Just as the clock ticked past the 7-minute mark of the first quarter in Minnesota, many fantasy owners saw their chances of winning their league title take a nose dive like the great Stock Market crash of 1929. Aaron Rodgers rolled out of the pocket to buy time, and after he released the ball he was tackled, and driven to the ground, by Vikings LB Anthony Barr. Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, and fantasy owners were forced to look for backups on the waiver wire.
The problem this season is injuries have ravaged teams in all formats, causing the waiver wire to be even thinner than it normally is at the mid-point of the season. If you don't have another QB already on your roster, chances are you are going to have to learn the art of streaming pretty quickly.
Two guys you will want to target for Week 7 are Tyrod Taylor and Jared Goff. Both are owned in less than 40 percent of fantasy leagues, and have plus matchups. Taylor is coming off a bye, which helps. Goff, on the other hand, is coming off back-to-back down games against the Seahawks and Jaguars. His confidence may not be where it used to be. Be aware, and beware.
Josh McCown – Jets: McCown is a guy I told people to take a chance on via email and social media. The Patriots defense is as bad as any in the NFL this season, so playing any QB who plays against them has been a proven game plan through six weeks of the season.
This week McCown came through for gutsy owners willing to gamble on him by throwing for 354 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He also chipped in 21 rushing yards, giving him 30 fantasy points in Week 6, numbers good enough for a top-5 QB ranking.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Buccaneers: Fitzpatrick saw his first real action of the season when Jameis Winston went down with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder. Fitzpatrick is unowned in all but the deepest of the deep leagues, so fantasy owners watched helplessly as he racked up 290 passing yards, 10 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 INTs against the Cardinals' generous secondary.
Winston's Week 7 status is unclear right now, and we likely won't know much until at least Wednesday. If Fitzpatrick is forced to start in Week 7 – a road game against the Bills – I'd stay away from him unless you are absolutely desperate for a QB. I'd consider adding C.J. Beathard before Fitzpatrick.
Leonard Fournette– Jaguars: Fournette has been all that the Jaguars and their fans had hoped for through the first half of the season, racking up 732 total yards with 7 touchdowns. This week he accounted for 130 rushing yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Fournette is now averaging 4.6 YPC this season, and is on pace to finish with 1,589 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns!
Fournette gave everyone a scare when he twisted his ankle and was forced from the game. But every indication is he will be ready to go for Week 7. The Colts are as bad on defense as they are on offense, which means good things for Fournette if he is indeed good to go.
Jerick McKinnon – Vikings: McKinnon solidified his spot as the Vikings' new RB thanks to his 69 rushing yards, 30 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns against the Packers. Latavius Murray got the start, and split carries with McKinnon, but it is pretty obvious who the better back is.
It would be great if the Vikings would just call McKinnon the starter and let Murray spell him for a breather, but they seem to be willing to just have a RBBC for now. McKinnon is still worth playing as a RB2 with upside, but he has a tougher matchup in Week 7 against the Ravens.
Marvin Jones Jr. – Lions: Jones has been solid this season, averaging 46.7 YPG as the No. 2 WR behind Golden Tate. That changed this week when Tate went down with a shoulder injury in the third quarter, and Jones picked up all the targets he left on the table late in the game. Jones finished with 6 catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.
Tate is expected to miss multiple games due to a sprained AC Joint. That puts Jones in the driver's seat for targets against the Steelers and maybe the Packers. He's worth owning as WR depth, but his value gets a bump while Tate is out.
Ted Ginn Jr. – Saints: In true Ted Ginn fashion, the Saints WR finished Week 6 with 4 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, but was tied for 3rd in targets on the team with Brandon Coleman and Alvin Kamara. Ginn is an every-other-week type of player, with yardage totals of 53, 24, 44, 25, 66 this season, and scoring in Weeks 3 and 6 (bye in Week 5).
Given his history this season, Ginn should be avoided in Week 7 as the Saints go on the road to take on the Packers. On top of his history, he is also dealing with the return of Willie Snead to the WR corps. I don't own Ginn in any of my leagues due to the Saints depth, and his consistently being inconsistent.
Evan Engram – Giants: The great thing about owning Engram if you've been struggling to find a TE this season is that the Giants are down to him, Roger Lewis, and the first 3 fans through the gate for targets. With virtually their entire WR corps on season-ending I.R., Engram managed to reel in 5 of 8 targets this week for 82 yards and a touchdown.
I wouldn't get my hopes up too high, as defenses will soon focus on stopping him as Eli Manning's lone threat in the passing game. Nevertheless, Engram is a must-own TE, and worth starting on most teams at TE, or even in the flex if you have a better TE already.
New Orleans Saints defense: Outside of the Saints giving up 32 points to the Lions at home, not much went wrong for the defense this week as they racked up 5 sacks, 3 INTs, 3 defensive touchdowns, and 2 recovered fumbles. Even with 32 points allowed, the Saints still picked up 43 fantasy points this week.
