Daily Fantasy Football: Sannes' Situations to Monitor in Week 7

All year long, it feels like we've had to settle for secondary plays at running back and receiver in DFS.

Between injuries and high-profile players being off the main slate, we've often had limited options at the top of the player pool. If you had salary on the table, you couldn't get too creative with where you were shoving it.

That won't be a problem in Week 7.

Among just the healthy players, there are four running backs and four receivers with a FanDuel salary higher than $8,000. That doesn't even count Tyreek Hill or the Seattle Seahawks' studs, who are at or right below $8,000. It's a Big Baby Davis dot gif kind of week.

The lone downside is that this will force us to whittle down our list and prioritize where we want to allocate our oh-so-precious salary dollars. We'll also have to hunt extra hard for value plays so that we can get back into the stud range. Those are good problems to have, but it does need to be the driving focus as we map out our lineups.

Which situations are impacting the main slate, and how does that alter our views on the studs? Let's dive in and check it out.

Quality Game Environments

A key tool in helping us decide which of the studs are worth their salaries is game environment. If we can predict which games on the slate will shoot out, we'll know which of the studs should have flashing lights around their player card. Thankfully, we've got good options there this week.

On the main slate, there are three games with a total higher than 54, and all of them have a spread of less than four points. That's a game-stacker's delight, and some of our coveted studs are involved.

Home Team Away Team Spread Total
Houston Texans Green Bay Packers Packers -3.5 57
Arizona Cardinals Seattle Seahawks Seahawks -3.5 55.5
Atlanta Falcons Detroit Lions Falcons -2 54.5

These are the games we want to build around in Week 7.

As a result, we should bump up Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, Julio Jones, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett. Among the stud running backs, Aaron Jones is the one in the best game environment, and that's a big check mark in his favor.

An injury to monitor with Adams and Jones is that of left tackle David Bakhtiari. Bakhtiari has missed practice the first two days this week with a chest injury and seems truly questionable. He's one of the three best players in the offense, and not having him would downgrade the entire team.

In two full games Adams and Jones have played together, they're averaging 13.5 and 5.5 targets, respectively. Those are really solid marks, and they'll be getting that volume against the Houston Texans' defense, which ranks 30th in the league, according to numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. They'd be viable even if Bakhtiari can't play, but they'd be near the top of this heap if he does.

The biggest loser if Bakhtiari can't go is Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has the efficiency necessary to be an elite-level DFS play without rushing, but that projected efficiency would go down if Bakhtiari were to sit. Right now, he's in the mix. We would just have to downgrade him if he doesn't have his left tackle.

Even with Bakhtiari around, though, Deshaun Watson may actually be the preferred quarterback in that game. Watson isn't running much this year, but he's at home and playing indoors against the league's 29th-ranked defense. Watson is one of the top three quarterbacks on the main slate.

The bigger question with Watson is with whom we stack him. Will Fuller has had a huge floor this year, and we know his ceiling is elite, but he also seems more likely to see coverage from Jaire Alexander, who has been lights out this season. It's not a lock that Alexander shadows Fuller, and Fuller's good enough to win against almost anybody. But it does put a dent in that steady floor.

Instead, we may be able to pivot to Brandin Cooks, who still has a value salary at $5,900. Cooks has 21.7% of the team's overall targets this year and 25.0% of the deep targets (at least 16 yards downfield). If some extra looks go his way while Fuller deals with Alexander, Cooks could blow up again and provide salary relief for game stacks with Adams and Jones.

High-leverage volume can be key in helping us pick between the other receivers, as well. The table below shows the overall targets, deep targets, and red-zone targets for the stud receivers in this game during their most relevant samples. For Hopkins, that's the five games he has played with Christian Kirk. For the Falcons, it's the three full healthy games for Jones. The most relevant sample for the Seahawks is just their full-season marks.

Receiver Overall Targets Deep Targets RZ Targets
DeAndre Hopkins 9.8 1.0 1.0
Calvin Ridley 9.7 2.0 2.0
Julio Jones 8.7 3.0 1.7
Tyler Lockett 7.6 1.2 1.0
DK Metcalf 7.8 2.4 1.0

Let's start things off with the weirdest usage on the list, which belongs to Hopkins.

Although his target share in the games with Kirk is massive (31.0%), the team hasn't been very aggressive overall. Kyler Murray's 8.1-yard average depth of target (aDOT) is 0.9 yards lower than Matt Ryan's and 1.2 lower than Russell Wilson's. That obviously doesn't limit Murray's appeal -- he's with Watson in that upper tier due to his rushing -- but it does impact Hopkins' upside. He's obviously an option, but we might want to favor the lower-salaried guys getting the higher-leverage looks.

