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Tue Oct 26th 2021

2021 Week Seven Review

It was a pretty dull week in the NFL compared to what we've been treated to the first six weeks of the season. Before the games kicked off, it was already a lousy slate of games on paper, and they lived up to their billing, unfortunately. Even so, it's a blast to watch football and cheer on our dynasty teams.

I had a middle-of-the-road week, finishing an even 5-5. I won some games I needed to and lost some I could afford a loss, but I still wish I had a better week. As always, at the end of the weekend, I remind myself that win or lose, it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my dynasty teams.

After following all of the games this week, here are a few of my thoughts on players and situations and their impact on our dynasty teams. Unless a player or situation demands it, I try to write about teams and players that I have not written about in recent weeks.

Ten Observations From Week Seven

Injuries And The Bye-Pocalypse

  • What I'll remember most about this week is the awful start/sit decisions managers had to make because of the six teams on bye weeks, and the ridiculous amount of players ruled out injuries. At least 22 players on the six bye-week teams are every-week starters in dynasty rosters, including four quarterbacks, five running backs, eleven wide receivers, and two tight ends. Add to that, the two dozen players who were ruled out with injuries and starting lineups were pretty pathetic. 11 of the 24 players on my roster in my Reality Sports Online league were injured or on bye weeks. I have Sterling Shepard and DeVante Parker on several of my teams. When they were among the final players ruled out on Sunday, I was forced to start Randall Cobb, Salvon Ahmed, and DeSean Jackson. It was a painful week to hit the "submit lineup" button. One team in my favorite leagues had to start Jalen Richard and Ke'Shawn Vaughn. In two leagues, I was forced to start D'Ernest Johnson on Thursday night. I was thrilled when he exploded for 24 fantasy points, giving hope to all who had to start bad players this week. Johnson was the exception to the rule because all of the other first-time starters were unproductive. If you got away with a win against a depleted team, congrats to you. If you are the depleted team, I feel your pain.

Happy Tight Ends Day

  • Apparently, Sunday was national tight end day. I guess that's a thing. Maybe the special day contributed to the strange tight end scoring day. It was strange in that many tight ends scored, but not the ones in starting lineups. Touchdown-scoring tight ends on Sunday included MyCole Pruit, C.J. Uzomah (twice), Foster Moreau, Mo Alie-Cox, Robert Tonyan, Zach Ertz, Mike Gesicki, and Hunter Henry. The only two every-week starters in that group are Gesicki and Henry, though Ertz may prove to be one-two. Cheers to you if you started him on his first week with the team. I saw a few savvy managers with Waller on their roster pick up Moreau on Sunday morning to make the switch if Waller was declared inactive. Props to those that made that move. Tonyan has been unstartable since his last touchdown in week two, so I doubt he was started by many. I was forced into starting Mo Alie-Cox in my flex position in the same league where I had to start Randall Cobb, and his touchdown contributed to my comeback win on Monday night. All Uzomah and Pruit do is catch touchdowns. Uzomah has caught a touchdown on 29% of his receptions, and Pruit does on 25%. Ugh. The tight end position is the worst, and we were reminded of that on national tight end day.

Positive Changes In Atlanta

  • A few weeks ago, I wrote about how broken the Atlanta offense is because they don't pass the ball downfield. At that time, Matt Ryan's ADOT was 4.31 yards, the lowest of any starting quarterback in the league. The offense has really changed in the last few weeks, and his ADOT has risen to 6.24. Sunday Ryan connected on a deep touchdown pass to Russell Gage, and several 20-plus yard passes to Kyle Pitts, who has become Ryan's new Julio Jones. In the last two weeks, Pitts has looked every bit like the highest-drafted tight end the NFL, and dynasty leagues have ever seen. Cordarrelle Patterson is getting more volume than he did at the start of the year; while it makes his fantasy efficiency number fall, his managers have to be pleased with more touches. Calvin Ridley is the only one not benefiting from the more vertical offense. He's still primarily used underneath, but at least he netted his managers a touchdown this week. He still needs to be started in every league alongside Pitts and Patterson, and now, after three solid games in a row, Matt Ryan is a streamable starting quarterback again.

