Mike ClayESPN writer
CloseFantasy Football, NFL Analyst for ESPN.com
Member of the Pro Football Writers of America
Founding Director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy
2013 FSTA prizewinner for the most accurate ranking lists before the season
The Fantasy 32 analyzes the NFL from a fantasy football perspective, with mentioning at least one of the 32 teams in the league. While efficiency is discussed extensively, the column will rely heavily on usage data as volume is (by far) king in fantasy football. Use these tidbits to help make the best waivers, trading decisions, and meeting / starting decisions for the week to come and beyond. Check back every week of the season for a new version of Fantasy 32.
In the team-by-team overviews below, I will refer to "OFP" and "OTD". OFP stands for Opportunity-adjusted Fantasy Points. Imagine a league where players are created alike. OFP is a statistic that weighs each pass / carry / target and converts the data into a number that indicates a player's ability to score fantasy points, or their "expected" fantasy score. For example, if a player has an OFP of 14.5, it means that a league average player who saw the same workload in the same place on the field would have scored 14.5 Fantasy Points. FORP is the difference between a player's actual Fantasy Score and their OFP. OTD works the same way, except that instead of fantasy points, it's touchdowns. Volume is king in fantasy football, so this isn't information you want to overlook.
That said, here is the OFP ranking after week 7:
Week 7 OFP Ranking
PlayerActual PtsOFPFORP1. Joe Burrow, QB3439-62. Tyler Lockett, WR5336173. Kyler Murray, QB373434. Carson Wentz, QB2832-45. Russell Wilson, QB3031-16. Tyler Boyd, WR2829-27. Tom Brady, QB372988. Deshaun Watson, QB2428-49. Davante Adams, WR45281710. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR1825-8
* Full OTD and OFP position leaderboards will be posted on ESPN + this week.
Next, here are the players who exceeded their OFP by the biggest margin in the past week and are therefore candidates for a decline in fantasy production, assuming they see a similar workload:
In week 7, OFP was surpassed by the greatest margin
PlayerActual PtsOFPFORP1. Tyler Lockett, WR5336172. Davante Adams, WR4528173. Jeff Wilson Jr., RB3215174. DJ Moore, WR2510165. Justin Herbert, QB3823156. A.J. Brown, WR2712157. Aaron Rodgers, QB2715128. Baker Mayfield, QB3018129. Jalen Guyton, WR1651110. James Robinson, RB322110
And these players missed their OFP by the biggest margin last week, so don't be too quick to react to their performance when making decisions about lineup, trading, or surrender:
In week 7, OFP was missed by the greatest margin
PlayerActual PtsOFPFORP1. Ben Roethlisberger, QB1324-112. CeeDee Lamb, WR011-113. A.J. Green, WR1524-94. James Conner, RB1423-95. Stefon Diggs, WR1119-96. Travis Fulgham, WR1220-87. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR1825-88. Nick Foles, QB614-89. DJ Chark Jr., WR411-810. Cam Newton, QB07-7
Cardinals of Arizona: The Kenyan Drake fought Seattle and left the game against Seattle on Sunday night with an ankle injury. Arizona's lead rusher played 31 snaps (39%) while Chase Edmonds landed 48 games on the field. Edmonds had the opportunity to carry the ball for 58 yards only five times, with Arizona playing catch-up, but he was an important factor as a receiver (7-87-0 with seven targets). Arizona is on its way to its bye week, but if Drake stays out in two weeks, Edmonds will be a border option for RB1. Rookies Jonathan Ward (uncovered) and Eno Benjamin (seventh round) would see a few snaps, but it's very likely Edmonds would push for an 80% stake. It pays to forego waivers and hide goodbye.
