Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Recap: Immediate takeaways from Sunday's games

Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) pulls in a catch for a touchdown in the second quarter of the NFL Week 7 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Atlanta Falcons at Paycor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022. The Bengals led 28-17 at halftime. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-The Enquirer Atlanta Falcons At Cincinnati Bengals Nfl Week 7

Gus Edwards is back: The Ravens running back scored twice after missing all of last year and the first six weeks of this season.

The Bengals' offense couldn’t be stopped: Ja’Marr Chase scored two touchdowns while Tyler Boyd posted 155 yards and a touchdown in a winning effort.

Travis Etienne takes over the Jaguars backfield: Etienne gained his first 100-yard game of the season while James Robinson didn’t have a carry, making Etienne a must-start going forward.


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Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens

  • Gus Edwards: 16 carries, 66 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Nick Chubb: 16 carries, 91 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 receptions, 16 receiving yards 

The return of Gus Edwards: Edwards returned to the Ravens’ starting lineup after missing nearly a year and a half of football, and he put together a two-touchdown performance.

    • The Ravens used a ridiculous three-man rotation at running back. Edwards, Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill all received significant snaps on early downs and third downs, and each handed at least one goal-line snap.
    • Drake was ahead of Hill on the depth chart for most of the game, but Baltimore used Hill significantly in the fourth quarter.
    • The Ravens have one of the easiest remaining schedules, so they could continue a three-man rotation while still getting one or two backs double-digit carries.
    • None of the running backs caught a pass.
    • Edwards can be a fantasy starter going forward, and there is a chance Drake can remain fantasy-relevant if the matchup is right.
    • J.K. Dobbins landed on injured reserve before this week and will miss at least the next three games.

Buy low on Mark Andrews: Andrews was dealing with a knee injury all week. He played but didn’t catch a pass.

    • He missed the first two practices of the week and was limited Friday.
    • His playing time was very similar to what it had been in previous games, only with a slight decline.
    • The fact that he played at all is a good sign he will be able to recover sooner rather than later.
    • Any time an elite player has zero yards, it’s at least worth sending out a trade offer in case the fantasy manager is worried.

Monitor the David Njoku injury: Njoku suffered an ankle injury and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game.

    • He returned to playing his usual role of every-down tight end in the first half, handling 28 of 30 snaps. He had seen a decrease in snaps last week.
    • He caught seven passes for 71 yards prior to the injury and was the clear leader on the team in both receptions and receiving yards.
    • Third-string tight end Pharaoh Brown also suffered a neck injury on the same play Njoku was hurt.
    • Harrison Bryant took over as the primary tight end over the rest of the game. He was the only tight end remaining, but he most likely would have taken every snap even if Brown didn’t get hurt.
    • Bryant showed some promise as a receiver last season. His PFF grade and efficiency numbers don’t look great this season, largely because of three dropped passes.
    • It’s unlikely that Bryant will play as well as Njoku had been, but he could be worth a waiver wire target if the Njoku injury is serious. He should see the playing time and at least some of the volume.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers

  • Chuba Hubbard: 9 carries, 63 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 receptions, 10 receiving yards
  • D.J. Moore: 7 receptions, 69 yards, 1 touchdown

The Christian McCaffrey replacements: Chuba Hubbard started for Carolina, but the Panthers used a two-man rotation in a dominant performance over Tampa Bay.

    • Hubbard was the clear favorite of the two, playing 22 snaps over the first three quarters compared to 14 for D'Onta Foreman. This included Hubbard taking eight carries to four by Foreman and Hubbard taking the third-down snaps.
    • Hubbard suffered an ankle injury at the start of the fourth quarter and didn’t return.
    • Most of Foreman’s rushing production in the first three quarters came from a 60-yard run. Foreman proceeded to run 11 times in the fourth quarter for 48 yards with Hubbard out.
    • Hubbard is the clear waiver target among the two, assuming he is healthy. We expect the Panthers to be losing most games, and that seems like a role where Hubbard will play more based on Week 7.
    • Hubbard reportedly could have returned to the game if needed and was just left out as a precaution.
    • Undrafted rookie Raheem Blackshear played five offensive snaps. He lined up as a wide receiver on four of them and took one snap in the backfield.