It's Good To Play The Jets

  • The Patriots had their way with the Jets on Sunday, as have every team except the Titans this season. Usually, on the bubble of starting lineups, Damian Harris was a no-doubt starter this week, and he promptly scored two touchdowns on his 100-yard day. What's frustrating those managers who started him is that the game got so out of hand that started were pulled, and J.J. Taylor punched in two more touchdowns. In a close game, Harris could have had all four touchdowns to himself. Mac Jones is actually looking like the best of the five first-round rookie quarterbacks. He had his first 300-yard game on Sunday and led the team on seven touchdown-scoring drives. Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers have established themselves as Jones's top targets, and Hunter Henry has become his red-zone target. Brandon Bolden has also become the new James White, but I'll write more about him in the waiver wire section.

Two Titanic Weeks

  • The Titans have beaten the two teams that played in last year's AFC championship in back-to-back weeks, and they looked great doing it. These wins come after losing to the hapless Jets three weeks ago. Their only other loss was week one against the 7-0 Cardinals. A.J. Brown adds so much to their offense, giving the defense more to worry about than Derek Henry as if anyone can stop him anyway. After a game-winning tackle in a shoot-out last Monday night, their defense held the Chiefs to just 67 yards of offense in the first half and sacked Mahomes four times and forced him out of the game in the fourth quarter. If Brown and Henry stay healthy and their defense can play as they did on Sunday, the Titans have just as good a chance to play in the AFC championships as the teams they beat in back-to-back weeks. The Titans and the Bengals had statement wins on Sunday.

Second-Year Quarterback Explosions

  • Speaking of the Bengals, it was great to see Joe Burrow and another second-year quarterback have explosive fantasy days on Sunday. Burrow threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns. 50% of those yards were to Ja'Marr Chase, who should already be given the rookie of the year trophy. Higgins was more actively involved this week, too, and is only missing touchdowns to boost his fantasy day. If he had just a few of C.J. Uzomah's touchdown catches, we'd be thinking differently about Higgins. I believe the touchdowns will come because Burrow has this offense humming. Another second-year quarterback returning from injury, Tua Tagovailoa, had his second-best fantasy day of his young career. He threw for 291 yards and four touchdowns in a comeback effort that fell a little short on Sunday. He's added 22 and 29 yards rushing the last two weeks too. He's played really well the previous two weeks, even though he's been without two of his starting wide receivers. The Bengals and even more so the Dolphins were given grief for not drafting Justin Herbert after he has played so well, but they're beginning to show that they can belong in the same ballpark and make the 2020 quarterback class look more robust than it appeared at the end of their rookie season. Jordan Love and Jalen Hurts, on the other hand, are a different story.

Grudges Matches Performances

  • There were two Grudge Matches on Sunday, and only one side of each battle got its revenge. First, there was the Jared Goff vs. Matt Stafford showdown. Then there was the DeAndre Hopkins vs. David Johnson faceoff. Goff and Detroit came out aggressive and got the early lead on the Stafford-led Rams, but they couldn't stop the Stafford and Kupp connection, but who can? Kupp is averaging 116 yards per game with Stafford. Last season with Goff, he averaged just 61 yards per game. Goff and the Lions fought hard like they do every week, but Stafford won this battle pretty easily. Goff has still not led a team to a win when not being coached by Sean McVay. Hopkins got a little revenge with a seven-catch one-touchdown game while David Johnson, who led his team in carries and receptions, was held to just three points. Johnson touched the ball 12 times, totaling 52 yards. Hopkins barely beat him with 53 yards on seven touches. Hopkins's revenge game narrative fell short of what he and his dynasty managers hoped, but he did enough to help the Cardinals win and likely most dynasty teams too.

Quarterback Injuries

  • The week started with Case Keenum filling in for Baker Mayfield, and it ended with many other backups taking snaps by the end of the day on Sunday. Zach Wilson looked to injury his knee and ankle, and the Jets turned to a quarterback, I have to admit not knowing, Mike White. As I already said, the Jets are one of the worst teams in the league. Jets players were almost unstartable with Wilson. With White, they're definitely not startable. Sam Darnold wasn't injured, but he was pulled from the game in favor of P.J. Walker. Darnold has been seeing ghosts the last few weeks and needed to get removed from this game. Coach Rhule indicated that Darnold would start the next game. Even if he does, the short leash is a thing from this point going forward. D.J. Moore was off to such a firey start, but now he's moved to the WR-3 realm. Robby Anderson, who hasn't been startable all season, must remain on dynasty benches. Chubba Hubbard is startable, but only because of sheer volume, but his ceiling is very low week to week. Like I wrote about last week, Christian McCaffrey is the engine of this offense. Until he comes back, I'd expect much of the same from Carolina.