High-leverage looks are basically all that Ridley and Jones get. Both are elite options with Ridley sitting a hair ahead of Jones due to overall volume.

Ryan also averages 0.42 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back in games with Jones fully healthy. NEP is the expected points model numberFire uses, and it includes deductions for expected points lost on sacks, incompletions, and interceptions. Patrick Mahomes leads the league at 0.38 for the full season, and Ryan has been above that when he has had Jones at his disposal. That puts him in the same tier as Rodgers but a notch below the trio of Watson, Murray, and Wilson.

In the lineups where you roll out Ryan or his receivers, Kenny Golladay stands out as a game-stacking option at $7,600. In his three healthy games, he's averaging 7.0 targets and 1.7 deep targets per game. Straight up, he ranks below both of the Seahawks' options, but Golladay jumps up if you think this game shoots out.

The overall volume for Metcalf and Lockett is lower than for the others, but they make up for it with disgusting levels of efficiency. Wilson ranks fourth in Passing NEP per drop back, and few quarterbacks have been better on deep balls than him. Metcalf deserves the edge because he's getting so much deep volume, and at $7,300, he grades out as arguably the best receiver on the slate. Lockett has the preferred matchup, making him a quality option if you forgo Metcalf.

Once you add all of this up, it seems like Adams is the top option among the stud receivers in these games. He's worth his $8,900 salary.

After that, the salary discount you get on Metcalf and Lockett relative to the Falcons' receivers gives them the slight edge. They're a full $1,000 lower in salary than that duo, and it's in a game that is just as fun. We'll take all the savings we can get on this slate.

The Falcons' receivers will follow the Seahawks', and then Hopkins will sit at the bottom of the list. Again, that doesn't mean we shouldn't utilize him, and he's the ideal bring-back option when you use Wilson or the Seahawks' receivers. But we've got to find ways to prioritize on this slate, and with limited high-leverage volume and a loftier salary, Hopkins winds up getting de-prioritized.

As for the quarterbacks, Wilson seems like he should be first. He's actually running a decent amount this year (30.6 yards per game, up from 21.4 last year), and his efficiency is top-notch. That's enough to give him an edge over Murray, who checks in second due to his absurd rushing volume and efficiency. Watson is third thanks to his matchup and efficiency combination, but again, he belongs in that top tier with those other two.

Proceeding With Caution on Michael Thomas

Just when you thought we'd have Michael Thomas in the mix with the studs, his no good, very weird season took another turn.


Thomas could still return and play. If he does, he'll be well below the other stud receivers as they have far fewer paths to failure. If he doesn't, at least we have a sample on what to expect with this team.

The New Orleans Saints have played three games without Thomas and with Jared Cook in the lineup. Here's the target distribution in those games.

Weeks 2, 3, and 5 Overall Targets Deep Targets RZ Targets
Alvin Kamara 27.7% 11.0% 31.3%
Emmanuel Sanders 18.5% 33.3% 25.0%
Tre'Quan Smith 13.5% 0.0% 12.5%
Jared Cook 9.2% 33.3% 18.8%

The obvious takeaway is that we're jamming Alvin Kamara into both our cash-game and tournament lineups.

The target number is massive for any player, but especially for a running back. Targets are worth twice as much as carries for running backs on a half-PPR site like FanDuel, so if we double Kamara's targets in those games and add them to his carries, he's at 32.0 adjusted opportunities per game. That would be the best in the league if it were his full-season mark, and Kamara's third in the league if you count the other two games. He's one of the top two running backs on the board and highly desirable in all contest types.

Emmanuel Sanders profiles as a game-stack-viable wide receiver. His volume in this span is solid, and he did get the high-leverage looks we wanted. The problem is that his 33.3% of the deep targets amounted to just one per game due to the short-pass-heavy offense. He's good when you're stacking this game, but his appeal beyond that is a bit muted.

The other reason it's hard to prioritize Sanders is that we can get to Robby Anderson on the other side for just $300 more.

This will be the fifth game for the Carolina Panthers with no Christian McCaffrey, and Anderson has been going silly the whole time.

