Week 7 Busts: The last time Kerryon Johnson faced a top 10 run defense, it wasn’t pretty.
In the Weekly Fantasy Unit, there are crimes committed that would shock and appall you: Negative points, underwhelming superstars and outright busts. These are the findings of one man on a mission to expose the NFL’s biggest perpetrators before they strike again.
These are … the Fantasy Files
Welcome everyone to Week 7 of the 2019 NFL Season! Week 6 has come and gone and we’re now officially smack dab in the middle of the most important stretch of the fantasy season. The W.F.U. has been working overtime all week, and we feel the results from last week speak for themselves. Let’s take a look at our notes and see how the lineup performed in Week 6:
WHERE WE HIT:
- Jared Goff (1 fantasy point)
- Things we learned on Sunday afternoon. The San Francisco 49ers are FOR REAL, and the LA Rams are potentially in big trouble. Goff threw for just 78 yards and an interception in this one, marking the worst start of his career thus far. Goff will have a soft bounce-back spot against a bad Atlanta secondary in Week 7, but if he can’t produce against them it will be time to hit the panic button on this offense.
- Geronimo Allison (5 fantasy points)
- Aaron Rodgers did his best Drake meme to Allison on Monday Night Football. Saying “nah” to Geronimo and saying “oh yeah” to someone named Allen Lazard. Rodgers apparently didn’t even know Lazard’s name prior to this one, and he still outperformed Allison with Marques Valdez-Scantling hobbled due to injury. Allison is best viewed as a risky FLEX option moving forward regardless of match-up.
- Houston D/ST (5 fantasy points)
- The reigning MVP came into town and marched all over the Texans defense (as expected). Houston put up a decent fight, coming up with a fumble recovery, an INT and a sack in the game, but they also yielded their third-highest point total of the year so far (24 points). Houston will be a mid-tier streaming option in Week 7 against Jacoby Brissett and the Colts offense.
- D.J. Chark (5 fantasy points)
- We’re beginning to heat up with our primary suspect selections. D.J. Chark could not have been hotter heading into Sunday’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints, but he got cooled off in a hurry. The breakout wide receiver matched up against the best corner in the game (Marshon Lattimore) and got shut down. Producing just five fantasy points for owners that have come to expect a touchdown on a weekly basis. Chark should bounce back in a big way against a bad Bengals defense in Week 7.
WHERE WE MISSED:
- James Conner (27 fantasy points)
- It turns out that when you play your third-string quarterback in a must-win game your running back explodes. James Conner had shown signs of breaking out of his early-season slump over the past few weeks, and in a game where the Steelers dominated, he was the catalyst. The LA Chargers had no answers at all for Conner, who gouged them on the ground and through the air for 2 TDs and over 100 total yards. He’ll get a bye week to get healthy and return to a juicy match-up against the tanking Miami Dolphins in Week 8.
- Jared Cook (11 fantasy points)
- In a game where the Saints only scored one touchdown, Jared Cook found a way to produce. His number was called frequently by Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday afternoon, and the veteran TE responded by catching all three of his targets for 37 yards and a TD. That score marked back to back games with a TD for Cook. His fantasy floor is clearly rock bottom based on target share, but if Bridgewater is trusting the big man in the redzone he may have a better TD upside than most other streamers. Not to mention, Drew Brees looks like he could be returning to the field after the teams Week 9 bye.
NOW, with that out of the way, let’s jump into the bust candidates for Week 7.
Week 7 Busts
QUARTERBACK: SAM DARNOLD (New York Jets)
Last week was great wasn’t it Jets fans? The world doubted you, counted you out and said you couldn’t beat the Dallas Cowboys at home, and you proved them all wrong.
Sam Darnold rode back into Metlife Stadium and threw for over 300 yards and 2 TDs to secure the upset, and it’s been all roses since. We genuinely hope that you’ve all enjoyed this past week of celebrating the win because week 7 will be an unfortunate return to reality. Darnold will go from facing an underperforming Cowboys defense to facing the New England Patriots top-ranked secondary.
New England’s current 6-0 record is almost entirely due to the performance of their defense, and Belichicks made a habit of beating young QB’s into the ground in Foxboro. New York can hope to make this one respectable if they can get their run game going, but if they have to rely on Darnold’s arm it’s going to be a long day for Gang Green.
RUNNING BACK: KERRYON JOHNSON (Detroit Lions)
You wouldn’t know it by just looking at his fantasy finishes, but Kerryon Johnson hasn’t been very productive so far this season. Despite finishing with double-digit points in 4 of 5 contests, Johnson has only eclipsed 100 rushing yards once (Week 4 against Kansas City). He’s kept his value afloat (mainly in PPR leagues) in the receiving game, but even with that dual approach, he’s only scored three touchdowns on the year.
