Week 7 of the Fantasy Football season is upon us! As we barrel towards the midpoint of the fantasy season, we here at 4QWI are here to try to set your teams up for success in a very important week. With recent injuries to some of fantasy football's biggest performers, and six teams on a BYE this week, there are sure to be some tough decisions to make and we want to ensure your team stays in the win column. Today's 4QWI members handling the task are Jay Rooney, Brett Shevlin, Austin Specht, and Noah Drouin. Follow them on Twitter/X, their handles are below. Quick note, we do not have D/ST this week, but all other positions are covered.
This may go without saying, but we will go ahead and leave out the effective matchup-proof picks such as Tyreek Hill, Christian McCaffrey (put him on your IR) and Justin Jefferson (but make sure he's on your IR...). Side note - we paste this same message every week on these articles and now we've got two out of the three players mentioned injured. Hmm...Anyway, with all that said, let's get down to business.
Start: Jordan Love @ Denver Broncos (10/22 @ 4:25 PM EST)
Jordan Love started off the season HOT and initially made a case that he could be a startable fantasy QB every week; but he has taken a bit of a dip, posting a 1:5 TD to INT ration in his last two games. However, with several notable QB injuries potentially taking away starters (Trevor Lawrence, Deshaun Watson, Justin Fields), and a half dozen BYEs this week, the fantasy QB market has opened up a bit as managers look to shore up that position on their team.
Currently trending down in ownership in ESPN leagues (-16.7 at time of writing), Love has a couple of key points lending credence to giving him the start on your team. Firstly, he is coming off of a BYE week where he surely had some time to work out some issues in his last few starts. Second, he is taking on the Denver Broncos who, to put it nicely, have left much to be desired on the defensive front: they are allowing the most total yards per game in the entire league at 440.3 and are allowing the most fantasy points to Quarterbacks in the league as well. Expect Love to come out swinging and look to build off of connections with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in a pivotal game to remain competitive in the NFC North.
Start: BRIAN MUDDAFUGGIN HOYER @ Chicago Bears (10/22 @ 1:00 PM EST)
DO IT. Somehow, someway, Brian Hoyer is once again a starting Quarterback in the NFL in 2023. The 38 year old journeyman got some playing time last week against the Patriots after Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a back injury that is expected to make him miss time. Coming in an emergency role, Hoyer came in and tossed 102 yards on 6/10 splits. Hoyer finds himself in a very favorable matchup against the Chicago Bears, who have had much trouble on the defensive end this season. Currently allowing the 4th most passing yards per game on top of allowing the 3rd most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season, the Bears will make Hoyer's fill-in job easy, in theory. Assuming he gets the start this week and your team is in need of a QB this week either due to injury or a BYE, Brian Hoyer makes for a safe streaming option this week, albeit with a likely low ceiling.
Start: Geno Smith vs. Arizona Cardinals (10/22 @ 4:05 PM EST)
Never in my life did I think in the year of our lord, 2023, I'd be recommending fantasy athletes to start Brian Hoyer AND Geno Smith, but people here we are. Coming off of a career renaissance last season, Geno Smith has started off lukewarm on the statistical front this season, despite his Seahawks currently sitting at 3-2. Coming into week 7 with a 1169/5/3 line on the year, owners have begun looking elsewhere and Smith has seen his ownership generally going down as he is currently owned in just 61.7% of ESPN leagues. This week feels like a good time to throw Mr. Smith back into your lineup. Despite a 0/2 line against the Bengals last week, Smith counting stats were strong, with 323 passing yards on a 65.9% completion rate and his connections with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf looked generally good. The Bengals themselves are a decently tough pass defense in their own right, currently 10th in fantasy points allowed to Quarterbacks. This week, Smith faces off against the Cardinals in an extremely favorable home matchup. The Cardinals, for their part, are allowing the fifth most points to Quarterbacks in the NFL and have allowed the sixth most points in the league entering this week. Look for Smith to put up solid QB2 numbers this week with upside for more in a very important divisional matchup in which they can they can look to gain some ground on the 49ers.
