NFL

15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 7

It's good to have players on your fantasy football team who are in strong offenses. Clearly, a good offense is more efficient and presents more scoring opportunities. More scoring opportunities means more fantasy points for players in that offense.

Involvement in an effective offense isn't everything, though. At the end of the day, volume drives fantasy football.

And that brings me to DeAndre Hopkins...

Note: The transactions each week are not in order of importance.

Sell DeAndre Hopkins

Like any transaction you read in this column, this one needs a caveat: no one is saying DeAndre Hopkins is a bad fantasy football asset. No one is saying, "Get rid of DeAndre Hopkins no matter what!"

What I am saying is to test the market.

There aren't many wide receivers I'd want over Hopkins from here on out. It's just that Hopkins isn't in some untouchable tier like we get from Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill. He's more so at the top of a group that's pretty big, so a downgrade at wide receiver -- if you were to trade him away -- could be worth an upgrade elsewhere.

And let's get this out of the way: Hopkins is a wide receiver whose name has a lot of value. Because he is incredibly talented. He's arguably the most talented pass-catcher in the game.

So why sell? Well, unlike his counterparts, he's not seeing that significant of an offensive share. After six games, Hopkins has a target share of just 20.5% in the Arizona offense. That ranks outside the top-30 at the position. He's failed to reach of a 20% target share in half of his games this season.

Sure, he was a little bruised up for some of that, but we're not getting typical DeAndre Hopkins this year. Hopkins has had two games this season with a target share below 15%. Across his entire career entering this season, he tallied just 13 of those types of games. When you remove his rookie season, that number drops to three.

That's three games with a sub-15% target share since from 2014 through 2020. And he's already got two of them in six games in 2021.

Hopkins is averaging 16.5 PPR points per game -- just outside the wide receiver top-12 -- and, at this point, we have to probably accept that this isn't some massive fluke. This is the way the Cardinals offense is going to operate, and given the team's record, why expect it to change?

Again, no one is saying Hopkins isn't someone you want in fantasy football. It's just that he's now coming off of a two-touchdown game, and he now has been on the receiving end of 43% of Arizona's passing touchdowns. Since 2011, 10 wide receivers have finished a season with that type of receiving touchdown share. Of those 10 wideouts, only two had target shares as low as Hopkins' share this season.

It's not a bad idea to see what kind of return you can get for Hopkins after a strong Week 6 performance. Don't trade him away for the sake of trading him away, but his name obviously holds a lot of weight in the fantasy football world.

Buy J.D. McKissic and Add Jaret Patterson

Everything was looking good for Antonio Gibson after a Week 1 performance where he had a 23.8% target share. Since then, Gibson's single-game target share high has been 8.7%, and he's averaging a 6.4% target share per game. For him to become a truly elite player in fantasy football, that number needs to come up. Pretty dramatically, too.

Unfortunately, it's unlikely we see that change in 2021. He's been dealing with a shin injury and clearly isn't 100% -- he was in and out of Washington's game on Sunday -- so taking on a bigger role probably isn't in Washington's best interests.

Enter J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson.

McKissic is someone who doesn't get enough love for what he's done over the last year and a half. He was plenty viable last year, as we know, but he's back to being a solid high-floor option in PPR formats this season. He's finished as a top-15 running back option in three of the last five weeks, and he's averaged a target share per game during that time of nearly 15%.

He shouldn't be that tough to acquire, even with Antonio Gibson not being 100 percent. He may still be on your waiver wire, too, considering he's available in 58% of Yahoo! leagues.

Don't forget about Jaret Patterson, either. The rookie stands to benefit from any Antonio Gibson injury because McKissic isn't really an early-down back. Patterson's not the biggest running back in the world, but he carried a hefty workload in college and has a fine running back BMI, similar to someone like Devin Singletary.

Add D'Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton

With Nick Chubb sidelined in Week 6, the only non-Kareem Hunt running back to get a carry was D'Ernest Johnson. Johnson saw one carry and one target in Cleveland's loss to Arizona while playing 12 snaps.

Hunt injured his calf in that game, and he's now going to miss at least three weeks. That leaves the Browns with a mess of a running back room. They've got a short week with a Thursday Night Football game against the Broncos, so there's a chance that Chubb is still unable to play. With Hunt now hurt, that would leave Johnson as the 1A in that offense against Denver.

Don't sleep on Demetric Felton taking on a bigger role, too. Felton's got a receiving background after playing wide receiver for three seasons at UCLA before converting to running back. Since Johnson isn't an established back, Felton could steal some snaps in the backfield. Do keep in mind that most of his routes run thus far have come while being lined up as a wide receiver, but he ran a couple from the backfield this past week, per Next Gen Stats. If Hunt and Chubb are both out, it's only natural to think that number would increase.

Hold Robby Anderson

It's been a tough year for Robby Anderson. After being such a consistent fantasy football piece last season, he's averaged just 7.7 PPR points per game this season with a high of 12.7. That season-high came all the way back in Week 1.

