Week 7 of the 2021 NFL Season kicked off on National Tight End Day, and more than a few prominent tight ends made the most of the occasion.
In the early window, the Tennessee Titans dominated the Kansas City Chiefs, all while Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals blew out Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in an intense AFC North game that could mark the start of a decade-long rivalry.
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- Snaps include plays called back due to penalties like offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
- Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
- Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.
- Ja’Marr Chase: 8 receptions, 201 yards, 1 TD (5 explosive plays)
- C.J. Uzomah: 3 receptions, 91 yards, 2 TD (16.7 aDOT)
|Cincinnati Bengals||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Baltimore Ravens||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Add Rashod Bateman: The Ravens rookie receiver should have been added last week after tying for the team lead in targets. This week Baltimore basically only threw to three players while the game was close and he was one of them. He tied for the team lead in receiving yards with 80. It’s no sure thing that he will continue to see this much playing time and targets once Sammy Watkins returns, but he has too much upside to not put him on your roster.
Cut Ty’Son Williams: The Ravens didn’t have Latavius Murray today, which led to Williams being active. The second-year back’s odds of being fantasy relevant already took a hit earlier in the week when Le’Veon Bell was taken off the practice squad for good to stay on the active roster. It took a further hit when he was the clear third-option among the backs today, finishing last in snaps, carries and seeing less than a third of the routes run. It’s hard to trust any Ravens running back at this point, but Williams is clearly the odd man out.
Add C.J. Uzomah: The Bengals tight end has scored five touchdowns in the last four games. It can be hard to trust tight ends who score a lot of touchdowns on a few targets, but one advantage Uzomah has is that he's always on the field and almost always running a route. This should give him a better chance of sustaining this than other tight ends who have seen really good individual weeks out of nowhere.
Buy low on Joe Mixon: Samaje Perine had more fantasy points than Mixon, and their usage looked nearly identical, but that largely had to do with the Bengals' large lead. Mixon still isn’t seeing the third-down work, but he was dominating first and second down snaps for three quarters. Perine just saw a lot of work in the fourth quarter when they had a double-digit lead, including a 46-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 24 points.
- Terry McLaurin: 7 receptions, 122 yards, 1 TD (4-for-5 on contested targets)
- Davante Adams: 6 receptions, 76 yards, 1 TD (3 explosive plays)
|Washington Football Team||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Green Bay Packers||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Equanimeous St. Brown||12||6||1||1|
Only add Allen Lazard if you need a WR next week: Lazard scored a touchdown in his second straight game while putting up his best numbers of the season. He caught five passes for 60 yards. The only problem for him going forward is that Marquez Valdes-Scantling is eligible to return from injured reserve and could be coming back soon. He will limit Lazard’s pass routes when he’s back.
The Packers have a short week and are facing the Cardinals, making it less likely Valdes-Scantling is back for that matchup. Arizona is among the league leaders in fantasy points against to wide receivers, making him a solid option for Week 8.
Monitor the health of Antonio Gibson: The second-year back spent all week dealing with a shin injury and was questionable coming into the game. He saw his normal usage for the majority of the game but was never able to break a play for more than 6 yards. He ended up not playing over the last 17 minutes of the game.
They were in a clear passing situation while playing from behind, which is usually J.D. McKissic’s time to play anyway. There is also a chance Gibson’s health played into his lack of playing time late in the game, leading McKissic to overtake him in offensive snaps.
Monitor the health of Dyami Brown: The third-round rookie suffered a knee injury and didn’t end up returning to this game. This should have been a good opportunity for him, as Washington didn’t have Curtis Samuel or Cam Sims. This is largely a situation to avoid due to the rough strength of schedule for their wide receivers. The more these wide receivers are hurting, the more fantasy managers can rely on Washington’s other skill players.
- Damien Harris: 14 carries, 106 yards, 2 TD, (50% first down/touchdown rate); 2 receptions, 7 receiving yards
- Brandon Bolden: 6 receptions, 79 yards, 1 TD, (5.64 YPRR); 2 carries, 0 rushing yards
|New York Jets||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|New England Patriots||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Monitor the Jonnu Smith injury: The fifth-year tight end has somewhat underwhelmed this season, but New England made a very clear point of getting him the ball today. He was targeted on five of his eight routes run before leaving the game with a shoulder injury and not returning. He had played more snaps than Hunter Henry before going down.
