If you drafted wisely and have a strong bench, you will likely face lineup decisions on a weekly basis. Those decisions can often make or break fantasy seasons. For example, owners who started Kirk Cousins or Sam Darnold over Jared Goff may have won in Week 6 due to a risky or bold call. However, if you decided to play Amari Cooper or Keenan Allen over Robby Anderson or Terry McLaurin, the decision may have cost you a victory. It’s small lineup decisions like those that can leave fantasy owners saying the dreaded words: “My bench outscored my starters.” Well in order for that not to happen, it’s vital to be aware of players drawing tough matchups who pose a significant risk to your fantasy success. Let’s take a look at several players who check that box in Week 7.
As always, I’m not telling you to bench all of these guys. But take a look at your bench and consider whether you have a better option.
Phillip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (at TEN)
Rivers (owned in more than 96% of leagues) saved his fantasy owners in Week 6, racking up points in garbage time as the Chargers were in full pass-mode in their failed comeback bid against the Steelers. Rivers and the Chargers have been inconsistent this season, leading to a disappointing 2-4 start. The veteran quarterback, who has failed to throw a touchdown pass in two of his six games, has a Week 7 road date with the stingy Titans’ defense. Tennessee is allowing just 1.3 touchdown passes per game to opposing signal-callers through six weeks of the season. In information provided to Sports Illustrated courtesy of Vegas Whispers, the sharps out in Vegas have played the ‘Under’ (40 points), strongly indicating a low-scoring affair could be on the horizon. Owners should temper expectations in Week 7 and perhaps look at New York Giants QB Daniel Jones or Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen (if they are still available).
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at GB)
Carr (owned in more than 54% of leagues), has performed at his highest level this season when going on the road, posting his only multi-touchdown passing performances this season when outside of the Black Hole. However, the Packers have only allowed one opposing quarterback to top 265 passing yards, and just two opposing signal-callers to throw multiple touchdown passes in six games. Even though Carr and the Raiders will be coming in rested off their bye week, it is difficult for fantasy owners to trust Carr going into Lambeau Field. This is a bad spot to trust the veteran quarterback, and the numbers point to starting other quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins or Gardner Minshew ahead of Carr in Week 7.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (vs JAX)
Mixon is easily among the top candidates when discussing the biggest fantasy football busts in 2019. Mixon (owned in 100% of leagues) has become hard to trust, scoring only one touchdown on the season and failing to top 5.9 PPR fantasy points in three of his six games this season. Playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, Mixon has averaged fewer than 1.7 yards per rush in half his games this season. The third-year back faces a Jaguars’ defense in Week 7 that shut down a powerful Saints running game last week, and has only allowed one opposing running back to top 100 rushing yards all season—and that was NFL rushing leader Christian McCaffery. Mixon and the entire Bengals’ offense has been so disappointing, it’s hard for fantasy owners to trust a running back who has only finished higher than an RB2 once all season.
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (vs NO)
Montgomery (owned in more than 97% of leagues) has quietly been solid this season, posting double-digit PPR fantasy points in four-of-five games. However, he now faces a Saints’ defensive unit that has allowed just three touchdowns to opposing running backs. Not to mention, New Orleans has not allowed a running back to top 83 yards on the ground all season long. Game flow could limit the amount of touches for the rookie, in favor of pass-catching back Tarik Cohen. Montgomery is a volume-based, touchdown-dependent flex starter in Week 7 who owners should be wary of starting.
Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins (vs SF)
McLaurin (owned in more than 96% of leagues) is easily in the lead for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, with five touchdowns and two 100-plus yard receiving efforts in his first five career games. McLaurin has only been kept out of the end zone one time this season, when he posted his worst stat line against the league’s best defense (the Patriots). On Sunday, the sensational rookie will once again find tough sledding against the league’s second-best defense when the San Francisco 49ers travel to Washington. The stout 49ers’ secondary has shut down the prolific wideouts of the Cleveland Browns and L.A. Rams in recent weeks, to the tune of 137 yards and zero touchdowns combined! With bye weeks and injuries at the wideout position, it may be difficult for fantasy owners to replace the emerging star, however, Week 7 is a bad week to trust the talented rookie.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (vs NO)
Robinson (owned in more than 99% of leagues) has been great this season, posting 12-plus PPR fantasy points in four-of-five games this season. However, Robinson will draw the Saints’ top CB Marshon Lattimore in Week 7. The third-year corner has not been kind to opposing WR1’s, allowing just 91 receiving yards combined all season. Fantasy owners all remember Week 5 when Lattimore held Tampa Bay Mike Evans off the stat sheet completely. Even if starting QB Mitchell Trubisky is able to return from his shoulder injury, it will be hard for fantasy owners to trust Robinson in Week 7.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (vs LAC)
Walker (owned in nearly 87% of leagues) has just five receptions for 57 yards and no touchdowns in his last three games. The 14-year veteran was great in Week 1 against the Browns, snagging two touchdowns, but has steadily regressed as QB Marcus Mariotta has struggled. It is still tough to endorse Walker as a starting option even with the announced quarterback change to Ryan Tannehill under center. Walker has become an afterthought in the Titans’ passing game with less than 12% of the target share over the last three weeks. Now, the veteran faces a Chargers’ defense that has held opposing tight ends out of the end zone in five of six games this season. Steer clear of Walker in Week 7.
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