Past 4 GamesOverall TargetsDeep TargetsRZ Targets
Robby Anderson27.8%40.0%17.7%
Mike Davis22.2%0.0%41.2%
DJ Moore20.6%35.0%5.9%

Anderson's target profile gives him both a floor and a ceiling. He -- moreso than Sanders -- has viability outside of game stacks, and you could consider him for cash games if you're in this range.

The table also shows why it's not a bad idea to get back in on Mike Davis in tournaments. Davis flopped last week, but he still had 24.0 adjusted opportunities. He's averaging 29.8 per game without McCaffrey, and at that volume, you can come through in any spot. He's not a priority at running back by any means, but at what will likely be low popularity, it's wise to use Davis enough in tournaments to benefit if he bounces back.

Pivoting to Chris Carson

Clearly, the most fun pieces in the Seahawks' offense are the pass-catchers. We want to target them aggressively.

That does not mean we should overlook Chris Carson in tournaments.

Carson sneakily has been the Seahawks' highest-scoring position player in three of five games this year. The roster rates of he, Metcalf, and Lockett are unlikely to reflect that as Carson seems likely to be a distant third among the trio.

That's probably the correct move as Carson is the highest-salaried piece and has concerns, but we have to be certain we don't gloss over him. Carson has at least three targets in each game, and he's at 14.4% of the team's targets for the season. When stacking that game, be sure to get enough exposure to Carson to benefit if he winds up being the team's highest-scoring non-quarterback yet again.

The Titans Without Taylor Lewan

Having to play the Pittsburgh Steelers is never fun. Having to play them without your stud left tackle is decidedly less so.

That's where the Tennessee Titans find themselves with Taylor Lewan out for the year with a torn ACL.

It seems likely that Ty Sambrailo will start at left tackle. Their projected swing tackle -- Dennis Kelly -- has been starting at right tackle all year as first-round pick Isaiah Wilson has been on the COVID list and was charged with a DUI in early September. This used to be a position of depth for the team; that depth is dust.

Normally in this matchup, we'd be able to feel good about the Titans. The Steelers just lost a playmaker of their own in Devin Bush, and the Titans' offense is forceful enough to overcome solid defenses. It's more of an open question now.

This downgrades Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill most. Henry gets downgraded because it lowers his rushing yardage floor, and he doesn't get enough targets to nullify that. Tannehill gets downgraded because sacks kill scoring drives, and the sacks could be plentiful in this spot. You don't need to cross Henry or Tannehill off your list, but they do need to be downgraded a good chunk.

The exception here would be A.J. Brown. Receivers are less dependent on efficiency, so we can use them when sacks are more prominent. In three games this year, Brown has 22.2% of the team's overall targets, and he had 20.0% in the one game he played alongside Corey Davis, who is likely to return this week. That's not high enough to make him a priority, but he is the top piece here if you want exposure to a tight, high-total game.

The Steelers at Full Health

For the first time all season, we might get to see Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool play a full game together.

Giddy up.

Johnson missed Week 6 with a back issue but got in a full practice on Wednesday. Johnson left early in Weeks 3 and 5 when Claypool was playing a full snap load, and Claypool's role hadn't expanded yet with Johnson healthy the first two games.

We have to do some guesswork on how the two will be utilized together.

It seems likely that Claypool will still be the guy who gets the high-leverage, downfield looks. He's both bigger and faster than Johnson, and the long balls have never truly been Johnson's game. That's unlikely to change now that they have someone more capable of stretching the field than James Washington.

The issue for Claypool is that Johnson seems likely to take away some of the overall looks. Claypool has 20.7% of the targets in the three full games he has played. When it's high-leverage volume, that'll work. But if it slips a bit more, then things get shaky with Claypool's salary up to $6,400.

Johnson's profile isn't perfect, either. Even though Johnson is a fantasy football darling, he has never exceeded 92 receiving yards in an NFL game, even when he got a massive target load with Ben Roethlisberger the first two weeks. If Claypool's stealing the downfield looks, it's unlikely Johnson suddenly gains a ceiling.

So, it's fun to have everybody healthy here, and it does increase the odds this game shoots out. It just makes it hard to get jazzed about anybody.

Between the two, we should likely favor Claypool because he has a clearer path to a big game. But he's not the best receiver in his salary range, and his floor is shaky. Although both Johnson and Claypool work at their respective salaries, neither is a priority, and we should keep their respective limitations in mind when allocating exposure levels.

Monitoring the Bengals' Backfield

The total for the Cincinnati Bengals' matchup with the Cleveland Browns isn't as high as some of the other games, but it's still a profile we like with the Browns favored by just three points. Unfortunately, one of the best pieces in that game may not be available.

