Fantasy Football

2018 Fantasy Football Week 7 Preview: Push Comes to Chubb


Compared with other dates on the NFL calendar, the trade deadline at the end of October is rather uneventful. These past couple of seasons, we are starting to see a few more ‘October surprises’ as teams seem less inclined to just settle into their rosters after the first month of play.

The Carlos Hyde trade to the Jaguars from the Browns stirred the fantasy gravy as we entered the final two weeks until the deadline. And there is every reason to think that a couple more mini-blockbusters could spring up.

Yet, this week’s trade of course was not so much about Hyde, but of Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson. Suddenly, there’s an unlocked backfield in Cleveland and we begin a new set of fantasy circumstances in the realm of fantasy running backs.

As for Jacksonville, once an overload, then depleted, is once again crowded when Leonard Fournette returns. Cleveland wore the tread off Hyde and kept Chubb in the bubble wrap. The league is changing toward running back preservation for several teams. Hurrying players into action from injury or quiet inactive status is impractical for long term success.

2018 Fantasy Football Week 7 Preview

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Games to Watch

This week, the London game is an early breakfast matchup between the Chargers and Titans (9:30 am ET)

Byes: Packers, Raiders, Seahawks, Steelers

Sunday Early
Patriots (4-2) at Bears (3-2)

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The Bears continue to go from strength to strength with good defense and a young quarterback hitting a stride. We all know Trubisky made his mark in Chicago in Week 4 with a six touchdown performance, but this breakout had a more profound effect for team confidence.

Perfect timing. The heartbreak loss to the Dolphins may have sapped some energy from the Bears’ momentum, but this matchup with Patriots is actually a good one for them. If Khalil Mack is able to play through an ankle injury, then all the better.

This is an awkward game for the Patriots because they’ll have to gear down to the Bears defense and put pressure on the outside. This is because the Bears are too strong against the run. Perhaps James White might have the edge over Sony Michel in the plans of Bill Belichick.

Bill always knows

That said, Belichick always avoids the obvious solution and might just go for a grind out game with the Bears. It might look odd to see the Patriots playing the field position game, but with Gronkowski, the Patriots can shift their mood depending how they feel things stand at the half.

For the Bears, field position is the critical thing on both offense and defense. They need to stall some Patriots drives deep if possible to at least allow Trubisky a short field on a few occasions. If the Bears remain pinned deep continually, they’ll lose and lose badly.

Look for Bears to rely heavily on the run with Jordan Howard. His receding snap count of recent games might turn around because the Patriots will likely try and deny Trubisky any extra pocket time. If the Bears can somehow open up the passing game with more than play action they can get their way in this game.

I like the chances of the Bears and moreso if they can put pressure on Brady to force a grinder. That’s not great for fantasy highs, but makes for an entertaining struggle without getting too defensive.

Sleeper: Anthony Miller, WR, Bears

Sunday Late
Cowboys (3-3) at Redskins (3-2)

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The NFC East looks like a three team struggle on paper, but we know the Eagles are really the team to beat. This game holds importance for who gets an upper hand if the Eagles (3-3) fall to the Panthers at home.

The Redskins come into this game with and without banged up receivers. Jordan Reed, and to a lesser extent, Vernon Davis should see extra work out of pure necessity. Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson came into this week with questionable injury status, so this isn’t looking good either. The Cowboys are strong against the rush on defense, so something has to give.

Fortunately for the Redskins, the Cowboys themselves also seem locked into a short-game offense. Therefore, the basic strategy of containing Ezekiel Elliott remains obvious for any defense that plays against the Cowboys.

This brings us back around to what kind of gameplan the Redskins can come up with on offense. It’s threadbare and someone without any great league credentials needs to step up in the receiving corps without Jameison Crowder and Paul Richardson. I really do not know if the Redskins have any choice but to try and stretch the field with what they have. Perhaps this guy has a shot…

Sleeper: Maurice Harris, WR, Redskins

Sunday Night
Bengals (4-2) at Chiefs (5-1)

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Another Chiefs game on Sunday night, so buckle up again. This is the fifth time in 2018 that the Vegas O/U has a line of 58 or higher. There were none in 2017.

Considering how low both teams rank in pass yardage defending, especially the Chiefs, we can see why this game has the potential of a Fed-Ex parcel delivery on steroids.

