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Key NFL Week 7 matchups to leverage in fantasy football start/sit decisions

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) runs out of the pocket during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Football is a game of matchups. There is a saying in fantasy football to “start your studs,” but we really want to rely on the players who will score the most fantasy points. Talent plays a large factor in which players score the most, but matchups also heavily contribute.

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Digging deep into the PFF database, here are four cases where the combination of how the two teams play or use their players will lead to bigger games by the offenses involved.

Joe Burrow is ready to compete for the division

The second-year quarterback has stepped up in a major way this season, partially because of the help around him. Ja’Marr Chase is the early favorite for offensive rookie of the year and is the most obvious boost to the Bengals' passing game, but some players on the offensive line have also stepped up. Former first-round pick Jonah Williams is having the best season of his career at left tackle, while veteran left guard Quinton Spain has his highest PFF season grade since 2016.

Every quarterback plays better without pressure, but that has been even more extreme with Burrow this season. He has graded out at an elite level without pressure, completing over 75% of his passes for 9.4 yards per attempt. When under pressure, his accuracy drops substantially and he takes sacks too often. 

Luckily, he faces a Ravens defense that has a below-average pass rush. Veterans Calais Campbell and Justin Houston are the only main Baltimore pass-rushers with PFF pass-rush grades above 70.0. Both Campbell and Houston are playing well for their ages — 35 and 32, respectively — but they're still several years removed from their prime.

With the Bengals offense playing better and less pass-rush on the way than many fans might realize, Burrow should play well and put up plenty of fantasy points.

Related content for you: Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings & Tiers via Dwain McFarland

James Conner should break big runs early and often

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