Joe Mixon was able to finish last week's game despite the foot injury, so there's still a really good shot he plays. If he gets in a full practice Friday, he'd grade out above both Davis and Carson as a tournament piece. If not, we can find some value in Giovani Bernard.

Bernard is just $4,800 on a slate where we are desperate for value. He played 48% of the snaps last week with Mixon getting banged up, handling eight carries and three targets. There's some risk Trayveon Williams could get some run (he hasn't been active yet this year but had a fun profile coming out of college), but Bernard's passing-game role is enough to make him both a cash-game and tournament target.

If you're worried about Mixon's health -- and, frankly, even if you're not -- you can still get exposure to this offense via Tee Higgins.

Higgins' snap rate spiked back in Week 2, giving us five games of sample on him as a starter. In those games, Higgins is averaging a whopping 2.8 deep targets per game, and he has added five total red-zone targets. At $5,700, Higgins is among the best wide-receiver plays on the slate after accounting for salary. He's also in play for cash and a great tournament target.

That's not to say you can't go to Tyler Boyd in game stacks. Boyd is also getting looks downfield (1.8 per game from Week 2 on) and has a slight overall target edge on Higgins. Higgins is the bigger priority because of all the money targets, but Boyd is another route for going at this game.

A Plus Matchup for Kareem Hunt

The other side of that matchup is fun, too, with the Bengals' defense sitting 24th in the league, according to numberFire's metrics. That means it's time for Kareem Hunt to shine.

Each of Hunt's first two games without Nick Chubb came in brutal matchups. The Steelers and Indianapolis Colts are first and ninth, respectively, in Rushing Success Rate allowed to opposing backs. Hunt was fine in the first matchup but flopped in a blowout in the second.

Now, things look a whole lot rosier. We saw Hunt's workload in the game against the Colts as he boasted 20 carries and 4 targets (28 adjusted opportunities). If he gets that against this Bengals defense, he could go bananas. Hunt is the other guy in the top tier with Kamara among all backs on the slate.

The other player who could stand out on this side is Austin Hooper. (UPDATE: Hooper has appendicitis and has been ruled out for Week 7. Both David Njoku and Harrison Bryant become high-risk tight end punting options in his absence.) Hooper has averaged seven targets per game the past three weeks, pushing his full-season target share up to 19.2%. He had five deep targets in Week 5, as well, giving him a path to a big game. With tight end being as bleak as it is, Hooper grades out as among the best at the position at $5,400.

Deja Vu for the Broncos and Chiefs

Last year, Drew Lock had one massive dud game. It came in the snow against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Let's hope he doesn't look at the forecast for Sunday.

As of now, it looks like the white stuff will be rolling through the Rockies some time during the Denver Broncos' Week 7 game against the Chiefs. That's bound to conjure up memories of last year and scare people off of using players tied to this game.

Luckily for Lock, he's likely to get some extra firepower at his disposal.

Both Noah Fant and K.J. Hamler have been able to practice this week, hinting that they're ready to make their returns to the club. The Broncos have had Lock, Fant, and Hamler all healthy for just 13 snaps this year. That was before Lock got hurt in Week 2 against the Steelers.

The implications of those returns are pretty big and should increase our interest in tossing out tournament stacks of this game.

Even with Lock going down in Week 2, the Broncos still managed to score 21 points and keep that game competitive. Now, with Lock around, this actually doesn't project to be a terrible offense.

If the Broncos put points on the board, it'll force the Chiefs to keep their foot on the gas longer. That means additional volume for Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. It's not going to make this game as appealing as the some of the others on the slate, but it's also unlikely to be popular as those. For tournaments, we want situations like this where a game has some point potential without garnering attention.

It could still flop because the Chiefs' defense is solid, the Broncos' offense is far from elite, and the snow could play a role. But if you're multi-entering for tournaments, it's worth a roll of the dice.

Kelce, specifically, stands out because he helps fill a wretched position. There's a lot of value in that with so few viable tight ends on the slate. The problem is that Kelce's salary is $7,900, so using him means one less crack at a high-salaried running back or receiver. Even with that, there's serious merit to Kelce, though I'd personally prioritize the high-salaried receivers over him.

The Chiefs' backfield depends on how much information we've got. Head coach Andy Reid said this week that there's a chance Le'Veon Bell isn't even active in Week 7. If that happens, Clyde Edwards-Helaire becomes a high-quality option at $7,000.

