What We Learned in NFL Week 7

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bathrobeDFS here.

In this article, I will look through every game from that past week and see what, if anything, we learned about the teams that we can apply in the future, either in DFS or year-long fantasy leagues.

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What We Learned in NFL Week 7

Results (click game for analysis):

PHI 22 – NYG 21

CLE 37 – CIN 34

DET 23 – ATL 22

WSH 25 – DAL 3

PIT 27 – TEN 24

BUF 18 – NYJ 10

NO 27 – CAR 24

GB 35 – NO 20

TB 45 – LV 20

LAC 39 – JAX 29

SF 33 – NE 6

KC 43 – DEN 16

ARI 37 – SEA 34

LAR 24 – CHI 10

Analysis

NY Giants (1-6) – 21 –at– Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1) – 22

What Did We Learn about NYG?

  • Gallman is Fine Enough Devonta Freeman got injured and only carried the ball 3 times in the game. The main RB duties then went to Wayne Gallman, who got 10 rushes, 34 yards, and 1 TD on the ground, and 5 targets and 5 receptions for 20 yards in the air. Dion Lewis stayed as a backup and barely touched the ball. Freeman is currently questionable for Monday night’s game, so get ready to fire up a cheap Gallman, even as a potential Captain.
  • Consolidated Usage – Last week, the Giants got the last of their normal starting WRs back, Sterling Shepard, and they got super consolidated. And that’s for a team that uses a three RB committee. In total, only EIGHT players touched the football on offense. If you take out the 3 RBs and the 1 Daniel Jones at QB that leaves only FOUR pass catchers that even saw a target – WRs Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, and the aforementioned Shepard, as well as TE Evan Engram. That is as good as it gets for DFS purposes. Well, almost. If Freeman winds up missing next week, it’s possible (but not likely) they go with a 7 man “rotation”
  • Slayton didn’t slay a ton – Even though it had been Slayton who was the only reliable player on this team so far this season, he turned out to be the only one who didn’t really do anything. He wound up with only 2 receptions for 23 yards. Meanwhile, even though Tate only caught 1 pass, it was a 39 yard TD. Shepard came back and saw 8 targets, which he turned into 6 receptions for 59 yards and a TD. Lastly, Engram led the team with 9 targets, which he turned into 6 receptions for 46 yards. It is going to be worth paying close attention to how Shepard’s presence affects Slayton in the future, especially if this game was any indication.

What Did We Learn about PHI?

  • No Sanders? All Scott – Sanders may be back, but they expect a 1-to-2 week absence for him, so he may miss week 8 as well. If that’s the case, we saw that Philly isn’t going to run a committee approach – Scott got 12 of the 16 touches and 5 of the 7 targets given to RBs. Corey Clement was an afterthought and, surprisingly, his touches were cut into by Jason Huntley. If Sanders misses next week, feel free to go nuts on Scott against a Dallas team that will get destroyed again.
  • No Ertz? All Rodgers – With Ertz out for the next several weeks, and Wentz being a QB that always relies on his TE heavily, it was worth paying close attention to how the position was utilized in week 7. We knew Richard Rodgers, former Packer, was going to be the TE1. The question was how much work would backups Jason Croom and Hakeem Butler get, especially off of Croom’s TD reception in week 6. However, week 7 showed that neither of these guys is going to be anything more than a deep, deep GPP play. Croom wasn’t targeted at all in the 9 snaps he played (11% of offensive snaps). Butler received 1 target, but he also only played 1 snap total (on offense). Rodgers, on the other hand, played 69 snaps, which was 85%, and wound up 2nd on the Eagles in targets, with 8, which he turned into 6 receptions (the team lead) and 85 yards (the team lead). With Dallas coming up on Sunday night, feel free to load up on some Rodgers here.

Cleveland Browns (5-2) – 37 –at– Cincy Bengals (1-5-1) – 34

What Did We Learn about CLE?