Atlanta Falcons: Another week of more touchdowns from Todd Gurley II. The 26-year-old found the end zone twice (once accidentally) against Detroit on Sunday and has scored seven touchdowns in as many games this season. Gurley's hit coincided with a healthy workload as he has amassed 122 transfers (second highest in the NFL) this season, spanning at least 14 attempts in all seven games. Gurley has also seen a surge in passing work lately. He was only attacked eight times in the first four games of Atlanta, but twelve times in the last three games. Gurley's heavy workload, touchdown production, and increased passing duties have cemented him as a solid weekly RB2. Fantasy's number 8 has a great matchup against Carolina this week.
Baltimore Ravens: As a group, Raven's broad recipients attended the team's week 7, finishing 31st out of 32 teams in Fantasy Points per game. The unit averages only 14.7 goals per game and has achieved a reception line of 58-737-2 for 88 goals in six games. Despite the off-season hype surrounding Marquise Brown, this lack of production should come as no surprise. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has played games for seven seasons and only one of his WR units achieved a higher goal than 21st (the 2019 Ravens finished 31st). Brown's hard work (45% Air Yard share) put him in 30th place on Wide Receivers in Fantasy points before parting, even though he managed a top 25 week, compared to four placements in 38th or worse. Brown remains in the WR3 discussion, but the likes of Willie Snead, Miles Boykin, and Devin Duvernay don't need to be around rosters.
Buffalo Bills: Cole Beasley caught 11 of 12 targets for 112 yards against the Jets on Sunday. The 31-year-old slot man now has at least 53 yards or a touchdown in all seven games this season. That earned him at least 9.8 Fantasy Points every week, and Sunday's performance has put him 19th among the broad recipients of Fantasy Points this season. Beasley's stake could go down slightly once John Brown is healthy, but considering he has achieved at least six goals in six out of seven games, it's clear he has established himself as the PPR-Flex option in Buffalo's pass-heavy offense.
Carolina Panthers: Curtis Samuel caught all six of his goals for 48 yards and scored a 5-yard touchdown in his only carry against the Saints on Sunday. It was easily Samuel's best fantasy day of the season as the result was his first of 2020 and he has not yet received 51 yards in a game. Samuel's average of 4.8 goals and 2.7 transfers per game has only allowed him one weekly goal better than 36th and two better than 48th. The Panthers were vocal about their efforts to get Samuel more involved, but he was in the field for only 47% of Sunday's offensive snaps (his lowest rate since Week 11 in 2018). Carolina's versatile offensive talent remains a borderline banking option that cannot be trusted in Flex.
Chicago Bears: Jimmy Graham hit five of six goals for 31 yards against the Rams on Monday night. Graham has scored five or more goals in six of seven games this season, including each of his last five. Usage didn't add much to mileage as Graham covered no less than 31 meters but no more than 34 meters in four consecutive games. He's found the end zone four times this season, but his 6-60-2 receive line with 10 goals in week 3 is starting to look more and more like a big fluke. Graham is a TE2 option that will only strike for you if he finds his way into the end zone.
Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Mixon had to take a break on Sunday, which allowed Giovani Bernard to play 75% of the offensive snaps (55 out of 73). Samaje Perine (two touches out of 19 snapshots) and Trayveon Williams (zero) weren't factors, but Bernard obviously wasn't. The scatback didn't do much on the ground (13-37-0) but set up a healthy 5-59-1 receive line for five goals and finished the week as a top 10 fantasy RB. Mixon is questionable for week 8. So if he stays outside, Bernard's use suggests he's back on the RB1 radar against the Titans.
Cleveland Browns: Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a knee injury after just two snapshots on Sunday. Rashard Higgins played 44 snaps (86%), which led the team's large reception room. Higgins hit all six of his targets for 110 yards in the last-minute win. Higgins is a fan favorite but appears not to be very liked by several coaches as he has often been a healthy scratch and / or buried on the bench over the past few seasons. That will of course change now when Beckham is out. Higgins, who found the end zone in a situational role at both week 5 and week 6, is positioned as one of Baker Mayfield's primary targets. He's worth a seat on the bench, though he's not yet a flexible option in one of the league's heaviest and narrow-end crimes. Jarvis Landry is now a safe WR3, and rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones (35 snaps on Sunday) is well worth a flight in deep and dynasty leagues.
