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With his team sitting on a 5-0 record, Ben can keep the walking boot in storage for now. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today)

Fantasy Football Week 7: Kill, Marry, Chill

Against all odds, the 2020 NFL season is on. Which means so is your fantasy season. You already got our “Kill, Marry, Chill” draft advice, but now you need to know whom to play each week. Well, we also have you covered there. You already have your top guys you’re always starting, but it’s those borderline calls you need to get right to win. So, each week, we’ll go through some guys that we want to “kill” (not looking to start), “marry” (locking into our lineups), and “chill” (considering as sleeper options) to help you fill out your lineup and lead you the promised land of a fantasy championship. Here’s what you need to know for Week 7 of fantasy football.

Kill

Running back – Devin Singletary (vs. NYJ)

It seemed weird that the Bills would draft a running back in the third round after they just had a back average over five yards per carry on 151 rushes in his rookie season. Turns out they were right to not trust Singletary as a three-down back. In six games this season, he’s averaging under four yards per carry on 71 totes. Even worse, he ranks second to last among qualifying backs on Football Outsiders’ DYAR metric measuring running efficiency.

He hasn’t been a total train wreck in fantasy though since he’s in the top 20 in total touches. He also has a juicy matchup this week against the NFL’s last winless team: the New York Jets. Problem is, when the third-round draft pick Zack Moss has been healthy, he’s been cutting into Singletary’s opportunity share. A big part of the reason Singletary’s seen so much action this season is that Moss missed three games. In those three games, Singletary averaged 17.3 touches and 77 total yards. When Moss has been available to back him up, Singletary’s numbers drop down to 12.3 touches for 58 total yards per game. The second-year back also isn’t getting too much short-field work. He has the same number of carries inside the 10-yard line as Moss. And even then, Josh Allen has more rushing attempts inside the 10 than either of them.

The Jets are an overall train wreck, but the run defense actually isn’t too bad. They also held Singletary to just 53 total yards in these two teams’ Week 1 matchup. Leave him on the bench until he can find his rookie-year form again.

Pass Catcher – Jonnu Smith (vs .PIT)

Smith left Tennessee’s Week 6 contest in the second quarter with an ankle sprain. He logged a full practice on Thursday though, so he looks ready to go for this Sunday.

If you’ve ever had an ankle sprain, you know that thing doesn’t fully heal in six days. Smith can get his cortisone shot and say he’s good to go, he’s still not going to be at 100% come Sunday. And that’s not good if you have him on your roster, because this matchup was already really bad for his fantasy prospects.

I don’t need to tell you how good the Steelers’ defense has been this season. In case you need a reminder though: second in total defense and third in points allowed. The Cleveland Browns averaged 37.5 points per game over their last four games heading into Week 6. They scored just seven points against the Steelers.

Look, no one’s scoffing at five touchdowns in five games, but Jaguars’ and the Vikings’ pass defenses aren’t exactly the cream of the crop. (Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

I know what you’re about to say: But doesn’t Tennessee rank second in points and total offense? And you’re right. But Tennessee also hasn’t played any defense quite like Pittsburgh yet. In the five games the Titans have played, Denver had the stingiest defense. What happened in that Week 1 game? Titans only managed 16 points. Bringing this all back to Jonnu Smith, he recorded 4 catches for 36 yards on seven targets. A touchdown saved his afternoon for fantasy purposes, but that’s not a given to happen again this week—the Steelers have allowed just one score to tight ends all season.

All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Steelers’ back seven are going to make it a long afternoon for the fourth-year tight end. He’ll place as a TE2 this week.

Marry

Quarterback – Justin Herbert (vs. JAX)

For last week’s column, I told you to keep Matt Stafford on the bench for Detroit’s game against Jacksonville. I saw a horrendous Jaguars pass defense, but because opponents play from ahead so often, teams defer to the run game early. Sure enough, Stafford was QB 21 last week. Just thought you should know that.

I think the story will be different for this struggling Chargers team though. They’re one of the better 1-4 teams I’ve ever seen, and Justin Herbert’s already a franchise quarterback. They just can’t close out games. The Jags are an opponent you want if you’re trying to break a four-game losing streak, but if Herbert wants his first career win, he’ll have to do it behind his arm.

The Chargers’ run game is a mess right now without Austin Ekeler. Joshua Kelley’s 3.2 yards per carry is the worst mark in the league for RBs with at least 60 carries, while Justin Jackson’s 3.7 YPC mark isn’t much better. Head Coach Anthony Lynn wants to run the ball, but he doesn’t have the personnel for it right now.

