The carnage continued last week with Kansas City, Dallas, and the Chargers all losing.  We had an easy first few weeks, but with byes and our choices now limited by earlier picks, those who are left standing will have to navigate through the remainder of the season to stay alive in their survivor pools.  In my home pool of 180 entries only 32% of entries are remaining with zero losses. In a CBS NY pool I’m in, only 15% of over 27,000 remain. The last two weeks have been brutal.

Week 7 affords us with only one home favorite of greater than seven points and that’s Buffalo over Miami.  Buffalo comes off it’s bye as 17-point favorites and will be the favorite pick of the week in all pools. It checks off all the boxes: Home, greater than 10 point favorites, playing against the Dolphins and that they are a team that most haven’t taken yet.  Miami lost to previously winless Washington last week, but that was by choice as they went for a two-point conversion to win rather than kick the extra point to tie. The screenplay to Kenyan Drake had no chance of succeeding even if he had caught the ball. The Dolphins were given a spark by the switch to Ryan Fitzpatrick and will go with him as the starter on Sunday. They had declared Josh Rosen the starter for the rest of the season just a week or so ago, but in the end it really shouldn’t matter against a good Buffalo defense.  This will be the chalk play of the week. With over 35000 entries still in the Yahoo 25K contest, over 70% of the picks that are in so far are the Bills.

To go contrarian and hope for a Dolphins upset which would definitely whittle down the entries in your pool, there are a few choices.  

The Patriots are 9.5-point favorites over the Jets at the Meadowlands.  The Jets are coming off their upset over the Cowboys buoyed by the return of Sam Darnold .  I am sure here at Fantasy Alarm, Howard hasn’t stopped harassing both Colton and Bowden about this.  I’m hoping it goes the same way for my Eagles this week as I’ll be in Dallas for the game. Can the Jets pull off another upset?  The Patriots struggled in the first half against the Giants on Thursday and pulled away in the second after some Daniel Jones mistakes.  Darnold won’t make those mistakes, although the Jets offensive line may have him under siege the entire game. Look for a high dose of Le'Veon Bell in this one to keep Darnold from getting pounded.  The Jets defense has played very well against the run, but they put no pressure on the opposing quarterback. Give TB12 time and he will pick the defense apart. Julian Edelman can have a big day here in PPR formats.  If you didn’t take the Patriots yet, it’s an option to go contrarian here, but a riskier pick than you may think.

The 49ers are also 9.5-point favorites over the Redskins in Washington.  They held the Rams to 7 points last week in LA as their defense has been terrific.  I don’t see the Redskins being able to muster up any type of offense against them. The over under is only 41.5 so Vegas doesn’t expect much offense from either team.  Washington’s defense has given up the 5th most points in the league and that’s with holding Miami to only 16 last week. Washington has given up 134 yds rushing per game and the 49ers are second in the league averaging 179 yards per game.  Expect the 49ers to control the ball and continue their undefeated season at FedEx Field.

A riskier pick is the Packers at home against Oakland.  They opened as seven-point favorites but now that’s down to six at Westgate and even 5.5 at others.  A few refs with better eyesight may have given them a loss last week to the Lions. There doesn’t appear to be any weather concerns at this time.  We saw the Raiders go to Indianapolis and pull off an upset a few weeks ago. Which Raiders team will show up after the bye? Will the Packers get Davante Adams back?  The Packers are a thought, but definitely a risk.

Of these four games, I have only used the Patriots thus far.  The Bills have the easiest game on paper but will Fitzmagic put a damper on your Buffalo pick this week? Looking ahead they can also be used in Week 9 against the Redskins and travel to Miami in Week 11.  The 49ers have a great matchup this week against the Redskins, but also have two games against the Cardinals in Weeks 9 (road) and 11 (home). The Packers run into a rough stretch after this week and don’t face a weak opponent until weeks 13 at the Giants and 14 at home against the Redskins.  Looking ahead overall, it looks like the 49ers and Bills may be the best two options in week 9 also with the Bills at home and San Francisco away. So whoever I pick here, the other team can likely be the pick in Week 9. In a tough and close call the pick is San Francisco.  Why? As we move further along, you have to think of both playing it safe and giving yourself a chance to win. If you pick Buffalo, you only have a chance to move along with 70-90% of entrants.  If Buffalo loses, your chances of winning increase dramatically.

Good luck this week.  I will be on the road in Austin and will do my best to give you an update on Saturday before heading to Dallas on Sunday for the game.