Two Rookies Winning Roles

  • If there is a startable Jet, Michael Carter has taken over the lead running back role in New York. Like Chubba Hubbard, his role could make him a fringe starter even on a bad team. He more than doubled the snaps of Ty Johnson on Sunday. This change looks like a deliberate choice for the Jets coming out of their bye week last week. He touched the ball 19 times and compiled 104 yards. I've never been as high on Carter as most of the dynasty community, but if his role is solidified in the coming weeks, he will rise up my dynasty rankings. Similarly, Elijah Mitchell appears to have hold of the up and down 49er backfield. Mitchel was one play shy of doubling up JaMycal Hasty in snaps Sunday night. If a 49er running back will get 18 carries like Mitchell did Sunday night, they're a no-doubt starter in dynasty lineups. Trey Sermon managers have to be sick about this development, while Mitchell is poised to be the steal of the 2021 rookie draft since he was drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds.

Boring Blowouts

  • This last point is less of a dynasty take, but as I mentioned at the start, this was a bit of a boring week full of blowouts. Only one game finish as a one-score game on Sunday. In the other ten games, the average point differential was 21 points, and it felt like it. The Bengals and Ravens game was the only game that felt compelling and held my interest beyond the dynasty perspective. We've had some big treats this season, especially in the primetime games. I guess we were due for a dud. I hope your dynasty games were more exciting than the NFL games this week.

Week Seven Waiver Wire

As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster leagues, so the players I list here are for deep leagues only. If you play in shallower leagues, there are certainly better players than these to pick up off the waiver wire, but if you're in deep dynasty leagues, these are the players I would make bids on this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.

It's a pretty bad week this week, but there are a few players I'd like to add to my rosters, even if only due to recency bias.

Brandon Bolden

  • Bolden is settling into the James White role on the Patriots. He's their pass-catching back, and Mac Jones likes to check down to his running backs. Bolden had his best game of the year on Sunday, even though the Patriots were leading the game this entire time. His six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown resulted in 16.9 fantasy points. I don't think that's something to expect every week, but he could be a viable player to start in PPR leagues when better running backs are injured or on bye weeks.

Boston Scott

  • Just when Miles Sanders was finally getting a heavy workload to start the game, as the coaches promised, he then gets carted off the field with an ankle injury. It looks like he could miss significant time, leaving the backfield to Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott. I was surprised to see how soon Gainwell replaced Scott to become Sanders' backup and dropped Scott from all of my rosters early in the season. With a chance to now be Gainwell's backup, Scott is worth picking up this week. Gainwell only had one more touch than Scott in the game, so I think Philadelphia will plan to split the workload going forward just as they did with Gainwell and Sanders the first six weeks of the season. Scott is worth adding in a few of my leagues this week.

Kalif Raymond

  • Raymond has led the team in wide receiver snaps four out of the seven weeks and leads the team in targets (39) and receptions (26). He's been even more involved in the offense since Quintez Cephus got injured. On Sunday, he had 115 yards receiving. Three weeks ago, he had a two-touchdown day. He's not likely to contribute long-term to a dynasty team, but he could be a startable player in a pinch like many managers were in last week.

Donte Pettis

  • Pettis has played a significant role in the offense over the last two weeks while the entire Giants' receiving corps has been banged up. His uptick in playing time is solely based on the team's injuries, but he could be productive for the next few weeks before the starters return. I would only add Pettis if my wide receiver corps were as decimated by injuries as the Giants are. Like many dynasty managers, I used to be a Pettis truther, but I can't be burned by him again.