  • Play Passing Games Against Them – I’m not saying Joe Burrow is a bad NFL player. He’s not. He’s young and a little raw. But these Cleveland Browns made him look like a hall of famer. He went 35 for 47 for a fantastic 406 yards, with 3 TDs, 1 INT, and a QB rating of 112.5. There was more than enough production for multiple members of the receiving corps to exceed value, as well – Tyler Boyd went 11 for 13, for 101 yards and 1 TD. AJ Green went 7 for 13 for 82 yards. Tee Higgins went 5 for 7 for 71 yards and a TD.
  • No Odell (or Hooper), No Problem – Even with Odell Beckham going down early with an injury that will cost him, at least, this season, the Browns were able to stay in pass mode, and excel there. Baker Mayfield went 22 for 28 for 297 yards, but his QB rating was a phenomenal 135.6. We saw him effectively spread the pass around – Jarvis Landry went 5 for 6 for 48 yards. Rashard Higgins stepped in in a big way, going 6 for 6 for 110 yards. Donovan Peoples-Jones even had a serviceable day, racking up 56 yards on 3 receptions, with 1 TD. With Hooper out, we saw both TEs find the end zone, with the TE1, David Njoku, going 2 for 3 for 20 yards with 1 TD and the backup TE, someone I wrote about, Harrison Bryant, going 4 for 5 for 56 yards and two TDs. Sure, some of this has to do with it being the horrific Bengals. But it was still a hell of a showing from the whole team.

What Did We Learn about CIN?

  • We Can Stack Them against Bad Defenses – When it comes to fantasy, this was, easily, one of the best games of the day. When you see two competent offenses with upside going against 2 poor defenses with downside, you wind up getting these shootout type games. And, if you decided to play a bunch of Bengals, you wound up getting a whole lot of points for cheap at low ownership. That’s the kind of thing we need to keep a look out for every week.

Detroit Lions (3-3) – 23 –at– Atlanta Falcons (1-6) – 22

What Did We Learn about DET?

  • We Were Right About the RBs – With the fantastic showing D’Andre Swift had a couple weeks back, I had said last week that the odds were good that this week would leave all RB options unplayable. Well, when all was said and done, AP put up a very poor 29 yards on 11 rushes, adding 1 yard on 1 reception. Swift, on the other hand, salvaged his day in a couple of ways – While the 27 yards on 9 rushes is almost as bad as AP for the day, he wound up scoring a TD and, on top of that, adding 4 receptions for 21 yards. Lastly, we saw Kerryon Johnson fall out of the rotation completely. He was on the field for 14 snaps but didn’t touch the ball or see a single target. While I think Swift has emerged as the clear #1 option for DFS purposes, I still think this is still a volatile situation we should reserve for GPP situations.

What Did We Learn about ATL?

  • Not Much – It went pretty much exactly as we would think. Gurley ran all over Detroit. And, when it came to passing, Ryan relied on Jones, Ridley, Hurst, and Gage, as he has all year.

Dallas Cowboys (2-5) – 3 –at– Washington FT (2-5) – 25

What Did We Learn about DAL?

  • I Was RIght – Like I said multiple times last week, we need to just stack against them, especially with Ds. And then just can’t be trusted, at all, on offense. No pieces. Not with Dalton under center. Or, as we saw, worse. Hello Ben DiNucci. Only bright spot – Amari Cooper, who still wound up going 7 for 7 for 80 yards.

What Did We Learn about WSH?

  • Not Much – Like I said about the Jets’ opponent last week, how can we really learn anything from a scrimmage? The biggest potential story – they let Antonio Gibson run to his heart’s content, clearly taking over lead back duties. He got 20 rushes, compared to 10 for Peyton Barber and only five for JD McKissic. I think that had more to do with the blowout, though, and not a change in gamescript we can count on for the future.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) – 27 –at– Tennessee Titans (5-1) – 24

What Did We Learn about PIT?

  • Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool Killer??  All it took for breakout player Chase Claypool to cool off was the return of a healthy Diontae Johnson. Claypool wound up seeing only 1 target the entire game, which he caught for negative two yards. He saw one less target than Ray-Ray McCloud. In a game that Big Ben threw the ball 49 times!! Astounding. Why?? Well, apart from JuJu getting an expected 14 targets (which he turned into 9 receptions for 85 yards), we saw Johnson get targeted an insane 15 times, which he turned into 9 receptions for 80 yards and the only 2 receiving touchdowns for the Steelers on the day.
  • Benny The Vulture – Once again, we saw Benny Snell get a goalline touch, and a score, ruining what would have been a pretty nice day for James Conner. What adds insult to injury – Snell’s total haul on the day was 2 yards on 2 attempts and 1 TD. Adding to the frustration is the carries that also keep going to Anthony McFarland and Jaylen Samuel. While sparse, admittedly, it’s still more than they should get, and in more important situations.

What Did We Learn about TEN?

  • They have Two Legit Stars – While we all know Derrick Henry is the real deal, people may be sleeping on AJ Brown. Maybe it’s cause Ryan Tannehill isn’t an elite QB. But, in a game they were trailing and needed to throw it, they unleashed Brown to the tune of 6 receptions on 8 targets, for 153 yards and a TD. Don’t underestimate AJ Brown, especially if he’s getting a good matchup
  • Corey Davis Ain’t No Slouch, Either – Even with a healthy corps of TEs, something we normally see Tannehill take advantage of, Corey Davis returned and wound up leading the team in targets, with 10, which he turned into 6 receptions for only 35 yards. Though he did manage a score. It looks like, when Davis and Adam Humphires are healthy, they are going to eat into a lot of that short work we had counted on Jonnu Smith (and others) getting.

Buffalo Bills (5-2) – 18 –at– NY Jets (0-7) – 10

What Did We Learn about BUF?

  • Not Much – Apart from the fact they weren’t taking the Jets seriously enough and got out to a 10-0 deficit, the Bills just played a smart game where they were happy to win by attrition. Just move the ball down the field little by little, get a field goal, and hold the Jets down. We saw Moss and Singletary basically split reps and targets, which shouldn’t be too much of a shock. The Bills also used Cole Beasley and Stefon Diggs to help move the ball slowly but surely down the field.

What Did We Learn about NYJ?

  • Denzel Mims, WR2? – If you count Jamison Crowder as the WR1 on the team, Denzel Mims came off the IR and jumped into what was the #1 role this week, getting 4 catches on 7 targets for 35 yards. With Breshad Perriman looking to be out, we should expect Mims to continue this trend in the coming weeks.
  • La’Mical Perine, RB1 – How much is an RB1 worth if it’s on the Jets? Not that much. But he should be cheap, he should get a good amount of work with Gore banged up, and he looks to get a lion’s share of the passing work, something the Jets will take advantage of. Perine got 16 of Darnold’s 120 total passing yards.

Carolina Panthers (3-4) – 24 –at– NO Saints (4-2) – 27

What Did We Learn about CAR?

  • Not Much – Even though we saw Mike Davis underperform once again, this wasn’t a gamescript that really benefited him. He only rushed 7 times, total, all game. And this was still a majority of rush attempts taken in the game. He also was tied for being targeted the 3rd most on the team, with 5, but he was alone in 3rd with 5 receptions. We also saw the pass game lean on Robby Anderson, DJ Moore and, to a smaller degree, Curtis Samuel.

What Did We Learn about NO?

  • Marquez Callaway, WR1?? – With Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders out, i warned people to watch out for the Tre’quan Smith trap – just cause he’s there doesn’t mean he would be the overall #1 receiver on the team. I said that Jared Cook and Deonte Harris could step in and get a lot of work. While Smith beat both of them in total yards, Cook and Harris both caught TDs while Smith did not. What I didn’t expect was for Marquez Callaway to lead the team, by far, with 10 targets and 8 receptions. Carolina dared Callaway to beat them and, with Brees’ accuracy, he succeeded. He’s nursing an injury heading into this weekend but, if he plays and everyone else stays out, consider him a dark horse play.

GB Packers (5-1) – 35 –at– Houston Texans (1-6) – 20

What Did We Learn about GB?

