With six teams on bye, the options are scarce this week. Some of the teams taking this week off are fantasy powerhouses: The Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers. With so many players out, this week is a treasure hunt. Here are this week’s best picks, with a few hidden gems (in PPR leagues, unless otherwise noted).
Boom: Jaylen Waddle
With Tua Tagovailoa at the helm, Waddle has put up games with 29 and 16.1 points in PPR. He’s also caught all three of Tua’s touchdown passes this season. While Miami may be the most disappointing team in the NFL this year, Waddle should fare well against a weak Falcons defense that allows the second-most points per game in the league.
Bust: Devontae Booker
For a backup running back, Booker is a solid option and not a bad player at all. But he’s not Saquon Barkley, and even Saquon struggled at times behind the Giants line. Ultimately, Booker is going to be reliant on touchdowns to be worthy of a starting spot in fantasy. Against the Carolina defense, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take.
Boom: Matt Ryan
Ryan has feasted on weak defenses his past two weeks and gets a chance to do so again in a Week 7 match-up with Miami — who has allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game. Ryan is coming off a bye week and will see the return of his top pass-catcher in Calvin Ridley, which should lead to big numbers.
Bust: Corey Davis
We’ve seen this episode before: In Week 2, facing the Patriots at home, Davis went for eight yards on two catches. Now Zach Wilson and the Jets have to travel to Foxborough to play the Pats on the road. Everyone knows what Bill Belichick does to rookie quarterbacks in general. A division-rival rookie quarterback playing at Gillette for the first time in his career is going to be in for a rough day, and his wide receivers will suffer for it.
Boom: Zach Ertz
Ertz is getting his first start in one of the most explosive offenses in the league with his new team, the Arizona Cardinals. He’s going to fill one of the only weaknesses on their roster at the tight end position. Expect him to make some noise in his Cardinals debut, as Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray will want to make him a part of the offense as quickly as possible.
Deepest sleeper: Josh Gordon
This is a risky pick, and I might be setting myself up for failure here, but I think the matchup against the Titans may be the perfect opportunity for the return of Gordon. To be clear, I’d only recommend taking this risk if you’re in a larger league and injuries and byes have wiped out your offense.
The Titans just pulled off a win against the Bills. So if Kansas City wins this game, it’ll have to be through a shootout. The Titans are struggling with injuries in their already-weak secondary and just lost their first-round pick, Caleb Farley, for the season. Perhaps the most significant sign of a Gordon return week is the fact that Kansas City’s coaches have said they’ll keep making him more involved. If we go back to Week 5, Sean McVay said they wanted to get Robert Woods more opportunities, and he proceeded to go for 150 yards against the Seahawks. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, or maybe it’ll be the return of a football monster.
Best value bets
(Using FOX Sports odds at the time of writing. Disclaimer: Picks are merely the opinion of the author. Gambling involves financial risk. The author is not responsible for losses incurred from gambling.)
New England Patriots: Win/cover spread (Spread: -7)
- In Week 2, the Patriots beat the Jets on the road by 19 points. Through six weeks, Mac Jones looks like the best quarterback of his class, and Wilson still looks like … well, a Jets quarterback. Don’t overthink this one — have faith in Belichick and trust the Jets to be the Jets.
Chicago Bears: Cover spread (Odds: +13.5)
- The Buccaneers are a great football team. But since their Super Bowl win, they’ve had some struggles against the spread. Their struggles have allowed teams like the Cowboys, Eagles and Patriots to stay in the game against them, and I’d be hesitant to bet on them covering such a blowout spread.
Atlanta Falcons: Win/cover spread (Spread: -2.5)
- Last week, the Falcons finally showed us what Kyle Pitts is capable of when he’s utilized correctly. If the Falcons can keep Pitts’ role elevated and work Ridley back into the game plan, it will be a lethal attack for a defense to try to stop. I don’t think the Falcons are a blowout type of team, but I have faith in them to win by at least a field goal.
Denver Broncos @ Cleveland Browns: Under 42.5 points
- It’s always risky betting low under lines because a couple of big plays, and the game becomes high-scoring. But I expect this to be a boring game where both offenses struggle to find their rhythm. Cleveland’s offense only really gets going when their rushing game is cooking, and with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt out, that seems unlikely. With Case Keenum starting, it’s hard to see much of a passing game taking off. Watch for this line to be pushed even lower before the game.