Week 7 Fantasy Sleepers: Giovani Bernard, David Njoku among injury replacements to trust

Week 7 of the fantasy football season is here and tough lineup decisions will await fantasy owners in the wake of numerous injuries and another four-team bye. While Alvin Kamara, Chris Carson, Josh Jacobs, DK Metcalf, Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas, Darren Waller, and more are returning to lineups across the league, the Vikings, Ravens, Colts, and Dolphins are all off, which will take some of the depth out of our Week 7 fantasy rankings. It also means that fantasy football owners will have to trust at least a few sleepers, like injury fill-ins Giovani Bernard and David Njoku, in key start ’em, sit ’em decisions.

Boston Scott is this week’s most appealing sleeper, as he is going to be the lead back for the Eagles and gets to take on a Giants team that has gone 1-5 through six games this season. Receivers like Marquez Valdes-Scantling (@ Texans) and Marvin Jones (@ Falcons) could both take advantage of good matchups and help to replace bye-week guys like Adam Thielen, Marquise Brown, DeVante Parker, and T.Y. Hilton.

WEEK 7 FANTASY: Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em

Last week, our sleepers were hit or miss. When we did hit, they were home runs, as D’Andre Swift, Christian Kirk, and Trey Burton all had two TDs and Kirk Cousins threw for 343 yards and three TDs despite throwing a few picks. Our misses, however, were big. Alexander Mattison scored just 2.6 points. Andy Dalton was a disaster and only scored a late, garbage-time TD to save some semblance of fantasy value. And the likes of Matthew Stafford, Mecole Hardman, and Eric Ebron all came up short too. 

Our D/ST sleepers were the most solid group of all, as the Dolphins shut out the Jets while Washington held the Giants to 13 offensive points. The Panthers weren’t great, but they were serviceable during a bad week for defenses. Hopefully, we’ll keep doing well in that area while improving at other positions.

WEEK 7 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Week 7 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs

Boston Scott, Eagles vs. Giants (Jacob Camenker). Miles Sanders (knee) is set to miss Thursday night’s game, so Scott will be the lead back for the Eagles. Scott racked up 54 yards in place of Sanders in the season opener, but he could be better positioned to rack up yards or score a TD against the Giants in Week 7. Either way, Scott has an easy path to 15-plus touches, so he can be trusted as an RB2 and is readily available on the waiver wire.

Latavius Murray, Saints vs. Panthers (Vinnie Iyer). The matchup is great coming off a bye at home, and the game script should be similar to the Lions game as New Orleans pounds away in the second half of a Big Easy victory.

Giovani Bernard, Bengals vs. Browns (Matt Lutovsky). Bernard saw a season-high 11 touches last week as Joe Mixon was in and out of the game because of an ankle issue. Bernard managed just 28 yards, but he scored his first touchdown of the season and could be in line for more work against Cleveland even if Mixon is active. The Browns allow a healthy 18 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to running backs, and when these teams met in Week 2, Bernard hauled in five-of-seven targets for 22 yards, which shows his flex upside in PPR leagues. (Update: Mixon has been declared out for Week 7.)

WEEK 7 DFS TOURNAMENT LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel

Week 7 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill, Titans vs. Steelers (Camenker). The Steelers defense has been good against quarterbacks on paper, but it’s important to note that three of the five quarterbacks they have faced were Daniel Jones, Jeff Driskel (after Drew Lock got injured early in the first half), and a banged-up Baker Mayfield. They held up well against Deshaun Watson but had issues containing Carson Wentz, so Ryan Tannehill, who is averaging 2.8 total TDs per game, could have similar success, especially if he can avoid turnovers as he usually does.

Matthew Stafford, Lions at Falcons (Iyer). He underwhelmed in Jacksonville last week because of a shockingly run-dominant game script and the TDs going to the backs, but this week he’ll be in a legitimate shootout back in Georgia against Atlanta’s defense on the other side of bestie Matt Ryan.

Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers @ Saints (Lutovsky). Bridgewater had been on a two-game hot streak before struggling against Chicago’s stout pass defense last week, but he should get rolling against a Saints defense giving up the fourth-most FPPG to QBs. New Orleans has allowed at least three QB touchdowns in every game this season, so it’s likely Bridgewater’s floor is at least 250 yards and two scores.

WEEK 7 DFS CASH LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel

Week 7 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers @ Texans (Camenker). The Texans are one of four teams in the NFL that have given up nine or more TDs to WRs this year. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are coming off an embarrassing defeat, so he will be motivated to do well and get his team back in the win column. That will mean plenty of scoring opportunities and Valdes-Scantling, Rodgers’ current No. 2 receiver, could benefit greatly from that.

Christian Kirk, Cardinals vs. Seahawks (Iyer). The big plays with limited volume weren’t fluky against the Cowboys. That’s his role, and it’s been key to opening up other parts of the offense for the red-hot Kyler Murray.

Marvin Jones, Lions @ Falcons (Lutovsky). Jones has taken a big step back in the Lions offense since Kenny Golladay returned, and his three catches for 17 yards in the past two games combined likely has his owners fed up. Even though both of those matchups were favorable (Saints, Jaguars), they’re not as favorable as this one. Atlanta gives up the fourth-most FPPG to WRs and just allowed big games to both Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. Jones is overdue for a big play or two. 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends

Ryan Griffin, Jets vs. Bills (Camenker). Picking anyone on the Jets offense seems like a massive mistake at this time, but the Bills are allowing nearly 81 yards per game to TEs and have allowed six TDs to the position, good for the second-highest mark behind only the Falcons. Griffin may not be a sexy play, but if Sam Darnold is back and Griffin continues to see targets instead of Chris Herndon, he could work his way into streamer territory.

Logan Thomas, Washington vs. Cowboys (Iyer). Kyle Allen seems to have a more reliable connection with the beastly figure than Dwayne Haskins, and the Cowboys don’t have a body who can stop him in the red zone.

David Njoku, Browns @ Bengals (Lutovsky). Originally we had Anthony Firkser here, and while he could still have a decent game, we don’t like him as much with Jonnu Smith not even on the injury report. With Austin Hooper (appendix) out, Njoku figures to see five-plus targets against a Bengals defense allowing 10.4 FPPG, giving him plenty of upside at this thin position.

WEEK 7 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Week 7 Fantasy Sleepers: Defenses

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Giants (Camenker). One of my favorite strategy for picking defensive sleepers is to pick a decent team at home on Thursday night against a weak offense. That’s exactly what the Eagles are. They have the defensive line needed to bother Daniel Jones and perhaps force him into some turnovers. The Giants are tied for the fourth-most giveaways this season with 10, so the Eagles seem like a safe bet in this contest.

New Orleans Saints vs. Panthers (Iyer). The team knows Teddy Bridgewater well and should play better all-around defense coming off the bye to put some sacks and picks in order.

Cleveland Browns @ Bengals (Lutovsky). The Browns didn’t much when these teams met in Week 1 (three sacks, fumble recovery, 30 points allowed), though had they been able to get into the end zone on a strip sack recovered on the one-yard line, we might be viewing them differently. Regardless, they’ve played better since then, racking up nine sacks and 10 takeaways. Joe Burrow takes a lot of sacks and can be pressured into mistakes, so expect a solid showing from Cleveland.

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