Week 7 is upon us. The Packers, Raiders, Steelers and Seahawks are on bye. Devonta Freeman is effectively out for the fantasy season after undergoing groin surgery, Cooper Kupp (knee) is probably out for Week 7, and Quincy Enunwa is expected to miss three weeks with a high ankle sprain. More than a few owners are going to be scrambling to find a diamond in the rough for Week 6.
A great way to identify a potential spot start is to leverage 4for4’s signature strength-of-schedule metric, adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA). Many sites publish raw fantasy points allowed by position, but 4for4 goes a step further and adjusts those numbers for a defense’s relative year-to-date schedule strength. So if a defense has seen a murderer’s row of running backs, it will be reflected in the defense’s aFPA. As a ranker, I use this metric weekly when putting together our award-winning projections.
Last week, I discussed Jameis Winston, Latavius Murray, Corey Clement, Mohamed Sanu, Dede Westbrook, Michael Crabtree, Chester Rogers, Cameron Brate, Austin Hooper and Vance McDonald in this space. Let’s see if we can dig up a few more gems for Week 7.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (at Buccaneers, 32nd in QB aFPA)
Mayfield didn’t produce as well as expected at home against the Chargers in Week 6, but I’m willing to roll with him again given his matchup against the Buccaneers, which is about as good as it gets right now. Tampa has yielded an average of 354 yards and 4.0 touchdowns to Matt Ryan, Mitch Trubisky and Ben Roethlisberger since Week 3, and owns the league’s worst quarterback aFPA through six weeks.
Eli Manning, Giants (at Falcons, 28th)
I’m the first to admit that I was too excited about Eli’s chances for a nice game against the Eagles last week, so I’m going to temper my optimism in an even better matchup against the Falcons, who have yielded an average of 345 yards and 3.3 touchdowns to Jameis Winston, Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton and Drew Brees over the last four games. Manning has reverse home/away splits going right now. Going back to last season, in his last five road games with Odell Beckham in the lineup, he has averaged 311 yards and two scores. Those averages fall to 257 yards and 1.5 touchdowns if we include 2016 (13 games in total). He should be able to produce a good fantasy line in a plum matchup against the Falcons.
Peyton Barber, Buccaneers (vs. Browns, 19th in RB aFPA)
The Bucs certainly looked like they were ready to bail on Barber as the starter heading into their Week 5 bye. In Week 4, rookie Ronald Jones out-touched Barber, and, to that point, Barber had only posted 148 yards on 50 carries (2.96 YPC). But a funny thing happened in Atlanta in Week 6—the Bucs got good production out of their running game, thanks in large part to Barber, who rushed 82 times on 13 carries and added four catches for 24 yards and a touchdown as a receiver. A quick look at Barber’s player page reveals that he had a really tough series of matchups from Week 1 to Week 4, but there are blue skies ahead. The Browns have yielded an average of 152 yards and 1.3 touchdowns on the ground in the last four games.
Marlon Mack, Colts (vs. Bills, 23rd)
Mack is back. One of my preseason player crushes seems to be finally ready to roll after a slow recovery from an August hamstring injury. He handled 13 of the Colts’ 23 running back touches in Week 6, gaining 93 total yards in the process. Week 7 brings a bad Buffalo team to town, so Mack should see plenty of work.
Robby Anderson, Jets (vs. Vikings, 23rd in wide receiver aFPA)
Terrelle Pryor and Jermaine Kearse are also worth a look in deeper formats, but I think Anderson is the most talented receiver the Jets have, and his usage should be more consistent now that Quincy Enunwa is on the shelf for the next month with an ankle injury. The Vikings have struggled at times against the pass, especially on the road. They’ve yielded 8.9 yards per attempt and 10 touchdown passes through six games.
Keke Coutee, Texans (at Jaguars, 5th)
At first glance, Coutee doesn’t have a very good matchup against the Jaguars, but his individual matchup in the slot against CB Tyler Patmon is by far the best of any of the Houston receivers this week. Prior to a three-catch, 33-yard clunker against the Bills in Week 6, Coutee caught a combined 17 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 and Week 5.
C.J. Uzomah, Bengals (at Chiefs, 30th in tight end aFPA)
Uzomah is a good streaming option for Week 7 and Week 8 (versus Tampa, last in the league in TE aFPA), and is a cheap way to get a piece of the Cincinnati passing attack in a great matchup against the Chiefs. Last week, against the Steelers, Uzomah posted six catches for 54 yards on seven targets.