Isaiah Freedman staff writer
Guy Ginsberg co-editor-in-chief
As the season starts kicking into high gear, some unexpected storylines are coalescing. The Chiefs, Lions and Ravens, teams expected to perform well, have a combined 3-15 record, while teams such as the Jets, Falcons and Panthers have a combined 13-2 record. The NFL is a consistently inconsistent league, where parody is everywhere and stability is scarce except in New England. One thing that is stable, though, is your trust weekly picks from Highlights, featuring 10 players that could make or break your fantasy team in Week 7.
WR: Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets
Kerley, who was the Jets’ number one option when Eric Decker went out last year, has been in new head coach Todd Bowles’ doghouse throughout the season. Through the first six weeks, Kerley has barely seen the field. That should all change when Quincy Enuwa, the number 3 receiver on the depth chart, begins his four-game suspension this week. Kerley, equipped with a nice blend of speed and agility, should have more opportunities. With so much defensive attention aimed towards Brandon Marshall and Decker, Kerley should feast on short slants, and turn them into big gains and happy fantasy owners.
Week 7 Projections: 7 receptions, 78 yards, 1 touchdown
WR: Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers
Funchess, as expected, produced very little value for fantasy owners and the Panthers for the first five weeks. However, last week against the Seahawks, Funchess carved up Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, the best cornerback-safety duo in the entire league. Quite the impressive feat for the raw rookie. He has great size and athleticism, so it’s no wonder he played as a tight end in college. This coming week against the Eagles and their average secondary, Funchess should really start to come into his own. Just own him when it happens.
Week 7 Projections: 6 catches, 63 yards, 1 touchdown
RB: Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Foster, when healthy, is one of the deadliest runners in the league. His combination of swiftness and power lead to huge chunks of fantasy points. Unfortunately, the situation for the upcoming week in Houston does not bode well for Foster. First of all, he is still obviously hampered by the torn quad he suffered in preseason, and it has affected his play. Second of all, the men blocking in front of him are down their two best players in star left tackle Duane Brown and guard Brandon Brooks. To top it off, the Texans face a resurgent Dolphins team that still employs Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh on the defensive line. It just doesn’t feel like Foster’s week.
WR: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones is unequivocally the best receive in the NFL and fantasy. Sadly, he has clearly been slowed by a nagging hamstring, yet refuses to sit a week. It really showed last Thursday night against the Saints when he wasn’t the soul-crushing, dominant freak he usually is. A little rest and rest is all that’s needed.
Week 7 Projections: 5 catches, 55 yards, 0 touchdowns
RB: Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
It’s time for Johnson to have a breakout game. So far, he has played very well as a third round rookie, serving as a receiving threat out of the backfield. Being a rookie, everything comes so fast at you, that sometimes all that’s needed to adjust is good old time. Johnson has the potential to be a super version of Shane Vereen. Johnson truly is a wide receiver in a running back’s body, and he has used that to his advantage by mastering both positions.
Week 7 Projections: 2 catches, 33 yards, 100 yards rushing, 1 touchdown
TE: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
After a two week hiatus caused by a concussion during the Skins week four game against Philadelphia, Reed has fallen off the fantasy map in many leagues. However, boasting solid numbers in the first three weeks before his injury, Reed was shaping up as a TE1 even in eight man leagues. Looking like the lone bright spot in a dreadful Redskins offense, Reed has a chance to put up a solid 10 points every week for the rest of the season. A diamond in the rough, pick up Reed in all leagues.
Week 7 Projections: 6 catches, 95 yards.
WR: Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
All hail the holy ghost of fantasy football, Martavis Bryant. We all remember his breakout rookie season last year, during which he scored a ridiculous eight touchdowns in just ten games. Suspended for the first five weeks of the season, Bryant was a non-factor for the beginning of the season. However, last week when he came back against the Arizona Cardinals, Bryant boasted an insane 137 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Coming up on a beautiful matchup against the dangerously bad Chiefs secondary, look for an encore performance from the holy ghost.
Week 7 Projections: 8 catches, 115 yards, two touchdowns.
RB: Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
I had high hopes for this guy at the start of the year, but he managed to disappoint suffering through injuries and overall bad performances against okay defenses. Coming up on a gloomy matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, and suffering from a pesky foot problem, Hyde will struggle to get anything going on Thursday night.
Week 7 Projections: 12 rushes, 26 yards rushing.
QB: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Okay I get it, he had a good game. Coming off a 46 point performance against the Chicago Bears, he literally has no chance to repeat. The Bears are probably the worst team in the NFL, with by far the worst secondary. You can’t expect this off-track quarterback of a dreadful team to perform anywhere close to this game in his upcoming matchup with Minnesota. Expect him to fall back into the depths of fantasy irrelevance in his upcoming matchup on Sunday.
Week 7 Projections: 159 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions.
RB: Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This guy has been quietly performing behind Doug Martin in Tampa Bay. Boasting solid 10+ points for the last three weeks, Sims has been the most effective backup in the NFL behind James Starks in Green Bay. Watch Sims exceed his recent success against a good Washington run defense on Sunday. Oh, and watch Doug Martin watch Sims go off from the sidelines.
Week 7 Projections: 15 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 80 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown.