Week 7 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Play or Bench Advice on Top Fantasy Football Stars
Another week of NFL action is set to get underway Thursday night when the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns go head-to-head. And this week has the potential to be a crucial one for fantasy football managers.
This is Week 7 of the 2021 season, and there are six teams that will be on a bye. That means a bunch of top fantasy contributors will be unavailable, leaving managers to try to find strong replacements to keep their teams afloat. Whether they're able to could dictate their success for the week.
There will also be plenty of tough start/sit decisions to make caused by this. So here's some advice heading into this week's matchups.
Start 'Em: Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers
After his terrific start to 2021, Sam Darnold has been much quieter the past two weeks. He passed for more than 300 yards in every game from Weeks 2-4 and had five rushing touchdowns over his first four games. Since then, he has 384 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and four interceptions between losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings.
However, Darnold will be in a good position to bounce back in Week 7, making him a solid starting option for fantasy managers. The Panthers are going on the road to face the New York Giants, who are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, per NFL.com.
While Darnold should be much more effective at moving the ball through the air, his fantasy value is even higher if he can get into the end zone using his legs again. There's a decent chance that happens in a winnable game for Carolina that will likely feature plenty of offense from its side.
Sit 'Em: Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets
Running back Michael Carter is starting to become a fantasy option after scoring a touchdown in each of the Jets' past two games. He's still not putting up huge yardage totals, but there's reason to believe the rookie will soon start to do so with the increased opportunities he's been getting.
But this week isn't a favorable matchup for Carter and New York's rushing attack. It will be going up against the New England Patriots, who have allowed only one rushing touchdown to a running back this season (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ronald Jones II in Week 4).
Carter's fantasy value has been touchdown dependent, as he hasn't rushed for more than 59 yards in any of his first five games. So leave him on the bench this week, then wait for a better matchup down the stretch to potentially utilize him in the flex spot.
Start 'Em: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa is back at quarterback for the Dolphins, and that means Jaylen Waddle is a much better fantasy option now that he's reconnected with his former Alabama teammate. In Tagovailoa's return in Week 6, Waddle was targeted 13 times and had 10 catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Waddle is a must-start receiver in points-per-reception leagues, because he's had at least 10 catches in two of his past four games. Plus, Miami's receiving corps is currently a bit banged up, with DeVante Parker (shoulder/hamstring) and Preston Williams (groin) nursing injuries and Will Fuller V (finger) on injured reserve.
There should be plenty of opportunities again for Waddle, so expect him and Tagovailoa to connect a bunch of times on Sunday. With a decent matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Waddle should deliver a strong fantasy performance.
Sit 'Em: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
Much like during his rookie season in 2020, Henry Ruggs III has been a boom-or-bust wide receiver this year. His fantasy value heavily depends on whether or not he and Raiders quarterback Derek Carr can connect for a big play or two in a given week.
Last week, Ruggs delivered, notching three catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. But he may have a tougher time in Week 7, considering he's likely going to be covered by Eagles cornerback Darius Slay for much of the game. So Las Vegas may have to turn to other options in the passing game.
Because of that, it's best to leave Ruggs on the bench in fantasy this week and find a receiver who has a better matchup to start in his place. Until Ruggs proves he can be a reliable contributor every week, this is the best approach to take with him moving forward.