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“Big Rigg’s” Running Back and Wide Receiver Calls for Week #7

This week some of the higher end and high-priced fantasy wide receivers have some of the better matchups.  However, given some changes to personnel and injury, there are a few lower end or lower priced guys that could come through this week and help balance out your lineups should you decide to go with some higher end guys in DFS.

Adam Thielen @ NY Jets – $8,700 FD/$8,600 DK – It’s well-known that Adam Thielen has been the model of consistency for production at the wide receiver position so far this season.  You need to ask yourself if Thielen can maintain this streak and come up with yet another 100 yard receiving game in week 7, but if you look at this week’s matchup, you will quickly realize things couldn’t get much better for Thielen this week.  Buster Skrine normally plays slot corner for the Jets and he’s been below average to say the least so far in 2018.  Well, Buster Skrine is out which means Parry Nickerson will assume the role of slot corner for the Jets.  The quarterback play from Kirk Cousins has been solid, Thielen has been producing and the matchup couldn’t get any better.  All signs point to Thielen having another big game this week.

AJ Green @ KC Chiefs – $8,800 FD/$8,100 DK – The Bengals have been moving AJ Green all over the formation this year in an effort to get him open, but this week, the Bengals most likely won’t need to do that as he will line up on Steven Nelson most of the night.  Nelson has been getting torched by opposing receivers this year, and given the fact that Mahomes and the Chiefs offense will put major points on the board, the Bengals will need to play at a steady pace the entire game and should have to throw a lot to keep up.  Although the Chiefs haven’t given up big yardage to receivers as of late, it should be noted that they haven’t exactly played against a big play threat like AJ Green lately.  Fantasy points against is always a tricky indicator for success, because although the Chiefs haven’t been getting gashed for big fantasy points by wide receivers, they have played the Jaguars mediocre receivers, the 49ers group which is bad, the Broncos with Case Keenum throwing the ball and the Patriots who deployed more of a run first game plan against them last week.  Things are setting up well for AJ Green to blow up this week.

Brandin Cooks @ SF 49ers – $7,500 FD/$7,100 DK – Richard Sherman only plays the left side of the field which is the side that Robert Woods primarily lines up on, while Brandin Cooks typically lines up on the left side of the formation and figures to draw Jimmie Ward more often than not.  Moreover, the Rams move Cooks around the formation a lot in an effort to get the ball in his hands, which means he’s more likely to draw a favorable matchup.  Cooper Kupp is out of this one with a knee injury, meaning targets are vacated and Todd Gurley is coming off a game where he carried the rock almost 30 times so the Rams may want to throw it a little more to rest their bell cow.

Jarvis Landry @ TB Bucs – $6,500 FD/$7,300 DK – The Bucs secondary is bad even when healthy, and they’re not healthy.  Due to injury, MJ Stewart will be forced into action this week and he will be tasked with the unenviable job of covering Jarvis Landry.  Until the Bucs prove capable of stopping anything on offense, you must start opposing receivers and running backs against them week in and week out.

John Brown vs NO Saints – $6,500 FD/$5,700 DK – Ken Crawley has been the Saints corner to pick on so far this season and John Brown figures to see a lot of him.  So far this year, DeSean Jackson, Antonio Callaway and Calvin Ridley have all exploited Crawley on deep shots.  The Ravens love to take deep shots to Brown, Crawley habitually gets beat deep by speedier receivers, and the Ravens are home.  This just feels right.

Albert Wilson vs Detroit Lions – $5,600 FD/$4,000 DK – Albert Wilson has been scoring fantasy points lately, but he has only eclipsed 10 points in PPR in 3 of 6 games played.  Wilson does figure to see a lot of Teez Tabor this week which is a good thing, but what makes playing Wilson a little risky, is that his average depth of target is 7.9 yards.  Moreover, Wilson leads the NFL in run after the catch averaging 14.6 yards after making the grab.  This is a positive because it means Wilson is good with the ball in his hands, but it also causes concern, because if the Lions are able to tackle Wilson quickly after the catch on Sunday, he could end up with something like 5 catches for 35 yards.  That being said, the Dolphins don’t rely on the tight end much, Kenny Stills doesn’t do much of anything, and Wilson has been their most consistent pass target lately which makes him at least a 50/50 shot to come through.

Taylor Gabriel vs NE Patriots – $5,900 FD/$4,700 DK – Tyreek Hill’s speed absolutely burned the Patriots last week.  Taylor Gabriel has high-end speed as well and poses a problem for the Patriots who lack speed on defense.

Marquise Goodwin vs LA Rams – $5,500 FD/$4,600 DK – Marcus Peters has been a liability in coverage this year ever since he suffered the calf injury early in the season.  CJ Beathard proved good enough to keep Goodwin fantasy relevant, so if you are looking for a boom or bust option, this is your guy.

Kelvin Benjamin @ IND Colts – $4,800 FD/$3,500 DK – Kelvin Benjamin is slow.  Did you see the video the other week where Benjamin refused to participate in pre-game warm ups with Josh Allen? So much for being a professional… That being said, Benjamin used to have a connection with Derek Anderson dating back to their days with the Panthers, and Anderson may be the best decision maker that Benjamin has played with since coming to Buffalo.  The Colts have been giving up a lot of touchdowns to receivers lately as well, so there’s a good chance the big bodied Benjamin is able to come through.

