Fantasy Football Week 7 Rankings Review: Humphries McGee

by Tyler Thompson
week 7 rankings review

week 7 rankings review

But there's a loan out on opinions
And who would collect? Results reflect too bright to see
It would be nice if you could give them
You got some to spare, and it's always nice to share

-- "The Bottom Half", Umphrey's McGee

So, "there's a loan out on opinions" you say? Well, it would be my honor to be the one to "spare" and "share" my opinions on the staff rankings!

There's an element to this song that directly influences the way us fantasy players view the game. Sometimes, we try to be objective about certain players and offenses. However, the "results reflect to bright to see" and we place too much emphasis on recency bias or even career statistics for a player.

No, this is not a knock on our staff rankers - they do a marvelous job of not falling victim to common perception. In fact, I may be the one going against the grain here. This is just a general warning to not fall in line with the masses. Don't just analyze the plain-as-day statistics that lead to fantasy points (although that is obviously useful). Use your resources to look at targets, snap counts, routes run, etc. and really turn yourself into a stud fantasy player!

Alright, I successfully weaseled my way into forcing my musical taste on the readers. Let's get to the Week 7 Rankings Review. First, let's take a look at my record against the rankers.

Wk 1Wk 2Wk 3Wk 4Wk 5Wk 6Wk 7Wk 8Wk 9Wk 10Wk 11Wk 12Wk 13Wk 14Wk 15Wk 16OVR

Not bad, eh? Perhaps I should be a bit more bold with my picks. Let's see how that turns out! In this week's edition, we look at a couple of players with the recency bias affecting how we are approaching them. Also, we analyze the player whose name allowed me to incorporate some pun-work into my title and if he can become a waiver wonder moving forward.

To the review!

Week 7 Rankings Review

If you have start/sit questions, by all means hit me (@therealwody) or any of my fellow F6P writers up on Twitter. You may have heard the famous phrase ‘no one cares about your fantasy team’, but I promise we do! That or we just have an obsession regarding the fantasy game and enjoy running scenarios through our heads. Either way, you are getting the advice!

As always, these rankings reflect the standard scoring system. To check out what I think on fantasy defenses, give the Stream-O-Matic a try!

Too Low

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (F6P Rank: QB13)

I try my hardest not to pick on the same defense too many times in my Rankings Review. Last week, I chose my quarterback based on his matchup with the woeful San Francisco 49ers defense. Here's a small excerpt from last week's review:

"The 49ers have a terrible starting front seven with an average Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade of 55. That is out of 100 for those wondering."

Nothing's changed - it's still a terrible defensive front. Quarterback hurries are not common with this group and now it's Jameis Winston's turn to tear this defense up.

So the matchup is great, but one might ask if this just means that the running game will go bonkers like it did for Buffalo last week. Well, for starters,  Doug Martin will not play. While I do like Jacquizz Rogers as a spot starter this week, he's no Shady McCoy. More will be asked of Winston in the passing game this time around.

Coming off a bye week, I believe the Buccaneers will beat the 49ers pretty handily. This will largely be in part to Winston's play and, subsequently, the play of the receivers (one of whom I will highlight). Winston breaks out in a big way to a top 10 finish for Week 7.

Rank Ahead: Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr

James White, New England Patriots (RB24)

Who needs Dion Lewis, right? With Tom Brady back and plotting NFL destruction, he looks the way of James White early and often. This statistic from one of the fantasy greats says it all:

For those of you wondering if this kind of target share is sustainable, I, umm, just don't know what to try to tell you anymore. This is a pass-first team; White will out-snap Blount even in games where the Patriots believe they can run through an opponent. In Week 6, a game that wasn't ever really close, White still found a way to 15 more plays than Blount.

Looking ahead to the matchup, it doesn't get much better than this for White owners. I see some of the games had by these pass-catching runners and my eyes light up! Giovani Bernard went for 100 yards and a TD on nine catches in Week 2. Darren Sproles outdid him with 128 yards and a score on six catches. And of course they are coming off a disaster of a game in which they gave up 200+ yards to a running back I will mention later.

