Week 7 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Play or Bench Advice on Top Fantasy Football Stars

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistOctober 17, 2019

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Correctly pegging the always tricky start-or-sit decisions can be the difference between celebrating a fantasy football victory or wondering where it all went wrong.

Considering the stakes are building the deeper we advance into the 2019 NFL season, the importance of deft roster management is impossible to overstate.

With that in mind, we'll identify our top starts and sits at the three marquee offensive positions for Week 7 below.


Week 7 Starts and Sits


Start: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants

Something is happening out in the desert. Either 2019's top pick Kyler Murray is transforming into a fantasy juggernaut or he's at least becoming a must-start in favorable matchups.

Great news for his ownersit doesn't matter which of the two is true. The dual-threat quarterback again draws an exploitable defense, this time a Giants outfit surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to the position, per Yahoo Sports.

As NFL.com's Michael Fabiano noted, all signs point to Murray keeping his hot streak alive this weekend:

"Murray continues to play at a high level, scoring 25-plus fantasy points in each of his last two games. I like him to keep it up against the Giants, who have allowed more than 20 fantasy points per game to enemy quarterbacks. New York has also surrendered three rushing touchdowns to the position, which makes Murray even more attractive."

Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins and Tom Brady have all produced 300-plus passing yards and multiple scores against the Giants. Murray, who has delivered 718 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns over the past two weeks, has top-five potential at the position this week.


Sit: Sam Darnold, New York Jets vs. New England Patriots

Back from a lengthy bout with mononucleosis, Sam Darnold set the fantasy world ablaze in Week 6. His 338 passing yards and two touchdowns helped New York navigate an upset win over the Dallas Cowboys.

That's the good news. Here's the bad: he has almost zero chance to reproduce that success.

The Patriots are as stingy as it gets in terms of limiting the fantasy production of quarterbacks. Only two quarterbacks have produced double-digit fantasy points against them. The Patriots have both the NFL's most interceptions (14) and fewest touchdown passes against (one).

Darnold played New England once in his rookie season. He finished the affair just 16-of-28 for 167 yards with zero touchdowns and four sacks. The Pats' defense is better now than it was then.


Running Back

Start: Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

Remember when 30 was supposed to be the age limit for NFL running backs to maintain fantasy relevance? Apparently 36-years-young Frank Gore never got the memo.

Buffalo's ageless wonder already has three double-digit point totals this season, and he hasn't rushed for fewer than 60 yards since Week 1. Now, he gets his first crack at a Dolphins defense that allows more fantasy production to running backs than anyone, per Yahoo Sports.

Oh, and the Miami native spent last season with his hometown team, so he could get a revenge game bump to his final stat line.

"Nine running backs have either scored or gained 100 total yards against Miami in just five games," CBS Sports' Jamey Eisenberg noted. "Gore is a No. 2 running back with top-10 upside in this matchup."


Sit: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Six weeks into the season, it's long past time to separate players from their draft position. So, even if you spent a late first- or early second-round pick on Joe Mixon, it's time to accept the fact he's not an automatic RB2, let alone a bona fide RB1.

Cincinnati's offensive line is shaky at best. This team is playing catch-up so often that Andy Dalton has attempted the NFL's third-most passes, even though his 61.7 completion percentage is the lowest among the seven quarterbacks to attempt 225 passes. Mixon doesn't get much of that passing volume, either, since his backfield mate, Giovani Bernard, has more targets in a part-time role.

Mixon has a single touchdown on the season. He's cleared 70 scrimmage yards twice and finished with less than 40 three times.

If there aren't better options on your roster, hopefully there's someone more appealing on the waiver wire.


Wide Receiver

Start: Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

A thigh bruise knocked Cowboys top receiver Amari Cooper out of their Week 6 loss after he'd played all of three snaps. It also kept him out of Wednesday's practice.

That information surely piqued the interest of any Michael Gallup owners. But as the second-year receiver has shown, he can be a big-time fantasy contributor even alongside a healthy Cooper, especially against an Eagles defense allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers, per Yahoo Sports.

"Whether Cooper sits, he can destroy this secondary with big plays at home," Vinnie Iyer wrote for Sporting News.

Gallup has 24 catches for 387 yards and a score through four games. He could bulk up both numbers in this NFC East showdown.


Sit: Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins vs. San Francisco 49ers

Rookie wideout Terry McLaurin has been the biggest bright spot in an otherwise miserable season for the Redskins. He has scored in four of his first five NFL games, managing at least four receptions and 62 yards in all of them.

But his lone dud came against the Patriots' vaunted pass defense, as he only corralled three of his seven targets for 51 yards and zero scores in Week 5.

Only one defense allows fewer passing yards per game than New England. Betcha can't guess which one.

The 49ers have surrendered a minuscule 150.2 passing yards per outing this season. They haven't allowed a touchdown pass since Week 3. They held Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks to single-digit fantasy points.

As encouraging as McLaurin's rapid rise has been, this is one of the few weeks where he probably belongs on your bench.