The Robbie Anderson replacement: The Panthers inserted Terrace Marshall Jr. directly into the starting lineup, having Marshall fully take Anderson’s role in the offense.

    • Marshall caught two of three passes thrown his way for 31 yards, which was good enough to be second on the team in receiving yards.
    • Laviska Shenault returned to the Panthers as their fourth wide receiver. He had played only 15 snaps over two games this season due to injury prior to the game.
    • Shenault played two snaps over Marshall in 12 personnel.
    • Marshall was also off the field in 13 personnel, which were all run plays. He was on the field for every other offensive play.
    • There is a chance Shenault could be more involved as the season progresses if he can stay healthy, which could be from Anderson on the outside but also potentially from Shi Smith in the slot.
    • Marshall is a waiver wire target in deeper leagues where all of the league’s starting receivers are on rosters. It would require both the passing game to improve and for Marshall to live up to his draft pick for him to be considered for starting lineups.

Monitor the Russell Gage injury: Gage suffered a hamstring injury early in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.

    • He caught four passes for 39 yards prior to the injury, while the top two wide receivers dominated in targets.
    • He was the clear No. 3 receiver with Julio Jones out with a knee injury.
    • Scotty Miller took over as the third wide receiver for the rest of the game.
    • It’s been difficult to trust the Buccaneers' third receiver with how bad the offense has been. Either Gage or Jones is worth considering if another top-four wide receiver on the team is injured.

Add Rachaad White: The rookie running back led the Buccaneers in rushing yards and saw a career-high in percentage of offensive snaps despite the poor game script.

    • White gained a career-high 24 yards on six carries and also caught an eight-yard pass.
    • White had played in 22.7% of snaps so far this season while the Buccaneers were behind compared to 33.6% when Tampa Bay had a lead.
    • All of his playing time against the Panthers came while the game was tied or Tampa Bay was behind.
    • Leonard Fournette has finished at 3.0 yards per carry or lower in five of his past six games.
    • There is a chance White will continue to earn more playing time as the season progresses, and at some point become the starter.


Atlanta Falcons @ Cincinnati Bengals

Add Tyler Allgeier: The rookie running back gained 50 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown despite the game script working against Atlanta.

    • The negative game script prevented Caleb Huntley from getting involved in the offense but didn’t stop Allgeier from gaining double-digit carries for the third straight game.
    • This was his third straight contest averaging under 3.5 yards per carry.
    • Damien Williams and Cordarrelle Patterson are both on injured reserve, but each could return to action soon.
    • Allgeier can be trusted in the short term due to volume alone, but once one of those backs is healthy, that volume will likely disappear quickly.

Buy low on Drake London: The first-round pick caught his only target for nine yards.

    • This was his fourth straight game under 50 receiving yards after three straight games above 50 to start his career.
    • He remains the only clear starter at wide receiver for the team and was the leader in routes run.
    • The Falcons won’t be able to keep using this game script to come back from behind, which will lead to more passing eventually.
    • When they pass more, London should be leading the team in targets.
    • Atlanta has the easiest remaining schedule for wide receivers.

Sell high on Tyler Boyd: Boyd put together his best game of the season and one of the best of his career, a performance that will be difficult to repeat.

    • He took advantage of the matchup against Atlanta. Primary slot cornerback Dee Alford missed the game with a hamstring injury, Casey Hayward landed on injured reserve last week and A.J. Terrell left the Week 7 game early with a hamstring injury.
    • Boyd’s role in the offense remains consistent as long as the Bengals’ receivers are healthy.
    • He saw increased snaps in two games recently due to Tee Higgins’ ankle injury, but Higgins was a full participant in the past two practices and was back to his normal role in Week 7.
    • The Bengals have a particularly difficult schedule for wide receivers during the fantasy playoffs.


Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys

Buy low on Jamaal Williams: The Lions didn’t have D’Andre Swift again, but Williams could take on a role similar to his current one once Swift is back.

    • Williams ran the ball 15 times for 79 yards.
    • Craig Reynolds continued to play part of the role that Swift had earlier in the season, taking third downs and two-minute drills.
    • Justin Jackson took the other part of Swift’s role, seeing significant time on early downs.
    • Williams' percentage of offensive snaps hasn’t changed as much as many thought from before Swift’s injury to after. He’s gained double-digit carries every game this season, and that will likely carry on with or without Swift.
    • Several fantasy managers will probably be looking to release Williams with Swift likely back next week. He could probably be added for next to nothing.