Sit: Gardner Minshew vs. Cleveland Browns (10/22 @ 1:00 PM EST)
With Anthony Richardson out for the rest of the regular season, Gardner Minshew has stepped in as the emergency starter for the Colts. In his first start, Minshew struggled against the soft Jaguars pass defense, throwing 55 times en route to a 329/1/3 line with a fumble lost to boot. This week, Minshew faces off against the Cleveland Browns who just defeated possibly the best team in the league, and are having a historically good season on the defensive end. Allowing by far the least passing yards per game in the NFL with 121.4 (Ravens are second with 163.2), it could be hard for Minshew to get going against Cleveland. Although only having just four turnovers taken all season, the Browns are poised to add to that count against Minshew who had four himself last week. With all this in mind, I would not be surprised if the Colts lean into their rushing tandem of Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss to control the pace of the game knowing that the passing game may be a non-starter for them. Leave Minshew on your bench and look elsewhere.
Sit: Kirk Cousins vs. San Francisco 49ers (MNF, 10/23 @ 8:15 PM EST)
In his first start without Justin Jefferson, Cousins had a very underwhelming stat line against the soft Bears Secondary. A matchup against the 49ers defense, even at home in Minnesota, is looking like a tough justification for Cousins owners in fantasy. The 9ers are 6th in the league in takeaways, 10th in passing yards allowed per game, and 3rd in fantasy points allowed to Quarterbacks. Cousins also has 11 turnovers to in his name alone, including seven fumbles, the latter of which is tied for the most among Quarterbacks this season.
Considering this is all compounded with Cousins' favorite target being injured, I personally wouldn't want Cousins marching into Monday Night Football with my fantasy team's game on the line, and you likely shouldn't either. For this week at least, leave Cousins on your bench and take a safer QB option into Week 7, but only if injuries and BYEs still allow you to spare it.
Running Backs: @jvr1210
It’s a tough week for running backs, with the Panthers, Texans, Titans, Jets, Cowboys, and Bengals on a bye that automatically takes away the likes of Breece Hall, Derrick Henry, Joe Mixon, and Tony Pollard as options this week. Along with injuries to Christian McCaffrey, David Montgomery, D’Onta Foreman, and the continued absence of De’Von Achane, your options might be thin in deeper leagues.
Start: Jerome Ford @ Indianapolis Colts (10/22 @ 1:00 PM EST)
Jerome Ford is coming off of his most impressive game since Nick Chubb went down, rushing for 87 yards on 17 carries against an elite 49ers defense (that despite allowing 160 rushing yards last week still ranks 7th in the league in rushing defense). This week the Browns have a very favorable matchup against the Colts. The Colts are without starting QB Anthony Richardson, starting Gardner Minishew (who turned the ball over 4 times last week). If the Colts play sloppy again it could allow the Browns to get out to an early lead and lean heavily on the running game especially if Watson is out again this week.
The overall split last week was 17 carries for Jerome Ford and 12 carries for Kareem Hunt who if you take away his 16-yard rushing TD was largely ineffective with 11 carries for 31 yards. Expect the Browns to continue to give Ford 15-20 carries a game. The Colts defense is ranked 20th in rushing yards allowed and has allowed the second most rushing TDs in the league (9 rushing touchdowns allowed). Expect a big week from Ford.
Start: Aaron Jones @ Denver Broncos (10/22 @ 4::25 PM EST)
Aaron Jones's health has been in question after he injured his hamstring in week one against Chicago. Jones was active, but still injured in his week 5 matchup against the Lions. On Monday, Jones was an active participant in practice, a good sign going into this week against the Broncos. If Jones is playing he is a must start even with the question of his hamstring. There has been no defense that has been worse against the run than the Denver Broncos' defense. The Broncos' defense has been shredded for 1034 rushing yards allowing opposing running backs to average 5.6 YPC, a mark only surpassed by Raheem Mostert, Breece Hall, and De'Von Achane. Combine this with Jones’s ability to be a key playmaker both on the passing and rushing side of the ball and Jones is set to feast this week if he is good to go.
