are tied for second in most passing touchdowns allowed. The quarterback position is shakier than most thought it would be. Especially with Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins on bye, you might as well bank on Ryan’s volume for Week 7.
Some Extra Love:
Aaron Rodgers has yet to top 20.0 fantasy points in a single game this season. In fact, he hasn’t scored more than 17.14 points. That all changes in Week 7. Rodgers and the Packers head to Washington to take on the Commanders who will have Taylor Heinicke under center. With expectations of Heinicke shaking the rust off, I foresee the Packers dominating time of possession in this one. As a result, Rodgers should be able to pick apart a Washington defense, who will be on the field more than they’d like to be, and are tied for second in passing touchdowns allowed. If there’s ever going to be a week for Rodgers to bounce back, it’s this one.
Hate: Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons
In four of six games this season, Mariota has at least 50 rushing yards and/or a rushing touchdown. Nearly 40% of his 98.8 fantasy points this season are from his rushing production. While I think the Falcons would benefit to get rookie quarterback, Desmond Ridder, some reps, it’s hard to do so when Mariota is fresh off of a win against the San Francisco 49ers that brings the Falcons record to 3-3.
Mariota’s Week 6 performance is his best of the season thus far. His 24.16 fantasy points are good enough to earn a top-five weekly finish at the position. Unfortunately, I hate the idea of riding the coattails of that performance into a Week 7 fantasy streaming start.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a tough matchup for opposing quarterbacks in general. They’re allowing the fifth-worst amount of points (11.4) per game to the position. They are one of 13 teams that have yet to allow a rushing touchdown to a quarterback. Cincy has also allowed 80 rushing yards total to opposing quarterbacks. I think Mariota will have to throw more than he’s used to on the road against the Bengals and I hate how that could turn out. I’m fading him in Week 7.
Love: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Quarterback Dak Prescott is medically cleared to play. That’s great news for the Cowboys who are sitting at 4-2 after a stretch of success with Cooper Rush at quarterback. So far this season, Ezekiel Elliott has 39 more rushing attempts through six weeks than Tony Pollard. Zeke’s workload accounts for 63% of the team’s total running back carries.
I foresee Zeke continuing to command the lead-back role. Especially in Dak’s first game back from thumb surgery, I think the Cowboys will lean on the run. Investing in such a game plan should be easy as their opponent, the Detroit Lions, are allowing the most rushing yards to running backs per game this season. They’re also tied in most rushing touchdowns (8) allowed to the position.
While the Lions are coming off of a bye, they do have to travel to Dallas for their Week 7 matchup. I don’t think they’ve magically fixed their issue of allowing a league-high 34.0 points against per game. Taking all of the above into consideration, it’s time to for Dallas to really feed Zeke. His 2022 resume isn’t the best it could be, but he did average 6.2 yards per carry in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, even finding the end zone. I think he has a similar performance in Week 7.
Some Extra Love:
Kenyan Drake is a start-worthy back in fantasy for Week 7 if J.K. Dobbins is unable to go. Dobbins is adamant that the New York Giants’ field conditions in Week 6 contributed to his knee tightening up preventing him from finishing the game. Whatever the reason, that’s not exactly what we want to hear from a player returning from 2021 season-end knee injuries. In his place last week, Kenyan Drake logged 11 touches for 127 total yards and a touchdown on just 34 snaps. Without Dobbins, Drake is a boom/bust fill-in that I lean towards loving in Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns who are tied with the Detroit Lions for most rushing touchdowns allowed to running backs.
Hate: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
After averaging 22.2 fantasy points per game from Weeks 1 through 5, Nick Chubb’s success came to a screeching halt in Week 6 against a stout New England Patriots run defense. Chubb and Kareem Hunt’s combined 9.2 points from Week 6 are below New England’s average of 13.0 points allowed to the position. Up next for the Pats? David Montgomery and the Chicago Bears.
New England is the only team that’s yet to allow a touchdown to a running back this season. That’s both as a runner and pass catcher. Opposing offenses still attempt to run against them, ranking in the middle of the pack in rushing attempts against; teams are just not having success in doing so.
To add to the hate fuel against Montgomery in Week 7, the Chicago Bears are running the second-lowest number of plays per game. Given their expected failures of running the ball, I doubt the majority of such few plays called will be running plays. Bears head coach, Matt Eberflus, is also on record stating he will take a “hot hand” approach at running back. That could mean more of Khalil Herbert moving forward.
Chicago plays on Monday night. I’m telling you to find another running back to play on Sunday instead so you’re not waiting around to be disappointed.
