As all fantasy football players know, the renowned ESPN analyst and fantasy football expert Matthew Berry creates numerous articles and columns that are posted to the ESPN website and app every week. The topics of these articles consist of rankings, injury updates, and of course the weekly “Love/Hate” column. Each week here on Game Time Sports Network, I will be writing my own rendition of my love/hate fantasy picks for the week.
Let it be known that players that will be selected for the “love” section will not be the notable stars of fantasy. For example, you will not find guys like David Johnson, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski etc. because it should be more than known that you ALWAYS start those players. Without further adieu, let us begin.
Quarterbacks I Love for Week 7
Mariota got off to quite a slow start this season. This seems to be due to the tough defenses he had to play earlier in the year. He has heated up as of late and has averaged 28.5 points over the last two games. This statistic definitely bodes QB1 status. Mariota will find a cake walk matchup against the Indianapolis Colts in week 7, who most people know possess one of the most decimated defenses in the NFL. He is a viable starter and could be worth a pickup off the waiver wire, as he is available in 59% of leagues.
After Dalton’s stellar 2015 performance before he suffered a season ending injury, many people did not have high expectations for him this year. He lived up to these low expectations through the first four weeks, putting up 14.75 points per game. This definitely isn’t what you want from your starting quarterback. However, over the past two outings, he has scored 21 points each time. He finds himself a very favorable matchup against the Cleveland Browns, one of the league’s worst teams. The Browns have never let up fewer than 25 points this season, and I expect Dalton and the Bengals to score heavily in this game. Dalton might be lucky enough to welcome back star tight end Tyler Eifert as well, who hauled in 13 touchdowns last year.
Quarterbacks I Hate for Week 7
I have been saying this for quite a while now, Wilson is a good quarterback, not a good FANTASY quarterback. Many people will disagree, but I feel as if he always lets owners down. If it wasn’t for that short stretch he had at the end of last season, he would’ve finished outside of the top 10 and it would have probably affected his draft stock this year. Wilson has continued his mediocrity into this fantasy season, averaging 13.8 points per game, and only posting a respectable stat line once, which came in week 4 against the Jets. He has certainly let owners down and has not returned the value at which he was drafted at. Wilson will have his toughest matchup yet, against the Arizona Cardinals, who have allowed 11.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. I would leave Wilson on the bench this week and try to find a better option.
I know, it’s tough to imagine him on the hate section. One of the league’s best at the position has not looked his finest as of late. His fantasy numbers are inconsistent this season. With the loss of starting running back Eddie Lacy, and backup James Starks, their opponent, the Chicago Bears, can focus on protecting the pass a lot more. It’s really hard to imagine not starting him, especially with a home game against a division foe, I just believe he is a risky play. Also, for some reason I never feel comfortable starting players who play on Thursday night.
Running Backs I Love for Week 7
Gordon certainly isn’t the most talented back, but he sure does put up fantasy numbers this season. Gordon had a league leading 7 touchdowns going into the week 6 showdown versus the Broncos. His five game touchdown streak came to an end, but he still managed to pull out a solid game with 94 rushing yards against one of the league’s toughest defenses. His workload is also everything a fantasy owner can ask for. He doesn’t compete with anybody for carries and has been used in the passing game frequently. I expect Melvin to find the end zone once again and produce a solid week against a weak Atlanta run defense.
All the preseason hype of Titan’s second round pick Derrick Henry cutting into newly acquired Murray’s workload has been put to sleep. Murray is the fourth ranked running back in ESPN standard format, and is projected the most points (17) this week among all running backs. Murray faces off against the Indianapolis Colts whose run defense ranks second to worst. The Colts got ran over last week by Texans running back Lamar Miller, who had over 160 all purpose yards and 2 touchdowns. Similar to Melvin Gordon, Murray has an exceptional workload. He has had over 20 carries the past three weeks, and has only caught less than five passes twice this year. With the combination of the matchup, workload, and Murray’s all around talent, i believe he will have a stellar outing on Sunday.
Running Backs I Hate for Week 7
Since Forte had that amazing 3 touchdown performance game in week 2, his carries have gone down each week. Along with his workload minimizing, so has his production. He has not scored more than 6 fantasy points in the past 4 weeks. With other Jets running back, Bilal Powell, stealing work out of the backfield in the passing game, and the offense as a whole not functioning properly, Forte has crumbled as a fantasy asset. Not to mention he faces the Baltimore Ravens who have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the past 4 weeks. There is no way I am plugging Forte into the starting lineup if I own him until the offense can prove to be strong again.
It seems every week the Saints will always find a new way not let Ingram score. Last week they decided to give a two yard goal line rush to tight end Coby Fleener. Yes, Coby Fleener, who had zero rushing attempts in his career before that play. Ingram has been a valuable fantasy asset in years prior. But this year he has not proven to be a reliable starter. Ingram has not had a game over 77 rushing yards this season, but has seen a good amount of targets out of the backfield, which is a positive. The Saints are a very pass heavy team and have too many mouths to feed on offense. Not to mention the New Orleans offense is much better at home, and I believe Ingram will have a tough time on the road against a not so exciting matchup versus the Chiefs defense.
Wide Receivers I Love for Week 7
Evans has become one of the best receivers in the game. He is known to be a target machine and has great size to tower over defenders. Evans lands a great matchup this week against San Francisco, a struggling defense. He has received 11 targets in each of the past 4 games, and has never caught fewer than 5 balls this season. With the bye week giving him an extra week to prepare for this matchup, he will continue his career season and have a spectacular game.
Through the past few years, AJ Green has been an inconsistent game to game fantasy player. He will follow up 30 point games with back to back games under 10. This pattern has continued into the 2016 season. In standard scoring format , Green’s production since week one has been 24, 3, 7, 23, 5, and 8. With his two most recent games being duds, he is due for a breakout game. He will get the chance against a very weak Cleveland defense.
Wide Receivers I Hate for Week 7
Cooks is a boom or bust player. He exploded for 173 yards and a touchdown on 7 catches last week against the Panthers (23 points), after scoring just 10 points in the prior 3 games combined. Everyone knows Drew Brees performs better at home, that’s why I think Cooks and the entire Saints offense will fall back to earth with a tougher matchup in Kansas City.
People have been all over the Marvin Jones bandwagon since he had his best fantasy game of his career in week 3, where he put up 205 yards and 2 touchdowns (32 points). That game is an outlier though, as he has averaged just 9.8 fantasy points in his other 5 games. Jones is a solid WR2 option week to week, but this week he may fall to a WR3 as he lines up across one of the league’s best corners, Josh Norman.
Tight Ends I Love for Week 7
Arguably the best offense in the NFL, the Patriots have a slew of weapons. Bennett is one of these deadly weapons. He quickly showed his rapport with Tom Brady 2 weeks ago in Brady’s first game back from suspension by catching 3 touchdowns. Bennett will always be second fiddle to Rob Gronkowski, but I expect him to have a respectable stat line against the Steelers on Sunday and find the end zone again.
Tight Ends I Hate for Week 7
It appears as though the eventual first ballot hall of fame tight end has fallen behind rookie Hunter Henry on the depth chart. Last week, Henry had 6 catches on 8 targets for 83 yards and a touchdown opposed to Gates’ 2 catches for 16 yards on 6 targets. Gates is projected more points than Henry this week, which is actually quite puzzling. It is possible for the duo to both produce decent fantasy numbers together, but I wouldn’t be comfortable inserting either one into my starting lineup this week.
That wraps up the first edition of my love/hate column. I hope you enjoyed, and don’t forget to come back next week for the week 8 edition.