Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 7
Unlike two weeks ago, our bold predictions did not fare so well last week.
Things started off on the wrong foot right away. Josh Gordon left Thursday night's game well before he could make the kind of impact necessary to finish as a top-12 wideout on the week. Josh Rosen couldn't muster up anything, even against the other worst team in the league, and eventually got himself benched. Baker Mayfield had yet another rough outing, throwing three more interceptions and finishing well under our hopeful predictions. The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions ended up having a relatively high-scoring kicking showdown, and Noah Fant barely made a sound in a shutout victory.
So last week wasn't our best outing, but I'm confident we can bounce back with a whole new set of predictions for Week 7.
Corey Davis and A.J. Brown Will Finish as Top-24 Wide Receivers
After years of mediocre quarterback play, the Tennessee Titans are finally making a change. They announced on Tuesday night that they would be going forward with Ryan Tannehill as their starting quarterback for Week 7 -- officially benching Marcus Mariota, the second overall draft pick of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Tannehill has seemed like the better quarterback in 2019, albeit in very limited action. He dominated in the preseason enough to spark speculation about an eventual quarterback change, and showed Mariota up in the team's disastrous loss to the Denver Broncos. While Mariota managed just 63 yards and 2 interceptions in his 2.5 quarters of play on Sunday, Tannehill completed 13 of 16 attempts for 144 yards. He was clearly the better option in that game.
We should feel fairly confident that Tannehill is not the long-term option in Tennessee -- we have his six seasons with the Miami Dolphins as evidence of that -- but he should offer his current team some short-term optimism. And we should be optimistic about his outlook for fantasy, too, which brings me to our first bold prediction of the week: Corey Davis and A.J. Brown will finish as top-24 wideouts in Week 7.
We've seen Tannehill support multiple viable fantasy options throughout his career. In Miami, Jarvis Landry was a PPR-machine for years, while players like Kenny Stills, Rishard Matthews, DeVante Parker and Mike Wallace all had moments of fantasy relevance with Tannehill at the helm. And with Davis and Brown, Tannehill now has arguably the best receiver duo of his career to throw to.
Davis, the fifth-overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, has struggled to produce exciting end-of-year numbers with Mariota and backups through his first two-and-a-half seasons, but his peripheral numbers -- like his dominant 26% target share mark in his sophomore year -- suggest he could thrive with better quarterback play. And A.J. Brown has flashed some serious receiving chops in his rookie season and currently leads the team in receiving yards despite playing in a part-time role.
A full game of Tannehill will give Brown and Davis the boost they need to put up big fantasy numbers against the Los Angeles Chargers. They will both finish as top-24 receivers in Week 7.
Kyler Murray Will Finish as the QB1
Maybe Kyler Murray hasn't become the franchise-savior he was drafted to be this past May -- as Drew Brees showed for years, it's hard to overcome a bottom-five defensive unit -- but he has been excellent in fantasy football despite his team's struggles. In fact, his average of 21.73 fantasy points per game currently ranks seventh among all quarterbacks through six weeks of play.
It's looked weird at times -- he's thrown zero touchdowns in three of his six games -- and yet he's managed to score at least 16 fantasy points every single week. That's a ridiculously high floor for a quarterback in fantasy football, and it has insulation from multiple sides. His 238 pass attempts are tied for fourth in the league, so he's throwing the ball a ton, and his 6.5 rushing attempts per game rank third in the league behind only Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. He's getting elite volume and has the ability to produce efficient fantasy points through his rushing ability. So while Murray has been inconsistent on the field, he's been very reliable in fantasy football.
In Week 7, we'll see Murray put it all together against the New York Giants' porous defense. The Giants have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2019, as well as the second-most passing yards per game. They've simply been unable to defend the pass -- and we saw this past weekend how capable Murray is of capitalizing on terrible pass defenses. That, combined with his electric rushing ability, will propel him to a finish as the QB1 in Week 7.
The Ravens and Seahawks Will Have the Highest Combined Points Total of the Week
There are some pretty exciting offensive matchups this week, but perhaps the most underrated one will be the Seattle Seahawks taking on the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams have fielded top-four offenses in total yardage while being surprisingly weak on defense.
