In Week 7 of the NFL season, we saw eight games top 50 total points, including four in the 4 p.m. or late-night block out of five. So, of course, there was no shortage of Fantasy scoring this week. Five quarterbacks had at least 39 Fantasy points, seven running backs had 20 or more, seven wide receivers had 25-plus and even five tight ends had 15 points.
Some of the names who put up big performances were predictable, but a few are worth noting. Before I get to my recap for every Week 7 game — including the biggest winners and losers from each — here are the biggest standout performances Sunday from each position from around the NFL and what they might mean for Fantasy:
- Justin Herbert, QB2 — 347 PASS YD, 3 TD, 66 RUSH YD, 1 TD: Herbert continues to exceed expectations. This was the first time he used his athleticism to make some plays, but the passing is still the highlight here. It helps that he has a sneaky-good collection of weapons.
- Giovani Bernard, RB7 — 37 RUSH YD, 5 TAR, 5 REC, 59 YD, 1 TD: That’s now eight games for Bernard with double-digit carries since Joe Mixon was drafted in 2017, and he has 19 PPR points in five of them. The frustrating thing is watching Bernard get the kind of passing game role we rarely see from Mixon.
- A.J. Brown, WR4 — 8 TAR, 6 REC, 153 YD, 1 TD: Three games since coming back from his knee injury, and Brown has 18 catches, 293 yards and four touchdowns. He’s a top-12 WR.
- Rob Gronkowski, TE2 — 8 TAR, 5 REC, 62 YD, 1 TD: I was deeply skeptical Gronk would make an impact for Fantasy after a year away, but he’s looked at least a little like his old self the past three games, hauling in 13 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. What’s going to be interesting is how usage gets split up in the passing game when Antonio Brown signs and is cleared to play, but that is true of everyone, not just Gronk. He’s clearly back in the top 10 at tight end.
The Bills scored six times, but they were all field goals in what was a pretty disappointing game all around. The Jets remain the Jets, and the return of Sam Darnold didn’t fix that.
- Winner: Denzel Mims. It’s hard for anyone to have much upside in this Jets offense; Jamison Crowder is the only person who has managed it so far this season. Mims didn’t have a standout game, but for his first NFL action, after missing much of his rookie training camp and the first six weeks of the season, it was pretty good. Four catches, 42 yards on a team-high seven carries is a good starting point. Mims isn’t a must add player, but it’s worth looking for him if you’ve got a deep bench just in case he breaks out in the second half of the season.
- Loser: Devin Singletary. Singletary had a huge opportunity this season when Zack Moss went down in Week 2 with an injury, but he totally failed to take advantage of it. After rushing for 29 yards on eight carries (compared to 47 on seven for Moss) and adding two catches for 18 yards on five targets, Singletary is averaging 3.0 yards per run and 8.8 PPR points over the past four games. Singletary played a season-low 54.5% of the team’s snaps Sunday, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Moss started to eat into his touches even more. With the Bills’ offense stalling out after its fast start, it’s hard to get excited about a back in a timeshare who isn’t a priority near the goal line.
- What you might have missed: How does a team go about settling for eight field goals in a game? Well, you obviously have to struggle in the red zone, and the Bills certainly did that, most notably when they got down to the Jets 7-yard line, only to take a holding penalty to push them back before the drive ended on a Josh Allen strip sack. However, there was some bad luck involved, too; on one third quarter drive, Josh Allen hit Gabriel Davis for a 22-yard touchdown, only to have it nullified by an illegal formation penalty. Allen completed another apparent touchdown on the next play to Cole Beasley, except Beasley caught it after going out of bounds. Allen certainly could have played better, and it’s starting to become at least a bit of a concern, but he didn’t get a ton of help all of the time.
The Falcons found another new way to lose a game, but it might not have been so close if the Lions had opened up the passing game earlier.
