7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 7

Sleeper is an ambiguous term. I'm defining anyone on less than half of Yahoo! rosters as a sleeper in the interest of providing clarity. Typically, I'll aim to feature players on fewer than 40 percent of rosters. However, this provides me some wiggle room.

Don't worry, deep-league gamers, this piece is intended to help folks in leagues of all sizes. With that in mind, I'm following my predecessor's lead, including honorable mentions. If the featured players are already rostered in your league, the honorable mentions should provide you with players to consider filling in for an injured starter or player on bye on your roster -- or for whatever other reason you're diving into the free-agent pool for a sleeper.

While it should go without saying, the featured players at each position are my favorite sleepers for the given week. The honorable mentions are listed in descending order of the percentage of rosters they're on.


Tua Tagovailoa (19%) - Tagovailoa returned from injured reserve last week, taking advantage of a cushy matchup abroad against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. He spun it for 329 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception, completing over 70 percent of his passes and adding 22 yards on the ground in a losing effort for the Miami Dolphins.

He's on the streamer radar this week in another plus matchup. According to our power rankings, the Atlanta Falcons rank as the ninth-worst pass defense. Thus, I'm not expecting the Dolphins to deviate from their pass-happy approach. Expanding further on Miami's passing tendencies, according to Sharp Football Stats, when the offensive scoring margin ranges from trailing by seven points to leading by seven points, Miami's 67 percent pass rate is the highest in the NFL, significantly above the league average of 58 percent.

Tua's projected combination of a high passing volume and tasty matchup make him my favorite quarterback sleeper this week. Further, our projections place him in the fringe-starter territory, ranking him as QB14 for Week 7.

Honorable Mentions: Jameis Winston (39%), Carson Wentz (35%), and Daniel Jones (33%)

Running Backs

J.D. McKissic (43%) - Starting running back Antonio Gibson underwent an MRI on his lower leg, and the results are pending. However, whether he plays or not, I don't think McKissic's role changes. Instead, I believe Jaret Patterson -- who is listed as an honorable mention in case Gibson misses time -- would step in as the primary ball-carrier with McKissic retaining his pass-catching/two-minute offense option.

According to Pro Football Focus, McKissic is fifth on the team with 112 routes. Comparatively, Gibson's run only 94 routes. Still, McKissic could conceivably soak up some vacated backfield routes if Gibson misses this week's game. Additionally, McKissic ranks second on the team in targets (28), receptions (21), and receiving yards (215). He's also chipped in 100 yards on the ground and scored a pair of touchdowns.

This week, McKissic's receiving chops might be especially important for the sizable underdog Washington Football Team. According to our heat map, Washington's the fourth-largest underdog, getting 9.5 points. Therefore, it shouldn't come as a surprise our projections place him in fringe RB2 territory, projecting an RB27 finish in FanDuel's half-PPR scoring format.

D'Ernest Johnson (5%) - The Cleveland Browns didn't waste time regarding Nick Chubb's status this week, ruling him out Tuesday. Chubb joins Kareem Hunt in street clothes for this game, leaving Cleveland thin at running back. Johnson appears to be the best bet to lead the backfield in carries. Meanwhile, rookie Demetric Felton might see a role increase, as well. However, as the following tweet from Pro Football Focus' Dwain McFarland illustrates, Felton, a former receiver and running back in college, has primarily been used as a receiver this year.

Johnson does not wow with measurables. However, he's running behind an offensive line that Football Outsiders ranks second in adjusted line yards. Also, Pro Football Focus loves their run blocking, grading them as the third-best team at it in 2021.

Finally, the Browns utilize a run-heavy offense, running at the third-highest rate (48 percent) when the offensive scoring margin ranges from trailing by seven points to leading by seven points. Add it all up, and our projections view Johnson as RB13 this week.

