Week 7 is here and the good news is it doesn’t seem like there are any games that look like they are in danger of being postponed at this point in the week. Unfortunately, you will still have to fill a few holes due to bye weeks, but that is why we are here to help you find which of your bench players you should be starting and which are better staying out of the lineup.
Ronald Jones II, Bucs: Jones is coming off his best stretch of the season. He has rushed for over 100 yards in his past three games, caught 11 passes over that same stretch and scored two touchdowns last week. It is hard to believe that even if Leonard Fournette returns that Jones won’t keep a command over this backfield against a Raiders defense that is allowing the third most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, according to Fantasy Pros.
Todd Gurley, Falcons: Gurley isn’t the same guy he has been the past few seasons, and it is obvious he is in decline. Despite all of that, he has shown he can be a matchup based starter, and this week he faces a Lions defense that allows 25.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Gurley still has a command on that backfield, and this offense has shown signs of life following the firing of Dan Quinn. He is at least a very reliable flex start this week in a great matchup.
Jerick McKinnon, 49ers: Those who went out and added McKinnon off waivers may be excited to insert him right into the lineup, but that may not be a great plan. Raheem Mostert will be out for awhile, but a matchup against the Patriots defense that is allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. McKinnon is also part of a backfield and team where carries can be spread pretty thin, which doesn’t help his prospects against a tough matchup.
Joshua Kelley, Chargers: The rookie has really disappointed fantasy players who counted on him to step in for the injured Austin Ekeler. The last time Kelley had an opportunity to play Justin Jackson was already playing more than him. He is the running back to start in this great matchup against the Jaguars and not Kelley.
Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd: A.J. Green had a nice game last week, but Denzel Ward is still a player that makes you avoid players like Green when matched up with them. That being said, the rest of the Browns secondary has really struggled to contain anyone in the passing game. The last time these teams met in Week 2 Boyd had seven catches for just over 70 yards and his only touchdown of the season. That was also the last game before Higgins became the starter and has been on a tear ever since. The rookie is coming off his first 100 yard game, and there is no reason to expect him to slow down against this defense.
Terry McLaurin, Washington: McLaurin has been up and down, and who can blame him when you look at the quarterback situation in Washington? The reason he is a start this week is pretty simple, the Cowboys can’t stop anyone. They give up the third most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, and McLaurin hasn’t had a game in 2020 with less than seven targets. That has the making for a solid WR2 outing for the young wide receiver.
D.J. Moore, Panther: Moore has been a fairly solid option the past few weeks, but when you look closer, he could’ve been better. He has really struggled with drops at times, and he has only scored one touchdown this year. The question becomes whether you can trust that against a Saints defense that has allowed the fewest receptions to wide receivers this season. Fewer opportunities may not end up being a great recipe for success for Moore.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys: The Andy Dalton show didn’t get off to a great start in primetime. Gallup especially didn’t have a great game during a season where he has struggled to have fantasy relevant games. This week Dallas is going up against a Washington team that as held opposing wide receiver to only 17.2 fantasy points per game. It may be best to leave Gallup and any other wide receivers no named Amari Cooper from the Cowboys on the Bench till Dalton and this offense get on the same page.
Tight ends to play
Austin Hooper, Browns: Hooper has scored double digit fantasy points in the past three games. He has carved out a nice role in that offense with five catches in each of the past three games. That should do pretty well against a Bengals defense that just got eaten alive by tight ends last week by the Colts. This game has all the makings for a shootout, and Hooper could really benefit from that.
Hunter Henry, Chargers: Justin Herbert has really made use of his tight end since taking over. There has only been one week where Henry has gotten less than seven targets, and last week the tight end scored his first touchdown of the season. He will now face a Jaguars defense that has allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game to tight ends, which makes it hard to keep Henry out of your starting lineup.
Joe Burrow, Bengals: Burrow tossed three touchdowns the last time these two teams met, and he had arguably his best game of the season against the. As long as the rookie gets a little bit of time he should be able to easily exploit this Browns defense that doesn’t have anyone aside from Ward in the secondary who poses a threat.
Matthew Stafford, Lions: Stafford gets to face the weakest passing defense in the NFL this week. He hasn’t been as fantasy relevant this season as the team finally has a running game to rely on when they get into the redzone. Those rushing touchdowns have really held back his production, but this week he should pretty easily surpass 300 yards passing with multiple touchdowns.