Moreover, Jacksonville’s bad against the run, but it’s not bad bad: They rank 22nd on Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric for run defense. They’re dead last in pass defense DVOA though—by a lot. Herbert had back-to-back top-10 finishes among QBs in fantasy before L.A.’s bye week, and he did that without even averaging 30 pass attempts per game. He can quickly rack up points against this sorry-ass secondary. He’ll be a QB1 this week.

Pass Catcher – Odell Beckham (@ CIN)

People are getting tired of watching the Browns waste Odell’s talents. Thing is, he’s still a top-20 WR in fantasy this season thanks to his four touchdowns. He’s averaging 3.8 catches for 53.2 receiving yards a game because Kevin Stefanski is using him more often as a blocker than a wide receiver, so OBJ needs to score to be a viable starter for your fantasy team.

That’s exactly why I’m making him a “marry” this week.

For starters, Odell has been Baker’s favorite red-zone target this season. The three-time Pro Bowler has a team-leading seven targets within the 20-yard line, including five targets from inside the 10-yard line. He’s also going to need to take on a larger role in the passing game this week since Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper are dealing with ailments. Landry said that he suffered a broken rib in Week 5. Even though he’ll continue to play through it, those three catches for 40 yards in Week 6 say that it’s going to limit him going forward. Hooper, meanwhile, underwent an appendectomy and will miss this game.

Odell made All Pro teams with Eli Manning as his quarterback. That should tell you all you need to know about Baker Mayfield. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

On the opposite side of the field, the 1-4-1 Cincinnati Bengals are possibly going to be without top corner William Jackson due to a concussion. PFF has Jackson graded as a top-20 corner, while the guys behind him on the depth chart, LeShaun Sims or Darius Phillips, aren’t even in the top 60.

Odell probably won’t get his first 100-yard receiving game of the season unless he breaks away for a big play, but that score is happening. And it’ll get him a WR2 finish in all formats.

Chill

Quarterback – Ben Roethlisberger (@ TEN)

Ben’s 19th among quarterbacks for fantasy points per game and looking like a far cry from the guy who threw for 5,000 yards in 2018. The Steelers are doing their best to protect their 38-year-old QB who’s coming off a career-threatening elbow injury. Big Ben’s average time to throw this season is 2.33 seconds according to NFL Next Gen Stats, which would be the quickest trigger Next Gen Stats has ever recorded if it holds.

In terms of his outlook for the rest of the season, I’d put Ben squarely in QB2 territory. This week though, I see him cracking the top 10 for the first time this season. The Steelers defense, as impenetrable as it’s been, has faced the easiest slate of opposing offenses so far this season according to Football Outsiders. They’ll finally get a real test against Tennessee’s offense though, which is ranked second in yards and points per game. The future Hall-of-Famer is playing some of the most efficient football of his career, and is perfectly capable of putting up numbers if the situation calls for it—he’s finished as QB 11 twice in five weeks of action. He’ll also have wide receiver Dionate Johnson back for this week to go along with an already deep arsenal of pass-catching talent.

 He isn’t having the most prolific season of his career, but you can’t be a slouch and have 11 touchdowns to just one interception in five games. Ben’s still got it—he just hasn’t had the right matchup to show that he’s capable of balling out. This is that matchup. Consider him a QB1/2 for this week.

Running back – Chase Edmonds (vs. SEA)

You want Chase Edmonds now? After Kenyan Drake had 164 yards against Dallas in what could prove to be a turning point for his season?

Hell yeah, brother.

I trashed Drake before Week 6 when I urged you to pick up Edmonds, but I’m chalking that up to poor timing. Drake played a big part in the Cardinals’ manhandling of the beat-up and de-moralized Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, but before this week, the fifth-year back was averaging 67.2 yards from scrimmage per game on 3.7 yards per touch. This one performance, which came against the second-worst run defense in the league, accounts for one-third of his total yards this season.

This upcoming matchup strikes me as one of those “Edmonds is going to outperform Drake” kind of weeks. As good as the Cardinals’ defense has looked so far, they haven’t had to play the Seahawks yet. You know, the team averaging a league-best 33.8 points per game. On top of that, they’re allowing just 100.8 rushing yards per game on 3.9 yards per carry. Both of those marks are the seventh-best in the league in their respective categories.

I think it’s safe to assume that Kyler Murray is going to throw the ball a lot more than he did against the Cowboys. That means you’ll be seeing Edmonds more this week, since Drake is seldom used (and also pretty much worthless) as a receiver. While he may not rack up too many yards, bank on Edmonds to get plenty of receptions from screens and check downs. That’s why you can trust him as a flex in PPR. He may not have too high of a ceiling, but he has a double-digit floor.