Honorable Mentions: Rhamondre Stevenson (11%), Demetric Felton (9%), Rashaad Penny (9%), and Jaret Patterson (2%)

Wide Receivers

Mecole Hardman (50%) - Hardman is a repeat visitor headlining the sleeper receivers. Last week, the speedy wideout's 37 routes were the third-most on the Kansas City Chiefs, also marking his second-highest total behind the 45 he ran in Week 5. He's parlayed his increased offensive responsibility with his two highest receiving yardage totals, amassing 76 on 9 receptions in Week 5 and 62 on 4 receptions in Week 6.

Admittedly, Hardman isn't breaking out in the fashion I thought he might this season. Still, his usage the last two weeks is encouraging, and he's tied to a high-powered offense with the third-highest implied total (31.0) that's squaring off against an injury-beleaguered and downright lousy secondary.

The Tennessee Titans rank as the 10th-worst pass defense in our power rankings. They were just torched by the Buffalo Bills' wide receivers in a shootout win on Monday Night Football and now have to contend with Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City's elite passing attack on a shorter turnaround.

We project Hardman as a fringe WR3 this week, ranking him as WR37. He's on the highest percentage of rosters of the featured wide receivers, and he's my favorite sleeper at the position this week.

A.J. Green (45%) - Green has come back to life with a change of scenery, joining the Arizona Cardinals in free agency this offseason. The veteran wideout is an integral part of Arizona's elite offense, as he ranks second on the team in routes (194) and targets (32), tied for second in touchdown receptions (3), third in receiving yards (340), and fifth in receptions (21).

Green, DeAndre Hopkins, and Christian Kirk are all being used as vertical options, sporting an ascending average depth of target of 12.2 yards, 13.5 yards, and 13.6 yards, per Pro Football Focus. All three wideouts have a mouthwatering matchup for their usage. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Houston Texans have yielded the third-highest average explosive pass rate (13 percent) this year.

Picking between Green and Kirk to feature in this space was a tough decision. Ultimately, I landed on Green because he's run more routes and primarily aligns wide. Pro Football Focus credits Green with aligning wide on 88.8 percent of his passing snaps compared to only 10.1 percent for Kirk. Unfortunately for Kirk, Rondale Moore is a threat for slot snaps. Further, if the 17.5-point favored Cardinals clobber the Texans badly enough, they could conceivably use more two-tight end formations than usual to milk the clock which would undercut Kirk's snaps more than Green's.

Still, I like Kirk, as well, so he's an honorable mention below.

DeSean Jackson (5%) - Sometimes, a matchup stares you in the face and is obviously made in heaven. That's the case for D-Jax against the Detroit Lions this week. The infrequently used deep threat is a boom-or-bust option, no doubt. However, the matchup aligns perfectly for a boom week.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Jackson's average depth of target of 23.5 yards is the deepest by 2.8 yards over the second-deepest mark among receivers and tight ends targeted at least 10 times in 2021. The Lions are ill-equipped to handle the speedster, permitting the highest average explosive pass rate (15 percent).

It's a nightmarish week for byes in Week 7. So, if you're in need of a home-run option, look no further than D-Jax.

Honorable Mentions: Christian Kirk (45%), T.Y. Hilton (39%), Marquez Callaway (35%), Rashod Bateman (27%), Amon-Ra St. Brown (22%), and Quez Watkins (2%)

Tight Ends

Ricky Seals-Jones (30%) - Seals-Jones has ticked up one percent for the percentage of rosters he's on since I touted him as a streamer on Monday. Nevertheless, he remains too widely available and is easily my favorite sleeper at the position this week.

Unfortunately, the other options have a terrifyingly low floor this week with six teams on bye. As a result, the only other two tight ends I feel somewhat comfortable suggesting are the other tight ends I included in the linked piece and the honorable mentions below, Mo Alie-Cox and C.J. Uzomah.

Honorable Mentions: Mo Alie-Cox (8%) and C.J. Uzomah (6%)

Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.