The Jaguars showed the world that they are a team headed in the right direction when they beat the Buffalo Bills 34-31 on Sunday in London. And it wasn't just the offense putting smiles on fantasy owners' faces, the defense finished Week 7 ranked 2nd overall with a top-3 finish from LB Tevin Smith. It doesn't matter if it is fantasy or reality, the Jaguars are on the rise and people are taking notice!
Looking around the rest of the league, Week 7 was filled with QB/WR combo winners who came through just in the nick of time. Philip Rivers & Danny Woodhead, Brian Hoyer & Nate Washington, and Teddy Bridgewater & Stefon Diggs all came up big with the game out of hand. I tell people all the time via email and Twitter that even a losing team will produce fantasy winners because stats is all we care about. And when a team is playing from behind, QBs and WRs become fantasy gold! Did you know that Bills QB E.J. Manuel has now lost games in three different countries (USA, Canada, and England)?
In injury news, Texans RB Arian Foster suffered a torn Achilles against the Dolphins, ending his season just four games into his late start to the season. Alfred Blue and Chris Polk will take over RB duties, and neither is a good fantasy option unless you are desperate for RB depth.
Kirk Cousins – Redskins: Playing the Buccaneers is a recipe for fantasy success these days, and Cousins took full advantage this weekend. Cousins connected on 33 of 40 passes, and racked up 317 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Cousins has been throwing 2 INTs per game most weeks this season, but he channeled his inner-QB and put up QB1 stats. He gets the Patriots next week, which means you shouldn't go chasing stats by adding Cousins off the waiver wire on Tuesday.
Derek Carr – Raiders: Carr showed the Chargers exactly where their defensive weaknesses were this week by throwing for 289 yards and 3 TDs. Had the game been a little closer, Carr could have easily passed the 300-yard mark, but this game was over shortly after the coin toss. The Raiders face the Jets in Week 8, so Carr's owners should have a backup plan in place next week.
Brian Hoyer – Texans: As I mentioned earlier, Hoyer's top-10 day (for QBs) came with the game decided and the Texans just trying to make a good showing in the boxscore. Although he did have 273 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT, only about 15 percent of owners got to appreciate the numbers because that is the amount of leagues in which he is owned. Hoyer has DeAndre Hopkins at his disposal, but after that it gets sketchy at best. It is best to leave Hoyer on the waiver wire unless the Texans figure out a way to turn back time and bring in Randy Moss.
Lamar Miller – Dolphins: Well, I guess former Coach Joe Philbin was the problem all along for Miller and Co. The Dolphins RB racked up 236 total yards (175 rushing, 61 receiving) and 2 TDs against the helpless Texans. Miller now becomes a legit RB1 with the new offensive scheme committed to running the ball.
T.J. Yeldon – Jaguars: There is no doubt about it; the Jaguars have found their running back of the future in Yeldon! The rookie ran the ball 20 times and gained 115 yards, and scored a TD against the Bills in London. It's not like all his yards came on one big play, either. Yeldon averaged 5.75 YPC against one of the league's best run defenses. Yeldon is a legit RB1 most weeks.
Charcandrick West – Chiefs: West was a must-add player when Jamaal Charles went down and the Chiefs coaching staff anointed him the starter ahead of Knile Davis. He fell flat on his face against the Vikings, managing just 33 yards on 9 carries. This week, however, he made fantasy owners happy by running the ball 22 times for 110 yards and a TD against the Steelers. West gets a struggling Lions defense in Week 8, making him a solid RB2 option in most formats.
Nate Washington – Texans: Washington is a sneaky fantasy WR for those in deeper leagues because of the amount of targets he sees. Hopkins dwarfs all others for targets with 101 so far this season, but did you know Washington is just one target (44) behind Cecil Shorts (45) for the #2 spot on the Texans roster? This week Washington turned his 16 targets into 9 catches, 127 yards and 2 TDs. Granted, the game was well out of hand, but with Foster now out for the season, my guess is the Texans will be playing from behind more often than not for the rest of the year. If you need WR help, chances are Washington is available in your league.
Stefon Diggs – Vikings: Diggs has went from an unknown WR on the waiver wire, to a must-own and must-start WR2/3 over the past 3 games. This week he may have finally ended any doubt he is the Vikings No. 1 WR after burning the Lions secondary for a 6/108/1 line. I'd check my waiver wire and see if Diggs is available before someone else does.
Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns - Jaguars: Robinson and Hurns are becoming staples on the winner's list this year with the much-improved offensive play of QB Blake Bortles!(/team/roster/blake-bortles/5e2dcdf3-c5ab-4d4c-80ac-54919a747ec5/). Robinson hauled in 6 of 9 targets for 98 yards and a TD, while Hurns managed 53 yards and a TD on 2 receptions. The Jaguars are on a bye in Week 8, and then face the Jets' strong secondary in Week 9. Fantasy owners need to have other options for next week at least.