- Winner: T.J. Hockenson. It would be nice if the Lions would play a bit more aggressively, but you have to love Hockenson’s role near the end zone. He scored for the third game in a row Sunday, and the Lions have made a point of looking his way when they get in close. Hockenson was down at the 3-yard line on one drive in the second quarter, and then scored the game-winning touchdown as time expired. He had five catches for 59 yards on six targets, and he still leads the team in targets. If the Lions do opt to throw more, Hockenson could boom in the second half of the season.
- Loser: Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately, the Lions really, really don’t seem to want to play more aggressively. The Lions scored just 13 points in the first 56 minutes of the game, and heading into their final two drives, Stafford had attempted just 27 passes, despite averaging just 3.0 yards per carry for the game. This is the game plan the Lions want to go with, and it’s limiting Stafford’s upside. Stafford was one of the best quarterbacks in Fantasy in 2019, but if he couldn’t put together a huge game against this Falcons defense, it might be time to forget about 2019.
- What you might have missed: If you lost by less than six points to a team with Todd Gurley, you may be entitled to compensation for a terrible bad beat. Gurley scored in the game’s final minutes, and he really, really shouldn’t have — and he knew it, trying to stop himself from crossing the goal line before getting there. That set off a chain reaction that allowed Calvin Ridley to score a two-point conversion, for Stafford to add 75 yards and a touchdown and for Hockenson to add 24 yards and a touchdown. None of that should have happened if Todd Gurley had just fallen down. A butterfly flaps its wings, and all that.
An epic back and forth between two recent top pick QBs, the Browns came out on top, but it wasn’t exactly a Fantasy bonanza with David Njoku, Harrison Bryant and Donovan Peoples-Jones combining for four touchdowns.
- Injuries: Odell Beckham (knee) — Did not return, set for an MRI.
- Winner: Baker Mayfield. It’s almost more frustrating to watch a game like this from Mayfield than it was to watch Week 6, when he was benched in the second half. He played incredibly well, unquestionably his best performance of the season, but there’s not really anything we can do with it for Fantasy — He still only threw the ball 28 times, and this offense isn’t going to be more aggressive without Odell Beckham. The real winner? The tight ends, who combined for six catches, 76 yards and three touchdowns. Good news for Austin Hooper when he can return from his emergency appendectomy, but Bryant should be a nice streamer if Hooper is out in Week 8.
- Loser: Jarvis Landry. Mayfield has his best game of the season, Beckham leaves after one target, and Landry finishes fourth on the team with 48 yards on five catches with no touchdowns. He’s battling through a rib injury and coming off offseason hip surgery, and just clearly isn’t healthy. I wouldn’t drop him, but hopefully the Week 9 bye allows him to get right and close the season strong.
- What you might have missed: Joe Burrow had another strong game, tossing three touchdowns and rushing for one more, but it could have been even better. He was sloppy early on, throwing a pick in the end zone and losing a fumble during his first three drives, and A.J. Green nearly came down with a touchdown in the third quarter, securing it before it was knocked out of his hands by Denzel Ward.
Another wild finish, facilitated by some bad decision making and bad luck for Ben Roethlisberger.
- Winner: Diontae Johnson. Johnson had another injury scare in this one, but was finally able to make it through a game and cemented his place as the No. 1 target in this offense. He was targeted 15 times to lead the team, scoring two touchdowns on nine catches for 80 yards. That’s his third game with double-digit targets in his third game where he played the majority of the snaps. Johnson actually hasn’t been great overall — averaging 5.5 yards per target — but he clearly has Ben Roethlisberger’s trust and will remain worth starting as long as that’s the case.
- Loser: Chase Claypool. Claypool’s breakout coincided with Johnson’s absence, so I wanted to see what Claypool’s role looked like with the Steelers receiving corps at full strength. Claypool still played 50-plus snaps, but was targeted just once, while Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster combined for 29 of Ben Roethlisberger’s 49 passes. It’s just one game, and the fact that Claypool was so far ahead of James Washington in playing time is a good sign. But there’s reason to be concerned about his chance to be a difference maker now.
