Week 7 of the 2019 NFL season has come and gone! This past week’s action saw the continued dominance of the Patriots dynasty, the rise of the 49ers, and the NFC East finally has a team with a record above (.500). Let’s see who stood out the most this past week:
CHASE EDMONDS (Arizona Cardinals)
Easy now, put that baseball bat down Matthew Berry. The Cardinals organization doesn’t care about your fantasy team.
Poorly timed social media posts aside, the Arizona Cardinals had a field day running the ball against the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon. The only issue was WHO was running the ball.
After listing superstar tailback David Johnson as “Active” on their roster, the Cardinals proceeded to feed their back-up rusher all day long. Chase Edmonds was a trendy waiver wire pick-up going into this past week’s slate of games, and if you managed to grab him you likely walked away with a nice shiny “W” for your troubles. Edmonds was an absolute beast out of the backfield in this one, tearing through the Giants soft defensive front for a total line of (29 touches/150 yards/3 Tds). The 34 fantasy point performance marked the best of Edmonds’s young career and his third straight double-digit game for Arizona.
With Johnson’s health seemingly up in the air and rumors that the team could be working out Jay Ajayi this week, Edmonds will remain a top tier stash for the foreseeable future.
LATAVIUS MURRAY (New Orleans Saints)
The New Orleans Saints are the best team in the NFL in 2019, and it’s really not even that close. I spoke on this a few weeks back in my big takeaway, but it’s a statement that seemingly becomes more and more true with each passing week.
The Saints walked into the unfriendly confines of Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon with an undefeated (5-0) record in games without Drew Brees. However, to win this game they would need to defeat one of the Top 3 defenses in the league WITHOUT Alvin Kamara or Jared Cook. The result? New Orleans blew the Bears out on their own home turf.
The attack was lead by the herculean efforts of back-up RB Latavius Murray (27 carries/119 yds/2 Tds), whose 29 fantasy point performance salted the game away for both the Saints and plenty of fantasy owners on Sunday. He will get another juicy match-up against the Cardinals before Kamara likely returns after the teams Week 9 bye.
MARVIN JONES JR. (Detroit Lions)
The stat line says is all for this guy: 10 Receptions/93 Yards/4 TDs.
Marvin Jones is one of the better waiver wire wide receivers available in leagues across the country, and he showed exactly what he was capable of on Sunday. The often-overlooked wideout was feeling festive, as he lit up the Vikings secondary like a Christmas tree all day long. His four touchdowns came at the expense of all three of the Vikings corners, as he dismantled their coverage, one at a time. This performance also put Jones into the record books alongside Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe as only the third receiver in NFL history to catch 4 TD’s in multiple games.
He obviously can’t be trusted to have multiple TD receptions on a weekly basis, but Jones will be a high-end FLEX, low end WR2 this week against the New York Giants.
AARON RODGERS (Green Bay Packers)
For all of the success the Green Bay Packers have had in 2019, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t gotten a ton of credit for it. Most of the Packers’ six victories leaned heavily on their rushing attack, leading many fantasy owners and analysts alike to ponder whether the former QB1 was becoming more of a match-up streamer.
Rodgers seemingly heard that speculation and took it to heart, because he scored about three weeks worth of points on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. The former MVP looked to be right back to his old self, dominating the Raiders secondary through the air for (429 yards/5 Tds), and even rushing one in for good measure. Rodgers’ 43 point fantasy finish was his best by far of the 2019 season, nearly doubling his second-best mark of (26). This performance showed that the relationship between first-year head coach Matt LeFleur and Rodgers may be growing, and naturally expanding to allow both of their interests to thrive. If Rodgers wants to play the hero (like he did on Sunday) this Packers team facilitates that. If they want to just run the ball all day long on opponents, they can also do that.
Barring their questionable victory over the Detroit Lions this Packers team is undoubtedly one of the NFC’s elite as we pass the mid-way point of the season. Rodgers is once again a primary reason for that status.
JACOBY BRISSETT (Indianapolis Colts)
If Andrew Luck was playing the way Jacoby Brissett has played through seven weeks he would be labeled as one of the favorites for league MVP.