Monitor the Amon-Ra St. Brown injury: St. Brown suffered a concussion after his first catch, went to the locker room and was ruled out for the game not long after.

    • The Lions were also without D.J. Chark, who landed on injured reserve on Saturday with a left ankle injury. He missed the previous two games and will miss at least the next three.
    • Josh Reynolds is third on the Lions' depth chart but has been first or second for most of the season due to injuries, and that will continue for at least these next three games.
    • Kalif Raymond went from being the third receiver in three-receiver sets coming into today to having an every-down role for Detroit once St. Brown left the game.
    • Raymond led the Lions in receiving with five receptions for 75 yards. No other receiver had more than 15 yards.
    • Tom Kennedy became the third receiver after the injury.
    • It’s best to avoid these wide receivers not named St. Brown in the majority of league formats.

Monitor the health of Dalton Schultz: Schultz had missed most of the last month due to a knee injury but played a majority of snaps against Detroit.

    • Schultz had missed two full games and a majority of a third in the past month.
    • He was a full participant in practice all week.
    • The Cowboys rotated him out of the game at times throughout, typically in three-wide receiver sets. This included missing snaps on all three downs.
    • Schultz missed a little bit of time early in the game when he appeared to re-aggravate the injury.
    • He caught all five passes thrown his way for 49 yards.
    • He’s a buy-low candidate, as he could see an even bigger role once he gets closer to 100%.
    • Peyton Hendershot, one of his backups, caught a touchdown — a play that could have gone to Schultz if he was 100%.
    • The Cowboys have the easiest remaining schedule for tight ends, including some favorable matchups in the fantasy playoffs.


New York Giants @ Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Travis Etienne: 14 carries, 114 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 reception, 5 receiving yards
  • Saquon Barkley: 24 carries, 110 yards, 4 receptions, 25 receiving yards 

The Jaguars' new starting running back: Travis Etienne started for the second straight week and dominated the backfield usage for the first time.

    • James Robinson had maintained a clear slight majority of snaps on early downs over the first four weeks of the season. That shifted to Etienne barely seeing a majority last week.
    • Etienne dominated early downs in a way that no Jaguars back has this season.
    • The backfield remained similar in other situations. Etienne remained the running back in clear passing situations, while Robinson had a slight advantage in short-yardage situations.
    • It’s worth monitoring the situation for another week or two before jumping to too big of conclusions, as there is a chance there is some health/injury reason for the dramatic change in playing time.
    • Etienne can probably be trusted in starting lineups regardless, as he was trending in the direction of seeing more touches and played well with them.
    • If this usage keeps up next week and past the trade deadline, then Robinson can be released in leagues with lighter benches, but he would remain a clear handcuff.

Add Wan’Dale Robinson: The Giants rookie receiver built on a strong game last week to lead the team’s receivers in targets and receptions against the Jaguars.

    • He caught six passes for 50 yards.
    • Robinson was given a sharp increase in offensive snaps, almost completely overtaking the slot receiver role from Richie James Jr.
    • He played 46-of-49 snaps in 11 personnel, 7-of-24 in 12 personnel and 0-of-3 in 21 personnel.
    • Robinson has probably reached the ceiling for his snap rate unless he can overtake one of the outside wide receivers in 12 personnel.
    • His 27.5% targets per route run mark is by far the highest on the Giants and ranks among the top 10 for all wide receivers with at least 50 routes this season.

Monitor the Daniel Bellinger injury: Bellinger suffered an eye injury that quickly led to swelling and bleeding. He was carted to the locker room and was soon after sent to the hospital.

    • Bellinger was a waiver target heading into the week because he played on 100% of the Giants’ third downs for the first time all season.
    • Tanner Hudson was back to being the third-down tight end for New York in this game prior to the injury. That destroyed any upside Bellinger had, regardless of the injury.
    • Hudson took Bellinger’s spot in two-tight end sets, while Chris Myarick took over as the early-down tight end in one-tight end sets.
    • This is a situation to avoid with or without the injury unless Bellinger can take Hudson’s job as the third-down tight end again.