This week Johnson’s Lions will face off against the Minnesota Vikings and their 9th ranked run defense. The last time Kerryon faced a top 10 run defense was Week 3 at Philadelphia, and he ended that contest with 36 yards on 20 carries (1.8 yards per carry). If Detroit wants to win this one they will have to pace themselves with Matt Stafford’s arm, and if he’s lucky, Johnson will be able to benefit from a few goal-line carries. Outside of that, it’s difficult for us to believe he’s going to break out against this Vikings front.
WIDE RECEIVER: ALLEN ROBINSON II (Chicago Bears)
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We’re going back to the well with Marshon Lattimore in Week 7, and his unfortunate victim this time will be Allen Robinson II. The Bears No. 1 wideout has actually been consistently very good for a struggling Chicago pass offense this season, scoring double-digit fantasy points in 3 of 5 games. His value is exceptionally high in PPR format because of his insane target share (average of 9 targets per game), but none of that will matter against Lattimore.
We discussed his habit of erasing teams top WR’s last week when talking about D.J Chark, and he did it again. Adding Chark to his list, that makes Mike Evans/D.J. Chark/Amari Cooper his victims so far. With the exception of Chark (possibly), we would wager to say fantasy owners would pick any of those three WR’s over Robinson if given a choice. The Bears big man is in a tough spot this week, and with Trubisky throwing the ball we can’t in good conscience recommend that you start him as anything more than a FLEX.
TIGHT END: DARREN WALLER (Oakland Raiders)
We hate to do this to one of the best stories of the 2019 season, but Waller represents way too much risk in Week 7 to start with confidence. The Oakland Raiders breakout tight end just signed a major contract extension, and fantasy owners who drafted him have been beyond happy with their returns. He’s been one of Derek Carr’s favorite receiving targets (averaging 7 targets per game) this year, but he has yet to reach the end zone.
Waller will have a tough time scoring in Week 7 against a Green Bay Packers secondary that has allowed only one touchdown to opposing tight ends so far this season. Add onto that a nagging foot injury that’s put his availability in doubt, and you have the recipe for a fantasy disappointment. Grab a streaming option if you can, and have them ready if Waller can’t go. Even if he does take the field, lower your expectations accordingly.
DEFENSE: BALTIMORE D/ST
The Baltimore Ravens have been a defensively focused franchise for as long as we’ve been watching football. The early 2000’s teams were dominant, the Joe Flacco championship team was crushing people on defense. It’s the near-constant identity of this franchise to win with its defense, and yet, this year has felt different. This Ravens defense has a major flaw that smart teams have been exposing dating back to Week 2.
They have a serious problem containing dual-threat quarterbacks, and they face one of the leagues best in Russell Wilson this week on the road. Baltimore’s defense against their last two dual-threat QB’s (Kyler Murray/Patrick Mahomes) finished with fantasy point totals of (4 points against ARZ, and 0 points against KC). They allowed a combined 50 points in those two games alone. In Baltimore, this unit could have a leg to stand on, but in CenturyLink, against the presumptive MVP favorite, they will have their hands full.
PRIMARY SUSPECT: KIRK COUSINS (Minnesota Vikings)
This one was one of the easier choices we’ve had to make so far this season. Kirk Cousins’ performance against the Eagles secondary in Week 6 was one of the bigger outliers you’ll see from any fantasy player in the 2019 season. Cousins’ 28 fantasy points marked his highest total of the season by far, and he’s only reached 20 points one other time this year (Week 5 against the Giants). Two above average performances against bottom 5 secondaries shouldn’t move the needle too much for Cousins, but due to the reactionary nature of fantasy football, it has.
So, with that in mind, let’s remove the rose-tinted glasses of the past two weeks and look at Cousins’ season as a whole so far. Through the first month of the season Cousins finished with fantasy totals of (14/10/12/7 points) and threw for a TD/INT ratio of 3/2 (with a random rushing TD thrown in). Vikings HC Mike Zimmer has always been a run-first guy, and we don’t believe that philosophy has changed just because their receivers have been complaining.
If anything, these past two weeks represented easy match-ups to get Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen their targets and quiet them down. We don’t believe the passing attack for Minnesota will continue to grow in their game plan, and once they revert back to that Dalvin Cook based attack, Cousins’ fantasy stock will plunge. That plunge could happen as soon as this week against a Lions defense that ranks in the middle of the league against the run.
Detroit’s undoubtedly coming into this one frustrated by their tainted loss to the Packers on Monday Night Football, and they’ll be looking to take out that anger on Cousins in the pocket. If you want to believe the hype, we advise stashing Cousins on your bench and seeing how he does this week. If he manages to perform above expectations he may be a decent match-up streamer moving forward, but we have strong doubts about that.