If the injury is not serious, Smith becomes a waiver wire target for leagues in which he is still available. This could also hurt the fantasy value of Henry, who scored a touchdown but saw fewer targets despite playing the whole game. If the injury is serious, Henry would be a top-10 tight end rest of the season.
Don’t add J.J. Taylor: The Patriots running back gained 21 yards on nine carries and scored two touchdowns. Almost all of his work came in garbage time, however, as he played six offensive snaps over the first three quarters. The Patriots used backups at the end of the game, which skews the snap counts, and the majority of those plays were Taylor rush attempts. Rhamondre Stevenson was a surprise inactive in this game, so he also can be cut in leagues where he was added.
Monitor the Zach Wilson injury: The 2021 No. 2 overall pick suffered a knee injury and didn’t return to the game. Mike White took over, and his raw numbers looked okay, in part because he loved throwing to the running backs. Michael Carter and Ty Johnson each had 65 receiving yards or more, while no wide receiver or tight end topped 50 yards.
If this is a serious injury, White can be left on the waiver wire outside of superflex leagues. This could be a boost to the fantasy value of the running backs while hurting the wide receivers.
- A.J. Brown: 8 receptions, 133 yards, 1 TD (36.0% threat rate)
- Derrick Henry: 29 carries, 86 yards, (69 yards after contact), 2 receptions, 16 yards, 1 for 1 passing for 5 yards, 1 passing TD
|Kansas City Chiefs||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Tennessee Titans||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Monitor Julio Jones‘ health: Jones was limited all week with the hamstring injury that kept him out earlier in the season. He played today but rotated in and out, seeing just over 50% of the offensive snaps in the first half. The Titans had a big lead at halftime, so he barely played in the final two quarters. A.J. Brown also didn’t play as much as usual, particularly in the second half. Better days are ahead for Jones if he can better recover from the hamstring injury.
Buy low on Darrel Williams: Williams gained 20 yards on five carries and notched an additional 30 yards on three catches. The reason for his poor numbers was entirely related to the game script. Kansas City ran only 17 plays in the first half, and by that point, they were down 27-0. The Chiefs might not return to the team they were last year, but they should have better offensive outputs than this. When that happens, Williams' numbers will look a lot better.
Don’t add Byron Pringle: The Chiefs' fourth wide receiver led the team in receiving yards (73), but don’t expect this to be a sign of things to come. He is still a clear fourth among the wideouts in routes run. He received more playing time than usual in part because Tyreek Hill was dealing with a quad injury. That kept him out of practice most of the week and left him questionable coming into the game. Pringle might be able to eat into the playing time of some of the other receivers, but it will still be a heavy rotation.
Josh Gordon also saw a few snaps, particularly early in the game, and could get more involved as the season goes on.
- Devontae Booker: 14 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD, (2 explosive runs); 2 receptions, 15 receiving yards
- Dante Pettis: 5 receptions, 39 yards, 1 TD (2.6 aDOT)
|Carolina Panthers||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|New York Giants||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Don’t add Evan Engram: Engram ranked second on the team in targets, which isn’t surprising because their top three wide receivers were all out with injury. He continues to see less playing time compared to last season, in part thanks to the addition of Kyle Rudolph. Once one or two wide receivers are healthy, his target share will decrease. Similarly, don’t trust Darius Slayton, who led the team in targets.
Buy low on D.J. Moore: Moore was the only source of offense Carolina could find. He caught six passes for 73 yards, while the rest of the offense combined gained only 100 yards. The Panthers made a late quarterback switch to Phillip Walker, but the offense became less effective when that happened. Five of Moore’s next six opponents should present an easier challenge, so he should have no problem rebounding despite the quarterback struggles.
Continue to start these running backs as long as the starters are out: This game looked a lot better two months ago when we had a potential showdown between Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley. Instead, we had Devontae Booker and Chuba Hubbard. Neither back was all that effective, but each handled double-digit carries. As long as bye weeks are going on, any back who is running the ball that much still needs to be in starting lineups.
- Kyle Pitts: 7 receptions, 163 yards, (18.5 aDOT)
- Mike Gesicki: 7 receptions, 85 yards, 1 TD (3 for 4 on contested targets)
|Atlanta Falcons||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Miami Dolphins||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Don’t start Mike Davis: Cordarrelle Patterson has completely taken over the Falcons' backfield. The two backs split the receiving work, including some plays where both ran a route, but Patterson was the clear rusher for the game, and he got the goal-line work. There is a chance this is a one-game anomaly, but it’s too risky to trust a player with only two touches through 50 minutes of a contest.