Unfortunately, this game doesn't kick off until the afternoon, meaning we won't know inactives until after lock. If you can find combinations and alternatives also on the late slate -- guys like Carson, Metcalf, and Lockett are all in the same salary range among flexes -- then it might not be a bad idea to keep late-swap flexibility to switch into CEH if Bell winds up being ruled out.

Because Sammy Watkins seems unlikely to play, you could go to Demarcus Robinson after his decent game on Monday. Robinson is $5,200 and opens up plenty elsewhere.

The problem is that Robinson sorely lacks upside. He has just three deep targets and three red-zone targets for the season, and he's not the most efficient fellow on the planet. The more optimal move seems to be targeting Christian Kirk or Marquez Valdes-Scantling for just $200 more or finding the salary to get to Tee Higgins or Brandin Cooks.

Mecole Hardman's role sucked with Watkins out in Week 6. He ran just 13 routes, per Pro Football Focus, his fewest since Week 1. That ain't gonna cut it.

It seems as if Hardman's role is independent of Watkins. Although that's a bummer, it also means his role could go back up this week. After all, he did run at least 19 routes each game from Week 2 through Week 5, and he exceeded 35 twice. He could very well revert back to that role here.

As a result, Hardman's interesting if you're rolling out a bunch of tournament lineups. He's $5,400, and nobody will use him after last week's letdown on the two-game slate. You have to keep in mind that his floor is zero, but there's at least a path to a good game here.

As far as bring-back options go, the target distribution on the Broncos may be muddy with everybody healthy. However, it's hard to argue with the production Tim Patrick has provided of late.

Patrick has gone over 100 yards in back-to-back games, so it's tough to see his snaps getting trimmed with Hamler back. Lock threw deep to Patrick four times in Week 6, and Patrick is averaging more than two deep targets per game. You have to love Jerry Jeudy's talent, but it's Patrick who's getting the money targets. Both are options -- as is Fant if you can stomach an overinflated salary -- but Patrick seems to be the top choice here by a smidge.

The Curious Case of D'Andre Swift

Depending on what you look at, D'Andre Swift's Week 6 was either a breakout or more of the same. Which side you sit on will certainly impact how you view him against the Falcons.

The good: Swift finished with 14 carries and 4 targets, and he converted that volume into more than 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had three carries inside the five-yard line.

The bad: that production came on just 37.7% of the snaps, Adrian Peterson was still involved -- including a one-yard touchdown -- and they're not going to get to beat up on the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars every week. All three of Swift's goal-line touches came in the same drive, so it's not as if they were explicitly bringing him in to jam the ball into the paint.

If we took Swift's Week 6 usage to be what he'll get going forward, we'd avoid him in Week 7. You need to get silly to pay off on 37.7% of the snaps, and not many can do that.

This is a slate where we're desperate for value, though, and Swift has shown he has a path to upside.

The big positive with Swift is that he gets the kinds of touches we like. His four or five targets each game naturally make his touches more efficient, meaning we don't need him to be a bellcow to have DFS relevancy. There's also always the chance that his production leads to additional touches in the future, though it's hard to trust the Detroit Lions' coaching staff to make that adjustment, given their track record.

Once you blend everything together, Swift is firmly in what we'll dub the "rotational" tier of the sub-$7,000 running backs. None of them are good enough to be focal points on this slate due to concerns around either their floors and their ceilings. However, with salary-savings a must, they wind up being acceptable plays out of necessity.

Although Swift is on this list, he likely isn't at the top of it. That would be either David Johnson or Kenyan Drake. Both are also in shootouts, they're bigger locks to be on the field than Swift, and they seem to have firmer grasps on their teams' goal-line touches. Johnson's passing-game work would put him at the top of this heap, followed by Drake. However, as you rotate through that list, Swift at least deserves consideration on the chance the Lions do the right thing and solidify his role.

A New Ball-Carrier Emerges

When Austin Ekeler went down, it seemed as if Joshua Kelley would be the lead guy in a 60-40 split with Justin Jackson.

The 60-40 split happened; it just wasn't Kelley leading the charge.

In the team's lone game without Ekeler, Jackson led the team in almost all the categories we care about for daily fantasy.

In Week 5 Carries Targets Snaps Routes
Justin Jackson 15 6 59.1% 20
Joshua Kelley 11 1 35.2% 12

That's 27 adjusted opportunities for Jackson, more than enough for us to consider him at $6,100, especially in a rush-heavy spot against the Jacksonville Jaguars' poor defense. We just have to ask if he'll have the upside to justify usage in DFS.

