The Best of Week 7 - Footballguys

Matt Waldman scouts our in-season content and shares five must-knows and his takes on each.

You guys have a ton of articles.

This statement about Footballguys is a blessing but it can feel like a curse. Our staff delivers insights that change seasons for the better yet realistically, no fantasy owner has the time to read everything we publish in a week.

If this describes you, let me be your scout. Here are five insights from Footballguys articles that I find compelling for the weekend ahead. I'll share what should help you this week, touch on the long-term outlook, and sometimes offer a counterargument.

1. Jeff Haseley's Fantasy Overview: Hot quarterbacks

Haseley is a fantasy player's fantasy analyst. A die-hard player, he views the game with that kind of eye. He consistently fields high-scoring squads that require your teams to be among the top 10-15 percent of scoring the week you play his teams.

This week and next, Haseley is examining players on hot streaks during the past three weeks in PPR formats in his Fantasy Overview column. He leads off with quarterbacks and running backs performing well between Weeks 4-6.

Here are notable excerpts from Haseley's analysis on quarterbacks (see the article for runners):

Matt Ryan: If there's a quarterback in the Top 5 who could launch into the top spot, it's Ryan. Game scripts are favoring the pass, due to their struggling defense, and questions running the ball with consistency. Ryan and the Falcons host the Giants Monday night then they have their bye, followed by a road game at Washington and Cleveland. The Cleveland game may be a bit lower scoring for Ryan, but the other two are strong matchups for the passing game.

Mitchell Trubisky: The Bears second-year quarterback has 9 touchdowns and 1 interception in the last two games. He's the only quarterback in the Top 20 who has played only two games in the last three weeks. He followed up his six-touchdown game with three touchdowns. Oh, and he has 100 yards rushing in those two games. Trubisky has been a pleasant surprise. He has another favorable game this week vs. New England, followed by two tougher matchups vs. NY Jets and at Buffalo. After that, his schedule opens up with several positive games against the pass. Trubisky should continue to play well and provide good production for us.

C.J. Beathard: The 49ers surprise at quarterback has performed well over the last three weeks despite playing against tougher pass defenses in Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona and Green Bay - Average of 13th in pass defense efficiency. The near future continues to be rough with a home game this week against the Rams, followed by a road game at Arizona. After that, his schedule opens up with two home games against Oakland, NY Giants, the bye and then at Tampa Bay. You could do a lot worse in two-quarterback leagues, but he may not be starter worthy in one-quarterback season long games. Not yet at least. Wait until Week 9.

Jared Goff: Goff might be 10th on the list over the last three games, but he's only 6 points from being 5th. There's not much variance between 12th and 5th. Over the last three games, he's been good, but not spectacular. Goff has 987 yards passing in that span or 329 yards per game. Six touchdowns and three interceptions are good, but not great, and he has zero rushing touchdowns with 36 yards. Looking ahead, the Rams have a road game at San Francisco, home vs. Green Bay and at New Orleans. Overall, the average pass defense efficiency is 21.6, which is above average. It would not be a surprise to see him take a step up in production in the near future.

Matt's Thoughts: If at least one of Mohamed Sanu or Calvin Ridley return to play this week, this is close to a lock. If not, it was still encouraging to see the Falcons lean more on Austin Hooper as a perimeter option. Typically targeted on ultra-conservative short routes that have been a part of his role due to the dynamic skills that Sanu and Ridley offer on intermediate looks, Hooper is capable of more and he'll earn a chance to prove it if Sanu and Ridley miss a week or two.

Also look to Tevin Coleman earning more love in the passing game. A couple of years ago, he riddled the Broncos linebackers in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Of course, we've learned that Steve Sarkisian is no Kyle Shanahan, which makes Coleman's imaginative usage far from guaranteed.

Trubisky will toss his share of interceptions against defenses that pressure him off-script because he lacks maturity under pressure. However, he has a good play caller and designer of offenses that also put Trubisky in position to succeed when the plays go as planned. If he uses his legs more when pressure forces him from the pocket, he'll reduce his share of bad plays.

Even with the mistakes, look for him to earn strong yardage days with big plays. The troubling thing with Trubisky is that Matt Nagy played super-conservative football at the end of last week's games because Trubisky performed so poorly as a decision-maker and nearly self-destructed. If Nagy continues to remain cautious at the end of halves, that's 80-120 yards of passing that Trubisky could lose.

He's worth serious consideration but he's difficult to go all-in as a rest-of-the-year fantasy option unless you have to take a big swing with your roster management.

