Fantasy Football: QB matchups, streamer of the week, Week 7 rankings and more

2RT63KY Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

• QB Tua Tagovailoa (88.7 PFF passing grade), Miami Dolphins @ Philadelphia Eagles: Philadelphia’s defensive-interior injury cluster meshes perfectly with Tagovailoa’s elite over-the-middle passing abilities.

• QB Kirk Cousins (79.5 PFF passing grade), Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ersSan Francisco’s interior defenders present an insurmountable problem for Cousins.

• Dominate your fantasy league in 2023: For up-to-date fantasy draft rankings and projections, check out PFF’s fantasy rankings tool!

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

NFL Week 7 action is here. For fantasy football managers who passed on the elite quarterback tier, start-and-sit decisions must now be made. Below are two quarterbacks with advantageous matchups to target, two quarterbacks with difficult matchups to avoid and one streaming option possessing a top-12 finish in his range of outcomes. 

WR:CB Matchup Chart

QB Matchups to Target

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins @ Philadelphia Eagles

Tagovailoa (88.7 PFF passing grade) should remain in starting lineups against Philadelphia’s nominally strong, injury-plagued defensive interior. He is a high-ceiling QB1.

The game’s 51.5-point FanDuel over/under is the only game total over 48.5 points. 

Philadelphia’s defensive injuries.
PHI Defense Injuries Injury Week 7 Status PFF Defense Grade
CB Darius Slay Knee Likely Active 52.3 
Slot CB Avonte Maddox Pectoral Injured Reserve 61.2
S Justin Evans  Knee Injured Reserve 63.1
S Reed Blankenship Ribs Likely Inactive 77.1
S/Slot CB Sydney Brown Hamstring Likely Active 82.1
ID Jalen Carter Ankle Likely Active 91.8
CB Eli Ricks Knee Likely Inactive  57.7
CB Bradley Roby Shoulder Likely Inactive 51.7

The predicament prompted Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman to re-sign 2022 fill-in slot cornerback Josiah Scott (65.4 PFF slot-coverage grade), whose 1.73 yards allowed per slot-coverage snaps rank No. 30 among 32 NFL slot cornerbacks with at least 145 slot-coverage snaps in 2022

Slay’s potential return improves Philadelphia’s perimeter coverage, but the 32-year-old will struggle to keep pace with speedy Miami wide receivers Tyreek Hill (94.9 PFF receiving grade) and Jaylen Waddle (79.5 PFF receiving grade) on routes run through the defensive midfield. Philadelphia’s depleted safety corps offers Slay little assistance.

Tagovailoa’s passing data on throws over the middle among 32 NFL quarterbacks with at least 40 such attempts. 
NFL QB Passing Over The Middle Tua Tagovailoa
PFF Passing Grade 88.1 (No. 6)
Big-Time-Throw % 4.6% (No. 3)
aDot – Yards/Pass Att. 7.3 (No. 10) – 11.1 (No. 1)
Adjusted Completion % 85.0% (No. 5)
Past-The-Sticks Throw % 50.5% (No. 3)
Average Time To Throw 2.12 (T-No. 2)

Tagovailoa will have little issue accruing chunk gains and touchdown passes in Week 7’s Sunday Night Football showdown.

QB Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings

Purdy’s (67.7 PFF passing grade) run-after-catch offensive scheme is tailor-made to exploit Minnesota’s defensive weaknesses, giving Purdy a bounce-back opportunity following his Week 6 flop (8.7 fantasy points, tied for QB22). Purdy can be trusted to return QB1 value in Week 7. 

FanDuel implies San Francisco to score 25.5 points. 

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives San Francisco a 25.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, No. 4 on the week. Minnesota edge rusher Marcus Davenport (60.1 PFF pass-rush grade) fought through a six-week ankle sprain on his right side only to suffer a Week 6 high-ankle sprain on his left side. 

