Each week in my Start/Sit column, I offer a few names at each position who I expect to perform better or worse than many others might think. Of course you may be forced to start some of these players, based on how bye weeks and injuries affect your roster. But generally, these are players on the bubble, and I’m here to help you make your tougher lineup decisions.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Allen and the Bills return from their bye week hiatus and get the easiest mark in the NFL as their opponent. It seems like every quarterback has a huge game against the Dolphins, and Allen will be no exception. Allen is still fighting accuracy issues, but I don’t expect that to matter much this week as John Brown can get open on deep passing routes and Cole Beasley should have the middle to himself. Start Allen with confidence and reap the rewards.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Before you get nauseous reading this, never forget one of my hallmark rules of starting players each week: Do not let recency bias get in the way. Just because Goff had a horrendous week against the 49ers in Week 6 does not mean he will have another bad week against the Falcons in Week 7. In fact, doesn’t it seem like every team has a great week against the Falcons defense when they play? I fully trust that Sean McVay will call the right plays and Goff will return to the success he had just a few weeks ago.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
We have seen the Vikings throw the ball for the last two games (against the Giants and Eagles) but I feel very confident that they will revert to their old grind it out style against the Lions in Week 7. Look for Cousins to throw no more than 20 times in what should be a closely contested defensive game.
Frank Gore/Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
I listed both players together for a reason: They are both potentially great starts against the Dolphins this week. First, let’s take a closer look at Frank Gore. He not only has the revenge narrative working for him, he also gets to face the league’s worst run defense. If Devin Singletary is still unable to play due to his injured hamstring, Gore is a lock for 80-plus rushing yards and a TD. However, I am hopeful that Singletary will finally make his return this week. If so, I think you will see him get about 50-60 yards, especially in the second half if the game is out of reach. In a week where there are four good teams on their bye, a healthy and active Singletary might make for a sneaky good start.
Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders
Green Bay’s defense has been exceptional thus far this season, but if it has one weakness it is stopping the run. Currently the Packers are the fourth-worst team in the NFL against opposing running backs and I am sure that Jon Gruden has studied those statistics and is planning on feeding Jacobs the ball at least 20-25 times. The Packers are coming off a short week and everyone seems to have underrated the Raiders, so look for the game to be closer than most people think.
Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins
At its core, fantasy football is a game of matchups. Last week, Peterson had a terrific matchup against the Dolphins, and I featured him here in this article. This week he goes up against San Francisco, the No. 1 ranked run defense in the league, and I would absolutely leave him on my bench in Week 7.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
With the Cowboys on a bye in Week 8, it is quite possible that the team will be cautious and sit Amari Cooper, who is dealing with a sore thigh. If that happens, fantasy owners need to fire up Gallup and start him in all formats. As we saw last week, the Eagles’ secondary is in shambles and Gallup could have a week similar to Stefon Diggs in Week 6. Gallup has taken a huge leap forward in his sophomore season and Dak Prescott knows that he is virtually uncoverable on the outside. Assuming Cooper is out, look for Gallup to have 100-plus receiving yards and a TD, and possibly much more.
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
UPDATE: Kirk is not expected to play on Sunday.
Kirk has been out for the past two games, but he was able to get in some limited practices in Week 6, which makes it likely that he will be able to start in Week 7. My guess is that the Giants match up Janoris Jenkins with Larry Fitzgerald, which should leave rookie CB Deandre Baker on Kirk. This is a huge advantage for Kirk, as Baker lacks consistency in his coverage skills. Many fantasy owners will want to be cautious with Kirk since he has been out with an ankle injury, but I feel confident that if he plays, he will most definitely produce.
Robby Anderson, New York Jets
Bill Belichick loves to take away the one thing that his opponent likes to do on offense. In the case against the Jets, the easiest thing for Belichick and the Patriots to take away is the deep ball to Robby Anderson. Expect to see CB Stephon Gilmore draped over Anderson all game long, forcing Sam Darnold to go to Jamison Crowder and his other receivers. Anderson is always capable of making the big play, but this seems like a week where he will be quiet.
Evan Engram, New York Giants
I will make this as simple as possible: If Engram is starting, don’t worry about his injury risk and start him with confidence. The Cardinals are the worst team in the NFL against opposing tight ends and even with Patrick Peterson’s return, I cannot imagine that Engram does not find the end zone.
Darren Fells, Houston Texans
Surprisingly, Fells has started to earn Deshaun Watson’s trust. He was used with regularity against the Chiefs and I expect that to happen again this week. If the Colts defense has a weakness, it’s that it is ranked as the third-worst against opposing tight ends. Granted, much of that production has come with LB Darius Leonard out. But I still feel that even if he returns, they are susceptible to Fells, who is an enormous red zone target. The best part about Fells is that he is likely available on your waiver wire and he makes for a great plug and play.
Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts
The Texans have been incredibly stingy all season to opposing tight ends (they are the fourth-best team thus far) and it seems to me that Jack Doyle and not Ebron is the tight end to own in Indy. Ebron has two receptions in his last two games and right now has the feeling of more “name than game” when it comes to starting in a winning fantasy lineup.
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