Start: Raheem Mostert @ Philadelphia Eagles (SNF, 10/22 @ 8:20 PM EST)
Duh, if you have Raheem Mostert you are starting Raheem Mostert at RB1. Coming off a week with 20 touches, 132 total yards and 3 TDs Raheem Mostert continues his historic pace. Through 6 games so far this year Raheem Mostert has 429 rushing yards, 11 total TDs, along with 18 catches for 145 yards. This would put him on pace for 1600 total yards and 31 TD’s. I could see him reaching the 1600 total yards mark if he can stay healthy and might settle in with closer to 20-25 TDs, if he does reach the 31 TDs it would tie him with 2006 LaDainian Tomlinson for the single-season record for most total touchdowns with.
Mostert is a start despite a tough matchup against the Eagles defense who is 2nd against the rush so far this year, this is more so a love letter to the season Mostert is having.
Sit: Jonathan Taylor vs. Cleveland Browns (10/22 @ 1:00 PM EST)
Are you amongst the millions of fantasy football players who spent a top 60 or top 70 fantasy pick on Jonathan Taylor hoping he would be a monster once he returned to the field? Are you amongst the millions of fantasy football owners who thought it was a fantastic sign that the Colts signed him to a three-year, $42 million contract just to be disappointed when Zack Moss would outpace him in both rushing attempts and yards upon his return? We here at 4QWI sure are.
The Jonathan Taylor situation is a mess, in the Colts' 2 games since his return Zack Moss has had 30 carries to Taylor’s 14 carries. Moss has received 7 carries from inside the 10 while Taylor has received 2. Now those numbers are a bit skewed due to Moss’s 23 carries in Taylor’s first game back with Taylor actually receiving 1 more carry in week 6, but Taylor has been largely ineffective so far. Taylor has 2.6 YPC, the only positive thing being that Taylor hasn’t turned the ball over yet. Add in a tough matchup against the Cleveland Browns who have only allowed 395 rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs in 5 games with opposing running backs averaging 3.5 YPC and it is an abysmal week to start Jonathan Taylor and probably Zack Moss too. Until the running back room has situated itself out I would avoid starting Jonathan Taylor.
Sit: Jordan Mason/Elijah Mitchell @ Minnesota Vikings (MNF, 10/22 @ 8:15 PM EST)
With the health of Christian McCaffrey in the air ahead of the 49ers week 7 Monday night matchup against the Minnesota Vikings there are a lot of questions surrounding who will emerge as the RB1 if McCaffrey can’t go. The main speculation is will Jordan Mason or Elijah Mitchell be the go-to guy with McCaffrey out. When McCaffrey left the game against the Browns it was Jordan Mason who saw a majority of the work with 5 touches opposed to Mitchell’s 2 touches. Elijah Mitchell however had been out their last 2 games due to a week 3 knee injury and was likely getting back into the pace of things.
Given the fact that it seems without McCaffery, Kyle Shanahan tends to play hot potato at the running back position, juggling between Jeff Wilson Jr., Elijah Mitchell, and Tevin Coleman last year before the McCaffery trade. With neither of these guys seeming like the favored front-runner of the two and Shanahan’s tendency to bounce between RBs I wouldn’t trust starting either of these guys if McCaffery is out. If you have to I’d probably go with Mitchell considering his history with McCaffery but that’s a last-case scenario for me.
Sit: Alexander Mattison vs. San Francisco 49ers (MNF, 10/23 @ 8:15 PM EST)
In their first game without Justin Jefferson the Vikings had arguably their worst offensive showing of the season against a Bears defense that they should have cooked. Unfortunately without Jefferson, the entire offense comes to a slow, and this applies to Mattison. Mattison may get more opportunities to run the ball (with 18 rushes last week against the Bears), but there will be a lack of scoring opportunities to come for the RB who has 1 receiving TD and no rushing TDs this year. The 49ers defense was topped last week by Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt who ran for 160 yards pulling out a scrappy victory down and dirty in-the-mud victory for the Browns. I do not expect the Vikings to be able to do this with Mattison and Cam Akers. With that matchup and the lack of Jefferson in the lineup, I’d sit Mattison this week.
Wide Receivers: @BreTT_Shevlin
Start: Zay Flowers vs. Detroit Lions (10/11 @ 1:00 PM EST) Former Boston College Eagle and rookie standout receiver Zay Flowers continues to impress us serving as the No. 1 receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. The floor is high for this young player as he has only had one single digit performance in PPR leagues thus far. Flowers has been targeted a whopping 8 or more times in four of six outings this season and was finally able to break through for his first NFL touchdown last week in London.