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans

The return of Jonathan Taylor: The former All-Pro returned to the Colts’ starting lineup after missing the past two games, but he didn’t see his usual role on offense.

    • The reason for his decreased playing time was only partially due to his return from injury. The Colts ran two-minute drives in both halves, and Nyheim Hines took all of the snaps in each one.
    • Hines had been the primary running back during two-minute drills in previous games.
    • The Colts' run-pass ratio wasn’t as high as it had been in previous games early on, and it remained pass-heavy late in the game due to the game script.
    • Taylor achieved a career-high seven catches in the passing game. It’s possible we see him get fewer carries but more catches going forward, which, if anything, could help him in PPR leagues.
    • This was the worst matchup remaining on the schedule for the Colts’ running backs. Taylor could be considered a buy-low candidate.

Add Parris Campbell: Campbell put up his second straight great game, already making 2022 the best season of his career.

    • His playing time has increased in recent weeks, in part due to Ashton Dulin landing on injured reserve.
    • He has caught 17 passes on 20 targets for 127 yards and two touchdowns over the past two weeks.
    • The Colts have been a very pass-heavy team in that time, but they might choose to continue that strategy.
    • Campbell’s never had a great opportunity due to injury and is still only 25 years old. It’s not unheard of for a wide receiver to take a few years to break out.
    • There is a chance his role could decrease if Alec Pierce earns more time or Dulin returns, but it’s worth adding him just in case this breakout continues.

Don’t add Austin Hooper: The Titans tight end might seem tempting after catching three passes for 56 yards, doubling his season total in receiving yards, but it’s unlikely this is a sign of things to come.

    • His playing time actually declined with rookie Chigoziem Okonkwo and veteran Kevin Rader taking more of the early-down work, leaving Hooper mostly as a third-down tight end.
    • Hooper played 11-of-19 snaps out of 11 personnel, 10-of-12 snaps in 13 personnel where he’s primarily a run-blocker and 4-of-25 in 12 or 21 personnel.
    • The Titans were without their rookie wide receivers in this game, although both will ideally be back soon.
    • He could have another good game here and there, but his playing time is so limited that these games will be rare.


Green Bay Packers @ Washington Commanders

  • Aaron Jones: 8 carries, 23 yards, 9 receptions, 53 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
  • Terry McLaurin: 5 receptions, 73 yards, 1 touchdown

Monitor the health of the Packers’ wide receivers: The Packers lost Randall Cobb to injured reserve and Christian Watson was inactive. Allen Lazard left the game with a shoulder injury and didn’t return.

    • Sammy Watkins returned from injured reserve to give the Packers some support.
    • Romeo Doubs kept his role as an every-down wide receiver, with Watkins being restricted to snaps in 11 personnel to start the game.
    • Both Amari Rodgers and seventh-round rookie Samori Toure were also getting rotated in for three-receiver sets.
    • Watkins took over in two-wide receiver sets after the Lazard injury, while Rodgers and Toure split the snaps in three-receiver sets.
    • Doubs remains someone to hold onto in fantasy football, but his chemistry with Aaron Rodgers needs to improve before he can be in fantasy starting lineups.
    • Several wide receivers will probably be linked to Green Bay before the trade deadline. Anyone traded to the Packers will have a chance to be their No. 1 receiver.

Cut A.J. Dillon in lighter leagues: His playing time has declined in recent weeks, and he ran only four times for 15 yards against the Commanders.

    • His quality of play has declined significantly from last season, resulting in his decreased playing time.
    • The Packers have the second-worst remaining schedule for running backs.
    • Their schedule also gets more difficult in general, which will mean more game scripts where Aaron Jones will be used more.
    • His quality of play should improve if the offensive line can gain some stability, but that likely won’t be enough to put him in starting lineups.
    • He remains one of the best handcuffs in the NFL, so in several league types it makes sense to keep him if other handcuffs are on rosters.

Avoid the Commanders’ running backs: The Commanders’ running back situation is getting more frustrating instead of less.

