NFL Week 7 Hot Takes
Howard Bender gives you the hot takes rundown from all the action fantasy football owners saw during Week 7 of the NFL season.
While we still have what could be an explosive end to Week 7 in the form of the Falcons/Giants game, the dust has, for the most part, settled on the midway point of the regular season for fantasy football. Your league standings continue to take shape and those who find themselves in the middle of the pack right now are looking for every advantage possible to stay alive in the hunt. Meanwhile, bottom-feeders are already starting to check out and those who are likely to finish this week 5-2 or better are getting both cocky and complacent. That is why it’s always important for to look back at this week’s efforts and decide what is truth and what is being exaggerated. It’s time for some Week 7 hot takes.
Super Bowl LIII – Chiefs vs Rams
While most probably want us to play out the rest of the NFL season, it is growing painfully obvious that Super Bowl LIII can just be played right now between the Chiefs and the Rams. The Rams, having easily beaten the 49ers this week, remain the league’s only undefeated team while the Chiefs move to 6-1 after annihilating the Bengals on Sunday night. The only legitimate question remaining is who will win the MVP between Todd Gurley and Patrick Mahomes . Both seem equally deserving at this point. Gurley just posted his third three-touchdown game of the season with three 100-yard rushing efforts and five games with over 100 all-purpose yards. Meanwhile, Mahomes finished Sunday’s game with another four touchdown passes, giving him 22 in his first eight career games which breaks Kurt Warner’s previous record of 21. It was his second consecutive four-touchdown game and he’s now got four games this season where he’s thrown four or more touchdowns. He’s also thrown for at least 300 yards in six-straight games. While the NFL won’t cut their season short, you will at least get an early preview of the Super Bowl as the two teams play each other in Week 11, November 19, so get ready!
Those Who Don’t Handcuff Will Lose
Listen, we can say this sh*t ‘til we’re blue in the face. You either get it or you don’t. If you do, great. Make sure they spell your name right when they engrave it on the trophy. If you don’t, let’s break it down for you nice and easy. Do you own Melvin Gordon and not Austin Ekeler ? How’d that taste yesterday? At least if you got your lazy ass out of bed early enough to see that Gordon was out, that is. How about if you’re a Dalvin Cook owner without Latavius Murray ? Yeah, there’s no way you could have used 224 rushing yards and three touchdowns over the last two weeks. If you need more, how about this…? How about looking ahead? Are you a Todd Gurley owner but don’t have Malcolm Brown ? Kareem Hunt but no Spencer Ware ? Look at what’s happening with their teams right now. Not only are the Rams 7-0, but they’re crushing in the NFC West as Seattle, at 3-3, is the next best team. Both the 49ers and Cardinals are 1-6 with little to no hope of improving. The Chiefs are in first in the AFC West, one game ahead of a flawed Chargers team, and should cruise through this season based on their upcoming schedule. Should both teams clinch early, you can bet your ass they’re going to rest their top guys for the playoffs. Just imagine running over your entire league with these guys on your roster only to come up short because they’re on the bench and you failed to add the necessary running back depth. Whoops!
Marlon Mack Was Worth the Wait
After five weeks of garbage production due to a hamstring issue, Mack has returned to the Colts in style and is now average 126 all-purpose yards per game with two touchdowns over these last two weeks. With a healthy Andrew Luck under center, defenses can’t stack the box like they did last season and Mack, who also pass-blocks and catches passes, is starting to be used as an every-down back by the Colts. The offensive line is showing signs of improvement and Mack owners are heading to the winner’s circle much more often. It’s not going to stop next week as the Colts take on the hapless Raiders before heading into their bye, which means Mack is about to vault even closer to the top of the running back rankings. If you painfully suffered through and managed to hold on, your ship has finally come in.
Nick Chubb was the Best Waiver Add of Week 7
Well first of all, the jokes and team name play-on-words with his last name are still on fire right now. But when news of the Browns/Jaguars trade broke Friday, the fantasy community went into a tizzy. You had half the analysts telling you to pick him up and get him into your lineups against a super-soft Tampa Bay run defense that was now missing Gerald McCoy and the other half being stubborn and standing by some inane belief that Duke Johnson was going to be the guy to own. Oops! Hopefully you listened to the wiser half and enjoyed 80 rushing yards, one touchdown and a world of dick jokes. You even nearly got a second touchdown had he not been stuffed at the goal line. Listen, people. Fantasy success is all about opportunity and regardless of what you thought about his small sample size of touches or lack of snaps leading into this game, the Browns made no secret of who was going to get the work; even with Duke getting the start. When are you people going to learn that who starts the game doesn’t mean squat? It’s all about who touches the ball the most and if you want quality ball-touching moving forward, you want Chubb. Those who were able to get both hands around him now have a starting running back on a fairly productive offense that tends to play five quarters each week, not four.
