Fantasy News & Analysis

Ian Hartitz’s Week 7 fantasy football fallouts: Nullified touchdowns, missed big plays and more

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans had the biggest miss of the week when he let a potential 64-yard score bounce right off his hands and fall incomplete.
  • Falcons TE Kyle Pitts had a pair of goal-line opportunities for touchdowns, but couldn’t do more than draw a defensive pass interference penalty before getting tackled at the one-inch line.
  • Bengals WR Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd were both tackled just short of the goal line and had to watch another teammate get to push the ball into the end zone.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Week 7 has come and gone. 14 NFL games brought joy, laughs and tears; today we’ll focus on the latter sadness and break down just how close some came to achieving fantasy football glory.

What follows is a breakdown on all the “Sheesh” moments from Week 7. I’ve watched every game and used PFF’s backend tools to help determine instances when:

  • Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass
  • Pass-catchers did receive an accurate pass that should have resulted in a score or big gain, but the ball was dropped
  • Ball carriers managed to get all the way to the one-yard line, but didn’t score
  • Players scored or picked up big yardage, but the play was nullified by penalty
  • Other random shit happened that tilted fantasy football managers of all shapes and sizes

But first, the single sheeshiest play of Week 7 goes to …

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike EvansTom Brady and company have been desperately trying to get back on track all season long. They nearly did so just 75 seconds into Week 7 when TB12 laid out a b-e-a-utiful deep ball to a wide-open Mike Evans, only for the pass to be bobbled and ultimately dropped. There quite literally wasn’t a defender within 10 yards of Evans at the catch point. His reaction to the missed 64-yard touchdown says it all.

Evans later had a potential 25-yard gain slip through his outstretched fingertips. Never has a 9-96-0 performance been more disappointing.


Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass

The following pass-catchers should have had a much bigger day at the office, but unfortunately their respective quarterbacks weren’t quite up to the task for at least a moment. The following handful of players had to deal with some subjectively shitty near misses:

Trevor Lawrence unfortunately had three such examples this week:

  1. RB James Robinson beat Giants LB Jaylon Smith downfield on a wheel route on what could have been a 14-yard touchdown, but the pass sailed long and incomplete.
  2. WR Zay Jones was even more wide open for a potential 17-yard score; once again the 2021 NFL Draft’s No. 1 overall pick simply wasn’t able to deliver a catchable pass.
  3. WR Christian Kirk broke open over the middle of the field for what would have been at least 25 yards if not much more depending on the YAC; regardless Lawrence had entirely too much pressure in his face and sailed the pass long

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett had a step over the middle of the field on what could have been a 23-yard score with a perfect pass. Too bad Geno Smith had a rare miss and left the ball on the inside, allowing the defender to catch up and force the incompletion.

Chargers TE Gerald Everett was wide open in the end zone from just five yards out, but pressure caused Justin Herbert‘s target to sail long and incomplete. You can probably guess which member of the offense wound up finding the end zone later on the drive.


Big-time drops. You hate to see it

Three drops stood out this week as key missed opportunities to either score a touchdown or at least pick up a huge chunk gain.

On the one hand, Jaguars WR Zay Jones strayed just a bit too far into the back of the end zone and would have been out of bounds had he caught a potential 50-yard hail mary before halftime. On the other hand, Trevor Lawrence’s heave literally hit Jones in the chest. Slow-motion replay really has a way of driving a sheesh dagger that much deeper into a fantasy manager’s chest.

Saints WR Tre’Quan Smith had a potential seven-yard touchdown bounce right off his hands and fall incomplete during the Saints’ Thursday night loss to the Cardinals. There were defenders nearby who made his job more difficult, but by law letting a pass hit both hands and fall incomplete warrants a sheesh.

Packers WR Amari Rodgers was officially charged with a drop on a deep downfield target that would have been good for at least a 30 yard gain, if not a 53-yard touchdown had he managed to not fall down. Another near miss from a passing game looking for any sort of spark at this point.