I was a believer in selling Anderson after Week 1 -- you have proof that I'm not some Anderson stan -- but now's not the time to get rid of him. Yes, he found the end zone against Minnesota in Week 6. And, yes, he was pretty brutal in that game, catching just 3 of 11 targets for 11 receiving yards. But things have actually shifted in Anderson's favor of late. Across the first three games of the season, his target share per game average was just 10.8%. Over the last three, that's spiked to 25.7%. He just hasn't been able to fully convert those opportunities.

Terrace Marshall was concussed against the Vikings on Sunday, and that could help Anderson maintain a big workload in Carolina's offense this week. The peripherals are there -- dropping a player with that type of target share isn't advisable.

Buy Miles Sanders

When there's a generally accepted thought among the fantasy football masses, it's often advantageous to act against that thought.

An example of that is with Miles Sanders. Fantasy football managers are frustrated with his usage, but things haven't been as bad as you might think recently.

Over the first four weeks of the season, Sanders was averaging a running back rush share per game of about 67%. Backup Kenneth Gainwell was basically getting the rest of that work in the Philadelphia backfield. During that timeframe, Sanders had a target share per game average of 10.4% versus Gainwell's 12.8%.

Things have gotten a lot better for Sanders over the last two weeks, even if his fantasy performances haven't been stellar. His running back rush share per game has gone from 67% across the first four weeks to 92.3% over the last two, and his target share has jumped from 10.4% to 15.9%. Gainwell, meanwhile, saw his running back rush share per game drop from 33.1% to 7.7%, and his target share per contest has gone from 12.8% to 8.7%.

This has all correlated with an uptick in Miles Sanders' snaps. From Weeks 1 through 4, his highest snap share was 67.2%. Over his last two, his low has been 74.6%.

Part of the reason Sanders hasn't produced is likely due to matchup. The Eagles have faced the Panthers and the Buccaneers, two of the better teams in fantasy football at stopping opposing running backs.

Things shouldn't be as tough for Philly's ground game moving forward. From now through the end of the fantasy season (Week 17), according to my method of adjusting fantasy points, the Eagles have one of the best running back schedules. Only two of their opponents rank above average in adjusted points allowed to the position.

You shouldn't have to give a whole lot to get Sanders. Now is the time to buy super low.

Add Rashod Bateman

Those of you who read this column weekly likely already added Rashod Bateman because he was featured back in Week 4's version. He made his debut in Week 6, and in that debut, he saw over 22% of Baltimore's targets while running the second-most routes at wide receiver. There was no Sammy Watkins for Baltimore, but even when he's back, Bateman's got the talent to continue this type of workload in a pass-heavier -- at least compared to recent seasons -- Ravens offense.

Sell Latavius Murray

Speaking of the Ravens, their backfield share is an absolute freaking disaster. For fantasy football, that is.

No Baltimore running back has seen a double-digit percentage target share since Week 1. Latavius Murray, their "lead" back, has averaged a running back rush share per game of 49.6% this season, and he's averaging fewer than one target per contest. He's seen an uptick in target share over the last couple of weeks, but it's still hovering around the 7% range, so it's nothing special or out of the ordinary.

Murray's getting by on touchdowns -- he's scored in four of six games this year. Despite this, he's ranked no better than RB20 in PPR formats in a given week. And it's because his opportunity, overall, isn't very good.

There are teams in your league that need running backs. Especially during bye week hell, it's not a bad idea to see if you can package Murray up with someone else to upgrade a starting lineup slot.

Add Amon-Ra St. Brown

The waiver wire isn't very fruitful this week, so you may need to dig a little deeper than you typically would. Amon-Ra St. Brown works as a decent enough add given what we've seen from him over the last three weeks.

Over this timeframe, he's averaged a target share per game of 21.8%, which has turned into 7.7 targets per contest. He didn't run as many routes as teammate Kalif Raymond this past week, but from Weeks 4 through 6, he's only run four fewer routes while distancing himself from Khadarel Hodge. He also has more red-zone looks over the last three weeks than all wide receivers and tight ends on the Lions.

He's worth a look this week.

Add Rashaad Penny

With Chris Carson now officially on IR with a neck injury, the Seattle backfield is sort of up for grabs. In Week 6, they featured Alex Collins, and he's now seen back-to-back games with at least 75% of the team's running back rushes.

His 3.2% target share against Pittsburgh wasn't all that desirable, and he's a little banged up now, too.

It's all pretty good timing for Rashaad Penny to return. He'll be coming off IR this week, and without a ton of competition in that backfield, he should see some work. That makes him -- once a really good prospect who just can't stay healthy -- a worthwhile add off the waiver wire this week.

Buy or Hold James Robinson

A handful of weeks ago, yours truly thought James Robinson was more of a sell than a buy thanks to Urban Meyer's shenanigans and the way he was utilizing Carlos Hyde. Hyde was then a surprise inactive before a Thursday night game against Cincinnati thanks to a shoulder injury, I rescinded the transaction, and Robinson hasn't looked back since.