That’s an attention-grabber, isn’t it? We’re not talking all-time here. We’re just talking about this season, moving forward. Sort of an “out with the old and in with the new” mentality and really, we’re just talking about fantasy so you New Englanders can stop getting your panties in a bunch. Brady is currently averaging 268 passing yards per game and is sitting on 16 touchdowns with seven interceptions on the season. Surprisingly, he has two rushing touchdowns already, but that’s not something on which you can rely with any sort of regularity. Meanwhile, after getting his feet wet in the first few games, Trubisky has averaged 334 passing yards over his last three games with 12 touchdowns to just three interceptions and has also averaged nearly 41 rushing yards per game and has two rushing touchdowns himself. And if you actually calculated the number of yards, Trubisky actually ran yesterday on his eight-yard TD scramble, that number would be way higher. The kid has the arm and the legs to treat fantasy owners to a dynamic points-total each week. Sure, Brady will be Brady, but will he be Trubisky-like? Probably not.
The Jaguars are Dead
We already knew this from an offensive standpoint as Blake Bortles , everyone’s fantasy playoff darling from last year, has looked like hot trash all year and was rightfully benched Sunday after leading the team absolutely nowhere. When Cody Kessler gets a standing ovation from the crowd as he replaces you, it’s over. And you know it. But the Jaguars also apparently suck on defense too. Anyone hear Jalen Ramsey ’s post-game presser yesterday? Me neither. I don’t think he was even there. The defense has allowed an average of 30 points per game over their last three (all losses) and let’s face it – these last two games should have been wins. Neither the Cowboys nor the Texans offense should have been putting up points on them like this. Now do you understand why you continue to build your RB depth up in the 10th round of your draft instead of taking a defense? There has been absolutely zero advantage to taking a defense early and what’s worse is that people are probably going to still stash them on their bench during the Week 9 bye. Why? Because they’re stubborn idiots who just don’t know any better.
How about a little running back resurrection this week as Jordan Howard , Lamar Miller and Kenyan Drake all managed to find their way into the end zone this week. Hard to tell who is going to keep it up, but Howard and Drake seem likely, so long as their coaches stay woke. Miller is still going to have issues behind that offensive line.
If Matt Patricia and Jim Bob Cooter don’t see the benefits of running Kerryon Johnson all the time, then we might as well just give up. The guys rushed for 158 yards on just 19 carries against Miami and looked insanely dominant. He was power-running, being shifty and elusive and looked the part of an every-down back. Why in the world Cooter decided to sub in LeGarrette Blount for the touchdown is beyond me and just goes to show how little the Lions can be trusted. However, the breakout performance is going to bump him up the running back rankings finally.
Congrats to Drew Brees for his 500th career touchdown pass. He made quick work of it as he connected on a short pass to tight end Benjamin Watson in the first quarter and the celebration ensued. We’ll see you in Canton, big guy. Well done.
Another congrats to the NFL’s best wide receiver, Adam Thielen . The Vikings wideout posted his seventh-straight 100-yard game and now has touchdowns in four-straight games. Five in his last six. If someone is trying to trade for him, you better be sure you’re getting elite talent in return. Is he going to hit 100 yards every game? No. Is he going to catch a touchdown every game moving forward? No. But the security of owning him is worth forcing a trade partner to overpay.
Just as he does every year, Andy Dalton fell off the proverbial cliff Sunday. If you own him in fantasy, you’re like Al Pacino in that travesty known as The Godfather Part III. “Just when I think I’m finally out, they bring me back in!” Last year Dalton fell apart in Week 6. The year before it was Week 8 and the year before that it was Week 7. Time to stop investing your second-half-of-the-season hopes in the Red Rocket. Yeah that’s right….we’re back to calling him a dog’s penis.
Enjoy the Monday night madness tonight. Falcons/Giants should be a decent match-up so long as Big Blue’s offensive line doesn’t turn out to be Big Blew.