Sell high on Myles Gaskin: Gaskin’s numbers have been very inconsistent from one week to the next. He had more carries today than the past three games put together, with 15 attempts for 67 yards. He also caught a touchdown. At least part of the reason for his increased usage was an injury to Malcolm Brown, which kept him out for the rest of the game. If the Brown injury isn’t serious, then Gaskin will likely see a decrease in playing time and touches next week. It’s better to let someone else deal with the roller coaster of his fantasy production.
Start Jaylen Waddle: He was started in just over 50% of ESPN leagues this week despite all of the players on byes. The sixth overall pick set a new high in receiving yards (83) while tying the team lead in targets and receptions. Part of the reason for his success is the injuries to the other wide receivers in Miami, but he’s gaining valuable chemistry with Tua Tagovailoa that will last when the others are at full health.
- Cooper Kupp: 10 receptions, 156 yards, 2 TD (3.80 YPRR)
- D’Andre Swift: 13 carries, 48 yards; 8 receptions, 96 receiving yards, 1 TD (31.3% threat rate)
|Detroit Lions||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Amon-Ra St. Brown||43||30||0||0|
|Los Angeles Rams||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Buy low on Darrell Henderson: Henderson remains RB1 in Los Angeles, but the game script wasn’t as favorable as expected this week. He also wasn’t very effective when he did get to run, though he wasn’t getting much help from his offensive line. It was surprising this game was this close, but the team will play better in future weeks. There are very few running backs in the league who play as much as Henderson does, and he plays on a team that will be running late in games more often than not.
Cut Jamaal Williams in leagues with short benches: D’Andre Swift served as Detroit's clear lead back for the second straight week and had a clear lead in both carries and targets. This is a trend that seems unlikely to change. Williams eventually reached double-digit carries but didn’t see a target. Detroit stayed close in this game, which allowed him to see more carries, but in games where Detroit is playing from behind, he won’t see much playing time. Williams would have top-10 fantasy potential if Swift were to get hurt, so he should still be on rosters for leagues with deeper benches.
Add Kalif Raymond in leagues with deeper benches: Raymond has established himself as the top wide receiver option for Detroit. It was his second straight game with six catches, and he’s been leading the team in routes run. He did especially well today considering the matchup, so he could start seeing even bigger games ahead.
- Kenyan Drake: 14 carries, 69 yards, 1 TD, (0% stuffed rate), 3 receptions, 10 yards
- Foster Moreau: 6 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD (20.0% threat rate)
|Philadelphia Eagles||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Las Vegas Raiders||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Henry Ruggs III||47||30||4||1|
|Willie Snead IV||10||2||0||0|
Monitor the Josh Jacobs injury: Jacobs suffered a chest injury that kept him out for the rest of the game. Kenyan Drake took over as the primary ball carrier and put together a good game, including a touchdown. If Jacobs misses time, Drake might not be a safe start because of Peyton Barber, who took the majority of carries earlier in the season when Jacobs was out but was inactive today. The change in head coach could prevent Barber from returning to the lead role. It will be a situation worth monitoring throughout the week.
Monitor the Miles Sanders injury: Sanders suffered an ankle injury, was carted to the locker room and didn’t return. The Eagles split snaps between Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott once he left the game, with tendencies of Gainwell in for passing downs and Scott in for rushing.
Scott would be the waiver wire target specifically for Week 8. The Eagles play the Lions next week, where Philadelphia should be able to stay competitive and run the ball a lot. Detroit has allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs coming into the week. If this is a serious injury, Gainwell is probably the better long-term option.
Start Dallas Goedert: Goedert was in for the vast majority of offensive plays, and he ran a route on most of the Eagles' pass plays. This was expected but good to see, nonetheless. He led the team in receiving yards (70) on three receptions. He should be a fantasy starter most weeks over the rest of the season.
- James Conner: 10 carries, 64 yards, 1 TD (4.2 yards after contact per carry)
- DeAndre Hopkins: 7 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD (9.2 aDOT)
|Houston Texans||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Mark Ingram II||21||11||3||6|
|Arizona Cardinals||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Sell high on Zach Ertz: The former Eagle made his debut with the Cardinals this week and scored a 47-yard touchdown to help secure the Arizona victory. He was used similarly to past Cardinals tight ends in that he only ran a route on a fraction of the team's passing plays because Arizona uses a lot of four-wide receiver sets. Ertz will have good games in the future, but you shouldn’t expect touchdowns each week.
