SSSQ is a weekly look at under-the-radar fantasy players to consider starting and potential busts you should leave on your bench. We also identify breakout candidates to stash on your roster and players you can safely cut.
For the rest of your lineup decisions, consult our Week 7 rankings. You can also listen to the Week 7 preview episode of RunSportBet Fantasy Football Podcast.
Justin Herbert, Chargers
Despite being a 22-year-old rookie who was thrust into the starting lineup without the benefit of preseason reps, Herbert is averaging the eighth-most fantasy points per game among quarterbacks.
After throwing seven touchdowns over his last two contests, which included a matchup with the dangerous Buccaneers defense, he returns from his bye in a favorable spot against the banged-up Jaguars.
Jacksonville ranks last in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA and has the fewest sacks in the league with just five on the season.
You can view Herbert as a low-end QB1 this week and it’s a range he’ll occupy most weeks moving forward.
Boone’s projection: 296 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 17 rushing yards
Other QBs to start
- Matthew Stafford at Falcons
- Tom Brady at Raiders
- Joe Burrow vs. Browns
Ronald Jones, Buccaneers
Jones has taken advantage of Leonard Fournette being sidelined recently, posting three straight 100-yard games and finishing among the top-20 fantasy backs in each of those weeks.
Entering Week 7, Jones is fifth in rushing yards and coming off his best outing of the year – a 25-touch, 121-yard, two-touchdown performance in a win over the Packers.
Next up is a date with the Raiders, who are allowing the third-most fantasy points to the position.
Don’t worry about Fournette returning to the lineup. Jones has done enough to earn the lead back role for now and can be safely started as a top-15 option this week.
Boone’s projection: 94 rushing yards, 13 receiving yards, TD
Other RBs to start
- Todd Gurley vs. Lions
- Antonio Gibson vs. Cowboys
- Justin Jackson vs. Jaguars
Tyler Boyd, Bengals
Browns-Bengals is one of the first rematches of the season. The two teams met in a surprisingly exciting Thursday night matchup in Week 2 and Boyd powered his team’s passing attack with seven catches, 72 yards, and a score.
Though star rookie Tee Higgins is stealing attention and A.J. Green has the most recognizable name, it’s Boyd who continues to lead them with 37 receptions and 416 yards on the year.
He should be viewed as a top-24 wideout versus a Browns unit giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers.
Boone’s projection: 81 receiving yards, TD
Other WRs to start
- D.J. Moore at Saints
- Odell Beckham Jr. at Bengals
- Mike Williams vs. Jaguars
T.J. Hockenson, Lions
With Marvin Jones struggling, Hockenson has begun to emerge as the No. 2 pass-catcher in Detroit.
Thanks to Kenny Golladay’s early season injury, it’s Hockenson who leads the Lions in targets, receptions, and receiving touchdowns so far.
The sophomore has 50 yards and/or a touchdown in all five of his appearances this season and is averaging the eighth-most fantasy points among tight ends.
Meanwhile, the Falcons have allowed a top-12 tight end finish in five of the six games they’ve played so far – Greg Olsen (TE12), Dalton Schultz (TE7), Jimmy Graham (TE1), Robert Tonyan (TE2), and Irv Smith (TE11).
Hockenson is a top-five start at his position this week.
Boone’s projection: 67 receiving yards, 2 TDs
Other TEs to start
- Jared Cook vs. Panthers
- Rob Gronkowski at Raiders
- Austin Hooper at Bengals
Jared Goff, Rams
At this point in the season, we can confidently identify the defenses to target and those we should be avoiding at all costs.
The Bears’ pass defense has shut down every quarterback they’ve faced in 2020, allowing league lows in completion percentage (57.1) and touchdown passes (four). In fact, no quarterback has produced a multi-touchdown game against them yet.
Goff has actually faced the Bears the last two seasons and was held to 180 yards or less in both contests, with no touchdowns and five total interceptions.
With Goff being a volatile starter already, this matchup pushes him into the low-end QB2 range and is enough to make fantasy managers steer clear.