A combination of reliability, consistency, and circumstance leaves me no choice but to rank White higher in the rankings. My prediction is that he will finish in the top 18 in standard leagues, but he will be an RB1 in PPR formats.

Rank Ahead: Giovani Bernard, LeGarrette Blount, Frank Gore, Jerick McKinnon

Matt Forte, New York Jets (RB27)

Remember when Forte had 100 yards and three TD's against Buffalo a few weeks ago? Everyone was excited about his workload and future prospects in the offense.

Well, who could have foreseen the level of quarterback woes that the Jets have seen since that game? Ryan Fitzpatrick finally threw enough picks to warrant a Geno Smith start in Week 7. Imagine reading that last sentence in the preseason after Fitzpatrick had just signed his $12M contract! Jets fans must be livid.

The ranking here seems a little harsh though for a starting running back of Forte's caliber. I don't really have much to add in the form of statistical analysis - this just felt wrong to look at! Recency bias has got us super down on Forte right now, and this seems like the exact moment when he turns it around and proves everyone wrong.

In this matchup with the Ravens, both teams will likely be starting new quarterbacks that have had limited success in the NFL. Ryan Mallett will take the reigns in the (ever likely) case that Joe Flacco can't go. While I like the Ravens defense this week, the game flow suggest that both teams should be pounding the rock with frequency. This should be one of those low scoring, grind-it-out games for both teams. This type of game flow is conducive to an increase in rushing volume, which favors Forte.

Look, if we are going to rank Terrance West in the same game as RB20, we should give Forte the benefit of the doubt to finish right by him. I'm thinking that RB21 is a pretty safe ranking for Forte ahead of some other RB's with question marks surrounding them.

Rank Ahead: Jay Ajayi, Jerick McKinnon, Jeremy Hill, Frank Gore

Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (WR30)

The low ranking for Diggs might have something to do with his injury concerns heading into Week 7. He practiced fully on Wednesday though so he looks ready to roll this weekend coming off the Vikings' bye week.

So, why so hateful on Diggs this week? The Eagles secondary just got torched by the Redskins without Jordan Reed last week. That bodes well for Diggs, who was enjoying solid fantasy production before his injury. For those who love narrative, don't forget about the 'revenge game' factor. Sam Bradford gets a chance here to prove to Philadelphia that they made a mistake in trading him. Now, he might only get to prove that to himself since Carson Wentz has been as advertised, but self motivation is the deadliest form of motivation. I'm expecting the Vikings passing offense to show out this Sunday.

Diggs should return to WR2 status this weekend and regain the trust of fantasy owners everywhere. More team names will be changed to puns related to digging things and all will be well in the fantasy world.

Rank Ahead: Julian Edelman, DeSean Jackson, Golden Tate, Travis Benjamin

Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WR56)

The man of the hour has finally arrived! The emergence of Humphries this season has given me my best intro to an article this fantasy season. For that, he will be forever embraced in my fantasy football world.

Let's talk about some on field action though! Now that Vincent Jackson has been placed on Injured Reserve, Humphries and Cameron Brate are expected to step up and receive an uptick in targets. Of course, Mike Evans will still see his usual double digit targets per game, but that doesn't mean a second receiver can't emerge. In fact, we have seen some useful games yardage-wise from Humphries.

Just one problem, he hasn't scored a TD yet. I know the last two games weren't great, but he was up against teams that guard slot receivers very well in Denver and Carolina. The 49ers aren't in that same category. They are terrible against slot receivers, yielding huge performances to Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, and, to an extent, Cole Beasley. The other teams they played didn't utilize the slot, but had tight ends that went for big days instead.

I say Humphries breaks through for a TD this week. The ranking here was just way too low, so I will be bold and give him a WR3 ranking in PPR leagues. Some of the names in this area are way less consistent than the Tampa slot man and I had no qualms ranking him ahead of the guys listed below. Those looking for a contrarian tournament play in DFS could use a Winston-Evans-Humphries stack (mixing in Brate would be ideal as well).