MyCole Pruit

  • Pruit is getting the second-most snaps among the tight ends in Tennessee, trailing Geoff Swaim, not Anthony Firkser. Firkser, however, has more targets and receptions. Pruit has two red-zone touchdowns in the last three games, though, and could see more playing time if he continues to produce in the red zone. I don't think I would drop a player on my roster to pick him up, but I'd consider adding him to an open spot if I had a player that I could move to IR this week.

Week Seven Trades

Trades are hard to grade in a vacuum since scoring systems are different in each league, and every team has a diverse roster construction. That's why I write about trades made in my leagues and give context for why the dynasty owners made the trades. I grade the trade, but in the context of what each team was attempting to accomplish with the trade.

Here are my thoughts on trades that took place in my leagues this week. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.

It was quite an active trading week in my leagues. Only one trade was a dynasty blockbuster, and the other trades seemed to be small moves made to help teams this week during the bye-pocalypse.

Russell Wilson and Mike Evans <=====> Leonard Fournette, Cordarrelle Patterson, and a 2022 2nd round pick

  • The team that acquired Wilson and Evans is on top of the league and has one of the best starting lineups week to week. He has Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones as his starting running backs, making him more willing to part with Fournette and Patterson, whose dynasty values are at their peak right now. The team that received Fournette, Patterson, and a second-round pick is a solid team currently 3-3 on the season and wants to keep competing. This week, in particular, his team is in trouble with bye weeks and injured players, so it appears to me that he made this trade to try to buy a win this week in addition to helping his team from a dynasty perspective. This league is transitioning to a superflex league in 2023, so Russell Wilson has even more value in this league, and that tips the scales in this trade in favor of the new Wilson manager. Everyone knows that Mike Evans provides up and down weeks, but he's still an every-week starter and will be for years to come. While Fournette and Patterson are playing out of his minds right now, they're far less likely to do so in the future. If Fournette, who is in a contract year, signs a new contract with Tampa Bay, then I would see this as less of a lopsided trade, but we'll have to wait on that one. I can't imagine that Patterson can continue on his current pace this season, let alone further into his career. He's also on a one-year contract, making his future in Atlanta uncertain too. For the second team, this trade will undoubtedly benefit his team this year, but I think he gave up too much from a dynasty perspective.

A.J. Green <=====> 2022 3rd round pick

  • How the mighty have fallen. A.J. Green gets traded for a third-round pick. The team that acquired the pick is in full rebuild mode and wanted to get as much as he could for one of his old players producing this season. The team that received Green is a top competitor this season and, I believe, simply needed a flex player for this week with four of his startable receivers injured or on bye weeks. His two starting running backs, Ezekiel Elliot and James Robinson, are on bye weeks too. Knowing that, I would have just been okay with a loss rather than give up a pick for A.J. Green, who would likely not start for his team again this year. Third-round picks don't amount to much anyway, but I think I would have kept the pick. For the rebuilding team, at least he'll have a stab at someone in the third round.

 Emmanuel Sanders <=====> 2023 3rd round pick

  • This trade had nothing to do with this week since Sanders is on a bye week. The team that acquired the third-round pick is 2-4, and injuries have rendered his team uncompetitive this season. Given the case, he was ready to sell one of his oldest players for a pick two years down the road. The team that received Sanders in the trade is competitive, and Sanders will provide depth to his strong group of receivers and start several games for him this year. The way that Sanders is playing this year, I would have tried to get a second-round pick out of someone, but at the same time, I would not give up a second-round pick for Sanders, so the price here is about right.

Mecole Hardman <=====> Jonnu Smith and a 2022 3rd round pick

  • Hardman has been a little more involved in the offense the last two weeks. So much so that a team was willing to pay a fair amount to purchase him and add him into their starting lineup this week. The team that added Hardman to their team is 2-4, even though their roster is better than that. The team that gave away Hardman has a solid wide receiver corps and could part with Hardman since he's likely not to see his starting lineup this season or in future seasons, barring a breakout year this year. I've written before about how I do not like any pass catcher in Kansas City other than Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The third man on the Chiefs will never get enough volume to produce for fantasy teams. That said, I don't think the team that received Hardman overpaid. Smith and a third-round pick seem fair to me. I think I'd rather have that side of the trade, even though Smith is playing second fiddle to Hunter Henry in New England.

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