The trade also limited Rondale Moore’s playing time compared to last week, as expected. It’s not a great sign for Moore that Ertz ran more routes than him. With how well all of the wide receivers are playing, it might take an injury for Moore to see significant playing time.
Hope Tyrod Taylor comes back soon: The Texans weren’t able to get anything together on offense. No drive lasted more than seven plays or went for more than 33 yards. Over half of their drives didn’t reach double-digit net yards. No Texans rusher recorded more than 30 rushing yards, and no receiver had more than 30 yards. Brandin Cooks was the only skill player to see over 63% of the offensive snaps, making it hard to consider anyone outside of him. Ideally, the offense gets Taylor back and can be a bit more effective.
- Mike Evans: 6 receptions, 76 yards, 3 TD (4-for-5 on contested targets)
- Chris Godwin: 8 receptions, 111 yards, 1 TD (3.26 YPRR)
|Chicago Bears||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Allen Robinson II||62||41||4||0|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Don’t worry about Leonard Fournette: Buccaneers backup Ronald Jones logged a season-high 10 carries and wasn’t all that far off from Fournette’s rushing totals. This was completely game script-dependent. He played in 80% of first-half early-down snaps outside of the two-minute drill, which is similar to previous weeks. Most of Jones' involvement came after Tampa Bay had put up a 32-point lead. Fournette should see normal usage in future weeks. The lead was also large enough to get Ke’Shawn Vaughn involved late.
Drop Damien Williams: Williams was activated off the Covid-19 list yesterday but was barely involved in the offense. It was the Khalil Herbert show again, and he ran for 90 yards on 16 carries despite the game script. He might not be 100%, but it seems like Chicago is happy with Herbert. David Montgomery is eligible to return off injured reserve after this game. It’s unlikely he will be ready for next week, but Williams doesn’t have much time to get a bigger role in the offense.
Don’t start O.J. Howard: Howard had a good game last week with Rob Gronkowski out and seemed to be trending more toward being the receiving tight end over Cameron Brate. He caught a pass while Brate didn’t, but Brate had a clear lead in routes run. If Gronkowski misses another game, it will be hard to trust Howard with that few opportunities.
- Jonathan Taylor: 18 carries, 107 yards, 1 TD, (5.2 yards after contact per carry); 3 receptions, 3 receiving yards
- Elijah Mitchell: 18 carries, 107 yards, 1 TD (0.0% stuffed rate)
|Indianapolis Colts||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
|Michael Pittman Jr.||62||28||4||0|
|San Francisco 49ers||Snaps||Routes Run||Targets||Carries|
Don’t start Brandon Aiyuk: Aiyuk’s receiving production has been sorely lacking this season, but at least his playing time in Weeks 3-5 was up significantly from Weeks 1-2. His playing time dropped back down a little bit tonight, with Trent Sherfield taking significant snaps and routes away from him. This left him with one catch and one carry for single-digit yards. He can be dropped in some league formats.
Monitor the 49ers backfield: The 49ers had one change at running back, with JaMycal Hasty returning from injured reserve and taking the third-down role back from Kyle Juszczyk. The early-down role remained with Elijah Mitchell, with Trey Sermon not playing any offensive snaps. Mitchell will likely keep this role at least for the next few weeks. John Lynch mentioned Jeff Wilson should be back this season, but it won’t be in the next couple of weeks. Mitchell played well tonight and has a few weeks to prove he should keep the job.
Don’t start Nyheim Hines: Hines' playing time has been declining each week, while Jonathan Taylor’s has ascended. Taylor’s scored a touchdown in each of the last four games, while Nines dropped what would have been an explosive pass play tonight. Hines had almost all of his carries happen late in the fourth quarter. As long as Taylor is playing this well, he will rarely leave the field. Hines can be dropped in smaller leagues.
Remain skeptical on Mo Alie-Cox: The Colts tight end caught his fourth touchdown in four games. It remains very hard to trust him, as he hasn’t had more than three receptions or more than 50 yards in a game this season. Indianapolis uses him and Jack Doyle interchangeably, typically leaving both players around 50% of offensive snaps. Indianapolis used them both a little more tonight due to the weather and injuries at wide receiver. It’s hard to consider him a waiver wire target when he’s caught four passes over the last two games.