The Rundown: Week 7

Oct 21, 2020
The Rundown: Week 7

Week 6 finally provided a sense of normalcy after a few weeks of chaos. Instead of wondering when games were going to be rescheduled to, news has been mostly good with Tua Tagovailoa expected to take over the starting Dolphins quarterback role, and limited injuries to key fantasy players (Philadelphia Eagles aside). For a change, we can look forward to Week 7 with fewer butterflies and a little more hope as we enter into the heart of NFL bye weeks.

Last week’s edition had some interesting results. A pair of injuries to Raheem Mostert and Zach Ertz scuttled some highlights while the late week addition of Le’Veon Bell to the Chiefs had some interesting timing with the downward trend of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Brandin Cooks had another strong week, but admittedly, many of the players seemed to play in a way to spite my article. That’s ok as many of those mentioned remain in a similar overall position with the exception of one, who gets a downgrade rather quickly.

This article leverages the wide array of 4for4’s data library including snaps, touches, targets, fantasy scoring, and red zone information. Lucky for you, this article will put everything in one place in time for those weekly matchup decisions.

Quarterbacks Trending Up

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Three top-12 finishes in five games, including a pair of top-five finishes in the past two, has Tannehill riding high. He has multiple touchdown passes in all but one game this season and has 75-plus offensive plays in three of five, giving him both opportunity and success. The Gase Escape is a real thing and Tannehill is living proof, going from an annual disappointment of a backup, to a weekly starter in fantasy leagues. This won’t be a week to rely on him though, as the Steelers are second in interceptions (eight) and fourth in net yards per pass attempt allowed.

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

Underappreciated as a safe quarterback who won’t be a standout, Carr has three games over 20 fantasy points in five tries and is completing 68% of his red-zone passes including seven touchdowns. He’s done this despite no top wide receiver - none rank inside the top 50 fantasy receivers - which is why he targets the position on less than 40% of his passes. The ceiling isn’t high but Carr’s floor is reasonable enough to leverage in prime matchups. It’s hard to tell if this will be one as the Buccaneers pass defense is strong, top five in most categories, but it’s expected to be a shootout and Carr tends to avoid bad mistakes. Proceed with caution knowing there will be better weeks down the road.

Quarterbacks Trending Down

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Burrow started hot with a pair of top-12 finishes in the first three games, ranking eighth among fantasy quarterbacks. Since then, he has failed to reach 17 fantasy points and is now a mid-QB2 on the season, not bad for a rookie, but far from the excitement that was generated early on. The decline in scoring is largely due to an evaporation of touchdowns with just one thrown in the past three weeks despite a pair of 300-yard passing games. He’s also running less, with 10 total attempts after 16 in the first three games.

Sacks are also piling up as he’s on pace to surpass 60 on the season, only David Carr was sacked more often (76 in 2002). The Browns pass defense is mostly average but the defense ranks first in turnovers forced, ending nearly 20% of opponent’s drives that way. Joe Burrow needs a clean game and to create more scoring chances. The Browns haven’t held a team under 20 points so this could be the start of a turnaround.

Cam Newton, New England Patriots

This is less of an indictment of Cam Newton, and more a reflection of his awful weapons, which somehow seem to be getting worse by the week. The team somehow has the lowest fantasy scoring wide receiver and tight end units in the league and yet Cam Newton has three top-12 finishes in four games. It’s entirely due to his five rushing touchdowns and career-high 11.3 attempts per game and 56.3 rushing yards. Compare that to just two passing touchdowns with just 60% of his combined plays (pass attempts plus rushing) coming through the air. Newton is earning that Superman moniker and he’ll need to be the Man of Steel once again against a 49ers defense that ranks top 10 against the pass and run with the third-best red zone touchdown rate (46.7%). Up, up, and away?

Running Backs Trending Up

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