  • Davante Adams, World Killer – As I warned last week in my article and my Sunday Morning video/Q&A, No Aaron Jones doesn’t necessarily mean the Packers are going to play the same exact game, and just transfer all the rushes to other people. It was incredibly likely they shift to a pass-first game, something the Packers had been doing before deciding to lean on Jones midway last season. The main beneficiary of that, I said, would be Adams who was one of two players to break the slate open. He wound up with 13 receptions on 16 targets, more than the rest of his team combined. He also got 196 yards, several times the rest of the team combined, and 2 TDs.
  • The Jamaal Williams Show – When it came to RBs, there was a lot of speculation that the Packers would split reps between Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon. Other folks said it was possible Dillon would slide into main back duties while Williams was the change of pace and pass catcher. It turns out, if you bet on Williams doing almost everything, you were right. On the ground, Williams had 19 rush attempts, 77 yards, and 1 TD. Dillon had 5 attempts and 11 yards. In the air, Williams had 4 receptions on 5 targets for 37 yards. Dillon wasn’t even targeted. If Jones can’t play this week (and indications are he can’t), I would expect the same.

What Did We Learn about HOU?

  • Holy Consolidation, Batman – I often talk about how one of the things I like to look at is how many players got touches and targets. The smaller the number, the better for fantasy purposes. The more spread out the touches and targets, the worse. Houston this week did something I rarely see – got everything done with only 7 people touching the ball. One of which was the QB Deshaun Watson. That leaves all of the other touches in the hands of RBs David Johnson and Duke Johnson, while all receptions were handled by Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, Will Fuller, and Kenny Stills. No TEs were targeted at all. And Stills only saw 4 targets and 2 receptions of his own.

TB Bucs (5-2) – 45 –at– LV Raiders (3-3) – 20

What Did We Learn about TB?

  • A Split at RB – We saw Leonard Fournette come back and take on his normal role and, even with the Bucs scoring 45 points, neither of the RBs wound up having really fantastic games because of it. Fournette got 50 yards on the ground on 11 touches, while Jones got 34 yards on 13 touches, but added a TD. When it comes to the pass game, Fournette really took over. He had 7 targets to Jones’ 2, and 6 receptions to Jones’ 1. He also got 47 reception yards to Jones’ 2. If this is the continued workshare – a split of running duties with an overwhelming majority of the catching work going to Fournette and goalline work going to Jones – neither is going to be someone we can target anywhere but GPPs.

What Did We Learn about LV?

  • Nelson Agholor Has A Ceiling – Who knew?? Even when Agholor was the only healthy WR on his team, he still couldn’t keep the ball in his hands. So, when the Raiders were relatively healthy, they decided, since they were down 25 points, they might as well just throw it to anyone. Agholor was the main beneficiary of that, going 5 for 9 for 107 yards and a TD. Truthfully, I don’t think this game told us a lot. RB is mainly Jacobs, but a mess. Receiving is focused on Ruggs and Waller, but we see some Renfrow and, on occasion, Agholor peek their heads out. Other than that, what we see is what we get. Even when they lose 45-20

Jacksonville Jags (1-6) – 29 –at– LA Chargers (2-4) – 39

What Did We Learn about JAX?

  • Nothing – Same as ever. Very Consolidated. All the running work going to Robinson. With the other TEs injured, all the TE work went to O’Shaughnessy. And besides the 1 weird pass that went to Collin Johnson, the WR work went to the normal group of guys.

What Did We Learn about LAC?

  • What’s the Opposite of Consolidation? – Whereas the Texans got everything done with only 7 people, the Chargers used a shocking 14 people here, either getting a reception or a target. The RBs are not getting enough work, even ceding a rushing TD to Joe Reed. Apart from Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry, no one else is looking at more than 3 targets. Mike Williams is the WR2 and Jalen Guyton is the WR3. And then you have a swarm of others getting 1 and 2 targets and touches. Overall, there are very few people you can trust, and very few Chargers I’m gonna look to play any given week.