    • Brian Robinson continues to play roughly half of the early-down snaps, but his percentage isn’t rising in that area.
    • The Commanders continue to use Antonio Gibson significantly in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Robinson is playing there too, but that is a situation where Robinson was expected to dominate.
    • Gibson is also cutting a little more into J.D. McKissic’s receiving back role.
    • McKissic can be cut in most leagues.
    • Robinson can be in fantasy starting lineups in games the Commanders are expected to win.
    • Gibson should remain on fantasy rosters in case he continues to see significant snaps in every situation.

Monitor the Commanders’ injured receivers: Wide receivers Jahan Dotson and Dyami Brown and tight end Logan Thomas were all inactive with injuries.

    • Cam Sims stepped up into the third receiver spot, with Dax Milne rotating in at times.
    • Armani Rogers, Cole Turner and John Bates all rotated in at tight end, with Bates playing more of a blocking role.
    • All of these replacement players should be avoided. The injuries largely meant Washington relied on its top two wide receivers and running backs in the passing game.

New York Jets @ Denver Broncos

Monitor the Breece Hall injury: Hall was ruled out after being carted to the locker room in the second quarter with a knee injury. The injury is presumed to be serious. Coach Robert Saleh said the initial diagnosis is not good, with reports of it likely being an ACL injury.

    • Hall was the lead back for the first 25 minutes of the game, and his 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the difference in the game.
    • Michael Carter took over as the lead back, with Ty Johnson mixing in.
    • His playing time was similar to his best games from his rookie season despite being the backup for most of the first half.
    • Carter is still on fantasy rosters in roughly 70% of ESPN leagues, but he should definitely be picked up in the leagues where he is still available.
    • He ran the ball 13 times but ended up with only 29 yards against the strong Broncos run defense.
    • The Jets have a relatively easy remaining schedule for running backs, so Carter would be a must-start most weeks.

Monitor the Corey Davis injury: Davis suffered a knee injury late in the first quarter, but it isn’t expected to be serious.

    • The Jets were also without Elijah Moore for the game after he requested a trade earlier in the week.
    • This allowed Braxton Berrios to see a big boost in playing time.
    • Jeff Smith also received increased playing time, playing significantly in three-receiver sets and even some two-receiver sets while everyone was healthy.
    • Denzel Mims played just two snaps while Davis was healthy but rotated in more frequently afterward.
    • Garrett Wilson lined up 28 times out wide compared to 16 times in the slot. It was his highest percentage of snaps on the outside since Week 1.
    • It was Wilson’s first game with four catches since September.
    • There is no need to pick up any of the backups, but Wilson could become a more viable fantasy starter if he plays more snaps on the outside.

Monitor the Mike Boone injury: Boone suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter and didn’t return.

    • Melvin Gordon III started the game, as reported, and played early downs on the first two drives.
    • Latavius Murray rotated in during the third drive and saw a near-even split with Gordon on early downs throughout the rest of the game.
    • Murray took the majority of short-yardage and goal-line snaps, which led to Murray scoring the Broncos' only touchdown.
    • Boone continued to take the passing-down snaps as he had in recent weeks, with Gordon largely taking over after the injury.
    • Both Gordon and Murray can be viable in fantasy football if the Boone injury is serious. If not, this could be a frustrating backfield going forward.

Add Greg Dulcich: The Denver rookie tight end caught six of nine passes for 51 yards in the team’s loss.

    • He played in 32 of a possible 43 snaps in 11 personnel.
    • Dulcich increased his snaps in 12 personnel, playing nine snaps in that group after just three last week. That is a very positive sign for his future fantasy production.
    • At least part of his success these two weeks has been the Broncos needing to run a lot of pass plays.
    • Denver’s schedule only gets more difficult, so the team will need to keep passing in future games, too.
    • His 19.7% targets per route run is better than several other tight ends who are consistently in fantasy starting lineups.

Houston Texans @ Las Vegas Raiders

  • Josh Jacobs: 20 carries, 143 yards, 3 touchdowns, 3 receptions, 12 receiving yards
  • Davante Adams: 8 receptions, 95 yards 

Monitor the Nico Collins injury: Collins suffered a groin injury in the third quarter against the Raiders and didn’t return.

