The article below details one need-to-know takeaway from each NFL Week 7 contest, aimed at providing readers with immediately actionable fantasy football information. Resolutions to unresolved preseason backfield battles populate this week’s edition.
Top 5 Takeaways
Giants’, Commanders’ Rookies Ascend
New York Giants third-round rookie WR Jalin Hyatt caught two of five targets for 75 yards, bringing his per-route target and yardage rates up to 15.5 percent and 1.66 yards, respectively, over the past two weeks. His 58 routes run trail only WR Darius Slayon’s 68 and TE Darren Waller’s 64 during that span, solidifying Hyatt’s status as a weekly starter moving forward.
Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera called Day 3 rookie Chris Rodriguez Jr.’s number whenever he stepped on the field, giving Rodriguez a career-high seven rushing attempts. No. 1 running back Brian Robinson Jr. entered Week 7 averaging just 3.9 yards per rushing attempt, No. 18 among 33 NFL running backs with at least 50 rushing attempts, perhaps affording Rodriguez opportunities. With Rodriguez’s increased involvement, Robinson was limited to eight rushing attempts and his 2.9-yard average distantly trailed Rodriguez’s 4.4.
Hyatt and Rodriguez are recommended Week 8 waiver wire additions.
Kincaid Breaks Out
Buffalo Bills first-round rookie TE Dalton Kincaid posted career-highs in receptions (eight), targets (eight), yards receiving (75) and pre-snap alignment perimeter snap rate (35.3 percent). The breakout performance came two weeks before Buffalo’s Weeks 9-11 slate against three of the NFL’s most tight end-friendly defenses.
The table below ranks in parentheses Buffalo’s Weeks 9-11 opponents’ tight end-coverage data.
|BUF Opponent||TE Catch % Allowed||Yards/Reception||PPR PPG Allowed|
|Week 9: Cincinnati Bengals||78.0% (No. 27)||9.4 (No. 13)||18.69 (No. 29)|
|Week 10: Denver Broncos||84.8% (No. 32)||11.9 (No. 3)||18.83 (No. 30)|
|Week 11: New York Jets||68.1% (No. 11)||10.3 (No. 24)||20.0^ (No. 31)|
Kincaid has week-winning matchups after his tough Week 8 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Henderson Steals Lead Role
The Los Angeles Rams signed journeyman RB Darrell Henderson Jr. to the practice squad on Tuesday. He was elevated to the active roster on Saturday and stole the lead role from nominal fill-in starter Royce Freeman on Sunday.
Coach Sean McVay deployed Henderson in a featured role despite Freeman demonstrating superior rushing efficiency.
The table below compares Henderson’ and Freeman’s Week 7 usage and results.
|LAR RBs in Week 7||Darrell Henderson Jr.||Royce Freeman|
|Rush Att. – Yards – YD||18 – 61 – 1||12 – 66 – 0|
|YPC – Yards After Contact/Rush Att.||3.4 – 2.39||5.5 – 4.20|
|Rec/Tgt – Yards – TD||1/2 – 5 – 0||0/0 – 0 – 0|
|Routes – TPRR – YPRR||13 – 15.4% – 0.38||7 – 0.0% – 0.00|
|2-Min. Drill Snaps||5||0|
|Green Zone Snaps||3||0|
Henderson’s usage ostensibly reflects McVay’s trust in his ability to execute his role. He is a priority waiver wire add in Week 8.
Doubs, Reed Due For Role Increases
Green Bay Packers No. 1 WR Christian Watson suffered a non-contact knee injury and No. 1 TE Luke Musgrave suffered an apparent ankle sprain as his ankle joint bent outward under his weight after a hard hit to the head. Per Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Adam Hutchison’s Injury Report, tight ends average 2.3 games missed due to inversion ankle sprains, although Musgrave’s specific sprain wasn’t disclosed.
Christian Watson –
Concern for Right knee MCL sprain and/or meniscus.
Problematic considering his history:
•Right meniscus repair in college
•Right knee scope June ‘22
•Right Hamstring injuries ‘22, ‘23
Hopefully this is just a minor sprain.
— Jeff Mueller, PT, DPT (@jmthrivept) October 22, 2023
No. 1 RB Aaron Jones is also playing through a hamstring strain.