Flowers goes up against a Detroit secondary that has given up eight passing touchdowns through six games. He should be considered a high-end WR2 in all formats.
Start: Christian Watson @ Denver Broncos (10/22 @ 4:25 PM EST)
I really hate to pick on the Denver Broncos but their defense just isn’t good. I know we haven’t seen much from Watson so far this season, but I believe this has a chance to be his breakout game. With Watson’s blazing speed and Denver being kind to opposing receivers, don’t be scared to start Christian this week.
Green Bay having just served a bye week, should be uber prepared for this matchup. With the hamstring issue in the rear view, take a flier on Watson this week.
Sit: Courtland Sutton vs. Green Bay Packers (10/22 @ 4:25 PM EST)
I know what you’re thinking.. Sutton has been as consistent as consistent gets, but a matchup with Jaire Alexander worries me. I said earlier that the Broncos defense is bad and well their offense isn’t much better. If you have other options it’d be best to sit down Sutton this week.
Sit: KJ Osborne vs. San Francisco 49ers (MNF, 10/23 @ 8:15 PM EST)
This one isn’t meant to be harsh because I’m sure KJ is a nice guy, but he’s the government cheese sandwich your lunch lady gives you when you run out of lunch money. Osborne is very touchdown reliant having yet to hit the 50 receiving yard mark this season. Even with Jefferson out, Addison and Hockenson are the only receivers to trust in this offense. Don’t settle for mid.
Tight Ends: @BreTT_Shevlin
Start: Kyle Pitts @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10/22 @ 1:00 PM EST)
Kyle Pitts is alive ladies and gentlemen! After it first looking like Jonnu Smith was taking his job, now the Falcons have a one two punch at Tight End. Pitts has scored 14 plus ppr points in back to back weeks and looks to keep it going against the division leading Buccaneers. Ride the hot hand!
Start: David Njoku @ Indianapolis Colts (10/22 @ 1:00 PM EST) With six teams on a bye and the Tight end class already being dry as bones my options are thin here. However, I believe Njoku has a solid floor collecting at least 4 targets in every game since week 1. Deshaun Watson may return this week which should help a little bit.
Sit: Zach Ertz @ Seattle Seahawks (10/11 @ 4:05 PM EST)
Ertz is starting to split the snaps with Trey McBride in Arizona which wouldn’t appeal to me if I was an Ertz owner. Until his volume from the beginning of the season returns it’s safe to sit Ertz for now.
Sit: Tyler Higbee vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (10/22 @ 4:05 PM EST)
Matt Stafford isn’t even looking at Tyler Higbee. Just 3 targets the past two weeks, there’s not enough mouths to feed in this offense. With Kupp and Nacua dominating the target share it’s best to leave Higbee on the bench.
Start: Brett Maher vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (10/22 @ 4:05 PM EST)
Brett is smoking in all his games this year accept for 1. Attempting 3+ FGs and hitting 3+ FGs in every game minus week 5 against Philly. The Steelers are a decent defensive team but with Kupp, Kyren, and Puka I expect Maher to have a fair shot at another 3-5 attempts.
START Jake Moody @ Minnesota Vikings (MNF, 10/23 @ 8:15 PM EST)
A brutal brutal BRUTAL end to Jake Moodys game on Sunday but that doesn’t change the fact he still has a 49ers jersey on. There may be no CMC or Deebo (TBD) so this may leave the 49ers in a position to have solid attempts. Cairo Santo hit 2 FGs and 1 XP against the Vikings and the Bears blow so I’ll take my chances with Moody and the 9ers.
Sit: Chad Ryland vs. Buffalo Bills (10/22 @ 1:00 PM EST)
As I’ve said before all Patriots are on sit watch until further notice. Not only is Ryland bottom 3 kicker pretty consistently… the Pats face the Bills and unless Mac, or Zappe, or Cunningham have the game of their lives I just don’t think Ryland will have many chances.
Sit: Jason Sanders @ Philadelphia Eagles (SNF, 10/22 @ 8:20 PM EST)
Jason goes up against Philly. Philly allows the least fantasy points per game to kickers. Not only that the Dolphins are more of a TD team so I don’t see Sanders getting more then 1 or 2 tries.