FANTASY FOCUS – WEEK 7
We are closely approaching and might have already reached, in some of your leagues, the halfway stage of the Fantasy Football regular season. If your teams aren’t at least sitting 3-3 then this week I fear is your last chance. Last week was a positive week for predictions and let’s hope this weekend is no different. This week is led by a number of inter divisional matchups, and these can sometimes lead to upsets, so be aware.
Game 1: Washington Commanders (3-3) @ New York Giants (1-5)(SF – 18:00 BST)
The two “little” brothers in the NFC East are scrapping it out this weekend. Washington will be relatively happy with Howell in his first year as a starter, but the Giants are in tatters to start this season, with Danny Dimes really struggling even after getting paid huge money. The Giants have had an incredibly difficult strength of schedule to start the season and I think back in their home field, against a familiar foe, we could see The G Men get a win on Sunday.
Can Sam Howell get the Commanders to the Play-Offs?
When the Commanders announced that Sam Howell would take over the reins in Washington for the 2023 season. There were a number of sceptical people doubting. But he has been impressive through six games this season, throwing for 1500 yards with nine passing touchdowns and six interceptions. The Commanders sit middle of the pack in the NFL for passing yards per game, but up against a familiar divisional foe, I think the Giants will be prepared and make it a difficult day for the Commanders and Howell. Brian Robinson will need to have a huge game for the Commanders to remain competitive.
Where are the points coming from?
The Giants sit dead last in the league in terms of points scored per game. They are bottom three for total yards per game and this offence is raising a lot of eyebrows, considering they won a Play-Off game as early as last season. Daniel Jones has been really poor, and the injury to Saquon has compounded the issues in New York. But this weekend I think they will be led by their defence. Daboll is a great coach and will be adamant in turning things around. Whether it’s Tyrod Taylor or Daniel Jones, the offence will have to work together efficiently and I feel the fantasy production will be shared around in a narrow win.
- Giants win at home by <5pts
- Brian Robinson 70+ rushing yards & TD
- Saquon Barkley 60+ all purpose yards & TD
Game 2: Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-3) (SNF – 21:05 BST)
The Steelers are coming off a well deserved BYE week, following their week five victory over the Ravens. They have battled through the start of the season with very erratic performances. A trip to the high flying Rams will be a good benchmark game for them. The Rams on the other hand, are having a good season compared to early season expectations. They were always aware their hangover from the SuperBowl was going to be a slow rebuild but a number of their unrecognised youngsters have broken out to make this an exciting team with an outside shot at wildcard qualification in the NFC. I think they will continue their good form with a win in LA.
The Steelers offence needs to improve
The Steelers, as is to be expected with Mike Tomlin, have started the season really slowly. They are third worst in points per game and second worst in total yards per game. Kenny Pickett has struggled to make the step up in year two and their offensive line has destroyed any efficiency we once used to see in Najee Harris. The Steelers more often than not, need their defence to carry them through games and that is what I expect again this weekend. They will need to stop the Rams to stay in this game, and I expect them to play from behind and throw the ball a lot. Pickens and Freiermuth along with Diontae Johnson will be the fantasy plays.
Who will pound the rock?
Ever since Todd Gurley left Los Angeles, the Rams have struggled to find the heir to his throne. This year, the relatively unknown name of Kyren Williams broke out aggressively to start the season. Becoming a top waiver add for your Fantasy rosters. Williams has now picked up an ankle injury and will miss “multiple” games. Next on the depth chart is rookie Zach Evans who, if on your waivers, is a must pick up. He should see the majority of the volume but I see the Rams leaning on their high flying passing offence with Puka Nacua and the ever reliable Cooper Kupp. Stafford has looked good this season which helps and I think at home against a Steelers team coming off a bye, they will be a great match up for that Steelers secondary.
- Rams to win by 6+ pts
- Pickens & Freiermuth 5+ targets each, Freiermuth TD reception
- Both Kupp & Nacua 100+ receiving yards
Game 3: Los Angeles Chargers (2-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)- (SNF – 21:25 BST)
The Chargers won’t want to be left too far behind the wildcard places in the AFC, whilst they will still know the magnitude of the task at hand winning in Arrowhead. The Chargers have been playing good offensive football this year and are seventh in points per game (ahead of the Chiefs in ninth) and fifth in passing yards per game (only narrowly five yards per game less than the Chiefs). After the Chiefs slipped on their week one Lions banana skin, they have been perfect to date. Their offence has been efficient as expected, but also surprisingly their defence has performed at an elite level and conceded the second fewest points per game so far this season. It is not a good match up for their defence and I think Herbert is talented enough to make this a high scoring affair.
Will the season get worse for the Chargers?
The Chargers have lost three games this season so far, but none by more than three points. The Chiefs in Arrowhead is one of the toughest games in any team’s schedule. The Chargers will look beyond this game to a schedule including Bears, Jets, Packers, Patriots, Broncos. A Fantasy managers dream towards the money end of the year. If the Chargers keep performing the way they have, things will turn around. Herbert is an elite Quarterback with over 1300 passing yards, nine Touchdown passes and only two interceptions. If you add a fit, explosive Ekeler to this game then I feel the Chargers could get close to an upset, but fall narrowly short again. Herbert will throw for a mammoth 300+ yards, and Palmer could see the benefits of Allen being double covered.
Hardman back in town, but still the same
This week the Chiefs traded back from the sixth round down to the seventh round to acquire Mecole Hardman back from the Jets. Incredibly the Chiefs have the second highest passing yards per game, all whilst Kelce is their leading receiver with a mere 346 yards. This is no surprise as Mahomes knows how to move the chains and share the targets around. The Chargers will put up points and the Mahomes Kelce partnership will have to be at its best over the weekend. Hardman re-joining the Chiefs is nothing to move the Fantasy marker, as Kelce and their running backs will be the preferred target with Rashee Rice breakout as the leading wide receiver.
- Chiefs hold off Chargers by <5 points, game total points 55pts+
- Palmer 100+ receiving yards
- Kelce 100+ receiving yards + TD reception