Early Start ‘em Sit ‘em Week 7: Kenneth Walker III, Brian Robinson, and Brandon Aiyuk Have Intriguing Matchups

As we look ahead, the early Week 7 start/sit questions are already starting to swirl for fantasy football managers. The combination of some intriguing matchups, injuries, and another four teams on a bye has left fantasy managers with some tough decisions. Let’s examine the matchups we will see this week and highlight some start ’em and sit ’em considerations for Week 7.

As a general rule of thumb, we will only try to select players who were started in less than 40% of leagues last week as recommended starts. Equally, we will generally look to only recommend players that were in lineups in more than 50% of ESPN leagues last week as sits.

Start ’em | Matt Ryan, QB | IND @ TEN

We have now seen strong performances from Matt Ryan in three of the past four weeks. Ryan has scored 15 points or more in all of those three outings and four in total this season. Over the last four games, he has averaged 304.5 passing yards per game, with seven touchdowns to three interceptions.

This week, Ryan faces off against a Titans team that has allowed an average of 21.08 fantasy points to quarterbacks. Tennessee’s allowed at least 16 fantasy points in each of their first five games, which ranks fifth at the position. One of those matchups was against the Colts, in which Ryan scored 17.84 fantasy points. As a Week 7 streaming option, a return of over 15 points is exactly what you’re looking for. Ryan should be more than capable of scoring in that region.

Start ’em | Davis Mills, QB | HOU @ LV

It has not been a great start to the season for Davis Mills. He has averaged 209.6 passing yards, one touchdown, 0.8 interceptions, and 10.42 fantasy points per game. Mills has scored in double digits just twice (Weeks 1 and 4). Those games came against the Colts and Chargers, who both rank in the top half in points allowed to QBs. Meanwhile, Mills’ three struggles have come against the Bears, Broncos, and Jaguars, who are in the bottom half of points allowed to the QB position.

In Week 7, Mills’ matchup is especially good against a Raiders team allowing an average of 24.97 fantasy ppg to opposing QBs. In four of the five weeks, quarterbacks have scored more than 20 fantasy points, including 30 fantasy points allowed in Week 5. This recommendation is really more for 16-team leagues and 12-team Superflex leagues.

Sit ’em | Russell Wilson, QB | DEN vs. NYJ

This article was written ahead of Monday Night Football, but heading into that game, Russell Wilson is the QB19 in terms of average fantasy points at 14.81. He has scored less than 10 fantasy points twice in the last three weeks and fewer than 12 fantasy points in three of his last four outings. He is capable of boom outings, but those came against two of the top-10 teams in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position.

MORE: Early Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

In Week 6, Wilson is going up against the New York Jets, who have been good against quarterbacks this year — allowing an average of 14.54 fantasy ppg through the first six weeks. The Jets have been especially good in the last three weeks, allowing just 9.52 fantasy points, the fifth-lowest output in that stretch. No QB has scored more than 14 fantasy points against the Jets defense in that stretch. It’s incredibly tough to trust Wilson right now, especially in a tough matchup.

Start ’em | Kenneth Walker III, RB | SEA @ LAC

In his first game as the starter, Kenneth Walker III carried the ball 21 times and added three targets. He finished with 110 yards and a touchdown while playing 69% of the snaps. Walker all but assured himself of being the bell cow RB for the Seahawks going forward.

That is a good sign as Walker enters into a matchup that has been extremely profitable for opposing backs in recent weeks. The Chargers’ average of 28.52 fantasy points allowed to the position, entering Monday Night Football, is the highest allowed in the league.

Since Week 2, the Chargers have allowed more than 20 fantasy points to the position in every game, and that has been over 35 points per game in each of the past two weeks. If you had any remaining hesitation about starting Walker this week, that should be gone with this matchup.

Start ’em | Brian Robinson, RB | WAS vs. GB

Rookie RB Brian Robinson comes into Week 7 off the back of his first touchdown and a game that saw him carry the ball 17 times. While the efficiency has not been there over the first two weeks, Robinson has seemingly stepped into the lead RB role he was heading for prior to the preseason incident.

Robinson gets a solid matchup this week as the Commanders face the Green Bay Packers. Last week, the Packers allowed 24.3 fantasy points to the New York Jets’ RBs, their third straight game allowing over 20 fantasy points to the position. Green Bay has allowed an extremely consistent 24.3 to 28.3 fantasy points to RBs in the last three weeks. This should be a matchup that Robinson can find success in coming off of 10 days rest.