    • Collins caught all three passes thrown his way for 33 yards prior to his departure.
    • Chris Moore and Phillip Dorsett were splitting time in the third receiver spot prior to the injury. The Texans stayed in 11 personnel after the injury, leaving both constantly on the field with Brandin Cooks.
    • There were reports before the game that teams have been calling about wanting to trade for Cooks.
    • Collins would be the Texans' top wide receiver if he’s healthy and Cooks is traded.
    • He’s been the team’s best wide receiver by PFF grade and has the most receiving yards on the team despite seeing 20 fewer targets than Cooks.
    • It’s worth adding Collins now just in case Cooks is traded, and then potentially drop him in two weeks if not.

The return of Brevin Jordan: The second-year tight end returned to Houston after missing the past four weeks due to injury.

    • The Texans used a three-man rotation at tight end. O.J. Howard was the primary blocker, seeing all of the snaps in 21 personnel.
    • Jordan played all of the two tight end sets, but only 13 of 37 snaps in 11 personnel.
    • Jordan Akins was the primary tight end on third downs and led the team in receiving yards with three catches for 68 yards.
    • This is largely a situation to avoid, but Brevin Jordan would have some fantasy value if he can take the third downs back.

Monitor the health of the Raiders’ receivers: Four of the Raiders' top five receiving options were at least limited in practice this week due to various injuries.

    • This included Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller, who didn’t practice all week with a hamstring injury.
    • Foster Moreau was limited to start the week with a knee injury, but he started and saw the vast majority of offensive snaps.
    • Moreau would be worth a waiver wire target if Waller continues to miss games.
    • Hunter Renfrow popped up on the injury report on Thursday with a hip injury that prevented him from practicing.
    • He was restricted to three-wide receiver sets. He caught all three passes thrown his way for 55 yards.
    • Ideally, he sees an increase in playing time once he’s 100%. If not, he could be worth dropping in most leagues.
    • Mack Hollins was also limited all week with a heel injury, but that didn’t impact his playing time.


Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Chargers

  • Ken Walker: 23 carries, 168 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Austin Ekeler: 9 carries, 31 yards, 1 touchdown, 12 receptions, 96 yards, 1 touchdown 

Monitor the D.K. Metcalf injury: Metcalf was carted off the field with a knee injury and was quickly ruled out for the game.

    • He caught one pass for 12 yards.
    • Marquise Goodwin and D’Wayne Eskridge had both seen significant playing time in three-receiver sets prior to the injury. They played every snap in 11 personnel after the injury.
    • Goodwin took advantage of the increased playing time, catching four passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
    • The Seahawks' schedule only gets more difficult from here, making it unlikely either player will have consistent fantasy value if Metcalf’s injury is serious
    • If anything, expect the Seahawks to get even more run-heavy with Ken Walker.

Monitor the health of the Chargers' wide receivers: None of the Chargers' top three wide receivers are at 100%.

    • Josh Palmer was inactive due to a concussion.
    • DeAndre Carter, who typically plays in three-receiver sets, played in two-receiver sets with Palmer out.
    • Keenan Allen saw his first playing time since Week 1. He was used in very limited action.
    • He played 22 of the Chargers' first 25 snaps in 11 personnel and one of the first two snaps in 21 personnel. He stopped playing late in the second quarter and didn’t play in the second half.
    • Michael Bandy took over in three-receiver sets once Allen stopped playing.
    • Mike Williams suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and needed help to get to the locker room.
    • Jason Moore took over as the new third receiver once Williams left, with Bandy taking over in two-receiver sets.
    • The Chargers have a well-timed bye week next week, so there is a chance everyone is healthy by the time Los Angeles plays again.

The old Austin Ekeler is back: Ekeler’s started the season slow, but he’s been putting up big numbers in October, and the situation could only be getting better.

    • Joshua Kelley was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and will miss at least the next three weeks.
    • This allowed Ekeler to surpass 75% of offensive snaps for the first time this season, something he rarely flirted with last season.
    • The Chargers had tried to phase Sony Michel out of the offense prior to Kelley’s injury, but he’s been needed in the backup role — primarily on passing downs.
    • Isaiah Spiller made his first NFL appearance, taking four snaps over the course of five plays late in the game.
    • Ekeler has 22 catches over the past two weeks, the most for any player regardless of position.
    • There’s an argument for him to be the top player in rest of season rankings.