Boone’s projection: 226 passing yards, INT
Other QBs to sit
- Gardner Minshew at Chargers
- Derek Carr vs. Buccaneers
- Jimmy Garoppolo at Patriots
Adrian Peterson, Lions
Even though rookie D’Andre Swift blew up with a big performance in Week 6, the Lions’ backfield remains a three-headed committee between Swift, Peterson, and Kerryon Johnson.
Peterson’s lack of a role in the passing game makes him a touchdown-dependent flex play, but to his credit, he’s found the end zone in each of the last two outings.
However, for all the flaws on Atlanta’s defense, they fare pretty well against the run and haven’t permitted a touchdown on the ground since Week 2.
Where they are susceptible to backs is through the air, which sets up a better matchup for last week’s breakout star Swift.
Peterson can still come through if he crosses the goal line, but start him at your own risk. The 35-year-old has been held to 41 rushing yards or less in three of his previous four games.
Boone’s projection: 37 rushing yards
Other RBs to sit
- Le’Veon Bell at Broncos
- Damien Harris vs. 49ers
- Frank Gore/La’Mical Perine vs. Bills
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers
Smith-Schuster is a name that seems like it should be in your lineup every week, and yet his performance this season makes him hard to trust.
Even with teammate Diontae Johnson missing time due to injury, Smith-Schuster is just 41st in average fantasy points per game among receivers in 2020. He’s taken a back seat to rookie Chase Claypool the last few weeks and now Johnson is set to return.
The Titans haven’t been a particularly tough matchup for opposing wideouts, but until we see some bigger stat lines – he hasn’t cracked 50 yards since the opener – Smith-Schuster belongs on your bench.
Boone’s projection: 44 receiving yards
Other WRs to sit
- Julian Edelman vs. 49ers
- Jarvis Landry at Bengals
- Mecole Hardman at Broncos
Tyler Higbee, Rams
We’ve said it before, but finding “sit” candidates at tight end can be difficult since all it normally takes to finish as a TE1 in a given week is a touchdown.
However, aside from his three-score outburst in Week 2, Higbee hasn’t made a return appearance in the end zone.
And last year’s late-season star hasn’t been nearly as involved in the Rams’ offense in 2020. He ranks 28th in average targets per game at tight end with just 3.5 looks per contest.
The margin for error is incredibly thin on such limited volume, so you should be leaning on the waiver wire for other options at the position.
Boone’s projection: 39 receiving yards
Other TEs to sit
- Dalton Schultz at Washington
- Darren Fells vs. Packers
- Greg Olsen at Cardinals
Gus Edwards, Ravens
Mark Ingram is dealing with an ankle sprain, prompting head coach John Harbaugh to say he’ll have a “chance” to play in Week 8 when the Ravens return from their bye. That’s not exactly the most inspiring outlook.
So, with the possibility Ingram misses time, you can get ahead of the pack and scoop up Edwards (5% rostered). Though second-round pick J.K. Dobbins would be the favorite to lead the backfield in touches, Edwards has actually out-carried him 48-25 this season.
As frustrating as the three-man committee has been in Baltimore, a two-man pairing could be intriguing for fantasy.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
Tagovailoa is another player you can get out in front of and stash while he’s on bye. The Dolphins named him their starter this week and we’ve already seen two rookie quarterbacks (Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow) emerge as fantasy options this year.
Based on Miami’s weapons and the way Ryan Fitzpatrick was producing, it’s not out of the question Tua will be a fantasy difference-maker over the final two months of 2020.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Drop candidates always depend on which players you’re picking up.
With that in mind, Hilton isn’t a lock to remain on fantasy rosters after a disappointing first six weeks that featured no touchdowns and no games over 70 yards. The veteran speedster was held under 30 yards in half his appearances, including a one-catch, 11-yard outing in Week 6.
With Hilton on bye, fantasy managers needing to free up that roster spot can move on from the fading star.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
Gesicki has been the ultimate fantasy tease with two games over 90 yards but four games under 30 yards in the early going. His inconsistency can’t even be tied to matchups, which means predicting his big days will be tough.
Perhaps the quarterback change will boost his value, so if you want to hold on one more week to see how he performs with Tua – that’s fine.