Sit ’em | Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB | KC @ SF

There may not be a more infuriating back to have on your roster than Clyde Edwards-Helaire. After a strong first two weeks, he managed just 39 total yards and a touchdown on 12 opportunities in Week 3. Then, in Week 4, he bounced back with 94 yards and two touchdowns. However, in the past two weeks, CEH has a total of 48 rushing yards on 18 rushing attempts while adding just 20 receiving yards on three receptions from four targets.

The matchup against the San Francisco 49ers is tough. The 49ers have restricted opposing backs to the second-lowest fantasy return on a per-game basis (14.35). They’ve allowed single digits in fantasy points on two occasions while keeping the Atlanta Falcons under 12.5 fantasy points last week.

The caveat here is that when Edwards-Helaire faced what has been the toughest defense to running backs this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he scored two touchdowns and finished with 94 yards. Still, it’s incredibly tough to trust the usage right now, and he was just shut down for all intents and purposes by the fifth-best defense against backs, the Buffalo Bills.

Check out our Week 7 RB fantasy rankings, and examine whether there is a back you could look to start over Edwards-Helaire this week.

Start ’em | Brandon Aiyuk, WR | SF vs. KC

Week 6 demonstrated just how good Brandon Aiyuk can be in this 49ers offense. He had eight receptions on 11 targets for 83 yards and two touchdowns. If you started him last week, he more than delivered for you. Aiyuk has been a reasonably consistent part of the offense since Jimmy Garoppolo took over, but it took trailing to the Falcons to really bring out his upside.

The good news is that against the Chiefs, the 49ers could very well be chasing the game again this week. Additionally, Kansas City has proven to be a consistently good matchup for opposing WRs. They’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs at 33.9 — intriguingly, one spot behind the Falcons.

Over the last three weeks, the Chiefs have allowed more than 40 points to the position twice and have allowed over 30 fantasy points to the position four times in the last five weeks. If you rode with Aiyuk last week, stick with the train. If you didn’t ride him last week, there’s another chance to jump aboard in Week 7.

Start ’em | Alec Pierce, WR | IND @ TEN

It was somewhat surprising to me that Alec Pierce was started in less than 10% of ESPN leagues last week. Pierce came into Week 6 off the back of a nine-target game in Week 5, having seen 11 targets across the previous two weeks. He needed a late touchdown to salvage his day in Week 6 but scored 10 fantasy points in half-PPR scoring for the third-straight game.

MORE: Week 7 Half-PPR Fantasy Football Rankings

This week, the Colts go up against a Titans defense that has allowed 37.57 fantasy points per game to opposing WRs, the second-highest number in the league. They’ve allowed over that number in three of the last four weeks. In the game they allowed fewer than that point, Tennessee still allowed 23.7 points to WRs. The majority of those points should be hoovered up by either Pierce or Michael Pittman Jr., so both should be starting options this week.

Sit ’em | Chris Olave, WR | NO @ ARI

Fantasy managers were without Chris Olave due to injury in Week 6. However, the matchup for Week 7 is not all that favorable as he looks set to return from his concussion. For all the turmoil in Arizona, the Cardinals have been extremely effective against opposing WRs. Their 22.32 fantasy points allowed to the position is the sixth-lowest number in the league.

In Week 6, the Cardinals held the combined might of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to just 51 yards on four receptions from 12 targets. In the last three weeks, Arizona’s allowed a combined 51.1 fantasy points to wide receivers — an average of 17.03 points per game. With the erratic Saints’ passing game combined with the strength of the Cardinals’ pass defense, Olave might not be a player to rush back into lineups this week.

Start ’em | Hayden Hurst, TE | CIN vs. ATL

We can somewhat forgive Hayden Hurst for his Week 6 performance. He came into the game injured and was facing a tough matchup for tight ends in the form of the Saints. They have allowed a second-lowest average of 4.62 fantasy points per game to the position in the first six games.

This week, Cincinnati faces a defense that has allowed an average that is almost triple that per game (13.72). Only once this year have the Falcons managed to hold the TE position to single digits, with between 10.6 and 21 points allowed in the other five weeks.

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