For the Bengals, they at least have some kind of curative defense, but the Chiefs have so many weapons outside, inside, intermediate and deep that even top-ranked defenses, like the Jaguars, find them a handful.

So, the best pass rush wins? Maybe. Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Vontaze Burfict need pressure up front to ease the heavy workload that their friends in the secondary with Dre Kirkpatrick have to deal with.

But the real key to this game is Andy Dalton. Dalton is having a career year and any lapses in a shootout like this could lead to real problems. If he gets a rhythm, these Chiefs are vulnerable. Everyone fantasy relevant on both teams have the potential to land some pretty high scores here.

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There’s barely room for a sleeper, but the guy below could be an unexpected factor. A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd could use the help.

Sleeper: John Ross, WR, Bengals

Monday Night
Giants (1-5) at Falcons (2-4)

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Are the Giants and Raiders channelling each other? The comparisons are eerily similar.

Both have:
A 1-5 record.
A decent running game.
Quarterbacks struggling to get the ball to their top receivers.
Receivers unhappy about their production.
Mediocre defense and poor versus the run.

On The Fantasy Edge, Kevin Huo rightly pointed out that on underachieving teams, this is the type of stuff we should expect. Grumpy teams with grumpy players and fans.

So here come the Giants, in what should really be a great matchup for Odell Beckham Jr. who is starving for usage with only a single touchdown. OBJ remains on a pace to easily top 1000 yards. However, one of his high fantasy peers has more than 200 yards receiving coming into this game.

Julio Jones, might have complaints if he had that type of diva attitude, but Jones just takes everything in stride and has a laugh. he even enjoyed getting a chance to play a little defense against the Buccaneers on their desperation final play.

So this strange contrast of happy warrior versus the unhappy one and both on sub-par teams, shows that attitude can make up for a lot.

I think Julio deserves an end-zone shot. I hope he gets it.

Anyway, Saquon Barkley is the guy to help the G-men to turn things around here, because we can imagine what this offense would be without him. Whichever team loses this game has a serious road ahead for any chance of playoff contention.

Look for Eli to throw a couple of picks to keep up with Matt Ryan.

Sleeper: none

Players to Watch

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Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings (at Jets)

Thielen, while already on pace to overtake Marvin Harrison in season receptions, has another in-season record to tie this week. If Thielen manages another 100+ receiving game, he will tie a pre-merger record of seven 100+ yard receiving games to open the season. Charley Hennigan of the 1961 Oilers holds this. Thielen broke the record post-merger last week.

Nick Chubb, RB, Browns (at Buccaneers)

Alone at last. Well, almost. Chubb has to share some backfield with Duke Johnson, but the feature duties belong all to himself without Carlos Hyde around. The Buccaneers are a fine way to start Chubb’s journey.

Ito Smith, RB, Falcons (vs Giants)

The hype train this week about Ito Smith rolled along, but someone forgot to tell Tevin Coleman. Coleman is the true beneficiary of the Devonta Freeman move to IR, not Smith. However, this is a tandem backfield and Smith is a sharp runner with unexpectedly good vision for a rookie. He should get an uptick of looks from here on.

Alfred Morris, RB, 49ers (vs Rams)

Am I trying to be funny? Okay, you got me. We might see Alfred Morris again bench warming now as a third option, but then anything is possible with Kyle Shanahan and his comments about it. Raheem Mostert looks like the compliment to Matt Breida for now. But this backfield could be musical chairs behind Breida and that’s what we need to see.

C.J. Uzomah, TE, Bengals (at Chiefs)

I decided to give the big guy his own blurb rather than lumping him in with game preview. Uzomah might even be better than Tyler Eifert as tight end for the Bengals. His usage in this type of game might not suit his type of services, but still this talented player is beginning to turn fantasy heads.

In the Booth on Sunday

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Chris Meyers

London Game (CBS 9:30 ET)

Chargers v Titans: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians

CBS Early

Patriots at Bears: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Bills at Colts: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Texans at Jaguars: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

CBS Late

Cowboys at Redskins: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Rams at 49ers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

Fox Early

Panthers at Eagles: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis
Vikings at Jets: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Browns at Buccaneers: Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber
Lions at Dolphins: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth

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Fox Late

Saints at Ravens: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

Check out the rest of our 2018 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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