With Week 7, we’re in the thick of the fantasy football season. It’s the first week of four-team byes, so the pool of players is the smallest it will be, making start/sit decisions even more important. With that said, here’s start/sit for Week 7:
Start: Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
Johnson has only gotten 10 or more carries twice this season — Week 3 against New England (16 carries, 106 yards) and Week 5 against Green Bay (12 carries, 70 yards). Theo Riddick has not practiced this week and the Lions might finally be realizing LeGarrette Blount shouldn’t be force-fed carries. The Lions have a plus-matchup against the Miami Dolphins this week, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Start: Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears
The Bears have started to realize Cohen is one of their best offensive weapons and they’re starting to use him all over. Two weeks ago, he had a season-high 13 carries to go along with eight targets and seven receptions for 121 yards. Last week, he had nine targets with another seven receptions and 90 yards to go along with a rushing touchdown on one of his five carries. He’s one of the players the Bears are making sure gets touches.
Sit: Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans
Just fade the Titans offense whenever you can until further notice. The pieces are there, but whatever is currently going on just isn’t translating to even moderate success on the field right now. Last week Lewis had seven touches for 11 yards. If Lewis isn’t even getting touches when Tennessee is behind and has to pass, there’s not a lot of hope going forward. You would think they’d be in that position again against one of the league’s best offenses in the Chargers, but there are better options for a higher ceiling and higher floor.
Sit: Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts
Hines’s role as the top pass-catching back was fun while it lasted. He had 15 carries, nine targets, and seven receptions against the Patriots two weeks ago, but last week as Marlon Mack returned to the lineup, Hines had just three carries, three targets, and two receptions. Hines’s role could be diminished even more if the the Colts jump out to an early lead against the Bills and can’t just sit on the ball for the majority of the game.
Start: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a start your studs scenario. Yes, Evans had a season-low five targets against the open highway of an Atlanta defense and yes, he’ll be matched up against Denzel Ward, who has been not just one of the best rookie cornerbacks, but one of the best overall cornerbacks in the league. But, the Buccaneers are still probably going to be pass-heavy in this matchup because everything turns into a shootout. Cleveland has only recently started to let Ward shadow opposing No. 1 receivers — they’re 15th in DVOA against No. 1’s — and the Browns have still allowed the 12-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this year.
Start: John Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Don’t let the three targets last week scare you away. When the Ravens need a big play on offense, they will go to John Brown. The Ravens get the Saints this week, who have allowed the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this year. It’s a plus-matchup for Baltimore’s leading touchdown scorer.
Sit: Robby Anderson, New York Jets
Robby Anderson returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out earlier in the week, but his health should be monitored. Anderson saw the same five targets and three receptions over the past two weeks, but one totaled 123 yards and two touchdowns, while last week’s performance was just 39 yards. The worry here is that a Minnesota pass rush could deter the Jets from throwing downfield often, especially if the main deep threat isn’t 100 percent.
Sit: Kelvin Benjamin, Buffalo Bills
Don’t get sucked into any of the Derek Anderson and Kelvin Benjamin have played together before stories. Just don’t do it. The Bills are a mess offensively and are starting a quarterback who has been on the team for a little over a week. I don’t know what your other options are at wide receiver, but I know you have better ones.
Start: Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
Over the last two weeks, Hooper has seen 12 and 10 targets with seven receptions in each for 77 and 70 yards. He’ll face a Giants defense that has progressively worse at covering tight ends as the season has gone on — though they still have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season. Hooper also has the chance to play a bigger role in the offense with Mohamed Sanu and Clavin Ridley both hampered by injuries this week. But even if both of them play, Hooper is a good start on Monday night.
Sit: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Olsen came back from his injury last week and was fine. Fine was four catches on seven targets for 48 yards against a Washington defense that’s been around average against tight ends this season. But this week he’ll face the Eagles, who have been one of the league’s best defenses defending the position — second in DVOA against opposing tight ends and fifth-fewest fantasy points allowed per game.