My Week 7 list features under-the-radar players that are not being started in a majority of fantasy football leagues. These players could produce good fantasy numbers this week due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. With that in mind, here are our top fantasy football sleepers for Week 7.
Coming off the bye week, Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is going to be well-rested and primed to thrive in a fantastic matchup. The Bills host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their 31st ranked pass defense, a secondary that most recently allowed Carson Palmer to turn back the clock and light them up for 283 yards and three scores. Despite a banged-up receiving corps with Charles Clay is expected to miss a few more games and Jordan Matthews listed as highly questionable, T-Mobile should be able to create plays with his legs and ad-lib out of the pocket to deliver a solid fantasy outing in a ripe matchup. For Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson owners, Taylor will offer a solid floor as a fill-in for the bye week.
After sustaining a back injury in Week 4’s loss to the Broncos, Derek Carr was forced to sit out the Raiders’ Week 5 matchup against the Ravens, before returning on Sunday against the Chargers. Carr demonstrated noticeable rust in his first game back, failing to eclipse 200 yards passing and throwing one TD to go alongside two interceptions. This week won’t necessarily be much easier on Carr and the reeling Oakland offense, as they host the 5-1 Kansas City Chiefs. That said, I find it foolish for any fantasy owner willing to quickly write-off the fourth-year signal-caller. A borderline MVP until breaking his fibula last December, Carr carried over his success early this season, passing for five touchdowns and no interceptions through the first two games. While KC’s defense has looked every part of impressive so far, they’ve actually given up the 9th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Look for the Raiders offense to bounce back as Carr looks to shake off the cobwebs from a week ago. He’ll be a solid weekly fantasy quarterback from here on out.
Jamaal Charles has been solid in a limited role during his first season in Denver. Although, a matchup with San Diego’s league’s worst run-defense, a week after C.J. Anderson was historically unproductive, could very well yield additional carries for the veteran back. With the potential uptick in carries, I expect more running room for Jamaal this week in Los Angeles. Emmanuel Sanders has already been ruled out for Week 7 with a sprained ankle, while fellow wideout Demaryius Thomas and quarterback Trevor Siemian are battling injuries of their own. This will force Head Coach Vance Joseph to get more creative with the gameplan for this week and it could very well feature an unsuspecting player like Charles to pick up the slack. He’ll be a boom-or-bust flex play for this week, but in an enticing matchup, I think Charles could deliver in a sleeper role.
While Jonathan Stewart has carried the chunk of the mail in the Carolina backfield, Christian McCaffrey has been the far superior back in the passing game. With Stewart hobbled by an ankle injury last week, the veteran finished with negative four yards on eight carries. Listed as questionable for this week, it wouldn’t be shocking if Stewart was either inactive or barely on the field. Sounds like a recipe to dial-up McCaffrey to me. Run-CMC has shown signs of electric playmaking at times throughout his rookie year, but has yet to put it all together. With Stewart’s ankle injury, this could be the perfect situation to jumpstart the Stanford product and he’ll be a good bet for a couple of big plays during Sunday’s clash with the Bears, especially if J-Stew doesn’t suit up.
Every time I go to bat for Jamison Crowder, I get burned badly. When Washington travels to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles this weekend, it’ll be judgement day for the third-year receiver out of Duke. Coming off a near 1,000 yard receiving season where he was the focal point of the Washington offense underneath, Crowder tallied a team-high seven touchdowns. This year pales in comparison, as Crowder has only managed 17 receptions for 121 scoreless yards. I understand it’s a roll of the dice to trust Crowder when he’s yet to produce at the clip fantasy owners are accustomed to, but the fact remains the Washington offense has yet to reach their potential in terms of demonstrating a fluid rhythm in the passing game. With newcomer Terrelle Pryor also continuing to struggle and Jordan Reed playing at less than 100%, I still have faith Jay Gruden will get his shiftiest playmaker the ball in space, that just happens to be Crowder. With the Eagles’ top corner Ronald Darby still out and the Philadelphia secondary focused on shutting down the outside of the Washington passing attack, I seriously think this could be the week for Crowder to thrive underneath.
In the most highly anticipated game of the week, we’ll see two teams who don’t quite look to be the same as when they last met in the Super Bowl. The Falcons are coming off a loss to the Jay Cutler-led Dolphins, while the Patriots squeaked out a win against the Jets. Both teams will be looking to pick things up this week in New England. For the Falcons, it starts with Matt Ryan and the passing attack getting the kinks worked out. Tight End Austin Hooper has been one of the few targets in the Atlanta passing game who has managed consistent numbers over the past few weeks. After getting off to a hot start in Week 1, Hooper went nearly invisible in Weeks two and three, before arriving back on the scene. With Mohamahed Sanu bothered by a hamstring injury, the Falcons should continue to feature Hooper in the gameplan moving forward. The Patriots have been abysmal against tight ends this season, allowing five touchdowns in six games. Hooper has a great chance to make that six out of seven this week.
Every season, there’s always a couple teams that emerge for fantasy owners to target when streaming defenses on a week-to-week basis. It should come as no surprise that the Cleveland Browns have once again immersed themselves into that conversation. Head Coach Hue Jackson just named Kevin Hogan the team’s starting quarterback for last week’s game against the Texans. Well, after Hogan threw three picks in that game, Jackson is going back to Deshone Kizer just one week after he said it was going to help the rookie’s development to sit on the bench for a while. So much for that. While, the Tennessee Titans defense has struggled throughout the early-going this season, they’ll be a good bet to generate pressure on Kizer and force a few turnovers. Fantasy owners should feel confident deploying them as a top five unit this weekend in Cleveland.