Dallas Cowboys: Michael Gallup missed two goals in Washington on Sunday. Gallup has now reached 23 and 0 total lengths during Andy Dalton's two starts, after we were worried about his low target percentage when Dak Prescott was healthy. Gallup has only scored double-digit Fantasy points twice in seven games this season, and most of its production took place in a game against Seattle in Week 3. Gallup doesn't have to be on rosters, and Amari Cooper (7-80-) 0 on Sunday) is the only Cowboys pass catcher who should be banned from lineups right now, though even he is risky after Dallas scored 59 pass yards on Sunday . By the way, CeeDee Lamb is a risky flex after he didn't get a passport on Sunday either.
Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy was held for 20 yards to two catches on four targets against the Chiefs on Sunday. Jeudy has now been held under 33 yards with no touchdown in back-to-back games after making at least 55 yards in each of his first four NFL games. The good news is that Jeudy played 76% of the offensive snaps, which led the team's broad receivers and was in line with his previous career high. Jeudy's cap doesn't seem very high in Denver, but his target volume and production will improve in better matchups. He will be on the Flex radar for the next few weeks in 12 team leagues against the Chargers, Falcons and Raiders.
Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson scored five of seven goals for 59 yards and the win over Atlanta on Sunday. The close end of the sophomore year has now scored a goal in three consecutive games and there are up to four touchdowns in the season. Hockenson has been targeted at least four times in all six Detroit games, which has helped him get the sixth most fantasy points in that position. Hockenson has played 68% of the snaps and ranks ninth on receptions, tenth on yards, fifth on touchdowns, first on OTD (4.2), and first on end zone goals (six) among the tight ends of this season, despite having already made his farewell. Hockenson is breaking out quietly in his second NFL season and has proven to be a good TE1 option.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Jones had to take a break in week 7, which opened the door to Jamaal Williams to act as a feature of the team. Williams was a workhorse, playing 89% of the offensive snaps (54 out of 61), compared to just 14 snaps for AJ Dillon and zero for Dexter Williams. The heavy use allowed Jamaal Williams a 19-77-1 rushing line and 4-37-0 on five goals. Jones is expected in week 8 but if his calf injury costs him another game, Williams will be banned as RB1. Dillon only made it 11 yards in five runs, by the way, and wasn't in his sights on Sunday, so he won't be a flexible option in any way.
Houston Texans: Let's look at David Johnson, who was predictably a high volume, low efficiency producer for most of the weeks this season. The 28-year-old was kept at 42 yards with 14 runs against the Packers on Sunday, despite having either a quick touchdown or at least 63 quick yards in five of seven games this season. Johnson made up for Sunday's shaky day with a 4-42-1 receive line on four targets. It was his first touchdown catch and highest mileage received in any game of the season. Johnson now has up to 101 transfers (10th among the RBs) for the season and he's hit three or four goals in six out of seven games. He sits under the back in fifth place with nine runs within the 5-yard line. Johnson is 16th in fantasy points and sees enough volume to produce as an RB2 for most weeks.
Indianapolis Colts: Marlon Mack's injury at the end of the season in Week 1 seemed to turn Jonathan Taylor into a weekly RB1, but the rookie hasn't really exploded on the fantasy scene just yet. The story here has been a mix of volume and efficiency as both a rusher and a receiver. He's seen good rushing volume (he stepped 10th in Carry in week 7 of the team at 89) but lacks efficiency (4.1 YPC, 1.3 YAC). As a receiver, he hasn't hit four goals in a game since week 1 and ranks 27th under the back in the category, but he caught 16 of 17 balls he threw for 162 yards (ninth most). Taylor was fine (15th in Fantasy Points through Week 6) but there is certainly more room on the Colts' first offense. The Colts have one of the easiest running back schedules from week 8 onwards, so Taylor is one player you might want to try to trade for this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars: James Robinson put in another strong performance in Week 7, scoring a 22-119-1 rushing line and a 4-18-1 receiving line for six goals. The uncovered rookie played a career high of 90% (53 out of 59) of the Snaps and now averages 15.3 carry and 4.6 goals per game during the season. Robinson jumped to second place for fantasy points among running backs and hasn't been a week worse than 34th since week 2 (one place worse than 20th). Jacksonville is facing a bye week and Robinson will be back on the RB1 radar in week 9, but keep in mind that he has arguably the toughest schedule to rewind during the fantasy playoffs. Starting in week 14, he must face Tennessee, Baltimore, Chicago and Indianapolis to end the season. Robinson is not a bad name to hover in trade talks, though heavy use of it could save him by the wayside.