- What you might have missed: Roethlisberger was picked off three times in this one, but it’s hard to blame him for any of them, really; one was on a quasi-Hail Mary at the end of the first half, the other was tipped at the line of scrimmage, and the third was thrown into coverage, but Smith-Schuster got his hands on it before it was tipped into another defender’s hands. And James Conner had a drop on what would have been a sure-fire touchdown that led to a rushing score for Benny Snell. It could have been a better game, even if he wasn’t great.
Washington 25 , Cowboys 3
The Cowboys are such a mess that they made Washington look dominant. And now they may be down to their No. 3 QB in Week 8.
- Injuries: Andy Dalton (concussion) — Had to be helped off the field, did not return.
- Winner: Antonio Gibson. It didn’t matter that J.D. McKissic cut into Gibson’s passing game work this week, because Gibson got 20 carries, and he looked great. Gibson rushed for 128 yards and an early touchdown, a glimpse of what life could look like if Washington were playing with a lead more often. Fortunately, the upcoming schedule — vs. NYG, @DET, vs. CIN, @DAL over the next four games — could allow a few more opportunities when they come back from the Week 8 bye.
- Loser: The Cowboys offense. It’s just ugly right now. Before Dalton left the game, he was just 9 for 19 for 75 yards; Ben DiNucci came in and attempted just three passes over the better part of three drives. If DiNucci is starting in Week 8 against the Eagles, it might be hard to justify starting anyone except Ezekiel Elliott and maybe Amari Cooper.
- What you might have missed: The Cowboys actually moved the ball at the end of the first half, getting down the Washington 12-yard line on a 13-play drive that covered 63 yards. However, it ended in pitiful fashion, with Andy Dalton throwing behind Elliott, who got his hands on the ball and couldn’t reel it in, with Cole Holcomb coming down with the pick. They wouldn’t get into Washington territory again.
- Winner: Davante Adams. Not that anyone was worried, but it was nice to see Adams at full strength again. In Week 1, he had 14 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns, then he left Week 2 with the hamstring injury and wasn’t quite his usual dominant self in his return in Week 6; he had 13 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns. It feels like Adams might be playing at a higher level than ever before, and with the Packers bye week behind them, he’s probably the No. 1 WR in Fantasy moving forward.
- Loser: A.J. Dillon. If he was ever going to get an opportunity, Aaron Jones being out would be it, right? Nope. Dillon ran the ball five times for 11 yards and wasn’t targeted, playing just 14 snaps to Jamaal Williams’ 55. Williams had 21.5 PPR points in the game, so this is a super valuable backfield to be a part of, but Dillon just isn’t a part of it yet. If you need the roster spot, Dillon is droppable.
- What you might have missed: Deshaun Watson was a garbage-time hero, passing for 72 yards and a touchdown on the Texans’ penultimate drive with the game well out of reach. This didn’t look like a bad matchup, but Watson really struggled as the Packers found a pass rush in the second half.
Joey Slye came up about 1 yard short of hitting a 65-yard field goal to tie a game the Panthers led for just under four minutes overall.
- Winner: D.J. Moore. Moore is really good. I don’t know if he’s going to be better for Fantasy than Robby Anderson moving forward, but I know the Panthers offense won’t be worse if they make Moore the focal point. He scored twice on his four catches for 93 yards, including a 74-yard catch and run that showed off his speed. Moore was actually tied for third on the team in targets, which is frustrating, but he’s a no-doubt-about-it start for a Thursday matchup against the Falcons.
- Loser: Mike Davis. Christian McCaffrey may finally return in Week 8, and his return seems to have coincided with Davis turning back into a pumpkin. That’s probably too harsh, but if this is how Davis’ stint as a starter ends, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, especially with Curtis Samuel of all people lining up in the backfield to vulture a rushing touchdown inside the 10-yard line. That was a look the Panthers went to a few times, and it will be interesting to see if they try to involve Samuel that way when McCaffrey is back.
- What you might have missed: Alvin Kamara had another great Fantasy day — 158 total yards, eight catches — but it could have been a monster game with a touchdown; Latavius Murray had an OK game — 56 yards, one catch — that could have been a top-25 day with a touchdown. Both had their chances early on, with Kamara gaining 4 yards from the Panthers 6-yard line and Murray gaining 1 from the 2, before Drew Brees snuck it in for the score. Hope you didn’t lose by six.