Beathard looks better than Kirk Cousins at the start of Cousins' career. With Marquise Goodwin back and Dante Pettis not far behind, look for Beathard to generate more surprising weeks.

While Goff will miss Cooper Kupp for at least a week, Josh Reynolds is a solid fill-in and the Rams have a pair of tight ends who are good receivers but typically underutilized in the offense. Look for Goff to remain a solid-to-strong fantasy start against any matchup.

2. Game Predictor: Invest in (Known commodities) Falcons, Giants, Bengals, and Chiefs

As the season progresses, David Dodds' Game Predictor becomes an essential part of your weekly reading. Here's how Dodds introduces it:

The Game Predictor is our primary tool to establish how each team will attempt to play their game (rush/pass) that week. It factors in the opponent, YTD data, recent games, critical injury information, home/away situations and more. I believe it to be one of the best simulation tools available on the internet and has been refined since its birth on the mrfootball.com website 18 years ago.

Based on the data, the Bengals-Chiefs and Giants-Falcons games are likely high-scoring affairs.

Teams
PassComp
PassAtt
PassYds
PassTDs
PassINT
RushAtt
RushYds
RushTDs
Score
Cincinnati Bengals 24 39 293 2.0 1.0 21 106 0.8 26.8
at Kansas City Chiefs 24 37 301 2.2 0.8 25 112 1.1 33.1
New York Giants 27 39 310 1.8 0.9 23 100 0.8 25.0
at Atlanta Falcons 24 37 299 2.1 0.8 26 106 1.1 32.0

Matt's Thoughts: Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, and A.J. Green are bound to have good days because the Chiefs will likely force the Bengals to throw and these three players will exploit the weaknesses of the Bengals defense. Patrick Mahomes II II isn't unstoppable but don't expect the Bengals to have an answer for the Chiefs offense when Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, and Ben Roethlisberger delivered no worse than 391 yards. Roethlisberger was the only quarterback from the list above who didn't throw at least two touchdowns.

Atlanta's offense could be missing two of its three starting receivers but the Giants have given up big plays to tight ends Jordan Thomas, Ryan Griffin, Josh Hill, and Zach Ertz. If Austin Hooper is turned into a priority target, he'll have a good day. New York isn't a good defense against rebounders and deep threats.

Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook don't seem like rebounders but they have this skill and combined for 8 catches and 105 yards against the Giants as part of a lackluster Jaguars passing game — and both have a vertical element to their games. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V earned 11 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown. Alshon Jeffery earned 8 catches for 74 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Giants have also given up three touchdowns to running backs this year. That's a good sign for Tevin Coleman, who could be in for 3-5 catches for 25-40 yards and a score.

3. New Reality: Contending Roster Management

Chad Parsons authors a weekly guide to dynasty roster management. This week he supplies trade ideas for contending rosters while still maintaining an eye towards the future.

Good idea:

CONTENDING ROSTER TRADE IDEAS

The general idea behind trading as a contending dynasty team is two-fold - acquiring production for the current year but also making dynasty trades which look at multiple seasons to aid a team, not a redraft-centric approach of buying a month or two of impact. The natural win-win trade for contending teams is targeting the non-contenders by offering rookie picks and/or hopeful producers and young players for 2019 and beyond.

*All listed trades have been executed in dynasty trades in the past week and are the type of construction I would recommend to non-contending dynasty teams*

Seeking older players from a non-contending team is a tried and true trade strategy for target production. With the NFL rules shift, dynasty GMs should be less concerned with age at quarterback than ever before. Brees and Brady may very well have 2-3 more quality seasons. In my True Impact metric (accounting for production over baseline and start rate) has Brees as QB1, Brady QB5, and Rivers QB10. Here are some recent trades involving these targets:


Matt's Thoughts: Whenever you can see trades from actual dynasty leagues and group them by the common player, it's valuable intel. My favorite deals (that also appear fair for both sides):

While giving up Hilton seems painful, you'll have to deliver a compelling offer to get Brees and a first-round pick. Hilton gives a fantasy player another 3-5 years of starter production that Brees won't and the second-round pick gives him a shot at an instant starter. Brees is for a win-now window and the first is good compensation for the fact that Brees won't be around long.

I don't love any of the Brady trades but the Brady-Lynch for a first and second makes the most sense as an old-for-young deal. If Lynch's groin issue becomes problematic, Adrian Peterson is comparable.