Kansas City Chiefs: Le & # 39; Veon Bell made his Chiefs debut on Sunday and was on the field for 33% (17 of 51) of the offensive snaps. That's compared to 27 snaps for Clyde Edwards-Helaire, 10 for DeAndre Washington (most of them in garbage time), one for Darrel Williams, and zero for Darwin Thompson (healthy scratch). Bell looked good, scoring 39 yards with six runs, but he wasn't targeted in a game where Kansas City only attempted 25 passes. Edwards-Helaire managed an 8-46-1 rushing line and a 17-yard catch on four goals in victory. Getting a full picture in a full blowout is tough, but Edwards-Helaire can be considered a must-have against the Jets in Week 8, with Bell being a borderline flex.
Las Vegas Raiders: Nelson Agholor scored a 5-107-1 receiving line with nine goals against the Buccaneers on Sunday. The big day marks his highest total target since week 11 of the 2019 season and his first 100-yard game since week 2 of this campaign. Agholor has scored a touchdown in three consecutive games and four out of six games since joining the Raiders. Agholor turned out to be the team's # 1 recipient, turning the unit up and down in a snap in each of the last four games in Las Vegas, but it hadn't resulted in many goals before Sunday (nine total in the first three games of the team) range). While he's the # 24 recipient of Fantasy in those four weeks, Agholor isn't a recommended flex yet, even if Cleveland is next.
Los Angeles chargers: That kid of Justin Herbert could be pretty good. The rookie was great again on Sunday, and this time it led to his first NFL win. The Oregon product completed 27 of 43 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, with nine transfers added for a team high of 66 yards and another touchdown. Herbert has now delivered three consecutive top 9 fantasy weeks and collected 22.2 fantasy points in four of five starts. During the five weeks he's played, Herbert ranks fourth among quarterbacks in terms of fantasy points and no less than seventh in terms of passing yards, touchdowns, carry and rush yards. Herbert has one of the simplest fantasy remaining schedules based on the fantasy points allowed. There is a great deal of QB1 upside potential, especially given its rapid production.
Los Angeles Rams: The Rams decided to make Monday Night Football a game of Josh Reynolds as the team's # 3 receiver scored eight strong goals. Reynolds scored a solid 4-52-1 receive line while playing 75% of the offensive snaps. He has now scored in two back-to-back games but they mark his only touchdowns of the season and he has 60 yards to get in one game. Reynolds started the week in six games with a 14-226-1 receiving line. At least as long as Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are healthy, you simply cannot rely on flex production for the tough production of the Rams. Reynolds is barely worth a seat on the bench.
Miami Dolphins: If we had to vote for this year's fantasy football MVP now, Myles Gaskin wouldn't win … but he would certainly be a finalist. The 2019 round seven election played 121 Snaps as a rookie but beat Matt Breida and Jordan Howard to earn Miami's lead-back job week 1 ago and has since taken control of feature-back duties. Gaskin opened the season with four fantasy finishes ranging from 21 to 36 but has now fired two top 8 weeks. Gaskin has had an average of 16.5 broadcasts per game since week 3 and has been attacked at least four times in all six games. He entered the bye 16th when he ran back in fantasy points and 11th in OFP. Especially if Howard is no longer active on game day, Gaskin will be blocked and loaded as a high floor RB2 game. Miami's RBs have a medium schedule for the second half.
