Fantasy Focus – Week 7 Matchups
Welcome to Fantasy Focus! We enter the second week of byes, and destinies are beginning to shape themselves for the 2022 season. So, which matchups are getting the blood pumping in Week 7?
Saints @ Cardinals
Two teams come head to head this Thursday night in precarious positions. Had you suggested that after week 6 both the Saints and the Cardinals would be sitting at 2-4, most of us would be surprised. The Saints are a ghost of the side they have been the last 5 years and the Cardinals even after committing their future to Kyler Murray are regressing offensively quicker than John Ross ran his 40 yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine.
What’s going on in New Orleans?
The Saints started the 2022 season with alot of positive hype and expectations. This has very quickly been pulled out from underneath them. Their injury worries continue as it looks like Michael Thomas will miss yet another game. Chris Olave might be back for Thursday night but the next big concern is who is throwing the ball for them. Whilst Jameis offers a higher ceiling one would argue Dalton is the better NFL play. Their run game was the small highlight from the weekend against the Bengals and if Kamara is back to full fitness, he and Olave are the only two players to start with any confidence.
Hollywood Brown out, DeAndre Hopkins back and Robbie A added
The Cardinals were incredibly poor over the weekend against the Seahawks as they went down 9-19. Kyle Shanahan looks out of ideas, and Kyler Murray looks like he can not find an open receiver. There is a huge blow to this offence with Hollywood Brown being ruled out for a few weeks. Nuk Hopkins has served his 6 game PED suspension and he should be the focal point for Kyler and become immediately fantasy relevant. With Nuk in the offence this has huge potential to unlock Ertz and also their new recruit in Robbie Anderson. Whether Anderson is able to get up to speed quickly enough will be the real challenge.
- Cardinals win at home by <6, both team take positives from the game but at 2-5 Dennis Allen’s job could be under pressure
- Kyler Murray to expose more holes in that Saints secondary, passing for 250+ yards
- Kamara and Olave stars with 100 scrimmage yards each in narrow defeat
Falcons @ Bengals
Two teams coming off impressive results over the weekend to find themselves at 3-3 each. The Falcons have been a surprise this season and a lot of credit has to go to Arthur Smith and Marcus Mariota complementing each other and making this franchise competitive again. The Falcons see themselves tied with the Buccaneers at top of the NFC South and if their impressive pass rush can get after Burrow they just might have a chance in Cincinnati. The Bengals went to New Orleans last week, with Burrow and Chase returning to their state of University and leaving with further happy memories. The Bengals are finding their stride at an important time of the season, and with the AFC North being wide open, the Bengals will need to capitalise on home field advantage against a well coached Falcons team.
Mariota comeback player of the season
I will have to research whether this award is strictly for players returning from injuries as opposed to reclaiming a starting role. However, during the off-season it was clear to all that the Falcons went after Deshaun Watson. “Luckily”, they missed as they were able to sign Mariota as a hungry free agent. Although limited, he is able to execute the game plan that Arthur Smith has scripted. The Falcons way is simple, ground and pound and make stops. Huntley and Allgeier will be interesting fantasy plays this week, and if Mariota is forced to throw as well as run he again will be relevant.
Burrow and his three headed tiger
Burrow threw for 300 yards in week 6 against the Saints and should be expected to throw a similar volume against the Falcons. Game script might be different and there is a chance they get a lead and run it more with Mixon this week. Jamarr Chase was back to his old self in week 6 and with Chase, Higgens and Boyd all receiving 6 or more targets, they are all fantasy relevant week in week out.
- Bengals to control the game in 8+ point victory
- Game script to allow for a big Mixon game
- Mariota will need to throw, expect London to see 7+ targets
Colts @ Titans
A division deciding battle in the AFC South this weekend. Titans come off a bye where they would like to have prepared sufficiently. The Colts come off an incredible victory, stolen away from the Jags in the dying moments. Jonathan Taylor will reap the rewards of being allowed to rest and this matchup should expect to be one of the great AFC South battles.
Jonathan Taylor is back!
The news this week is that Jonathan Taylor was arguably healthy enough to be risked, should the Colts have wanted to against the Jags. The Colts managed to narrowly get by without him but for the Titans game, Taylor will resume the role as the bell cow. Matt Ryan was able to role the years back a little this weekend, throwing the ball no less than 58 times for 389 passing yards. Ryan will return to leaning heavily on Jonathan Taylor’s shoulders, Michael Pittman is the clear stud in Indy so apart from Pittman and Taylor there is little else to be excited by in this Colts team apart from possibly Deon Jackson working as a useful change of pace.
Will the Titans come back well rested or rusty?
The Titans are currently top of the AFC South but will be fully aware of the importance of this weekend’s matchup. Derrick Henry seems to be returning to his old self and Tannehill seems to be able to orchestrate the passing game to help take off a little pressure on the run game. Robert Woods is finally finding his stride in Tennessee and with the young rookie WR Burks out for a long time, Woods and others will need to step up. This matchup has the potential to be a low scoring stalemate relying heavily on the run. But, with two well experienced QB’s a breakout play or two will be on the cards.
- Titans rusty after bye week, as Colts record famous win in Tennessee
- Taylor and Henry account for at least 100+ rushing yards each, and 300+ total match rushing yards
- Pittman and Woods go “touchdownless” as the game is dominated on the ground or with their respective TE’s
Texans @ Raiders
The Texans always knew the 2022 season would be a character building year. Thus far, they have answered a number of doubters. Davis Mills is a work in progress quarterback who has obtained a high amount of important experience in the NFL. Rookie Dameon Pierce is the real shining light of the Texans offence so far this year, with a number of defensive players also standing out. The Raiders have a very similar record as the Texans but find themselves in a totally different stage of their development as a franchise. Their big off-season trade for Davante Adams has not resulted in the wins they had hoped for. As a result, Carr and McDaniels are under severe pressure.
Dameon Pierce stock to the moon
The Texans are fully aware of what they are and where they are as a franchise. They are a team building for the future and Pierce is the best example of this. He was a big hit in their 2022 draft and is going from strength to strength. Apart from Pierce, Brandin Cooks is the only other fantasy startable option. Game script might go against Pierce unfortunately, so Cooks and Nico Collins will see target volume.
Now or never for the Raiders
Derek Carr and Davante Adams need big games. The Texans will come to Vegas with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Whereas the Raiders can’t afford a loss under any circumstance. The pressure will be firmly on the Raiders, but they should have enough team quality to win comfortably. It’s a chance to remind everyone why they had a label as possible outsiders for the AFC West. Carr and Adams big games, whilst Josh Jacobs reaps the benefit of good running game script.
- Raiders don’t slip up in 10+ point win
- Pierce under 60 rushing yards, Cooks 100+ receiving yards
- Adams two touchdown receptions and Jacobs a rushing touchdown.
Nathan – @mountaindrew92