Rivers for Crabtree and a second is a simple deal: Two older players — a superior talent (Rivers) for a good talent (Crabtree) plus a little compensation for the guy losing Rivers.

4. Eliminator Pool

I got into my first fantasy football league thanks to good performances in office football pools. Jeff Pasquino still loves the gambling element of the game and dedicates a lot of his week writing about this angle. His weekly Eliminator Pool is a good resource for those of you who love office pools.

Over the past few years, we have given the subscribers of Footballguys.com some help in playing office pools, one of the most popular methods to follow the NFL aside from fantasy football leagues. For the past few seasons, the staff members have done the Staff Confidence Pool Challenge, where numerous staffers try and pick the winners each week with a confidence ranking, and Jeff Pasquino’s “For The Win” column where Jeff attempts to pick each and every NFL game against the Las Vegas spread. Both of these have been very popular features, so this year Footballguys is adding a combination of the two called the “Against the Spread” Challenge and also the Eliminator Challenge, where staffers have to pick a team to win each week. Just one? That sounds easy, but here is the catch – you can only pick the team you choose in a given week once all season long. Many contests and pools out there get pretty big, so an Eliminator (or Survivor) Pool can go 16 or 17 weeks.

Jeff Pasquino has provided some insight into this kind of contest with two preseason articles. The first one that describes this kind of contest along with some advice on how to pick a team each week:

Jeff Pasquino: Going back to my preseason plan, I clearly underestimated the Bears. I had Chicago as an improving team, but taking New England on the road in this spot is not where I wanted to go this week at all. Las Vegas backed that up with a tight point spread (Chicago +3 at home), which screams like a trap game for the Patriots. A Chicago win here would not be a surprise at all. Instead, Week 7 feels like the week to try and steal the week and save teams for the back half of the year. With the Colts big favorites at home against a Buffalo team starting a quarterback who was not even on the squad two weeks ago feels like a good shot at a win. The Money Line for Indianapolis is floating around -340 to -360, giving Indianapolis a 77-78% chance of winning on Sunday. Everything points to using Indianapolis, so that is where I went this week. Cross your fingers and hope that Vegas gets this one right.

The Pick: Indianapolis Colts

Matt's Thoughts: I don't bet on football. Nothing wrong with it but this isn't my lane. Any commentary from me is useless here other than, "we have writers like Pasquino who focus on this subject and you should check them out."

5. Rent-a-Defense: KC Masterpiece?

Sigmund Bloom's Rent-A-Defense is a weekly staple at Footballguys. This week, he touts the Kansas City Chiefs defense and special teams as a multi-week rental:

Kansas City (vs Cincinnati)

The Chiefs D/ST was a monster in one of their two home games, and they didn’t have Justin Houston for all of it. We’ve already seen Andy Dalton throw four picks in a road loss earlier this season.

A Look Ahead: DEN @CLE ARI - Yes. Yes. Yes. We might be riding the Chiefs D/ST for a while.

Matt Thoughts: You may be wondering how the Chiefs-Bengals is considered a top-scoring affair but their defense is a recommended rental. Expect the Chiefs to earn sacks, turnovers, and big plays on special teams to earn strong fantasy totals while giving up a lot of yards and points.

As for the week after, don't let Denver's offense fool you; the Arizona offense spotted the Broncos 14 points with a pair of interception returns and a trick play padded the lead to 21-0, Denver halfway through the first quarter. When a team jumps out this fast and the opponent's offense lacks an answer, the opposing defense is placed in a precarious spot — especially when that Arizona defense was missing starting safety Tre Boston.

Denver's defense is obviously a good pass defense, but its run defense is a doormat against opposition that has a solid-to-good offensive line. The Chiefs can run the football and it reminded Denver as much during the previous contest. Arizona has struggled to muster a ground game all year despite having one of the most talented backs in football.

The Broncos faithful may feel a little better after drubbing the Cardinals, but the Chiefs nearly pulled out a primetime victory in Foxboro and that's nowhere near a demoralizing event for a team with a first-year starter who showed his teammates that he's giving them a chance to win every week.

Although the Chiefs have struggled against the run and they're susceptible to big plays, the unit still sports an excellent pass rush thanks to Dee Ford and Chris Jones. Jene Bramel and I nicknamed Ford, "Wee!" Ford, because of his uncanny skill to bend an edge with the speed of a roller coaster on a hairpin turn. Jones is one of the emerging forces at his position. There's real chance that Justin Houston returns during this three-game stretch.

Buy. Buy. Buy.