Minnesota Vikings: A few weeks ago, I wrote about how Irv Smith Jr. was disappointed this season, despite being well positioned for a sophomore breakout. After kicking off the season with six goals in four games, Smith is back on track with exactly five goals in two consecutive games. That made possible 4-64-0 and 4-55-0 receive lines and a pair of top 12 fantasy weeks. The increase in goals was no accident, as it completed a route at a season high of 74% of the team's passing games in week 5 and improved to 78% in week 6. The 2019 round two selection still hasn't scored a touchdown and operates on a very race-heavy scheme, but there's room for him as Kirk's No. 3 or 4 goal to occur. It should be on rosters and for the time being viewed as a solid TE2 game.
New England Patriots: Cam Newton completed 9 of 15 passes for 98 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions against the 49ers in Week 7, adding 19 yards on five carry. Newton has now put duds on the board in a row since returning from his time on the reserve / COVID-19 list. Newton's most recent bouts have been against strong defenses in Denver and San Francisco, while his big game earlier this season was against the fighting unit in Seattle. We've seen his advantage in good matchups, and his frenzied skills will add some streaming appeal, but he's obviously hard to use as a fantasy starter right now. This is especially true for this week against another good defense in Buffalo.
New Orleans Saints: With Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday, it was the uncovered rookie Marquez Callaway who emerged as the team's best pass catcher. Callaway hit eight of his 10 targets for 75 yards and his 49 snaps (73%) followed only Tre & # 39; Quan Smith's 55 among the team's broad receivers. Deonte Harris (20 snapshots), Juwan Johnson (12) and Austin Carr (11) were also involved. It's far from a suspension, but Thomas and Sanders could be back in week 8, so Callaway, whose 18.5 aDOT in Tennessee was the highest in this year's overall rookie class in 2019, shouldn't be viewed as a priority waiver will. Of course, he should be on your radar in lower dynasty leagues.
New York Giants: Sterling Shepard returned from injury and set up a 6-59-1 receiving line against the Eagles on Thursday. Shepard was on the field for 75% of the offensive snaps and scored eight healthy targets. With the exception of one game of the second week in which he was injured after 15 games, Shepard has scored at least six goals (seriously) in 18 consecutive games. The injuries skewed the fact that Shepard was a prolific fantasy asset when active. In fact, he was the # 17 fantasy recipient for 10 active games in 2019. Shepard, as a flexible option, should be valued with the benefit of participating in the WR3 (or maybe even WR2) discussion.
New York Jets: Denzel Mims made his NFL debut on Sunday, securing team leadership at goals (seven) and receptions (four) while pumping the jets up and down in receiving yards (42). Mims played a proud 80% (41 out of 51) of the offensive snaps, which only Breshad Perriman (49 snaps) and Braxton Berrios (42) were among the broad recipients of the team. Granted, target hog Jamison Crowder had to take a break, but note that Substitute Berrios basically followed directly in his footsteps, handling a massive 32% target stake. The Jets' offense is bad (seven touchdowns in seven games), but Mims has a pedigree (2020 second round pick) and a chance so he won't be a bad name for your bank.
Philadelphia Eagles: After both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert were eliminated on Thursday, journeyman Richard Rodgers paced up and down at both receptions (six) and while maintaining mileage (85) while handling a generous eight goals (second highest on the team). Rodgers was in the field for 61 (85%) of 72 possible snaps, compared to eight combined snaps for backups Jason Croom and Hakeem Butler. Coach Doug Pederson has a long history of using his narrow end, so Rodgers' strong performance didn't come as a complete shock. The 28-year-old will be a streaming option against a fighting defense in Dallas in week 8.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Diontae Johnson returned Sunday from injury, and the Steelers receivers' use and production were as follows: JuJu Smith-Schuster led the room with 62 snaps (84%) and scored a solid 9-85-0 reception line at 14 goals (its biggest since week 16 in 2018). Johnson played 56 snaps and continued his massive usage with 15 targets, allowing for a strong 9-80-2 receive line. Chase Claypool played 47 snaps and was limited to a 1 yard loss on a target. James Washington (one target in 18 snapshots) and Ray-Ray McCloud (two targets in seven snapshots) were the odd men. The formidable rookie Claypool's dud will make it difficult to justify him for a flex spot, especially considering how many times he's been featured on specialty teams, but it's positive news that he has overtaken Washington on the depth map. For now, consider it a banking option as Johnson and Smith-Schuster are still a weekly must-have.