Jordan Reed – Redskins: Reed had missed two games with a concussion, but showed back up this week and made an immediate impact by being a safety net for Cousins. Reed finished the game with 11 receptions (13 targets), 72 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Bucs. The numbers were good enough to rank him #1 for fantasy TEs this week, and someone to target on the waiver wire (60 percent owned) on Tuesday.
Jacksonville Jaguars defense: I told people the Jaguars defense was a sleeper defense this week, but how many of them listened? I know I did, and they paid off for me in my leagues by piling up 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 forced fumbles and 2 defensive touchdowns. Telvin Smith ended up #3 overall in the IDP ranks thanks to his 8 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 2 tackles for loss, 1 INT and 1 TD. It's not often a defensive player scores double-digit fantasy points, but Smith scored 26.70 this weekend!
The Jaguars ended up #2 on the fantasy defense list this week, with only the Rams ahead of them.
Colin Kaepernick – 49ers: The Niners have got to do something about the rapid and sharp decline in Colin Kaepernick. It is shocking that his throwing for 124 yards, no TDs and no INTs isn't even his worst game of the season. That honor came back in Week 3 when he managed to complete just 9 of 19 passes for 67 yards, no TDs, and 4 INTs. Kaepernick is as far down the fantasy QB consideration list as you can possibly get these days.
Eli Manning – Giants: When one opens the book of Eli (see what I did there Denzel Washington?), it is likely to read more like a mystery novel than the rise and fall of a nation. Manning will throw for 441 yards and 3 TDs one week, then regress back to 170 yards, no TDs and no INTs shortly after. And to make matters worse, his relapse came against a Cowboys defense that is anything but imposing. Next week he gets a generous Saints defense to try and rebound against.
Christine Michael – Cowboys: The Cowboys talked up Michael and his "increased role" all throughout their bye week, which should have been a red flag to us all. Michael saw just 5 carries and 1 reception, which he turned into 20 total yards (18 rushing, 2 receiving). With Darren McFadden running for 152 yards and a TD, and Joseph Randle in the mix (depending on the severity of his strained oblique), Michael looks like little more than another RB for the Cowboys to mix in to ensure nobody has too much fantasy value. You can hold on to him, but I wouldn't play him until his role is more substantial.
Rashad Jennings – Giants: Jennings was a solid RB2 option when the fantasy drafts were kicking off, but he has been nothing short of a disappointment since then. He may have finally hit rock-bottom this season as he saw just 5 carries and managed 19 yards. Second-year RB Orleans Darkwa saw 8 carries that he turned into 48 yards and a TD. Word out of New York is Darkwa will enter the mix for touches and will most likely end up creating a 4-headed nightmare at RB for fantasy owners.
Melvin Gordon – Chargers: Gordon was one of the hottest rookies to own when it came time to draft for the fantasy season. The Chargers needed a running game, and Gordon was the man we all thought would bring that ground game back to life. Gordon has been this year's Bishop Sankey, a big fat fantasy bust! This week he managed to run the ball just 7 times for 29 yards as the Chargers tried to claw their way back from an early deficit. Woodhead is the passing down back, and the RB in San Diego that holds the most value.
Odell Beckham Jr. – Giants: Beckham has now had back-to-back poor outings, totaling just 11 receptions and 96 yards. Four of those catches and 35 of those yards came this week against the Cowboys. Word is his hamstring is not bothering him, meaning defenses are just focusing on stopping OBJ at all costs. The Saints are a juicy matchup for both Manning and Beckham, so I wouldn't give up on them just yet.
Vincent Jackson – Buccaneers: Vincent Jackson reminds me a lot of the Redskins RBs, one good game and overvalued because of it. Back in Week 4 Jackson put up a 10/147/1 line against the Panthers, but since then he has a total of 2 catches for 27 yards and no scores. This week he had one of those catches and 13 of those yards. The reality is Jackson is an afterthought in the Bucs passing game behind Mike Evans. I personally cut him in the one league I owned him in, and wouldn't be mad if anyone else did the same.
Jordan Cameron – Dolphins: With all the scoring the Dolphins did on Sunday (44 points), it appears that Cameron was one of the only people not to get in on the action. Cameron saw just 2 targets on the day, but was able to reel both of them in for 23 yards. The new Dolphins TE started the season off right by totaling 135 yards over the first two games, but has managed just 88 yards since then. With his ownership in the 80 percent range this season, there are plenty of fantasy owners disappointed in their TE production.
Houston Texans defense: The Texans have been a disappointment on both sides of the ball, not just this week, but this season. This week however the Texans generously allowed 38 points to the Dolphins while amassing just 1 recovered fumble for defensive stats. The Texans are a mess offensively, which puts the weight of the world on the defense's shoulders. You can't rely on your defense that much unless you have a MUCH better squad than the Texans do. I have no idea why they are still owned in 70 percent of leagues.