Touchdown! Wait, why is everyone walking back to the line of scrimmage

Penalties are obviously called for a reason, but there isn’t a more chaotic few seconds in the minds of fantasy managers between their player scoring a touchdown on a play with a penalty and the foul being announced.

Browns WR Amari Cooper nearly gave the Browns a late fourth-quarter lead after catching a 34-yard touchdown pass. The problem: Cooper was (rightfully) called for offensive pass interference when he pushed off on Marcus Peters. Always a shame when a good ball goes to sheesh.

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce scored a 14-yard touchdown, unfortunately the play was nullified on offsetting offsides//illegal hands to the face penalties. Don’t worry: Kelce still leads the NFL with seven receiving touchdowns this season.

Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster almost had himself a two-touchdown day; too bad his six-yard score was nullified for a (correctly called) illegal block below the waist on Nick Bosa. To be fair to RB Jerick McKinnon: Protecting Patrick Mahomes at all costs isn’t the worst idea in the world.

The Packers defense nearly had a second touchdown after Rasul Douglas picked up a Taylor Heinicke fumble and took it 62 yards back the other way to the house. However, a (rather iffy) illegal contact penalty brought the ball all the way back into possession of the Commanders.


So close, yet so far away

Not the best afternoon for the Falcons passing game, especially TE Kyle Pitts. First, the Falcons actually ran a well-designed delay pass to Pitts from the 2-yard line, but he was basically tackled by the out-of-play defensive lineman and had to settle for a penalty. The next play was even more sheeshy, as Pitts came down with the end zone target; the problem was that he bobbled the ball for just a second and didn't maintain possession while he was over the plane. Very similar to Darnell Mooney‘s missed game-winning score from Week 6's Thursday night loss to the Commanders.

Jaguars RB Travis Etienne received a true workhorse role for the first time this season in Week 7.  His counting numbers would have been even bigger had he not fumbled away a potential 17-yard score. It’s not a given that Etienne would have scored on the play, but he was one-on-one in the open field with just one man to beat from the 5-yard line. Alas, that one man made a helluva play and got the Giants the ball back.

Jaguars WR Christian Kirk was one yard away from winning the football game when he was stopped at the goal line upon catching a laser from Trevor Lawrence on the final play of the game. Credit to Kirk for making the contested catch in the first place; just realize it would have been a lot cooler for his fantasy managers if he had found a way to muscle into the end zone.


Unrealized air yards are a helluva drug

PFF’s Josh Hermsmeyer breaks down the week’s top buy-low candidates with his handy-dandy air yards model; don’t be surprised if a couple of Broncos and/or Jaguars wide receivers are featured ahead of Week 8. The following eight players had at least 60 unrealized air yards in Week 7, meaning they had a ton of downfield opportunities, but failed to capitalize on them for one reason or another:


Other sheeshes

There were a number of other near misses throughout Week 7 that were tougher to fully blame one particular party, but that doesn’t make the near-miss result any less sheeshful for the fantasy managers and fans at hand to deal with.