San Francisco 49ers: With Raheem Mostert in the injured reserve, Jerick McKinnon was expected to return in Week 7 to return to duty. So much for that. Jeff Wilson Jr. was the clear feature back, posting a 17-112-3 rushing and 2-8-0 receive line on 35 snaps before leaving with an injury. Uncovered rookie JaMycal Hasty (15 snaps) was next in line, producing 57 yards over nine runs and 16 yards on his lone target. McKinnon was shockingly limited to 12 snaps (apparently it was de facto one week of rest per Kyle Shanahan) and lost 1 yard with three runs. Wilson's injury sent him to the injured reserve, which opens the door for Hasty and McKinnon to get more run in Week 8. Of course, Tevin Coleman could also be back from the injured reserve, which makes deciphering this backfield very difficult. Neither of the three games will be safe in Seattle, though Hasty and McKinnon will have some pull if Coleman is out.
Seattle Seahawks: Chris Carson only endured 14 snapshots (five broadcasts, one target) before leaving Sunday's game with a foot injury. Carlos Hyde was the next man with 36 snaps (51%), way ahead of Travis Homer (15 snaps) and DeeJay Dallas (seven). Hyde was productive, producing 68 yards and a touchdown on 15 carry and 12 extra yards on three targets. Homer added 10 yards on three stretches but was not selected as a target. Dallas did not carry the ball but instead put 18 yards on three targets. If Carson goes out this week, Hyde will be a candidate for 15+ goals against San Francisco. The 49ers were elite versus running backs, but Hyde would see enough volume in Seattle's high scoring offensive to include him on the RB2 talk.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Fournette returned on Sunday after an injury and certainly didn't have too little effort. The ex-Jaguar played 39 snaps (56%) compared to 30 for Ronald Jones. Fournette was effective (11-50-0 rushing, 6-47-0 receiving), while Jones wasn't nearly as productive (13-34-1 rushing, 1-2-0 receiving). Fournette appeared to take control of the backcourt in Week 2 but suffered an ankle injury in Week 3 and was sidelined until Sunday. This is likely the old "hot hand" backfield, although the silver lining for Jones is that LeSean McCoy and Ke & # 39; Shawn Vaughn play zero snaps together. If one doesn't break up with the other, Fournette and Jones are in the RB2 / Flex mix. That includes this weekend against the giants.
Tennessee Titans: Jonnu Smith fought four goals against the Steelers on Sunday for a 9-yard catch. It was a rare guy for Smith to book four straight top 10 fantasy weeks opening the season before leaving the team's sixth week game with an injury. The good news is that Smith played 69% of offensive snaps healthy, which wasn't far from his 84% rate in weeks 1 through 4. Smith remains a solid weekly TE1 and will be a strong rebound contender in Week 8 against a Cincinnati defense that allowed three touchdowns to the narrow ends of Cleveland on Sunday.
Washington Football Team: Dallas is the defense that keeps giving in to setbacks and which was in full force on Sunday. Antonio Gibson set new career highs at Carry (20) and Rushing Yards (128) and scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the season in the blowout win on Sunday. Gibson ran away in the game with no reception, although that's not really a problem considering he started the day in three consecutive games with five goals. Gibson is now fantasy number 17 running back, and he has had an extremely impressive bottom with six straight finishes in 28th or better. Gibson will leave Washington's week 8 as an RB2 game