Week 7 Quarterback Sleepers: Believe in Baker
We are right in the thick of fantasy football season. Now is the time to make that push for a coveted playoff spot. This is also the point in the season where bye weeks begin to play more of a role. Four teams will be sitting this week, and some of the league’s premier quarterbacks will be unavailable. This presents additional challenges when working on those Week 7 lineups. Exploiting matchups is the name of the game, and these quarterback sleepers have ones to take advantage of. Here are my Week 7 quarterback sleepers.
Week 7 Quarterback Sleepers
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As expected rookie Baker Mayfield has had some ups and downs during his brief tenure as the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback. Mayfield averaged 335 total yards over his first two starts but came back down to earth last week. Mayfield totaled just 246 yards during Cleveland’s Week 6 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers. He also threw two interceptions in the loss. The number-one overall pick in this year’s NFL draft should be able to put last week’s dud behind him and have a bounce-back performance when the Browns host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay has played five games this season. All five opposing quarterbacks they have faced have exceeded 330 passing yards. The Buccaneers also have allowed a league-worst 16:1 touchdown: interception ratio and an ungodly 76.8 percent completion percentage. To put those numbers into perspective, please note that if a single quarterback put up all of those numbers, he would eclipse existing single-season records in each category. Things have gotten so bad that Tampa Bay recently fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Smith may have had his deficiencies, but I do not foresee the Buccaneers’ defense suddenly finding the cure to what ails them with him gone. Mayfield will have plenty of time to pick apart Tampa Bay’s secondary and should find himself squarely in the Week 7 QB1 conversation. Mayfield also makes for a great pickup for those with iffy quarterback situations. After this game, Mayfield faces Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Atlanta. All four opponents including Tampa Bay are among the five worst NFL teams in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
C.J. Beathard, San Francisco 49ers v. Los Angeles Rams
The 49ers last-second loss in Green Bay on Monday night was highlighted by a surprisingly efficient performance by C.J. Beathard. The de facto starter impressed in Monday night’s loss against the Packers. Despite throwing an interception in the final minutes, Beathard posted a QBR over 90 and averaged 10.7 yards per attempt. From a fantasy perspective, he posted the overall QB16 finish for the week. This bodes well heading into a Week 7 tilt with the Los Angeles Rams.
Beathard’s middle-of-the-pack fantasy finish in Week 6 came on the strength of just 23 pass attempts. Beathard will likely be much busier in a matchup with the high-flying Rams. Nobody would argue that Case Keenum was better than Beathard from a real-life perspective last week. But Keenum did outscore Beathard in fantasy points. Sure, it took Keenum 18 added pass attempts to outscore Beathard by 1.8 fantasy points, but that’s precisely my point. If Beathard can carry over his efficiency from last week, his added volume should propel him to a borderline QB1 finish in Week 7. That type of upside makes C.J. Beathard a player to target when looking for Week 7 quarterback sleepers.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears v. New England Patriots
Mitchell Trubisky has really stepped his game up in recent weeks. He totaled just 591 passing yards and three touchdown passes in his first three games. However, over his last two games, Trubisky has 670 passing yards and an incredible nine touchdown throws. His recent hot streak definitely has nothing to do with the fact that I dropped him in multiple leagues after Week 3. You’re welcome, Trubisky truthers. The second-year standout looks to continue his hot stretch when the Bears play host to the New England Patriots.
New England has been a hit or miss defense against opposing passing attacks. Three enemy signal callers have eclipsed 350 passing yards and three touchdown passes against the Patriots. The other three quarterbacks have combined for just 573 yards and four scores. Head coach Matt Nagy has had success against Bill Belichick in the past. I believe he is smart enough to avoid overexposing his young quarterback. New England has also had a bit of an issue containing running quarterbacks. Trubisky is fifth among quarterbacks with 164 rushing yards this season. I think a top-ten finish is a bit unrealistic, but Trubisky should have a solid performance in this game.
Eli Manning, New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons
Have you ever heard the one about the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object? Well, this matchup pits a very stoppable force against a highly movable object. Eli Manning has been struggling all season long. He sits outside the top-20 in fantasy points and outside the top-25 in touchdown passes. Things seemed to hit rock bottom last week. Manning parlayed 43 attempts into just 9.2 fantasy points in a loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. He completed just two-of-nine passes thrown beyond 10 yards. His numbers would have looked even worse had he not been bailed out by a couple of catch-and-runs (mostly runs) by Saquon Barkley. We will find out on Monday if Manning can still exploit a vulnerable pass defense when the Giants face the Falcons on Monday night.
Last week, Jameis Winston became the fifth consecutive quarterback to throw for at least three touchdowns against Atlanta’s decimated defense. Four of the five have also thrown for at least 335 yards. Manning has not reached either threshold in any game this season. Manning has yet to post a QB1 finish this season. But if he is ever going to do it, this would seem to be the week. With Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Russell Wilson on a bye, Eli Manning could be a serviceable fill-in this week. It might feel a bit unnerving, but Eli Manning makes for one of the most underrated Week 7 quarterback sleepers.
Mick Ciallela has been writing for FantraxHQ since July 2017. He has also written for Bleacher Report. He is a lifelong sports fan and has been an avid fantasy sports player for many years. Mick was the Overall Champion of both the 2016 Football Challenge – Roto and 2017 Play 3 Football contests hosted by CDM Sports. MIck was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York and currently resides in New London, Connecticut.
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