Buccaneers 45, Raiders 20
- Winner: Leonard Fournette. One thing I was concerned about with Ronald Jones coming off his three-straight 100-yard rushing games was that Fournette might take on the passing down’s role, and that’s exactly what happened. Fournette actually out-snapped Jones, 40-31, with the edge mostly coming on passing plays. However, he also ran the ball 11 times to Jones’ 13 rushes. Jones had another completely inexcusable drop, while Fournette was pretty sure-handed in catching six of seven targets. With Jones running so well, this was just about the best-case scenario you could have hoped for if you have Fournette, who should be viewed as a borderline No. 2 Fantasy RB for Week 8 against the Giants.
- Loser: Mike Evans. He has been playing through hamstring and ankle injuries, but keeps playing basically full-time snaps, this week leading the Bucs receivers with 62 snaps. That makes his two-catch, 37-yard game even harder to swallow. That’s two games in a row with just two targets for Evans and four times in seven games with two or fewer receptions. I’m skeptical Antonio Brown is going to step onto the field after his long lay off and make a big impact, but another mouth to feed in the offense makes it really hard to see how Evans turns this thing around. You can’t drop him, but you can’t justify starting Evans until he shows some proof that he’s worth it.
- What you might have missed: Jones still got the late goal-line carry to ice the game, but Fournette nearly had a touchdown of his own on his first reception. He came out of the backfield for an 8-yard catch but was down at the 1-yard line. Fournette stayed on the field for the next play, but — of course — Tom Brady snuck it in.
The scoreboard might paint a different picture of how this one went, as the Chiefs actually had under 300 yards of total offense; the defense and special teams contributed two scores.
- Injuries: Phillip Lindsay (concussion), Tim Patrick (hamstring)
- Winner: Le’Veon Bell. You probably find this one pretty surprising because Bell ran the ball just six times for 39 yards and wasn’t even targeted in his debut. However, Bell ran just one fewer route than Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who also struggled in the passing game. On his first target, Edwards-Helaire didn’t have his head turned for the target, and then he dropped what would have been a touchdown in the third quarter. CEH is still running well — and actually scored a touchdown this week! — but my concern was that Bell would cut into the passing game role, and that’s what we saw Sunday. I need to see a lot more from Bell to start him, but this was a good first week for his Fantasy prospects
- Loser: Jerry Jeudy. Maybe Jeudy will come on later in his rookie season, but we have to acknowledge this has been a pretty disappointing start to his career. Jeudy caught just two of the four passes thrown his way Sunday, and now has just 52 yards on nine targets over the last two games with Drew Lock back. Jeudy is still worth stashing, but he needs to prove himself before you can trust him as a starter.
- What you might have missed: Lindsay got the first carry and looked like the much better back between he and Melvin Gordon, and the two were splitting snaps pretty much evenly before Lindsay’s injury late in the first half. That allowed Gordon to dominate work in the second half despite fumbling twice. From what we’ve seen of these two, Lindsay has looked like the much better player so far. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if Lindsay is cleared to play in Week 8 against the Chargers.
The Patriots offense totally flat-lined in this one, as they benched Cam Newton after he was picked off three times.
- Injuries: Jeff Wilson (ankle), N’Keal Harry (head), Deebo Samuel (hamstring)
- Winner: Brandon Aiyuk. There is some overlap in the skill sets for Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, but there hasn’t been much overlap in how they’ve been used, especially Sunday. Aiyuk had 105 air yards on his seven targets, his third straight game with an average depth of target over 14.0 yards down field. Samuel, on the other hand, continues to be used as an extension of the running game, with his average depth of target actually 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage Sunday — he also lined up in the backfield five times and ran it three more times for 7 yards. Aiyuk is showing the chops to make plays down the field, and we already know he’s a dynamic player in the short and intermediate range, too. This could be the start of a big breakout for Aiyuk.