The original process on being lower than the consensus on Robinson wasn't as strong as it could've been. Robinson's talent didn't disappear -- he just had (and still has) an ignorant coaching staff. That staff could change. And they did, boosting Robinson's fantasy value.

Clearly, Robinson's riding high. He's coming off of three strong performances where he's averaged a running back rush share of almost 90%, including a 100% running back rush share in Week 6. It's been far different than his 62% share across the first three weeks of the season. His target share per game over his last three is only 7.3%, but he's basically been the sole back who's been running routes in the offense. More targets should come.

The reason to call him out right now is two-fold. Sometimes buying high is OK in fantasy football because not every manager assumes a player can maintain a certain level of production. And Robinson has scored a touchdown in each of his last four games -- that's not something we can absolutely bank on.

Not every manager is looking further ahead than next week, too. Robinson has a bye this week, so you can use that to your advantage when negotiating. The good news is that after the bye, according to my adjusted fantasy points method, Jacksonville only has two bottom-half matchups for running backs through the end of the season.

The only way to truly gauge what people may be thinking about a player like Robinson is by looking at rest-of-season rankings around the Internet. Seriously. Robinson, in a lot of them, is listed below players like Joe Mixon and D'Andre Swift, when I'd rather have him given the information we've learned over the last couple of weeks. That injury to Hyde really pushed the Jags coaching staff to be less idiotic with their running back usage, it seems.

Add Rhamondre Stevenson

I called out Rhamondre Stevenson as an add in last week's 15 Transactions column, and I usually try to not repeat transactions week over week. But, uh, we've got to talk about a shift that happened in the New England offense on Sunday.

James White was injured in Week 3, and he's done for the year, as we know. In that Week 3 game, Brandon Bolden ended up running the most routes at running back for the Patriots. Damien Harris was in second.

The following week, Harris ran 18 routes to Bolden's 10 in a pretty neutral game script versus the Buccaneers. Then, in Week 5 against Houston, we saw Bolden run 17 routes while Rhamondre Stevenson was in second with 5. Part of that was because Harris was dealing with a ribs injury.

This past week, things changed. According to Pro Football Focus, Rhamondre Stevenson ran one more route than Brandon Bolden did. Damien Harris was third in the pecking order.

That turned into a 15% target share for Stevenson, the highest any New England running back has seen in a game since James White was healthy in Week 2.

Stevenson had a good, underrated receiving profile coming out of college. Brandon Bolden isn't very difficult competition.

Could this be the start of Stevenson having a more concrete role as a pass-catcher for the Patriots? Even if it's not, I don't want to risk my league mates scooping him up this week.

Hold Allen Robinson

One of the most frequent questions I've been asked since Sunday has been, "Can I drop Allen Robinson?"

In shallow leagues, it's not crazy to do so. But here's the argument for holding him: he's seen almost a 25% target share in Chicago's offense. That type of share doesn't grow on trees. I know, I know -- he hasn't done anything with that volume, and a 25% target share of a small pie is no different than a 16% or 17% target share of a bigger one.

The thing is, Chicago's been fortunate to have seen some positive game scripts with Justin Fields as the starter so far this season.

During his first start against the Browns, everything was disastrous. Everything. Let's just pretend that game never happened.

In Weeks 4 and 5 against Detroit and Las Vegas, though, the Bears didn't have to throw a whole lot, so Robinson's 21.3% target share equated just 8 total targets. In Week 6, Chicago trailed Green Bay -- the Bears had a negative script -- and they tallied 25 team targets for the first time since Week 1.

This week, they get the Buccaneers, a team that's faced by far the highest pass rate in the league this season. Chicago won't be able to rely on their run game as much against Tampa Bay's front, which could lead to a better day for A-Rob. I'd at least wait to see how he performs in Week 7 before saying goodbye.

Add T.Y. Hilton

T.Y. Hilton returned to the field in Week 6 where he caught all four of his targets for 80 yards. His 22.2% target share was the highest on the Colts despite running fewer routes than both Michael Pittman and Zach Pascal. He did exit the game early with an injury, but it doesn't seem like it was serious. During a tough waiver wire week, Hilton makes some sense to see if he's got any magic left in him.

Add Tua Tagovailoa

Week 7's top streamer might be Tua Tagovailoa. Not only did he look pretty good against the Jaguars this past Sunday, but he gets the Falcons this weekend who have been the fourth-best matchup for quarterbacks when looking at adjusted fantasy points allowed. He's rostered in just 17% of Yahoo! leagues, so he should be available in most of yours if you're hurting for a passer this week.

Add the New York Giants Defense

With the NFL schedule filled with bye weeks, finding streamers becomes more difficult. You have fewer options to choose from.

One choice I don't totally mind is New York. They get a Panthers offense this week that's been, to put it mildly, struggling. They've allowed four sacks per game over their last three, and Sam Darnold has thrown an average of two interceptions per game over this timeframe. Per FanDuel Sportsbook, the over/under in that game is just 43.5 points, too.