Good ball, no dice: Ravens TE Josh Oliver had both hands on an end zone target from five yards out but couldn’t hold on. … Panthers WR Terrace Marshall failed to corral a lovely potential 38-yard gain from P.J. Walker while going to the ground. … … Broncos WR Courtland Sutton was fighting with ace Jets CB Sauce Gardner on fourth and 3 with just two minutes remaining on a potential game-tying 25-yard score. Ultimately, the pass fell incomplete and there was no flag despite all sorts of contact from both players. … 49ers RB Jeff Wilson could have caught a 15-yard touchdown, but he seemingly lost the ball in the sun and couldn’t come down with the well-thrown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo. … Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki let a possible eight-yard touchdown bang off his facemask, mostly because he wasn’t able to get both hands up due to the defender’s (uncalled) interference. Don’t worry Dolphins fans: Tua Tagovailoa hooked up with Raheem Mostert for a score on the very next play. Unfortunately, Mostert didn’t manage to hang on to what could have been a five-yard touchdown later after he was blasted by Minkah Fitzpatrick at the catch point. … Cardinals WR Rondale Moore received a pearl of a fade from Kyler Murray from 10 yards out; too bad the Cardinals' pint-sized slot receiver committed offensive pass interference and bobbled the ball before sustaining position out of bounds.. … Saints WR Chris Olave had two misses that would have netted about 40 combined yards. The ball was in his hands on both occasions before a big hit jarred it out. Not necessarily drops, but absolutely sheeshes. … Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz received an end zone target from 10 yards out and was open enough for the defender to panic and commit a pass interference penalty. That said: It sure would have been a lot cooler if Schultz actually had a reasonable chance to come away with the touchdown. … Texans QB Davis Mills lofted a rather pretty end zone shot to TE Brevin Jordan from 14 yards out; the problem was that Jordan didn't manage to keep both feet inbounds despite completing the catch. … Insult was added to injury when Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf couldn’t quite maintain possession of a well-thrown ball from Geno Smith that would have either been a 17-yard gain down to the 1-yard line or potentially an 18-yard score. Alas: Sheesh.

Not the worst throw, but also not the best: Ravens TE Mark Andrews was open down the seam and drew a penalty. Too bad the pressure at hand forced Lamar Jackson into an overthrow on what could have been a 22-yard score with a perfect pass. … Titans TE Geoff Swaim created just enough separation to earn an end-zone target from Ryan Tannehill, but the potential 13-yard score was just a bit too wide and fell incomplete. … Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin had a long ball land on his fingertips that would have been an incredible diving catch good for 30 yards, but alas, the pass fell harmlessly to the turf incomplete. …. … Broncos WR KJ Hamler was overthrown long down the sideline for what would have been a solid 30-yard gain. … Saints WR Marquez Callaway displayed some nifty route running to get wide open deep late in the game before being overthrown. A completion would have netted a solid 40 yards. … Broncos RB Melvin Gordon got a step on his defender when running a wheel from the 40-yard line. A decent throw would have been good for 20 yards. Perhaps a perfect throw and some YAC leads to a touchdown. Actual result: Overthrow, incomplete. … Steelers WR Diontae Johnson created some separation (as usual) down the sideline on what could have been a solid 30-yard gain; too bad Kenny Pickett threw an uncatchable pass out of bounds. … Patriots WR Tyquan Thornton had a couple steps of separation deep down the sideline, but an erratic Mac Jones sailed the potential 30-yard chunk long and the pass fell incomplete.

Just short. Sheesh: Note that sequences where a player was downed just short of the goal line, but later went on to score the touchdown themself on the same drive, aren’t listed:

  • Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram was originally ruled in the end zone on a 12-yard score before replay showed that he was actually down just short of the goal line.
  • Saints QB Andy Dalton nearly had a three-yard scramble for a touchdown but was tackled just short. He threw a touchdown to TE Juwan Johnson on the next play.
  • Ravens WR Rashod Bateman nearly had himself a five-yard touchdown catch; too bad he was down just short of the goal line, setting up a short touchdown plunge by Gus Edwards.
  • Bengals WR Tyler Boyd nearly had a second touchdown on the afternoon; instead he gained 14 yards and was forced out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
  • Falcons TE Kyle Pitts’ aforementioned sheeshy afternoon included a one-yard catch down to the one-inch line that wasn’t overturned even after Atlanta challenged the spot.
  • Bengals WR Tee Higgins reached out with all his length to get his way into the end zone; ultimately it was a 22-yard gain instead of a 23-yard touchdown.
  • Jaguars WR Christian Kirk‘s aforementioned near-game-winning 17-yard touchdown was ruled down at the 1-yard line.
  • Lions TE Brock Wright took a screen down to the 1-yard line before Micah Parsons managed to track him down just short.
  • Lions RB Jamaal Williams got a chance to punch the ball into the end zone on the very next play, but was not only unsuccessful: He fumbled and gave the ball back to the Cowboys.
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