The Saints are owned in only around 3-4 percent of fantasy leagues, but now have 101 fantasy points over their last 3 games. Even if you go back to the previous 4 weeks, the Saints are the #1 overall defense in terms of fantasy points. Go figure!
With them going on the road to take on the Packers and Hundley, the Saints may just be a sneaky play for you defensive streamers.
Matt Ryan – Falcons:Playing at home is supposed to mean you have the advantage. But the Falcons lost at home to the Bills in Week 4 by a score of 23-17. This week they took another tough home loss, this time to the Dolphins by a score of 20-17. Matty Ice accounted for just 248 passing yards, with 1 TD and 1 INT.
Ryan is still a very good fantasy QB, but he has now failed to top 20 fantasy points in 4 of 5 games this season. Now would be a GREAT buy-low time for him with the Patriots coming up next week. Toss an offer out to his owner, see if it sticks.
Derek Carr – Raiders: It looks like Carr came back a little too soon as he completed just 21 of 30 passes for 171 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Carr denied that his back limited him in any way on Sunday, but anyone who watched the game saw that he was cautious at the very least.
The Raiders have a short week as they play the Chiefs on Thursday night. It is a home game for them, but still a short week with an injured QB. I'd stay away from Carr and the Raiders players if possible in Week 7.
Jonathan Stewart – Panthers: Jonathan Stewart continued his fantasy-killing ways this season by managing to lose 4 yards on his 8 carries on Sunday. On top of that, he failed to haul in either of his 2 targets, batting one of them up in the air, resulting in an interception.
Stewart looked old, slow, and completely finished so far this season. He's now averaging 2.9 YPC, with a 2-game average of 0.35 YPC. Stewart is hard to cut with nothing on the waiver wire, but he is impossible to play.
C.J. Anderson – Broncos: The Broncos had a prime opportunity this week to put up huge numbers as they hosted the 0-4 Giants. Instead, the Broncos came out flat on both sides of the ball, with Anderson seeing just 9 carries for 14 empty yards.
Anderson has now managed to gain less than 40 yards in 2 of the last 3 games, and seen fewer than 10 carries in those 2 games. Jamaal Charles isn't seeing an increase in his touches, which is good news for Anderson owners. But with the Broncos dealing with a bland situation at QB, defenses are able to focus more on stopping the run. Because of that, Anderson will be a roller coaster ride all season long.
Sammy Watkins – Rams: It's been a long season for Watkins and his owners this season as the WR has seen a high of 6/106/2 in Week 3, and a low of 1/11/0 this week. It's not that I expected him to do anything against the Jaguars "No Fly Zone" defense. But his 1 catch for 11 yards this week now gives him a whopping 2 catches for 28 yards over his past 3 games.
If the Rams can't get him involved on offense more than this, the trade will be all for nothing. As it stands now, I wouldn't have a problem if you cut Watkins and picked up just about anyone else that is producing. Watkins is in the "blindfolded dart throw" section of fantasy rankings these days.
Willie Snead – Saints: We all know that you should never play a guy in his first game back from injury or suspension; we know this! But, I stupidly broke this rule myself when I played Snead this week against a beatable Lions secondary.
Snead finished with just 1 catch (3 targets) for 11 yards. Drew Brees threw the ball only 31 times, so between Michael Thomas, [Ted] Ginn, Snead, Alvin Kamara, and Coby Fleener, targets were at a premium. Snead will get into better game shape going forward, but I'd consider him as nothing more than a flex player until/unless he passes Ginn on the depth chart.
Martellus Bennett – Packers: Bennett has been a major disappointment this season to his fantasy owners, posing a season-high of 6 catches, and 53 yards, neither of which came in the same game. This week he managed 2 catches and 22 yards, but remains touchdown-less for the season.
Bennett was the intended target when Rodgers was injured, but was unable to at least gain some yards on the play. With Brett Hundley now in at QB, things aren't going to get any easier for the TE. All his owners can hope for at this point is for Bennett to be a safety blanket for the young QB, but that too isn't likely with Jordy Nelson being one of the safest WR targets in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs defense: The Chiefs headed into Week 6 as the only undefeated team in the NFL, but they didn't finish it that way. While their defense allowed only 17 points to the Steelers, they also managed to secure just a single sack, and a single interception for the day.
Even though the final score was 19-13, the game wasn't nearly as close as you would think. The Chiefs looked as flat as a sidewalk, while Le'Veon Bell had his way with them on the ground. If the Steelers play-calling wasn't as vanilla is it is, this game could have been much worse for the Chiefs.
As it stands, the Chiefs defense finished with 8.00 fantasy points. This marks the first time this season they have failed to score at least 10.00 fantasy points. They'll look to get back on track in Week 7 against the Raiders and a banged up Derek Carr.