Hurts Utilizes Quick Passing, Keeps Rushing Post-Injury
Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts’ first-half knee injury resulted in a 15.5 percent second-half increase in passes thrown 5 to 10 yards downfield. All remaining target depths decreased, although his overall average depth of target grew from 7.0 yards to 7.7, respectively. Crucially, Hurts maintained his fantasy-friendly, short-area rushing role though, totaling five rushing attempts in the first half and six in the second. Fantasy managers can safely expect coach Nick Sirianni to make necessary adjustments before Philadelphia’s Week 8 game against the Washington Commanders’ injury-plagued secondary.
Buy Low on Jaguars’ Engram
Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram ranks top six in total PPR points scored (75.60) and average PPR points per game (10.80) but has yet to score a touchdown. His eighth-ranked 21.2 percent targets per route run (TPRR) and position-leading 51 targets accurately communicate his target-earning talents and signal touchdowns to come.
No Setbacks For Gibbs on Bigger Workload
Detroit Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs returned from a two-week absence after his Week 4 hamstring strain, successfully operating as the team’s offensive focal point (11 rushing attempts and 10 targets) with starter David Montgomery (ribs cartilage injury) sidelined. Having avoided re-injury, Gibbs can be expected to handle another high-volume workload in Week 8.
Bagent Shines as a Dual Threat
Chicago Bears fill-in QB Tyson Bagent played turnover-free football, leading the team to a 30-6 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. Bagent prioritized WR DJ Moore (eight receptions on nine targets for 54 yards receiving) and RB D’Onta Foreman (120 yards from scrimmage, three receptions on five targets and three touchdowns) while picking up three first downs on three rushes (8.0 yards per attempt). Bagent is a Week 8 streaming option against the Los Angeles Chargers’ accommodating defense.
Ford Sprains Ankle, Strong Takes Over
Cleveland Browns fill-in starting RB Jerome Ford suffered a high-ankle sprain early in the fourth quarter of Cleveland’s 39-38 win over the Indianapolis Colts. No. 2 RB Kareem Hunt, playing through a thigh injury, earned three fourth-quarter targets despite tallying just one passing-down snap to Pierre Strong Jr.’s five (zero targets).
Neither Strong Jr. (six fourth-quarter rushing attempts) nor Hunt (three fourth-quarter rushing attempts) cleared 3.5 yards per rushing attempt.
Jerome Ford –
Right foot/ankle gets trapped underneath him.
High ankle sprain type mechanism. It may not super severe since his foot wasn’t totally planted (🤞🏽)
Best case he’s back next week
Worst case 2-3 week absence pic.twitter.com/m04AnZXjEi
— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) October 22, 2023
Per Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Adam Hutchison’s Injury Report, running backs average 3.5 games missed with the ailment.
Patterson Efficient, Allgeier Voluminous, Robinson Sidelined
Bijan Robinson (headache) said he'll be good for Week 8.
More on why he was so limited in Week 7 ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/KeWNG9ZwxK
— Underdog NFL (@Underdog__NFL) October 22, 2023
No. 2 RB Tyler Allgeier trudged for 59 yards on 21 rushing attempts, tacking on 53 yards receiving (three receptions on three targets) while No. 3 RB Cordarrelle Patterson cruised for 56 yards rushing on just 10 attempts. Patterson’s 5.6 yards per rushing attempt rank No. 3 among 28 Week 7 running backs with at least 10 attempts; he is a Week 8 waiver wire bench-stash candidate.
Smith-Njigba Breaks Out
Seattle Seahawks first-round rookie WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (four receptions on seven targets for 63 yards receiving and one touchdown) broke out with No. 1 WR DK Metcalf (ribs/hip) sidelined. Smith-Njigba promisingly produced career highs in average depth of target (10 yards) and pre-snap alignment perimeter rate (57.9 percent). Seattle’s wide receivers will face a banged-up Cleveland Browns secondary in Week 8.
No. 2 WR Tyler Lockett (31 years old) is playing through a hamstring strain.
Rice Assumes KC No. 1 WR Role
Kansas City Chiefs second-round rookie WR Rashee Rice cemented himself as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, primarily operating in the short-to-intermediate area of the field. Rice’s 52 routes run in Weeks 6 and 7 trail only downfield WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s 67 in the Kansas City wide receiver corps. Among 43 NFL wide receivers with at least 10 targets over the past two weeks, Rice’s 2.54 YPRR ranks No. 8. He is startable as a PPR WR3 next week, facing a Denver Broncos defense allowing the third-most passing yards per game (257.43).