Kansas City Chiefs @ San Francisco 49ers

Christian McCaffrey’s first game with the 49ers: McCaffrey joined the 49ers late Thursday night, and he split playing time with Jeff Wilson in this game.

    • McCaffrey and Wilson were used pretty interchangeably throughout the game, with McCaffrey seeing all of his playing time on normal first and second downs.
    • He wasn’t necessarily used in the red zone as some reported he could be.
    • Kyle Juszczyk remained the third-down back.
    • Tyrion Davis-Price was the third-string halfback. He played three snaps in the first three quarters and then featured significantly in the last few minutes with the game out of reach.
    • We can expect McCaffrey to see a much larger majority of snaps, including likely taking third downs, by next week.
    • Wilson can be cut in all leagues. Wilson can’t be in starting lineups next week. The 49ers have a bye in Week 9, and then Elijah Mitchell should be back around Week 10.

Isiah Pacheco starts for Kansas City: Pacheco was declared the starter earlier in the day, which led to only a slight increase in snaps.

    • He largely cut into the playing time of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who also played significantly on run plays. Pacheco out-snapped Edwards-Helaire by just two.
    • Jerick McKinnon continued to see nearly all of the passing-down work, including most of the short-yardage situations.
    • McKinnon still received significant work on early downs.
    • The move to Pacheco as a starter made it harder to put any of the running backs in a fantasy starting lineup.
    • Pacheco can probably be trusted in games with a more favorable game script. The Chiefs were up by only five points early in the fourth quarter.
    • All three running backs should remain on fantasy rosters.

Only add Mecole Hardman in deep leagues: The Chiefs receiver scored three touchdowns, but he remains a clear third on the depth chart.

    • His playing time had been on the decline as the team tried to get rookie Skyy Moore more involved.
    • His 1.27 yards per route run this season are lower than you would like to see from a fantasy starter. Both starting receivers as well as Moore are notably higher.
    • Hardman’s playing time was up in this game because it was close, and the Chiefs tend to not play their rookies as much in close games.
    • Kansas City has a much easier schedule the rest of the season, which will mean more two tight end sets, and increased snaps by Moore.


Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins

  • Raheem Mostert: 16 carries, 79 yards; 4 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
  • George Pickens: 6 receptions, 61 yards, 1 touchdown

Add George Pickens: The Steelers rookie led the team's wide receivers in receiving yards and scored the team’s only touchdown.

    • He remains a clear third on the depth chart but is on the field for nearly every passing play.
    • His target share has increased this season with Kenny Pickett at quarterback, and Pickett should be the quarterback for the rest of the season.
    • There are trade rumors involving Chase Claypool. If Claypool is moved, Pickens might never leave the field, and he might even see a bigger share of the targets.

Monitor Pat Freiermuth’s health: The Steelers' second-year tight end missed Week 6 due to a concussion. He returned to action this week but didn’t play his usual role.

    • He was a full participant in practice all week.
    • He usually plays on passing downs and misses some time on rushing downs, but he was out for the clear majority of runs and missed some passing plays.
    • Ideally, Freietmuth will return to the same role he held at the beginning of the season.
    • The Steelers face the Eagles next week, and they will need to pass a lot. Assuming Freiermuth practices this week, he should remain in fantasy lineups, with fantasy managers hoping that his role increases.

The Dolphins’ third wide receiver: Trent Sherfield continues to take a stronger hold on the Dolphins' WR3 spot.

    • There were hints of Sherfield being ahead of Cedrick Wilson in the preseason despite Wilson signing a three-year, $22 million contract and Sherfield signing a deal worth one-year, $1 million.
    • The two split time as the third receiver the first two weeks of the season, but Sherfield took a hold of the job by Week 3.
    • Wilson was listed with both a rib and toe injury on the injury report leading into Week 3, so at the time, the change seemed injury-related.
    • Wilson was still on the injury report in Week 5 but was fully participating in practice.
    • He’s been off the injury report the last two weeks and has been losing more time to Sherfield rather than gaining time back.
    • There is a small chance this role will become more important if Miami trades receiving tight end Mike Gesicki, leaving more targets to go around.
    • This role would become much more important if one of the top two receivers ends up missing games at some point during the rest of the season.


 

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