- Loser: Cam Newton. Bill Belichick gave Newton the vote of confidence after the game, and it helps that Jarrett Stidham just hasn’t looked good at all. But New England’s lack of passing game weapons is starting to catch up to them, and Newton wasn’t as effective running the ball in this one. That’s going to have to be a significant part of the offense for Newton to be successful, but the lack of talent around him is making the margins awfully small. It’s hard to trust Newton as a starting option.
- What you might have missed: Wilson was dominating for the 49ers, playing 37 of 56 snaps, compared to just nine each for Jerick McKinnon and Jamycal Hasty through the first three quarters. From that point on, Hasty played 11 to McKinnon’s six, as it seems McKinnon is firmly back in a part-time role.
Chargers 39, Jaguars 29
Justin Herbert continues to exceed all reasonable expectations, and he’s been an absolute boon for the Chargers offense.
- Winner: Justin Herbert. Herbert did absolutely everything in this one, passing for 347 yards (8.1 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns with no interceptions, while adding a career-high 66 rushing yards and a score. And he did it by targeting 10 different receivers, including multiple targets for seven of them. Obviously, Keenan Allen is the No. 1 guy, and their rapport continues to be great news for Allen’s Fantasy value, as he had double-digit targets in every game Herbert has started except for his injury-shorted Week 5. In those four games, he has 38 catches for 415 yards and a touchdown, and sure looks like a No. 1 Fantasy receiver with Herbert.
- Loser: Mike Williams. Unfortunately, Williams was not one of the beneficiaries of Herbert’s great play Sunday. Coming off a huge 109-yard, two-TD game, Williams had just one catch for 4 yards on his three targets. Williams still played 75% of the snaps and ran 41 routes (compared to 44 for Allen), so this might just be one of those games that these deep threats go through sometimes. However, it sure makes it tough to trust Williams in Week 8 against the Broncos.
- What you might have missed: D.J. Chark caught just seven of 14 targets from Gardner Minshew in Week 6, and then was able to bring in just one of seven in Week 7. I wanted to see what was behind the poor connection between the two, so I watched those seven targets to see what was up. And, frankly … Minshew just missed on nearly all of them. Chark did have one drop for what would have been around 10 yards that was inexcusable, but the rest were mostly not even close by Minshew, even when he had a clean pocket. I think it would be sort of silly to bench the young Minshew for known stiff Mike Glennon, but Minshew absolutely needs to play better or this passing game is going to continue to struggle.
This matchup of two of the most electric quarterbacks in the NFL lived up to the expectations, despite the starting running back for both teams leaving with injuries.
- Injuries: Chris Carson (foot), Kenyan Drake (ankle)
- Winner: Tyler Lockett. There was some consternation around Lockett, who followed up a three-touchdown performance in Week 3 with just six catches for 83 yards over his next two games, followed by a bye week. Well, I hope you didn’t bench Lockett because of that. He caught 15 of 20 targets thrown his way for 200 yards and three touchdowns, an absolutely gigantic game. It’s been a little up and down, but Lockett has 45 catches for 542 yards and seven touchdowns in six games, and remains the team’s top Fantasy receiver in my eyes.
- Loser: Kenyan Drake. Don’t go chiseling Chase Edmonds‘ name into the Cardinals starting lineup just yet, but it’s really hard to argue he’s not the best option after his 145-total-yard performance Sunday, even if Drake is healthy. Of course, we’ve been saying that for weeks and it hasn’t changed their roles. If Edmonds ever does get a chance to start, he looks like he would be a must-start Fantasy option. However, Drake has an extra week to get healthy, so if this isn’t a serious issue, it might not matter by the time they get back in Week 9 against the Dolphins.
- What you might have missed: It’s hard to say this was a quiet game from DK Metcalf when his tackle on an early interception was one of the most buzzed-about plays of this NFL season. But Fantasy players were surely disappointed by Metcalf’s two-catch, 23-yard game. And, if you went to sleep early, you might not even know that Metcalf scored the game-winning touchdown on a 48-yard catch and run in overtime, only to have it nullified by a holding penalty. Let’s just chalk this one up to some regression to the mean.