Minnesota’s defense relies on post-catch tackling to mask its coverage liabilities. Minnesota’s cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers collectively offer a 79.3% catch rate, the second-highest among NFL-team second-and-third level defenders

San Francisco's No. 1 wide receiver Deebo Samuel (79.1 PFF receiving grade, AC joint sprain) and No. 1 running back Christian McCaffrey (88.9 PFF receiving grade, oblique/ribs) are both at risk of missing time, but tight end George Kittle (69.8 PFF receiving grade) and No. 2 wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (92.1 PFF receiving grade) elite post-catch talents will suffice. 

PFF TE matchup chart gives Kittle an 11.0% receiving matchup advantage rating over Minnesota linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (65.4 PFF coverage grade), No. 3 on the week. Among 33 NFL tight ends with at least 100 receiving snaps and Kittle’s 5.5 yards after the catch per reception ties for No. 4 

PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart gives Aiyuk a good 82.6 receiving matchup advantage rating over Minnesota cornerback Akayleb Evans (68.4 PFF coverage grade). Among 82 NFL wide receivers with at least 120 receiving snaps, Aiyuk’s 16 explosive pass plays tie for No. 5.

Purdy and his elite playmakers can easily return high-end fantasy value against Minnesota in Week 7.

QB Matchups to Avoid

QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers

Minnesota No. 1 wide receiver Justin Jefferson’s (89.5 PFF receiving grade) move to injured reserve following a Week 5 hamstring strain quarterback forced Cousins (79.5 PFF passing grade) to rely on short-area passing against the Chicago Bears. Chicago’s defense returned multiple injured starters in the Week 6 lead-up but Cousin’s lackluster showing (181 passing yards, one passing touchdown and two rushing attempts for five yards lost) is primarily attributable to his offense’s limitations. Cousins is a high-floor QB2 for Week 7.

FanDuel implies Minnesota to score 18.5 points.

Cousins produced season-lows in average depth of target (aDot, 6.3) and yards per passing attempt (5.8) with Jefferson shelved. Cousins’ 41.9% past-the-sticks throwing rate is his lowest since Week 1 and bodes particularly unwell against San Francisco’s league-best safety duo. 

Among 64 NFL safeties with at least 135 coverage snaps free safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. (74.4 PFF coverage grade) ranks No. 1 in catch rate allowed (22.2%), yards allowed per coverage snap (0.03) and explosive pass plays allowed rate (0.0%). Strong safety Talanoa Hufanga (61.9 PFF coverage grade) impressively tails him with a 62.5% catch rate allowed (tied for No. 24), 0.17 yards allowed per coverage snap (No. 3) and 0.9% explosive pass plays allowed rate (tied for No. 18). Cousins’ explosive pass play odds are already kneecapped by Jefferson’s absence and Gipson and Hufanga’s presence. His aforementioned reticence to take deep shots further complicates things in this regard.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Minnesota a -40.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, the third-worst on the week. Minnesota’s offensive line lost left guard Ezra Cleveland to a Week 6 midfoot injury. San Francisco’s four-man-deep interior defender rotation’s 90.5 PFF pass-rush grade ranks No. 1 among NFL interior defender corps by a 10.0-point margin. The unit ranks No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 respectively in pass-rush win rate (32.8%), quarterback pressure rate (19.9%) and pass-rush productivity (11.8).

Among 32 NFL quarterbacks with at least 40 pressured dropbacks, Cousins’ 1.5% big-time-throw rate ranks No. 26 and both his 4.8% turnover-worthy play rate and 60.4% adjusted completion rate rank No. 18 or worse.

Cousins is not a single-quarterback-league starter this week.

QB Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Mayfield (71.4 PFF passing grade) has produced two top-13 finishes in five games played, including a QB7-worthy 23.9 fantasy football points in Week 4. NFL Week 7’s six-teams-bye week ties Week 13 for the seasonal high, but Mayfield can only be ranked as a low-end QB2 against Atlanta’s clock-killing offense and elite perimeter cornerback duo. 