The Chiefs (5.4), Broncos (5.3), Lions (5.3), Falcons (5.1), Rams (4.8) and Browns (4.7) give up the most yards per carry to opposing running backs through the first six weeks of the young NFL season which makes these defenses attractive ones to target with fantasy running backs.  The Cardinals (148.3), Broncos (148.1), Lions (145.8), Browns (138.2), Raiders (131.8) and Chiefs (127.8) have given up the most rushing yards per game over that same span.  Sometimes, teams may give up a low yards per carry, like the Cardinals, but teams run against them so much, they give up big numbers which are attributed to the volume.  This suggests that absent heavy volume, teams won’t have big production against those teams on the ground.  However, if teams give up big big yards per game and per carry, that suggests, the run defense is bad on a per play basis, meaning an opposing running back can get big yards regardless of volume.  In this case, the Chiefs, Broncos, Lions and Browns all give up top six yards per carry and yards per game, meaning these are enticing matchups for fantasy running backs.

Todd Gurley @ SF 49ers – $10,200 FD/$9,800 DK – Cooper Kupp is out which means the Rams have one less mouth to feed.  According to PFF the Rams offensive line has a significant advantage over the 49ers’ ability to defend the run.  The 49ers have also been giving up a lot of touchdowns to opposing running backs over the last few weeks through the air and on the ground.  Although the 49ers should be able to put some points on the board in this one, the Rams should outpace them and eventually, they will turn to Gurley to close it out with some solid runs.

Kareem Hunt vs Cincinnati Bengals – $7,800 FD/$6,800 DK – The Bengals have given up significant fantasy points to any decent running back they’ve faced so far in the season.  Last week, James Conner went over 100 rushing and scored twice on them, the week before Kenyan Drake was able to find the end zone through the air, and the week before that Ito Smith punched one in.  In week 3, Christian McCaffrey absolutely lit up the Bengals for 194 total yards which was one of the better running back performances I’ve seen in a while.  The Bengals aren’t getting absolutely run over on defense, but they are bending in the run game and surrendering decent receiving yardage to backs, something that Kareem Hunt figures to get a lot of on Sunday.

Joe Mixon @ KC Chiefs – $7,700 FD/$7,600 DK – The Chiefs have given up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs on the season.  Opposing running backs have scored touchdowns on KC in each game this year and backs have been lighting the Chiefs up in the passing game thus far as the Chiefs have given up 50 or more receiving yards to 4 running backs on the season.  Mixon is a great runner and he can get it done in the passing game, so watch out Kansas City!

Nick Chubb @ TB Bucs – $4,800 FD/$3,600 DK – The Bucs gave up 2 rushing touchdowns to Alvin Kamara, 1 to Corey Clement and Jay Ajayi in the same game, 1 to Ito Smith and several receiving touchdowns to running backs along the way.  Although the Bucs haven’t gotten gashed on the ground this season from a yards per carry standpoint, they have given up consistent fantasy production to opposing running backs, including two 100 yard receiving games to Alvin Kamara and Tarik Cohen.  I understand that might lend you to think that Duke is in store for a big game this week, but the fact is that Nick Chubb is going to be the primary ball carrier in the Browns backfield this week and he is a capable pass catcher out of the backfield.

LeSean McCoy @ IND Colts – $6,200 FD/$5,600 DK – The Colts have yet to surrender a 100 yard rusher on the season but they have given up significant production to running backs on the season.  Moreover, the Colts have given up some huge games to opposing running backs in the passing game.  So far on the season, the Colts have surrendered 5 grabs for 54 yards to Joe Mixon, 13 for 92 to Chris Thompson, 3 for 35 to Wendell Smallwood and 10 for 77 to James White.  McCoy will get a majority of the work in the Buffalo backfield this week and should be the focal point of the Bills offense with journeyman Derek Anderson under center for the Bills.

Kenyan Drake vs DET Lions – $6,300 FD/$4,900 DK – The Lions give up 5.3 yards per carry and have surrendered 5 runs of 20 or more yards on the season and 3 runs that have popped for over 40 yards.  Kenyan Drake is explosive and if he can come close to his 13 carries and 17 total touches from a week ago, he’s a good bet to score a big one.

Jordan Howard take for week 7 – I am currently up for nomination to the Jordan Howard fan club, so rather than recommend him this week, I will half-heartedly give my Jordan Howard angle for this week.  The Patriots don’t get gashed in the running game.  They have only given up 4 running plays of 20+ yards and haven’t given up a running play of over 40 so far on the season.  The Patriots have been surrendering a healthy 4.5 yards per carry on the ground, but have only gotten run on 24.5 times per game which is middle of the pack in the league.  If the Bears chose to grind this one out and try to keep Tom Brady off the field, Jordan Howard could see 25+ carries for over 100 yards rushing.  Absent that, I don’t know what to do with him.

I've been coaching lacrosse since 2002 and playing fantasy football since 2006. I've racked up several championships over the years including a 4th place finish in the Kentucky Fantasy Football State Championship in 2016.

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