Brissett doesn’t have the star power (yet) or the clout around the league to make his candidacy a sexy option, but the man has undoubtedly put up numbers that are worthy of consideration. When Luck retired, most analysts, fans and even other players thought the Colts window has closed. Brissett and head coach Frank Reich have proven that notion to be downright insulting so far. With their victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday, the Colts moved into sole possession of first place in the AFC South, and it was Brissett’s performance (326 Yards/4 Tds) that lead them there. Brissett set season highs in both passing yards and touchdowns in a crucial divisional contest and outdueled Deshaun Watson (a trendy MVP candidate) en route to the victory. On the year, Brissett has a TD/INT ratio of 15/3 (14 passing TD/1 Rush TD) and has the Colts at the top of their division.
Asking for MVP candidacy is a lot, and he won’t get those accolades (even if he deserves them), but for the love of God, someone needs to put some respect on this man’s name.
KIRK COUSINS (Minnesota Vikings)
Kirk Cousins has clearly taken the criticism of the Vikings passing game to heart.
In the past three weeks since being called out by the national media and his own receiving core, Cousins has thrown for a TD/INT ratio of 10/1 and led the Vikings to three straight victories. These haven’t been dink and dunk performances either. Cousins has been launching the ball down the field with regularity over the past three weeks, posting well over 300 passing yards in all three contests. Sitting at (5-2), Minnesota is only looking up at the Green Bay Packers at the moment, and with two soft secondaries on deck (Washington/Kansas City), Cousins is in a prime spot to elevate this team to first place. Concerns about Mike Zimmer’s reliance on the run will obviously continue to worry fantasy owners on a weekly basis, but Captain Kirk has proven that he can produce QB1 level numbers in plus match-ups.
He’ll get just that in the form of a revenge game against the Washington Redskins on Thursday Night Football in Week 8.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT (Dallas Cowboys)
What occurred on Sunday Night Football this past week was a massacre. A massacre of unforeseen proportions, as the Dallas Cowboys systematically took apart the Philadelphia Eagles, and dominated them in virtually every facet of the game.
Elliott was a major reason for that success, as he continued his historic success against Philly, rushing for (111 yards/TD) and posting his highest fantasy point total of the season so far (23). The game also marked four straight games with a rushing touchdown for the two-time league rushing champion. Elliott’s role in Dallas’ passing game has clearly taken a step back (0 receiving Tds so far this year), but his pounding style of running has more than made up the difference.
After taking a few weeks to knock the rust off from his hold out, it seems that Elliott is back at full strength, and that makes him one of the most valuable players in fantasy football, bar none.
AUSTIN EKELER (Los Angeles Chargers)
Seriously, in the time that Gordon was gone, Ekeler was undeniably one of the Top 5 RB’s in the game (for real-life and fantasy purposes). Ekeler had six total touchdowns (3 rushing/3 receiving) through just the first month of the season, and he’s continued his production even with Gordon back. Despite losing touches to Gordon, he’s outperformed the presumed starter in all but one game since week 5. Ekelers value took a bit of a hit on the ground, but LA has opened him up in the passing game more recently, allowing him to showcase his true skill set. This past week, Ekeler gave the Chargers every chance to beat a tough Titans team on the road, catching 7 passes for 118 yards/TD.
While his efforts ultimately fell short, his contributions and overall importance to his team cannot be understated. He’s one of the most valuable PPR assets in fantasy football this season, with or without Gordon.
MY MAIN TAKEAWAY FROM WEEK 7
The NFC East is a bitter war of attrition that will be competitive until the last week of the season.
In most other divisions around the league, the Dallas Cowboys’ dominant victory on Sunday Night Football would be looked at as a statement game. In the 2019 NFC Least, that game simply planted their flag atop a mountain of mediocrity. The NFC East (as currently constructed) has just one team above (.500), and it’s a team that lost to the now (1-6) New York Jets just a week before. The (2-5) New York Giants are still just two games out of first place, and the Philadelphia Eagles are one win away from being right back in the mix for the division lead again.
This division is destined to be a disgusting scrap for the top position between three sub-par teams until Week 17. The value of the division title could not be higher, as it’s unlikely more than one team will reach the playoffs in a strong NFC Conference. Right now, it appears that Dallas is the best team in the division, but this is a textbook “week to week” situation. Nothing should be taken at face value, and every inch of praise must be earned by these teams from now until the end of the season.
My main takeaway is that this NFC East is going to be like this all year long, and fans of these teams will be forced onto an emotional rollercoaster well into the holiday season. Buckle up, it’s undoubtedly going to be a bumpy ride.