Love: Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
While Deebo Samuel is the obvious star of the 49ers’ offense, he is averaging just 2.6 more points per game than Brandon Aiyuk this season. That’s in part to a massive Week 6 in which Aiyuk finished as the WR4 with 28.3 points. It was bound to happen sometime. Aiyuk is by far leading the offense in snaps played and has a fantasy-friendly 21.7% target share.
While Aiyuk’s two touchdowns from Week 6 seem flukey, having scored just one in the first five weeks, he has a good chance to do it again in Week 6. The 49ers will go toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs in San Francisco this weekend. I love the chances of this turning into a shootout. Jimmy Garoppolo should be busier than usual through the air, as well, as the Chiefs are favored by 2.5 points.
Kansas City is allowing the most touchdowns (15) to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Additionally, they are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers in most touchdowns allowed (9) to wide receivers. The game script and matchup make starting Aiyuk easier than usual to plug into Week 7 lineups. It may be a hot take, but I love Aiyuk to outscore Deebo in back-to-back weeks.
Some Extra Love:
Rondale Moore is worth starting in all formats in what should be one of the better Thursday Night Football matchups in a while. I know DeAndre Hopkins is due back for the Cardinals, but Hollywood Brown is out for the next four to six weeks minimum with a foot injury. That said, Moore should see the majority of snaps against a Saints team limping their way into Week 7. They’ll notably be without stud cornerback, Marshon Lattimore. Moore’s 24% target share over the last two weeks is behind only Hollywood during that time, who, again, is out. For Arizona to secure a much needed win, I love Moore acting as a focal point of the offense as Kyler Murray’s top target.
Hate: All New York Jets Wide Receivers
Over the last two weeks specifically, it’s hard to identify which New York Jets wide receiver is a clear-cut asset for fantasy football. In fact, I hate them all in that regard. Two weeks ago, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, and Elijah Moore recorded four targets each. Last week, though, Wilson led the way with five, then Davis’ four, and Moore failed to see any. To make matters worse, Braxton Berrios has outscored each of them having scored a rushing touchdown in both of the Jets’ last two games.
Since Zach Wilson’s been back, the passing game is much less fantasy-friendly. If, and only if, Joe Flacco were to return for whatever reason would any of the Jets receivers regain our trust. For Week 7, I think the Jets’ key to victory in Denver against the Broncos is to lean on both Breece Hall and Michael Carter Jr. to kill the clock. Hall is the only Jet I’m starting in any format.
Love: Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals
I’m making a point to include Hayden Hurst on the Week 7 Love list after justifiably landing himself on my Week 6 Hate list. It never has anything to do with the player himself. Usually, it has everything to do with the matchup ahead with consideration to other factors such as an injury, role in the offense, or perhaps an off-the-field narrative.
For Week 7, Hurst finds himself in a smash spot as the Bengals host the Falcons. Atlanta is tied for the fourth-most points allowed to tight ends. While that is noteworthy in of itself, it’s more meaningful to know that they’ve only allowed one touchdown to the position through four weeks. The points against are a result of teams targeting their tight ends at the second-highest rate against the Falcons lending to the second-most receptions and third-most yards when playing against them.
While the Bengals offense has a lot of mouths to feed, Hurst still manages his fair share of targets. He has seven or more in three of six games this season. Given the matchup, I love Hurst to see seven or more in Week 7, as well. Hurst is my favorite tight end to stream this week for those without Dallas Goedert, Tyler Higbee, Dawson Knox, or even Irv Smith, Jr.
Some Extra Love:
Juwaan Johnson is one of the few players on the New Orleans Saints offense worth talking about in Week 7. Not only are the Saints to be without wide receivers, Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, yet again, but tight end, Adam Trautman, is going to miss their road matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, as well, due to injury. Johnson is quietly third in total targets amongst all Saints. He gets a great matchup against an Arizona team allowing the third-most points to tight ends.
Hate: Hunter Henry, New England Patriots
Henry is starting to emerge as a steady, low-end TE1. In rookie quarterback, Bailey Zappe’s, two starts, Henry is tied with Jakobi Meyers in targets. More importantly, Henry’s playing time has seen a massive boost having sat out just three total offensive snaps in the last two weeks.
Henry’s 12.8 points per game average in Weeks 5 and 6 lands him at TE5 during that span. He has exactly four receptions and at least 54 receiving yards in each of those games. Henry scored his first touchdown of the season last week, as well.
In Week 7, though, the Patriots play host to the Chicago Bears. They’ve allowed just 205 total yards to tight ends through six weeks on just 22 total receptions. Furthermore, the Bears are allowing the most rushing yards to running backs this season. While I think Henry’s role is solid with Zappe under center, I think Bill Belichick is likely to lean on the run this Sunday. That said, I hate the likeliness of starting Henry and him ending up as a dud this week.