Lamar Jackson has been the QB1 in fantasy points per game so far in 2019. And he's not just producing like 2018 Josh Allen, either -- the entire Ravens offense is operating at a high level. Per numberFire's schedule-adjusted power rankings, the Ravens' offense ranks fifth overall. Jackson has been putting together a fantasy season the likes of which we haven't seen since perhaps the Michael Vick era -- if ever.
Meanwhile, Russell Wilson is putting together an MVP-caliber season. He's playing out of his mind, and it's borderline unbelievable -- even just one season removed from Patrick Mahomes' legendary 2018 season. Through Week 6, Wilson leads the league with a ludicrous 10.5 adjusted yards per pass attempt, has thrown 14 touchdowns (second-most in the league) and no interceptions, all while constantly bailing his run-heavy teams out of 2nd- and 3rd-and-long situations. The Seahawks are 5-1 and it is solely because of Wilson.
There are going to be fireworks when these two teams meet, and not just because of how exciting their quarterbacks have been. As if these two offenses needed any extra help, they'll be squaring off against each others' bottom-eight pass defenses. Neither defense has been as good as they were in previous seasons, and were it not for the legitimately terrible teams gracing the league with their presences in 2019, we'd be talking about the Seahawks' and Ravens' woes on defense a lot more.
Ordinarily, you would expect a low-scoring game between two such run-heavy teams, but that won't be the case this week when the Ravens and Seahawks face off in Seattle. We're going to see fireworks in this matchup, which will have the highest combined points total of the week.
Michael Gallup Will Finish as a Top-6 Wideout
Gallup couldn't muster up much in the Cowboys' embarrassing Week 6 loss to the New York Jets, even with Amari Cooper leaving the game early on. He did eventually manage to draw a team-high seven targets, but overall the Jets were able to keep him contained. He finished the week with just 48 receiving yards on 4 receptions.
But the good news is that this week, Gallup gets to face a defense without a secondary. The Eagles' defensive backs were just annihilated by Stefon Diggs and the Minnesota Vikings and have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts (39.8) despite playing the Luke Falk-led Jets and an unintentionally tanking Washington team. Regardless of whether or not Cooper is ready to go for this game, Gallup shouldn't have any problem feasting on this secondary.
Dak Prescott should hopefully have both of his offensive tackles returning in this one, as well, which should give him enough time to connect with Gallup down the field. If Terry McLaurin and Case Keenum could tear up this defense back in McLaurin's first ever game, we should be confident Prescott and Gallup can do the same. Like Diggs, Julio Jones and Davante Adams before him, Gallup -- currently projected as this week's WR22 -- will finish as a top-six wideout against the Eagles this week.
The Jets Will Topple the Pats
The New York Jets looked like an entirely different team in Week 6 from the team they were through the first five weeks of the season. You know, the team that averaged fewer yards per drive than a couple of individual players heading into the week. Quarterback Sam Darnold looked fully recovered from the illness that sidelined him from Weeks 2 through 5, and that crippled him in Week 1.
It might even be safe to say after just one healthy game from Darnold that this will be the toughest team the New England Patriots have faced all year. The Cowboys haven't been an impressive defensive unit this year, but they aren't awful, and Darnold just threw for 338 yards on them after spending most of the season in quarantine. Now yet another week removed from mononucleosis, Darnold is looking like he's ready to pick back up where he left off at the end of his rookie season.
With Darnold back, we can pretty much throw out all of the stats the Jets compiled through the first five weeks of the season. They lost their backup quarterback partway through Week 2, and we can't rely on all third-string quarterbacks having Nick Mullens-esque breakouts.
Meanwhile, the Pats almost looked vulnerable last week against the Giants. Heading into halftime on Thursday Night Football, the two teams were tied 14-14, and the Pats had just given up a deep touchdown to Golden Tate. Tom Brady looked like he was struggling and not for the first time this season. The whole team quickly asserted it's dominance in the second half and eventually won 35-14, but for at least a brief window, it looked like cracks were starting to show.
The Pats' defense has been the best unit in the league by a mile in 2019, but they've also played a very easy slate of opponents. They're currently projected as 10-point favorites for Monday Night Football, but I'm not sure people realize how much Darnold's return means for this Jets team. Don't be surprised if this revitalized Jets team puts together the biggest upset of the season so far.