Rank Ahead: Kenny Britt, Tyrell Williams, Allen Hurns, Quincy Enunwa

Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (TE17)

Before I go any further, I will say that a title of "O'Doyle Rules" was highly considered this week. If it weren't for Humphries, it would have been, end of discussion. I am a big Billy Madison fan and now realize that's it's been too long since I have last watched it. Give me a second while I pop the DVD in the ol' PlayStation...

Now that that's taken care of, let's talk about Mr. Feel Good Story himself. Jack Doyle wasn't on your preseason rankings for tight ends (or mine for that matter). Shoot, I bet if you asked most diehard Colts fans who he was before the season started, you would have gotten some shoulder shrugs. Well, you know who he is now and Andrew Luck has been targeting him with frequency. He's even gained the attention of a Colts great:

Most of my love for Doyle this week occurs because of opportunity. Dwayne Allen has all but been declared out for Week 7, which leaves all the tight end targets to Doyle. Tennessee does have a solid defense, but the middle of the field is where damage can be done in the passing game. The linebackers aren't great in coverage and Luck will exploit that.

If you are looking for a streaming option at the tight end spot, Doyle is your guy! He will easily finish as a TE1 and win some DFS players money this weekend as well.

Rank Ahead: Zach Ertz, Kyle Rudolph, Gary Barnidge

Too High

Andrew Luck, Tennessee Titans (QB6)

If you read my defense Stream-O-Matic for Week 7 (see link above), you'll find the Titans ranked pretty highly in the streaming options. I am a believer in their defense. Where does this leave Andrew Luck and the Colts offense on Sunday?

I think they struggle a little bit. Let's start with the big uglies - the Indianapolis offensive line is horrendous. They've yielded the highest sack percentage in the league and prevented the running game from taking off. The Titans have a defensive front that can easily exploit these flaws. This one-dimensional offense will make it hard on Luck, just like it does every week.

Facing the 4th best defense in allowing points to fantasy quarterbacks, Luck could undergo a dip in fantasy production outside of his norm. A game like this won't even allow him to get those lovely garbage time points, as most people are expecting this to be a tight affair. While I think Doyle will be usable along with T.Y. Hilton, there's just not enough help for Luck outside of those guys to stretch the Tennessee secondary.

As is the case with quarterbacks in my rankings review, this isn't start-sit advice. If you have Luck, you probably don't have anyone else and don't want to waste a bench spot on another quarterback. For those DFS players though, I would be avoiding Luck in your lineups. I have him finishing at the low end of the QB1 options and he will likely cost you the price of a high end guy.

Rank Below: Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr

Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears (RB13)

Is there a running back by committee brewing in Chicago? Goodness, I sure hope not, but John Fox gotta John Fox. Last week, Howard saw his snap count percentage decrease from the 85+% in Weeks 4 and 5 to 65% in Week 6. Ka'Deem Carey was getting extended looks in the running game much to the dismay of fantasy owners. This makes Howard an interesting 'sell high' candidate. If you can shop him as a high end RB2, you could make out a genius in a trade.

You would need to make that trade this week though before the Thursday night matchup with the stout Packers run defense. I know, I know, they just looked terrible a week ago.

All the giving was done by the Packers front seven as Elliott went for 150+ yards on the day. However, the Bears run game is not even close to the caliber of Dallas. The offensive line is not as dominant and Howard is no Zeke. I expect the Packers run defense to get back on track and force Chicago to beat them through the air (which should be pretty easy in its own right).

I won't advise you to sit Howard unless you have two solid starting running back options. For the record though, I would temper expectations and expect an RB20 finish. Long term, I'm fully preparing for a muddied backfield situation to avoid.

Rank Below: Terrance West, Matt Jones, Jamaal Charles, Tevin Coleman

Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (RB22)

So, you see that Ajayi just ransacked the Pittsburgh defense for 200+ yards and two scores. You picked him up off waivers and want to throw him in your lineup right away.