The fear with Jackson is that he could get Devin Singletary'd. When Zack Moss was out, Singletary got work very similar to Jackson's, so his volume looked good at first glance. But he wasn't getting touchdowns, a key piece if a running back is going to hit the 20-point threshold on FanDuel.

Kelley's likely to maintain the goal-line role here. He has four rushes inside the five this year, and neither Ekeler nor Jackson has even one. If they're going to score a bunny tuddy, Jackson's unlikely to be the guy who benefits.

It's possible Jackson could score on a longer run, and he'll have a good volume-based floor. Because of that, he's at least in consideration at $6,100 in that aforementioned rotational tier. But we have to keep in mind that there's a muddied path to upside here, relegating Jackson to being just another option rather than a focal point.

Can Sam Darnold Make the Jets Suck Less?

For the second straight week, the New York Jets' offense is relevant not because we want to use their pieces; it's because we want access to the other team.

At least this time around, it seems like Sam Darnold will be the one piloting the ship.

Darnold has put in back-to-back limited practices and may be able to start for the first time since Week 4. He's likely an upgrade from Joe Flacco. We just have to wonder if it's a big enough upgrade for them to score the points necessary for the Buffalo Bills to keep their foot on the gas.

Last week, we didn't get that. The Miami Dolphins jumped out to an early lead and were able to bench starters in the second half. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs can score points in a hurry, but it's hard for anyone to win you tournaments without four quarters of volume.

In the four games Darnold has played, the Jets have averaged 16.25 points per game. That includes a 17-point outing in Week 1 against this same Bills defense.

It helps that the supporting cast is better now than it was in Weeks 2 and 3. Jamison Crowder returned, and Breshad Perriman came back from injury last week. Crowder missed practice Thursday and is now a question mark, but the debut of Denzel Mims could potentially at least in part offset any additional absences. Things are better here than they were previously.

That allows you to consider lineups with Allen and Diggs. They have good floors, so using them is unlikely to burn you. It's just the odds of hitting their ceilings that goes down if the Jets flop again.

Allen and Diggs aren't in play if you're doing limited lineups due to the probability of different outcomes. But if you are going a bit heavier, you can turn to them, though it'd be wise to include Crowder if healthy or Perriman if not.

The Battered Cowboys

Things just keep getting grosser for the Dallas Cowboys' offense.

In addition to being without Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, and La'el Collins for the rest of the year, the injuries on the offensive line continue to mount.

Smith's replacement at left tackle -- Brandon Knight -- has already been ruled out for Week 7, meaning the team will be using its fourth and fifth preferences at the two tackle positions. Their lone remaining stud -- Zack Martin -- is in concussion protocol and may not be able to go. It's grim across the board.

As a result, the Washington defense and special teams grades out as a cash-game option at $3,800. Chase Young is going to hound Andy Dalton like a terrier on a squirrel.

This also should likely push us off all of the Cowboys' main studs. Their salaries don't reflect their new situations with Dalton at quarterback and a battered offensive line. Although it's possible for Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper to have good games, the odds they break open a slate are low relative to the other options in their salary tiers.

This also impacts Washington's offense as it lowers the odds this game shoots out. You can make an easy case for Terry McLaurin based on his usage, and Antonio Gibson is just a hair behind the aforementioned rotational tier of value backs. The game environment here is just wholly underwhelming, and it prevents anybody from being a priority regardless of their usage.

The 49ers' Muddy Backfield

If you had said a week ago that Raheem Mostert would miss Week 7 and that Jerick McKinnon was just $5,500, I'd be foaming at the mouth. Not only can McKinnon be electric, but he played 91.8% of the snaps with 14 carries and 8 targets in the last game without Mostert. That's bellcow-like usage.

Unfortunately, we've gotten more information since then, and that information isn't rosy for McKinnon's outlook.

Specifically, after Mostert left last week, it was JaMycal Hasty who took over the backfield. Hasty had nine carries and one target in the second half compared to McKinnon's three carries and two targets.

Additionally, Jeff Wilson was inactive that game but has been practicing this week. It seems like our days of bellcow Jerick are in the past.

As it stands now, this projects to be a split backfield in a game with the lowest total on the board. That's not a situation we want to chase, even in such a run-heavy scheme on a slate where we're desperate for salary-savers. This whole game is a borderline cross-off, unless you want to take swings at Deebo Samuel as a low-salaried receiver.