The game’s 38.5-point FanDuel over/under is the week’s second-lowest total. 

Three-of-six NFL quarterbacks to face Atlanta have produced single-game season-low passing sums. 

Atlanta’s 69.5 offensive plays per game tie for the eighth-most among NFL teams and opponents average just 62.2 offensive plays per game against them, the third-fewest. Atlanta’s bulldozing offensive line (66.7 PFF run-blocking grade, No. 8 among NFL teams) helps Atlanta’s voluminous rushing offense (74.9 PFF rushing grade, 178 rushing attempts, No. 7 among NFL teams) maintain moderate chain-moving efficiency (24.7% rushing first-down gained and/or touchdown scored, No. 15 among NFL teams) while draining the game clock. 

Atlanta No. 1 cornerback Jeff Okudah (62.5 PFF perimeter-coverage grade) recovered well from his early-season foot injury. Among 69 NFL perimeter cornerbacks with at least 90 perimeter-coverage snaps his 33.3% catch rate ranks No. 3 and his 0.56 yards allowed per coverage snap rank No. 5. No. 2 cornerback A.J. Terrell’s (62.0 PFF perimeter-coverage grade) 0.84 yards allowed per coverage snap ranks No. 18 and his 1.7% explosive pass plays allowed rate ranks No. 17. 

Mayfield lacks the play-making ability (2.3% big-time-throw rate, tied for No. 29 among 32 NFL quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks) and accuracy (73.8% adjusted completion rate, No. 21) to overcome his Week 7 obstacles. He is not startable in Week 7.

Streamer of the Week

QB Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Carr’s (65.2 PFF passing grade) Week 3 AC joint sprain responded positively to its multi-week rehabilitation process — his improved arm strength is evident in his Weeks 5 and 6 aDot and past-the-sticks throwing rate. Jacksonville’s pass defense struggles to stymie downfield wide receivers and offer middling resistance to pass-catching running backs. 

Carr’s aDot and past-the-sticks throwing rate:
Derek Carr Passing  Big-Time-Throw % Average Depth of Target Past-The-Sticks Throwing %
Week 1 5.9% 12.3 48.5%
Week 2 5.3% 9.6 47.2%
Week 3 5.6% 8.4 38.9%
Week 4 0.0% 7.4 27.0%
Week 5 11.5% 9.5 46.2%
Week 6 3.7% 10.9 28.0

New Orleans wide receivers Chris Olave (79.7 PFF receiving grade) and Rashid Shaheed’s (68.6 PFF receiving grade) respective 15.1 and 18.4-yard aDots both rank top eight among 65 NFL wide receivers with at least 150 receiving snaps. Their 33.3% and 48.0% deep-target rates tie for No. 5 and rank No. 1, respectively.

Both Olave (91.3 PFF receiving grade on 15-plus yard targets) and Shaheed (91.1 PFF receiving grade on 15-plus yard targets) boast better than 90.0 PFF receiving grades on 15-plus yard targets.

New Orleans No. 1 running back Alvin Kamara’s (72.6 PFF receiving grade) 25 targets and 35.7% target rate in Weeks 4-6 rank No. 1 among 33 NFL running backs with at least 40 receiving snaps

Jacksonville’s downfield-wide receiver and running back coverage data among NFL teams:
NFL Coverage vs. Downfield WRs & RBs JAX 15+-Yd Target WR Coverage JAX RB Coverage 
PFF Coverage Grade 62.4 (No. 2) 80.7 (No. 9)
Catch % Allowed 44.4% (No. 18) 84.8 (No. 20)
Yards Allowed per Coverage Snap 13.83 (No. 25) 5.28 (No. 18)
15+-Yard Pass Plays Allowed % 41.7% (No. 13) 6.5% (No. 15)

Carr is a Week 7 streaming QB1.


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