Not so fast! Don't chase last week's statistics. That's one of the major rules I follow when it comes to fantasy sports. The second you chase last week's production, you will be disappointed. It will be especially disappointing when that production is coming from a guy who has been getting talked down by his own coaching staff for months.

Outside of getting ran straight through by Matt Forte in Week 2, the Buffalo run defense has been one of the best in the league. The Bills defense will not be laid back in approaching the Miami offense. This offensive line is weak and Buffalo will succeed in the trenches with ease. Don't think Miami is some powerhouse just because they were able to run on a bad Pittsburgh defense.

I need to see another strong performance from Ajayi before placing anymore trust in him. I have him finishing as RB27 or worse, which makes him more of a FLEX play than an RB2.

Rank Below: James White, Isaiah Crowell, Matt Forte, Rashad Jennings

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (WR17)

What's been up with Demaryius Thomas this season? Poor quarterback play has obviously stunted the fantasy production of the receivers in Denver. On top of that though, Thomas has been an inconsistent player individually.

He is among the league leaders in drops since the beginning of 2015 (albeit with a large amount of targets). Pro Football Focus has him rated as the 87th receiver based on overall performance in 2016. You could attribute that to QB play, but Emmanuel Sanders is rated 16th on that same list. Excuses other than 'look at his pure talent' are few and far between when describing Thomas now.

This week against a pretty solid Texans pass defense, I'm not expecting Thomas to produce WR2 numbers. He's more of a WR3/FLEX play if you have to use him. I don't imagine you can sell him for much in your league, so just hold onto him and hope he can break out of his funk in the next couple of weeks.

Rank Below: Emmanuel Sanders, Cameron Meredith, Brandin Cooks, Terrelle Pryor

Travis Benjamin, San Diego Chargers (WR27)

Everyone wants a piece of the offenses facing off in Atlanta this Sunday. An over/under set at 53.5 by the consensus Vegas sportsbooks has everyone salivating and for good reason! This should be a shootout with fantasy points galore!

However, let's cool the jets on Benjamin. Firstly, I would like to warn those of his injury suffered in last week's game. He's been out of practice so far this week and he's listed as questionable with a vague 'leg' injury. That doesn't sound promising. Furthermore, let's add a snap count percentage that is less than Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman. I scratched my head furiously when I saw that!

If he is able to suit up, he will be matched up with Falcons corner Desmond Trufant on the outside. This has been a matchup I have been avoiding when possible, as Trufant has had a great season to date. He's been limiting the likes of Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, and Kelvin Benjamin to their worst performances. This leads me to believe that guys like Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry will have more success in the passing game.

I'm downgrading Benjamin outside of WR3 territory for Week 7. This receiving corps is so unpredictable on a weekly basis anyway, so I wouldn't be too attached to just one guy being the No. 1 anyway.

Rank Below: Michael Thomas, Sterling Shepard, Ty Montgomery, Tyrell Williams

Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints (TE7)

Speaking of 'unpredictable' commodities, hey Coby! Just as people blurt 'Kobe' when shooting around on the basketball court, maybe we should start yelling 'Coby' when we drop a pass or follow up a great performance with a stinker.

Unfortunately, I'm expecting a stinker in Week 7. The road woes of the New Orleans offense led by Drew Brees the past few seasons has been well-documented. Furthermore, the Kansas City linebackers and safeties present a challenge greater than Carolina presented last week. Besides, are we really counting on fluky touchdowns like the rushing one he got last week? I know he got another one later, but c'mon, Sean Payton will hand the ball off to a lineman if he thinks it will make him look smart.

It's hard to suggest benching a guy like Fleener at such a weak position. In fact, I won't do it - you should play Fleener this weekend in most circumstances where you have him. My expectations are tempered though and I have him ranked just outside the top 10. The guys below have better matchups, but I don't blame the staff for ranking him at 7th based on usage and blowup potential.

Rank Below: Zach Miller, Dennis Pitta, Julius Thomas

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